“The mothers put us into life; the fathers put us into the world”.
This article is about Fathers! In our psyche, we carry an image of Father. Most of the time, this image is based upon the experience we had with our birth father. However, our psyche also holds images of Father that are informed by the archetype of Father. We can find these images of Father in the old stories: the myths and fairytales. The Father image seems to be universal; it exists in many different cultures worldwide.
If we like it or not – this image of Father – influences us more than we realise or wish. It determines our access to masculine energy.
If you want to know more about Systemic Ritual, then come and meet me in these ONLINE workshops. You will EXPERIENCE the work. Next workshops are about FATHERS:
Saturday, June 11 – 16.00 – 18.00 – Amsterdam time
Monday, June 13 – 19.30 – 21.30 – Amsterdam time
Saturday, June 18 – 16.00 – 18.00 – Amsterdam time
Without healthy, proper access to this masculine energy, we will miss some essential qualities. These are, among others:
- Being capable of taking decisions
- Taking responsibilities
- Setting goals and focusing
- Setting boundaries
- Logical and rational thinking
This article will explore the archetype Father and the roles connected to that archetype. You will also learn about some basic dynamics found in the practice of Family Constellations and how Systemic Ritual can help to heal the wounds of a rejected father.
“If mom is the gateway to life, dad is the portal to the world.”
– Marina Toledo
The primary roles of the Father
In almost every studied culture, fathers have assumed three primary roles: the protector, the provider, and the disciplinarian. Of course, nowadays, in many families, mothers fulfil these three roles as much as fathers. Mothers protect their children and provide for their families by working outside the home and teaching their children as well. Maybe it is better to speak about the yin and yang aspects of parenting or the masculine and feminine qualities needed to raise and nourish children.
The Father protects the family from all danger that can come from outside. He takes care of a safe home for the family. He wants to protect the family from bad things that can happen. But if a bad thing may happen, he is the one that teaches the children to cope with ‘possible dangers’, such as how to cope with strangers, accidents, bullies, and falls.
The protector also observes the social environment of the children – their friends and peers, the club, the school, and the neighbourhood. The Father as protector tries to eliminate possible dangers in the social environment of his children.
In many cultures, one of the Father’s primary roles is also that of a provider: taking care of all money/materials needed to provide his family with food, clothes, a roof above the head, etc.
Guide or educator
Fathers prepare the child for the future. They want their child to succeed, to see what’s on the horizon, and to aspire to bigger and better things. So, Fathers need to teach their children how to handle their impulses, stay calm under stress, and deal with situations where they don’t endanger themselves or others.
The old stories
In myths and fairytales, the roles of Fathers are well described.
The positive aspect of the Father principle suggests law, order, justice, flexible discipline, rationality, understanding, inspiration and authority in the service of protection. All are expressed in images of benevolent and helpful kings, firefighters, healers and guides.
The positive Father is an image of the mature masculine, manifesting caring, guidance and protection without infringing on the autonomy of those under his care.
The shadow Father emerges when the caring, guidance and protection turn into abuse of authority. The negative Father archetype involves rigidity, control and a cold intellectual way of relating.
Lessons learned from Family Constellations
Our father is the first contact with masculine energy. In order to be able to take our place in the world, we need to take our father.
When we reject our father, we also reject a part of ourselves. We won’t feel that we will have a right for love, success or fulfilment in life, etc.). So we will feel an inner void that we will try to fill with things from outside.
Bert Hellinger observed, through many constellations over the years, that many addictions (alcohol, gambling, sex, food, drugs, etc.) are linked to a missing father. It is as if the addict is attempting to fill the void from his father through the addiction.
“Addictions have Father’s face.”
Another symptom of the lack of a father’s power may be expressed by looking for him in religion, spirituality, teachers, leaders, masters and gurus. By that, an adult tries to fulfil the need to be guided and protected. But unfortunately, this will blur their thinking and ability to perceive and the intuition – leading to wrong choices.
Loyalty to the mother
When we are born, we see this world through the eyes of the most important person for us, our mother. As a consequence, when we grow up, but remain in the same state, we will also see our fathers through “her eyes”.
If a mother is not happy about her relationship, if she rejects her husband, and her children see things through “her eyes”, they also tend to reject the father.
For a boy, this will result in an incapability to relate to a woman and build his family. He does not have access to masculine energy. He does not know how to be independent.
For a girl, this will result in the fact that she will see in men the same problems her mother sees in her husband. She will repeat her mother’s pattern. But paradoxically, she will look for a father in all men around. As a result, she cannot grow up and be independent properly.
With a disbalance in our feminine and masculine energies, many things around us do not work. For balance, we need both powers, both parents. We need to accept our father inwardly to live life fully.
Systemic Ritual – calling upon the archetypes of Fathers
It can be really difficult to embrace our father entirely inwardly. However, with the help of the positive archetypical Father images, the images of the old stories, we can start healing our wounds of a rejected father and therefore gain more access to healthy masculine qualities. Systemic Ritual offers an opportunity for healing ‘the rejected father’ with the help of the Father archetypes. By connecting to the Father archetypes, we can circumpass in a way the confrontation with the birth father. This can be helpful when the relationship with the birth father is filled with trauma – violence, abuse, for example. By calling upon the archetypical Father image in a Systemic Ritual, access to the male energy can be gained – at least for a while.
“Thank you, dad, for giving me the courage to follow my dreams, the strength to face adversities, the voice to set boundaries, the clarity to discern, the confidence to succeed.”
– Marina Toledo