Saturday, June 2, 2007

Who is Your Animus?

Jung described four stages of animus development in a woman.
1. [The animus] first appears in dreams and fantasy as the embodiment of physical power, an athlete, muscle man or thug.
2. In the second stage, the animus provides a woman with initiative and the capacity for planned action. He is behind a woman's desire for independence and a career of her own.
3. In the next stage, the animus is the "word," often personified in dreams as a professor or clergyman.
4. In the fourth stage, the animus is the incarnation of spiritual meaning. On this highest level, like the anima as Sophia, the animus mediates between a woman's conscious mind and the unconscious. In mythology this aspect of the animus appears as Hermes, messenger of the gods; in dreams he is a helpful guide.
 HIS: To assimilate the effects of the anima, a man must discover his true feelings.
 HERS: To become familiar with the nature of the animus, a woman must constantly question her ideas and opinions.
"Though less written about, Jung also believed that every woman has an analogous animus within her psyche, this being a set of unconscious masculine attributes and potentials. He viewed the animus as being more complex than the anima, as women have a host of animus images while the male anima consists only of one dominant image.
Jung states there are four parallel levels of Animus development in a female. The four roles are not identical with genders reversed; the process of Animus development deals with cultivating an independent and non-socially subjugated idea of self by embodying a deeper Word (as per a specific existential outlook) and manifesting this word. To clarify, This does not mean that a female subject becomes more set in her ways (as this Word is steeped in emotionality, subjectivity, and a dynamicism just as a well developed Anima is) but that she is more internally aware of what she believes and feels, and is more capable of expressing these beliefs and feelings.
Both final stages of Animus and Anima development have dynamic qualities (being ever related to the innate motion and flux of this continual developmental process), open ended qualities (there is no static perfected ideal or manifestation of the quality in question), and pluralistic qualities (which transcend the need for a singular image, any subject or object can contain multiple archetypes or even seemingly antithetical roles)."
The animus tends to produce opinions in women. The creative woman in good relationship with her animus may be thoroughly feminine but have "invincible character and speak with power". She may have strong beliefs in what is right and wrong.The animus isn't meant to be negative. When properly developed, it can build a bridge to the Self through creative activity.The positive qualities of the animus are:
spiritual wisdom
It is a difficult task to develop a positive relationship with the animus. It can take much time and genuine suffering as it requires conscious attention.
"But," explains von Franz, "if [the woman] realizes who and what her animus is and what he does to her, and if she faces these realities instead of allowing herself to be possessed, her animus can turn into an invaluable inner companion."
The key to this process is that a woman must question the sacredness of her own convictions. Only then can she accept higher wisdom from the unconscious that contradicts the opinions of her animus.
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