tHE ANIMA & ANIMUS IN jUNGIAN ANALYSIS
AND THE MOON SYMBOL IN ASTROLOGY
In the preceding chapters, we have studied the meaning C. G. Jung attributed in his psychological system to the unconscious and to the primordial images (archetypes) which arise from it at the threshold of the individual's consciousness. The archetypes of the collective unconscious are based on primordial experiences so vital and universal that the normal responses to them have become deeply embedded in human nature as instincts, traditional attitudes, and compulsive behavior. Such common human responses to universal life-situations are inherited; indeed they are conditioned by, and are the psychological expressions of, the organic structures of the body, especially the brain. And the average individual is no more conscious of the contents of his psychic depths than he is of the functioning of his digestive or circulatory system.
If, however, an individual places himself (or is placed by the peculiar demands of modern civilization) in circumstances which challenge or preclude natural or ancestrally established responses to basic and traditional situations of human living, some disorders almost inevitably result. These disorders affect the normal organic functioning of either body or psyche, or both. If the body is affected, illness and physical pain occur. If the effect is primarily psychological, psychic disturbances are registered by the consciousness and affect the ego. The disturbances alter the normal state of balance between the conscious and the unconscious and thus challenge the stability of the structures which the ego has built.
The ego, as the controlling center of the consciousness, rules over a Field of psychic activity which is constantly surrounded by the vast and mysterious domain of the unconscious. The ego operates like a king of a country beyond whose boundaries extend seas, mountains, and forests inhabited by unfamiliar races. These races may be barbarians, or they may be highly cultured peoples. In either case, their peculiar and alien ways of living may be met on the basis of fruitful trade, and a vitalizing exchange of values may occur. Times may come, however, when under the pressure of internal or external conditions, the normal rhythm of communication and exchange between the kingdom of the ego (the field of consciousness) and the vast regions of the unconscious is disturbed. The ego may decide (or be forced by the pressure of social demands) to act or seek self-expression in a way which runs counter to the generic and cultural patterns of behavior which are normal to human nature or to the deeper traditions of a particular religion or culture. Then, the psyche as a whole (which is part conscious and part unconscious) is disturbed. If the disturbance is persistent enough, a complex is created, or a neurosis develops. The conscious becomes rigid or war-like, isolationistic or aggressive; it ceases to trade peacefully with the unconscious which, its energies dammed or put in bondage to the will of the ego, turns explosive and seeks revenge.
In the first stages of the conflict, the unconscious seems to give in. Human nature seeks to adjust itself to the demands of the ego and its conscious will; and we all know how much adjusting can be done — for a while. However, if the pressure of the abnormal behavior of the ego upon the natural rhythms of man's common humanity is maintained or increased, "human nature" rebels, overtly or in the way of "underground" resistance. The rebellion may not noticeably affect the equilibrium of biological functions at first; but it is likely to manifest in psychic ways, for instance as strange and obsessive dreams filled with anxiety and dark, menacing drama. Every instinct, as a common root-expression of human nature, may manifest as an archetypal image in dreams, or can be released through day-time fantasies and artistic symbols whose deep meaning may or may not be known to the artist. However, these archetypes of the unconscious come into the field of the conscious only when and where there is a need for them — a need of the personality within which they take form, according to ancient and ancestral patterns.
According to Jung, consciousness adjusts to the environment with direction, purpose, and finality, and the unconscious acts in a way which compensates for whatever is one-sided in these conscious activities. Jung stresses this compensatory function of the unconscious, considering it as proof that the psyche is an organic whole. Just as the body as a whole always tends to readjust the organic equilibrium disturbed by the willful and strained actions in which civilized man constantly indulges, and as the loss of one organ of the body (or the destruction of one part of the brain) is compensated for by the corresponding over-development of some other organ or function, so too does the psyche balance itself. If a person deliberately forces his psyche to respond to outer experiences in a standardized and one-sided manner, this artificial or over-conscious attitude will arouse an equally exaggerated and opposite type of activity in the unconscious.
If a young person has idolized his father and this worship has unbalanced his natural reactions to society and to his own development, then he may have insistent dreams in which his father appears as a petty, insignificant, or even monstrous individual. If a person so identifies himself with his professional or social attitude that he constantly exhibits the mannerisms and typical characteristics of his social position or class, he develops a mask (or "persona") which he becomes increasingly unable to shed. The unconscious will compensate by forcing him to act in unguarded moments in a way just opposite. The popular hero, who has become identified with the expectations of his public and acts his part day in and day out, may nevertheless be known to his wife and children as weak, nagging, and irritable. In these cases, the unconscious reacts to a one-sided and fixed attitude of the conscious ego with a compelling pressure, forcing the person to act in a manner which would be repulsive to his ego, if he were conscious of this phase of his behavior. Jung calls this portion of the unconscious the anima, and the anima always tends to balance the persona, the part of the psyche which, seeking to become well adjusted to the demands of the environment (or to some organic inferiority or childhood complex), over-does the adjustment and becomes a slave to social attitudes.
The anima is the unconscious function which seeks to adjust the personality to the demands of "human nature," that is, to the normal type of response which a human being should make to outer and inner experiences if he functions as a healthy, wholesome, and total personality. Human nature is conservative, and the collective or generic unconscious (another name for "human nature") reacts to the stress and strain of conscious, willful, and over-individualized attitudes in terms of ancestral and archaic molds which are as difficult to modify as animal instincts.
In many cases, however, the accumulated wisdom of the past proves far more sane and safe than the over-differentiated and over-rationalized plans for action of an ego forced to adjust itself to a hectic civilization. Jung emphasizes the fact that what emerges from the unconscious in dreams, inspirations, and creative fancy reveals treasures of wisdom and often prophetic intuitions which are essential components of any personality claiming to be healthy, rich with human significance, and truly creative. Nevertheless, these dreams and inspirations are usually cryptic and they must be interpreted. They appear as images and dramatized scenes or symbols, because the unconscious is neither rational, logical, nor bound by sequences of cause-and-effect. Therefore, the unconscious can only manifest to the conscious as a multitude of images or archetypes. These images — related as they are to either personal and recent, or universal and archaic, experiences — constitute the only means of communication possible to the unconscious. If unconscious contents, warnings, or judgments are at times registered by the consciousness as actual words in logical and clear sequence, it is because they are first worked upon and, as it were, translated by an intermediary psychic function which ever seeks to make the unconscious intelligible to the conscious ego. The anima in its deepest and most positive aspect fulfills such a function.
So, the anima is to be understood thus: first, as a compensatory reaction to a one-sided conscious attitude with which the ego identifies itself (the persona). Secondly, the anima is the mediating function which seeks to bridge the gap between the unconscious and the conscious, between "human nature" and the ego, between the collective, permanent wisdom of the race and the differentiated, sharpened, intellectualized, and ever-changing forms of knowledge of the ego. In a third aspect, Jung also describes the anima as the ideal image of womanhood which every man carries in his unconscious mind, both according to his personal needs and to archaic impersonal traditions establishing the essential meaning of woman for man.
The anima in a man becomes in a woman the "animus." In other words, anima and animus represent the respective contra-sexual element in each. Here we come to recognize an essential point in Jungian psychology, a point which has also been an integral factor in astrology ever since the early days of Chaldean and Chinese civilization. This point is that all psychic manifestations are endowed with polarity, the same as are all forms of energy in the universe. The law of polarity is the law of life itself. Wherever there is life, two forces of opposite polarity forever interact, interpenetrate, and balance one another. Every living organism demonstrates this dynamic polar rhythm; it manifests, in one sense, as the law of compensatory activity above mentioned, and in another sense, as sex.
Sex (considered in its broadest sense as the polarization of human life-energy) refers not only to physical organs. Those deal with the external and outwardly active manifestations of sex in the body; but in the psyche, we find corresponding manifestations of opposite polarity constituting the internal and inwardly active phases of life-energy. And it is these to which the psychological concepts of anima and animus refer. It is indeed a fact that both masculine and feminine elements are contained within the total personality of either a man or a woman. What makes a man "masculine" is the higher percentage of male energy his physical nature includes; but the complementary fact is that, at the same time, his psychic nature will include a lower percentage of female energy.
Biological sexuality, in other words, is merely the central phase of the externalized aspect of the bi-polar life-force operating through — and indeed responsible for the building of — the human person. The aspect of this creative life-force which is externalized or released as sex, builds, sustains, and reproduces the body, under the direction of the still more primordial principle of differentiation (karma) symbolized in astrology by Saturn. On the other hand, the internalized and unreleased part of the life-energy (anima or animus) — of opposite polarity to the sex of the organism — builds and sustains those psychological functions through which characteristic forms of inner activity (or we might say "soul activity") occur. The anima-animus function is responsible for the primary development of all the images, symbols, and creative fantasies through which the unconscious communicates with the conscious ego. It is also the controlling factor in the growth of aspirational and devotional attitudes, or occult techniques, which develop as a result of the inward reorientation (or "conversion") of the ego, away from individualization or differentiation and toward the spiritual or root-realities in which all people share.
Whenever we deal with life-energy, we deal with what, in astrology, is basically represented by the Sun and the Moon. The realm of "life" (using the term in its strict sense as the power which builds, sustains, and reproduces living organisms) is the realm of duality. And, as I have made clear in my book on the subject,* this realm of life and duality is expressed astrologically through the cyclic interplay of solar and lunar, factors. A third factor, however, which must be considered in any truly fundamental analysis is the Earth. The Earth establishes the positions and relative importance of what human beings perceive as the Sun and Moon. The need of these human beings (and all creatures dwelling on the Earth's surface) is what compels the manifestation of soli-lunar energy, and particularly the circuits of the Moon. In esoteric tradition, the Moon, although the satellite of Earth, is represented as being older than the Earth. The Moon is the mother, who diligently serves the needs of her child — and thus hovers around it, surrounding its every move. In another sense, the orbit of the Moon around the Earth outlines the boundaries of a "cosmic-psychic womb" within which all life on the Earth operates and from which it gains sustenance. This "womb" constitutes the sub-lunar realm of medieval astrologers — the world in which the lunar god, Jehovah, was said (by the Christian Gnostics of the second century, A.D.) to rule.
Originally published as The Moon: The Cycles and Fortunes of Life (McKay, 1946), it was revised and subsequently published in Holland (Servire, 1967) and in America (Shambhala Publications, 1971) as The Lunation Cycle. (Aurora Press) also published a version of The Lunation Cycle.
This god was concerned with the building of the "astral man." He was a jealous, possessive god, yet one who produced life structures to fulfill the need of earth-creatures. Because these earth-creatures, collectively speaking, are unready to receive directly the steady and impersonal creative energy of the solar Spirit, this energy is stepped down and adjusted to their needs by the lunar god, the Demiurgos. Solar energy is released to the Moon at every New Moon, but only in an amount acceptable to the limited capacity of earth-creatures. Then the lunar god (or gods) build specialized structures (of body and psyche) through which the solar energy becomes utilizable by earthly organisms and personalities.
The amount and type of solar energy released at the beginning of each lunation cycle is fixed by Saturn; for, while the Sun represents the center of the individual personality system, Saturn represents the boundaries of this system — the limitations, the particular destiny or fate of the individual. Saturn symbolizes the operations of the law of individual differentiation (the karma of the individual). It defines the permanent organic structure of the body (the skeleton), and also the structure of the ego. As long as the ego rules as the center of personality, and as long as the remote planets Uranus and Neptune do not succeed in challenging and dissolving the Saturnian grip over the personality, Saturn controls the release of solar energy (or universal spirit) through the forms periodically built by the Moon (the physiological and the ego-ruled structures of the body and consciousness). The challenge of the collective unconscious to the ego-centered consciousness operates primarily under the power of Uranus. But while Uranus is the challenger, the energy liberated by the challenge is also released by the Moon. All life-energy comes essentially from the Sun, but is released in a differentiated form by the Moon.
The challenge of Uranus to the Saturn-conditioned rule of the ego means that some new and revolutionary contents of the unconscious have become active, and that, as a result, the personality is about to face a drastic process of metamorphosis. This process leads from the ego-centered stage (Saturn-controlled personality) to that in which the Self (in the Jungian sense, the Sun) is realized as the integrating core of a total personality (symbolized by the entire solar system). This metamorphosis is what Jung calls the "process of individuation." The average man is, however, still rather far from such a confrontation. In him, Uranus acts in a reflected manner, as a factor of disturbance caused by unsettled and disruptive social conditions. In him, the rule of Saturn is not really challenged in an individual way. Such a person should therefore be considered to operate strictly within Saturnian boundaries, according to his normal psychological rhythm.
This means that his consciousness is normally immune from contacts with the powerful archetypes of the collective unconscious which, in superior (or unbalanced!) individuals, operate through a sharply and individually focused Uranus and Neptune. The average man's psyche nevertheless contains unconscious activities; but these refer, either to the individual's personal unconscious (Freud's "subconscious"), or to his unindividualized and passive response to the social, cultural, and religious currents animating the community, the class, and the nation which are his by birth and ancestral tradition. It is with reference to these two types of unconscious factors that the animus-anima functions essentially operate.
These functions constitute one aspect of the Moon in astrological symbolism — the inwardly directed type of lunar activity. The other aspect deals with the outwardly directed type of lunar activity, which, as we saw above, is occupied with the building of biological structures and psychological faculties whose aim it is to create the best possible kind of adjustment to the outer world. In other words, in the average human being, the Moon represents two distinct types of activities of opposite polarity. Ancient traditions clearly recognized this fact when they gave to the Moon a dual gender, speaking of the planet as Lunus-Luna — the masculine and feminine Moon. In the German language the word Moon is masculine, and in ancient Hindu books we find constant references to the Moon under the name of "King Soma."
This Hindu name is most interesting, because the same word, soma, in Greek means "body," and from it are derived many modern scientific terms referring to the body. King Soma, or Lunus, is indeed the ruler of all the activities dealing with the begetting, maintaining, and reproducing of the body and all those elements of the psyche which are oriented toward the requirements of outer life. He is the male power in men, and the female power in women. He rules over the externalized aspect of the life-force. And, in astrology, he is the Moon outside of the Earth's orbit, the Full of the Moon from First to Last Quarter — thus the Moon pulled by the attraction of Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, the "masculine" planets of an astrology created by a civilization in which the men rule over all outward human activities.
The other aspect of the Moon is Luna, the power behind the internalized manifestations of the life-force — the anima of men and the animus of women; thus, the "contra-sexual" factor. This factor leads to the inner life production of all the anima-animus images and symbols which Jung has studied and interpreted in great detail, and which come under the general name of "Soul-image." This Soul-image is essentially endowed with feminine attributes in males (thus, the Great Mother, the Muse, the Redeeming Woman, Beatrice — and also all their dark polarizations: the Spider-Woman, the "Femme Fatale," the Temptress, etc.). It has masculine characteristics, positive or negative, in women. It refers symbolically to the Moon within the orbit of the Earth — i.e., the Dark of the Moon, from Last to First Quarter.
Because of this Lunus-Luna polarization, it follows that in order to increase the inward flow of life-energy, the outward current (represented mainly by sex, subservience to social patterns, and ego-centeredness — thus by Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn) has to be curtailed or dammed. This is the basic purpose of many occult and religious practices involving isolation, asceticism, and self-surrender — from Hindu yoga to Christian monasticism. The soul-life is seen thus as a polar opposite to the sex-life and to the ego-centered (or persona- ruled) social-professional life. It is also considered to develop in opposition to the rational life of the intellect, for while the latter operates in a realm of Saturn-ruled logical forms, the soul-life has its roots in the irrational animus-anima functions — and later, in the activities of the collective unconscious represented by Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.
Jung's conception of personality development, however, is one in which no function is to be repressed at the cost of another. The technique of "individuation" — the achievement of fullness of personality through a rounded (global) development of its many functions — implies a "reciprocal interpenetration" of all psychic opposites, especially of conscious and unconscious. In astrology, this means that all planetary factors in a birth-chart have to be developed and that the chart must be understood as an organic whole, as a symbol of the totality of the human personality. The total development of that personality may occur through relatively smooth interactions or sharp tensions between the various functions; but there is no sense in calling the former types of relationships (i.e., planetary aspects) "good" and the latter "bad," or even "fortunate" and "unfortunate."
The birth-chart gives us remarkable insight into the functional balance within which a personality operates. What it presents, however, is only an abstract picture of complex relations, a formula or blue-print. Nevertheless the possession of such an objective pattern allows one to bring psycho-therapeutic procedures to the realm of what Jung calls the "objective psyche." It reduces the infinite complexity of physio-psychological activities to a very few basic functions (the "planets," including Sun and Moon, and secondary factors), a few characteristic types of organic operation (the Signs of the Zodiac), and a few fundamental categories of individualizing experiences (the Houses).
These astrological data are all symbolical. They must be interpreted, just as dreams must be interpreted. They must be given meaning in terms of the needs and the level of operation of each person. Yet, because these are common human structures in all individuals, because the experience of the sky is fundamental in human experience and touches the very roots of human consciousness, and because all human beings strive, however varied the roads they follow, toward one single evolutionary purpose, which is both the central self and the Image of God in every individual, the symbols of astrology have a universal validity. Their significance increases with man's willingness to face the totality of his nature, and to live in his depths as well as in his heights, in his common humanity as well as in his most differentiated and most unique individuality.
Astrology and the Modern Psyche