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In analytic psychology, a person's inner being as opposed to the persona presented to a world.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

Anima (and Animus)


In Jungian psychology, the anima refers to personality traits regarded as feminine that are often repressed into the unconscious of males while the animus refers to traits regarded as masculine that are often repressed into the unconscious of females. In Carl Jung‘s personality theory, the ego represents the individual’s sense of personal self. The sense of personal identity is purchased, however, at the expense of certain tendencies (for example, socially undesirable traits) that are rejected as “not-self.” According to Jung, these rejected traits come together as a kind of unconscious “counter-ego,” which he termed the shadow. The anima/animus is similar to the shadow, but, because the rejected traits together constitute a socially typical female or male, they are more often than not distinct from the shadow. For example, when the shadow appears in a male’s dreams, it is most often represented by a male figure. The anima, in contrast, is most often a female figure.

Although suppressed from conscious awareness, the anima/animus influences our behavior in powerful ways. In most individuals, for example, it is projected onto people of the opposite sex and accounts for the experience of falling in love with someone we hardly know. In Jungian therapy, the anima/animus is viewed as a potential source of characteristics to be integrated into the patient’s ego structure. As the unconscious pole of the self, the counter-ego represented by the anima/animus can also be a guide to one’s own unconscious realm. It is often experienced as the guiding female or male presence in dreams.

The Dream Encyclopedia, Second Edition © 2009 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
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