Carl Jung was the originator of the term “archetype,” by which he referred to the universal psychic patterns that undergird our emotional lives. Jung was careful to point out that the archetypes are always bi-polar, that is, they have both a positive and negative aspect. Manifestations of the positive mother archetype show up in images of the Virgin Mary, while the negative mother is imaged by witches.
Our culture is awash in constellations of the negative father. The negative father is often punitive, rageful, withholding, ineffective, or selfish. “Petty tyrant” is a phrase that many who grow up with a brutal, angry father use to describe him. Men in public life in positions of power or influence who use this for their own gain or prey on those who are weaker can be seen as examples of the negative father. The corporations which are to a large extent responsible for the heedless destruction of the environment are examples of the negative father energy in action. Politicians who capitalize on fear for their own gain are another example.
With so many stories of the negative father filling our news reports daily, we can forget that the positive pole of the father archetype exists. We can have a tendency to fall into demonizing any person or entity that plays a paternal role. This phenomenon can leave individual men and fathers feelings ambivalent about stepping into the paternal role since this is frequently painted as almost entirely negative. My intention in this brief post is to offer a few images of the positive father. Our culture and our country are very much in need of this energy at this time.
The positive father is an image of the mature masculine. This is very different from the patriarchal. “Patriarchy, in our view, is an attack on masculinity in its fullness as well as femininity in its fullness. Those caught up in the structures and dynamics of patriarchy seek to dominate not only women but men as well. Patriarchy is based on fear – the boy’s fear, the immature masculine’s fear – of women, to be sure, but also fear of men. Boys fear women. They also fear real men.”
Mature masculinity as seen in the positive father is characterized by the following traits: wisdom, ordering, authority in the service of protection, generativity, justice, discipline, and courage. The positive father is he who is not afraid to wield power when required, but will sacrifice himself to protect others if need be.
 King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette, Harper Collins, 1990, p. xvii