Eternal Child (Puer/Puella Eternis)
Positive aspects of the archetype manifest as a determination to remain eternally young in body, mind, and spirit. People who maintain that age will never stop them from enjoying life are relying on the positive energy of this archetype to supply that healthy attitude. The shadow Eternal Child often manifests as an inability to grow up and embrace the responsible life of an adult. Like Peter Pan, he resists ending a cycle of life in which he is free to live outside the boundaries of conventional adulthood. The shadow Puella Eternis can manifest in women as extreme dependency on those who take charge of their physical security. A consistent inability to be relied on and the inability to accept the aging process are also markers of this archetype. Although few people delight in the ending of their youth, the Eternal Child is sometimes left floundering and ungrounded between the stages of life, because he has not laid a foundation for a functioning adulthood.
Films: Tom Hanks in Big; Pee Wee Herman in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure; Carroll Baker in Baby Doll; Thomas Hulce in Dominic and Eugene, and as Mozart in Amadeus.
Fairy Tales:Peter Pan.