An interview with Cliff Barry
Cliff Barry Knows Shadow
There's a difference between men and women. And
our bodies are not the same either, according to
Barry - the modern guru of "shadow work" in the
men's movement - said he believes men and women are
different emotionally. And we're wounded in
different ways, too.
"Every man has a little voice on his shoulder
that tells him he's bad," Barry said, referencing
an idea from Robert Bly. "Every woman has a little
voice that says she's not as good as the
There are two basic models that help create a
"safe container" for people to do their emotional
work, he said.
"In one, a leader energetically steps into the
center and provides positive direction and everyone
decides if they're going to follow. This is the
'Warrior' and 'Sovereign' energy."
The other approach is more the product of the
"Lover" and "Magician."
"This is the 'if you build it they will come'
philosophy," Barry said. "The facilitator works
indirectly to make the container safe in such a way
that something [shadow] can appear that
ordinarily wouldn't." (The term "shadow" was coined
by the great C.G. Jung.)
Formerly a minister, Barry studied the science
of symbols and sacred mythology for twelve years.
With over fifteen years facilitation experience, he
has led workshops across the United States and
Canada as well as influence many protocols within
The ManKind Project.
Cliff Barry has the unique heritage of having
been born and reared in a Swedenborg community in
"I had the same nine classmates for nine years
straight," he recalled. "It was an incredibly
stable environment that had a profound effect on
Emannuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) was a noted
Swedish scientist, philosopher and
"While they [Swedenborg followers] are
Christian, they read the Bible exactly the way
Robert Bly reads the Iron John myth," Barry
continued. "They taught me to read scripture, and
life, and people as speaking myth in which there
was a deeper meaning."
Barry said most of Christianity and western
culture define life in terms of the dualism of
"good people" and "evil people." A child must then
deal with the possibility that he is one of the
"evil" ones, he noted. The natural result is that
many "believers" are encouraged to shun a
substantial portion of who they are and project the
painful shaming onto others.
"Your scar is your star," Barry intoned,
hopefully, quoting one of his clients. "There's
gold to be had in our shadows."
Barry and his partners Mary Ellen Blandford and
Susan DeGenring focus their Jungian based workshops
on the four basic archetypes: Lover, Warrior,
Magician, King (Sovereign).
The archetypes essentially are a spiritual
representation of the true nature of God (or Gods),
"When I first saw this work I realized in an
instant that men were being reborn spiritually, not
completely, but substantially."
John Miller, a leader in the ManKind Project,
has participated in two of Barry's workshops.
"I learned techniques to help facilitate
emotional work into very deep places," Miller
acknowledged. "I appreciate Cliff Barry's ability
to distill this information in a simple and
Something must be working right as 29
facilitators schooled in this process are
continuing the good work around the world.
With a nod to Robert Moore, Doug Gillette and
Ron Hering, Barry gratefully acknowledges those who
have helped create his method of dealing with men's
"This four-quarter approach is known for the
safety and freedom it provides to those who choose
to grow by facing and processing their shadows," he
Contact Cliff Barry, Shadow Work® Coaching,
7215 W County Rd. 24, Loveland, CO 80538,
888.406.0703 or 970.203.0400 or email@example.com
© 2005 Reid Baer
* * *
The fame you earn has a different taste from the
fame that is forced upon you. - Gloria
Reid Baer, an
award-winning playwright for A Lyons
Tale is also a newspaper journalist, a poet
with more than 100 poems in magazines world wide,
and a novelist with his first book released this
month entitled Kill
The Story. Baer has been
a member of The ManKind Project since 1995 and
currently edits The New Warrior Journal for
The ManKind Project www.mkp.org
He resides in Reidsville, N.C. with his wife
Patricia. He can be reached at E-Mail.
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