It seems to me that for both Aristotle and Kant, something called “imagination” is the very root of what Locke and Hegel call “consciousness”. As a result of pre-conscious processes of synthesis, we get the feeling and appearance of immediacy in experience that already has richly differentiable content.
Whatever levels of transcendental reflection we may ascend to, for us rational animals every new apprehension gets reflected back into a new synthesis of imagination that enables us to simply “experience” it along with the rest of our experience, somewhat in the way that we “know” how to ride a bicycle. As long as we live, we never leave imagination behind, any more than we leave breathing behind. (See also Meaningful “Seeing”; Animal Imagination; Imagination, Emotion, Opinion.)