The archetypes are not dispassionate ideas they create in us deep psychic responses. We often draw experiences of archetypes to ourselves by falling in love – in fact falling in love is a type of archetypal experience. A woman is attracted to the opposite archetypal energy of maleness and draws that experience to herself by falling in love with a particular male who personifies that archetype to her. Worship is another way of drawing that to oneself. So we may fall in love with the idea of the loving father or the goddess or the detached monk. We draw those archetypal experiences to ourselves through worship. An attraction to the father God then is our soul calling out for a deeper experience of fathering. That may be because of a lack in our own fathering or it may simply be a need to further intensify. Jung believed that each individual was on a journey towards what he called individuation, namely becoming more fully the person we are meant to be, biologically socially and spiritually. These experiences of archetypal encounter are the building blocks along that path. The soul seems to use them as stepping stones towards wholeness and growth and indeed towards the divine.
For each of us the archetypes work on a number of levels. For instance a man stands in relationship to the father archetype in several directions at once. He has his own experience of being fathered the primal experience which has constellated the archetype within in. If his father was distant or judgmental these qualities will instinctively be associated with the father archetype for him. Furthermore he may be relating to senior men at his work in a father-son type relationship particularly if some of the men respond to him like his father did. His unconscious will instinctively recognize the pattern and respond out of kind. If his common pattern was submission to a dominant father then he will immediately be caught in a pattern with these father figures of both wanting to be submissive and pleasing to them and yet at the same time to rebel in order to gain individuality. In my younger year I was always nervous around older men who were significant to me carrying over anxiety from my first experience of being fathered whereby I experienced rejection and humiliation when not performing to my father’s expectations.
Another level a man is working with the father archetype is in his own fathering of his children. He may indeed be taking an oppositional stance, not wanting to father like his father did. It does not matter though whether his stance is oppositional or compliant – wanting to father just as his own Dad did he is still responding to the same archetypal pattern.
Another level of relating to the father archetype is the divine. Relating to the Father God can be a profound experience for the man. This encounter with the father God in the religious tradition may reinforce some aspects of the father pattern he has and challenge others.
All three levels will affect one another.