Are You an Indigo Child Too?

In the mid-70s, a supernatural idea was born from a self-proclaimed synesthete (someone who reads people’s auras to tell them of their personalities) named Nancy Ann Toppe called “indigo children.” According to her, this was a new wave of highly spiritually evolved souls reincarnating on Earth born with the purpose of starting a spiritual evolution for all humans. She identified them through their indigo aura, which she observed more and more child clients having. The concept was further developed by Lee Carroll and Jan Tober, and then gained some mainstream popularity in the 2000s by a popular psychic Doreen Virtue in her book The Care and Feeding of Indigo Children. Some celebrities began to use the phrase to describe themselves or their children, like Will Smith’s children for example. So what are the unique traits differentiating indigo children from their ordinary counterparts? The first chapter of Doreen’s book lays it out with a list of indigo symptoms: strong-willed, born in 1978 or later, headstrong, creative, prone to addictions, an “old soul”, intuitive or psychic, tendency to isolate, independent and proud, possesses a deep desire to help the world in a big way, wavers between low self-esteem and grandiosity, easily bored, diagnosed with ADD, prone to insomnia or nightmares, history of depression, looks for real friendships only, and easily bonds with other non-human living things (Virtue, p. 22). If somebody checks off at least 14 of the above 17 characteristics, then that person is in fact an indigo. This claim is certainly extraordinary because if proven to be true then it would change the fabric of understanding how the universe works. For one, that would prove that there is more beyond this Earthly plane and that souls do exist. The term “indigo” came from the indigo-like auras around these children, as purported by Nancy Ann Tappe. Indigo is the color of the third-eye chakra, which deals with all other abilities beyond the ordinary – psychic intuition, clairvoyance and out-of-body experiences. It is not the responsibility of the nonbeliever to convince us that such auras exist and that there is a color trend among a particular group of children to young adults. The burden of proof is on these parents and the respective authority figures of indigo children literature.

To Doreen Virtue’s benefit, she did include scientific research in her book to back some of her claims. For example, talking about the belief that indigo children have psychic abilities,  she actually cites an Ohio State sociology professor’s research – “William MacDonald at the University of Ohio [presumably she meant OSU] found that children had the highest number of verifiable psychic experiences, compared to other age groups” (Virtue, p. 34). It does turn out that this was a legitimate survey done by him in 1995. She mentions a lot about what she sees as the correlation between attention deficit issues and being spiritually evolved. A Washington Post article does state that there has been a significant increase in children diagnosed with ADD/ADHD – about a ten percent rise in the last 20 years. However, one explanation of this could be that the criteria for ADD has changed or at least been more well known in the last two decades. A young girl who could have had ADD symptoms in 1975 may not have been targeted by her teachers or parents to investigate it, due to lack of knowledge it. Today, ADD/ADHD is commonly spoken of on mainstream television and between parents or schools. Even with these scientific studies that Doreen purports to go with her views, none of them give definitive proof of the existence of indigo children or more precisely that these children who exhibit these certain traits all have indigo auras. The scientific evidence to work against belief hardly exists because there isn’t really a clear way of falsifying this belief. That said, like Carl’s Dragon, this belief may not be a belief at all since it can’t be argued against. There are definitely societal contributions to this belief system. The biggest one I see here is the apparent disdain or at least distrust of the pharmaceutical and food industries in regards to what products children are ingesting. The perceived uniqueness of indigo children and the concept’s approach of straying from medications to treat autism and ADHD have created narratives in which “Big Pharma” is seen as a conspiring giant to create disorders and harm children further with their damaging vaccinations and harmful, body-altering medications. These parents are not wrong to think that greed and shadiness may play a role in prescriptions getting on the market with biased supportive research. Same goes from the food industry, where genetically-modified foods have been shown to bring about new allergies or illnesses to those that eat them.

This belief system of indigo children may very well have transpired and taken off in popularity from the amount of overly concerned parents are to protect their children from what they perceive as evil, opposing forces. Although there isn’t one cohesive group in person or online that each follower is a part of, there are large enough Facebook groups dedicated to the cause of raising an indigo children such as the “Indigo Children Group” with 95 likes or the “Indigo, Crystal, Rainbows, Starseeds, lightworker support group” which has over 12,000 likes. Looking at those group pages, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of activism or any specific concerns reported. Rather, a lot of the content is inspirational quotes and guides for healing, etc. I’m sure if I looked more extensively though I would find community posts about the dangers of GMO foods or why vaccination is wrong. All in all, there are 17 characteristics of an indigo set out by Doreen Virtue, wherein if a child has 14 of them then they are an indigo. Believers think these children were sent here in this carnation on Earth to bring about spiritual evolution to all humans, through dismantling current power structures that are harmful from government to medicine to the food industry. These children are special because they possess personalities and psychic abilities that are unusual but uplifting. These specific traits can be misconstrued in the eyes of medical professionals as having ADHD or autism. Parents’ believe indigo children do not need medication or even to be diagnosed because they are instead simply made of things beyond this Earthly plane and should be treated as extraordinarily.

Works Cited
Strauss, Valerie. “The Huge Issue That Most Autism Research Funding Ignores.” The
Washington Post, WP Company, 14 Dec. 2018,
Virtue, Doreen. The Care and Feeding of Indigo Children. Hay House, 2006.

16 thoughts on “Are You an Indigo Child Too?

  1. This was such an interesting post! I really found the characteristics that make up supposed indigo children to be really interesting because they are so broad. Just with a cursory glance, I know I could check off a hand full. Strong willed, born in 1978 or later, creative, independent, and tendency to isolate are just a few that I would check off. Despite this though, I certainly don’t think I am an indigo child.

  2. Hello!
    This blog post was interesting to me because I have ADHD! I read through the characteristics and I met almost all of them as well. I think it is an interesting take on the order and meaning of life. Obviously we are not able to prove or disprove this claim but overall its an interesting concept. I have heard of people having different aura colors so this idea wasn’t super far fetched! I definitely think peoples spirits serve different purposes in life and this was a cool interpretation of what someone believes certain peoples meaning are!

  3. This post was really interesting to read especially all of the characteristics. I feel like only needing to fulfill 14 of the 17 is kind of faulty, Not only because I would be considered an Indigo child but have no ADD or ADHD which seems to be the prime trait but also because all of these characteristics are very broad. I wonder if they associated ADHD with spiritual involving because they thing people who have ADHD might be concentrating on this whole aura thing rather than school work or such.

  4. I’ve actually heard about this concept a handful of times over the years, but I hadn’t done any research or looked into what actually makes an Indigo child an Indigo child. I too found the list of characteristics for an Indigo child to be very thought provoking because they seem to all be SO specific. Like the idea of, “looking for real friendships only.” I know these are the criteria for being classified as an Indigo child, but why were those specific characterizations chosen as criteria in the first place? Further than that, is there any one characteristic of the 17 that holds more weight when processing whether or not a certain individual is an indigo child? These are just a few questions that come to my mind when reading this research.

  5. I am glad someone wrote about this, as it brings back some childhood memories for me. My mother and grandma always claimed I was an indigo child. Thus explaining my odd demeanor growing up. For years I was told this, but never did any further investigation into where it came from. I am surprised to learn people believe indigo children are made of a different earthly plane, and have psychic abilities. My family never mentioned this to me. I highly doubt their is a such thing as indigo children, but I think parents accept this urband legend as a way to understand a child that is different.

  6. Never believe on such beliefs. It always sounds like unscientific thing for me. It attempts to classify human by simple ways which also remind me about some personality test that just are not reliable.

  7. I have actually never heard of indigo children before. Hearing the characteristics being associated with a child who has ADD or ADHD is not surprising to me. People who have those illnesses seem as though they have extraordinary talents because of how their brain works. Its not necessarily hindering effects which is why I think they are considered supernatural.

  8. The Indigo child belief, as another commenter noted, seems to be a mechanism used to rationalize and justify a child having behaviors that may not seem normal to a parent. I can especially see how this belief could be comforting to a parent of a child with autism or a behavioral disorder before much was known about them – having an Indigo child would be a way to acknowledge your child’s traits without having to admit that that they are on the autism spectrum or have a bevaioral disorder. In that way it almost seems like a way to erase the possibility that there is anything “wrong” with the child.

  9. Are Indigo Children and Star Children the same thing? I remember we briefly discussed Star Children in class, and this post really reminded me of them. In terms of the characteristics of Indigo Children, the number “14 of the above 17” seems arbitrary, and some of the characteristics seem almost opinion based and are not clear cut. How could one really know if someone was an Indigo Child truly?

  10. Why were celebrities calling their children indigo, are they believers in this conspiracy theory, or are they just trying to say that their children are different? I had never heard of this conspiracy theory before, so it was very fascinating to hear more.

  11. Your post reminds me that there is another conspiracy talking about birth during a particular time. It is saying that during the full moon night, there are more baby born because of gravity, and they are more likely to pursue careers related to art, such as film director. These theories get the public’s attention because it involves their family members. It is very hard to distinguish it from science because it is possible that the chance of full moon and the time more baby born have a coincidence.

  12. I thought your post was super interesting! I had heard of indigo children before but had not looked into the charasteristics that defined them. To me, it sounds a little bit like the motivation factor of a desire to be different. As a few above comments mentioned, I think people might look for an explanation as being special by being mystical, rather than accepting they are special for being different.

  13. This post was really interesting. I think it’s funny how broad the descriptors for an indigo child are, and that you only have to fulfill most of these requirements to be considered one. This makes the whole idea seem shaky because technically I could be counted as one from the basic personality traits, but I don’t have ADD which is a pretty major diff

  14. The notion of Indigo children could be contributed to some parent’s high expectation to their kids. They want their kids more special, smart and mature. The motivation is reasonable, but saying that these innocent children are actually from another race is too much. The relation between this Indigo theory group and anti-vaccination group really explains the cognitive mechanism of whole system. It’s under the influence of omission bias that people would really worried about the possible change happened in the new generations. Also, the description of Indigo children is really general and vague, maybe Barnum effect also have some impact here.

  15. The criteria needed to qualify as an indigo child remind me of the lecture we had on repressed memories, where several books included checklists that supposedly would indicate whether or not you had been sexually abused earlier in life, and were just repressing it. The criteria is simply too vague and can honestly be interpreted in a variety of ways, according to different individuals.

  16. You stated that these 17 traits of indigo children are extraordinary, but do really believe that? I think the traits are not any extraordinary. I would consider super powers or psychic abilities to be extraordinary. I have never heard of the indigo children and was surprised to read that celebrities believe in this type of belief. I think they may have some type of expectation for their kids and that they must possess some higher being that being a typical normal child. Overall indigo children do not seem to do anything special. They may have 14 of the 17 traits but does that give them some special ability to do something?

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