The Anima is part of the male psyche. It is part of the unconscious mind and represents a man’s true self, as opposed to the persona or social masks he puts on in his day to day life. It is the feminine side of a man with which he must relate if he is to have a true and genuine relationship with a real-life woman.
The anima does not imply each man has an actual woman inside of him, but that his unconscious feelings have a life of their own and function as an independent aspect of his personality. This psychic core or archetype is the anima.
Expressing the anima and integrating it with his conscious awareness can be a valuable source of creativity for a man. It can also provide a basis for deeper and more meaningful interactions with the female gender.
Anima is a Latin word that means soul and is both a means of communicating with the unconscious mind as well as providing it a creative voice. The Swiss psychologist Carl Jung described the anima as the combined unconscious feminine qualities possessed by a male. This means not only the way a man perceives women, but also those attributes within him that are traditionally viewed as feminine in nature.
These include tenderness, compassion, commitment, fidelity, intuition and creativity.
Men who lack these attributes or qualities are more likely to commit violent crimes as if they had no feelings or compassion for their victims. Men who cannot recognise or express their anima are also more likely to be sexist in their attitudes or abusive in behaviour.
Many men struggle with the notion that part of their psyche is feminine in nature. They fear it implies they are either effeminate or otherwise confused about their sexual preferences. This fear can prevent men from accessing those parts of themselves that provide a positive, loving influence in their lives.
By recognising and expressing their anima, men gain an opportunity to become more whole or rounded as human beings. This wholeness extends to their relationships with others. A more perfect relationship between man and woman can occur when both genders have accessed their anima and animus – the female equivalent to the anima.
The union of a man’s anima with a woman’s anumus is known as syzygy (1) and provides a great potential for both parties. Such a union can provide a soul-mate with whom a special love and creative energy can be experienced.
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(1) Syzygy – In simple terms syzygy can be any two related things, either alike or opposite in nature – as in some Gnostic forms of spirituality it is a pairing of forms, such as male / female. In astrology syzygy is an alignment of three celestial bodies as when the Sun, Earth and Moon produce an eclipse.