Anima Possession: Are you a spineless wimp?

Anima Possession: Are you a spineless wimp?

animaThis is the second part of two posts on the Classic version of Jung’s Anima and Animus theory in which I condense the information from Marie-Louise von Franz’s book Anima and Animus in Fairy Tales [1].

This post focuses on the malevolent, destructive, dysfunctional Anima and how that affects a man and also attempts to address the approach to take in order to integrate the Anima and thus render her benevolent and constructive.

In the classic version of Jungian psychology, the Anima is the man’s internal other, and the Animus is the woman’s internal other. In other words, if you are physically a man, you will have an inner Anima, a feminine image which guides and shapes the way you relate to women and the world at large. Whilst Post Jungian theory is in line with Post Modernity and more ambivalent about gender, the classical model, as described by Marie-Louise von Franz in this post, is still incredibly useful and very interesting. The information and knowledge that Marie Louise von Franz extracts from the Fairy Tales is fascinating.

As this post focus on the man’s relationship with his Anima, what needs to be understood is that this feminine image is unconscious, and has her roots in the relationship he had with his mother. A man’s experience of his personal mother puts the flesh on the inborn archetype of the Anima and both define his attitude towards women and the functioning of his inner feminine principal. In Jungian psychology, the first step is to individuation is integrating your shadow. After that follows the integration of the Anima and/or Animus.


Anima Possession:

When a man’s Anima is not integrated, it wreaks havoc in his life. The Anima possessed man is a spineless wimp who does not know when or how to take action in the world. He is moody and sulky and throws tantrums like a toddler. Although very passive, he totally overreacts to slights and confrontations. He is not appropriate in his actions, either he is paralysed and can’t find the energy to do what needs to be done, or he jumps into action when he should be thinking about it first. He is usually in a relationship with an Animus hound [2] who knows it all and makes all the decisions in the relationship.

The Anima possessed man is stuck in a fate that his repetitive patterns choose for him. The Anima spins a cocoon of fantasies and illusions. He repeats the same dynamics, dates the same type of women, and experiences the same resistance in the world again and again.

Any numinous experiences he has, she quickly attacks and he is left with a feeling that he experience was “nothing but”… She is a master of creating doubt and he finds himself always doubting his options and choices. He gets lost in contemplations and thinking and this is what prevents him from taking action. At night he dreams about his Anima, she appears in his dreams as a monster, attacking him, threatening him and dismissing him.

The Anima attacks the man’s inferior function, and to explain this I need to quickly divert to Typology. In Jung’s personality type model, each person has four functions, namely Thinking, Feeling, Intuition and Sensation. These four functions identify the way you relate to, and take in information from the external world. An individual will always favour one of the four as their superior function. To explain this, I will use the example of wanting to buy a new car. A thinking type will analyse the performance, fuel consumption, motor plan deal etc. A feeling type will evaluate which vehicle is best suited for his purposes. An intuitive will select the vehicle that he “knows” is right for him. A sensate will choose a vehicle that feels great to drive and is in the right colour. Now if you are a Thinking type, your inferior (opposite and underdeveloped) function would be Feeling (and vice versa). If you are an Intuitive, your inferior function would be Sensation (and vice versa). Coming back to the Anima, she always attacks the man in his inferior function. So where most men are thinking types, typically, his feelings will be poorly developed and here the Anima takes control. She plays his emotions like a fiddle. He is moody, sulky, throws tantrums and gets really upset. When he has the rare moments of happiness and elation and has a fabulous time, she quickly casts doubt and destroys the experience for him. And naturally, as a consequence, his evaluative ability tends to be poor.

Generally this man, who’s inferior function (feeling) trips him up all the time, experiences his emotions and mystical numinous experiences as a handicap. He finds himself disillusioned with his feelings and often tries to escape into the thinking realm, but this does not help his cause at all. He is afraid to trust his feelings and consequently makes a complete mess of his life.


Integrating the Anima

The Anima represents the divine aspect of the human being. She is a goddess that imbues everything with numinosity and mystery. The human being tries to bring the divine into the realm of reality and thereby reduce the mystery to the banal. This attempt to rob the Anima of her divinity is evident in the Western culture where the feminine is reduced to base and crude sexuality.

The Anima has fallen into the unconscious, especially in the protestant cultures, where the idealized feminine is projected onto the Virgin Mary and the dark aspect is projected out onto women who fascinate and capture the passions of a man, who then grants her the status of witch because he feels as if he has been bewitched.

The danger with Anima possession is when the man takes on an average, reluctant, undifferentiated attitude. His attitude towards risk is to avoid it, because he simply does not believe that anything he undertakes will succeed. This hopelessness opposes the hero within. As the Anima is an Archetype, to realise the Anima instinctively will release overwhelming emotions. This is why the man must develop his inferior function, to prevent the Anima from possessing him. To redeem the Anima, she must be allowed to reveal her divine nature.


Here are some guidelines for dealing with the dysfunctional Anima.

One of the main problems with the Anima is that she lies outside time. This results in men who act inappropriately for their age. They are either childish old men or wise young boys. This time related issue affects the man’s judgment in relation to action. He either totally overreacts to small matters, or does not act when he needs to in big matters. This must be opposed in the following manner.

The quick to react Anima:
When the man is riled up, emotional and has an urgency to react then and there, he must wait and put off his response to the given situation. Sleeping on it does wonders, and a new perspective will emerge. This man has gotten himself into many undesirable situations because of this need to react immediately and some perspective on the situation will allow him not to fall into the trap of repeating his neurotic dynamics unconsciously.
The Anima creates a pressing urgency to send the email, confront the person, phone immediately. This impulse must be resisted in order to change the Anima in the unconscious. Delay the excitement, delay acting on it, and it will lose its urgency and the man will tire of it.
With time and practice the man will be able to enter the situation consciously, without falling prey to the emotion. Once he is able to hold the opposites in consciousness, not to commit to any action, he will be able to integrate his Anima. This struggle is the battle for moral responsibility, the search for light and meaning.

The slow to react Anima:
When the man finds himself lost in ambiguity and at a loss on what to do, he needs to act. The Anima is an expert on implanting doubt. He must step into life to get out of this trap. He needs to act in some way. He must escape the repetitive pattern of getting excited about ideas and then discussing it to death until he is totally uninspired. He needs to develop a disciplined consciousness for solutions and directions. The correct attitude is to accept that it may not work, or that it is possibly not the right thing to do, but taking action anyway. One must take action based on the knowledge an understanding available at that point in time. Overcoming the Anima is through experiencing reality and the unknown, not talking about it.

Developing the inferior function:
The integration of the Anima requires the balance between the intellect and the instinct. One must not sacrifice the intellect for the Anima either, because this will also develop an unbalanced relationship with the Anima. Whatever the inferior function is, the man must engage it bravely and enter into it slowly. He must not use the inferior function to govern his external realm, but use it in the internal realm. As long as he tries to use his feeling function in the external realm, he will be heavy, slow, mystical and inarticulate. But if he turns his feeling function inwards, and allows himself to feel, no matter how silly or infantile, he will slowly develop his feeling function. This ability to think naively, without rules, allows the libido (energy) to rush forth and re-energize the psyche. But to give a voice to the unconscious inferior function, the man must learn to sacrifice the superior, ruling attitude of rules and structure, which is not easy.



As with the Animus, the Anima is the bridge to the unconscious and the roadmap to this unconscious realm lies within the inferior function of the man. The ultimate goal of this journey is individuation, which is the most authentic and whole expression of an individual. Integrating the Anima and Animus is a vital aspect of this journey.

Until next time

[1] Von Franz, M. L. (2002). Animus and anima in fairy tales. D. Sharp (Ed.). Toronto: Inner City Books.
[2] Read the blog Animus Possession: Are you a ball busting bitch?

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Comments (52)

  • michelene Reply

    Only just starting to explore this in my journey.

    May 19, 2015 at 7:37 pm
    • bill hopen Reply

      Anja, I enjoyed your article on animus in women much more. It seems “Anima” is presented so negatively here….is it a completely negative force within a man’s psyche as presented by Jung? Does Jung speak to any positive effects of feminine qualities within Men? I like to feel my masculine instincts and decisions and behavior are modified by a feminine shadow toning it down a bit. I also enjoy the poetic, the romantic, the sensitive feeling side of life, that adds a feminine spice to an otherwise cold and bleak masculine experience.
      As a “manly” man, who enjoys most aspects of typical masculinity, ” Anima” if you will, limits my masculine excesses, allows me to be kind, generous, nurturing, forgiving, gentile, sensitive when this is a more constructive way. Is this weakness? no. “unmanly”?….no, I don’t think of it as a negative at all….I think of it as being “balanced”..having a broader repertoire of behavior…..I would not want to live with my dial turned up to maximum masculine 100% of the time….that strength is there when I need it, but its not always the best way to navigate, or to fulfill yourself or others around you.

      May 25, 2020 at 4:40 pm
      • Lyndsy Blue Reply

        The golden ratio is 70/30 yin yang.
        I heard a really fun presentation on Gaia TV with Dr. Theresa Bullard, about this very thing.

        She said regardless of gender.
        if you feel more masculine your balance is 70% masculine and 30% feminine
        And if you are more feminine your balance is 70% feminine and 30% masculine.

        She said like the yin yang, that is balance.

        I feel It’s important to nurish your balanced feminine as a man and not the anima. The anima is the unbalanced feminine in the man. (Or the person who identifies more masculine)

        I’m not sure what the 70/30 looks like, but I’ve been working on my shadow side and researching how to be more feminine. I am a women and love being feminine. Somewhere between my divorce and having to provide, My masculine overtook my famine for sure. I’m working on getting that back.

        Ps to the writer of the article:
        . I really got a lot out of both.

        March 1, 2021 at 9:04 am
  • Pat Reply

    I found this very helpful thank you… I think I am possessed, but making progress toward integration. I have what i think must be a very strong Anima projection on a particular person because they literally matched many dreams ive had in such a synchronized way it still looks and feels like ‘destiny’, or that our paths were meant to cross(but I guess that’s kind of a self-fulfilling prophesy now depending how you look at it). I fell madly for her, obviously, and did both too quick and too slow reactions, but finally managed to get her attention from the other side of the world online. Sad part is she seems possessed herself so it has been extremely difficult to connect, but I have a strong sense that we are both ‘bewitched’ and I can’t shake the feeling that I need to stay around and be as loving, honest and supportive as possible. I can see the potential to have great chemistry but it’s really been difficult to deal with how one-sided it feels because of her Animus and/or sense of self-defence over anxieties and echos of past trauma.. and I am beginning to doubt that my practically worshipping her helps much as I struggle with my own possession. ANY thoughts on this would be much appreciated. Thank you for reading, and again, for the article(s).

    August 2, 2016 at 9:46 am
    • Anja van Kralingen Reply

      Hi Pat. It is difficult for me to comment without knowing your past Anima projections. Is this a pattern? Or rather what is your pattern in terms of relationships? Only then can you evaluate what is driving this possession / obsession. One thing is for sure. A human being can never live up to a goddess projection so I would be very wary pursuing this. Our teacher use to advise us to.focus on the Shadow in order to break the projection. But perhaps this status quo is exactly what you want? It needs a lot of reflection.

      August 3, 2016 at 8:25 am
      • Nuri Reply

        Can you please explain what you mean when you say “focus on the Shadow in order to break the projection”?

        July 1, 2020 at 5:37 pm
    • Adam Reply

      Careful Pat. I chased a woman for five years. Declaring undying love and making promises I could never keep, just to win her attention and then if I was lucky, her affection. She was flighty, which gave her a mystical quality, creative, seemingly unaffected and I thought, extremely sexy. The way she moved… everything shouted “goddess”. I chose to ignore her traumatic childhood, thinking that we were meant to be together and she just needed my love and support and all would be well.
      Eventually we got together and had a disastrous 3 month relationship. She wasnt the goddess. She was incredibly manipulative and often over reacted. Her cryptic and poetic way of talking lost its mystical appeal and became increasingly frustrating to deal with. Obviously this sent me into a confused and anxious state. She could never live up to my projected goddess and I could never live up to whatever she was projecting. When the end came it was abusive, items thrown, physical scuffles, threats to burn down my house.. and she (falsely) accused me of rape and assault. I was cleared immediately but the experience took well over a year to recover from.
      I will say this. It will likely go wrong. If you follow through and it ends you will be in torment and it is a long climb out of hell. However, the fall and climb is worth it. I no longer feel overpowered by anima projections. I see and recognise the projections and now I stop to consider what it is telling me about me, not about the woman in question.
      I chose the path of ego gratification which ended in a painful ego death. If you can find a way to rid yourself of the power of this projection, do it. This might mean severing yourself from all contact. Hard. I tried it several times with limited success. Lonely nights were weak points. Otherwise prepare yourself for a fall. Good luck!

      October 20, 2017 at 9:06 pm
      • Rob Reply

        Hi Pat,

        Listen to Adam. There is a LOT of wisdom in that post. Very similar to my own experience.


        May 12, 2020 at 4:56 am
        • Alex Reply

          agreed, super useful– im still picking up the pieces of a similar experience I had. The fruit of such a debacle might be said to come later, once the false hope has all died away, and you no longer are interested in playing that game, then real relating can begin (or at least has a better chance of getting though)

          April 18, 2021 at 6:53 am
    • Meluzína Reply

      Maybe it will sound naive to you, but they say you basically cannot know a person until you live with the person or know the person a couple of years. I know I also might be a little too tuchy, but it really hurts me how guys claim to love me which is an impression based purely on their disinteressed in my real personality. It’s all over again and so tiring to observe their adoration of a basically fictional person (in the top case still nearly equatting their mother) which happens on my account in my room – the feast of him and his ghost girl on my body. Makes you feel kinda used and lonely. Those are just some thoughts you know.

      May 29, 2018 at 5:56 pm
  • zv Reply

    Greetings! This article was of immense significance for me, really appreciate Your work! Now, I have a question I hope I can put well. 🙂 As a jazz musician, I sometimes need to “unleash” the anima in order to play the music of the present moment (to connect with the “great unknown”). The problem is, once it is “unleashed”, it is very hard to control it: on one hand, yes, it brings great inspiration, but on the other hand, aside from playing some beautiful music, there are no good things it brings – i have all the symptoms of anima opssession, and it’s really painful sometimes and it takes a lot of effort to “push it back into its corner”(sorry for the lack of more appropriate expression). Now I’d like to know if it is possible that I make only benefits from my anima, or does it always come as a “two-edged sword”, because many texts say that it actually always brings both good and bad.

    October 6, 2016 at 9:54 pm
    • Anja van Kralingen Reply

      Interesting question ZV. I am of the opinion that you can work with the Anima and utilize her in the appropriate fashion. I think the main issue with the Anima and Animus is that they are activated in the wrong place. So e.g. where the Anima is the lens with which we should relate to our inner world, she is often used as the lens to relate to the external world; And the Animus is used as the lens to relate to the inner world instead of the external world. That is when things go awry. But as you mention, you access her in order to play music which I would think is an internal lens function as she is used by you to access your inner experience in order to reflect it through your music. Not sure why she sticks around then when you stop playing and start interacting with the external world. I would love more detail in terms of what happens in this scenario for you.

      October 8, 2016 at 3:02 pm
      • zv Reply

        Thank You for Your quick responding! Now, as far as I can understand, once accessed, my anima becomes my lens both for the external and the internal. The same is with, if i may put it this way, my animus. Once I’m in this modus operandi, i cease to relate to my inner world, the same way I cease to relate to the external world properly when I’m anima possessed. Writing this, I’m starting to understand that my problem is actually not the possession of anima (or animus), nor the transition between these two moduses, but my inability to make a clear distinction between the external and the internal. And this is not the first time, I’ve come to this conclusion. Now, does this mean that I should introvert my anima, and if yes, how? Thank You in advance!

        October 10, 2016 at 11:04 am
        • Anja van Kralingen Reply

          Hi ZV. Again interesting insight and question. First of all, let me qualify my answer by saying I am not sure! But I would imagine it is a similar process as with complexes, being the first step is to realize and identify when this is happening. The clearer you are about the qualities and experience of the anima introversion, the easier it will be to identify you are in it. I would suggest then symbol work to introvert it, so perhaps access a symbol for the ideal introverted state and then find that symbol in the external world in the form of an object which you can then place somewhere to allow the psyche to make the shift. E.g. if your symbol for the anima in her functioning state is a red scarf, then tie this to something in your office or house when you are feeling ‘possessed’. This will help to shift.

          October 20, 2016 at 3:27 pm
        • David Jones Reply

          Hi Anja,

          I found this very interesting and relatable.
          According to a personality test I took, my superior functions are both ‘feeling’ and ‘intuition’.
          I have an idea on how to integrate the inferior function of ‘thinking’ into my life (through my study of stoicism), but I have absolutely no idea on how to integrate ‘sensation’.

          Might you have any tips on how this could be done. Bearing in mind I’m not at present integrating my shadow, and know that that comes first. It’d be nice to know in advance, for some practice.

          I appreciate any advice you might have.

          Kind Regards,


          September 16, 2021 at 2:46 pm
  • Chris Roberts Reply

    I’m curious how one can identify their dominant function when it feels as though there may be two main functions at play.


    January 18, 2017 at 8:56 pm
  • Ragga Reply

    Hi Anja,

    I am not sure how I identify with the label “spineless wimp”, and whether or not it adds any qualitative purpose to your post. I figure this incisively profound article could have benefited even without its use, but maybe you can clarify why that specific phrase was used.

    In any event, I am in my late 30s and have been experiencing the torture of the moods, overreactions, dualistic thinking, alienation. I am an analytical type, and I do see the anima bombarding my inferior function. I am not sure what it is, but being single and not dating, I feel strong sexual desire welling up, and often ponder visiting clubs etc. to get laid. To me this is an infantile response of the ego to the discomfort engendered by the negative anima. So my question is, how does one address such erotic desires? Does one go inward and learn to tolerate those feelings, absorbing their full depth and thereby enlarging one’s psyche, or does one respond to the instinct regardless of whether one is objectifying women, or simply getting laid to escape or even anesthetize one’s existential loneliness and pain?

    So many writers and experts comment on the anima, but few ever offer any solution or means of integrating it into one’s psyche. This has been one of the frustrating experiences I have had in all forms of therapy, including Jungian therapy.

    I would truly appreciate your reply.

    April 2, 2017 at 4:43 am
    • Anja van Kralingen Reply

      Great question Ragga! I am sure that you are aware that integrating the Anima and Animus is the most challenging part of the Jungian individuation process. I hear from your question that you suffer with relatedness problems to the feminine, and if you are in analysis the analyst would probably work on the archetypal anima relationship, which is the one with your mother. The problem with the anima and animus is that we project an idealised (godlike) image onto a human being, who can never live up to it. We are all experiencing the same disillusion with our parents – they should have behaved like this or that. Where does this perfect image of mother or father come from?

      And of course as an adult, you still expect the other to capture those perfect qualities that you desire and need to feel safe and loved and contained. There is simply no other way to integrate the Anima and Animus other than to confront these ideals that you project out. It is only once you are able to see the other as a human being, and not a goddess/god, that there can be any type of relatedness to them.

      In the meantime, don’t forget that woman have the same issues, and if you want to get laid and objectify someone, then do it, chances are she too will objectify you. My take is that any interaction with the other, whether it is deep connection or a one night stand, will still stimulate internal dialogue, realisations and integration if you do reflection and internal work.

      April 3, 2017 at 8:08 am
      • Ragga Reply

        Thanks for your response, Anja. I read somewhere that one way of addressing the anima is to recall the projections by concentrating inwardly the emotions and difficult feelings which arise. For instance, I find when loneliness grips me, I reach for compensatory means of relief, and afterwards, there is a sense of guilt and sometimes despair. I am working to avoid this cycle by learning to tolerate the feelings of loneliness and alienation and focusing on realizing my artistic talents. Robert A. Johnson speaks of Parisfal sleeping with Blanche Fleur but not consummating sexual love with her, and he explains that this is the relationship a man must have with his inner feminine: one that does not involve being seduced, or to seduce. He also speaks to the need to cultivate a relationship with the inner feminine, and not to mistakenly perceive her as existing externally. This is why I do not feel getting laid is the healthier alternative to transfiguration. After all, you also speak that if I objectify, then that is what I will get in return, so I suppose in conjunction with Johnson’s explanations, a healthier way of embracing and nurturing the inner feminine is to pursue a deeper meaning, perhaps through creativity?

        April 5, 2017 at 10:25 pm
  • Asha Reply

    This has been really helpful. I would love to know your thoughts on this. If someone who is in a long-term monogamous, committed marriage becomes anima possessed with someone outside of the relationship, what is an appropriate way to handle that where this can be explored and integrated without violating or destroying the marriage but actually helping the marriage grow and deepen? Thank you so much for your reply.

    May 22, 2017 at 4:49 pm
    • Anja van Kralingen Reply

      Hi Asha, let me first mention that this is not unusual for someone to project their anima or animus on someone other than their partner. This unconscious process happens and you are not able to stop it or affect it, but acting on it is a choice. I would suggest entering into some sort of therapy to help you illuminate and uncover the meaning and magic that is contained by this person which you are projecting your anima on. This is after all a projection, but it is also extremely powerfully felt as possession (being in love). I hope this helps.

      May 22, 2017 at 6:06 pm
    • Nightfall Reply

      Calling people “spineless wimps” is unprofessional and inappropriate. Just imagine an analyst saying this to a client. Maybe having a more compassionate attitude toward men who are in the grip of an Anima possession would be more effective and helpful.

      January 17, 2023 at 9:21 am
  • Todd Welch Reply

    What if the inferior function is thinking? It may be so in this man… Thanks, Todd

    July 27, 2017 at 7:16 pm
    • Anja van Kralingen Reply

      Good question. The idea here is that the Animus (thinking function) must be used to relate to the external world and the Anima (feeling function) should be used to relate to the inner world. This is true for men and women. If you are relating to the external world from the Anima perspective, then the dysfunction will be apparent in that the relatedness to the world is formed by internally based referencing. And vice versa, when you relate to the internal world from Animus perspective, you are relating to yourself from an externally based referencing, so again the dysfunction is apparent. So a healthy situation would be to relate to the external world from an Animus perspective (objective reality) and to the internal world from a Anima perspective (subjective reality). It is a constant movement from being in the external world and relating to it, to moving to the inner world and relating to yourself.

      July 28, 2017 at 8:39 am
      • Jay Bourque Reply

        Hello Anja,

        Thank you! This is a great article, which offers much insight into the grips of Anima possession. However, I must point out that the thinking and feeling functions should not be confused with Logos and Eros. I.e masculine (will to power) and feminine (Will to connect or love) principles. Also, that objectivity/subjectivity correlate with extroversion/introversion respectively.
        Jung stated that the psyche was a self regulating system much like the body. So what this means is that, if the male ego is rooted in Logos and the woman’s in Eros, then an introverted male would have a masculine attitude toward his inner world while his extraversion would have to become, unconsciously, balanced by the feminine attitude. Your article describes this guy perfectly.
        The opposite would be true for the extraverted male. He will approach the outer world with a masculine attitude while his inner world becomes gripped, unconsciously, by the feminine. Without a healthy balance of the inner world, the anima possessed extravert will become overly aggressive outwardly. Overly domineering.
        When this imbalance becomes extreme we call it anima possession. We may even, come to, over relate with that unconscious feminine grip on our selves. Where the unconscious feminine is very much as you described.

        For a woman, her ego is rooted in Eros, so that the introverted woman takes a feminine attitude toward her inner world while her outer world becomes unconsciously gripped by a masculine state. The animus hound you’ve so nicely captured in your alternate post.
        Conversely, the extraverted woman practices a feminine attitude outwardly, as her inner world becomes gripped by the animus. She will be indecisive and overly submissive on the outside and ,unconsciously, very hard on herself. Kind of a ditsy girl, beating herself up.
        The only way out of this position, or a return to balance, is for the ego to relinquish its natural attitude (Logos or Eros) towards it’s chosen orientation (introversion or extraversion). For example, the introverted female must allow the logos inward, to become more driven in her inner world, or tougher on herself to gain self control, which will allow her introverted ego to use logos in a conscious manner and force her extraversion to become more feminine.
        We have to approach the problem from the orientation, we are rooted in, and reverse the attitude there. with enough practice, at this, we we will allow the “sacred marriage”, to happen, in ourselves.
        If shadow work (the apprentice piece) is integrating the opposite orientation of the functions, then anima/animus integration (the masterpiece) is learning to reverse our attitude to the functions.

        Something else to think about…

        “For two personalities to meet is like mixing two chemical substances: if there is any combination at all, both are transformed.”

        ― Carl Gustav Jung, Psychological Reflections

        When an extraverted male and female get together, they may push each other to this state of possession, even though it may feel like they complete each other at first (falling in love). His masculine extraversion will keep her extraversion feminine, while her introversion becomes masculine, pushing his into a feminine state. They will stunt each others growth towards wholeness without being very conscious of this reaction. The same is true of the introverted coupling.
        It may take longer for an introverted/extraverted coupling to happen, but they will actually push each other into a more balanced state. depending on the ordering of functions, of course.

        My apologies, this has turned into a post of its own!! I guess I’ve had a lot of this on my mind for some time now.
        I would love to discuss this with you more.

        Thanks again for the article and best wishes on your journey, Anja.


        February 23, 2020 at 5:40 pm
  • Brennan Reply

    I must start off by saying great article! I picked up a copy of the aspects of the masculine and feminine translated by r f c hull at my local library recently so I’m relatively new to these topics but I’m already learning so much! Now, to my query. I’m a 21 y/o who never had a dad and had a grandmother that was caring and overprotected me, even from responsibility, and a mother who had clearly been possessed by the animus (per your earlier article). My grandfather was largely unimportant but he was there. Now I deal with times of anima possession mixed with a swing to the opposite side every now and then. Do you have any insight as to how my situation came to present manifestation? I can answer more questions as you think of them. Thanks much, B

    August 4, 2017 at 11:21 pm
  • Keyn Reply

    Anima possession, not just described, but prescribed! This post is not just insightful, but actually USEFUL for men like me. I have been destroying my relationship with my wife because of anima possession. I am literally described to a ‘T’ in this post. Fatherless, with a drug addict, prostitute mother.

    I knew I had “mommy issues”, but this is it! Now to work on integrating the anima carefully. I cannot thank the author enough. THANK YOU

    August 19, 2017 at 8:27 am
  • Michelle Reply

    Anja, Wondering what you think of the modern concept of “transgenderism” as it relates to anima possession. My husband is in the process of “becoming a woman” — we live in the US where this is popular and profitable — and this article describes my husband perfectly.

    Not sure if there’s anything that I can do about it, but this information helps me to process. Thanks!

    November 9, 2017 at 5:54 pm
    • Anja van Kralingen Reply

      Hi Michelle, thank you for this insight. As far as anima and animus theory applies to transgenderism, I am not sure, but I can share with you the contemporary take on this theory. The Post-Jungian approach is that both men and women have an Anima and Animus. They can be functional or dysfunctional in either gender. Anima governs feeling, relatedness to self; whereas Animus governs reason, relatedness to external world. If the Anima is dysfunctional, the relatedness to self is disturbed, i.e. body issues, moody, sulky etc. If the Animus is dysfunctional, the relatedness to to the external world is disturbed, i.e. prejudiced, judgmental, know-it-all. Hope that helps to clarify and all the best with processing your experience.

      November 16, 2017 at 11:52 am
  • julius Reply

    Hi, I’ve been battling an anima possession for years. My mom, (God rest her soul) was my example of how to be growing up. I was the # 2 son of 9 kids. My dad passed away when I was less than a year old. My mom could cry easily, and as an ex Marine so can I. Its just not very “macho” to do such things. I hated the fact that I could feel like a woman! See, I even use alot of words like a woman. . . . . . .now its happening, theres so much goodness about what was so hated before. The appreciation of beauty, The ability to nurture, The creativity is slowly oozing forth. The openess and receptivity toward others, The enjoyment of not always being busy, The dash of humility, Sometimes feelin intuition, The ability to love more openly, and the ability to give up some of what I thought was control or dominance. Yeah, you got it, I’m a”spineless wimp.”

    December 19, 2017 at 3:18 am
    • Anja van Kralingen Reply

      Hi Julius, it sounds to me like you have managed to integrate your Anima quite successfully. Well done. It is really wonderful to have this perspective and would encourage you to add some more information for men out there who has no idea what it is like to be in touch with their feeling life and how much richer the experience of living becomes.

      December 20, 2017 at 10:20 am
  • Fakhri Reply

    Hi Anja, How do I take back the anima projection? Should it just happen naturally? Can I consciously influence this process?

    January 1, 2018 at 9:25 pm
    • Anja van Kralingen Reply

      Hi Fakhri. It is a conscious process. It starts with integrating the feeling function. Marie-Louise von Franz does give some guidance here in the post. Of course seeing a Jungian Analyst would also help with this process.

      January 1, 2018 at 9:55 pm
      • Nick Reply

        I have been working with a somatic therapist for the past 4-5 years. The emphasis has been on moving into feeling and out of thinking. That along with inner child work and bringing in Good Mother and Good Father archetypes for support, as well as other figures. The anima casts so much doubt on my process. I’m writing to see if, in your opinion, I am working towards anima integration with this work as well as weekly visits with the Gestalt/bioenergetics therapist. Any insight or comment would be greatly appreciated as there is more doubt than usual at the present time.

        May 15, 2020 at 8:56 pm
  • Pepe Reply

    A 36 years old man with family but almost always uncontrol on emotions about sexual relation with many women. Seems stupid but real. What is wrong with me? Should i really control it or just let it act as she wishes?

    January 28, 2018 at 1:47 pm
  • Karen Reply

    Fascinating! I’m curious, what are the Dynamics of the typical mother son relationship that creates more likelihood that this possession will occur. It seems like, without the need of an analyst, most men naturally integrate, because they had a healthy enough relationship with their mother. I have a friend who’s 50 yr old husband is in full blown possession most of the time in their long on again off again relationship and she has sensed for a long time that it’s the mother connection but cannot really articulate it.

    February 17, 2018 at 6:27 pm
    • Meluzína Reply

      This is probably not a Jungian formulation, but broadly speaking, from what I’ve seen, the mother-son fixation appears to be about the parents-pattern of strong or bounding mother and more distant or weaker father. The principle derives from the son remaining bound to the mother, not moving towards the father, who he would respect and thus follow. Instead the son stays in kind of a childhood unity with mother – so if you prefer, he remains subordinate to the anima, which is stronger than his ego like in the mother – child model. Such a man is a mere minion of this women, who was appearing too strong and thus to scary, or she was emotionally insuficient and thus bounding him as a crutch, or she was too painful and thus the son remained insecure.
      Again, not a Jungian advice, but what he might want to achieve is reinforcement of the relationship with father (by making his virtues more visible) or maybe the acknoledgements of mothers failures (because she is probably idealized which makes her more of a mystical being than a real person), or in the third case the realization of what he consists of what other personalities in his life are like on their inner side.
      But I’m not a therapist so please, take it only as a suggestion.
      And I am also sorry for your friend, you see 50 years, that’s a lot.

      May 29, 2018 at 7:36 pm
  • Afiq Reply

    Hi. I am extremely shocked by how much similarities I have with this possession. I recently got fired exactly due to the description you wrote “either he is paralysed and can’t find the energy to do what needs to be done, or he jumps into action when he should be thinking about it first’. I am also very passive and I am a very angry person over such petty issue. Anyway, my question is. When it comes to relationship, does this possession only applies on male to female relationships, or does it also applies on male to male relationships. I have been in a couple of relationships before, and in these two relationships I have been controlled by men who makes decisions for me, abused me mentally, and basically most men I’ve dated with has a very domineering characteristics. So I was just wondering whether this possession applies to gay men as well or not. Thank you.

    March 11, 2018 at 1:03 am
  • Peter Borgwardt Reply

    Hi, I’m used to the discussion of anima with regards to inferior feeling. Do you have thoughts you could share on how the anima relates to inferior sensation? Or on ways to develop an inferior sensation function? I ask, because of course, my inferior function is sensation. Thanks.

    April 7, 2018 at 3:53 am
  • Ryan Reply

    Thank you for providing clear and concise examples of the various dynamics concerning a man’s relationship with his Anima. This helps a lot.

    June 22, 2018 at 2:23 am
  • Andrew Holcroft Reply

    I’ve read both of your articles about Anima and Animus possession and relate to both, I had poor parental figures – an emotionally unavailable mother and violent then absent father – is it possible that both my masculine and feminine energies are distorted to the extent I could be seen as possessed by both? If so where can I start in this situation?

    July 21, 2018 at 10:37 am
  • Bryce Reply

    Wow. This article is a Rosetta Stone of the damaged Male psyche. It hit the bulls-eye so dead center it’s kind of frightening. I’m a 40 yr old man in the throws of severe Anima projection.

    I’m on an emotional teeter totter from hell.
    Easy-going agreeable Ness one minute followed by teenage moodiness, crippling indecision followed by impulsive action, passive indifference followed by infantile rage.

    My Anima Frankenstein stems directly from a mother’s abandonment. She was a present, caring, loving mother for me up until 9 and then she blew a circuit at 36 and went AWOL leaving my Dad, brothers and myself like a thief in the night. Painfully, she left all of us for another Man. My Dad never recovered, it emasculated him before our eyes, rendering him defeated, passive and emotionally absent.

    I know in hindsight that she had her own Animus Demon, she projected a “God” figure onto this man, and that projection consumed her. This stemmed from her own damaged childhood and abusive father.

    She never came back. Rarely called, other than an occasional birthday card but even those stopped. I thought I forgave her, moved on and the rest was water under the bridge. Yah it was “under” alright, and it resurfaced like Godzilla rising up from the depths of the Pacific Ocean heading straight to Osaka.

    This comment section embodies a Zeitgeist that is tragic yet cathartic at the same time. I feel so gutted knowing that others are having to deal with this psychic scar tissue as a result of childhood trauma they had no control over. Yet, I am also encouraged that we are not alone, we at least have a map that shows us how in the hell we got here and where we’re going if we don’t integrate our Anima, but more importantly where we can go – if we do integrate.

    Jung referred to the integration of the Anima as a “Heroic Feat”. He wasn’t kidding. I have been aware of this shadow element for almost 2 years and I am still in the belly of the beast. Which brings me to my question, open for anyone dealing with this.

    What have you done to integrate your own Anima/Animus? What has worked best for you, and what.. not so much?

    Thank you.

    December 16, 2018 at 10:47 pm
  • Chris meyer Reply

    The integration of the anima is a trail of and death of the superior function. Which then leads to an integrational development of the inferior this can only be done by a acceptance of the anima figure in your life.

    January 22, 2019 at 4:54 pm
  • David Asebias Reply

    I have lived with my mother all time in hate. I didn’t like the way she treated me when I was still young. She constantly compares me to our neighbor kids I was not good enough to the family because the other kids were responsible already and helping in the chores. She would berate me with the things she had done for me and I am not returning enough the favor to her. Now I am 28. I have been in a number of times in relation with a girl but had never been committed to each of them. I have always wanted to be in a serious relationship but I would self sabotage because of the emotions I feel when I am with the girl.If this is anima possession then it has caused me serious trouble.

    April 3, 2019 at 2:33 pm
  • Vincent Reply

    This article was a revelation. It really lays out why I am having the problems with regards to my emotions and women. Thank so much for writing this article.

    October 17, 2019 at 1:51 am
  • Birra Reply

    I’m really stuck. My mind is somehow inwards driven and it wasn’t like that before. I can’t engage with the outside world, that is , I cannot trust my “thinking” and relation to the outside, emotions maybe. I’m totally stuck and although my whole world is turned inwards which gives me a certain understanding of these things, my life is neurotic. I’m a bystander. I don’t think and act towards the unknown anymore. I just think about how and why this is so. Really an anxious state. I came to the conclusion that some kind of distorted relation to the outside is the cause. Your article makes a lot of sense to me. I’m a man which doesn’t know who he is anymore and find it very hard thinking and acting towards something unknown with confidence, or acting at all. I got tested by psychologist and I don’t have any psychosis, delusions etc.

    November 9, 2020 at 3:36 am
  • Paul Reply

    Love the article. Where I got stuck is its assumption that most men’s dominant function is Thinking and that Anima possession attacks the inferior function (Feeling). Now, I took the Meyers Briggs quite a few times, and Feeling is my dominant function (INFP), although I do see myself more in the description of an undecided man who either overreacts or does not act at all. Is it possible that Anima possession also makes us “lie” about our true personality in tests? Otherwise, what would an Anima-possessed man look like with Feeling as his dominant trait? And what would the balancing strategy look like? Thanks!

    November 24, 2020 at 7:24 pm
  • Gill Reply

    Dear Anja,
    Your explanations work on my understanding of Jung’s principles like yeast in bread. I read the essay and then notice that lights go on for the next few days. When I re-read the article, things make even more sense.
    I suppose that the Ball-Breaker and Wimp are extreme examples.
    Looking forward to next week’s subject. So great to have discovered CAJS.

    December 20, 2020 at 8:32 am
  • Lewis H. Lafontaine Reply

    For what Dr. Jung actually had to say about the “Anima””

    That indeed is reality if it is not a reality in ourselves, an esse in anima? Living reality is the product neither of the actual, objective behaviour of things nor of the formulated idea exclusively, but rather of the combination of both …through esse in anima. ~Carl Jung, CW 6, Para 77

    His [Prometheus’s] soul is Minerva … The Prometheus of mythology has his soul-relation with Pandora or Athene. ~Carl Jung, CW 6, Para 289

    … Pandora has the value of a soul-image … ~Carl Jung, CW 6, Para 305

    … in schizophrenia the movement is more centripetal … During the incubation of his illness the schizophrenic … turns away from the outer world in order to withdraw into himself … ~Carl Jung, CW 6, Para 859

    … aesthetic formulation needs understanding of the meaning, and understanding needs aesthetic formulation. The two supplement each other to form the transcendent function. ~Carl Jung, CW 8, Para 177

    … primitives assume the existence of several souls … I am therefore inclined to think that autonomous complexes are among the normal phenomena of life and that they make up the structure of the unconscious psyche. ~Carl Jung, CW 8, Para 18 217–18)

    … it is frequently supposed that people have two or more souls … ~Carl Jung, CW 8, Para 577

    The plurality of souls indicates a plurality of relatively autonomous complexes … ~Carl Jung, CW 8, Para 587

    … the archetypes appear as active personalities in dreams and fantasies. ~Carl Jung, CW 9i, Para 80

    … the Kore as observable in man, the anima. ~Carl Jung, CW 9i, Para 357

    Were it not for the leaping and twinkling of the soul, man would rot away in his greatest passion, idleness. ~Carl Jung, CW 9i, Para 56

    … the motif of polyophthalmia … point[s] to the peculiar nature of the unconscious, which can be regarded as a “multiple consciousness.” ~Carl Jung, CW 9i, Para 614

    The anima/animus stage is correlated with polytheism … ~Carl Jung, CW 9ii, Para 427

    [The animal … in accordance with her Eros nature, wears the features of Aphrodite, Helen (Selene), Persephone, and Hecate ~Carl Jung, CW 9ii, Para 41

    … a man’s consciousness projects all perceptions coming from the feminine personification of the unconscious onto an anima figure … This explains the fateful quality of the anima … ~Carl Jung, CW 10, Para 713

    The plurality of UFOs … is a projection of a number of psychic images of wholeness which appear in the sky because on the one hand they represent archetypes charged with energy and on the other hand are not recognized as psychic factors. ~Carl Jung, CW 10, Para 635

    The classical world thought of this pneuma as Dionysus … whose divine substance is distributed throughout the whole of nature. ~Carl Jung, CW 11, Para 387

    … the soul (anima) released at the “death” is reunited with the dead body and brings about its resurrection, or again the “many colours” … or “peacock’s tail” … lead to the one white colour that contains all colours. ~Carl Jung, CW 12, Para 334

    The dreamer is surrounded by a throng of vague female forms … The figures that appear in the dream …pointing to the feminine nature of the unconscious. They are fairies or fascinating sirens or lamias … who infatuate the lonely wanderer and lead him astray. ~Carl Jung, CW 12, Para 58

    Christian civilization has proved hollow to a terrifying degree: it is all veneer, but the inner man has remained untouched and therefore unchanged … Inside reign the archaic gods, supreme as of old … ~Carl Jung, CW 12, Para 12

    … the harbinger of fate, the anima …They [“Syrena”] cause storms … ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 218

    In psychotherapy it is a well-known fact that neurotic symptoms which seem impossible to attack can often be rendered harmless by conscious understanding … ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 436f

    … we lack all knowledge of the unconscious psyche and pursue the cult of consciousness to the exclusion of all else. Our true religion is a monotheism of consciousness, a possession by it, coupled with a fanatical denial of the existence of fragmentary autonomous systems. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 51

    On the one hand the anima is the connecting link with the world beyond and the eternal images, while on the other hand the emotionality involves man in the chthonic world and its transitoriness. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 457

    Psychologically, this doctrine testifies to the personality- or ego-character of psychic complexes: just as the distinguishing mark of the ego-complex is consciousness, so it is possible that other, “unconscious” complexes may possess, as splinter psyches, a certain luminosity of their own. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 47

    … the motif of dismemberment is well known in alchemy. The atoms are or become “white sparks” shining in the terra foetida. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 64

    … the anima, as she personifies the plurality of the archetypes … ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 218

    … scintilla, the “little soul-spark” of Meister Eckhart …Similarly Heraclitus … is said to have conceived the soul as a “spark of stellar essence” …Alchemy, too, has its doctrine of the scintilla … “For all things have their origin in this source …” ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 42

    … the four female figures of the Gnostic underworld, Eve, Helen, Mary, and Sophia. ~Carl Jung, CW 15, Para 211

    … in the end it makes very little difference whether the doctor understands or not, but it makes all the difference whether the patient understands. ~Carl Jung, CW 16, Para 314

    … lack of knowledge … has exactly the same effect as unconsciousness. ~Carl CW 16, Para 546

    The goal [unity] is important only as an idea; the essential thing is the opus which leads to the goal: that is the goal of a lifetime. ~Carl Jung, CW 16, Para 400

    The withdrawal of projections makes the anima what she originally was: an archetypal image which, in its right place, functions to the advantage of the individual. ~Carl Jung, CW 16, Para 504

    Personality, as the complete realization of our whole being; is an unattainable ideal. But unattainability is no argument against the ideal, for ideals are only signposts, never the goal. ~Carl Jung, CW 17, Para 291

    I am indeed convinced that creative imagination is the only primordial phenomenon accessible to us, the real Ground of the psyche, the only immediate reality. Therefore, I speak of esse in anima, the only form of being we can experience directly. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. I, Page 60

    The “mother” corresponds to the “virgin anima,” who is not turned towards the outer world and is therefore not corrupted by it. She is turned rather towards the “inner sun” … Carl Jung, CW 5, Para 464

    The dissolution of the anima means that we have gained insight into the driving forces of the unconscious, but not that we have made these forces ineffective. ~Carl Jung, CW 7, Para 391 )

    To the degree that the patient takes an active part, the personified figure of anima or animus will disappear. It becomes the function of relationship between conscious and unconscious. ~Carl Jung, CW 7, Para 370

    … the immediate goal has been achieved, namely the conquest of the anima as an autonomous complex, and her ansformation into a function of relationship between the conscious and the unconscious. ~Carl Jung, CW 7, Para 374

    The richness of the human psyche and its essential character are probably determined by this reflective instinct. ~Carl Jung, CW 8, Para 242

    In elfin nature wisdom and folly appear as one and the same; and they are one and the same as long as they are acted out by the anima. Life is crazy and meaningful at once. ~Carl Jung, CW 9i, Para 65

    When, therefore, an alchemist conjured up the spirit of Saturn as his familiar, this was an attempt to bring to consciousness a standpoint outside the ego, involving a relativization of the ego and its contents. ~Carl Jung, CW 9ii, Para 11

    Consciousness can only exist through continual recognition of the unconscious … ~Carl Jung, CW 9i, Para 178

    Together they [the anima and animus] form a divine pair, one of whom … is … rather like Hermes … while the other … wears the features of Aphrodite, Helen (Selene), Persephone, and Hecate. Both of them are unconscious powers, “gods” in fact … ~Carl Jung, CW 9ii, Para 41

    To the men of antiquity the anima appeared as a goddess or a witch, while for medieval man the goddess was replaced by the Queen of Heaven and Mother Church. ~Carl Jung, CW 9i, Para 61

    Through reflection, “life” and its “soul” are abstracted from Nature and endowed with a separate existence. (Reflection is a spiritual act that runs counter to the natural process; … it should, therefore, be understood as an act of becoming  conscious.) ~Carl Jung, CW 11, Para 235, fn 9

    The anima is nothing but a representation of the personal nature of the autonomous system in question. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 61.

    As I see it, the psyche is a world in which the ego is contained. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 75

    It is not we who personify them [unconscious figures]; they have a personal nature from the very beginning. Only when this is thoroughly recognized can we think of depersonalizing them, of “subjugating the anima” … ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 62

    Melusina, the deceptive Shakti … should no longer dance before the adept with alluring gestures,  but must become what she was from the beginning: a part of his wholeness. As such she must be “conceived in the mind.” ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 223

    Consciousness consists in the relation of a psychic content to the ego. Anything not associated with the ego remains unconscious. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 522.

    … there can be no consciousness without the perception of differences. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 603

    … sulphur is the soul … of all living things; … it is equated with “nostra anima” (our soul) … Paracelsus likewise calls sulphur the soul. (CW 14: 136)

    In his quest for wholeness … Michael Maier … has found the animal soul and the sibylline anima, who now counsels him to journey to the seven mouths of the Nile … ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 287

    The sibyl, the guide of souls … ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 300

    Our author was led in the first place by the anima-sibyl to undertake the journey through the planetary houses … ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 313

     … Michael Maier’s journey to the seven mouths of the Nile … is a description of the dreamer’s ascent to a world of gods and heroes, of his initiation into a Venus mystery … ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 297

    Atrophy of feeling is a characteristic of modern man and always shows itself as a reaction when there is too much feeling around, and in particular too much false feeling. ~Carl CW 15, Para 183

    The unconscious anima is a creature without relationships, an autoerotic being whose one aim is to take total possession of the individual. ~Carl Jung, CW 16, Para 504

    At the top of the whole picture is the personification of the unconscious, a naked anima-figure who turns her back. That is a typical position; in the beginning of the objectivation of these images the anima-figure often turns herk. ~Carl Jung, CW 18, Para 412

    … the anima emerges in exemplary fashion from the primeval slime, laden with all the pulpy and monstrous appendages of the deep. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. I, Page 84

    Anima – Anatomy of a Personified Notion

    Take for instance animus and anima. No philosopher in his senses would invent such irrational and clumsy ideas. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Page 192

    Green, the life-colour, suits her [the anima] very well … ~Carl Jung, CW 5, Para 678

    … the feminine belongs to man as his own unconscious femininity, which I have called the anima. ~Carl Jung, CW 5, Para 678

    … the character of the anima can be deduced from that of the persona. Everything that should normally be in the outer attitude, but is conspicuously absent, will invariably be found in the inner attitude. This is fundamental rule … ~Carl Jung, CW 6, Para 806

    To the young boy a clearly discernible anima-form appears in his mother … An infantile man generally has a maternal anima; an adult man, the figure of a younger woman. The senile man finds compensation in a very young girl, or even a child. ~Carl Jung, CW 9i, Para 357

    … the soul, that glancing, Aeolian thing, elusive as a butterfly (anima, ψυχή). ~Carl Jung, CW 9i, Para 391

    … the anima corresponds to the maternal Eros. ~Carl Jung, CW 9ii, Para 29

    Anima is “the glamorous, possessive, moody, and sentimental seductress in a man” ~Carl Jung, CW 9ii, Para 422

    … if a man does not know what a thing is, it is at least an increase in knowledge if he knows what it is not. ~Carl Jung, CW 9ii, Para 429

    … the anima is bipolar and can therefore appear positive one moment and negative the next; now young, now old ; now mother, now maiden ; now a good fairy, now a witch ; now a saint, now a whore. ~Carl Jung, CW 9i, Para 356

    When the shadow, the inferior personality, is in large measure unconscious, the unconscious is represented by a masculine figure. ~Carl Jung, CW 10, Para 714, Fn 21

    … man will be forced to develop his feminine side, to open his eyes to the psyche and to Eros. It is a task he cannot avoid, unless he prefers to go trailing after woman in a hopelessly boyish fashion, worshipping from afar but always in danger of being stowed away in her pocket. ~Carl Jung, CW 10, Para 259.

    It is normal for a man to resist his anima, because she represents … all those tendencies and contents hitherto excluded from conscious life. ~Carl Jung, CW 11, Para 129

    With this anima, then, we plunge straight into the ancient world. ~Carl Jung, CW 12, Para 112

    [Anima] is a subtle imperceptible smoke. ~Carl Jung, CW 12, Para 394, fn 105

    The anima … is the “energy of the heavy and the turbid”; it clings to the bodily, fleshly heart. Its effects are “sensuous desires and impulses to anger.” “Whoever is sombre and moody on waking … is fettered to the anima.” ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 57

    … on a low level the anima is a caricature of the feminine Eros … Eros is an interweaving … Eros is relatedness … ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 60

    “Soul” represents a higher concept than “spirit” in the sense of air or gas. As the “subtle body” or “breath-soul” it means something non-material and finer than mere air. Its essential characteristic is to animate and be animated …Mercurius is often designatedas anima … ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 261-262

    … the anima iliastri can burst forth from the heart when it lacks “air”; that is to say, if psychic remedies are not applied, death occurs prematurely. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 201

    The colour green … is associated with Venus. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 393

    The fact that the rotundum is … contained in the anima and is prefigured by her lends her that extraordinary fascination … At a certain level, therefore, woman appears as the true carrier of the longed-for wholeness and redemption. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 500

    It [salt] represents the feminine principle of Eros, which brings everything into relationship … [S]alt, as the soul or spark of the anima mundi, is … the daughter of the spiritus vegetativus of creation. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 322

    Apart from its lunar wetness and its terrestrial nature, the most outstanding properties of salt are bitterness and wisdom … Salt, as the carrier of this fateful alternative, is co-ordinated with the nature of woman. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 330

    Confirmation of our interpretation of salt as Eros (i.e., as a feeling relationship) is found in the fact that the bitterness is the origin of the colors … ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 333.

    The whore (meretrix) is a well-known figure in alchemy. She characterizes the arcane substance in its initial, “chaotic,” maternal state … “That noble whore Venus …” ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 415

    As regards the psychology of this picture, we must stress above all else that it depicts a human encounter where love plays the decisive part. ~Carl Jung, CW 16, Para 419,

    Whenever this drive for wholeness appears, it begins by disguising itself under the symbolism of incest, for, unless he seeks it in himself, a man’s nearest feminine counterpart is to be found in his mother, sister, or daughter. ~Carl Jung, CW 16, Para 471

    In both cases [anima and animus] the incest element plays an important part: there is a relation between the young woman and her father, the older woman and her son, the young man and his mother, the older man and his daughter. ~Carl Jung, CW 16, Para 521

    The anima has an erotic, emotional character … Hence most of what men say about feminine eroticism, and particularly about the emotional life of women, is derived from their own anima projections and distorted accordingly. ~Carl Jung, CW 17, Para 338

    … every man “carries Eve, his wife, hidden in his body.” It is this feminine element in every man (based on the minority of female genes in his biological make-up) which I have called the anima. ~Carl Jung, CW 18, Para 429

    The feelings of a man are so to speak a woman’s and appear as such in dreams. I designate this figure by the term anima, because she is the personification of the inferior functions which relate a man to the collective unconscious. ~Carl Jung, CW 18, Para 187

    No man is so entirely masculine that he has nothing feminine in him … The repression of feminine traits …causes these contrasexual demands to accumulate in the unconscious. ~Carl Jung, CW 7, Para 297

    Take, for example, the “spotless” man of honor and public benefactor, whose tantrums and explosive moodiness terrify his wife and children. What is the anima doing here? ~Carl Jung, CW 7, Para 319

    … it is essentially the overvaluation of the material object without that constellates a spiritual and immortal figure within (obviously for the purpose of compensation and self-regulation) … [ A] compensatory relationship exists between persona and anima. ~Carl Jung, CW 7, Para 303-304

    … another fact to which I have already alluded, [is] the characteristically historical aspect of the soul. ~Carl Jung, CW 7, Para 33

    If she is old, this is an indication that one’s consciousness has become considerably more childish. If she is young, then one is too old in one’s conscious attitude. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. I, Page 189

    Of course, I did not invent the term Eros. I learnt it from Plato. But I never would have applied this term if I hadn’t observed facts that gave me a hint how to use this Platonic notion. With Plato Eros is still a daimonion or daemonium …~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. I, Page 464-465

    The anima, being psychologically the female counterpart of the masculine consciousness, based upon the minority of female genes in a masculine body …  ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Page 483

    “The anima is presumably a psychic representation of the minority of female genes in a man’s body” ~Carl Jung, CW 11, Para 48.

    The most striking feature about the anima-type is that the maternal element is entirely lacking. She is the companion and friend in her favourable aspect, in her unfavourable aspect she is the courtesan … But the anima-type is presented in the most succinct and pregnant form in the Gnostic legend of Simon Magus … [who] was always accompanied on his travels by a girl, whose name was Helen. He had found her in a brothel in Tyre; she was a reincarnation of Helen of Troy. ~Carl Jung, CW 10, Para 75

    We speak of a definite “anima type.” The so-called “sphinx-like” character is an indispensable part of their equipment, also an equivocalness, an intriguing elusiveness … an indefiniteness that seems full of promises, like the speaking silence of a Mona Lisa. ~Carl Jung, CW 17, Para 339

    … Michael Maier’s journey to the seven mouths of the Nile, which signify the seven planet … is a description of the dreamer’s ascent to a world of gods and heroes, of his initiation into a Venus mystery … Our author was led in the first place by the anima-sibyl to undertake the journey through the planetary houses … ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 297f.

    Hermes, originally a wind god, and his counterpart the Egyptian Thoth, who “makes the souls to breathe,” are the forerunners of the alchemical Mercurius in his aerial aspect. The texts often use the terms pneuma and spiritus in the original concrete sense of “air in motion.” … He is the … stone uplifted by the wind … ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 260

    The inner personality is the way one behaves in relation to one’s inner psychic processes; it is the inner attitude, the characteristic face, that is turned towards the unconscious. I call the outer attitude, the outward face, the persona; the inner attitude, the inward face, I call the anima. ~Carl Jung, CW 6, Para 803

    … in a man the soul, i.e., anima, or inner attitude, is represented in the unconscious by definite persons with the corresponding qualities. Such an image is called a “soul-image.” Sometimes these images are of quite unknown or mythological figures. ~Carl Jung, CW 6, Para 808

    We might compare masculinity and femininity and their psychic components to a definite store of substances of which, in the first half of life, unequal use is made. A man consumes his large supply of masculine substance and has left over only the smaller amount of feminine substance, which must now be put to use. ~Carl Jung, CW 8, Para 782

    Either sex is inhabited by the opposite sex up to a point, for, biologically speaking, it is simply the greater number of masculine genes that tips the scales in favour of masculinity. The smaller number of feminine genes seems to form a feminine character, which usually remains unconscious because of its subordinate position. ~Carl Jung, CW 9i, Para 58

    The anima is the archetype of the feminine and plays a very important role in a man’s unconscious. ~Carl Jung, CW 5, Para 406, fn 142

    It is principally among women that I have found the predominance of introverted feeling. ~Carl Jung, CW 6, Para 640

    … the archetypes are not found exclusively in the psychic sphere … ~Carl Jung, CW 8, Para 964

    Although there is no form of existence that is not mediated to us psychically … it would hardly do to say that everything is merely psychic. We must apply this argument logically to the archetypes as well. ~Carl Jung, CW 8, Para 420

    In the case of the individual, the problem constellated by the shadow is answered on the plane of the anima, that is, through relatedness. ~Carl Jung, CW 9i, Para 487

    The “maiden” corresponds to the anima of the man … But as long as a woman is content to be a femme à homme, she has no feminine individuality. She is empty and merely glitters – a welcome vessel for masculine projections. ~Carl Jung, CW 9i, Para 355.

    … to the degree in which the shadow is recognized and integrated, the problem of the anima, i.e., of relationship, is constellated. ~Carl Jung, CW 9i, Para 485, fn 18

    When projected, the anima always has a feminine form with definite characteristics. This empirical finding does not mean that the archetype is constituted like that in itself. ~Carl Jung, CW 9i, Para 120

    Intellect and feeling … conflict with one another by definition. Whoever identifies with an intellectual standpoint will occasionally find his feeling confronting him like an enemy in the guise of the anima … ~Carl Jung, CW 9ii, Para 58

    … the anima becomes, through integration, the Eros of consciousness, … the anima gives relationship and relatedness to a man’s consciousness … ~Carl Jung, CW 9ii, Para 33

    What, then, is this projection-making factor? The East calls it the “Spinning Woman” – Maya, who creates illusion by her dancing. (I have defined the anima as a personification of the unconscious.) ~Carl Jung, CW 9ii, Para 50, fn 1

    … she is the great illusionist, the seductress, who draws him into life with her Maya…… I have suggested … the term “anima”… ~Carl Jung, CW 9ii, Para 24-25

    Feeling is a specifically feminine virtue … ~Carl Jung, CW 10, Para 79

    … a man’s consciousness projects all perceptions coming from the feminine personification of the unconscious onto an anima figure, i.e., a real woman … ~Carl Jung, CW 10, Para 714

    As a psychopomp she [Sophia] leads the way to God and assures immortality. ~Carl Jung, CW 11, Para 613

    Looked at theologically, my concept of the anima … is pure Gnosticism … ~Carl Jung, CW 11, Para 460

    The unknown woman or anima [in dreams] always represents the “inferior,” i.e., the undifferentiated function, which in the case of our dreamer is feeling. ~Carl Jung, CW 12, Para 150

    In Eastern symbolism the square … has the character of the yoni: femininity. A man’s unconscious is likewise feminine and is personified by the anima. ~Carl Jung, CW 12, Para 192

    … the heavenly bride … is a typical anima projection … Spitteler also likens the “Lady Soul” to a tiger. (In China, the tiger is a symbol of yin.) ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 460, fn 14  

    … the anima of a man consists of inferior relatedness, full of affect … ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 60

    The spiritual man was seduced into putting on the body, and was bound to it by “Pandora, whom the Hebrews call Eve.” She played the part, therefore, of the anima … just as Shakti or Maya entangles man’s consciousness with the world. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 126

    The emotional state of Sophia sunk in unconsciousness … , her formlessness, and the possibility of her getting lost in the darkness characterize very clearly the anima of a man who identifies himself absolutely with his reason and his spirituality. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 454

    … I have reserved the term “animus” strictly for women … Feminine psychology exhibits an element that is the counterpart of a man’s anima. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 60

    He will learn to know his soul, that is, his anima and Shakti who conjures up a delusory world for him. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 673

    … Helen as an anima figure … ~Carl Jung, CW 16, Para 361 

    It often happens that the patient is quite satisfied with merely registering a dream or fantasy … Others try to understand with their brains only … That they should also have a feeling-relationship to the contents of the unconscious seems strange to them … ~Carl Jung, CW 16, Para 489

    The feelings of a man are so to speak a woman’s and appear as such in dreams. I designate this figure by the term anima … ~Carl Jung, CW 18, Para 187

    “She” [the anima] consists essentially in a certain inferior kind of relatedness to the surroundings and particularly to women … ~Carl Jung, CW 18, Para 429

    This spiritual inflation is compensated by a distinct inferiority of feeling, a real undernourishment of your other side, the feminine earth (Yin) side, that of personal feeling. ~Carl Jung, Letters, Vol. I, Page 52

    Now comes the first transformation: he [Goethe] discovers his countertype (“feeling is all”) and at the same time realizes the projection of the anima … Behind Gretchen stands the Gnostic sequence: Helen-Mary-Sophia. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. I, Page 265

    The archaic souls, the ha and ka of the Egyptians, are complexes of this kind. At a still higher level, … this complex is invariably of the feminine gender – anima … Carl Jung, CW 7, Para 295

    … the Kore often appears in woman as an unknown young girl, not infrequently as Gretchen or the unmarried mother … [or] the dancer, … the  corybant, maenad, or nymph. ~Carl Jung, CW 9i, Para 422

    When projected, the anima always has a feminine form with definite characteristics. This empirical finding does not mean that the archetype is constituted like that in itself. ~Carl Jung, CW 9i, Para 142

    … [in] classical Chinese philosophy … the anima (p’o or kuei) is regarded as the feminine and chthonic part of the soul. ~Carl Jung, CW 9i, Para 119

    Anima means soul … The soul is the magic breath of life (hence the term “anima”) … ~Carl Jung, CW 9i, Para 55

    Anima means soul and should designate something very wonderful and immortal. Yet this was not always so. We should not forget that this kind of soul is a dogmatic conception whose purpose it is to pin down and capture something uncannily alive and active. ~Carl Jung, CW 9i, Para 55

    … Prakṛti dancing before Purusha in order to remind him of “discriminating knowledge” does not belong to the mother archetype but to the archetype of the anima … ~Carl Jung, CW 9i, Para 158

    … the anima appears equally as maiden and mother, which is why a personalistic interpretation always reduces her to the personal mother or some other female person. The real meaning of the figure naturally gets lost in the process … ~Carl Jung, CW 9i, Para 356

    Soul, from Old German saiwalô, may be cognate with αἰόλος, ‘quick-moving, changeful of hue, shifting.’ It also has the meaning of ‘wily’ or ‘shifty’; hence an air of probability attaches to the alchemical definition of anima as Mercurius. ~Carl Jung, CW 9i, Para 381, fn 5

    … Mercurius is the anima mundi. Carl Jung, CW 9ii, Para 212

    Nor is she [the anima] a substitute figure for the mother. ~Carl Jung, CW 9ii, Para 26

    … the queen and the king are one, in the sense that body and soul or spirit and soul are one … the queen corresponds to the soul (anima)…. ~Carl Jung, CW 10, Para 243 

    Here I would like to guard against a misunderstanding. The concept of “soul” which I am now using can be compared more with the primitive idea of the soul … than with the Christian idea of it which is an attempt to make a philosophical construct … My conception of the soul has absolutely nothing to do with this … ~Carl Jung, CW 10, Para 84

    … the unconscious is often personified by the anima … ~Carl Jung, CW 11, Para 107

    We may … assume that the transferring of the water of life to the sister really means that the mother has been replaced by the anima. ~Carl Jung, CW 12, Para 92

    … two empirically very common archetypes, namely the anima and the Wise Old Man, flow together in the symbolic phenomenology of Mercurius ~Carl Jung, CW 12, Para 218

    As the anima mundi, Mercurius can in fact be compared with the Gnostic … (virgin of light) and with the Christian Virgin Mary … ~Carl Jung, CW 12, Para 506

    The soul functions … in the body, but has the greater part of its function … outside the body … ~Carl Jung, CW 12, Para 396

    … I used the term “anima” in a way quite analogous to the Chinese definition of p’o … [T]he affective character of a man has feminine traits. From this psychological fact derives the Chinese doctrine of the p’o soul as well as my own concept of the anima. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 58

    “Anima,” called p’o, and written with the characters for “white” and “demon,” that is, “white ghost,” belongs to the lower, earthbound, bodily soul, the yin principle, and is therefore feminine. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 57

    Mythologically, nymphs, dryads, etc. are nature- and tree-numina, but psychologically they are anima projections … ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 70

    … outwardly Mercurius corresponds to quicksilver but inwardly he is … an anima mundi … ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 699

    Carl Jung on the “Anima”

    August 18, 2022 at 12:47 pm
  • Zoltar Bixbal Reply

    I can’t really relate to this at all. Someone told me I was Anima-possessed after an “initiation” experience “went wrong” and I ended up on a Psyche Ward diagnosed with Paranoid Schizophrenia 26 years ago. During the “initiation” process, I was exposed to reading the Koran and “Zihar” was mentioned as the situation of calling a Wife as “Mother” in order to express loss of libido and a sort of “stagnation” prior to a possible divorce. I’m not married and I’m still a virgin at 47yo. From my perspective, the Anima is the entire World: “What if the World was a metaphor for something…?” was my trigger. I was also influenced by the Sri Isopanishad and subsequent “Dvaita” and “Advaita” experiences which then blended together. At first “she” was the World. Then, the World was God. Next, I took a “vow” to sever all attachments and entered a “Nirvana-like” ecstatic bliss and was simply waiting to die. Now, over 25 years have passed with countless episodes and coercive neuroleptic medication and I find myself conscious of my surroundings as my Anima. This Anima communicates through events and people. The “Zihar” thing from reading the Koran is always bugging me, thinking I did something wrong by not wanting my prospective romantic partner to act like a Mother. Otherwise, it seems to be in favour of the Oedipal Complex. It’s like the Myth of Isis and Osiris, where in order to revive Osiris, Isis must take the resemblence of Neftys. This feels right for me, rather than the suggestion of a “normative” Oedipal Perversion that results in a romantic relationship with a Mother-like figure. That was what I was reacting to and deliberately trying to avoid. Anyway, now that I’m basically past my sell-by date, there’s not much hope in finding anyone suitable as a romantic partner. I have tried on a few occasions, but it has always been shortlived and ending in disaster because they were not suitable. What I want to know is, in my case, how is Anima Possession involved in seeing the World itself as Sophia (if that fits) and do I simply give up looking for someone, or do I keep trying to involve myself in short-term infatuations that leave me feeling unlovable and unwanted. I’ve read a few books on Jung and I have some of his collected works for reference. I also got interested in Transactional Analysis and Lacan, but don’t know enough about either to make any meaningful progress. Since it happened, I have considered actually becoming a Buddhist Monk on many occasions, but I don’t see how that would resolve anything except for becoming celibate and pretending not to want a relationship with the opposite sex – which I still do. Right now, it feels like everyone who appears in my life is my Anima (as the World) and so, I simply get whatever I deserve in terms of any potential relationship. I had some Transactional Therapy in 2018 and it helped. We talked about Marvel X-Men characters like Wolverone, Rogue, Jean Grey and Cyclops as examples of Elektra and Oedipal Complexes playing out in those dynamics. Our conclusion was that I should switch from Wolverine (Lone Wolf) to Gambit (Takes Risks) and “She” should switch from Jean Grey (Lacking Control) to Storm (Taking Control) in order to perform the correct “Script Edit” in that particular case. I may be due for some more therapy soon, and could do with some suggestions for reading beforehand so that it will be as beneficial as possible in my case. Thanks.

    January 13, 2023 at 5:40 pm
  • Juan Reply

    Hello, beautiful article Anja and at the same time I am impressed because in Greek mythology the God Hephaestus marries Aphrodite and it occurred to me that Hephaestus represents the inferior function, since Aphrodite represents the anima, is this so?

    On the other hand, what you mention about the inferior function is very useful, therefore I think it is vital that everyone is clear about what their personality type is, what would be the best way to determine this given that online tests Are they unreliable in my opinion? Will there be a test that is reliable?

    November 8, 2023 at 3:42 pm

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