“The child who is not embraced by the village will burn it down to feel its warmth.” – Nigerian proverb.
All these children have something in common. They have been thrown or have fallen from the nest and are left to find their own way without guidance.
In Jungian psychology, this is the archetype of The Abandoned Child. Hiding their profound vulnerability is necessary for survival. They hunch over to protect the embers in their hearts. They grow prickly exteriors. They become even less approachable, isolating themselves further from the sense of belonging that they crave.
Defensive and untrusting, they are suspicious not only of the world at large, but the more immediate threat of each other.
All is not lost however. The Jungian analyst, Clarissa Pinkola Estés describes in “Warming the Stone Child“ how those tiny embers can be fanned by a very small wind.
A huge intense intervention is not necessary, just small encouragements.
These will be quietly hoarded by the Stone Child until enough warmth is gathered, hardness yields and fear dissipates.
So, here are the Stone Children. Here are their characters. Here are their challenges. How do they interact? How does the story unfold? What scenarios can we dream up? Nineteen characters navigating their way over rocky ground. A story waiting to be told.
I have presented scenarios but they are just suggestions. There are as many interpretations as there are observers. Their scripts are in our minds. Each character provides a surface for our projections. Conversely, they are also our audience, watching, listening, attentive.
Each Stone Child is made from pulped newspaper directly modelled over its individual armature. Yesterday’s news, opinions, gossip are all mixed up into a soggy chaotic verbiage. The pulp does its own thing as it dries (I have learned to step out of the way). Its weight will bend the armature. Limbs will warp. Necks will disappear. Heads will settle into hunched shoulders.
Once dry, the pulp is transformed from flimsy transient newspaper into a relatively tough material with a stoney appearance.
Even though they contain such quantities of text, the Stone Children are wordless. Their silence leaves them open to interpretation. They know more than they can say. Spending some time with them and with a little patience we can intuit their stories.
Their characters and their challenges are our starting points, the prompts, the clues to what comes next.