Archetypes are systems of readiness for action, and at the same time images and emotions.
The last few days of The Healer’s Gathering in Sisters, Oregon has been great. Whenever we attend powerful healing workshops like this, people have childhood issues surface and they have the opportunity to process their feelings and heal the Child Archetype.
The Child Archetype is the one of the four main archetypes: the Child, the Victim, the Prostitute and the Saboteur explained in Caroline Myss’s incredible book Sacred Contracts.
There is the Wounded Child, the Orphan Child, the Magical/Innocent Child, the Nature Child, Puer/Puella Eternis (Eternal Boy/Girl), the Dependent Child and the Divine Child.
After taking a class from Caroline Myss on Sacred Contracts as well as Medical Intuition, I taught this work for many years. This information is a combination of information from her book and my interpretation and sharing.
The mature child archetype is the part of us that nurtures us and is lighthearted and innocent. The child watches for the wonders of the world, no matter what age we might be. It brings playfulness and balance to our lives and brings out the best in others.
The core issue of the Child archetype is dependency verses responsibility. It governs when we take responsibility, when we have a healthy dependency or interdependency, when to stand up to the group and when to embrace the community.
The Wounded Child Archetype remembers the abuse, neglect and traumas that were experienced in childhood. Since therapy has become more acceptable, many people identify with this archetype. It is the child that blames their parents for their lives, their choices, and the dysfunctional relationships they create. The positive side of the wounded child is they have the desire to help other wounded children and have a deep ability to be compassionate.
The shadow side of the wounded child is they blame others for their pain and get stuck in the past, not moving through the painful memories into present time.
The Orphan Child Archetype is well known in childhood stories. Orphan children do not feel they belong to their families. One of my favorite stories is the Ugly Duckling. I was so happy when I realized I was not a duck at all, but was a swan. I had often felt I was dropped out of the sky into this family and wondered, “who are these people?” Orphans who do not belong to the tribal spirit of the family often become independent early and feel like they raised themselves. As Caroline Myss says “The absence of family influences, attitudes, and traditions inspires or compels the Orphan Child to construct an inner reality based on personal judgment and experience.”
The shadow side of the Orphan is they suffer from feelings of abandonment. They often seek out surrogate families or support groups in which to connect. Creating and maintaining healthy relationships is often a challenge for the Orphan Child.
The Magical Child / Innocent Child archetype sees beauty in all things. They are able to maintain wisdom and courage when what is happening around them may be catastrophic. A good example is Anne Frank. When her family was hiding from Nazis, she was still able to believe that humanity was good.
The shadow side of the Magical Child leaves the person without a sense of possibility and a lack of transformation from evil to good. Pessimism and depression can surface, especially if the child had a dream that was discouraged by adults. Another shadow side is when the adult gets lost in fantasy and does not believe action and energy are required to obtain a result. They get lost in magical thinking.
The Nature Child Archetype manifests as a child who has a strong, intimate bond with the earth and with animals. They may show a tender, emotional side, but also can be tough and have great survival skills, “the resilience of Nature herself.” Often nature children can communicate with animals and these animals may even rescue the nature child in some way. Nature children also may have developed abilities to communicate with nature spirits and work with them to help the planet. Veterinarians and animal activists are often nature children. Today is Earth day and I imagine many of the activists connected with Earth Day are nature children.
“The shadow aspect of the Nature Child may manifest in a tendency to abuse animals and people and the environment.”
The Eternal Boy/Girl Archetype manifests as an ability to stay young in body, mind and spirit. These children continue to have fun and enjoy life even as they age. I imagine many who write books on anti-aging have this child archetype.
The shadow Eternal Child manifests and an inability to grow up and be responsible. They live outside the conventional norm of adulthood and remain child-like, not taking on the responsibilities of the adult. Some of my clients have referred to their husbands as being “another child to care for.” These men have the Eternal Child archetype. For a woman, the Eternal Child archetype can manifest as extreme dependence on those who take care of their physical security. The woman cannot be relied upon and does not accept the aging process. “The Eternal Child often flounders between the stages of life because they have not laid the foundation for a functioning adulthood.”
The Dependent Child Archetype will appear needy and dependent and have a heavy feeling within that nothing is ever enough. They are always trying to replace emptiness from childhood, but they can never figure out what the emptiness is. They often suffer from depression, sometimes severe. If you identify with this archetype, you can use it to alert yourself to when you are becoming too needy and self-absorbed. Although this is my own thinking, I often refer to women who have this archetype in full activation as the female narcissist. Everything becomes about them and their needs.
The Divine Child Archetype (excerpted from Caroline Myss) is closely related to both the Innocent and Magical Child, but is distinguished from them by its redemptive mission. It is associated with innocence, purity, and redemption, god-like qualities that suggest that the Child enjoys a special union with the Divine itself. Few people are inclined to choose the Divine Child as their dominant Child archetype, however, because they have difficulty acknowledging that they could live continually in divine innocence. And yet, divinity is also a reference point of your inner spirit that you can turn to when you are in a conscious process of choice. You may also assume that anything divine cannot have a shadow aspect, but that’s not realistic. The shadow of this archetype manifests as an inability to defend itself against negative forces. Even the mythic gods and most spiritual masters — including Jesus, who is the template of the Divine Child for the Christian tradition — simultaneously expressed anger and divine strength when confronting those who claimed to represent heaven while manifesting injustice, arrogance, or other negative qualities (think of Jesus’ wrath at the money-changers in the Temple). Assess your involvement with this archetype by asking whether you see life through the eyes of a benevolent, trusting God/Goddess, or whether you tend to respond initially with fear of being hurt or with a desire to hurt others first.
I hope this is helpful for you. Use this to look at your relationships with others and see where you fit! Enjoy!
I am delighted to share with you this great information about the Saboteur’s Moon by Jon Waldrup, an Incarnational Astrologer. This is especially significant to me because I work with Karma and Clearing Karma. He explains it so well!
The first Full Moon of 2012 is tonight, January 8th at 11:30 PM Pacific Time. This is the Saboteur’s Moon. It wants to help us see how we compromise our heart-knowing in order to be comfortable, functional, accepted, etc. It wants to show us how allowing ourselves to feel vulnerable and exposed by our truth helps to set us free. For whenever we do ignore our heart’s truth in favor of fitting in, we close the karmic loop and make sure we go for another lap.
And with the Sun in Capricorn, what we would prefer to say is that our heart’s truth is always loving and light, so why would we ever disguise it? And how could there be shadow in our hearts?
There are so many angles to come from on that. If Romeo and Juliet is the world’s greatest love story then fatal co-dependence is love? I would say probably not, but it is a story of two people who lived from their hearts. They were certainly not afraid of being vulnerable, were they?
One of the shadow aspects of 20th century spirituality had to do with how many ways we were taught to suppress our karma, rather than live in it. Karma itself was given a bad name – who wants to deal with karma? The truth is that karma is actually the bridge between fate and destiny. It wants to help us to live Alive in Heaven on Earth.
If you are driving your car through an intersection and someone runs a red light and creams you, this is an example of Fate. The karmic piece of it has to do with how you deal with the emotions involved in the aftermath. Fate gives you the opportunity to work with your karma in order for you to grow towards your destiny.
Your karma is the particular tone of the shadow you are working with in this lifetime – rage, depression, dependence, etc. The karmic piece is the emotional piece. Our destiny is to understand the oneness, the perfection, of all of life – including fate and karma. Then we are on the spiral instead of the wheel.
So, it was fate that brought Romeo and Juliet together, so that they could explore the shadows of co-dependent love. And they did! And that is what makes their story so compelling. There is so much about their story that we could call unhealthy – we can look down on such organic, emotional, exposed ways of being.
But is that life? Why did your soul choose to come in to this plane, to have a heart that can be broken, that can lead you astray, that can expose you to shame and torment? Fate gives you the chance to live in your heart. Karma seeks to teach you that Life itself is Heavenly.
What I think is that because he went “all the way” with what his heart was asking him to do in response to the fateful relationship with Juliet, in his next life, perhaps Romeo was able to live quivering inside with gratitude for having had the chance to love so deeply – he was able to taste the anguish of loss and find it delicious. He was able to move beyond regret.
Will you accept The Invitation? Or will you live on the wheel of emotional avoidance?
Here is a smaller example. What if you know one thing and say another? Maybe something that you’ve expressed as truth for a long time turns out to be false. Maybe you’ve put a lot of heart into a certain moralistic stance and new experience points out the failings of your dogmatism. There is real vulnerability in admitting that you were wrong. And yet if you can, if you do, life springs forth from that and you find yourself further up the spiral.
The wisest person I have ever spoken with said to me, “I am most grateful for those times in my life when I was most out of control.” In other words, when the shadows in his heart came out, when he was most vulnerable to that sanitized, patriarchal way of looking at things that wants us to remain “in control” (i.e. Sun in Capricorn). Sometimes we have to say we’re sorry. So that we may grow.
The Saboteur is in us to point out ways in which we hide our truth. The patriarchal response to that is to suppress those aspects of ourselves which are outside the comfort zone. In that way of looking at things, those who live “with their heart on their sleeve” are to be looked down upon.
The truth is in your heart, and keeping it hidden keeps you on the wheel. When you express your truth, you go up the spiral.
This Full Moon, the first of 2012, is helping us to see how we have kept our truth hidden so that we may live within a dying civilization. How many laps on the wheel does it take to show us that the comfortable ways are getting us nowhere?
Tonight at 11:30 PM Pacific Time, the Moon, who teaches us our karma, is in the 19th Degree of Cancer. The Chandra symbol for this degree is, “An opossum comes out into the moonlight.” Let your vulnerable heart be seen. Allow yourself to experience your emotions, and to find life itself through them. Oh, it can hurt! Are you afraid?
Believe in Heaven, and that is what you will see.
Bless your heart,