My guest today is Stephen Jenkinson, a culture activist, teacher and author, and principle instructor of The Orphan Wisdom School, co-founded with his wife Nathalie Roy. He has Master’s degrees from Harvard University (Theology) and the University of Toronto (Social Work).
Stephen’s most recent books are the award-winning Die Wise: A Manifesto for Sanity and Soul (2015), and Come of Age: The Case for Elderhood in a Time of Trouble (2018).
I first encountered Stephen back in 2012, when a friend invited me to a summer teaching that was close to my home in Vancouver. That first morning, he gathered us at first light and told a story about the sun, rising. I was never to be the same again.
That meeting has altered my life completely. That winter, I joined the Orphan Wisdom School on his farm in Ontario, and have returned to many gatherings and teachings over the years. I have also produced numerous short films on Stephen’s work, including The Meaning of Death, the Making of Humans, and Lost Nation Road (2019).
If you’ve listened to this podcast for some time, you know that I usually quote Stephen at least once an episode. And this interview has been a long time coming – largely because I wished to record it in person, and not over Zoom.
I finally had that opportunity last September when I travelled to Ontario on a whirlwind trip to the farm. If you’d like to hear more of that story, I’ve shared an additional recording which is available to my Patreon supporters.
For now, I’m very pleased to share our conversation, where we explore personal and profound territory, including: the lost origins of the mythopoetic men’s movement, the times Stephen met Robert Bly and James Hillman, the deep etymology of the word ‘patriarchy’, and the mythic understanding that a culture needs its fathering, as much as it needs its fathers.
And so, enjoy my conversation with Stephen Jenkinson.