Note: This started off as a stream of consciousness type thing and may seem a bit disorganized. I've tried to clean it up without losing any of the meaning but some things may still need clarification. Feel free to use the comments section if you're interested in getting a conversation going.
Concepts of the Goddess and the God are often patterned after what Carl Jung called archetypes. In the Jungian view archetypes can be defined as “....universal, archaic patterns and images that derive from the collective unconsciousness.” In and of themselves, these archetypes are not a bad thing. However, insomuch as many of our current God models are based on a patriarchal standard and a culture of domination, they may take on meaning that they did not originally have in a pre-agrarian, egalitarian world.
According to the archeological record and the common held belief of many Goddess practitioners, our concepts of the Sacred Feminine and the Sacred Masculine do not originally come from a world where power and patriarchy are the law of the day. Instead they were first fashioned in a time when humanity revered both males and females in equal, divine regard. Or so that is the theory of what human culture may have resembled within an egalitarian matriarchy (or antiheirarchy as I call it sometimes). In order to imagine what this world may have been like, let's suspend all of our doubt and allow for that shift in paradigms for a moment.
The most common archetypes within the Sacred Masculine are the Warrior, the Hero, the Hunter, the Mystic, the Lover, and the King. We could interpret these ideas from any angle that we like but I am most interested in what these archetypes may have represented before the last 5,000-10,000 years or so of agrarian, patriarchal human civilization.
I mention this period of history because, even though many vegetation goddesses survived through the ages, the advent of agriculture is believed to be where a huge shift began towards more patriarchal societies. With land being the primary form of wealth, and the hands of many being required to maintain and protect it, the bodies of women became commodified for their ability to create the necessary heirs and children as labor force. The leap from presuming one was entitled to own a piece of the earth (The Great Mother Goddess) to being entitled to own a woman (the literal incarnation of the Goddess) is apparently not a far one to make.
From my perspective, the Warrior concept may not even be necessary and certainly shouldn't be a focus when thinking of the Sacred Masculine. It is my long held belief that humanity has seen long stretches of peace and prosperity to such an extent where a warrior culture would not exist. I also deeply believe that wars are started over money, property, and material power in general. This entire concept is antithetical to a culture that predates the domination model of patriarchy. When we look at a surviving hunter-gatherer culture such as the Aka pygmies of Central Africa, we see a culture not obsessed with properties, money, or other forms of material wealth. In fact, they continually reinforce economic equality by a system of demand sharing. Whatever someone asks for (or needs) they will be given.
In place of the Warrior and in combination with the Hunter, I propose the Father-Husband as protector and partnered provider. In fact, why is this idea absent from the primary archetypes of the Divine Masculine within predominant traditions of Neo-paganism? Does a child not also need their father? I know there are many people who believe that's not the case and once upon a time I guess I was one of them. But my personal experiences of less than fantastic father-figures is not because men aren't or can't be great fathers. It's because fatherhood is seen as optional in a world where men and women are not equal. Raising children is the work of women according to the patriarchal paradigm and is thus seen as weak by the power-fueled standard. But this is not the only way for fathers to be, nor is it obviously the most healthy.
According to Professor Barry Hewlett, fathers in the Aka culture spend about 47% of their time with their children (more than any other cultural group on the planet) and the societal roles of Aka males and females are virtually interchangeable. As a result their divorce rate is almost non-existent (though perfectly accepted by their culture) and couples spend a great deal of time hunting and gathering with their children as a family. They also make love several times a night and often enjoy extremely close marital friendship.
Okay, so we've got Hero, King, Lover, and Mystic left. Where's the Son, do you suppose? Maybe some would join him in with Lover as in the Goddess's Son-lover (a grossly misunderstood concept, by the way). I would say I definitely believe the idea of a Divine Son could be connected to the inner-child and is an important one that allows us to ultimately grow from our fears and vulnerabilities. But joining him with the Lover aspect isn't what my intuition is telling me.
In the Goddess I would compare the Divine Son to the Maiden or the Holy Bride of Truth; the Revealer who shows us our shadows and beckons us to destroy our own egos and be free, pure, inherently innocent creatures once more. Without the inner-child concept and an honoring of it, we don't allow ourselves our fears and vulnerabilities and therefore will never grow out of them.
But Son here doesn't seem like the right title. The Maiden isn't called Daughter most often so I think the youth aspect of the God needs an alternate name that can speak to more spiritual and subconscious things with appropriate symbolism. So I did some research (see image) and I found the name/title of Feon most appropriate. I'm finding it difficult to put my intuitive conclusions into words so I'm hoping my handwritten notes may help make my thought process more clear. I'll also add some links at the bottom of this article that readers interested in investigating the Feon aspect can click through to.
Okay, so far we have Father and Feon. I was planning on rolling the Hero and the Mystic together as both are typically men who are on quests to find themselves. The Hero just seems to come at his problems in a more physical manner while the Mystic is the result of the Hero's spiritual journey. In a way the Mystic is on the next road where the material world has been seen for the illusion it is and he's now moving through the spiritual layers of himself towards enlightenment. We could alternately call him a Sage and see him as the male version of the Crone Goddess.
I'd like to forget the King in general or roll him into the Father. Not that there can't be benevolent kings, but as we know the archetype today, it has less than perfect connotations. Kings rule but Fathers protect and provide care. Kings take taxes. Fathers ask for nothing in return and act selflessly towards those they love.
And as for the Lover... well I believe he lives in all of those archetypes as I see the act of being someone's lover as far deeper a spiritual thing than just mere sex and physical expression. Nor does it just have to do with virility or procreation or providing for or sharing responsibilities. No, it's a joining of souls that recognize themselves as divine. The idea of Lover is perhaps the Great God himself; the combination of the Initiate (Feon), the Father, and The Sage all rolled into one. Pantheo: the God that is one but many.
Goddess = Maiden/Mother/Crone
God = Feon/Father/Sage
Androgynous Divine = Initiate/Parent/Mystic
Feon Related Notes
1. Pheon/Broad Arrow (in heraldry and British military, government)
The word Pheon itself is of unknown meaning and origin. Also find it interesting that there is such a thing as a Pheon Cross - an equal armed, solar cross made of four broad arrows.
2. Lost Language Of Symbolism Volume 2, pheon/feon (the One Fire)
Find particular interest in the obvious phallic imagery of the arrow combined with the bull and the serpent.
3. Feon also related to Finn MacCool of Irish folklore/Bel or Balanus and through him other Gods of Light or the Sun like Apollo. His stories bear resemblance to King Arthur and The Merlin Taliesin.
4. Feon is an Old English, Cornish, etc. version of the word fawn which is interesting considering the Horned God is often depicted as a deer, stag.