This week marks the new Father’s Moon in Annette Hinshaw’s calendar. As the Mother’s Moon celebrates the energy of the unconditional love of the Mother Goddess the Father’s Moon celebrates the conditional, limited, merit based love of the Father God. Many of us who grew up in the patriarchal dominant society but have studied feminist movements, theories and feminine divinity have very mixed emotions about Father Gods and father figures. Sometimes I wonder if some of the big issues our society faces are rooted in our cultures imbalance in Fatherlove and whether the solutions are to be found in a balancing of this potent force.
Fatherlove is the love of limits and training. It is the love your parents show when they say no, or insist that you do your homework. It is the same caring that guides governments to inspect food, cities to require permits and governments to enforce laws. The limits require us to be better at what we do and to consider the needs of others while doing it. It is, in an extreme permutation, the energy that guides authoritarian rule, “big brother” surveillance and many forms of physical, sexual and emotional abuse. Our culture has been patriarchal, male dominated and extreme in it’s Fatherlove for many centuries and it shows. War, environmental destruction and social inequity are all quite likely rooted in the risk taking, self serving and aggressive aspects of unbalanced Fatherlove.
Not that Fatherlove or the men and women who embody it are all bad. Without risk taking we would not progress as individuals or cultures. Without aggression we would be too passive to get much done or make necessary changes. Being selfless can be as inappropriate as being self serving. In her fantastic article Plastic Swords and Pentacles: Chivalry and the Rearing of Pagan Boys Sarah Reeder speaks to the basic urges of young boys-becoming-men. She decries both patriarchal machismo as denying male emotion and the sensitive new agey stereotype which denies male power. In raising her son she strives to find truly heroic role models for him – men who use their strength for the good of those around him who need his strength. This is Fatherlove in its most balanced and useful form.
In the beginning there was nothing. From that nothing came something, and that something was the Goddess. But she was lonely, so from the one came two. The Goddess and the God. He was so beautiful she fell in love and he loved her back. From their love came the entire universe - the Earth, the Sun, the Stars, the plants, animals, rivers and stones. And they were happy. But the God realized that for all live to continue life must be sacrificed. For all life on Earth to continue the God sacrificed himself. The Goddess was sad and mourned her loss but Hope remained for from their love she was pregnant. Pregnant with he God himself. He was born again and the Goddess rejoiced by creating humans to help her celebrate. And so the cycle was started and the cycle continues. Celebrate!
A major theme of the Father Moon, and of all those who embody Fatherlove as an ideal, is that of sacrifice. I wrote the above prayer when I was in college and first developing my spiritual beliefs and practices. It is a retelling of the Wiccan great story and a key moment in the story is when the God realizes he must sacrifice himself in order for all life to continue. In the year as the Great Story that moment is now, the Father’s Moon. Soon the Father will complete the act of sacrifice and we see that as the glorious blaze of harvest and autumn leaves but now is a more subtle turning. Shorter days, cooler nights, golden leaves on the edges of the big street trees. All who love as a father loves, through setting limits and enforcing boundaries, must sacrifice in order to bring out the best in their beloved. The new father sacrifices his dream of becoming a rock star for a steady job that supports his family. The sunflower sacrifices it’s glorious flowerhead so the seeds can fully mature. The God sacrifices his very body for us, his beloved creation.
What thoughts do you have about Fatherlove? How have you expressed it, how has it been expressed to you? Which men do you know who embody well balanced Fatherlove? How do you think they came to be so balanced? What sacrifices are you making these days? How is your garden coming along?