Mankind Project – Calling all spirits

I have started a page devoted to the Mankind Project on the blog. The initial topic is the practice of calling in spirits which opens weekly the Integration Groups (I-Groups). This practice is an aspect of creating sacred ritual space for the various processes (Guts Work, etc.) that take place in these meetings. Like many pagan and earth spirituality rituals, the I-Groups begin with casting a circle of sacred ritual space. Then an invocation is given to call in the spirits of the directions (Calling in the 7 Directions – east, west, north, south, up, down and within) and any other spirits that may be important (grandfathers, etc.).

I suspect for some of the initiates, this is regarded as a formality with no thought that any real spirits are being or even could be summoned. However, in reading stories and accounts written by MKP writers and leaders, it seems to me that some of them take this more literally. In any event, given that Christian ex-gay groups continue to recommend MKP and NWTA, and given that MKP are secretive about these practices, I want to provide this information for people in order to make an informed decision about participation. A work in progress, I will add to the page as I get new information.

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  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/ Warren

    @Michael Bussee: This fellow – David Pickup – is on staff at Healing for the Soul.

  • Michael Bussee

    Warren, you commented that “…Christian ex-gay groups continue to recommend MKP and NWTA” and that “MKP are secretive about these practices,”

    Can you give examples of Christian Ex-gay groups that do so? Are any of them EXODUS affiliates?

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/ Warren

    @Michael Bussee: It is somewhat indirect but a staff person with Healing for the Soul refers to MKP – David Pickup. I link to that page on the MKP that is the subject of this post. Scroll to the bottom to find the link.

  • Michael Bussee

    I checked “Healing for the Soul” and could not find any reference to MKP. Healing For the Soul does appear to be an EXODUS affiliate.

  • Michael Bussee

    Does Alan Chambers know about this?

  • http://pursuegod.wordpress.com Karen K

    This is very disturbing that they are calling on spirits. That is not benign. I find it alarming that any Christian would participate, or encourage other Christians to participate, in what could open people to deceptive spirits. The Scriptures tell us not to do this. We are only to call on God for help, not other spirits.

    This could cause serious spiritual harm.

  • Michael Bussee

    Once again, this points out that EXODUS really needs to tighten up on its standards. Shamans and wackos and quacks abound — particularly in this field.

  • Michael Bussee

    Hey! Talk about one stop ex-gay shopping. The Mankind Project can call up the spirits and Joanne Highley can cast them out!

  • Evan

    I expect this will happen more, unfortunately. I’m thinking that, sociologically speaking, dogmatic religions will probably lose foothold in a gradual manner or will attempt at reinventing themselves by integrating more earthly concerns. People have been losing communal bonds after more than a century of individualism and this kind of return to ‘pagan’ practices is a way to signal their confusion and discontent, and need to reappropriate the sacred by relating to the elemental. It’s been, in fact, going on for some time, what we see is a continuation of those trends in other areas. The positive fact is that people are trying to reconnect one with another and relate to the sacred. How will they do that, it remains to be seen. (But the most interesting and telling is the link between sexuality and religion.)

  • PerfectStorm

    Like many pagan and earth spirituality rituals, the I-Groups begin with casting a circle of sacred ritual space. Then an invocation is given to call in the spirits of the directions (Calling in the 7 Directions – east, west, north, south, up, down and within) and any other spirits that may be important (grandfathers, etc.).

    Thank you for acknowledging the value in this practice – i.e., creating sacred space. Opening ritual is also effective in getting men out of their heads, and into their bodies. It is a very effective call to presence – regardless of the spiritual or religious beliefs of men.

    The work that goes on in weekly I-groups invites men to touch their feelings; which requires that they be aware of what’s going on in their bodies. Feelings are a gateway to awareness, which is a necessary first step before any personal growth or healing can occur.

    Every religion and spiritual tradition recognizes the value of ritual. The ritual you refer to is borrowed from native American traditions. Native Americans cultivated among their people an intuitive understanding of their place in the cosmos; and recognizing the spirits or grandfathers from the seven directions was/is an integral part of that understanding.

    I suspect for some of the initiates, this is regarded as a formality with no thought that any real spirits are being or even could be summoned.

    Coming from a Christian background, I initially found the calling in of spirits/directions a little offensive. However, as I began to understand the value of spirituality (particularly native American and/or pagan spirituality) vs. religious dogma, I gained a real appreciation for this tradition.

    However, in reading stories and accounts written by MKP writers and leaders, it seems to me that some of them take this more literally.

    Your arguments would carry more weight if you were to be more specific about your sources.


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