12 Archetypes Project


About the project

According to Jungian psychologist Carol S. Pearson, much of what we notice in the world and its relative meanings is determined by the stories inside our head.

Some stories we live are archetypal, coming from psychological patterns that are so basic to human cognition and behavior that they can be observed in all times and places. [1]

Making these stories conscious clears a path for us to pursue our authentic journey [2] and assists in the awakening of our inner hero. [3]

From this perspective, archetypes are inner guides which exemplify a way of being on the journey. [4] They also aid the quest for wholeness and fulfillment in a fragmented inner life.

The curiosity about this human potential led me to explore twelve such archetypal allies introduced by Carol S. Pearson in Awakening the Heroes Within. 


Through the wisdom and power of imagination, I conveyed my archetypal imaginary into artistic expression. 

The ultimate result comprises of twelve mixed media artworks, each of which realized to evoke a specific archetype. 

The possibility to view all the images together facilitates learning from all twelve guides. 

That’s important because when one or more archetypes are not activated in our lives, we may neglect to gain the lesson the situation could teach us or we might express the archetype in its shadow forms. [5]

In this condition we identify ourselves with the archetype and are possessed by it. The way to free ourselves of shadow possession is to awaken our heroic potential. The hero within is, essentially, sleeping.The natural way to activate inner potential is to shine the light of consciousness upon it. When we begin to see that we have a hero within, the hero, quite naturally, wakes up. [6]

The aim of “12 Archetypes project” is:

  • to launch an investigation into archetypal, timeless spiritual truths as

  • a tool for self-understanding and personal growth; [7]

  • to provide a visual description of twelve key stages in human development, each with its own lesson, task and gift. [8]

  • to create a personal space to engage in both individual and collective experiences. 

  • to share my physical ritual for an active dialogue with archetypes;

  • to offer food for thought to leap off the edge of the known to confront the unknown. 

That involves trusting that when the time comes, we will have what we need to face our dragons, discover our treasures, and return to transform the kingdom.[9]

[1] Carol S. Pearson, Archetypal and narrative intelligence tools for your journey, 2016, www.psychologytoday.com
[2] Carol S. Pearson, www.carolspearson.com
[3] Carol S. Pearson, Archetypal and narrative intelligence tools for your journey, 2016, www.psychologytoday.com
[4]; [5]; [6]; [7]; [8]; [9] Pearson, C. (1991) Awakening the Heroes Within, New York: HarperCollins.


Copyright Stefania Santarcangelo 2020