The concepts of anima and animus are integral to Jungian thought—yet they remain elusive. As Carl Jung himself said, “No philosopher in his senses would invent such irrational and clumsy ideas.” Jung’s intuition, as so the case, was ahead of the knowledge available to him; his own cultural biases and ignorance of what we now know about brain function led to inadequate definitions of the terms that, a century later, are still fuel for contentious disagreement.
To help us move to a new understanding of anima and animus, cultural mythologist Jody Gentian Bower reviews the literature on the topic, from Jung to current works on LGBTQ psychology. She shows how anima and animus have been conflated not only with abstract ideas of the feminine and the masculine, respectively, but with actual femaleness and maleness. As a result, personal and cultural complexes, particularly gender-based complexes, are readily constellated whenever we try to talk about these concepts.
Dr. Bower then brings her perspective as a writer to bear. She argues that much of the confusion over these terms arises because anima and animus have been cast as characters in four quite different stories. She deconstructs these stories and the contradictory roles anima and animus are expected to play in each. Two of these functions are rightfully their territory, she argues, but the other two are not!
In her conclusion, Dr. Bower calls on the findings of neuroscience and the ideas of post-Jungian thinkers, coming full circle back to Jung’s own words to redefine anima and animus as energies available to every person, regardless of gender identity.
Jody Gentian Bower, Ph.D. was a medical/scientific editor and writer for three decades before earning her doctorate in Mythological Studies with a Depth Psychology Emphasis from Pacifica Graduate Institute in 2013. She is the author of "Jane Eyre’s Sisters: How Women Live and Write the Heroine Story" and "The Princess Powers Up: Watching the Sleeping Beauties become Warrior Goddesses." She is currently writing a collection of essays about barrenness, as well as a historical romance.
1. To gain a clearer perspective on the meaning of the terms anima and animus in Jungian thought.
2. To gain an understanding of the neuroscientific basis for the concepts of anima and animus.
3. To learn how the concepts of anima and animus can be applied in a non-gendered way for all clients, including LGBTQ clients.
Fee: $25. 2 CEUs are available for an additional $20. Go to the separate Event listing 'NASW CEUs ONLY' to purchase.