Last week I wrote of spirit and soul, the divine twins that are the essence of what we are. Spirit manifests as logos, as mind and thought activity. Soul, as eros, manifests as feeling and connection. Spirit floats away from the earth, soul embraces it.
Logos is the dominant principle in men, eros the dominant nature in women. In the background of a man’s deeper unconscious lies his soul, eros, what Jung called the anima. In the background of a woman’s greater unconscious lies her spirit, logos, what Jung termed the animus.
The anima in men and the animus in women are autonomous, independent characters that greatly overshadow the ego and impact moods, opinions and relationships in a variety of ways.
For men, the ability to feel, create artistically, and form a loving relationship is greatly influenced by the quality of their relationship with their inner woman, their anima. Some mens’ egos are quite comfortable with their animas and they allow her a great deal of play in their choice of career, aesthetic sensibility, and quality of relationship. Such men are said to be truly in touch with their feminine side.
Oftentimes a man might cling too dominantly to his rational, logos side to the disgust of his inner anima. Her revenge might be to overpower his day with hurt feelings and dark moods. She might as well put a spell on him by projecting herself onto another person, entrancing him into a highly inappropriate relationship.
Women might find themselves lending their animus a dominant role in their lives as well, dedicating themselves to careers or causes requiring a strong logos spirit. On the other hand, women may also shut out or be unaware of the workings of their inner animus who can become the opinionated voice of their internal dialogue, casting a negative spell upon all they touch.
Most relationship problems can be traced to the hidden influences of anima and animus, which lead to hurt feelings and opinionated misunderstandings. To disentangle from the web of these battles requires that each individual get to know their own inner “soul mate.”
Interestingly, this inner confusion has found a concrete form in the transgender issue so hotly politicized in our time. The truth is that all humans are at least psychologically hermaphroditic, and they must get to know and bring these opposite parts into a working relationship to achieve wholeness.
The Shamans of Ancient Mexico’s number one dictum, “suspend judgment,” is of vital importance in discovering the truth of the self. Both the anima and the animus, each in their own way, generate judgments. The anima overpowers with feelings that tell us we’re not being treated fairly or properly loved. The animus forcefully tells us what is right based on generalized “facts” that “everyone knows to be true.”
If we can suspend our tendency to be duped by these automatic feelings and opinions, which compulsively seek to take charge of our perceptions and reactions, we are freed to see and experience reality as it truly is. We are freed to experience clear objective thinking and genuine feelings in ways that lead to balanced wholeness within and real relationship without.
What is asked is that all muster the courage to truly know thy self. And the true self is a many faceted being of many part selves, all of which must be discovered, recognized, but also required to drop their prejudices for the sake of inner wholeness and genuine outer connection.
The true inner work of individuation, of becoming the true individual self we are, by reconciling the differences within with one’s respective inner mate—be it anima or animus—is the only hope for achieving individual fulfillment and a fulfilling relationship.
Exploring the hidden,