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Animus and Anima in The Secret of the Golden Flower.


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Psychology and Religion: West and East (The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Volume 11)

[Carl Jung – Animus and Anima in The Secret of the Golden Flower.]

According to our text there belong to the figures of the unconscious, not only gods, but also the animus and anima. The word hun is translated by Wilhelm as animus. As a matter of fact, the concept animus seems very appropriate for hun, the character for which is made up of the character for clouds ” and that for ” daemon Hun means, then, ” cloud-daemon,” a higher, spirit-soul belonging to the yang principle and therefore masculine.

After death, hun rises above and becomes shen, the ” expanding and revealing ” spirit or god. The anima, called po, and written with the character for “white and that for” daemon” , that is, “white ghost”, belongs to the lower, earth-bound, bodily soul, partakes of the yin principle, and is therefore feminine.

After death, it sinks and becomes kuei (daemon), often explained as the “one who returns ” (i.e. to earth), a revenant, a ghost.

The fact that the animus as well as the anima part after death and go their ways independently, shows that, for the Chinese consciousness, they are separable psychic factors
which have markedly different effects, and, despite the fact that originally they are united in “one effective, true essence”, in the “house of the creative”, they are two.”

The animus is in the Heavenly Heart; by day it lives in the eyes (that is in consciousness); at night it dreams away in the liver. “It is that ” which we have received from the great emptiness, that which has form from the very beginning”.

The anima, on the other hand, is the “force of heaviness and sadness” ; it clings to the bodily, fleshly heart. “Moods and impulses to anger” are its effects.

“Whoever is dull and moody on waking, is fettered by the anima.”

Many years ago, before Wilhelm made me acquainted with this text, I used the concept anima in a way quite analogous to the Chinese definition of p’o, and of course entirely apart from any metaphysical premise.

To the psychologist, the anima is not a transcendental being but something quite within the range of experience.

As the Chinese definition also makes clear, affective conditions are immediate experiences.

But why does one speak of anima and not simply of moods?

The reason for this is that affects have an autonomous character, and therefore most people are under their power. But, as we have seen, affects are delimitable contents of consciousness, parts of the personality, in other words.

As parts of the personality, they partake of its character, and can therefore be easily personified, a process which is still going on to-day, as the examples cited above have shown.

The personification is not an idle invention, inasmuch as the individual stirred by affect does not show a vague, but a quite definite, character, different from his ordinary one.

Careful investigation has shown that the affective character in a man has feminine traits.

From this psychological fact comes the Chinese teaching of the po-soul, as well as my concept of the anima.

Deeper introspection, or ecstatic experience, reveals the existence of a feminine figure in the unconscious, therefore the feminine name, anima, psyche, dme, Seele.

The anima can also be defined as an image, or archetype, or as the resultant of all the experiences of man with woman.

This is the reason the anima image is projected on the woman.

Poetry, as is well known, has often described and celebrated the anima.

The relation of the anima to the spook in the Chinese concept is interesting to parapsychologists in that the “controls” are very often of the opposite sex.

Although I cannot but approve Wilhelm’s translation of hun by animus, as being a perfectly good philological equivalent, none the less I had very important reasons for choosing the expression Logos for a man’s mental essence, his clarity of consciousness and reason.

Chinese philosophers are spared certain difficulties which burden the task of Western psychologists, because Chinese philosophy, like all mental and spiritual activity of ancient times, is the exclusive constituent of the man’s world.

Its concepts are never taken psychologically, and have therefore never been examined as to how far they also apply to the feminine psyche.

But the psychologist cannot possibly ignore the existence of woman and her peculiar psychology.

This is the reason I prefer to translate hun as it appears in a man, by logos.

Wilhelm in his translation uses logos for the Chinese concept hsing, which could also be translated as essence, or creative consciousness.

After death, hun becomes shen, spirit, which is very close, in the philosophical sense, to hsing.

Since the Chinese concepts are not logical in our sense, but are intuitive perceptions, their meaning can only be fathomed through the ways in which they are used, and by noting the constitution of the written signs, or further, by such relationships as that of hun to shin.

Hun, then, would be the discriminating light of consciousness and of reason in man, originally coming from the logos spermatikos of hsing, and returning after death through shSn to Tao.

Used this way the expression logos would he especially appropriate, since it includes the idea of a universal essence, and therefore covers the fact that man’s clarity of consciousness and capacity for reason are universal rather than something individually unique.

Neither is this character of his consciousness personal, but, in the deepest sense, impersonal, and thus in sharp contrast to the anima, which is a personal daemon expressing itself in thoroughly personal moods (therefore animosity !)

In consideration of these psychological facts, I have reserved the term animus for women exclusively, because ” mulier non habet animam, sed animum.

Feminine psychology shows an element which is a counterpart to the anima of man.

It is primarily not of an affective nature, but is a quasi-intellectual element best described by the word ” prejudice The emotional nature of man, not his “mind”, corresponds to the conscious nature of woman. Mind makes up the ” soul or better, the “animus” of woman, and, just as the anima of the man consists of inferior relatedness, full of resentment, so the animus of woman consists of inferior judgments, or better said, opinions. (For further details I must refer my reader to my essay cited above, for here I can only mention the general aspects.)

The animus of the woman consists in a plurality of pre-conceived opinions, and is therefore far less susceptible of personification by one figure, but appears more often as a group or crowd- (A good example of this from parapsychology is the so-called” Imperator group in the case of Mrs. Piper.)

The animus, on a lower level, is an inferior logos, a caricature of the differentiated masculine mind, just as the anima, on a lower level, is a caricature of the feminine eras.

Following the parallelism further, we can say that just as hun corresponds to hsing translated by Wilhelm as logos so the Eros of woman corresponds to ming, which is translated as fate, fattum, destiny, and is interpreted by Wilhelm as eros.

Eros is an interweaving; logos is capacity for differentiation clarifying light; eros is relatedness; logos is discrimination and detachment.

Thus the inferior logos in the woman’s animus appears as something quite unrelated, and therefore as an inaccessible prejudice, or as an opinion which, in an irritating way, has nothing to do with the essential nature of the object.

I have often been reproached for personifying the anima and animus as mythology does, but this reproach would only be justified if it could be proved that in my psychological use of them I concretized these concepts in the mythological way.

I must declare once and for all that the personification is not an invention of mine, but is inherent in the nature of the phenomena.

It would be unscientific to overlook the fact that the anima is a psychic, and therefore personal, partial-system.

None of the people who make the charge against me would hesitate a second to say:

“I dreamed of Mr. X.,” whereas, speaking accurately, he only dreamed of the representation of Mr. X.

The anima is nothing but a representation of the personal nature of the autonomous partial-system in question.

The nature of this partial-system in a transcendental sense, that is to say, beyond the boundaries of experience, we cannot know.

I have defined the anima in a man as a personification of the unconscious in general, and have therefore taken it as a bridge to the unconscious, that is, the function of
relationship to the unconscious.

A statement of our text brings out an interesting connection with this position of mine.

The text says that consciousness (that is, personal consciousness), comes from the anima.

Since the Western mind is based wholly on the standpoint of consciousness, it must define anima in the way I have done, but the East, on the contrary, orientated as it is from the view-point of the unconscious, sees consciousness as an effect of the anima .

Without a doubt, consciousness is derived from the unconscious.

This is something we remember too little, and therefore we are always attempting to identify the psyche with consciousness, or at least attempting to represent the unconscious as a derivative, or an effect of the conscious (as, for example, in the Freudian repression theory).

But, for the reasons given above, it is essential that nothing be subtracted from the reality of the unconscious, and that the figures of the unconscious should be understood as quantities which produce effects.

Whoever has understood the thing meant by psychic reality need not fear falling back into primitive demonology because that reality is admitted.

If the unconscious figures are not accorded the dignity of spontaneously effective factors, one becomes the victim of a one-sided belief in the conscious, which finally leads
to a state of mental tension.

Catastrophes are then bound to occur, because, despite all one’s consciousness, the dark psychic powers have been overlooked.

It is not we who personify them; they have a personal nature from the very beginning.

Only when this is thoroughly recognized can we think of depersonalizing them, or of ” overcoming the anima as our text expresses it.

Here, again, is to be found a great difference between Buddhism and our Western attitude of mind, and again there is a dangerous semblance of agreement.

Yoga teaching repudiates all fantasy contents and we do the same, but the East does it on quite different grounds.

There, conceptions and teachings prevail which express the creative fantasy in richest measure; in fact, one must protect oneself against the excess of fantasy.

We, on the other hand, look upon fantasy as paltry subjective reverie. The figures of the unconscious naturally do not appear as abstract and denuded of all accessories, but,
on the contrary, are embedded and interwoven in a web of fantasies of an infinite variety and a bewildering abundance.

The East can reject these fantasies because it has long ago sucked the juice from them and stored it in condensed form in formulae of profound wisdom.

But we have never even experienced these fantasies, much less extracted the quintessence from them.

We have here to catch up with a large portion of experience, and, only when we have found the sense in apparent nonsense, can we separate the valueless from the valuable.

We may rest assured that what we extract from our experiences will be something quite different from what the East offers us to-day.

The East came to its knowledge of inner things with a childish ignorance of the world.

We, on the other hand, will investigate the psyche and its depths, supported by a tremendously extensive historical and scientific knowledge.

At this present moment indeed, knowledge of the external world is the greatest obstacle to introspection, but the psychological need will overcome all obstructions.

We are already building up a psychology, a science, that is, which gives us a key to things to which the East found entrance only through abnormal psychic conditions. ~Carl Jung, The Secret of the Golden Flower.