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Fourth survival archetype – Child

We each bring different gifts into the world and express them through our archetypal energies. We each have twelve primary archetypes and four of these archetypes are found in every individual. They are known as the survival archetypes.

The survival archetypes are patterns of human nature. The previous discussions addressed the Prostitute, Victim and Saboteur. Today, the fourth primary archetype of the Child will be discussed.

The Child represents our inner sense of playfulness and is the guardian of our innocence. The Child establishes our perceptions of life, safety, nurture and loyalty. Its many aspects include the orphan, wounded, magical, nature, eternal and divine.

Caroline Myss in Sacred Contracts describes each of the child archetypes from a differing perspective. The pattern of the Orphan Child is commonly felt by those of us who believe that we are not organically connected to our birth family, including the family psyche or tribal spirit.

The Wounded Child manifests as the recurring nightmare of emotional, physical, or sexual abuse or neglect suffered during childhood. The Magical Child represents the ability to see the potential for beauty in all aspects of the world, and the belief that all things are possible. The Nature Child shares a special relationship with the world of nature in all its manifestations, including friendships with animals, birds, sea creatures and even insects.
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eternal child
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Those who have the Eternal Child are able to maintain an inner youthfulness of body, mind, and spirit, and to see all things as if for the first time. The Divine Child may manifest as a sense of having a redemptive mission, and sees more readily than most the Divine within.

Each variant of the Child archetype has its corresponding shadow tendencies. For instance, the shadow Magical Child may be given to magical thinking and believe effort is not required to achieve results. The shadow of the Eternal Child is an inability to grow up and assume the responsibilities of adulthood without losing its childlike sense of awe.

Although we all have expressions of both the light and shadow aspects of each of the Child archetypes, one usually dominates in our life. The Child deals with our ability to connect with and exhibit qualities of innocence, optimism, and trust. The light Child has easy access to joy and governs trust, whereas the shadow Child loses all those natural aspects, is pessimistic and finds life difficult and burdensome.

None of us work solely from the light side or the shadow side of these archetypes. Understanding these archetypes in both light and shadow, provides a tool for increasing self-awareness and enable us to make better life choices consciously. Each in its own way helps us to develop improved relationships and to work more effectively to achieve our highest capabilities and pursue success.

Personal power is achieved by applying principles of integrity, trust, commitment, and responsibility to all that we do. Power comes from living authentically, true to one’s personality and not living from false or imitation choices to avoid humiliation, for example.
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