Another powerful archetype of the Sacred Masculine is that of Fatherhood.  Recently I met a new grandmother who told me that her son, who was present for the birth of his first child, said to her: “I have never loved anything so fast or so fully as my newborn baby.”  And the new grandmother added, “I think that today with more and more fathers being present for the entire birth process of their children this will become a more and more regular thing.”  One hopes so.  Psychologist Jean Bolen, from years of listening to male stories, believes that the father archetype is changing.  (175)

In his beautiful book Hunting For Hope: A Father’s Journey, Scott Sanders reports that “I cannot turn off my fathering mind.”  No one can do so.  As Jeffrey Masson puts it in  The Evolution of Fatherhood: A Celebration of Animal and Human Families, “fatherhood is not a state that one comes in and out of, as in ‘I was a father but now I am a free man.’  We do not get through and then get over fatherhood.  It is, on the contrary, the greatest joy and the greatest expression of love of which the human male is capable.”  One thing unique about human fatherhood is this: “We appear to be the only species that can consciously choose how involved we want to be as fathers.”  (196)

I would like to offer here and in tomorrow’s Daily Meditation a list of some nine  qualities of the fatherly or paternal heart as taken from my book on The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine. To start, the fatherly heart is…

  • Caring.  The fatherly heart cares.  Whether that is expressed in kissing or hugging, or in working hard to put bread on the table and to provide shelter and educational opportunities, the caring is expressed in countless ways.
  • Giving and generous.  The fatherly heart is a giving heart, a generous heart. Children can bring out the best in a man, which is his capacity for giving and for generous giving.  This giving is not to be construed as filling a child’s playpen with stuff.  It is a giving of time and of presence and of sharing of life lessons and life philosophies and values.  Many are the scientists, for example, both male and female, whom I have met who told me it was their fathers who first introduced them to a love and joy of nature.

From: Matthew Fox, The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine, pp. 175, 196, 190f.

Queries for Contemplation

In prayerful meditation, sit with the following questions: what are the insights that they open within you?

  • What are your memories of your father?  What did you learn from him?  And if you are a man, how are you doing as a father or preparing for fatherhood?
  • As a woman, how do you incorporate the best of fatherhood in the sacred masculine into your life and work and relationships?

Recommended Reading

To awaken what Fox calls “the sacred masculine,” he unearths ten metaphors, or archetypes, ranging from the Green Man, an ancient pagan symbol of our fundamental relationship with nature,  to the Spiritual Warrior….These timeless archetypes can inspire men to pursue their higher calling to connect to their deepest selves and to reinvent the world.

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2 thoughts on “Reflections on Fatherhood, Part I”

  1. Avatar
    Suzanne Schecker

    I am loving these meditations on the sacred masculine…please fix the sound on the videos… I have to strain to hear Matthew Fox and wish I could…thank you so much..Suzanne

    1. Gail Ransom

      Dear Suzanne,
      It is good to have you with us on Matthew’s Daily Meditations. I am sorry you are having trouble hearing his videos. We will see what can be done to make them clearer.
      Gail Sofia Ransom,
      For the DM Team

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