Reply To: What is the father, exactly?
Benjamin; here is a Joseph Campbell quote on page 79; from Diane Osbon’s: “Reflections on the Art of Living – A Joseph Campbell Companion”; that might be helpful concerning Stephen’s remarks about: “Atonement”
Stephen: “We see this theme (“Atonement” – or “At-One-Ment” – with the Father) most often in Judeo-Christian mythology (as opposed to “the Meeting with the Goddess”), but it’s a theme that surfaces in most mythologies at some point.”
Joseph: “Another rendering is “Atonement with the Father”. the son has been separated from the father, meaning he has been living a life that’s inappropiate to his real heritage. the son is the temporal aspect, and the father is the eternal aspect of the same being. The father represents the natural order from which you have been removed. You are trying to find your character, which you inherit from your father. Atonement is bringing into accord with the life momentum out of which you have come.”
Also in chapter 6; “The Hero’s Journey; the Self as Hero” in the book: “Pathways to Bliss” on pages 117-118; this motif is described in much more detail with a much wider range of possible interpretations as one of four possible threshold hurdles of self realization which are: the Sacred Marriage, Atonement with the Father; Apotheosis, and the “Promethean Fire Theft”; each with it’s own set of particular applications and possible circumstances concerning the hero’s initiation, journey, or process. This aspect of the hero archetype is covered in greater depth much too long to cover in this post; but is very highly recommended for further exploration if you are interested.
But the “Atonement with the Father” aspect is one of the most visible motifs that continually surfaces in mythic themes for the male journey into adulthood as Stephen has described. He may have more to add about this; but I think you’ll find as Robert has mentioned a “Motherload” of references; just not always described in the same manner. When the movie: “Star Wars” shows this motif of: “go find your father” you can see it plainly visible in Luke Skywalker’s interplay with Darth Vader as Joseph has mentioned on several occasions. There are many variations of this theme; but this is one of the most recognizable as reflected in recent modern culture.
I hope this is in someway helpful for getting you started in exploring this very powerful hero theme.