Unconscious Forces: Anima/Animus

Part of the human development journey into the personal unconscious is becoming aware of what we avoid most and become familiar with the inner working of the Anima and Animus.  The Animus is the unconscious masculine within a woman, often representing her relationship to power, creativity and the container that truly honors the feminine. The Anima is the unconscious feminine within a man, often representing his relationship to soul and the spiritual journey.  They both bridge the external and internal life toward wholeness. For those that may take issue with the heteronormative model – I sometimes use unconscious opposites. 

The integration of these unconscious opposites is recognized by ancient traditions including in the Upanishads as the Ardhanarishvara – symbol of Shiva and Parvati (half man, half woman), illustrating the inseparable nature of masculine and feminine as one unconscious subtle body.  Jung drew from many traditions including the ancient text of the Upanishads. 

Our unconscious Animus or Anima are usually the ones we took in as children within our home, community and culture that structured our psyche and inner world.  Until we learn to consciously partner with the Animus or Anima we are living from and playing out old structures – some useful and some not. The Animus/Animas also have their own stages of development from primitive to spiritual.

Simply put, until we are aware of any Shadow force, the Ego can be overtaken, and ironically driven by it. 

Like fault lines in an earthquake, the meeting of these unconscious forces can be quite disruptive and powerful to create a new landscape as we move closer to our true Self.