its not supernatural, clairvoyance, occult or psychic....its science....the psychology of dreams
the unconscious dream
dialog with the inner psyche


Dream Topics



Anima/Animus
Masculine/Feminine Aspects
In Conscious Life & In Dreams
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 in Dreams


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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.)
Exploring the Unconscious World of Dreams


The Anima/Animus In Jungian Psychology
In Conscious Life


Jung postulates that each individual has both masculine and feminine components of the psyche. For a male the feminine component is the anima, and for a female it is the animus. Part and parcel of human biological and psychological development is this mixture of masculine and feminine energies.

These energies are theoretical constructs or concepts, which are useful for explanation but are not identical with gender. The separation of these concepts from gender is very difficult to maintain in the English language because of the similarity of words. Masculine energy and male and feminine energy and female seem to be the same but are not. The concepts may be better understood if viewed from a different context.

In Eastern cultures the Tao symbol with it’s Yin and Yang energies is expressive of the same idea. The Tao symbol, consisting of a circle divided in two equal portions each containing an element of the other, indicates that all of creation is composed of two energies held in harmony and interaction.

The Yang energy is masculine in nature and is described as light, dry, directed, focused, logical, and action oriented. Yin energy is feminine and described as dark, moist, diffuse, vague, intuitive, and receptive. In regard to psychological functioning, men are predominately yang but contain a yin aspect. Women, while predominately yin, contain an element of yang. Thus human beings are psychologically androgynous with latent inner masculine and feminine energies awaiting development. In the first half of life a differentiation of the primary sexual identity and corresponding energy takes place but in later life a call to integrate the opposite energy, the anima or the animus, arises. This is a move towards wholeness.

At the most basic and simplistic level what happens is that men begin to develop their capacity for relationship and must come to terms with emotions, vulnerability, and needs while women begin to become more decision and action oriented and in the process claim their independence, courage, power and wisdom. At midlife women are called to decide and do while men are called to nurture.

This is process is seen in what Gail Sheehy in her book, Passages, refers to as the "switch forties". This is the time in midlife when men in the roles of husband and father begin a return to the values of home and family. They are drained from their years in the work world. At the same time that women as wives and mothers whose children are leaving home begin to experience a pull to the world of work. A switching of roles is taking place but may not be recognized as such.

A woman who has been in the care-taking role begins to want to establish her own independence through action and accomplishments. An impetus is provided to seeking employment, education, or career. At the same time a man had often has enough of work and career. He recognizes the stifling effect on his personal development. He now needs to open himself to relationships and emotions, but when he does, he finds no one at home. The children are now increasingly independent and on their way out of the family by way of work or college. His wife who may have eagerly sought his companionship when he was "too busy" now is after a business of her own. The potential for significant relationship conflict arises as these two people are crossing paths on different trajectories. They are moving towards the earlier interests of the other. Each person is in the process of integrating the opposite masculine or feminine energy. Men must incorporate the inner feminine with its call for relatedness while women must respond to the inner masculine and the need for action.

The anima and animus can influence a person in either a positive or negative manner. If a man is under the influence of the positive anima he will show tenderness, patience, consideration, and compassion. The negative anima manifests as vanity, moodiness, bitchiness, and sensitivity to hurt feelings. A woman with a positive animus shows assertiveness, control, thoughtful rationality, and compassionate strength. The negative animus reveals in strong opinions, ruthlessness, destructive forces, and "always the last word". Both men and women are on the path to their own integration and must struggle with the interpersonal ramifications of the anima and the animus.

This process can be complicated by cultural influences. The impact of the early women’s movement motivated women to leave the home for the work place. In doing so, these women had to take on a traditional masculine role if they were to succeed. They had to become competitive and more assertive. They had to internalize their emotions and be more "logical." As a result, these women at midlife may find that they have already developed the animus or the masculine energy. What they need to do is to integrate the feminine back into their lives. The men who have worked at being "liberated" have developed their feminine side and may need to catch up on the masculine. The "Wild Man" of the recent men’s movement may be the symbol of recapturing the masculine energy.

When it comes time to integrate the opposite energetic component you may have to do careful review of where you are in the individuation process before identifying the task ahead. The basic question is, "What is the current balance of the masculine and feminine energies in your life and what needs further development?



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