Anima/Animus

Hey Stanford. How About Collaborating With Other Smart People and Coming Up With Some More Useful Words to Describe Women's Negotiating Techniques?

Remember when people used to post ads in newspapers for significant others? 

SWF looking for male 5"5 or taller, must be nice, like to laugh, do fun things, meet new people.  555-5555. 

My dad saw an ad like that decades ago and said, "What does that word 'nice' even mean?  How vague.  How

Open letter to the National Science Foundation

I was watching some Bill Nye videos online today, and there was a dismissive comment made about astrology being a pseudo-science.  I guess I'm really late to the astrology table and I haven't learnt to cower in fear before the scientific community, I suppose, so I was really surprised.  Everyone I've introduced astrology to has had their jaws drop to the floor with how accurate it is.  So I decided to google, "Astrology pseudo-science", and it turns out I'm on the wrong side of current thinking on astrology among scientists.  Well, I aim to change that. 

Tonight I wrote a letter to the National Science Foundation, who, every second year, survey Americans on, among other things their views and opinions on scientific matters.  One question asks respondents, "Do you think astrology is scientific?"  And to the horror of the likes of Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye, in 2014, 45% of Americans thought astrology was somewhat or very scientific. I admire these guys a lot, but I disagree with them on 1) the validity of the question's wording, and 2) their interpretation of the statistic.

What does it really mean to "believe in" astrology, and how can the NSF encourage a little more sanity and groundedness around Americans' spirituality?

Hi there, my name is Erin Mulligan and I'm the owner of Rhode and Company in Canada where we (I for the moment) advocate for better spiritual literacy.  We also advocate for scientific literacy, just so you know; we just believe one is no greater than the other. 

I have a suggestion for changes to the wording in your question on your Science and Engineering Indicators poll about opinions on astrology.
 

You ask if Americans think astrology is scientific, but my guess is you're actually trying to gauge if people think it's accurate, or useful, or if they make decisions based on what they learn from their chart.  Am I right?  Of course it's not scientific.  You'd have to change the definition of science in order for a wisdom tradition to squeeze into the Aristotilean delineation around logic and reasoning.  Asking if astrology is scientific is like asking if women are men.  Clearly they fall into very distinct categories; one is for knowing the outer world, and the other is for knowing the inner world and they use different skill sets entirely.  You certainly wouldn't use science to measure someone's emotional intelligence, so why is astrology- a beautiful, robust, and incredibly useful system being measured against its "male" counterpart? 

Carl Jung would have called these two categories I'm referring to as the masculine and feminine principle, or the animus and the anima; Asians would call it the yin and the yang.  My guess is it's probably a little out of science's grasp to try and measure a mystic tradition, so why go there?  As far as I know, astrology isn't trying to impress science, just like women aren't asking men, "Am I a legitimate human being?" and Italians aren't asking the French, "Are we French enough for you?"  Astrology is a language unto itself that takes many years to learn, and decades to master.

By selecting, "yes, I believe it's scientific" pollsters are opened up to guffaws by actual scientists like Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson, who know that you need to meet a certain set of standards to say something is scientifically valid- a legitimate pursuit, but not astrology's aim.  Asking people to judge if astrology is a science necessarily makes them look foolish because astrology is in an entirely different epistemology, just like the Buddhist practice of mindfulness is a third and equally powerful epistemology.

Self-knowledge correlates with higher emotional intelligence, which in turn correlates with better leadership skills and reported life happiness-- all skills neceessary for getting the world's population out of some of the toughest dillemmas it's ever faced.  And yet the inner world is a very vague and mysterious place sometimes.  Ask any wife if their husband can clearly articulate why they always [fill in the blank with something that annoys the hell out of them], or ask any man if their wife can do the same.  Just like women's medicine has always baffled male doctors, so we don't expect male scientists to automatically "get" a feminine spirituality*.  It takes a motivation to start with usually, like a divorce or a death in the family, or a serious illness, and then a journey begins.

Not only do we call on society to honor the male and female principle, but as Jung also said, we have both the feminine and masculine within each of us, meaning all of us have the impulse to explore and learn about our outer worlds, as much as to explore and learn about our interior world.  In men, the latter impulse is discouraged, as you are probably well aware, and as the numbers of STEM graduates reflect.  Making "believing in astrology" a lightning rod for scientists by getting pollsters to conflate it with science does nothing to encourage the self-knowledge journey (which, by the way, happens in men later in their careers, often as they're retiring and can't have the same impact as if their aha! moment happened in their 30's).

On the other hand!  We agree that making decisions based on horoscopes in the newspaper or online is quite a bad idea.  General horoscopes like that are written in very, very broad brushstrokes based on the 12 ancient archetypes.  Not always, but sometimes they can be quite accurate-- I got into astrology because I read a horoscope that said I was going to double-book myself that week, and that Wednesday, I actually triple-booked myself.  It made me do a double-take.  However, I have also then gone on to make the mistake of basing decisions on what I read on a horoscope from the internet, and now that I've learned my lesson, I just get readings done by a  professional astrologer which are more accurate because they have my specific birth data.  So I no more advocate for sloppy spiritual practices than you do for sloppy scientific ones.  My astrologer, by the way, studied with Carl Jung's daughter and is one of the most highly sought-after astrologers in the United States.  She was recommended to me by a male 50-something American angel investor, a former Fortune 50 executive who has his own spiritual practice now.


The mission of my company is to raise the profile of ancient self-knowledge traditions that grew out of Socrates' admonition to know yourself before pursuing any other kind of knowledge.  Science, math, and engineering are wonderful and meaningful pursuits, but in order for their practitioners to be fully "in touch" with reality, they need to be counterbalanced by the feminine principle of the dark, mysterious, inner, and the spiritual.  These characterisitics are notions that balance out the brazen, often unfounded over-the-top self-confidence and old-boys' club mentality that has gotten our environment into some pretty deep trouble.

In order to encourage thoughtfulness, groundedness, and sanity around spirituality, I ask you to please re-think how your astrology question is worded.  I believe you can make a difference in western mentality by changing it so people aren't forced to choose between astrology and science. 
 

All my best,

Erin Mulligan

Rhode and Company

 

*By calling astrology feminine, I don't mean to exclude men from the practice or benefits of astrology.  I just mean it calls for a kind of intuition that Jung associated with the anima.  Any man can develop it, just as any woman can develop characteristics associated with the animus.

Possessed by The Animus Or The Anima? You Don't Have to Be So Annoying To Your Exes

In Jung's writing, the Animus and Anima are personifications of the shadow self- the parts of us that for whatever reason, we have prevented from entering the conscious realm.

Each manifestation of the shadow self can represent light or darkness.  So when we ignore it and refuse to integrate its qualities, it becomes larger, grotesque, terrifying- both in our dreams and to the people in our every day lives. 

If, on the other hand, we welcome the shadow, "the ego will then find an inner power that contains all the possibilities of renewal."

If a man [or woman?] devotes himself to the instructions of his own unconscious, it can bestow this gift [renewal of life, creative elan vital, a new spiritual orientation], so that suddenly life, which has been stale and dull, turns into a rich, unending inner adventure, full of creative possibilities.

Their purpose is to build a bridge to the Self, and when the Shadow and the Self become integrated, it becomes a friend and guide who tunes the Self into higher principles of a more spiritual timbre.

  Gustav Dore's  Bluebeard , who tells his wife not to open a door, and when she disobeys, she finds the corpses of Bluebeard's former wives inside.  Jung cites him as an example of the way a woman becomes cold and destructive "especially when she has failed to realize some obligation of feeling."   Image from Wikipedia.

Gustav Dore's Bluebeard, who tells his wife not to open a door, and when she disobeys, she finds the corpses of Bluebeard's former wives inside.  Jung cites him as an example of the way a woman becomes cold and destructive "especially when she has failed to realize some obligation of feeling."  Image from Wikipedia.

The animus shows up in women when they have an underdevelopped aggression and assertiveness, when they refuse to own their power.  In folk tales and cultural archetypes, he can manifest as a death demon, a robber, murderer, or wild animal, like in Beauty and the Beast (where the love of the girl redeems the monster, a metaphor for her animus becoming transitioning from unconscious to conscious).  When ignored, he shows up in the way she speaks about certain matters. 

One of the favorite themes that the animus repeats endlessly in this kind of woman goes like this, 'The only thing that I want in the world is love -- and he doesn't love me'; or 'In this situation, there are only two possibilities- and both are equally bad.' (The animus never believes in exceptions.)  One can rarely contradict an animus opinion because it is usually right in a general way; yet it seldom seems to fit the individual situation.  It is apt to be an opinion that seems reasonable, but beside the point.

The convictions of the animus echo the woman's father, and don't seem to take into account the current, particulars of the woman's reality.

  Jung cites the Slavic myth of Rusalka as a good example of an anima leading a man to his death.  The anima is the long-haired red-headed girls that live in the waterways, singing to men as they pas by, and ultimately drowning them by wrapping their hair around their feet and pulling them under water.  When men are possessed by the anima, they're incapable of retriving facts hidden in the unconscious.   Image from Wikipedia.

Jung cites the Slavic myth of Rusalka as a good example of an anima leading a man to his death.  The anima is the long-haired red-headed girls that live in the waterways, singing to men as they pas by, and ultimately drowning them by wrapping their hair around their feet and pulling them under water.  When men are possessed by the anima, they're incapable of retriving facts hidden in the unconscious.  Image from Wikipedia.

As a counterpart, the anima shows up in men when they haven't gotten in touch with their sensitive, artistic, intuitive side.  Its appearance in dreams comes as a witch or sorcoress, a murderous Geisha, or some kind of femme fatale; in Medieval Europe, she was the damsel in distress.  When men have integrated the anima in a healthy way, he's receptive to qualities typically associated with the female, "vague feelings and moods, prophetic hunches, receptiveness to the irrational, capacity for personal love, feeling for nature-- and last but not least, his relation to the unconscious.  When he ignores her, however, she manifests in moodiness and crankiness, and ultimately poor life decisions.

... His anima will often express itself in irritable, depressed moods, uncertainty, insecurity, and touchiness.... These 'anima moods' cause a sort of dullness, a fear of disease, impotence, or of accidents. 

As with all aspects of the shadow, they can be projected, and there are certain types of women who seem to be recipients of this kind of projection, "women who are of 'fairy-like character especially attract such anima projections, because men can attribute almost anything to a creature who is so fascinatingly vague and thus proceed to weave fantasies around her."

Forward motion through the Enneagram symbol is just "business as usual".  1, 4, 2, 8, 5, 7 on the hexad, and 3, 9, 6 on the triangle.  When we've been hit on the head and realize we need to change something, we start moving backwards: 7, 5, 8, 2, 4, 1 on the hexad, and 3, 6, 9 on the triangle.  And now that I've explained all that, Rios-Hudson don't really teach the directions of integration or disintegration anymore, so chew on that!  Image from theenneagraminbusiness.com

Men afflicted by the anima can "fall in love" with a woman on a dating site without ever meeting her because he recognizes his own anima within her, and becomes helplessly attached to her picture and her profile (obviously women can do this too, by the way.)  Men who cling onto lost or former lovers - sometimes for years- can seem to the woman like a leech sucking the life out of her, draining her energy, living off her femininity (and vice-versa for women clinging to former lovers).  A simple way to solve this problem is to understand the anima as a source of inner power within him, and to cultivate a listening ear for what she has to teach him. In her honored position, she can help navigate him through life into higher spiritual planes, as in her highest manifestation, she is the "incarnation of meaning" itself.

As I write this, I wonder about how this relates to the Enneagram, because there is no gender with the Enneagram, but there is a direction in the flow towards destruction of self and others; versus towards healing and wholeness, depending on which way you're cycling through the triangle or hexad.  This is all very fascinating.  My guess is that a man or woman stuck in the forward motion of the cycle will manifest the unhealthy anima or animus, ie. they're trapped in their particular intelligence centre.  But when a man or woman gets the impetus to make some major life changes, they start moving backward through the symbol and start integrating the shadow for a healthier, lighter, actualized Self.

 

 

 

Carl Jung and the Enneagram Missed Each Other by That Much

I'm reading Carl Jung's Man and His Symbols now, and although he was brilliant-- and I'm by no means a Jungian scholar, so maybe I'm missing something here-- but I would love to go back in time and introduce him to the Enneagram.  I wonder how much more lucid he'd be if he had that vocabulary.  I'm sure his book would be half the length if he could just say, "underdevelopped Type Four" for the pages of description for the wicked anima or "Type Eight woman" for "a woman with occasional outbursts of temper who talked in an aggressive fashion that alienated men and gave her an intolerable feeling of dissatisfaction with herself."  These descriptions are fine, but if he knew people's types, he could cover a lot of ground with a couple words and be a lot clearer.

  Carl Jung, 1875-1961.   Photo from nndb.com

Carl Jung, 1875-1961.  Photo from nndb.com

  The Enneagram came onto the scene in California to a very small group of students in the early 1970's.   Image from enneagraminstitute.com.

The Enneagram came onto the scene in California to a very small group of students in the early 1970's.  Image from enneagraminstitute.com.

Carl Jung's lifespan was between 1875 and 1961.  The Enneagram was still unknown in the U.S. until the early 1970's, and even then it wasn't until the early 90's that there were a couple books available to the general public about it. 

Still, George Gurdjieff (Russia/France) and Oscar Ichazo (Bolivia/Chile) were working with it with their own study groups as far back as the 1940's, but even then, they were still talking in shapes and very vague archetypes, so it probably wouldn't have been much use to Jung anyway.  (Although talking in vague terms didn't seem to be an issue for him).

While we wait for someone to provide an Enneagram "translation" of Jung, we will have to muddle through and figure out what he meant when he told an educated, successful woman to "set about trying to change herself into a more submissive kind of woman" who had to realize that for a man, "life is something that has to be taken by storm, as an act of the heroic will; but for a woman to feel right about herself, life is best realized by a process of awakening."

WTF.