The Divine Masculine
The feminine is not complete without the male; together, these energetic polarities form a whole. Before the re-emergence of goddess-centered spirituality, only the male divinity's face was present in most parts of the world. Some Wiccans and witches concentrate on the Divine Feminine. Others, however, believe that the Divine expresses as both male and female.
Witches often depict the Divine Masculine as having three faces, which represent the stages of a man's life: youth, maturity, and old age. However, witches aren't the only ones who envision a tripart God. Christians honor the male trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In the Hindu religion, Brahma represents the creative principle of God, Vishnu is considered the preserver, and Shiva is the destroyer. Although the cultural aspects of these deities may differ, they still recognize the tripart expression of the masculine force.
The youthful aspect of the God is depicted as the Son. He signifies naiveté, daring, a sense of adventure, vitality, action, exuberance, and freedom. The ancient Egyptians expressed this archetype as Horus, who flies through the sky freely, with the sun in one eye and the moon in the other.
In magickal mythology, the Oak King represents the waxing year. This rather cocky young male takes over from the elder aspect of the God at year's end by battling him for the crown. The tale of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is an excellent illustration of this concept, the Green Knight being the elder god.
The Horned God that witches honor also symbolizes this facet of the Divine Masculine. His wildness, sensuality, and passion make him brashly attractive. This deity expresses the witch's connection to nature as well, and to all the primal magick therein. Cupid (the son of Venus) is another easily discernible example of the youthful virility associated with the Son.
In the Father, the mature face of God is emphasized. This aspect of the Divine Masculine represents strength, power, authority, leadership ability, protection, responsibility, and courage. He is viewed as the warrior king in some cultures, the wise ruler in others. In modern Western society, he could be seen as the capable corporate executive.
Mars, the god of war in Roman mythology, was a staunch protector of the land. He symbolizes the transition from the son aspect of the God to the father phase. Interestingly enough, another name for Mars was Marpiter (Father Mars), implying an older, more experienced deity.
Like the Goddess, the God possesses a creative aspect. Indeed, both forces are necessary for creation. The Father God in some early cultures oversaw the crafts, such as those of the smiths who were regarded as magick workers in their own right. Hephaestus, originally a fire god in Lycia and Asia Minor, eventually became the god of craftspeople in Greece. He earned this reputation by constructing palaces for the gods and fashioning Zeus's thunderbolts. This creative aspect of the Father can also be seen in the figure of Bahloo, the Australian aborigine All-Father, whose job was to create all animals and people with his consort.
In the tarot, the grandfather aspect of the God energy is illustrated as The Hermit. This card usually shows a bearded old man dressed in long robes, retreating into the darkness. However, he holds a lantern high, shining light to illuminate the way for those who wish to follow and learn what he knows.
The elder aspect of the masculine deity, or Grandfather, is as wise and wily as his female consort. He oversees the underworld (the place where souls are said to go between lives), destiny, death, resurrection, and justice. Like the Crone's, his concerns extend beyond the physical world and involve the process of transformation, assimilation of knowledge, and movement between the various levels of existence.
The mythological elder god, known as the Holly King, who battles with the Oak King is one version of the grandfather archetype. Truthfully, the grandfather could win this battle with his wits if he so chooses. Nonetheless, he allows himself to lose so that the Wheel of Life will keep turning.