Hammering Hot Iron

A Spiritual Critique of Bly's Iron John

Charles Upton

Hillsdale, NY: Sophia Perennis, 2005.
264 pages
ISBN: 1-59731-043-3
Price: $18.76 US
Buy now on Amazon.com

The Men’s Movement has come, and for the most part gone. While it was here, it gave us an opportunity to learn something about the Warrior Spirit—not in the context of militarism, or economic acquisitiveness, or the martial arts subculture, or gang warfare, but as part of the Spiritual Path. Hammering Hot Iron grew out of an effort on the part of some American men to regain—after decades of delving, via drugs, nature-worship and depth psychology, into the universe of Yin—the lore of the kshatriya. It is a rare work that raises important questions, draws vital distinctions, and elevates discourse also within the spiritual community on Jungian psychology, archetypal and mythological studies, and polytheistic religions. Drawing on the perennial philosophy, the universal expression of absolute truth, it offers a metaphysical and cultural critique of Robert Bly’s Iron John. Author Charles Upton adopts Bly’s shadow in the Jungian sense. His intellectual argument is masterfully intertwined with his own personal and spiritual journey, often expressed through original poetry. Read it, and see what he came up with.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Kabir Helminski—Acknowledgments—Introduction—The Rejection of Transcendence—The Four Living Creatures—The Wisdom of Serpents—The Once and Future King—The Princess and the Mermaid—Love and War
Pearls before Swine—Joining and Rending—What Then?—Epilogue


Charles Upton provides a long-overdue masterful critique of the Men's Movement, its popularizing heroes, and the archetypal psychology on which it is based. In this marvelously iconoclastic book, Upton articulates the feelings and thoughts of those who have left the movement or are wondering why they are still part of it. He does so with eloquence, wit, and not least, wisdom.
Georg Feuerstein, Ph.D., author of Voices on the Threshold of Tomorrow and Structures of Consciousness

Upton's insights have exposed the shallow philosophical thinking associated with the Men's Movement, the inadequacy of polytheism as a religious faith, and the bias against Christianity. Hammering Hot Iron does a splended job of critiquing Jungian writers and in showing there is more to God than the archetype of God in the psyche. Thank you for your excellent work in setting the record straight!
John A. Sanford, Jungian analyst

About the Author

Charles Upton, poet, author, activist, and veteran of the counter-culture, developed an interest in metaphysics 'via mythopoeia' and, having survived the social upheavals of the Sixties, and the psychic allures of New Age occultism, awakened at the end of the Eighties to the esoteric teachings of the traditionalists, eventually becoming initiated into Sufism. His critique of New Age occultism and modernism is his best-known work and is published under the title, The System of Antichrist: Truth and Falsehood in Postmodernism and the New Age (2001). Sophia Perennis has published many other books by Charles Upton. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, in Lexington, Kentucky.