Jungian Analysis & the Archetype of the Divine Child
The archetype of the divine child has a particular place in Jungian analysis. For those from Christian backgrounds, this archetype is exemplified in the narrative of the birth of the infant Jesus amidst all the various threatening circumstances that confronted him forms an important part of this season of the year.
The remarkable story of a divine child, apparently so vulnerable and so weak, who survives against all odds made a very compelling impression on me when I was a child. Despite the harsh and unwelcoming environment, the hostility of the powers that be, and all the forces arrayed against him, the child survives, and even flourishes.
Jungian analysis finds it striking that very many other traditions also have such stories. We see this in Judaism in the story of the young Moses, and, in the story of Joseph and his brothers. Similar stories surround the Buddha, Heracles the Greek hero, the Egyptian god Horus and also the Hindu divine avatar Krishna. In fact, the motif of the Divine Child, in all its various forms, is found around the world.
Jung had some profound things to say about this motif, and about its importance for us in the midst of our everyday lives here in the modern world. Divine child is that which appears in our awareness when we least expect it, as the new possibility or potentiality that appears so weak, so powerless that it seems that there can be no possible way for it to survive against the overwhelming odds arrayed against it. Yet, miraculously, it does survive, and even prevails.
How? We really don’t know. But something appears within us, perhaps at the moment when we are nearly ready to despair. And against all the dictates of rationality, if we are attentive to it, if we are prepared to open ourselves to its reality, its reality becomes our reality: a new way of living that emerges from the ashes of the old in the unconscious. As Jung would tell us, the alchemists might say, in response to this, “The stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner’, or “That which is ‘smaller than small’ is in reality, ‘larger than large’.”
Among the many figures which may emerge from the unconscious, there is the figure of the divine child. The child may appear in your dreams. It may emerge synchronistically in some other way in outer experience.
Have you ever experienced the divine child?
Can you and I be open to this child when he or she appears, as Moses, Krishna, Christ, Buddha, or in some other form unique to our own lives?
I’d be honoured to hear of your dreams, or any other experiences that may have brought you into contact with the reality of the divine child.
Wishing all of you hope, prosperity and authentic, full life on this New Year’s Eve!