In searching through my recent archives for a photo to fit today’s post, I was torn between phallic symbols and photos of various men I have met along the way here in Changzhou, China. Then, I spotted this photo which I took while at the YanCheng Safari Park.
This photo reeks of male power. And, that is what I want in order to portray the archetypal energies of the father image. As I look at the photo a host of other images flash through my mind. I think of the vestments of authority of church leaders, I think of the accoutrements of authority that magnates of industry and business surround their presence so that all know that they are the “top dog” or the “biggest fish” in their pond. The sense of power that says, “Yes, I can protect you – but, I can also destroy you if you piss me off!”
The power is real. Yes, protection is possible, even probable for those that acquiesce, those that accept the “ordained by God” authority. Yes, one’s destruction is also possible. Such power is strongest when the holder is only conscious enough to wield the power, but not conscious enough to contain the power. The boundaries between the archetypal energies and the personal energies are very thin. Being able to draw on the archetypal energies allows the power to radiate and draw so many into the brilliant light of that energy, like a candle flame that attracts moths.
There is a problem with so much archetypal energy being drawn upon, the host is consumed as are all those who get pulled into the orbit around that flame. History has too many examples of this “archetype in action.”
“. . . the father imago is, as all archetypal energies, double edged. It empowers and/or castrates; it authorizes and/or tyrannizes; it protects and/or crushes. Whenever we are dealing with issues of personal authority, whenever we are serving the imago Dei or questioning its relevance to our actual life, we are dealing with the father archetype in all its many forms. Whenever we seek the protection or destruction of another; whenever we impose our authority on another; when we pass on a message of empowerment or disempowerment, we are fathering, regardless of our gender or conscious intention.” (Hollis, Mythologems, p. 48)
One thing I want to note here, the father imago is only one half of the full face of God. The second half is the mother imago. Think of the symbol yin-yang which is a completeness in which masculine and feminine are forever joined, circling each other in full balance. This is the fullness of what can only be called God or the ONE, the whole or holiness. All that is (consciousness) and all that isn’t (unconscious) as far as a human can understand and know.