The Child Archetype
The Child Archetype(dreams)
The Swiss psychotherapist Carl Jung asserted that much of world mythology and folklore represented manifestations of what he called the collective unconscious. The collective unconscious represents our inheritance of the collective experience of humankind, storing humanity’s experiences in the form of archetypes (or prototypes) that unconsciously predispose us to organize our personal experiences in certain ways. Jung further asserted that the archetypes of the collective unconscious shape the content of our dreams, emerging in various forms of archetypal dream images.
One of the more familiar archetypes is that of the “divine child,” which should not be confused with the so-called inner child, which represents the child personality we sacrificed on the altar of adulthood. The inner child often embodies a playful, creative side of the self that shows up in dreams as a fully formed child who has already acquired the skills of walking, language, and so on. The divine child archetype, by way of contrast, is an embodiment of the transformational power that propels us along the path of personal growth that Jung called the individuation process. It is also a symbol of our total self, as opposed to the limited sense of self that Jung called the ego or the limited personality of our childhood.