Blood Brotherhoods

. In human societies this represents the stage of survival bands. In these groups the economy is based on hunting and foraging. Life is a constant struggle against and familiarity with death, whether through natural disaster, disease or accident. Infant mortality rates are high, and hunting, the act of killing, is a daily necessity. The spiritual expression of this stage is animism and may involve the ritual use of sacrifice. The birth/death dyad creates meaning around the idea of life for life and understands that life feeds off life. The core needs of the first dyad are the basics, food and shelter. The second dyad arises as a solution to the conflict of the first (as does each successive dyad). To protect against death both the child and the individual turn to others. There is then a tension between the security this provides and the discipline it involves. I call this dyad Mother/Father. The first adult the child knows is the mother, who is a haven of comfort, security and compassion. The second adult is the father, who in so many cases represents discipline, structure and punishment. In human societies this represents the stage of the first agricultural communities. These range from small village domestication to more complex chiefdoms and agrarian city-states. The early ‘maternal’ phase is concerned with notions of belonging, whether to a clan, tribe, or lineage, and can be quite varied. Some tribal groups are matrilineal, some patrilineal, some practice polygamy and so on. The spiritual expression of this stage is concerned with one’s place and with ancestral spirits (which may or may not be fused with the earlier animistic phase). The tribal group is closely knit and often lives in communal houses. As the ‘maternal’ societies grow in complexity there is a gradual shift toward patriarchal power and a society based on warfare[ix]. At an even greater level of complexity the society becomes stratified and individuals are identified by which class, or trade they belong to. Society becomes dominated by the ‘big man’, who eventually becomes a warrior king or chief. The spiritual expression of this stage is of a divine order headed by a male god, whether this is Zeus and the Olympian gods, Brahma and the Hindu pantheon, or the singular God of the Abrahamic religions. For the child this marks the phase when attention shifts from the world of the mother to that of the father. The core needs of the second dyad are the emotional needs of belonging, identity and security. It is this developmental phase that is central importance to this chapter and I will return to it in some detail. The tension between the comfort of the mother and the discipline of the father soon becomes constricting to the child. Whilst there is always a struggle for independence it is not until the teenage years that the child has developed enough to be able to separate from the mother and the father


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