THE FATHER'S ABSENCE AND DEVOURING PRESENCE
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THE FATHER'S ABSENCE AND DEVOURING PRESENCE book
In times of social revolution and dramatic change, the archetypal father becomes problematical and problem-stricken. The archetypal father symbolises the old world order, established tradition, and the moral edifice constructed by that tradition. In times when the unconscious is trying to push for a new order or a different kind of consciousness, the old father is experienced as weak, anachronistic, or failing. In traditional fairytales that reflect such a change in consciousness, we sometimes meet an ailing king or sick ruler who must be cured of his malady lest the entire land and its people fall into ruin and decline.2 The fact that the king is sick, wounded or dying indicates that consciousness has lost touch with the vital forces of the unconscious, and that society itself is separated from the self-renewing capacities of nature. The ruler-king must be allowed to enter deeply into his illness or woundedness so that a proper revitalisation can take place. Sometimes the king must die or pass into oblivion so that a new consciousness can be born.