Psychologically, an image of both the irrecoverable past and an anticipation of future development.
The “child” is . . . . both beginning and end, an initial and a terminal creature. . . . the pre-conscious and the post-conscious essence of man. His pre-conscious essence is the unconscious state of earliest childhood; his post-conscious essence is an anticipation by analogy of life after death. In this idea the all-embracing nature of psychic wholeness is expressed.[“The Psychology of the Child Archetype,” CW 9i, par. 299.]
Feelings of alienation or abandonment can constellate the child archetype. The effects are two-fold: the “poor-me” syndrome characteristic of the regressive longing for dependence, and, paradoxically, a desperate desire to be free of the past-the positive side of the divine child archetype.
Abandonment, exposure, danger, etc., are all elaborations of the “child’s” insignificant beginnings and of its mysterious and miraculous birth. This statement describes a certain psychic experience of a creative nature, whose object is the emergence of a new and as yet unknown content. In the psychology of the individual there is always, at such moments, an agonizing situation of conflict from which there seems to be no way out-at least for the conscious mind, since as far as this is concerned, tertium non datur.[Ibid., par. 285.]
“Child” means something evolving towards independence. This it cannot do without detaching itself from its origins: abandonment is therefore a necessary condition [of consciousness], not just a concomitant symptom.[Ibid., par. 287.]