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Monday, January 22, 2024

The ManKind Project

My brother-in-law, Kevin, died suddenly on Nov. 28. He was a great guy, the death was very sudden and unexpected, and I am still trying to make sense of what happened.

For some weeks before he died, Kevin had mentioned that he was involved with a group called The ManKind Project. It apparently involved going off  on retreats. I didn't really get a clear sense of what the group was about.

I have been reading Lion of Light, the new RAW book on Aleister Crowley that Hilaritas published last year, following along with the online reading group at the Jechidah blog. As I was close to the end, I recently went ahead and finished the book, reading the R. Michael Johnson piece, and then read Rasa's bit about the cover and the biographies at the back of the book about the contributors.

I noticed this sentence in the Mike Gathers bio: "He currently works coaching men in creating a meaningful life while volunteering as a leader and administrator in the ManKind Project."

This spurred me to do a bit more research, and I discovered there's a Wikipedia article about the group. 

If you look at the article, there's a section called "New Warrior Training Adventure," which purports to describe the retreats that the group holds. It says, 

"MKP states:

The New Warrior Training Adventure is a modern male initiation and self-examination. [...] It is the "hero's journey" of classical literature and myth that has nearly disappeared in modern culture.

"MKP states that those who undertake this journey pass through three phases characteristic to virtually all historic forms of male initiation: descent, ordeal and return."

There's also a graphical representation of the hero's journey, a public domain image, which I reproduce at the top of this blog post.

To my surprise, the details of the initiation process and the hero's journey sounded very familiar to me, through reading the works of Robert Anton Wilson, who spends quite a bit of time describing initiation processes, both inside masonic organizations and outside them.

To be clear, I still don't know much about The Mankind Project, and I express no opinion about the group. But I have become curious about it. 


Joseph Matheny said...

I lead wilderness retreats here in rural Oregon. When people ask for a good introduction, I recommend the works of Martin Shaw, specifically his work "Wolf Milk" (, which I consider a great introduction piece.

quackenbush said...

Hey Tom, you can read a little more about my involvement with MKP in my latest substack (nearly a year ago). MKP is the "800 lb gorilla" of men's work, with dozens of smaller organizations scattered about. Happy to chat further, just email.

In addition to the hero's journey, the masculine archetypes of Lover, Warrior, Magician, and King (or Sovereign) are woven deep into the MKP framework.

PS. I wouldn't call them retreats, so much as intense experiential trainings.