Indigo Children

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Indigo Children

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

In the early 1980s a psychic named Nancy Ann Tappe, who specialized in the seeing and reading of the aura (a color energy field which many psychics claim to see around living objects), publicized what she discerned as a significant change in the auras of children. In her 1982 book, Understanding Your Life through Color, she claimed many of the children then being born had a new color in their aura, indigo. This color distinguished them as a special new group of beings taking incarnation and explained why the children were both a sign of significant coming shifts in the culture and were being misunderstood. The concept was then picked up and widely publicized in two books by Lee Carroll and Jan Tober, The Indigo Children and Indigo Celebration. Lee Carroll is a channeler who delivers the messages from an entity named Kyron, and Jan Tabor is Carroll’s wife.

The concept of indigo children cannot be understood apart from the situation concerning the medical community’s defining two new diseases, attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and the widespread diagnosis of numerous children with one or both of these diseases. By 1990 approximately a half-million children had been diagnosed as having ADD or ADHD. By 1998 that number jumped to four million, or 10 percent of the schoolage population. ADD and ADHD are frequently associated with patterns of classroom disruption and misbehavior by children at school. The primary treatment for ADD and ADHD has been a drug called Ritalin, which suppresses the symptoms, and has placed teachers whose classes have been disrupted by overactive children, who seemingly were unable to concentrate on their lessons, among those often favoring the use of Ritalin. Parents and various public awareness groups have complained of the side-effects that have manifested from the use of the drug.

According to Tappe, Carroll, and Tober, many of the children diagnosed with ADD or ADHD are indigo children. These are special children, they say, who are very sensitive, have a spectrum of psychic abilities, and come into life with a high level of wisdom. They act as if they are old souls in young bodies. Proponents of the indigo children hypothesis have cited cases of childrenremembering their past incarnations as evidence of their current status.

Indigo children are distinguished by characteristics often valued in adults, but rarely valued in children. They act as individuals with entitlements, have problems with authority, and do not like to engage in various repetitious activities. They are creative and thus reject situations, such as elementary schools, where rote learning is often valued more than creative talents.

The discussion of indigo children, largely limited to New Age circles, has added a religious dimension into the popular controversy concerning ADD, ADHD, and Ritalin. Because of its basis in the unique ability of one woman to see the aura of the special children and its being tied to equally controversial channeling work of Carroll, the idea of indigo children has done little other than become a salve for parents who reject the implication of their children being diagnosed with a somewhat permanent disorder, and one that carries with it a significant social stigma. Meanwhile, a variety of means for treating ADD and ADHD without Ritalin and other strong mood-altering drugs have been proposed.


Carroll, Lee, and Jan Tober. An Indigo Celebration: More Messages, Stories, and Insights from the Indigo Children. Carlsbad, CA: Hay House, 2001.
___. The Indigo Children: The New Kids Have Arrived. Sedona, AZ: Light Technology Publishing, 1999.
Shaya, James, James Windell, and Holly Shreve Gilbert. What You Need to Know about Ritalin. New York: Bantam, 1999.
Virtue, Doreen. The Care and Feeding of Indigo Chidren. Carlsbad, CA: Hay House, 2001.
The Encyclopedia of Religious Phenomena © 2008 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
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