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Personal and Transpersonal Projections


By George A. Boyd © 2002

When we study the projective mechanism of the unconscious mind, we discover 18 different forms in which we cast others. With each form we find there are associated desires and emotions. These are shown below:



Other’s Form

Our Desires

Our Associated Emotions




Desire to destroy or murder




Desire to flee

Horror, revulsion



Desire to control or repress

Prejudice, bigotry, anger, superiority


Centaur (man-beast)

Desire to bring out the humanness

Pity mixed with fear



Child (infant)

Desire to teach or guide

Kindness, playfulness, fun


Older child

Desire to teach responsibility

Sternness, discipline



Desire to protect and control behavior

Confrontation, caring



Desire for love, romance or friendship

Intimacy, caring, love, romance


Older adult

Desire for guidance or a mentor

Deference, guidance-seeking


Old age

Desire to learn from their wisdom and to avoid the deterioration of aging

Respect, sadness

Supernatural or




Ghost or spirit

Desire to avoid possession

Fear, suspicion



Desire to avoid supernatural wrath, desire to behold supernatural beauty

Fear, awe, love



Desire to avoid being dissolved or torn apart by supernatural force

Fear, trembling


Archetype or Divine Form (Elohim)

Desire to abase oneself, to fall on the floor in worship

Fear, humility, self-abasement


Divine Spirit (Shekinah)

Desire to submit oneself to the Divine Will and to receive love and healing

Worship, ecstasy, gratitude and thanksgiving


Presence of God

Desire to contemplate beauty

Awe, wonder, rapture


Bliss of God

Desire to not leave the wonderful feeling

Bliss, peace, union


Peace of God

Cessation of desire, complete fulfillment and peace (Nirvana)

Complete rest and satiety

Through labeling, and by political, religious and cultural indoctrination, you come to view certain people as one of forms 1-10. When political labeling casts someone as an enemy, it evokes the projective mechanism of demonization. When cast in this way, you become ready and willing to destroy that person who you see as demonic. Demonization is a necessary precursor to indoctrinating others to fight a war.

Transmogrification, the identification of someone as a monster, leads to your desire to avoid this person at all costs. The fear of contracting disease or being injured by a savage or insane person evokes the desire to stay far away from him or her. Labeling others with a contagious, disfiguring disease (e.g., leprosy) or a severe mental illness (e.g., schizophrenia) evokes this sense of dread and horror in people.

Viewing others as animals (bestialization) leads to prejudice and exploitation. When you see them as an animal, you use others as beasts of burden but deny them human rights and freedom. You control them and use them. The institution of slavery cannot exist without bestializing another person. If they are seen as beasts, then you see them as being inferior, not possessing basic humanity or even souls.

Viewing others in theriomorphic form (part man, part animal) evokes mixed emotions of pity and fear. You see the human part, with which you can identify, yet see a dark, subhuman part. When you look at others with an addiction, a personality disorder or know them to be criminals, you sometimes may see them in this form – containing much that is human, yet with a deformed or subhuman part that we may fear or distrust.

Viewing others in different aspects of their humanity (forms 5-10) draws out different responses in you. This is not strictly limited by chronological age. For example, you usually look to an older, more experienced adult for guidance, but you may also seek guidance from a skilled prodigy. Pedophiles project sexual and romantic feelings on young children; people normally reserve these feelings for those who are older – who they view as eligible adults. Sublimation, moreover, may turn a romantic interest into a platonic friendship or a mentor relationship.

Those who pray and meditate may have experiences with elements of the higher unconscious within themselves through inner encounters. However, sometimes you may glimpse the spiritual nature of others and idealize them. We often speak of one whom you love as an angel. People often idealize and visualize the forms of the higher unconscious in their spiritual leaders. If you view your spiritual Master’s radiant form within, he or she may appear like an angel. If you glimpse the radiance of the Master when he or she ministers the Light, then you may glimpse the archangelic form or even the form of the Divine Spirit in your spiritual leader.

You may see the archetypal form of your spiritual leader or have a vision or his or her highly advanced Soul (seeing the presence of God within him or her) in the experience of darshan. In deep meditation, you may merge with your own Soul or that of your spiritual Master (Bliss of God) or, even for a moment, touch the desireless shores of the Divine Rest (called Nirvana by Buddhists, Moksha by Hindus).

Skillful manipulation by words, with music or graphic themes creating an atmosphere of persuasion, can powerfully influence your attitudes and draw out these types of projections. Through this subtle sophistry, politicians cast themselves as saviors (as do cult leaders). Cruel and abusive men may convince their paramours that they desire love and romance and wish to protect and cherish them, when in fact they wish to control and enslave them.

Meditate on these 18 types of projections.

Identify when you have had these experiences before in your relationships with others.

Try to determine exactly what evoked the emotions that you felt (what suggestions or environmental cues) and what you wanted from that person.

Examine how politicians and religious leaders try to portray themselves and see what these characterizations draw out in you.

Cast someone in each of these 18 different forms and notice how you react to them.

By learning to recognize these personal and transpersonal projective mechanisms of the mind and how others can manipulate them, you can gradually wean yourself from their influence. By doing this, you can begin to see others as they are and not as you might wish them to be, and live in reality instead of fantasy.



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