Shadow and Society

The Forgotten Child in Collective Contexts


  • Juliet Rohde-Brown



archetype, borderland consciousness, bullying, child archetype, decolonization, complex, cultural complex, indigenous wisdom, multiplicity, numinous experience, shadow archetype


In this paper, the archetype of the Child is considered as a psychological presence that fosters creativity and relationality for individuals and groups. The capacity for integrating the shadow aspect of human nature is a crucial psychological solution for reducing harmful biases and projections that negatively impact the subtle and emergent potential of the archetypal presence of the Child, along with the experience of actual children. A working hypothesis is that attentive listening to the voice of the divine child within each person supports processes of personal growth and spiritual transformation, in so doing mending the woundings of colonization and traumas inflicted by families and cultural systems. A Jungian perspective reveals a wound: the forgetting, through abuse or neglect, of the human relationship with the divine child archetype. The problem, from a Jungian perspective, becomes perilous, psychologically speaking: A person cut off from the child has no access to the bridge back to the Self, which cannot be discovered without the animating presence of the divine child. With the re-membering of the archetypal child in mind, the paper places emphasis on engaging with transpersonal forces that serve what Jung believed to be the religious function of the psyche. Jungian practitioners in community-based endeavors strive through arts-based practices to facilitate the integration of shadow aspects, as well as methods that seek to decolonize minoritized and marginalized frameworks and promote multiple ways of knowing.