Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Anima & The Animus

Anima: The inner feminine side of a man. (See also animus, Eros, Logos and soul-image.)

The anima is both a personal complex and an archetypal image of woman in the male psyche. It is an unconscious factor incarnated anew in every male child, and is responsible for the mechanism of projection. Initially identified with the personal mother, the anima is later experienced not only in other women but as a pervasive influence in a man's life.

Jung distinguished four broad stages of the anima, analogous to levels of the Eros cult described in the late classical period. He personified them as Eve, Helen, Mary and Sophia.

In the first stage, Eve, the anima is indistinguishable from the personal mother. The man cannot function well without a close tie to a woman. In the second stage, personified in the historical figure of Helen of Troy, the anima is a collective and ideal sexual image ("All is dross that is not Helen"-Marlowe). The third stage, Mary, manifests in religious feelings and a capacity for lasting relationships. In the fourth stage, as Sophia (called Wisdom in the Bible), a man's anima functions as a guide to the inner life, mediating to consciousness the contents of the unconscious. She cooperates in the search for meaning and is the creative muse in an artist's life.

Ideally, a man's anima proceeds naturally through these stages as he grows older. In fact, as an archetypal life force, the anima manifests in whatever shape or form is necessary to compensate the dominant conscious attitude.

So long as the anima is unconscious, everything she stands for is projected. Most commonly, because of the initially close tie between the anima and the protective mother-imago, this projection falls on the partner, with predictable results.



Animus: The inner masculine side of a woman. (See also anima, Eros, Logos and soul-image.)

Like the anima in a man, the animus is both a personal complex and an archetypal image.

Jung described four stages of animus development in a woman. He first appears in dreams and fantasy as the embodiment of physical power, an athlete, muscle man or thug. In the second stage, the animus provides her with initiative and the capacity for planned action. He is behind a woman's desire for independence and a career of her own. In the next [third] stage, the animus is the "word," often personified in dreams as a professor or clergyman. In the fourth stage, the animus is the incarnation of spiritual meaning. On this highest level, like the anima as Sophia, the animus mediates between a woman's conscious mind and the unconscious. In mythology this aspect of the animus appears as Hermes, messenger of the gods; in dreams he is a helpful guide.

Any of these aspects of the animus can be projected onto a man. As with the projected anima, this can lead to unrealistic expectations and acrimony in relationships.


Source: The Jung Lexicon

See also: Music: Gallagher's Song