The Innocent is the part of us that trusts life, ourselves, and other people. It is the part that has faith and hope, even when on the surface things look impossible. It is also the part of us that allow to start a new project, a new relation, a new journey with trust in ourselves and others so that we can learn from them. We all begin in innocence, totally cared for inside our mother’s womb. In fact we all start from here from the care of parents who love us, protect us and believe in us and in our potential, at least in theory.
The journey of the Innocent starts when suddenly we are thrown from that safe environment and enter a world where we are judged, where unfair discriminations are made, where conflict and violence are rampant and illusions are shattered. The Innocent in each of us, however, knows that if that safe garden was possible anywhere or anytime, even if we personally never remember experiencing it, then it can be recreated sometime, by someone. This Innocent is motivated by coming back to his Home Planet and by then will become a wise Innocent.
The Innocent often wants to protect the innocent state of trust and optimism, and so refuses the fall. In doing so, however, it may cause the shadow Innocent to take hold.
The Innocent in us can also move easily into denial about our own actions, failing to take responsibility for our own part in our problems. Since Innocents, at least initially, are absolutist and dualistic, they cannot admit they are imperfect without feeling horrible about themselves, so they either get locked into denial about their own inadequacies or are controlled by guilt or shame.
When Innocents are afraid of others, however, they avoid facing that fear by blaming themselves. On the other side when wounded Innocents are afraid of facing their own inadequacies (which is more likely in adult- hood), they will project them onto others and blame others for their own inadequacies.
Years later Innocents will know that some things are safe and some are not. Even the best and the worst of people mix good and bad traits. When Innocents are lucky, they come to accept their own human mix of good and bad motives, strength and vulnerability, and to feel safe partly as a result of a basic faith in the universe, but also because they have become wise in the ways of the world.
Yet this also requires us to experience pain, defeat, or disillusionment. We experience disillusionment, abandonment, and betrayal by others and ourselves many times during our lives. All of this informations lead us back to innocence, in a way that allows us to bless more of our world with a kind of innocence that is a product of wisdom.
When we have lost a sense of unity we need to sacrifice our innocence, move out of our illusions or denial, and go on our journey to find a new level of truth that will restore us to wholeness. At one level, we must never let go of our dreams and ideals, and in this way we remain Innocent. But at the same time, we need to be willing to sacrifice our illusions, gladly and daily, so that we may grow and learn.
The Orphan experiences the same "fall" as the Innocent, but with different effects. The Innocent uses experience to seek more, to have more faith, to be more perfect and lovable, to be more worthy. The Orphan sees it as a demonstration of the essential truth that we are all alone.
The archetype of the Orphan within each of us is active from all the experiences in which our inner child feels neglected, abandoned, betrayed, disappointed.
The Orphan archetype in each of us is activated by all the experiences in which the child in us feels abandoned, betrayed, victimised, neglected, or disillusioned.
These include occasions when teachers were unfair; playmates made fun of us; friends talked behind our backs; lovers said they would never leave, but did.
They also include a growing knowledge about the world: that TV ads lie; that some police are dishonest; that some doctors may fail to treat the sick if they are poor; that the businessman may pollute the environment to make a buck.
In short, we discover that life is not always fair, authorities are not always right, and there are no infallible absolutes. In this way, the Orphan is the disappointed idealist, the disillusioned Innocent. Whereas the Innocent believes that purity and courage will be rewarded, the Orphan knows that is not necessarily the case.
When we give up the childlike wish for Paradise, we begin to grow up. We realise that we are all mortal, all wounded, all in need of each other’s help. The redemption of the Orphan ultimately cannot come from above —God, church, state, history—but must come from collective action.
The Orphan works for justice and claims solidarity with all other oppressed, wounded, or suffering people, not because of any universal truth, but in response to an inner command. The gift of the Orphan archetype is a freedom from dependence, a form of interdependent self-reliance. We no longer rely on external authority figures, but rather learn to help ourselves and one another.
The Orphan learns that there is no power more powerful and responsible than we are. There is not anything or anyone out there who is going to fix it for us.
To the degree that we do not acknowledge the Orphan inside us, that Orphan is abandoned by us as well as the world. Unfortunately, we live in a society in which being hurt or vulnerable is not socially acceptable. We are all supposed to be OK all the time, which means that most of us hide our vulnerable, lost, hurt inner child for fear of being judged by others.
The shadowed Orphan manifest itself in a way that although the Orphan seem to want to be rescued and even believe they want to be rescued, they rarely let anyone help them. They may say they want help, but then play “yes but.” The not integrated Orphan inside us seems to ask for disappointment.
It is important to remember that the Orphan is reacting to the unrealistic grandiosity of the Innocent, who firmly believes that anything is possible with enough faith, imagination, and hard work—or maybe just with faith alone. When the Innocent is dominant in our lives, we are often unrealistic in our optimism.
When the Orphan dominates, we tend to be overly pessimistic, and hence do not even try for what we really want. Or we try, but we are so convinced that what we want is impossible that we undercut our chances in order to reinforce our own scripts.
Orphans either do so cynically or refuse traditional norms while conforming slavishly to outsider norms. We see this, for example, in most radical political groups, whether on the left or the right. When the Orphan is dominant in our lives, we may betray our own values.
They settle for pseudolives and pseudoloves, and may substitute consumerism or mindless ambition for any real satisfaction in life. Such people are unlikely to look inward because they fear nothing is there or they fear the monsters within, so they often fail to seek help, unless their situation deteriorates. At worst, they become so cynical that they no longer even try to please or win friends or influence people, but just attempt to experience some pleasure in some way: through the purchase of things, fine food, and nice clothes; through “winning” and the illusion of control.
Even though the Innocent inside is crying out to have a secure place, Orphans may not be able, initially at least, to “use” that security even when it is available, since wherever they go, their inner voice continues to batter and berate them. No matter how externally safe an environment is, the internal environment is so unsafe that growth continues to be stifled.
Many people’s vocations come out of their woundedness.
At the highest level of Orphan, we learn to welcome all our prodigal children home.
Psychic wounding is not only universal, it is essential to the process of both building the Ego and connecting with our Souls. The gift of the Orphan is to help us acknowledge our wounding and to open enough to share (in places that are safe) our fears, our vulnerabilities, and our wounds. Doing so helps us bond with others out of a grounded, honest, vulnerable place.
As each of us reclaims our Orphaned selves, we no longer need to exile or oppress parts of the population who “carry” those banished qualities for us. At the highest level of Orphan, we learn to welcome all our prodigal children home.
In gratitude, in service