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Indigo Children – New Age Myth or Proof of Evolution?

January 16, 2009

First of all, for any of you interested in Buddhism, check out my interview with Sylvia Boorstein on BellaOnline. Ms. Boorstein is a founding teacher of the Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Northern CA,  a regular columnist for the Buddhist magazine Shambhala Sun, and a bestselling author of several books, including Happiness is an Inside Job, recently released in paperback.

Now, on to the subject at hand – Indigo children, or rather, the theory of Indigo children. For those of you not familiar with this term, ‘Indigo children’ refers to a popular belief within the New Age community that most of the children being born today are part of a new stage in human evolution, and that they posses certain specific traits designed to help them deal with the challenges humanity will face in coming generations. Proponents of this theory believe that many of the children diagnosed with ADD and ADHD are actually part of this new generation, and that their education and care needs to be handled in a certain way so that they can manifest their gifts to their highest potential.

I use the term ‘New Age community’ rather liberally, when in fact, I am not sure there is a cohesive community as such. To most people, many of my ideas would be considered ‘New Age’, although I don’t use that label for myself, and have issues with some of the theories put forth by leading New Age thinkers and teachers. And many of the supporters of the Indigo children theory are psychotherapists, teachers and childcare workers that also do not consider themselves New Age, so it might not be entirely accurate to label it a New Age theory.

In any case, here is the list of traits purportedly exhibited by Indigo children, as reprinted from  www.IndigoChild.com, the website maintained by the authors of the first major book on the subject.

* They come into the world with a feeling of royalty (and often act like it)
* They have a feeling of “deserving to be here,” and are surprised when others don’t share that.
* Self-worth is not a big issue. They often tell the parents “who they are.”
* They have difficulty with absolute authority (authority without explanation or choice).
* They simply will not do certain things; for example, waiting in line is difficult for them.
* They get frustrated with systems that are ritually oriented and don’t require creative thought.
* They often see better ways of doing things, both at home and in school, which makes them seem like “system busters” (nonconforming to any system).
* They seem antisocial unless they are with their own kind. If there are no others of like consciousness around them, they often turn inward, feeling like no other human understands them. School is often extremely difficult for them socially.
* They will not respond to “guilt” discipline (“Wait till your father gets home and finds out what you did”).
* They are not shy in letting you know what they need.

First the skeptical view. As many have noted, this list is general enough to apply to almost any child, at least some of the time, so doesn’t really seem to indicate a new stage in evolution. And additional questions arise from the fact that many proponents of the theory think at least 90% of children born in recent years are Indigo children. If that is the case, what are they being compared to? When are they not around their ‘own kind’? And, even allowing that this generation exhibits some specific traits, where is the proof that this is part of a new incarnational cycle? Who says it is not the result of sociological shifts in the ways kids are raised, or television, or the foods they are eating (or not eating), or any number of other factors that are different from when their parents (like me) were born?

Still, when I read some of the observations from childcare workers and parents about children they believe are ‘Indigos’, I can’t help but sense there is something to this theory. I think part of the complication of sorting through this subject is that so many people have latched on to it to support there own individual agendas. Problems arise from the fact that lists like the one above are ‘scrubbed’ of any reference to the children’s energies and intuitive abilities. I suspect that is because the authors are trying to reach a broader audience outside the New Age community, particularly the parents of ADD and ADHD children, in order to offer them alternative options (besides Ritalin, that is.) And that is a goal I support, but without some of the psycho-spiritual descriptions of what defines an Indigo child, there doesn’t seem to be enough meat to the theory.

Part of the reason I am so interested in this theory is because I have three young children, the first of which is eligible to start kindergarten next year. I am concerned about the educational options available to us, and homeschooling is not an option I am interested in right now. As it turns out, Montessori is one of the educational systems viewed as supportive for Indigo children, and all three of mine attend a Montessori preschool, where they are thriving. And I do sense something specific about them and their generation, on an energy level. While the list above doesn’t entirely fit them, I can relate to it on a certain plane.

What has interested me more, however, is some of the energy descriptions of Indigo children (and here is where I am going to get New Agey on you.) The term ‘Indigo’ came from an intuitive who attempted to classify human energy systems according to the colors of their auras in the 1980s. She observed that many of the children being born at that time had a kind of energy pattern that she had not seen before. Over time, she (and other intuitives) saw more and more of these children being born, until it hit the current levels, where most children born are believed to be Indigos. I don’t see things in terms of auras, but I do sense energies, and I do think this generation has a warrior-like spirit that is unique. As intuitive Doreen Virtue puts it in her book The Care and Feeding of Indigo Children, “It’s almost like they are in boot camp being prepared for combat.”

Overall, for me the jury is still out on this theory. I am uncomfortable with some of the grander predictions and expectations being placed on these children, but I am not willing to disregard the theory altogether. And I support many of the ideas being put forth by leading proponents of the theory – that our schools need to be overhauled to deal with today’s children, that drugging our kids is NOT an answer, and that today’s children need to be properly prepared for the world, and problems, they are going to encounter.

If you are interested in more info on Indigo Children, check out my book review of Empowering Your Indigo Child. For more posts related to spiritual parenting,  go to the Parenting page, or for children’s spiritual books, visit the Books page.

19 Comments leave one →
  1. January 17, 2009 1:34 pm

    I think you summed up my thoughts on this quite well. I was going to blog about this but you’ve said it well enough!

    While I’m totally of the ‘energy’ persuasion, I also look at everything with a critical eye. Like you, I tend to lean towards a socio-cultural influence. The descriptions are just too vague, too easily applied to most children some of the time, too often not applicable to many children.

  2. mommymystic permalink*
    January 17, 2009 3:22 pm

    Mon, I’m glad you came by, I was wondering what you thought about this idea…there are some new books coming out about it (no shortage of marketing of this idea out there, but I guess that is true of anything these days) so I am curious to see what they have to say…

  3. January 17, 2009 10:00 pm

    Hi MM,
    I sure don’t know where you find the time to create all these thought-provoking posts when you have 3 little ones at home. Oh, my! You have a lot of energy.

    I truly appreciate this article. You’ve done a great job of presenting a balanced approach. I, too, am where you are with all of this. My children are now 18-26 and I swear each one carries “Indigo” all over them. They definitely walk to a different drummer, but then their mom does too (!). Thanks for your balanced and insightful post about this. I’m still in the Hmmmmm… category.

  4. mommymystic permalink*
    January 18, 2009 3:20 pm

    Hi Jan, thanks for your comment. I didn’t realize until I was halfway through the Doreen Virtue book that I mentioned in the post that I realized where I had read her before – in your book, Your Truest Self. I kept thinking her ‘voice’ sounded familiar and couldn’t place it! It is interesting all the interconnections, with the Sylvia Boorstein post as well…

  5. January 21, 2009 10:52 pm

    I discovered your blog through Amy Jewell. You write fascinating stuff! Lookforward to exploring more. You may be interested in a few of my posts on this indigo subject:

    http://blog.dreambuilders.com.au/journal/2007/9/28/indigo-children-the-future-of-humanity.html

    http://blog.dreambuilders.com.au/journal/2008/6/8/what-do-you-make-of-this-indigo-reality.html

  6. mommymystic permalink*
    January 22, 2009 3:31 am

    Liara, thanks for coming by! I will definitely get over to your blog and read more about the Indigo children.

  7. January 23, 2009 5:05 am

    Oh, cheat! It “outed me”! lol… I talked about you in my most recent blog post… I think my last comment got erased by my hurriedness…lol…

  8. mommymystic permalink*
    January 23, 2009 5:57 pm

    ha ha…i would have found you anyway…thanks for the mention, i did some updating of my profile on cirkla.com, will return again when i have more time…

  9. charlie permalink
    May 19, 2009 5:56 am

    well lets see here, ive therorized about his topic lately and im kinda on the fence my self i believe partly its humans are sublimanaly tought from and early age that they are special and that they are better. but as a early kid its easy for the brain to misinturperate thing i mean mixing these things with x-men and what not dosnt mix well in the young kids brain. but it seems nice and like a simple answer to alot of my questions. why i sometimes feel alittle more adapted i like to call it. i think “indigo” is either a easy fix to help ppl sleep or a way of saying an upgraded human. i mean i find myself rather intelligent for 15 granted i suck at spelling but hell we all have are weak spots. anyways. i also am always in well homoestasis and havnt been sick for at least 3 years. and i bench 250 and may i remind u i am only 15. and i cant help but feel different this jus seems like an easy way to say a human that is naturaly more adapted and fit for survival. i just dont know exactly how to phrase this. like in my mind it seems like something tells me that i have a important role on this earth. but maybe im crazy. we’ll never really know.

    but really i think there is more adapted humans for a reason. maybe something might happen that all the weak and unevolved will die off and the adapted will prevail to breed and creat a “super human” u never know thats a theroy to toss around. to me its jus as believable as this story.

    and for some reason i feel like that thought is there for a reason. and im slightly scared is it possible its primal instinct sensing that some disaster will happen where its survival of the fittest. or im crazy. or do i think to much for my own good?

    but if ur reading this id be rather surprised that u even read me blab on.

  10. mommymystic permalink*
    May 19, 2009 6:16 am

    Charlie – of course I read it, and you raised some interesting points, especially for 15, so I I have no doubt you are unique:-) As you said, humans seem to have a proclivity for feeling special, and this whole theory may be just another manifestation of that. And yet so many parents and teachers, and now you as a student, say it resonates for them, so I can’t discount it entirely either. Time will tell, I guess.

  11. indigo accused permalink
    August 13, 2009 4:01 pm

    seriously. this is quackery. there is no doubt that people are looking form something. always have been. i was accused once or twice of this indigo NONSENSE. WHERE IS THE EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE? The proof is in the puddin’
    Show me the skills of these “children” who are now long since adults. It is just another way to avoid responsibility. Society and discipline exist for a reason. Some rules are good some suck. But to pretend that there is a group of people that can devise their own system is ridiculous. What about the rest of the mortals on the planet. Would the would be indigos be so selfish as to let them just flounder and fail? Wait in line, just don’t wait in line for a crappy movie.

  12. February 17, 2010 7:36 pm

    Hi Mommymystic, I’ve recently written a few posts about indigos and have a monster article lined up to post tomorrow. I’m indigo myself, having really changed my life with the self understanding that hearing the theory brought me. However, there is a lot of confused and downright wrong info about indigos out there. I think part of the reason is that non-indigos don’t quite get what it means to be indigo.

    Indigo is not a “generation”. As I went through in my recent post about the myths on indigos, there have been rumours for different times between the year 1984 and 2000 all saying that at that point all children were born indigo. No, if that were to happen we’d be experiencing war right now.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if you were to be bringing up indigo children though – a lot of highly conscious non-indigos are chosen as safe environments for indigos to grow up. I know a lightworker who has an indigo child but who is not indigo herself in fact. (Damn I wish I had that sort of parent myself…)

    If you need help sorting out your thoughts on indigos or working out if your children are, then feel free to talk to me about it.

    Kristen Finlayson is great on the topic of indigos too, being indigo herself:

    http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/Characteristics_Of_Indigo_Children_Adults.html

    Hope this helps.

    Love

    Andrew

  13. Anonymous permalink
    June 19, 2010 12:52 am

    Most of the traits r not true cuz I’m one of the indigo children!!!!!!!!!

  14. June 21, 2010 9:31 pm

    Anon – I’m interested to hear what you think the identifying traits are? What led you to identifying yourself as an Indigo? Part of the issue I had when researching this is that there were so many different ‘trait’ lists, and they did seem to clash. Sort of undermined the whole concept in my view. Which doesn’t mean that I don’t think there are different ‘soul types’, because I actually do, I’m just not sure much that is written on Indigos is all that helpful. What have you found that is useful?

  15. Zie permalink
    November 27, 2012 10:32 pm

    What about immunization poisoning the child’s brain early development? Water pollution? EMF frequencies disrupting little kids’ brain wave, water mercury level, air pollutions and chemtrail chemical compounds? It might be the pharma industry trying to poison our kids via water fluoridation and then provide us with psycho drugs for profit killing. I don’t think a kid that can’t even tie his or her shoes can be an old soul from a different planet BS. I am socially isolating, I don’t mix with crowds, I don’t like to abide with the authorities and don’t like mass media manipulations, but that doesn’t mean I am special gifted child. I would say most of kid if they are pure enough they will see the “other world”, which is nothing special. Crystal child theory to me is not very convincing….

  16. November 29, 2012 12:18 am

    Hi Zie, yes I share many of your doubts. And yet as an energy worker, I do sense different energies in each generation, and I do think this generation has its distinctive characteristics. I think some writings on Indigo/Crystal etc. children have just gotten a little carried away, and in some cases that does tip into viewing every behavior as ‘special’. On the one hand, I can relate to wanting to appreciate rather than ‘clinicalize’ differences, but on the other hand this can result in children not getting grounded help that they need to thrive in today’s world. It’s a balance. And I agree about all children having an openness to other levels of awareness and reality that many of us lose as an adult – by itself this doesn’t qualify anyone as part of a distinct generation or soul group.

  17. June 18, 2013 8:39 am

    I’ve always wondered how many of our society’s misfits, addicts and malcontents would have grown up different with parents and teachers who accepted their mental differences instead of trying to press these persons into a mold that was too small.

    I’ve also felt that ADD and ADHD may be the result of parents or teachers overwhelmed by a child more intelligent or different than they, and/or a Doctor who wants a diagnosis that can be corrected with a quick and easy chemical solution.

    Is it possible that these “Indigo Children” are simply a result of children being raised in a society that is starting to realize that there may be more than 5 senses and is making allowances for differences? Maybe it could be termed, “Unfettered Growth”?

    We still owe much of our narrow-mindedness to the “Puritan” founders and forefathers of this great country. Even though the “Christian Bible” they espoused to follow, labeled these extra senses/abilities as “Gifts-of-the-Spirit”, they hunted and destroyed the talented as “witches” as they had learned from the Roman Catholic Church and their “Spanish Inquisition”.

    As we slowly crawl out from under these misconceptions of our ancestors, our growth will be named numerous things by groups of “thinkers” who do not understand the enormous range of possibilities available in the human brain and the human genome.

    What will these children become when they are trained from early childhood in the use of their talents? When they are recognized, applauded and accepted for being “Talented” even as we recognize athletic or artistic talent ?

    Would you have been a different, happier person if you had been taught about what might happen in your mind as you grew older?. . .if you had been able to take your confusion to someone who understood what was happening to your mind when puberty triggered changes in your perceptions of this world, and added information that you had not been given a category to file it under?

    How much different will our children and grandchildren be?

  18. June 18, 2013 5:09 pm

    Hi Steve, I very much agree with what you are saying. Our conditioning around what is ‘normal’ and what is ‘paranormal’ is very limited. It is changing, but many of this current generation do seem to be pushing the boundaries. I am not sure if you saw my interviews with Cyndi Dale, an intuitive and energy healer who has much experience working with ADHD children (including in her family) and some with autistic children also, but she talks about how much they are forcing schools to change as they move through the grades. Just like baby boomers changed so many things as they moved through society at different points in their lives, so this generation is and will change things too. Here are my interviews with her, if you are interested:

    https://mommymystic.wordpress.com/2012/12/11/interview-with-cyndi-dale-part-i-adhd-and-energetic-boundaries/

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