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The Anima - Motivation and Inspiration, Whore or Saint

The Anima and the Realm of Dreams

By on 14 January 2021

The Anima and the Realm of Dreams

As the feminine side of the spirit, the anima stands for magic, love and high ideals.

The Anima, female spirit and drive of the soul

The anima, as the feminine side of the spirit, has a strong attraction that inspires and motivates. It moves the soul to strive for high ideals such as love and eternal life on the one hand, but also power and wealth on the other.

Inspiration, Motive and Motivation: Goddess and Archetype

In the traditions, the anima is an extremely central figure that appears in the most diverse forms. As a "goddess" she is the archetype for femininity and, as the female spirit, represents the drive in the soul, the motivation and the goal of the hero. For her strong charisma moves him to put his whole existence on the line and literally rise above himself.
This is how Goethe put it in his Faust:

The eternal feminine attracts us. [1]

(Faust encountered the "eternal feminine" in the beautiful Helen, who according to Greek myth was the cause of the Trojan War).

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, dangerously taboo, magical. She is the snake in the paradise of the harmless man full of good intentions and intentions. [2]

Context: Animus and Anima juxtaposed - FIRE AND ICE

C.G. Jung coined the terms animus and anima. These two ARCHETYPES, represent the male and the female spirit, which move the people as living matter each in different ways.


The Anima - the feminine spirit, motivation for devotion (love, knowledge)

As the air spirit, the anima represents the feminine side of the spirit. She has the ability to lift life from its bondage to matter and draw it into the realm of spirit and ideals. In its negative form, however, it causes life to solidify through detached ideals or in a virtual world, with ever increasing coldness (see The EIS Dynamics). As the inner woman of the man the anima attracts to love or lust.

The animus, the male spirit, life force in matter and in the body

The animus as fire spirit represents on the other side the male side of the spirit. He is the life force in matter, active physical and impulsive energy, which moves, be it through fiery passion for the good on one side or through fiery pain or suffering on the other side (Pain body). As the inner man of the woman, the animus symbolizes her body drive and power (s. The Animus).

In their negative form, Anima and Animus each start their own "vicious circle", white and black magic, Fire and ice; in the collective context the whore and the beast called.

Anima and Animus for the two trees in Paradise

The two spiritual forces correspond to the tree of knowledge(anima) and the "tree of life" (animus), respectively, in a "paradisiacal garden" of the wholeness of "twelve trees."

[S. The Wholeness of the Twelve and The Two Trees in Paradise.]

Positive or negative shape of the anima

Virgin or whore / witch or saint?

Power (cognition) or love as motive

The motivating force of the anima can come from a pure or a poisoned source, which in turn can be traced back to the two primal motives: love or fear (lack, power). In the latter case, it works from the shadow, the unconscious and can tear into the abyss.

[See the poem by Goethe: The Fisherman.]

For in its positive form it has pure love to give away, but in negative form it entices through knowledge . (This stands on the one hand for intimate closeness through sexual intercourse, which can then also be used on the other hand as a means of power to exploit the weakness of the other person).

[S. Cognition and the All-Seeing Eye.]

The Gold Well (in "The Iron Man")

The positive anima as a virgin

Pure spiritual love

The anima is the muse that motivates heroes and inspires artists, it is the high goal, the ideal for which it is worth giving oneself, even worth dying for.

  • As a VIRGIN she has what the strong hero still lacks: that gentle, pure and selfless love which has great, miracle-working powers.
  • As the HOLY, the Anima radiates supernatural perfection and wholeness. Through her radiance of pure love, she is able to release the hero from his attachment to the physical and matter and to draw him into the realm of the spirit. Thus she awakens his soul to eternal life and inspires him to devotion to the greater.

The negative anima as witch, whore or snake

Power through seduction and delusion 

In her negative form as a WHORE the Anima seduces by the false light of the knowledge. She lures by eroticism or slogans and exaggerated ideals, blinds by illusions and thereby pulls everything on a virtual and lifeless level. An example of such a cold, lifeless rigidity can be found in the fairy tale The Snow Queen by H.C. Andersen.

As a serpent, it seduces to cunning strategic behavior, with the aim to enforce egoistic interests (see The Fall of Man Report of the Bible and the Mystery of the Serpent). Or it paralyzes through the illusion of fear to complete motionlessness and powerlessness.

[S. The negative anima as WHORE or SNAKE.]

Inanna's or Lilith's tree

Archetypal anima figures in traditions

The anima as a spiritual drive and motive always plays an important role in traditions.

Myths and fairy tales describe the anima through different archetypes:

  • Negative: the dark maiden, the witch, the stepmother, the evil queen, the snow queen, the evil fairy, the snake, the dragon, the spider
  • Positive: The goddess of love, the virgin, the mother as queen of the earth or good queen, the old wise woman, the good fairy, the princess, the king's daughter.
  • Ambivalent: the ruler of the underworld, the deity of fate, the serpent, the oracle

Various mythological aspects of the anima

The anima can take on different forms and also corresponds to the life phases of the hero and the aspects of the great mother-deity (for this see Female Wholeness - the Goddess, White / Red / Black):

The anima as virgin, princess and her kingdom

Thus she appears as a light or dark maiden (like Lilith). Teasing and playful, she touches the heart of the young man as a princess (as in Der Eisenhans or Aladdin and the magic lamp) or seduces him to forget all wisdom and caution. In the story, the maiden inspires the noble knight George to good deeds throughout his life and thus leads him to wholeness.
The virgin princess is the high goal of the hero, because with the wedding he also wins a whole kingdom. This stands for kingship, that is, self-efficacy in one's own life. As the inner woman, the anima connects the man with his feminine personality parts, that is, with his soul (his feelings) and with the spirit (devoted love). Thus he attains wholeness and eternal life (symbolized by gold; see The Holy Wedding).

Serpent tongue as the evil advisor of the king

In negative form, however, the Anima appears, for example, as "Serpent's Tongue". As a scheming advisor he blocks and paralyzes "King Consciousness" by lies and puts him out of action by intrigues. (S. The Third Eye and the King's Treasure.)

Angry femininity and the inner woman as dragon or raging bull

If femininity is not integrated, it can take possession of people in power as a full-blown negativity in the form of a dragon snake or a raging bull, making them greedy for money and cruel. Thus, interestingly, the dragon was the symbol of the Emperor of China. Also the raging sky bull already plays a role in the Gilgamesh epic, further in myths (like the Greek Minotaur) or also in fairy tales and stories like "The last unicorn" (see The bull as a female symbol and the bull cult).

Positive femininity and security in the womb of mother nature

But strong, wise femininity also has its place in the lore, albeit often in a hidden form. On the one hand, it is always the old, wise woman who shows the hero or heroine the way (as in George the dragon slayer or in the Snow Queen). And as a fairy godmother (in Cinderella) or Frau Holle, they reward the heroine's devotion.
On the other hand, strong femininity also appears as an oracle that speaks in riddles and is understood only by that hero who is sincere of heart. These figures speak a wisdom that is one with the great mother as the deity of destiny and mistress of life and death.
Against the latter the egoistic ruler fights in vain and fails. But the true hero as the searching wanderer finds not least in the grandiosity of nature a new security and living fullness, as it corresponds to the womb of the great mother-deity.

White - Red - Black, Kay Nielsen, 3 Sisters

The Anima as the inner woman of the man

Soul, relationship skills and the inner image of women

The anima as the inner woman and soul of the man stands for his relationship aspect, through which he also enters into contact with women in particular.
This inner conception of femininity is initially shaped by the mother, then further by experiences with other women and not least also by social ideas and ideals. It is a mental factor which decisively determines the man's way of encountering women.

Virgin or Whore/Snake?

In its positive form as a VIRGIN, the anima moves the man to devotion to the relationship, the family or even the profession / vocation.

[S. The anima as the inner woman of man.]

In her negative form as a WHORE she seduces him to lust, power and consumption. As a "SNAKE" she tempts him to manipulate his environment and especially also the woman by "cunning" and strategic-intriguing behavior to reach his goal and to drive his desire forward.

[S. The negative anima and the man without a soul.]

Anima, man's inner woman (from video clip for Robbie Williams' song "Angels")

The Integration of the Anima - Weakness and the Sacred Wound

The injury as a sacred wound

Spiritual teacher and Franciscan partner Richard Rohr wrote:

Feminine behaviour was so strictly taboo that it was impossible for men to discover and develop the feminine dimension within themselves. [3]

Because femininity is associated with weakness in this world, it is not very attractive, even to women. However, her strength lies precisely in the miracle-working power of pure gentle love.

[S. The Virgin - Miracle Working Love and Potential.]

The path of powerlessness

In order to integrate the feminine side, untamed macho male power must suffer weakness or an injury (because blood belongs to the feminine). In traditions this is usually represented by a wounding of the hero (see The Sacred Wound - the Path to Wholeness). Thus, ancient traditions introduced young men into the world of adults through a ritual injury (see Crossing over into the World of Adults in The Initiation).

To this end, Bly:

An old tradition says that no man grows up until he has opened himself to the world of the soul and spirit, and that this opening takes place through a wound in the right place, at the right time and in the right community. A wound enables the spirit or soul to penetrate.[4]

The wounding of the hero as an everyday event

At the latest in the crisis of the middle years, it is time for the man to integrate his feminine parts. The weakening that initiates this process can look very different: It can be the loss of a job or a loved one, a burnout, an unhappy infatuation or illness. Difficult experiences like these confront the man with the limits of his potency and power and bring him into contact with the feminine. If he has experienced weakness himself, he also becomes more compassionate and loving with others.

[S. The integration of the feminine.]

Pietà by Michelangelo

The integration of the collective anima and redemption

The integration of the shadow and the feminine is preceded by an experience of weakness or an inner dying. This is the path to wholeness, which is already the theme in the first traditions.

The Sumerian mythology of Inanna

Thus, Inanna, the Sumerian goddess of love, is killed in the underworld and resurrected by the loving father on the third day. This happens by perceiving the angry goddess of the underworld in her suffering (which means just this integration of weakness, see Inanna's resurrection by the father). Thereupon, Inanna goes directly into a confrontation with her god-husband, who panics and promptly allows himself to be transformed into a serpent in order to escape her raging wrath. (This means figuratively that his inner wife first appears as a snake that slithers away; see The Shepherd is Smitten).

The Babylonian Gilgamesh Epic

Gilgamesh integrates his feminine parts and his soul by meeting Siduri, the goddess, as a defeated hero and neglected wanderer, who shows him the way and represents his little sister-lover. Finally, he also integrates the female side of the spirit, love, by acknowledging his failure and weeping over it (see The Serpent and the Immortality Herb). 

The Jewish tradition

Already in connection with creation and the fall of man the "curse" is pronounced over the serpent:

He [the descendant of the woman] will crush your head, and you, you will crush his heel. (Genesis 3:15).

From Jewish tradition comes the idea of the true hero as the suffering servant of God (for example, in the book of the prophet Isaiah, chapter 53).

Corona Christ shadow

Christianity and the dying God

Jesus Christ always emphasized in his teachings that he lived the love of the Father. (The archetype of the Father has by definition true unconditional love, see "I am the Father," free text).
He also speaks of himself as the one who is empowered to draw from the source of life(Jn 4:7; ff. Rev 21:6). This also means that he has integrated his inner woman and thus pure, devoted love. (Because water is a female symbol, see water, female).

As the obedient son of the loving Father, he integrated in suffering the weakness and the shadow of humanity. Moreover, he has made a powerful sign of reconciliation by identifying himself in dying with the great feminine, the life itself, which is in the underworld.
In this, the cross represents a symbol of wholeness, uniting masculine and feminine (right and left) and conscious - unconscious (above - below, spirit and matter).

[S. Christ / Messiah, the Anointed, and
The Feminine in the Underworld and Collective Redemption.]


[1] Goethe, Faust II, v. 12110 f.

[2] C.G. Jung, Collected Works, Vol. 9/I, "The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious", p. 37, § 59

[3] Rohr, Richard (2009). From the Wild Man to the Wise Man (2nd ed.). Munich: Claudius, p. 27

[4] Bly, Robert (2011). Eisenhans. A book about men (7th edition). Kindler Verlag GmbH, Munich, p. 274

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