I’ll admit, when I first read over Roderick’s description of the Provider, I was pretty darn confused. At first, with statements like “In his provider aspect, the god represents self-sufficiency” and “The provider represents action done because action is needed,” I thought we’d relapsed to the Crone. Yet, at the end of the paragraph Roderick says “He represents the growth-movement of all life. You can find him in the ripening of the fields” and all of a sudden it seemed like he was talking about the mother.
It just did not compute.
So I changed my manner of thinking. The Provider is essentially the Father. (Indeed, if “Maiden, Mother, Crone” wasn’t so prevalent amongst Wiccans, I rather think Roderick would have called them “Incubator, Feeder, and Geezer.”) And fathers do care for their children just as mothers do. But there is something intrinsically different between the father-child and the mother-child relationships. Mothers are self-sacrificing. They give their whole being to their child, and their child can parasitically consume them. Fathers, on the other hand, have a carefully built wall around their identity. They must preserve their own self first so that this self can go out into the world with all his wits about him and bring home sustenance for the others.
There’s a part of me that feels a little bit bad about the generalization. After all, there are plenty of women who do the ‘hunting,’ and there are plenty of men who do the ‘coddling.’ But if we restrict “mother” and “father” to the archetype (or the stereotype?) I think we’d find the generalization holds. Maybe that’s why pagans love the Goddess part of their religions…the Judeo-Christian God loves us unconditionally but keeps himself separate while the Goddess plays amongst her children.
To be honest, I think I really like the Provider aspect. It’s the part that can care but forge ahead. I think Roderick is very correct in saying that “the provider is also the part of each man or woman that understands the importance of challenging the limits so that new frontiers can open in a way that benefits the whole of society.” He can focus himself and others on a common goal. But he can focus to much on the method, as Roderick says, and can be “our anger and impatience […] our insistence on social rules, regulations, and norms.” He can block himself off too much and become ambition. And that can be scary.
Solar Phase: Full midday sun
Seasonal Phase: Summer
Pagan Celebration: Summer Solstice
Essential Oils: Frankincense, chamomile, benzoin, patchouli
Magical Number: 5
Vocalization: e as in “heat”
Herbs: Chamomile, hemp
Body Part: Neck, throat
Chakra: 5th–Throat, at the hollow point/base of throat
Exercise: Knowing Your Provider
Consider your own provider traits. On a single piece of paper, draw a line down the center. On one side write down your personality traits (no matter if you are physically male or female) that reflect positive provider qualities. On the other side of the page, write down any shadowy provider qualities you might recognize in yourself. If you do not note any of the provider’s qualities in your life, this is an archetypal energy that requires balancing in order for you to claim your full potential and power.
|Positive Provider||Negative Provider|
|As I mentioned with the crone, I am a personification of self-reliance.||Again, like I said with the crone, this self-reliance begets loneliness. In turn, I can see how this loneliness begets ambition. With no one but myself to strive for, I set impossible goals for myself.|
|Like I said with the mother, I’m the one who’s always doing things for others, making sure there’s a DD, and keeping plans organized.||I can see how this semi-strict planning can be inflexible. It certainly doesn’t make finding spontaneity very easy. I think that sometimes we lose opportunities because of it.|
You know, had you asked me yesterday if I thought my provider energy was balanced and positive, I’d say yes. But looking on it now, I see that I take the positives of self-reliance and care and twist them into some pretty negative things. I think I need some Provider work.