ReWilding: The Untamed Masculine.

ReWilding: The Untamed Masculine: An intro

Welcome, my name is Charlie Wilson and I’ll be your ReWilding: the untamed masculine guide. Please consider this an intro to me, and to the coming series.

I will start by acknowledging the land that I am currently residing on while writing this article. I acknowledge that I am on the traditional unceded territory of the Songhees, W’Sanec, and Esquimalt nations. To acknowledge the land is indigenous protocol and an expression of honour, gratitude, and appreciation to the original peoples who have been living and walking on this land since time immemorial.

Three years ago I began a journey of deepening and self-discovery inspired by a life crisis. They often say that to reach a place of awakening you first need to hit rock bottom; this was more than true for me. Till that point I was a denizen of the “city of eternal slumber.” Living life by the playbook, trying as best I could to fill the roles society had prepared me for, and ultimately drowning in my own complacent misery. I hated my life and even more I loathed myself. Awakening to the truths that came to me was brutal, yet liberating. For the first time I had a glimpse of the freedom I didn’t know I was missing.

In these revelations I realized that I had virtually no close male-bodied friends. Instead, I had female-bodied friends filling those empty spaces. My connection to the masculine had been deprogrammed, severed, and cast aside during my 20s. I found myself no longer able to trust men, and in turn I did not trust myself. I was conditioned to view other men as competition in the quest for the ultimate prize: money, sex, and power.

I could identify my symptoms, but I didn’t know what the antidote was.

Some time after, and two years ago, my partner adamantly suggested I read a book called Iron John”. That small moment set in motion one of the most drastic shifts of my life. After reading the book, it felt like I had gone from seeing the world in black and white to full blown HD — a spectrum of colours I had been conditioned to ignore. I knew then what I was called to change. I was viewing the world through the lens of toxic masculinity and it was time to stop.

I had bitten the proverbial apple.

From that point onwards my journey revolved around a few potent questions: What is my place and what does it mean to be a “man” in today’s society? What is Freedom? And if I am not free, how do I shift from a domesticated man to a wild man?

Hero Gilgamesh mourns the death of Wild Man Enkidu

This series will be an ongoing evolution of my journey into the masculine. And every great journey requires a starting point.

Once upon a time

the world is awash in problems but also with rising seas, it is boiling all around us. Overheating with climate change, and trembling with worldwide conflicts, we live in insane times. We are surrounded by radical changes that deeply affect both nature and culture. This is the unique moment that we are living in. The Greeks had a term for this called kairos or, the open moment. This is not the linear path of chronos time, but kairos, the open moment that is both a challenge and an opportunity.

The external structures mirror internal structures, and these radical changes are waiting to take place within us as well. Deep down on a soul level you’re probably feeling the same way I am; that it’s not supposed to be this way. There is supposed to be more to life than this.

I want to inspire you with trueness and excavated wisdom to find your own liberation. But make no mistake; my priority here is not to make you feel good. If you came here to lighten your day’s load I would suggest exiting your browser now. What I’m offering to you is the red pill, and once you take off the blindfold it becomes dangerous for you to put it back on again. Or you can take the blue pill, close this article, and believe whatever is most convenient.

wonderland or the deeps of the rabbit hole?

Rest assure a day will come when someone a third your age is going to ask you the following question,

“when you were my age, did you know what was happening? ”

And the only answer, which is worthy of that moment, is, “there were enough ways of finding things out that anybody who wanted to know what was going on could have known.” And their next question will be, “So what did you do?” And the answer to that question is not in the future; you are living that answer right now.

In the coming months and years, should you choose to join me, we’ll be going on a journey within yourself, your psyche, and the mythos that surrounds you. There will be ideas, which may make you squirm, but that uncomfortability means there is room for growth. That feeling means it resonates within you. Follow it.

In service to understanding some of the ideas I’ll be presenting, I’ve attached a glossary at the bottom of this introduction. I want to ensure that everyone feels included so it’s easier to follow along. I want you, the reader, to know what I mean when I say things like, “dominant paradigm” or “story of separation” or “mythos.”

It’s also important for me to ensure no one feels excluded. When I say masculine or feminine I do not speak of the gender binary view of male and female. I am referring to the gender identity, not the biological sex. There is a full sliding scale spectrum between the poles and it is not necessarily attached to a person’s gender expression; nor is it fixed for life. Cisgender, gender fluid, gender neutral, and transgender are a few of the many ways humans identify.

I acknowledge my privilege as a cisgendered white male and will endeavor to avoid terms like man and woman whenever possible, but those are terms that must be used at times. Please have compassion knowing that I too am a work in progress. A student of life and at my core I am an ally. Through thick and thin.

My offerings will be released every month on the New Moon: which is a time of introspection and turning inwards. This phase allots us the space to reflect on each concept before exploring the next. I hope you’ll join me.

Until next time, Wildlings.

-Charlie Wilson, WildMan in Training

Animism — a belief system that perceives all things (animals, plants, rocks, rivers, weather systems, human creations, words, etc) as animated, or alive. Natural things and phenomena have a life force al their own. There are many names for this life force energy: the Maori of New Zealand call it mauri, Hawaiians call it mana, and Chinese culture calls it qi or chi to name a few.

City of Eternal Slumber — the regular autopilot, you’re just stepping into the roles society has prepared for you lifestyle. You’re trying as best I can to get happiness and meaning out of a very limited context for my life. Maybe not being conscious of it, but having a lot of your decisions run by fear. It’s a slumber that’s governed by addictive patterns.

Colonization or Colonialism — can be defined as some form of invasion, dispossession and subjugation of a peoples using racism to rationalize oppression. The invasion need not be military; it can begin — or continue- as geographical intrusion in the form of agricultural, urban or industrial encroachments resulting in widespread genocide, cultural assimilation, and destruction of the original peoples way of life.

Dominant paradigm — the values, or system of thought, most widely used and held by society. We currently live in a patriarchal system of capitalism, consumerism, and materialism.

Emerging paradigm — a new and ancient system of thought; rooted in animism, interbeing, and egalitarian in nature. A system that respects all life and does not divide the world into ‘resources.’

Entelechy — originally developed by Aristotle, can be translated as “being at an end.” It is the highest goal and potential of perfection inherent to every living being. A caterpillar’s entelechy is to become the butterfly.

Interbeing — an alternative worldview by Thich Nhat Hanh. Self and universe mirror each other; whatever happens to any being is also happening in some corner of ourselves. Every act we take ripples out to affect the whole world, and eventually comes back to affect ourselves.

The Matrix — a cultural, social, or political environment in which something develops; a surrounding medium or structure. A system in which something, or someone, is shaped or controlled. Also, it’s a great movie.

Morphogenic Fields — fields of thought created by everything in existence; it is the input and output of creation. With every thought and action (or non-action) every individual strengthens one of those fields of thought that exist or with the focus of enough minds, creates a new one. Global fear, judgment, love, war and peace are also Morphogenic fields in existence.

Morphic Resonance — a change that happens in one place generates a field of change that causes similar changes to happen everywhere. On a micro scale, imagine a city riot and people being inexplicably swept up by the energy of the crowd, or a flock of birds moving in unison.

Mythos — an ancient Greek word referring to a story, or set of stories, which have a significant meaning to a culture, society, or person. The Ancient Greeks had two ways of viewing and thinking of the world, mythos and logos, story and fact.

Mythological — the term mytho-logical suggests that myth has its own logic and power. If the power of logos is reason, the power of myth is imagination and it is usually imagination that is missing when the facts don’t add up.

Patriarchy — a social system in which males hold primary power and predominate in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege above women and children, and control of property. The patriarchy views the earth and animals as inanimate, divisible resources. Historically, patriarchy has manifested itself in the social, legal, political, religious and economic organization of a range of different cultures.

ReWilding — Is bringing back wild qualities where they have been otherwise forgotten, it is a movement into back into our authentic states of wildness and the connection to the land that cradles us. ReWilding strips away the pull towards dogma, gurus, and being a ‘good boy’. To empower our wild souls we must know the full spectrum of ourselves, our land, and the unseen.

The Sacred Matrix — a universal pattern organizing structures, laws, and movements of life on all levels of existence. The Sacred Matrix is the cosmic pattern, the Morphogenic field of the universe, which forms the basis of organization of life.

Story of separation — a narrative that holds us separate from the world and each other. While we are currently writing a replacement story of unification, we all still carry the same wounds the separation myth has left behind. The story of separation tells us we are all independent individuals in an economic model of growth. In this reality it is money that gives us value, and we don’t need anybody else because we can to buy what we need.

Toxic Masculinity — a social science term describing negative socially constructed attitudes towards the male gender role. It’s how a patriarchal society is harmful to men by denying “unmasculine” traits and rewarding anger, violence and destructive behavior.

Wild — That of which we emerged from and that of which we will return. To connecting with the land, all it’s creatures, and the ancestors. To be wild is to be interwoven into the greater wilderness, into one’s senses, one’s body and to carry the wisdom of the earth.

Xenophobia — a fear or hatred of foreigners, customs, dress, people from different cultures, or strangers.

ReWilding: the Untamed Masculine — Animal Farm

What does it mean to be civilized?

I will start by acknowledging the land that I am currently residing on while writing this article. I acknowledge that I am on the traditional unceded territory of the Songhees, W’Sanec, and Esquimalt nations. To acknowledge the land is indigenous protocol and an expression of honour, gratitude, and appreciation to the original peoples who have been living and walking on this land since time immemorial.

I’m a firm believer that this journey to Wildness is non-linear in it’s nature; however, there are a few concepts that need illumination to truly move forward. Understanding the story we are currently living in allows us to begin reclaiming our minds from the cultural whitewash of the dominant paradigm. These concepts are foundational for ReWilding and are not restricted to any specific gender.

If you’re like I was, and still am, you’re more or less living the outwardly routine life of the dominant paradigm. Everything is on normal autopilot; you’re trying — and likely failing at being everything society wants you to be. How could anyone live up to these standards? You live a relatively solitary life, having a few friends you socialize with, maybe you have a partner, but most of your time is devoted to a job that doesn’t fulfill you. You’re doing your best to find happiness and meaning, you’re perpetually trying to “get ahead,” but really it feels like quiet desperation. You might even feel like a captive, but you can’t explain why you have that impression.

Welcome to the story of domestication.

Domestication: Verb; to tame (an animal), especially by generations of breeding, to live in close association with human beings as a pet or work animal and usually creating a dependency so that the animal loses its ability to live in the wild.

Chapter One — Animal Farm

“Why are you chained? “ The Wolf asks the Dog. “That is how it is” The Dog answers. “Well” Says the Wolf “I still perfer to be free” — Chechen Proverb — illustration by Fredga

What arises in you when I use the word Wild? So rich and tantalizing, the very word evokes a whole range of emotions and thoughts in me. I feel it deep in my chest, as though my lungs were inflating with the breath of sovereignty.

Wild; adj. — living in a state of nature, not tamed or domesticated.

But I am both invigorated and frightened at the same time by uttering those four letters, W-I-L-D. With it’s utterance comes haunting memories of a sordid past:

“last night was wild, I had way too much to drink.”

To be Wild is one of our culture’s main social forbiddance and we are taught this early on. As a child being wild is bad, and being docile is good. Many of our definitions for Wild expose the paradigms underlying viewpoint:

Wild; adjective.

  • Uncivilized or barbarous.
  • Of unrestrained violence, fury, intensity.
  • Characterized by or indicating violent feelings or excitement, as actions or a person’s appearance.
  • Frantic or distracted; crazy.
  • Undisciplined, unruly, or lawless.
  • Disregardful of moral restraints for pleasurable indulgence
  • Unrestrained by reason or prudence.

The taboo against Wildness is rooted deep in our collective unconscious. Wildness seems to be at odds with civilization’s perceived destiny for man and to return to Wildness is unthinkable. We have evolved. We are no longer “primitive savages”. One of the justifications for colonialism was rescuing the destitute savages in those “uninhabited” wild lands from their own wildness. They needed to be civilized.

<scoff> How very philanthropic </scoff>

Civilize; verb — to bring out of a savage, uneducated, or rude state; make civil; elevate in social and private life; enlighten; refine.

Wild peoples around the world were expelled from their lands, divorced from their cultural heritage, and civilized. With civilization comes an entirely new modality and belief system which indigenous peoples were forced to ascribe to. This system no longer permitted an animist view of the world, or to see oneself as a part of the web of life.

No homo? Yes, homo.

The paradigm that we are currently living in is a monotheistic, and agriculturally based one, Mainly stemming from the abrahamic creation myth that is held in common by the Jewish, Christians, and Muslims. While most people have moved away from the fervent belief of the Genesis creation myth (The Garden of Eden), it is still one of the underlying factors that shaped our world’s culture. Since it was believed that we were created in the image of god one of the fundamentals of this myth remains to this day, manifesting with the resistance to acknowledging ourselves as animals.

Yes we are humans, but we are also animals. We are closely related to the great apes yet on a mass scale we don’t consider ourselves, for the most part, to be animals. In fact we commonly use “animal” terms as insults to belittle other humans. Part of the story of separation is our being on this earth, without being a part of it. Superior. Even to the very land it’s self.

We are known scientifically as Homo Sapiens (wise man), with our genus Homo, meaning human or man. As the last extant member of the branch Homo, our closest relatives still alive are the chimpanzees and the bonobo apes of whom we branched off from 6 million years ago.

Generally our “History” is thought of as beginning 6000 years ago with the advent of civilization and writing, as though everything before it were of no consequence. During “pre-History” we were simpleminded, starving, wild savages, roaming the countryside in rotting skins trying not to get eaten by cave bears. But that’s like saying everything prior to the Internet is irrelevant because it was “pre-Internet.”

What is the strange black cube? A relic from the primitive pre internet days.

In actuality, our genus of Homo has a rich history dating back at least 3 million years with the arrival of Homo habilis. Homo erectus was next in line, followed by Homo neanderthalensis, and finally our species of homo sapien emerged roughly 315,000 years ago. 100,000 years ago there were as many as SIX species of wild Human on this planet.

Even if you can’t agree with those dates, you can agree with the fact that our ancestors were wild hunter-gatherers. That began to change with the onset of agriculture and the start of the Neolithic revolution 12,000 years ago in the “fertile crescent.” Our civilized “history” makes up a very tiny fraction of our story less than 5%.

Yes you read that right, Less than 5%.

Genetically there is little to no difference between myself, of northwestern European descent and a hunter-gatherer living today deep in the Amazon. The only difference is our life way.

Man’s Best Friend

By examining the connection between wild gray wolves and dogs you can find the same genetic relationship as we have with those HG tribes. Man’s best friend and gray wolves have the same genus, are descended from one species, and today the domestic dog only has minute genetic differences to Gray Wolves. Scientifically, gray wolves are referred to as Canis (dog) Lupus (wolf), while dogs have a subtle variation being known as Canis lupus familiaris (domestic dog). This trinomial variation lets us know that the dog is a subspecies of the gray wolf.

“Canis Lupus” in Latin, “Awooooo!” in Wolf

Even though they morphologically appear remarkably different, scientifically speaking a Pug is a grey wolf. It’s easiest to view domestication in dogs as a spectrum. On one end you can find some which still appear close in appearance and temperament as their wild progenitors, like Musky, Malamute, or Akita. While on the other side you find dogs like the Pug, Chihuahua or Jack Russell. Some of these dogs have the ability to survive as feral animals, but mostly they would be unable to survive the conditions of the wild.

Here are a few of the obvious morphological differences between dogs and grey wolves:

  • Chronic Degenerative disease
  • Changes in natural diet
  • Gracilization (reduction of bone mass)
  • Neoteny (retention of juvenile features)
  • Altered temperament
  • Inability to live on natural landscapes
  • Crowding of teeth and dental arch

This list could easily be applied to the differences between us moderns and our pre-agricultural ancestors.

Degenerative disease is abundant in western society and a large percentage of people I knew growing up required braces to fix crowded mouths. Prolonged youthful features are common in adults, while also being culturally encouraged. And I think it’s safe to say no one knows anymore what we’re supposed to be eating. With the introduction of wheat as a staple of our diet our skeletal systems shrunk significantly, making childbirth more painful, and reducing our brain size from 1500cc to 1350cc.

Perhaps we are no longer Homo sapiens but instead, as Daniel Vitalis and Arthur Haines put forth, should be classified as a subspecies “Homo sapien domesticofragilis”, the domesticated fragile wise man. It’s easy to understand a dog as a subspecies of a grey wolf, but the cultural conditioning we’ve been indoctrinated in causes the mind to balk at such a possibility for humans.

But just as we tamed dogs, the civilization we created tamed us.

Tame; adj. — changed from the wild or savage state; domesticated.

It’s important to point out that domestication is a sliding scale for humans as well. On one end you can see a heightened neoteny and gracilization in those who have a long history of agriculture: Mesopotamia, Mesoamerica, and European descent to name a few. And at the other side you find those whose ancestral life ways have only recently been extinguished by the unrelenting march of colonialism: indigenous North Americans, Australian aborigines, and Africans, etc.

The Matrix

But we are all captives of a system that, more or less, compels us to go on destroying the world in order to live. We are wage slaves in a society designed to extract sovereignty from individuals. A mono-crop of humans living in unnaturally dense cityscapes; a large-scale human factory farm with the goal of producing, not meat nor food as the product, but rather labour, the products of labour, and tax revenue

“We’re moving on up!”

Alternatively, you could view our sprawling urban centres as human rat cages. A rat needs basic amenities in order to survive; food, fresh water, maybe a wheel, toys or some wood chips if it’s lucky. The goal is to give it enough so it doesn’t focus on its imprisonment. Much the same as we’re given the basics to survive; grocery stores and restaurants, fitness centres, entertainment, and green spaces. Our modern existence is driving up the rates of mental illness with 50% of all sick days in Canada attributed to mental health. We’re trapped in a looping downward spiral of addiction, clearly demonstrated in this Rat Park study by Dr. Bruce Alexander.

This didn’t happen overnight; it’s grown over the past 10,000 years to become our dominant story. Kind of like some kind of evil overlord in a disney film. Slowly growing from sapling to towering giant as the years sped by and civilization expanded. Its canopy is broad, expansive, encompassing and the roots go deep, down to our very core. This story, life as we know it today, is the result of the patriarchal paradigm and the colonizers that spread it like Johnny Appleseed across the globe.

The Dominant Paradigm — pretty much like Hexxus from Fern Gully except not nearly as sexy.

Patriarchy. Now there’s a charged word.

Prior to the Neolithic revolution hunter-gatherers had largely lived as egalitarian, meaning all were seen as equal and sovereign. They lived off the land in nomadic, or semi-nomadic annual patterns except in extremely nutrient dense parts of the world like North America’s Pacific northwest. A typical group was usually 50–150 persons in size, and they were also a part of larger language groups in their area. Without romanticizing it too much, life was pretty good.

With the emergence of agriculture and humans shifting to a sedentary, civilized life, a new system of domestic rule emerged. This was the beginning of a hierarchal class system that birthed the ruling class, priesthood, and working class. Over the next few millennia our ancestors shifted from hunter-gatherers to the village life, from the village life to the city life, where we finally end up with city-states by the start of “history.”

Our ancestors now lived in permanent residences; they became domestic and this lifestyle shift presented challenges. With so many people remaining in one location we could no longer hunt or forage wild food without quickly stripping the countryside bare. To do this we to became domestic and began farming. But what we really needed was a system for large-scale human herd management.

Domestic; adj. — relating to the running of a home or to family relations.


“What is the most resilient parasite? Bacteria? A virus? An intestinal worm? An idea: resilient, highly contagious. Once an idea has taken hold of the brain it’s almost impossible to eradicate. An idea that is fully formed — fully understood — that sticks; right in there somewhere.”

“An idea: resilient, highly contagious. “ — inception

The belief of the modern world is that new ideas will save us, or lead us to where we need to go. Yet what is often missing are old or ancient ideas that have persisted over time, and therefore might educate us on how we can make tangible changes. Genesis may not be the literal tale of the creation of the earth, but it is the story of how our ancestors shifted from hunter-gatherers to farmers and the birth of the patriarchy. This story forms our underlying paradigm.

I’m going to assume that most of you have a basic understanding of the story of the first man and woman, Adam and Eve.

God created the garden and told the man

“of every tree of the garden, thou mayest freely eat,”

and it was recorded that “the man and the woman were both naked, and they were not ashamed.” But then they ate the Apple, and their not so benevolent God had some punishments and consequences for them.

God said to Eve,

“thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.”

Prior to this it’s the man and the woman. They’re egalitarian and he doesn’t rule over her. This is a shift to the patriarchy and it’s going to be a punishment. No longer can they eat freely as hunter-gatherers, instead he has to become a farmer and toil in the cursed fields, and she has to be ruled over or managed.

While it may appear small, the shift in language from man to husband is significant. In old English, the word “man” represents both male-bodied and female-bodied. This is the same way that today we say mankind, or human. The word for man was wer and the word for woman was wif. Wer still survives today in the word werewolf (man-wolf), while wif survives today in the word wife.

In the marriage ritual when we say, “do you take this woman to be your wife?” What you’re really being asked is, “do you take this woman to be your (wif) woman?” But in the other half of the exchange it’s not, “do you take this man to be your (wer) man?” Instead it’s, “do you take this man to be your husband?”

Husband refers to a male partner in a marriage, but it’s also a “frugal manager.” e.g. to husband the household.

Husbandry, noun

  • The care of a household (domestic)
  • The control or judicious use of resources (economics)
  • The scientific control and management of a branch of farming and especially of domestic animals (agriculture)

Patriarchy, economics, and agriculture are the pillars of our civilization held under this umbrella term of husbandry. When a man takes a woman to be his wife, he takes her as a woman. When a woman takes a man to be her husband, she’s taking the man to be her farmer.

This isn’t contained to English alone. In Hebrew, the word for husband is Baal. Baal has other meanings as well such as master, lord, and owner.

“Do you take this man to be your owner?”

A caveat — please understand that this is not in anyway an attack on the institution of marriage, or claiming that every “husband” owns his wife. I simply endeavour to cast a light on the language that has unbeknownst to us shaped our ways of showing up. Women at their fiery core are not weak; they are more and more stepping into their power and we as men need to meet it, not subjugate it. Wif and Wer.

Fox Woman Dreaming

Imagine for a moment an experiment that has been taking place in Russia for years studying domestication with wild silver foxes. When the pups are born, they separated out the ones that were aggressive towards humans from the ones that were comfortable. There are now two kennels with two lineages. The docile pups were rewarded and by continued selection of the more submissive animals they now have a subspecies of domesticated silver foxes available as pets.

Now imagine that for 6000 years men have been husbanding, or farming women and those who were more submissive in this system were rewarded. While those women who were not have been stoned to death, burned at the stake, called witches. Look at what happens to the not so well behaved women of the world. Eating the apple was the woman’s fault and culturally this idea hasn’t been let go of. This violence against women is still taking place today in all parts of the world.

Well-behaved women seldom make history”

This is not about blaming men, or male-bodied, but we do, and have always had a lot more privilege. We’re all suffering under this paradigm. This was Adam’s punishment as well.

“In the sweat of thy face, thou shalt eat bread, until thou return unto the ground.” — God (with a capital “G”!)

Historically, men have been used to provide labour, the products of labour, and tax revenue. There is a miasma of toxic masculinity keeping us oppressed and unable to step out from under the yoke of domestication. Most of us would love to be free of this matrix as well. But freedom is deeply confusing to those who have been domesticated. The fence gates are open yes, but where do we go from here?

Our story of domestication is the story of husbandry dominating humans, plants, the landscape, and all animals. Everything is turned in to a resource. The husbandry model sees itself as the master of all life and it extends in to every aspect, and across other races. The dominant paradigm is inherently flawed because it’s a system based on slavery.

As our cities have grown larger, the individual has become more and more isolated. We’ve gone from large language groups down to the village, to the neighbourhood, extended families, and now nuclear families. That’s one man and one woman in a small space raising children in isolation. Humans require 50–150 social connections and it’s expected that just one person can fulfill all those needs, and if you’re a dude you get to own her.

This husbandry model must be replaced because this model is leading to the absolute destruction of all of life. It can no longer be “His-story” and instead needs to become “Our-story.” We need to learn to be egalitarian and Wild again.

Slave morality values things like: kindness, humility, and sympathy. While Master morality values: pride, strength, and nobility above all

To thrive we need to decolonize our minds and to do that we need to know how the system works. Start paying attention to the patriarchy, husbandry and agricultural model, and where you’ve bought in to it. Most of us have done so in one way or the other, but the ReWilded mind strives to see through the cultural conditioning and back to the egalitarian animist roots of our species.

Join me on next new moon as we explore decolonization.

Until next time, Wildlings.

-Charlie Wilson, Wildman in Training

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