Gold trail

On the trail of eternity

Animus and anima, male and female: drive and motivation

Animus and Anima and the 4 Elements

By on 26 June 2020

Swan No.1 by Hilma af Klint for Anima and Animus

Swan No. 1 by Hilma af Klint for Ania and Animus, the female and male spirit.

Animus and Anima - the male and female spirit


Animus and Anima are two quantities which move the world! They stand for the spiritual drive in matter as well as in man: Motivation and action out of passion - MotivAction!

    Wholeness from the unity of opposites

    New reality from the union of male and female

    Reality has emerged from the unity of the ultimate opposites of male and female, spirit and matter. Coexistence and constructive interaction between the two opposing forces is only possible if there is something of the other in each. This is illustrated, for example, by the symbol of yin and yang. Animus and anima appear as the two points, white for spirit in matter, life itself; black for matter in spirit, conscious life in love.

    Yin Yang

    The male and the female spirit

    The two creative primal forces

    Anima and animus are prototypes, archetypes or spiritual (pre)images of femininity (anima) and masculinity (animus) respectively. They therefore cover the entire spectrum of these two opposing energies.
    They can interact positively to create love, devotion, new life and new reality or negatively to create struggle, power and death.

    [S. Male and Female, the Two Primal Forces of Creation and Male and Female and the Creation of New Reality].

      The Animus, FIRE - the male spirit, drive in the body

      As the drive (FIRE) in matter (EARTH), the animus represents the male side of the spirit. As the "fire spirit" he thereby embodies active physical and impulse-giving energy, which sets matter and body in motion, be it through fiery passion or burning pain. He also symbolizes the inner man of the woman, her body drive and power.

      The Anima, WATER - the female spirit, motivation of the soul

      The Anima, the feminine side of the spirit, draws life (WATER) into the realm of the mind and the virtual world (into the AIR to ICE). She awakens fantasies and desires and motivates through ideas and ideals. She is the muse that inspires the artist, the high goal worth living and even dying for.

      The Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life

      The two spiritual powers correspond to the tree of knowledge(anima) and the "tree of life" (animus) respectively in a "paradisiacal garden" of twelve trees. (see for an overview The Wholeness of the Twelve and The Two Trees in Paradise).

      Animus and Anima in the Realm of the Gods

      Animus and Anima as gods 

      Spiritual power and strength

      Animus and anima are to be called "spirits" or "gods" because they are not tangible. Their power consists in the fact that they are spiritual complexes which move the human being as a drive or via inner images and imaginations.

      Weighty archetypes

      As primal types (archetypes) of the energetic opposites masculine and feminine, they appear in positive or negative form, depending on whether they appear in function of love or power.

      In their collective meaning, Animus and Anima are represented by important archetypes such as CHRIST, the DEVIL or the FATHER or the VIRGIN, the MOTHER, the WHORE or the SNAKE.

      Ambivalent: for good and for evil

      The Anima - Goddess, Ideal Woman and the Dream of Men

      The anima is the spiritual archetype of femininity, the "goddess."
      She is able to draw man into the realm of the spirit, as Goethe put it in his Faust:

      "The eternal feminine attracts us".

      As a WHORE, however, it can bind the masculine to matter, and as a serpent it paralyzes and blinds.

      The Anima is the Goddess, Water or Ice, Love or Seduction, WITCH or HOLY(VIRGIN).

      The animus - drive and force in matter.

      The animus is the force in matter, powerful energy and life instinct. Its energy is creative FIREwhich either gives light and warmth or eats destructively around itself. In this ambivalence he symbolizes both the egoistic drive and the drive from love. As this ambivalence he appears in the Gilgamesh epic as the god Shamash (as a wild drive respectively ferryman, who brings over the waters of death) and in the bible as the Christ / Antichristus.

      The animus is consuming fire, suffering or passion, death or life, DEVIL or CHRIST.

      The Magic of Anima and Animus: Fire and Ice

      Universal effect in matter

      Animus and Anima are archetypes for the universal opposing forces male and female, which move matter as spirit-initiating factors. In the form of FIRE and ICE they influence the whole existence, namely all three levels of existence:

        1. Matter and earthly reality: ICE TIMES (Anima) or CLIMATE WARMING (Animus).
        2. SOUL - Relations between male and female (soul): Love or seduction (anima) on one side and suffering or passion (animus) on the other.
        3. SPIRIT - on the collective level (spirit): pure love (Christ and the Virgin) or power through seduction/delusion or suppression/violence (white and black magic / the whore and the beast).

      Irresistible and dangerously magical

      As long as man is not yet aware of these forces, they work hidden and with their negative energy and do their mischief from the shadows.

      C.G. Jung wrote:

      With the archetype of the anima we enter the realm of the gods, respectively the territory that metaphysics has reserved for itself. Everything that touches the anima becomes numinos, that is, unconditional, dangerous, taboo, magical. She is the serpent in the paradise of the harmless man full of good intentions and intentions.[1]

      The same applies to the animus. One can say: He is the thorn in the flesh, which drives the unsuspecting man to grow beyond himself - or else the whip, which drives him into bondage and death.

      When the experience becomes "magical", when one is as if "enchanted", under the spell of a person or a situation, when one loses control, is no longer in control, when "it" just takes off... Then animus and anima are probably at work, playing their game of seduction and dark magic.... 

      The inner image of man and woman

      Animus and Anima in the guise of Maleficent and Conchita Wurst as the archetypes "Devil" and "Whore".

      [S. The negative dynamics of the elements: FIRE AND ICE and Negative pair dynamics (basics).]

      Anima and animus as archetypes in traditions

      The anima - motivation, drive in the soul (love or lust)

      Archetypes and mythological anima figures are:

      • The Goddess of Love / the Goddess of the Underworld
      • The light / the dark virgin (Lilith from the Sumerian LIL = wind and ITU = dark)
      • The Good Queen / The Evil Queen
      • The good fairy / the bad witch
      • The beautiful Helena / the old wise woman
      • The Mermaid, the Snow Queen
      • The snake, the dragon, the turtle
      • The oracle ...

      The animus - drive in the body (passion or pain)

      The animus is spiritual life force in matter and in the body. It acts as a life instinct, drive and impulse from higher motives (love, devotion). Archetypes and mythological animus figures are:

      • The wild bull / the sky bull / the flame bull
      • The god of air (storm or wind) / the god of earth and wisdom
      • The ferryman who takes across the river to the Otherworld
      • The doorkeeper of the underworld / The devil
      • The Sun God / Christ
      • The King, the Prince
      • The white / the black magician (Wizard from Africa)
      • The giant, the phantom, the monster, the beast ...

      The encounter with the opposite sex

      Animus and Anima - the third in the group

      Animus and anima play an important role in the encounter with the opposite sex. They are the third party in the couple relationship.

      The inner image of the opposite sex as a mental, driving factor

      These inner images of masculinity and femininity are initially strongly influenced by mother and father. If a man meets a woman who unconsciously reminds him of his mother, he may fall in love, and the same applies vice versa: If a woman meets a man who treats her like her father, she may fall in love. However, this is a projection of one's own opposite-sex parts. However, this often falls apart again when one gets to know the other person properly (and realizes: "This person is not at all like ME ... thought". See The Projection of the Shadow).

      [For more, see Animus and Anima in the Couple Relationship.]

      The Animus as the inner man of the woman

      The woman's relationship triad

      Drive and relationship to the body

      The animus as the drive in the woman's body is strongly determined by the mental, inner image she has of masculinity. This is shaped first by her father, second by the experiences she has had with her body and men, and not least by "inherited" ideas from her mother or grandmother and by the wider social consensus. All these factors decisively influence the way she encounters men (figure: woman's relationship triad).

      • In its positive form (drive of love) the animus moves the woman to give herself body and soul for the life of others (see Woman as a life-giving vessel).
      • In its negative form it drives her through negativity (pain and anger) into aggressive, dominant and power-oriented behavior or thereby activates her pain and death instinct (see The Pain Body of the Woman).

      [For more see The Animus.]

      The Anima as the inner woman of the man

      The relationship triad of the man

      Soul and relational capacity

      The anima as the soul and relationship aspect of the man is strongly determined by the mental, inner image that the man has of femininity. This is shapedfirst by his mother,second by the experiences he has had with women, and last but not least by social ideas and ideals. All these factors have a decisive influence on the way a man encounters women (figure: man's relationship triad).

      • In its positive form (pure love, "VIRGIN"), the anima moves the man to commit himself body and soul to a higher ideal (woman, family, vocation) and to embark on the heroic path to attain freedom of spirit ("CHRIST").
      • In its negative form, the anima as a whore or serpent binds the man to body, matter and consumption. He will accordingly treat women as whores and want to consume and subjugate the great feminine, matter. The negative anima as a serpent tempts him to manipulate those around him through scheming behavior for the purposes of power (see The Fall of Man account in the Bible and The Mystery of the Serpent.).

      [For more see The Anima.]

      The integration of animus and anima

      The Trial by Fire, a Fire Valley: The Path Through the Shadows

      The integration of the opposite-sex parts is a prerequisite for the wholeness of the human being. As the masculine and feminine sides of the spirit, animus and anima are integrated in the trial by fire on the way through the underworld, the realm of shadows (the fifth phase of the hero 's path,see The Trial by Fire, Fifth Phase of the Hero's Path).

      C.G. Jung wrote that the integration of the shadow (the inner child) is "child's play" compared to the integration of the opposite-sex personality parts:

      If the confrontation with the shadow is the journeyman's piece, the one with the anima is the masterpiece. For the relationship with the anima is again a test of courage and a fire-ordal for the spiritual and moral powers of the man.[2]

      The fire-ordal for the woman, on the other hand, is the confrontation with her own weakness and with the inner fiery body of pain that hides in the basement of her house of life.

      The integration of the shadow sides of animus and anima

      Hexagram Man-Woman

      Only when their shadow sides are overcome, animus and anima are available in their positive aspect. This happens, as mentioned on the Path through the underworld. He comes from a Trial by fire same, which leads to a Dying of the ego. Thereby an inner transformation takes place, so that the two spiritual aspects are integrated in the form of pure love (KINGHOOD, VIRGIN) and redeeming power (PRINCE, KING, CHRIST).

      We continue with:

      The integration of animus and anima
      Anima and animus in negative form (white and black magic)
      The negative dynamics of the elements: FIRE AND ICE (basics)
      Anima and animus in the couple relationship
      The "whore" and the "animal" (Animus and Anima in their collective aspect)

      Further contributions:

      The Animus
      The negative animus as devil or pain body
      The animus of the woman - inner man and body drive
      The integration of the male parts (animus)

      The Anima - Inspiration and Motivation (Soul)
      The Anima of Man (Inner Woman)
      The Negative Anima as Whore or Serpent
      The Integration of the Female Parts (Anima)

      The two trees in paradise
      The integration of the shadow
      The way through the underworld
      The trial by fire, 5th phase of the hero's path
      Male and female - spirit and matter

      Archetypes of anima and animus:

      Christ / Messiah, the Anointed One and the Anti-Christ
      The Virgin - miracle working love and potential
      Lilith: disturbing femininity and the power of the woman
      The god of air - conquering masculinity
      Mary Magdalene and the woman as heroine
      The father - unconditional love
      The great feminine, life itself, in the underworld
      The dragon, the old serpent and its overcoming

      Anima and animus in lore:


      The Sumerian mythology of Inanna, the goddess of love
      The Gilgamesh epic (summary): the hero king
      Goethe's Faust and the pact with the devil
      The fisherman - Goethe's mermaid as anima

      Fairy tale:

      Der Eisenhans (Introduction): From Wild Man to King
      The Dragonslayer George and the Maiden (Introduction)
      Sleeping Beauty/ Maleficent - from curse to wholeness (Introduction)
      Snow White (Introduction) - over seven mountains to wholeness

      In modern works:

      The last unicorn (the animus of the virgin)
      The Lord of the Rings (the hero's path to becoming a king)
      The Phantom of the Opera (the body of pain)
      The Horse Whisperer, the story of a cure: the loving father
      Maleficent - the dark fairy as goddess of fate


      Céline Dion: Parler a mon père
      HERO sung by Mariah Carey: the positive animus of woman
      Robbie William's ANGELS: the anima of man

      and many more ...


      [1] C.G. Jung, Collected Works, Vol. I, "The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious", p. 37, § 59

      [2] C.G. Jung, Collected Works, Vol. 9/I, "The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious", p. 38, § 61

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