The Anima and Animus

And now, a word on the anima.

Analytical psychologist, Carl Jung, describes the archetypes known as the anima (the personificaton of the feminine nature of a man’s unconscious) and the animus (the personification of the masculine nature of a woman’s), as they relate to dream images, projections, and regulators of social norms.

Physically, there was a point when you were not male or female. Sexless, within the womb, most of us then developed physically into either male or female. Then, males are left with a smaller dose of estrogen and women a smaller dose of testosterone, but we still share these chemicals. Some are born with the chemical equavilent of hermaphroditism. We are ALL conditioned, and this the last gauntlet we cross before becoming men and women.

Some societies encourage men to kiss in greeting, American culture frowns upon it. Some boys see their mothers with purses and want one, only to have the conditioning of the superego tell them, “Boys do not do that.” Even the most manly heterosexual man was once sexless, has some esterogen, and might even secretly enjoy a showtune or two.

Conversely, women in American culture are expected to be Feelers and not Thinkers. When we meet a woman who leans more towards being a Thinking Perceiver, versus a Feeling Perceiver, many males’ inclination is to think this woman is cold and/or a lesbian.

To be fair, Jung separates the physical/biological maleness and femaleness from the masculine and the feminine, but I am sort of throwing it all into the pot. So all these repressed and suppressed opposites of what we have become get nice “little” archetypes.

And So, My Dreams

I have only had this type of dream three times that I can remember, though I’m sure I’ve had others of it’s kind.

The first time I can remember I was about 11 years old. I dreamt that I was a member, possibly a leader, of a revolutionary group (either Terminator and/or X-Men comics were to blame I imagine). We fought in secret against our oppressors. We had meetings, lived, battled, and in my case, loved.

The part of my loved one was played by original MTV V.J. Martha Quinn. It was one of those rare dreams many I’m sure never have, in which it feels like a lifetime was fleshed out before the events of the dream, the dream itself felt like it lasted a day, and the waking world, upon returning, felt empty and false. Yes, this was a dream I had when I was 11. I was seriously sad for the entire day.

My comradita and I did nothing sexual in the dream, it was a super pure sister/soul mate feeling (plus, I think it would be another couple years before I had THOSE kind of dreams). Much like the dreams in which you won the lottery or found treasure, and upon waking up have a brief period of denial, “No, I think I really do have that $1 million around here somewhere,” this dream’s impact lingered.

Now that’s all well and good for an 11 year old boy. Strange that the feelings would be so strong and emotional, but acceptable. Later in life, married and all growed up, when a similarly affecting dream happened upon me, the details of which are lost to me, I woke up feeling sad and missing a fake person, and feeling guilty towards my wife for missing “another woman”. Foolish and idiotic, in fact, because it was a dream, “Get over it.”

This feeling lasts for about a day, and goes away. I’m sure many of us share these types of dreams, but upon awaking, do not dwell upon them. Perhaps we forget instantly after awakening, and just get through the day feeling a little down.

But me, I decided to write about it. So…

Last Night…

I dreamt that I was in a large open area with lots of people. Some friends of mine had been hanging out, and some thought I was finally going to confess my feelings for… the girl. She was petite, had a kitschy sense of fashion with both tight and loose fitting clothes, rather 1980’s. She wore oversized, sunglasses and didn’t have a care in the world.

She decided it was time to leave, unless of course had something to say? I did, but I couldn’t… and so she said her goodbyes and started to walk away. I opened my mouth as she looked back, “Yes?” But I couldn’t.

She laughed at my silliness, and waved again as she began to disappear in the crowd. I couldn’t stand to see her disappear, and so I began to shout, “I lo… I…” and she somehow saw me through the crowd, struggling to confess my feelings, and she began walking back.

She was very matter-of-fact, I clearly had something important on my mind, so she took me aside. She politely asked a specific friend of mine to leave. This shook me a little, because up until that point, everything was so based within this fictional world, but here was a person I actually recognized. We started to walk to an isolated corner, and another friend followed us, “Oh, she’s okay, she can come too. Now then, what did you want to tell me?”

I was about to pour my heart out, and I looked at the girl who followed us. It was my wife!

“I… heh, um, nothing.”

And the dream fell apart.

Upon that half second of waking up, I felt simultaneously guilty towards both women. Upon waking up, I felt stupid and sad. Now I’d feel guilty and yet miss someone for a day. Is this the anima? Some long forgotten reminiscence, taking the form of a petite, almost asexual sisterling?

I’ll probably never know.

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