One simple practice that we have, in our Canterbury and Folkestone Circles, is the lighting of three candles. This idea was told to me in a men’s circle that was held at a summer festival, a few years back, and it has been something that we have introduced and continue in our monthly homegroups and our other gatherings.
The Green Man Circles are spiritual spaces for men to connect with one another and with something greater, and among other elements that we bring into these groups, one simple practice to connect with this something greater is with the Three Candles. The men who attend our circles, come from all different backgrounds, and so there isn’t a focus on only one spiritual path, but there is an aim to work with different forms of spirituality, whether that be through prayer, meditation or ceremony.
The Three Candles is our remembering that the work we do has a greater implication than just for those present in the space, but also in releasing the ties of wounding from our ancestors, and in its rippling out to other men alive today and and impacting all those men in the future who inherit what we pass on to them. This simple practice is something that we use to open our groups to remind us and focus on what we are doing in this space and why.
FOR THE MEN WHO HAVE GONE BEFORE
The first candle is lit is for all of the men that have gone before. It is to honour and acknowledge all of the male ancestors who have something to share with us and from whom we can learn. That may be those in some distant golden era when men had more of a healthy relationship with their inner masculine and feminine, before hierarchy and war and misogyny came in to distort and damage these balances and relationships and there was greater equality between the sexes. That may be those men that have gone before that have been wounded by these patriarchal constructs who instead give an example of how not to be, and whose journey of healing we very much continue in the work that we are doing by holding the Green Man Circles.
FOR THE MEN THAT ARE
The second candle is lit for all the men that are alive now. This includes all those who are actively on a journey of growth and looking to transcend these stereotypes that have been handed to them, as well as all those men who are yet to begin that journey. We hope that with these groups that whatever understanding, healing, or connection that is felt by those within the groups may ripple out to be felt by all the men that are on this journey, and that we may all walk each other forward in this work.
FOR THE MEN YET TO BE
The third candle is lit for all the men that are yet to be, and lit with the hope that the world that we pass onto them will be ever freer of the wounds and binds that we inherit. We hope that the work that we do within the Green Man Circles, and beyond, goes towards nurturing a healthy and balanced expression of masculinity, and that the future generations of men can inherit this healthier, more balanced model.
The simple practice of lighting these three candles helps give the circle its place in the grander scheme of things, and help us remember its greater purpose and meaning.