The Child Archetype

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Magical / Innocent Child
Magical Child represents the part of us that is both enchanted and enchanting to others. It sees the potential for sacred beauty in all things, exemplified by Tiny Tim in Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, and by Anne Frank, who wrote in her diary that in spite of all the horror surrounding her family while hiding from Nazis in an attic in Amsterdam, she still believed that humanity was basically good. Her insights offered at a time when most people were collapsing under the weight of war and persecution continue to inspire people to seek out the wondrous side of life, even in a crisis.

One might assume from the name that this archetype refers to only the delightful qualities of children, but as demonstrated by Anne Frank and Tiny Tim, it also embodies qualities of wisdom and courage in the face of difficult circumstances.

Baudelaire wrote that “genius is childhood recaptured,” and in that sense the Magical Child is something of a genius too. The Magical Child is gifted with the power of imagination and the belief that everything is possible. The shadow energy of the Magical Child manifests as the absence of the possibility of miracles and of the transformation of evil to good. Attitudes of pessimism and depression, particularly when exploring dreams, often emerge from an injured Magical Child whose dreams were “once upon a time” thought foolish by cynical adults. The shadow may also manifest as a belief that energy and action are not required, allowing one to retreat into fantasy.

Films: Drew Barrymore in E.T.; George du Fresne in Ma Vie en Rose; Audrey Tatou in Amelie; Shirley Temple in Good Ship Lollipop
Fiction: The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry; Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren; Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland  by Lewis Carroll; Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter Series

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