Recognition, understanding, and according with: ANIMA/ANIMUS

`Just as, for the purpose of individuation, or self-realization, it is essential for a man to distinguish between what he is and how he appears to himself and to others, so it is also necessary for the same purpose that he should become conscious of his invisible system of relations to the unconscious, and especially of the anima, so as to be able to distinguish himself from her.

One cannot of course distinguish oneself from something unconscious.  In the matter of the persona it is easy enough to make it clear to a man that he and his office are two different things.  But it is very difficult for a man to distinguish himself from his anima, the more so because she is invisible. 


... 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. 

But if such a man makes himself conscious of his unconscious contents, as they appear firstly in the factual contents of his personal unconscious, and then in the fantasies of the collective unconscious, he will get to the roots of his complexes, and in this way rid himself of his possession.  With that the anima phenomenon comes to a stop. 

Instead of seeking union with a woman outside ourselves, we have to seek it within ourselves… by the union of our male and female nature in the process of meditation  

The idea of the anima as I define it is by no means a novelty but an archetype which we meet in the most diverse places.  It was also known in alchemy, as the following scholium proves:  (As the shadow continually follows the body of one who walks in the sun, so our hermaphroditic Adam, though he appears in the form of a male, nevertheless always carries about with him Eve, or his wife, hidden in his body). 

With the anima and animus, however, things are by no means so simple (as the shadow). Firstly, there is no moral education in this respect, and secondly, most people are content to be self-righteous and prefer mutual vilification (if nothing worse!) to the recognition of their projections. Indeed, it seems a very natural state of affairs for men to have irrational moods and women irrational opinions.

… though the contents of anima and animus can be integrated they themselves cannot, since they are archetypes. As such they are the foundation stones of the psychic structure, which in its totality exceeds the limits of consciousness and therefore can never become the object of direct cognition. Though the effects of anima and animus can be made conscious, they themselves are factors transcending consciousness and beyond the reach of perception and volition. Hence they remain autonomous despite the integration of their contents, and for this reason they should be borne constantly in mind. This is extremely important from the therapeutic standpoint, because constant observation pays the unconscious a tribute that more or less guarantees its co-operation.

To be able to  detach from feelings is an essential part of a man’s life, for he has to have a cold, scientific, objective standpoint.  But if he does not relate to the anima and try to deal with his eros problems, then he cuts his soul in two.  That is why men, in general, have more trouble in Jungian psychology than women.  Because of our insistence on the acceptance of the unconscious, men have to accept feeling and relatedness – eros – and to a man that is just disgusting; it is as if from now on he must nurse babies.  It feels like that to him – it is against nature.  But if men wish to develop further – just as women must now learn to share the man’s world by becoming more objective and less personal – they have to make the counter-gesture of taking their own feelings and their own eros problems more seriously.  It is an unavoidable part of human development that we have to integrate the other side – the undeveloped side – and if we do not, then it catches us against our will.  Indeed, the more a man takes his eros problems seriously, the less effeminate he becomes, although it may look to him like the opposite.  If he stiffens and does not take his feeling problems seriously, he will involuntarily become effeminate.  In general it can be said that the puer who has a tendency to become effeminate has a better chance if only he will take his feeling seriously and not fall into the pitfall of statistical thinking – if he does not suddenly think, “Oh Lord! Hundreds and thousands! – and me too!”  TPoPA 92

In so far as the anima is equivalent to the soul, which as is well known represents the life principle, the separation from the object of projection naturally results in a loss of soul and life.  As long as the anima is so completely projected, the soul is also still externalized and for that reason, the individual is endangered. 

But together with this more conscious relation, as we know from our understanding of modern psychology, a discrimination between the real woman and the anima as the archetypal soul-image must also be made; at the same time, insight into the function of the anima as a guide to higher inner wholeness forces its way into consciousness.  TGL 180