Blood Brotherhoods

We have only briefly explored the developmental scheme of Temenos. It is a vast subject with a massive amount of supporting literature and the length of this chapter simply does not permit me to explore the subject further. Our task now is to apply this model to the problem of the brotherhoods. Essentially the brotherhoods are caught in the early stages of the patriarchal matrix. Each member is in effect, a son attempting to appease the Great Father. Unfortunately the brotherhoods largely play out the tragic aspect of the story, they actually never leave the Great Father’s home and in the ensuing frustration the guiding hand of the Great Father turns to the wrathful hand of the Terrible Father. The path ahead should see them rebel against the Terrible Father, find their own destiny and return to take their place in civilised society. Instead they end up as sacrificial victims to the Father’s cause. Mark Juergensmeyer says of the funerals of Hamas suicide bombers. “These events were not really funerals, a fact symbolized by the drinking of sweetened rather than bitter coffee, the distribution of sweets, and the singing of wedding songs. A cross between marriage and a religious festival, these affairs were a modern example of an ancient religious ritual: the sanctification of the martyrs.”[xvii] Juergensmeyer goes on to describe the age and social standing of the members of the brotherhood. “The very youthfulness of most members of the movements makes them socially marginal. A tabulation of the ages of Sikh extremists killed by police indicated that most of them were in their early twenties…..Hamas has consisted largely of ‘urban males in their teens’. In most societies, young people between the ages of sixteen and twenty-two are in a liminal state between life stages. They are no longer children in their parent’s families and they have not yet created families of their own. Their marginality is especially acute in traditional societies built around family units, in which one does not find the highly developed youth cultures of modern urban and industrialized societies. These activist youths are family members without a family, for whom religious movements provide a home and extended kinship.”[xviii] In this last statement Juergensmeyer is recapitulating the theme of the tragic journey of the Hero. Unable to find meaning as an individual these vulnerable youths turn to the many ideologies of the Terrible Father. And when we look at the structure of the brotherhoods we do indeed find the archetype of the Terrible Father. He takes many forms. He can be a god, he can be a mythologised historical figure such as Jesus or Mohammed, or he can be an ethnic, religious, political (we see this shift in communism as the shift from Marx as the Great Father to Stalin as the Terrible Father – a pattern repeated in other political organisations as well) or criminal leader


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