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Jungian Analysis & the Archetype of the Divine Child

December 31st, 2008 · 5 Comments · archetype, divine child, Jungian, Jungian analysis, Jungian psychology


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 theJungian analysis 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 Infant Laughing for Vibrant Jung Thing Blog 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!


© Max Kim|

© Vadim Ponomarenko|

5 Comments so far ↓

  • Paradox name

    This ia a great article. I don’t have any dreams to share, but have a keen interest in exploring the divine child archetype

  • Brian C

    Thank you very much for your comment. The divine child archetype is a very important one, that has a great deal of importance in the individuation process. If you have any questions, or would like to explore the archetype of the divine child more, please feel free to contact me. All the very best, ~Brian

  • Brian C

    Thank you for your comment, Anne. There certainly would seem to be a clear instance of the “divine child archetype” in this dream image of your grand-duaghter. I not particularly that she embodies both the characteristic apparent vulnerability of the divine child as she is appears here, and also the sense of an indomitable life within her. These are two characteristics of the divine child archetype when it appears.

    We should not lose sight of the fact that your grand-daughter is appearing in your dream. If I might, I find myself wondering what aspects of your own self might possibly be embodied in this dream?

  • Rose M Simiao

    On new years day i invited a friend of mine together with some other friends for a lunch at my house. My friend has a two year old extremely fun and lively child. A delightful little being who dances and sings all the time. She really is the light of the party wherever she goes. That day in particular she arrived singing a song she had just learned the night before.We all found it very funny that she was singing this particular very religious song,such song coming out of that two year old mouth. At one point during the party we had all gathered in the living room and i decided to put the song to play for her. We were seating on the floor in front of the small wireless sound system. She stood in front and sang along to the chorus the word: “Hold on to the hand of God and go”. Every Time she repeated it while looking deep into my eyes and strongly holding my hand. I could not help but cry. Overwhelmed by that moment. It was the assurance i needed to keep going forward in the often arduous path of my individuation.. Firmly holding the hand of God Just as per the Child’s suggestion.

  • Brian C

    Thank you for that eloquent comment, Rose. “Firmly holding the hand of God Just as per the Child’s suggestion.” The Divine Child has this unbreakable, indestructible resilience, and its own eternal wisdom. We can keep moving towards ourself, based on the wisdom inherent in the archetype of the divine child: the Child knows something indestructible.

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