The impact of a real father or father figure, or the lack thereof, on our psyche is enormous. It may empower or disable us. Our fathers (or father figures) are our first introduction into the world of the masculine, shaping our perceptions of the wider world as we venture from the relative safety of the maternal circle. Our relationships with our fathers shape our views of the feminine, and how we respond to the feminine world, whether we value or dismiss it. This may play out in our relationships with woman, whether in intimate relationships, friendships, social situations or work environments. The relationship we witnessed between our father and mother becomes a blueprint for future relationships.
Our own relationship with our father figures repeats in many other relationships, especially in the form of a father complex, whether negative or positive. The complex is based on the specific conditioning or programming we received as children though the real interactions with a father figure. This may compel us to search for father figures all our life, sometimes ruthlessly competing for their attention.
Underlying our relationships with the father lies the father archetype. A pattern with numerous potentialities as reflected in the many fathers from history, mythology, fairytales and observed in the world around us. The devouring father who shallows his children such as Kronos from Greek mythology. The Greek goddess, Athena who was born from the head of her father after he shallowed her mother. The father that cuts off his daughter’s hands or banishes his lame son to the underworld.
The relationship with the father, whether personal or collective, impacts profoundly on one’s sense of self.
Written for #@jungsouthernafrica
Image credit: Shante Young
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