For Father’s day I will expound on Jung’s archetypes, specifically the father archetype and the collective unconscious. I have hesitated to write on a subject for which I think I know little and Jung’s theories are just such a topic. However, it is a topic that I felt drawn to when I first learned of Jungian psychology at Alverno College in 1988. My reason for delving into such abstract theoretical concepts is because Father’s Day stimulated my thinking about the father archetype and also I made a resolve with myself to delve deeper into my inner landscape with my blog, to write about thoughts and feelings that I shied away from because I thought I was too insignificant to voice them or I was too afraid I was wrong or didn’t have it right. Putting those fears aside, here is what I think I know with regard to Jung’s theories.
Jung based his thought on the concept of the collective unconscious. The collective unconscious is where all the myths, legends, images, patterns of psychic life, patterns of relating, patterns of the internal world of the human unconsciousness lie. It is the connecting thread underlying all humanity which we automatically inherit. It is primordial and I believe it is spiritual. It is an internal world rich in symbolism, abstract ideas and concepts which can be found in the archetypes.
Archetypes are the stuff the collective unconscious is made of. They are like templates of an idea or form from which like energies are attracted. In the case of the father archetype, all the energies, thoughts, feelings, actions that an individual experiences of the concept of a father are attracted to the father archetype. The basic form of the father archetype is of protector, provider, disciplinarian and authority. Carolyn Myss describes the light attributes of the father archetype as having the talent for creating and supporting life and being a positive guiding light within a tribal unit while the shadow of the father archetype is a dictatorial control and abusing of power. All the personal experiences one has with regard to the father archetype gravitate to that archetype and reside there in the personal unconscious consequently adding to the collective unconscious.
My experience with the father archetype through my relationships with my biological father and two step-fathers was abandonment and abuse of authoritarian power. I feel these earlier experiences led me to abandon and abuse myself. My lesson, as I see it, was to heal my past experiences or make conscious my archetypical pattern ultimately transforming this archetype in my life. After a few failed relationships where I repeated my archetypal pattern of abandonment and misuse of power, I made a conscious decision to find a relationship that was more benevolent.
My husband Mike was already a father who was supporting and protecting his own children when he married me and took on the responsibility of my three sons. Through the years Mike’s role of father has evolved and changed and he has shown me a distinctly opposing experience to those I had while growing up. He is a stalwart provider, generous with a strong sense of justice and right and wrong. He has a loving heart and a soft mushy inner core. He would do whatever it takes to protect his family. Due to Mike and his influence in our family he has balanced my shadow father archetype with the light attributes. Balancing and bringing awareness to the unconscious patterns of the father archetype that influenced my life has brought much-needed peace and a sense of support and security.
Any thoughts? How has the father archetype shown up in your life?
Help with discovering your inner father archetype.
Matrignosis, a fascinating blog I follow that deals with Jungian Psychology
A place to go for Carl Jung’s ideas and concepts.
A bloggers post on balancing your archetypes.
Exploring and balancing archetypes.