The Flowering Rod: Men and their Role in Paganismby Kenny Klein
reviewed by Herbwoman for the Esoteric Book Review
In recent years it seems men have had some catching up to do. Confused with their role in Wicca and Paganism, many are working to overcome conditioning and accept the importance of the feminine, be it divine, in women, or in themselves. Although some writers like Robert Bly with his Iron John story and accompanying tales have sought to define male spirituality positively within nature, it really needs practising pagan and Wiccan men to come forward and express their feelings and insights. Enter Kenny Klein and this very enjoyable book.
This book clearly defines its aims and then fulfils them – a worthy goal for any book! The book divides into four sections. The first is the introduction, where he introduces himself and qualifies his perception of Wicca and paganism, laying the foundations for the book – essential for such a topic as this. Then he moves into the second section, entitled Living in the Circle, which is a slightly misleading title, as it would have been more appropriate to call it something like Male Myths and Magic in the Cycles of Nature, which is essentially what this section is about, covering the legends and folklore of European paganism. From the oak and holly kings to antlers and barley, this is all good, solid, in the earth paganism.
Section three is entitled ritual, and journeys through the pagan Wheel of the Year with ceremonies for men to hnour the god, themselves and nature. The ceremonies draw from the same European roots which Wicca grew from, and that is a real plus here, there is no culturally acquires Indian chakras or Native American chants, which may be nice but are simply not relevant. The final section is called The circle Continues, and provides resources and appendixes as well as looking at the role of the gay movement in devleoping male pagan spirituality. This information is relevant mainly to an American audience, as this is the perspective of the author.
All in all an enjoyable and very useful read, which I thoroughly recommned to anyone wanting to explore and develop their perceptions of men and the masculine in paganism.