Similar to the Hermaphrodite, the child image represent a ‘third thing’. According to Jung “the solution of the conflict through the union of opposites… From this comes the numinous character of the ‘child’” (CW9i, Para 285). The archetype of the Child is related to future development, potential and the emergence of new ideas within psychic life. Jung says that the Child expresses ‘futurity’ and “The child is potential future” (CW9i, Para 278). The child image is associated with innocence, purity, naivety, curiosity, playfulness, creativity, wonder for and delight in life and the Universe.
The child archetype sets up our earliest perceptions of life, safety, security, trust, loyalty, connectedness and family which are embedded in the brain structure. The core issue of the child archetype is around dependency versus taking responsibility. The child archetype manifests in different ways which we will discuss over the course of the next month. These variants include the divine child, the wounded child, the abandoned or orphaned child, the high-chair tyrant and Puer or Puerella archetypes.
The child image does not refer to any specific human child, but encompass the various experiences of all children from different times and places as portrayed in different guises in mythology and fairytales. Jung believed that children are born with a ‘vast inherited memory’. He wrote “parents must realize that they are trees from which the fruit falls in the autumn. Children don’t belong to their parents… In reality they come from a thousand-year-old stem, or rather from many stems, and often they are about as characteristic of their parents as an apple on a fir-tree” (Jung, Letters Vol 1, pages 217-218).
Image credit: Frida Kahlo
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