THE UNIVERSAL CHILD: A Hero’s Journey
Book 1 of the Sylvaheim Series of books and Story Image Therapy resources is a collection of twelve “universal” myth-based short stories that depict the hero’s journey. Broken into bite-size sections, The Universal Child can be read together and discussed with a child or preteen at short intervals. Alternatively, they can be read by the young person themselves.
Designed for children and preteens aged 5 -12 (approx.) the mythic, heroic social stories describe a character’s quest toward improved mental or behavioural health. Aligned with Jung’s theory of opposites, characters’ display ‘Frog’ or ‘Scorpion’ behaviour (expanded in the accompanying autobiographical book in the Sylvaheim Series: The Magic of Jung).
Each story in The Universal Child is designed to engage young people. Packed with creative ideas and symbolic images, the book employs imaginative ways to deliver important information through the hero’s journey metaphor.
What is the hero’s journey?
The Universal Child is based on the teachings of Dr Carl Jung and American mythologist, Joseph Campbell.
Only one who has risked the fight with the dragon and is not overcome by it wins the hoard, the “treasure hard to attain.” – Carl Jung, CW 14, par. 756
“Fighting the dragon” implies a young person becoming more self-aware of their own unconscious emotional responses and complexes. This includes our unhealthy levels of caring, and resultant behaviour.
A young person’s dreams and outer life can sometimes resemble a myth, legend, fable or fairy tale. With human behaviour presented as alternate psychological motifs in The Universal Child, there are helpful animals and fantasy characters (representing human instincts) to guide the young reader.
Other psychological motifs in traditional myth, legend, fable and fairytale include thorns and needles that can ‘prick’ us (our psychological projections); and fearsome giants (a young person’s complexes) that can knock us off our feet (our personal standpoint).
“The image that comes to mind is a boxing ring. There are times when… you just want that bell to ring, but you’re the one who’s losing. The one who’s winning doesn’t have that feeling. Do you have the energy and strength to face life? Life can ask more of you than you are willing to give.’Joseph Campbell