Carl Jung, who we talked about last week in regards to the collective unconscious, in addition to proposing archetypes of the collective unconscious, suggested some primary archetypes of the individual unconscious mind. The two that we will focus on this week are the anima and the animus. The anima is the feminine inner personality of males, whereas animus was the masculine inner personality of females. Jung postulated that these aspects of self exist in the unconscious because males have to suppress their sensitive side and females have to repress their masculine side. (To avoid the emails, Jung was a product of his time and its thinking; this was an early psychological theory).
What makes the anima and animus interesting as a psychological concept is that Jung conceptualized them as a an evolving aspect of the unconscious. Like an individual the anima and animus progress through different stages of development. Jung believed that the anima and animus each consist of four distinct development levels.
The ascending stages of anima development in males:
- Eve, which represents the emergence of what a male finds desirable
- Helen, represents recognition of the feminine self-reliance, intelligence, and insight, but the feminine aspect is lacking in virtue, faith, or imagination
- Mary, represents the virtuous view of the feminine, and the feminine being without flaw
- Sophia, an integration of the feminine and masculine; an awareness that the feminine possesses both positive and negative qualities; at this point the male can recognize the multifaceted nature of objects, and that no object permanently represents the images it is perceived to have (e.g., ability to recognize an archetype a person represents, but recognizes that the person can demonstrate other aspects of other archetypes or change archetype); as we talked about in the previous blog, through therapy a client can come to see that mother is not always a nurturing archetype
The ascending stages of animus development in females:
- Man of mere physical power, represents the masculine as just a personification of physical power
- Man of action or romance, represents the masculine as being able to initiate and take planned action
- Man as a professor, clergyman, orator, represents the masculine as the bearer of the word or knowledge
- Man as helpful guide to understand herself, represents the achievement of understanding meaning; a source of spiritual knowledge
For males, Jung believed that the anima represented a single evolving vision, whereas the animus for females was represented by multiple masculine images. For both anima and animus, the end development leads to an openness and understanding of the world with its pluralistic qualities. The final result being a sense of self and sense of the world.