The Universal Child: A Hero’s Journey

Book 1 of Talk to Teens is a collection of twelve universally applicable, myth-based short stories that describe the classic 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, the stories can be read by the young person themselves, or with a trusted adult, depending on the age of the preteen, teen or young adult.

The Universal Child is one that is well-balanced and connected to Self, Spirit and Nature

Designed for individuals aged 9 -12 approx., children as young as 5 might also enjoy some stories. The mythic, heroic social stories describe a character’s heroic quest toward improved mental or behavioural health. Aligned with Jung’s theory of opposites,  characters’ are identified as displaying ‘Frog’ or ‘Scorpion’ behaviour (expanded in the accompanying book: The Rise of Jung).

Each story in The Universal Child is designed to engage young people. Packed with creative ideas, photographs 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.

The Hero’s Journey reflects our own ‘hero’s’ journey 

He is no hero who never met the dragon, or who, if he once saw it, declared afterwards that he saw nothing. Equally, 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” thus implies a young person becoming more self-aware of their own unconscious emotional responses and complexes. This includes their unhealthy levels of caring, and resultant behaviour, around which The Universal Child is written.

 

Psychological Motifs

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 (representing human instincts) used to guide the young reader through life.

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
YouTube video