Animus and Anima

‘A woman carries an image of her male counterpart made up largely of her history with her father, the first male in her life, brothers and any early experiences with men. This inner masculine, the “Animus,” helps her to achieve her goals, gives her greater intellectual clarity, helps her have clearer boundaries and becomes a mediator between her ego and her unconscious. This unconscious inner male is her God (soul) image that gets projected onto a man in the outer world. As inner and outer create a mirroring effect, she will know a lot about what shape her inner partner is in by the person upon whom the projection lands. This can be a real eye-opener if the person is willing or ready to see his or her own shadow.

The clue to knowing a projection has occurred is the peculiar feeling of intense fascination or obsession with a man whom she will feel is her ideal mate. He, of course, unless he has a huge ego and enjoys the power that he now has over her, will feel as if something sticky and uncomfortable is smothering him. He will make comments to her like “You don’t even know me.” His perception is a correct and valid one. She doesn’t know him at all. She is seeing only a reflection of her shadow or her Animus — as the two can become contaminated with each other.

According to Jung, a man faces a similar dilemma. When a man projects his perfect God (soul) image onto a woman, she becomes the carrier of his “Anima.” His Anima, his inner feminine, can help him get in touch with his feeling nature, his receptivity, his personal relating and nurturing skills and his ability to create. His Anima acts as a muse to bridge the gap between his inner and outer worlds. She animates him from within.

When this happens to both people at the same time, we call this “falling in love.” They definitely fall. They fall into their own unconscious image as each projects part of himself or herself onto the other person (same sex or opposite sex), evoking a feeling of fantasy. This is why the initial attraction is usually accompanied by strong erotic fantasy.

The erotic and sexual nature of the encounter is psychologically quite symbolic. It is each one wanting to merge with or penetrate into themselves. In reality this is an unconscious, narcissistic impulse and a distortion of reality. If either of them remains stuck in this kind of projection or participation mystique for too long, it can even be a deterrent to any real or authentic, long-term, loving relationship. Its primary importance for both people is that it generates movement toward the process of individuation. Our partners lead us to our own souls. This is the real challenge for both males and females, recognizing our projections and what they actually want from us when they get activated. They may merely want us to get our life going again if we are stuck in a stagnant place in consciousness.’

By Rebeca Eigen, from “Shadow Dance & The Astrological 7th house – Marriage, Partnership, and Open Enemies; i.e. The Shadow in us all”

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