The Gnostics already knew about the transformations of the anima.
In their writings we find a kind of development of the anima, from its most primitive stage up to wisdom.
The most primitive anima is Chawwa, the earth.
She is Eve, who represents the all-motherly and the receiving.
At this stage, the anima is still a purely sexual being, a kind of earth goddess in a nearly prehuman developmental form.
A further stage is Helen.
According to a Gnostic legend, Simon Magus discovered a girl in a brothel in Tyrus (Phoenicia), in whom he recognized a reincarnation of Helen of Troy, and whom he therefore named after her.
Helen of Troy was an adulteress and the lover of many a hero of those times.
She was actually the type of the “femme qui se fait suivre.”
The link between these two women is that both of them carry a light within them, regardless of their bad reputation.
Helen of Troy means beauty to the man, the Gnostic Helena ennoia (consciousness).
At this stage, man still experiences the anima as a collective figure, but a certain concentration on the one woman has already taken place.
This is a very human stage, partly conducive to cultural development.
The next stage of the anima is Mary, who was also an extraordinary person.
She was the lover of the Holy Spirit and so become the mother of God.
The humiliation by illegitimate motherhood is compensated by the symbolism of her being the mother of
Although this stage still bears human traits, it already points to the spiritual.
For the Gnostics, the highest developmental stage of the anima is Sophia.
She is one-half of the divine syzygy (Greek, “pair,” “yoked together”; conjunction and opposition of sun and moon).
She is the most spiritual form of the universal mother.
Any human or personal aspect has disappeared.
The anima as a friend or soror mystica has always played a great role in history.
In the cours d’amour of René d’Anjou she even takes precedence over the wife.
The term maîtresse actually means mistress or master.
In the Middle Ages, for example, the worship of the anima led to courtly love, in which the knight was committed to his lady and was at her service.
In later history we know of women such as Madame de Maintenon, Ninon de Lenclos, or Madame de Guyon.
The latter was a woman of the highest spiritual eroticism and of a strangely deep wisdom.
She deserved being called a saint.
It is no sign of culture if a woman is only a daughter, or only a pregnant mother, or only a whore.
The primitives and also the apes do act out this onesidedness.
But should she become the femme inspiratrice, oscillating between goddess and whore, representing all the doubtfulness and diversity of life, the highest skills and the highest Eros are called for.
Such women are manifestations of a much more developed culture, and this was known in the Middle Ages and also in Greece in its heyday.
You know, of course, about Aspasia, the mistress of Pericles and of many cultured men of her time. ~Carl Jung, Children’s Dreams Seminar, Pages 320-321.