Mother Earth - A Living Organism

The Unconscious World of Dream
intuitive knowledge

The Individuation Process
Journey To Wholeness

Stage One: The Shadow
Stage 2: Anima/Animus
Stage Three: Mana Personalities
Stage Four: The Self
Source: Eric Ackroyd

Links:     When Anima Meets Animus     More on Anima/Animus

The Anima is the personification of all feminine psychological tendencies within a man, the archetypal feminine symbolism within a man's unconscious. The Animus is the personification of all masculine psychological tendencies within a woman, the archetypal masculine symbolism within a woman's unconscious. In dreams Jung said that the animus is more likely to be personified by multiple male figures, while the anima is frequently a single female. One might look on the concept of anima-animus as a kind of yin/yang solution to the duality of human sexuality. They are products of the long human experience of man with woman and woman with man: as man has opened to his feminine nature, so has woman a corresponding male side. They also act as collective images which motivate each sex to respond to and understand members of the other gender. That is, a man apprehends the nature of woman by virtue of his hidden anima, – and reciprocating, the woman is able to grasp the nature of maleness via her animus.

The Anima - Animus

The Masculine - Feminine Aspects

The second stage of the INDIVIDUATION process means encountering what Jung calls the 'soul-image', which is one of the archetypal images. For a man this is the 'anima; for a woman, the animus. The anima is the feminine aspects of a male psyche: for example, gentelness, tenderness, patience, receptiveness, closeness to nature, readiness to forgive, and so on. The animus is the male side of a female psyche: assertiveness, the will to control and take charge, fighting spirit, and so on.

Every man has a feminine component in his psyche; every woman has a masculine component in hers. Unfortunately, for centuries, and particularily in the western world, it has been considered a virtue - 'the done thing' - for men to suppress their femininity; and until very recently women have been socially conditioned to think it unbecoming to show their masculinity. One result of this has been man's bad treatment of women. Man's fear nad neglect of his own femininity have had dire consequences. Not only has he repressed the femininity in himself; but also, being frightened of women - who are 'the feminine' par excellence - he has suppressed them, kept them subordinate and powerless.

The further consequence of this suppression of femininity in a world dominated by men is war. Wars are the result of the lopsided development of men whose aggressiveness has not ben balanced by love and patience and a feeling for harmony: that is, whose anima has been kept under lock and key. The macho male is violent and destructive.

Another consequence is mechanical, soul-less sex. Sex can be an invaluable aid to the achieving personal wholeness and harmony; and it has been recognized as such in the Tantric mystic-meditative traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism. But can reach those heights only when there is worship: that is, where each partner acknowledges the worth of his or her sexual opposite. The macho male tends to reduce sex to merely a physical and emotional level, at which his partner is turned into a mere object.

For sevearl reasons, therefore, it is imperative, both for individual and for social progress, that we lear to acknowledge and integrate our anima or animus, our soul-image.

Your soul-image will led your conscious ego safely into the unconscious and safely out again. When Theseus neded to penetrate the labyrinth in Crete in order to slay the monstrous Minotaur, the fair Ariadne, with her thread, enabled him to go in and find his way out again. If we follow Jung and translate this story into psychological terms, the labyrinth is a symbol of the unconscious, the monster is the frightening and threatening aspect of whatever in our unconscious has been neglected and has therefore 'gone wild'; the slaying of the monster means 'taming' that wild, unruly force and bringing it under conscious control. The 'slaying' can be accomplished, however, only by love (Ariadne - the feminine) - only by accepting the neglected thing, honouring it and welcoming it into our unconscious.

The soul-image, then, is a mediator - a go-between or middle-man (or middle-woman) - who establishes communication between the conscious ego and the unconscious and reconciles the two. In the realm of religion there is the pyschopomp, the on who guides human souls safely into the undreworld; or - in some cultures - the shaman, who not only leads the souls of the dead to the spirit-world and makes the necessary introductions to spirits who will take proper care of the newcomers and get them ready for rebirth, but also carries the souls of sick people to the spirit-world for healing. The underworld or spirit-world is the unconscious. The unconscious has healing powers and by descending into it the conscious self can attain new life.

Your soul-image has characteristics which are the opposite of those possessed by your persona (the self-image you have constructed for the specific purpose of relating to the external world and for 'making your mark' in that world). For instance, if your persona is an intellectual one, your soul-image will be characterized by sentiment and emotion; and if you are the intuitive type, your soul-image will be earthly and sensual.

This means that if, instead of acknowledging and becoming acquainted with your own soul-image, you project it on to members of the opposite sex, you may be led into disastrous relationships. For example, an emotional man may choose a blue-stocking for his partner; or a sensitive woman may be irresistibly attracted by bearded intellectuals.

If, however, you accept and integrate your soul-image, it will make up deficiencies of your persona and help you become a fuller and more balanced person.

Let us look at some of the forms in which the soul-image may appear in dreams. 'The first bearer of the soul-image,' says Jung, 'is always the mother'. This applies to both men and women, and it means that the man or woman has not achieved liberation - independence - from mother. Therefore, the appearance of your mother in a dream - especially if she appears with possessive or devouring characteristics - may well be a symbol of your soul-image. If that is the case,bear in mind that the way to detach yourself from the suffocating influence of your mother is to intgrate your anima or animus into your conscious ego. Accept your soul-image, respect it and welcome it as a creative contributor to your personal growth, and you will the find that your soul-image ceases to be represented in dreams by negative devouring mother figures and that you are gaining a proper degree of independence from your mother. (Incidentally, it doesn't make any difference if your actual mother is alive or dead. Even a dead mother may live on as a forceful presence within your unconscious.

With the exception of the mother figure, the dream symbols that represent the soul-image are always of the opposite sex to the dreamer. Thus, a man's anima may be represented in his dreams by his sister; a woman's animus by her brother. Some other symbols of the animus are an eagle, a bull, a lion, and a phallus (erect penis) or other phallic figure such as a tower or spear. The eagle is associated with high altitudes and in mythology the sky is usually (ancient Egyptian mythology is the exception) regarded as a male and symbolizes pure reason or spirituality The earth is seen as female (Mother Earth) and symbolizes sensous existence - that is, existence confined within the limits of the senses - plus intuition.

Some symbols of the anima are the cow, a cat, a tiger, a cave and a ship. All of those are more or less female figures. Ships are associated with the sea, which is a common symbol for the feminine, and are womb-like insofar as they are hollow. (At a launching we still say, 'Bless all who sail her".) Caves are hollow and womb-like. Sometimes they are filled with water, which - as we have seen - is a symbol of the feminine, and are the womb of the Mother Earth or vaginal entrances to her womb.

One common representation of the anima calls for special attention. This is the figure of the damsel in distress, frequently appearing in so called 'hero' myth. Here a recurring theme is that of the hero rescuing a beautiful young woman and some cases marrying her (e.g. the Greek hero Perseus saves the Ethiopian princess Andromeda from a sea-monster and later marries her). In a folktale variant of the same theme, the hero wakes a maiden from the sleep of death with a kiss (Sleeping Beauty). In logical terms, the damsel in distressis the man's anima, which, because of nelect or repression, is - metaphorically speaking - either 'dead' or in danger of 'dying'. The rescue or kiss of life means that the man has now lifted his femininty out of its dark imprisonment and welcomed it - and, indeed, submitted to it - as an indispensable factor in his life and happiness.

After the prince has succeeded in waking Sleeping Beauty, all the other people in the palace - who have also been asleep for a hundred years - wake from their sleep. This may be seen as a symbol of how the 'waking ' of a man's anima is the first step towards the 'waking' of all the 'sleeping' (repressed, neglected) aspects of his psyche.

Another anima figure is the seductive nymph. Ondine is one such nymph. Ondine has no soul, nad can gain on only if she can get a man to embrace her. There are many stories of mermaids who lure sailors to their underwater beds. Here we have a two fold message: Man, give life to your anima; but take care you do not drown in your unconscious depths. Find the treasure that is there, the surface again. In other words, maintain conscious control.

A folktale animus figure is the dwarf. Dwarfs and other 'little people' work underground in mines, out of which they bring forth gold and other precious substances. This illustrates the way the animus, if cared for and nurtured bt a woman (as Snow White looked after the Seven Dwarfs), will bring up from her unconscious many valuable things that will serve her well in her daily life and her quest for self-realization

Incidently, marriage or sexual intercourse (or, in relatively modern and bowdlerized folklore, a kiss or embrace) symbolizes the union and intermingling of conscious ego and unconscious soul-image. It may also symbolize that complete union of the conscious and the unconscious which is the final stage of individuation. (A third possibility is that, where the anima or animus has not yet been distinguished -'rescued' - from the shadow, soul-image and shadow may be symbolized by bride and bridegroom.)

Stage Three: 'Mana' Personalities


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