As an imaginal approach, archetypal psychology focuses its attention on the diverse and polysemous expressions of imagination as the ground from which all psychological expressions emerge, replacing the dried up concept of a singular ego with the notion that consciousness takes up a multitude of styles concordant with the mercurial flow of images that concentrically influence, grip down, and take over consciousness like a band of pirates commandeering a ship. Archetypal psychology situates itself as a transpersonal psychology by qualifying the image as inextricably archetypal, denoting a valence of meaning that extends beyond the merely personal, beyond the particular cultural-historical situation, pointing toward a pattern that has persisted in the cultural and personal heritage of humanity since time immemorial. After a brief introduction to some of the primary ideas of archetypal psychology, this paper explores the Criminal as an archetypal image, complex, and shadow projection that has been culturally disavowed and expressed through the brutality of systemic racism. The paper concludes with an example of the transformation of this image through the psychological functions of guilt and death.
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Butler, J. (2016). Gnawing at the roots: Toward a transpersonal poetics of guilt and death. International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, 35 (2). https://doi.org/10.24972/ijts.2016.35.2.51