The Innocent Archetype


So following on from the Blog post - Archetypes? Who am I?, the first one we will explore is the archetype of the Innocent.

The Innocent is the part of us that trusts life, ourselves and other people. It is the part that has faith, trust and hope, even when on the surface thinks look impossible.
— Carol Pearson

This is one of the ego archetypes, along with Orphan, Caregiver and Warrior and one of the child archetypes with Orphan.  The ego archetypes are the ones on which we build our foundations and our stability.  They may not appear as appealing or exciting as perhaps the soul archetypes, (lover, seeker, destroyer, creator) but these are the building blocks for our ontological safety, our sense of trust, faith and belief in ourselves.

So the gifts of the Innocent are: optimism, trust, faith and hope.

The goal of the innocent is to remain in safety.

The greatest fear of the innocent is abandonment.

The "task" of the innocent is: to develop trust in oneself and to be confident in handling the self.

Different archetypes become triggered at different stages of our life.  As a young child that has complete trust in parents and life, we see the world through the eyes of the innocent.  As we grow up, conversely this archetype is triggered through betrayal.  So as an example when we first realise that Father Christmas is not real, there is a sense of betrayal, our parents have lied to us (albeit it for magic and loveliness) but it can be the first time a child starts to learn to trust their self as they can no longer take everything an adult or parent says as the absolute truth.

In the beginning as a child, we can have complete faith and trust in our parents (or primary caregivers) and as we mature we learn that same trust and faith in ourselves.

If we think of the image of the deer with big eyes, that is a powerful archetypal image of the innocent archetype.

In all archetypes there are several stages of "development" or "evolution" and we can find ourselves operating out of any of them.  Even if we feel we primarily operate at the highest level, when we are tired, stressed, or the chips are down there is the potential for all of us to revert to the lowest level, the shadow level.

So at the lowest level - the innocent is:  Denying reality and being naive.  This is displayed when someone puts their head in the sand, and ignores the "ugly" or unpleasant side of life or the world.  

At  the highest level the innocent has the ability to trust and be optimistic without denial.  A sense of whatever comes my way, I can deal with it.

I wonder where in life you resonate with the innocent?  Maybe it is something you recognise in you or maybe not?  Maybe you embody this archetype more in some areas of life than in others?  I would love to hear your comments.

The next archetype is the Orphan.