Anima & Animus

The archetypal soul-image is always contrasexual, and as we experience our Shadow through someone else, we also experience our basic contrasexual components through another.  We choose or become attached to someone who represents the qualities of our own psyche.

An archetype such as the anima or animus will never coincide with the concrete reality of an Individual man; and the more individual a man is, the less he will correspond to the image projected on him (because the Individual is the exact opposite of the archetypal).  'The Individual is precisely not what is any way typical; he is a unique mixture of particular traits which themselves be typical.  This disparity which is at first obscured by the transference becomes more evident as time goes on; as the carrier of the projection reveals his true nature, conflicts and disappointments are inevitable'. 

   Every man carries within him the eternal image of woman, not the image of this or that particular woman, but a definite feminine image.  This image is fundamentally unconscious, an hereditary factor of primordial origin engraved in the living organic system of the man, an imprint or “archetype” of all the ancestral experiences of the female, a deposit, as it were, of all the impression ever made by woman – in short, an inherited system of psychic adaptation.   Even if no women existed, it would still be possible, at any given time, to deduce from this unconscious image exactly how a woman would have to be constituted psychically.  The same is true of the woman: she too has her inborn image of man.  Actually, we know from experience that it would be more accurate to describe it as an image of men, whereas in the case of the man it is rather the image of woman.  Since this image is unconscious, it is always unconsciously projected upon the person of the beloved, and is one of the chief reasons for passionate attraction or aversion.  I have called this image the “anima,” and I find the scholastic question Habet mulier animam? especially interesting, since in my view it is an intelligent one inasmuch as the doubt seems justified.  Woman has no anima, no soul, but she has an animus.  The anima has an erotic, emotional character, the animus a rationalizing one.  Hence most of what men say about feminine eroticism, and particularly about the emotional life of women, is derived from their own anima projections and distorted accordingly.  On the other hand, the astonishing assumptions and fantasies that women make about men come from the activity of the animus, who produces an inexhaustible supply of illogical arguments and false explanations.  TDoP 198

   Anima and animus are both characterized by an extraordinary many-sidedness.  In a marriage it is always the contained who projects this image upon the container, while the latter is only partially able to project his unconscious image upon his partner.  The more unified and simple this partner is, the less complete the projection.  In which case, this highly fascinating image hangs as it were in mid air, as though waiting to be filled out by a living person.  There are certain types of women who seem to be made by nature to attract anima projections; indeed one could almost speak of a definite “anima type.”  The so-called “sphinx-like” character is an indispensable part of their equipment, also an equivocalness, an intriguing elusiveness – not an indefinite blur that offers nothing, but an indefiniteness that seems full of promises, like the speaking silence of a Mona Lisa.  A woman of this kind is both old and young, mother and daughter, of more than doubtful chastity, childlike, and yet endowed with a naïve cunning that is extremely disarming to men.  Not every man of real intellectual power can be an animus, for the animus must be a master not so much of fine ideas as of fine words – words seemingly full of meaning which purport to leave a great deal unsaid.  He must also belong to the “misunderstood” class, or be in some way at odds with his environment, so that the idea of self-sacrifice can insinuate itself.  He must be a rather questionable hero, a man with possibilities, which is not to say that an animus projection may not discover a real hero long before he has become perceptible to the sluggish wits of the man of “average intelligence.”  TDoP 199

The soul-image stands in a direct relationship to the persona.  ‘If the persona is intellectual, the soul-image is quite certainly sentimental'. 

We may term the persona the mediating function between the ego and the outside world and the soul-image the corresponding mediating function between the ego and the inner world. 

If the shadow is also still undifferentiated, i.e., if it remains in the unconscious depths, it is often contaminated by the features of the anima.  

For ‘the absence of resistance outwardly against the lure of the persona means a similar weakness inwardly against the influence of the unconscious’ (Relations’, par 308,309).  A man obsessed by the anima is in danger of losing his ‘well-fitting’ persona and succumbing to effeminacy, just as the usual feminine persona of the animus-possessed woman may be unable to withstand the ‘arguments’ of her animus.  Jacobi 120

One of the most typical manifestations of both figures is what has long been called "animosity".

Thus the insinuations of the anima, the mouthpiece of the unconscious, can utterly destroy a man. …

Today I no longer need these conversations with the anima, for I no longer have such emotions.  But if I did have them, I would deal with them in the same way.  Today I am directly conscious of the anima’s ideas because I have learned to accept the contents of the unconscious and to understand them.  I know how I must behave toward the inner images.  I can read their meaning directly from my dreams, and therefore no longer need a mediator to communicate them.  MDR 188

The soul, the anima, establishes the relationship to the unconscious.  In a certain sense this is also a relationship to the collectivity of the dead; for the unconscious corresponds to the mythic land of the dead, the land of the ancestors.  If, therefore, one has a fantasy of the soul vanishing, this means that it has withdrawn into the unconscious or into the land of the dead.  MDR 191

‘As we know, the contents of the unconscious compensate our conscious attitude; since the male tends to be rather polygamous in his outward life, his anima usually appears singly.  The woman on the other hand tends toward monogamy in her real life and thus reveals a polygamous trait in her soul image; which for the woman will be personified in many figures - like an assembly of fathers.  Jacobi pg 121

Since the soul-image coincides with the function that has been least elucidated and still rests in the unconscious, it is antithetical to the main function, and this contrast will be manifested in the figure symbolizing it.  Therefore, in principle, an abstract scientist’s anima will be primitive, emotional, and romantic, while that of the intuitive, sensitive artist will be a down-to-earth, sensual type.  And it is no accident that effeminate emotional men usually bear in their hearts the image of an Amazon, disguised in our time as a feminist. 

“When in their ripe years men become effeminate and women belligerent, this is always an indication that a part of the psyche which should be turned inward is directed toward the outside world, that these persons have failed to accord their inner life its due recognition.  For we are at the mercy of a contrasexual partner, unprepared for the surprises he has in store, only so long as we have not recognized his true nature.  But we can only perceive this true nature in ourselves, for as a rule we choose a partner who stands for the unconscious part of our psyche.  If this part of our personality is made conscious, we cease to impute our own faults to our partner; in other words, the projection is withdrawn.  We recover the psychic energy that was bound up in the projection and are able to put it to work for the benefit of our own ego.”   JACOBI

“Once we have perceived the contrasexual element in ourselves and raised it to consciousness, we have ourselves, our emotions, and affects reasonably well in hand.  Above all we have achieved a real independence and with it, to be sure, a certain isolation.  In a sense we are alone, for our ‘inward freedom’ means that a love relations can no longer fetter us; the other sex has lost its magic power over us, for we have come to know its essential traits in the depths of our own psyche.  We shall not easily ‘fall in love’, for we can no longer lose ourselves in someone else, but we shall be capable of a deeper love, a conscious devotion to the other.  For our aloneness does not alientate us from the world, but only places us at a proper distance from it.  By anchoring us more firmly in our own nature it even enables us to give ourselves more unreservedly to another human being, because our individuality is no longer endangered.  To be sure, it usually takes half a lifetime to arrive at this stage.  Probably no one can do so without a struggle.  It also takes a full measure of experience, not to mention disappointment.” JACOBI

Accordingly, confrontation with the soul-image is not a task of youth, but of mature years.  Jacobi 123.

In the first half of life contact with the opposite sex aims above all at physical union (babies etc.) … in the 2nd half the essential becomes the psychic CONIUNCTIO, a union with the contrasexual both in the area of one’s own inner world and through the carrier of its image in the outer worlds.  Jacobi 123

Thus the encounter with the soul-image always means that the first half of life with its necessary adaptation to the outside world and the resulting extraverted orientation of consciousness is ended, and that we must begin to take the most important step of our adaptation to the inner world, namely to confront our own contrasexual aspect.  ‘The activation of the archetype of the soul-image is therefore an event of fateful importance, for it is the most unmistakable sign that the second half of life has begun.  Jacobi

As the conscious realization of the shadow makes possible the knowledge of our other, dark side in so far as it pertains to our own sex, so realization of the soul-image enables us to know the contrasexual aspect of our own psyche.  The result is an extraordinary enrichment of the contents of consciousness and a great broadening of our personality.  Jacobi 124

(When all the perils of confrontation with the soul-image have been overcome, new archetypal figures arise.  We shall have to come to terms with them and once more take our bearings.  As far as one can see, the whole process is implicitly purposive.  Although the unconscious is pure nature without particular or explicit aim we may say that it has a kind of ‘potential directedness’.  It has an invisible inner order of its own, an inherent striving toward a goal.)  Thus ‘when the conscious mind participates actively and experiences each stage of the process, or at least understands it intuitively, then the next image always starts off on the higher level that has been won, and purposiveness develops (Relations’, par 386).  Jacobi 125

Thus it is no accident that the next step after the confrontation with the soul-image should be characterized by the appearance of the archetype of the Wise Old Man - the personification of the → spiritual principle - Jacobi

… when animus and anima meet, the animus draws his sword of power and the anima ejects her poison of illusion and seduction. The outcome need not always be negative, since the two are equally likely to fall in love (a special instance of love at first sight).

Adam, the first individual created by God, is described as initially being both male and female (Genesis 1:27).  This Adam represents the archetype of all future men and women.  Each man and each woman contains both the archetype male and the archetype female, despite being biologically only of a single sex.  JViJP 82

Ultimately, however, one strives for an anima-animus marraige within oneself. 

... we are not concerned here with a philosophical, much less a religious, concept of the soul, but with the psychological recognition of the existence of a semiconscious psychic complex, having partial autonomy of function.   BW 164


If the encounter with the shadow is the 'apprentice-piece' in the individual’s development, then that with the Anima is the 'master-piece'  

Now, everything that is true of the persona and of all autonomous complexes in general also holds true of the anima.  She likewise is a personality, and this is why she is so easily projected upon a woman.  So long as the anima is unconscious she is always projected, for everything unconscious is projected.  The first bearer of the soul-image is always the mother; later it is borne by those women who arouse the man's feelings, whether in a positive or a negative sense.  Because the mother is the first bearer of the soul-image, separation from her is a delicate and important matter of the greatest educational significance.  A&A BW 171

When the anima continually thwarts the good intentions of the conscious mind, by contriving a private life that stands in sorry contrast to the dazzling persona, it is exactly the same as when a naive individual, who has not the ghost of a persona, encounters the most painful difficulties in his passage through the world.  A&A BW 172 

Outwardly an effective and powerful role is played, while inwardly an effeminate weakness develops in face of every influence coming from the unconscious.  Moods, vagaries, timidity, even a limp sexuality (culminating in impotence) gradually gain the upper hand.”  BW A&A – page 168 par 308

"For, a man counts it a virtue to repress his feminine traits as much as possible" 

In Eastern symbolism the square - signifying the earth in China, the padma or lotus in India - has the character of the yoni: femininity.  A man's unconscious is likewise feminine and is personified by the anima.  The anima also stands for the "inferior" function and for that reason frequently has a shady character; in fact she sometimes stands for evil itself.  MC 151 

By “anima” Jung understands a personification of the unconscious in the man, which appears as a woman or a goddess in dreams, visions and creative fantasies.  She portrays his “Lady Soul,” as Carl Spitteler has called her.  This figure would seem to be a derivative of the mother-imago, and it is as if it encompassed within itself both the man’s own inherent femininity and his actual experience with the real woman.  At the same time, this image is prior to all his experiences with woman, since in so far as the anima manifests herself as a goddess, she is an archetype and consequently has a real, though invisible, existence transcending all actual experiences.  TGL 65

... the (soul-image) of woman becomes a receptacle for these demands, which is why a man, in his love-choice, is strongly tempted to win the woman who best corresponds to his own unconscious femininity - a woman, in short, who can unhesitatingly receive the projection of his soul.  Although such a choice is often regarded and felt as altogether ideal, it may turn out that the man has manifestly married his own worst weakness.

   When the anima is not projected on to a woman but remains in her own place in the soul, she is for the man a mediatrix of the contents of the unconscious.  TGL 65

“The relation with the anima is again a test of courage, an ordeal by fire for the spiritual and moral forces of man.”

Often in the development of the anima, youths, perhaps when at school, have a girlfriend they admire but can’t marry because they are not yet of an ago to do so.  Subsequently they marry another type.  Then later in life – say between forty and fifty – this admired anima-imago frequently turns up again and generally plays the symbolic inner role of being the one who leads to the Self.  This aspect of the anima takes on the role of Dante’s Beatrice, namely, that of the leader into the inner secret.  The other part of the anima which gets projected onto a real woman is what seduces the man into marriage and into life.  So you can say that there is an aspect of the mother-imago of the anima which leads into exogamous marriage and with that, generally, into involvement with outer life, and there is an endogamous aspect of the same image which remains within and later becomes the guide toward the realization of the inner life.   TAoPA 138

If a man, for instance, has an obligation to his anima, and to the woman with whom he made friends, or married, then he gets into a double obligation, and where one is always torn between obligations to the outer and to the inner side of life.  That would be the realization of the crucifixion, or of the basic truth of life!  Life is double – it is a double obligation, it is a conflict in itself – because it always means the collision, or conflict, of two tendencies.  But that is what makes life!

`The persona, the ideal picture of a man as he should be, is inwardly compensated by feminine weakness, and as the individual outwardly plays the strong man, so he becomes inwardly a woman (anima), for it is the anima  that reacts to the persona.'

As long as an Individual does not know his Shadow, the Unconscious will be predominately feminine, and vice-versa. 

When the Persona is too rigid and solely differentiated, the anima will represent a mixture of the Auxiliary, Tertiery, and Inferior functions.

When the 2 accessory functions are developed, the anima stands out. 

The more one is dominated by the Persona, the more the anima remains in the darkness.

... for when a man recognizes that his ideal persona is responsible for his anything but ideal anima, his ideals are shattered, the world becomes ambiguous, he becomes ambiguous even to himself.  He is seized by doubts about goodness, and what is worse, he doubts his own good intentions.  A&A BW 169

But the anima has a positive aspect as well.  It is she who communicates the images of the unconscious to the conscious mind, and that is what I chiefly valued her for. 
MDR 187

The anima is both the instinctual temptations lurking in the darkness of the unconscious, but also is the man’s wise and luminous guide - this is, of the other aspect of the unconscious - which leads him not down, but onward. 


… if I advise a woman patient to associate her unconscious contents, she will always produce the same kind of fantasy.  The masculine hero figure who almost unfailingly appears is the animus, and the succession of fantasy-experiences demonstrates the gradual transformation and dissolution of the autonomous complex. 

If I were to attempt to put in a nutshell the difference between man and woman in this respect, i.e., what it is that characterizes the animus as opposed to the anima, I could only say this: as the anima produces moods, so the animus produces opinions; and as the moods of a man issue from a shadowy background, so the opinions of a woman rest on equally unconscious prior assumptions.

The fact that a man naively ascribes his anima reactions to himself, without seeing that he really cannot identify himself with an autonomous complex, is repeated in feminine psychology, though if possible in even more marked form.

One would be inclined to suppose that the animus, like the anima, personifies itself in a single figure. ... The animus does not appear as one person, but as a plurality of persons. 

Like the anima, the animus is a jealous lover.  He is an adept at putting, in place of the real man, an opinion about him, the exceedingly disputable grounds for which are never submitted to criticism.  Animus opinions are invariably collective, and they override individuals and individual judgments in exactly the same way as the anima thrusts her emotional anticipations and projections between man and wife. 

In intellectual women the animus encourages a critical disputatiousness and would-be highbrowism, which, however, consists essentially in harping on some irrelevant weak point and nonsensically making it the main one.  Or a perfectly lucid discussion  gets tangled up in the most maddening way through the introduction of a quite different and if possible perverse point of view.  Without knowing it, such women are solely intent upon exasperating the man and are, in consequence, the more completely at the mercy of the animus.  "Unfortunately I am always right," one of these creatures once confessed to me.  

A woman possessed by the animus is always in danger of losing her femininity, her adapted feminine persona, just as a man in like circumstances runs the risk of effeminacy.  These psychic changes of sex are due entirely to the fact that a function which belongs inside has been turned outside.  The reasons for this perversion is clearly the failure to give adequate recognition to an inner world which stands autonomously opposed to the outer world, and makes just as serious demands on our capacity for adaptation. 

‘As we know, the contents of the unconscious compensate our conscious attitude; since the male tends to be rather polygamous in his outward life, his anima usually appears singly.  The woman on the other hand tends toward monogamy in her real life and thus reveals a polygamous trait in her soul image; which for the woman will be personified in many figures - like an assembly of fathers.  Jacobi pg 121

Just as the anima becomes, through integration, the Eros of consciousness, so the animus becomes a Logos; and in the same way that the anima gives relationship and relatedness to a man’s consciousness, so the animus becomes a Logos; and in the same way that the anima gives relationship and relatedness to a man’s consciousness,

… the animus gives to woman’s consciousness a capacity for reflection, deliberation, and self-knowledge.  TEJ 113

Just as the male is uncertain in the realm of Eros, a woman is insecure in Logos.  ‘What woman has to overcome in respect to the animus is not pride but inertia and lack of self-confidence.  The animus accent is on knowledge - particularly understanding.

Anima / Animus:  AION

Anima / Animus:  Secret of the Golden Flower