Saturday, July 10, 2021

Meaning of Jung's Anima and Animus explained

Anima and Animus are terms coined by  analyst Carl Gustav Jung for the archetypal images that underlie the experience from members of the opposite sex. Animus is the image of the man in the eyes of the woman and the masculine side of herself, anima is the image of the woman in the eyes of the man, and the inner feminine aspect in his soul. Although the influence of anima and animus can become conscious, they themselves remain beyond awareness and direct perception. Anima and animus are aspects of the personality that in many ways take a position that is opposite to the position of the conscious self, and they have characteristics that characterize the member of the opposite sex. 


The Anima is the feminine side of the man, who is both a personal complex and a collective archetypal figure (the cumulative experience of women with men over the generations). It is an unconscious part of the personality that is created in every male child, and is initially identified with the personal mother figure. Later, the anima is projected on other women and includes other female images (sister, daughter, lover and heavenly goddess). Anima has a great influence on a man's personality, it is reflected in his relationships with women, and in female characters as they appear in a dream and fantasy. The anima is also an ancient, archetypal element of the male psyche, associated with the emotional and mystical side of his life. She is the soft and sensitive element in the male psyche, and when the anima is strong and dominant he will be a more sensitive, spiritual person and prone to changing moods. Carl Jung noticed four anima modes, which ideally a man should go through during his mental maturation process:

Eve - identified with the personal mother figure, and represents a close, caring and caring relationship.
Helena of Troy - represents the collective ideal of female sexuality.
Maria - represents the religious feelings and the ability to maintain a stable relationship over time.
Sofia - Wisdom, is the one who guides the man in the depths of his soul, mediating between the conscious and the unconscious. She is also the muse, associated with the creative side and the search for meaning.
According to Jung, the best way for a man to live with his anima is to assimilate it into his personality and discover his feelings with its help.


The Animus is the inner masculine side of the woman. Like the anima, the animus is both a personal complex and an archetypal character. The animus is identified with the mental side, with the thought (logos) and with the father figure. It is expressed in the woman in opinions, ideas, preconceptions, philosophy and the pursuit of truth. Jung argued that in women whose animosity is dominant logic would be stronger than sexuality. The animus appears in fantasies and dreams, and is projected onto actual male characters that the woman encounters during her lifetime, especially in relationships. The animus also goes through four modes, corresponding to developmental stages:

A male figure associated with physical strength, muscles, an athletic figure who appears in dreams and fantasies.
The ability to plan and direct things in advance. This male representation is behind women's aspiration to be independent and pursue a career of their own.
A figure of a learned professor, identified with words and ideas.
The embodiment of the spiritual meaning of existence. Similar to the anime in the character of Sophia, he appears in dreams as a spiritual guide and mediator between the conscious and the unconscious in the woman's psyche.
According to Jung, the best way for a woman to connect with the animus and live with it is to ask questions, question opinions and ideas, and look for their source.

Jungian Archetypes