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Working With Your Inner Father Archetype

Working With Your Inner Father Archetype

The inner father archetype affects how you express the masculine aspect of your nature in your life, whether you’re male or female, and it’s heavily shaped both by your relationship with your human father (or lack of it) and how you’ve learned to relate to authority in your culture and society. Your ability to function healthily as an adult is very much affected by how your inner father archetype operates within you. He dictates how strong, capable, and productive you feel in everyday life as well as how you conduct relationships with all men.

The positive Father archetype upholds the law and justice, order, healthy discipline, rationality, understanding and inspiration. Able to own personal authority, the healthy inner father enables you to make decisions and to initiate ideas and see them through to completion. He also allows you to assume the role of benevolent leader for others in your family and social sphere, guiding and protecting them in helpful, supportive ways.

The negative Father archetype abuses authority, insists on his own way while controlling others rigidly and is coldly detached from his emotions, often appearing distant, withdrawn and unavailable. Like the inner Guide he can get seduced by ideas of his own importance, believing that he’s omnipotent and omniscient. He then becomes a harsh judge and cruel critic of everything you do.

If you struggle with any of these areas, then it’s your inner father archetype that needs some attention and healing and you can start by exploring in the following ways.

Think about the example of masculinity your father modelled for you in childhood. What messages did you absorb from him about yourself? Can you see how these are still affecting you, negatively and positively, as an adult?

Ask yourself what you have learned from other examples of “being masculine” throughout your life and society – for example, teachers, bosses, religious figures, the way men are portrayed in the media? How has this shaped your beliefs about what “masculine” is or should be?

What are the male characters in your dreams like and how frequently do they appear? How do they behave? Are they strong or weak, helpful or interfering? How are you interacting with them in your dream scenarios?

By exploring in this way, you’ll recognise where there is untruth and imbalance in your beliefs and behaviours.

Healing your inner father archetype

Take a long compassionate look at your father from an adult point of view, as a man who did the best he could according to the behaviour that had been modelled for him. A vulnerable human being just like you who craves understanding. This simple exercise can often open the way to profound healing.

Make two lists: one of all the positive traits you’re happy to have been passed from your father and one of all the negative tendencies you’ve inherited that you don’t like or are ashamed of. Be willing to accept and embrace them all rather than rejecting any part of you, noticing where often a thing you disapprove of is simply the shadow aspect of something you do like about yourself. Remember that you always have a choice which behaviour you use in any situation.

Notice in your everyday self-talk where the dark father shows up to condemn, control or criticise – it’s common to recognise your father’s or another authority figure’s voice when you bring your conscious attention to it. You might want to write down the most repetitive phrases and symbolically burn the list, expressing your intention to release the self-judgement associated with them. When you know the scripts you’ve been running in your head, you can simply rewrite new ones that are more helpful.

Study the male figures you currently admire and respect, real and fictional. Build an image of a conscious male role model for yourself, incorporating all these qualities and approaches. Know that you already have the template for this healthy inner father archetype, encoded within your Higher Self. You can read more about this in my article The Higher Self and the soul).

Semele Xerri is a psychic intuitive Tarot reader, spiritual healer and teacher, and Reiki Master Teacher. To find out more about her and her services, go to her Welcome page.
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