Robert Bly died on November 21, 2021. Robert Bly wrote the book “Iron John” a book of nonfiction that explored how fairy tales can provide lessons for men. The book spent 62 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and inspired men to seek the ritual, connection, and a deeper emotional life.
About seven years ago I was introduced to Iron John written by Robert Bly. It was during a time in my life when my world was changing quite a bit. I was getting divorced and not experiencing the best side of my was-band those days and at the same time putting together my book Soul Growing: Wisdom for 13 year old boys from men around the world. I was struck by the generosity of the men who contributed to the book.
This book changed the way that I see the masculine internally and externally. It changed the way I see initiation, it changed the way I see grief, courage and therefore love. When he said that anger is personal and rage is archetypal, I started to see anger as unfelt personal grief and rage as unfelt communal grief. It also helped me to see courage (heart+rage) also as communal.
Since I read Iron John I have given this book to at least 20+ people. Every time I find one in the half priced bookstore I buy it and wait to see who I am to give this one to, I even gave one to the electrician that came to fix my electrical plugs once. He saw my bookshelf and asked what book I would recommend for him and I gave him a copy of Iron John. I think everyone should read this book.
I never met Robert Bly but I do know people who knew him and loved him. I got to know bits of him from and through them.
I guess I’m writing this because I want to let you know Robert that I will miss knowing that you are on this planet with us. That your death didn’t go unnoticed by me. That I pray you are carried safely to the land of the ancestors and that I am sending you 13 thank yous.