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What Are Archetypes?
Archetypes are basically symbols for prototypical energetic blueprints that are immediately and cross-culturally understood.
Everyone knows what a "mom" is--she is the person who carries a child to term in her womb, who gives birth to that child, who nurtures, supports, and assists in its upbringing.
There are certain expectations one has when encountering a mother. Those expectations, the ideas of what a mom is and what a mom does are an inborn part of the psyche.
The foundation for those expectations and for the inborn understanding of who and what moms are can be found in the archetype known as the Great Mother.
Jungian psychology uses archetypes as the basis for giving names to various psychic functions. Archetypes are basically the way in which Jungians attempt to give the unnameable a name, to label the psyche so that it can be more easily understood.
The Anima, along with the Animus, the Self, and the Shadow, comprise the four primary Jungian archetypes.
What Is the Animus Archetype?
Simply put, the Animus is a Jungian concept that symbolizes singular, prototypical masculine principles, not human, gendered males.
The Animus is part of a gendered female's unconscious psyche or the hidden male within the female.
However, in Jungian analytical psychology, the terms "male" and "female" do not relate to gender. They relate to energetic principles such as action and passivity.
Read on to discover why this distinction is so important.
The Hidden Male in the Female
Understanding what the Animus is, and more perhaps more importantly, what it is not, and learning how to have a proper relationship with it is a difficult yet crucial process one undergoes on the path to individuation.
While a person's body may come in a male or female sex, the entire being consists not only of the outward gendered form, but also of that which is hidden in the form of psychic functions and cognitive processes.
Jungian psychological theory posits that the psyche is not gendered. It views the psyche as a whole unit, but makes a distinction between that of which one is consciously aware and those parts of the psyche that are unconscious or those elements of the psyche of which one is unaware.
According to this theory, the conscious part of the psyche correlates with the outward gender; the unconscious part is considered to be an expression of the sex opposite the outward gender.
For women, the hidden male within the female psyche is called the Animus.
What the Animus Symbolizes
The Animus archetype, while symbolizing masculine principles, is not synonymous with the men one has encountered in one's life.
The Animus is the archetype of masculinity, not males themselves.
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While the Animus and what it symbolizes is far too complex to sum up in a paragraph, some of the energies contained in the Animus are the principles of action, spirit, reason, and logic.
As an active principle, the Animus gives a woman her ability to fully use her creativity by transforming intangible, intuitive ideas into manifest form in the waking world.
The Meaning of Male and Female
From the Jungian view, Individuals exist on two levels: the inner and the outer. The whole being is comprised not only of one's outward, physical form but also as one's intangible, inward self-awareness.
According to this school of thought, every individual's existence is a dichotomous dance between the visible and the invisible, between subjective manifestations of form and absolute unmanifest reality, and between the masculine and feminine principles.
When speaking of masculine and feminine, and male and female from a Jungian standpoint, one must understand that neither term equates to subjective gender roles of the sexes.
Male and female have nothing to do with gender. Male and female are terms used to define principles, energies, ways of thinking or action.
Masculine refers to energies which are active and propelling.
Feminine refers to that which is passive and receptive.
There is no hierarchy of importance between the male and the female; neither is privileged; both are needed, acting in cooperation with one another for the being to function as it was intended--as a complete, whole, independent being.
As an example, passive energy is intuition because intuition is information that is received by the mind. But for that information to be useful, it must be analyzed and acted upon for it to have a purpose.
Think of a radio. If it only received transmissions, it would be useless. Those transmissions must be broadcast to have any purpose. The opposite is true as well--if there is no device for receiving the broadcast, those transmissions are simply undetected waves in space, undetected by human ears.
Archetypes are singular prototypical structures, blueprints, so to speak, of the forms encountered in the waking world. The Animus, as an archetype, is also one such prototype. There is no "my Animus" or "your Animus."--there is only the Animus.
Unfortunately, archetypal blueprints are often dismantled and refashioned to resemble the faces and experiences one has with people filling the shoes of an archetypal image.
To say that the animus is "male" or "masculine" simply means it is the archetypal expression of that which is active and propelling. Logic, spirit, the ability to act of intuitive impulse or to give form to creative thought--these are all incorporated in the Animus.
The animus and masculine principles do not equate to the actions of or one's experience with physical men. However, one's relationship with physical gendered men will leave an near indelible impression on how one relates to the animus.
In fact, one's relationship with gendered males will either allow a woman to easily relate to the animus and have a great deal of personal power and self-awareness or it will cause the woman to attempt to deny her male self and actually become animus possessed.
If one's encounters, especially those encounters experienced during the formative years, have been primarily negative, then one will have great difficulty identifying with the animus in a positive manner.
What the above statement means is that a woman will attempt to keep any trait she considers "male" pushed away into the shadow, and will attempt to remain unconscious of her male self. She will remain a halfling, unable to integrate a critical portion of her own psyche.
The degree of difficulty one has in integrating the animus is directly proportionate to the degree of difficulty one has had in dealing with those of the male sex.
If a woman has had negative experiences with men in general or difficult a difficult relationship with her father figure, she may attempt to dissociate herself from the male part of her psyche.
However, when one attempts to deny, repress, or completely disassociate one's self from the Animus, a curious phenomenon can occur.
Instead of keeping one's self safe from anything to do with masculine energies, one actually becomes possessed by them.
The unconscious is a part of one's whole self--there exists no way of performing psychic surgery to excise that which one dislikes.
The unconscious will perform its role; one can either be friendly with it and use it as an ally, or one can attempt to deny it and watch it behave as an enemy.
The animus denied becomes the monster the woman believes it go be--it does not go quietly into that good night of the unconscious. Instead, it acts out. It actually possesses the woman who denies it.
All of those ideas of men--that they are domineering and controlling? They find expression through her.
She becomes domineering, she becomes controlling, she becomes opinionated, she is incapable of reason or being reasoned with.
Worse, she is completely unaware she has the characteristics.
Still worse, since it is denied, the animus sulks.
Since its natural expression is found in action and that action is denied, the animus, takes the only action it can: it tells the woman, "what's the use" and "this will never work" and "might as well not even try" and "you know this is going to fail" and other negative self-talk.
And until the animus is integrated, all of those negative statements are true to some degree.
Because one must be a whole unit to fully function and a woman not utilizing her male half is only half a person.
She is a woman looking for completion in an outer man, an outer man who more than likely is simply looking for an outer woman to complete his own incomplete self--a projection, not a person.
Completion: Not So Romantic
No Need for Completion
"You complete me."
That line from the film, Jerry Maguire, melted audience's hearts and went on to become a household catchphrase.
Renee Zellwigger's character swoons as she translates a lover signing the phrase to his beloved.
And even though he has her at, "Hello," it is Cruise's character's vocalization of the line Zellwigger's character translated earlier, that alerts her to the fact that greatest dream has been fulfilled.
She, like the deaf woman in the elevator, has finally filled her life's calling. She, too, has now completed someone.
While many people believe they are seeking love when dating, what most are seeking is what the characters sought in Jerry Maquire--completion.
The idea is meant to be not only romantic, but a way of giving expression to love itself.
The idea of "soul-mates"--two parts of the same person who cannot rest or be satisfied or feel fulfillment without the missing partner is meant to give voice to the power of love.
Soul mates are viewed as the acme of love.
But why is existing a half life, unable to fully express one's self, one's life, unable to fully manifest and flower as a human being until finding the missing piece of one's two piece jigsaw puzzle something that so many people long for?
Jungian psychology posits that it is because there truly is something missing in the lives of so many people but that missing piece isn't found in another's form, it's found in the dark of the unconscious.
According to Jungian thought, what one is actually seeking when searching for one's "other half" is actually the integration of the elements of the unconscious psyche.
When a woman is searching for her soul mate, the reason the pictures and ideas that come to mind often appear so unrealistic is because she isn't looking for a man, she is looking for the man.
She isn't looking for a human being at all, but for that perfect expression of maleness which can only be found in the pure form of the animus.
Since humans typically define themselves by outward gender, the idea that the gender opposite one's own can somehow exist inside one's self seems positively preposterous.
It is only logical to search for completion, that is to seek the male, outside one's self in the form of gendered males.
Unfortunately, until the contents of the shadow are somewhat integrated, until one clearly sees how one is distorting the animus, until one recognizes what one truly believes about men and male energy, one's image of the animus will remain contaminated by one's experiences with men.
One is instead attracted to others based upon how well one believes they match one's projections.
Projections are the elements of one's self that one typically denies exist in one's self. They are qualities and characteristics that one views as existing outside one's self.
Why do so many women fall for the same type of man again and again?
Because until one achieves a high degree of individuation, one is not actually attracted to others as they actually are.
A contaminated view of the animus leads to contaminated projects and attractions.
Of course, none of this occurs on a conscious level. It couldn't.
Unless she is a masochist, no woman would consciously say to herself, "I believe that men are domineering and controlling, let me therefore go out and see if I can scare up some domineering and controlling men to cause me a lot of pain and heartbreak."
Instead, the unconscious takes control and guides a woman toward the image that it imprinted upon it.
She will find the same man again and again because that man is the image imprinted upon her psyche as the definitive image of who and what men are.
She will repeatedly fall for the same guy until she purifies her own relationship with the animus.
The unconscious will find expression no matter one's attempts to deny it. If it does not achieve conscious acknowledgement in the psyche, it will find an expression outward in physical form.
The Integrated Animus
Once one begins understanding the difference between gendered males and the masculine principle, separating men from the Animus begins. Once that begins, faulty images and concepts that one has placed onto the animus are cleared.
When the contaminated animus is purified, it becomes easier to bring it out of the shadow. It becomes easy to relate to the unconscious, it becomes comfortable to imagine that one has a male aspect contained in one's female form.
Once animus integration occurs, a woman's psyche becomes the embodiment of the dynamic dance of the passive and the active--the emergence of the whole woman begins and the need for completion ends.
A woman who has integrated the animus can now view potential partners as people, because they now are people--they are no longer projections. One can have authentic relationships because one is an authentic person. One can allow others to fully be themselves because one is acting fully as one's self. Old patterns fall away, new experiences enter.
The benefits of animus integration are not limited to interpersonal relationships. All aspects of a woman's life benefit.
Whereas the alienated animus expressed itself via animosity, the integrated animus expresses itself as an indispensable ally.
Logic and intuition become balanced. Spirit and soul are united. All of the negative self talk turns to positive encouragement. All of those intuitive impulses are acted upon with wise judgement and confidence. Creative ideas now easily find shape in manifest form. The controlling woman lets the reins go and steps into a place of authentic power.
Instead of repeating messages of "what's the use" the animus now tells the woman, "let's see who can stop us."
The Animus in Dreams, Literature, and Pop Culture
The manner in which the animus manifests in dreams depends upon the woman's relationship to it.
A negative relationship produces negative dream images such as men without faces, masked men, finding one's home invaded by intruders, chase dreams, and dreams about discovering a man at the wheel of an out of control car.
The integrated animus typically takes on a far more pleasant form, such as The Wise Old Man archetype or males who act as sages or guide or advise the dreamer. Dreams of men bearing gifts are another type of animus dream.
While the animus archetype can be found throughout literature, the process animus integration finds its best expression in the tale of Beauty and the Beast. In that tale one learns the truth of the animus: it never actually was a beast, it was simply under a curse--a curse that will lift only when the true image hidden inside the beastly form is seen, recognized, and loved.
Men in current society and pop culture that qualify as animus figures include Nelson Mandela, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and John Legend.
Human beings are complete, fully functional entities. No individual is half a person. No individual needs completion.
What every individual needs is recognition of that that completion, one needs to acknowledge one's status as a whole unit and know that wholeness to be a fact of existence.
For women, a dramatic step towards recognition of her wholeness comes in animus integration and animus integration begins with making a distinction between one's experiences with human, gendered males and the concept of archetypal maleness and masculine principles.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2012 Aisling Ireland
Aisling Ireland (author) from Savannah, Georgia on February 14, 2019:
"I exist, therefore I am whole." Oh, I like that, Glenn!
Glenn Stok from Long Island, NY on February 10, 2019:
Good ending! “No individual is half a person. No individual needs completion.” How true. This comes to mind: I exist, therefore I am whole.
Aisling Ireland (author) from Savannah, Georgia on January 18, 2019:
Marc Hubs from United Kingdom on January 18, 2019:
Very interesting. I was into Jungian psychology when i was younger. Im sharing this on my FB page.
Aisling Ireland (author) from Savannah, Georgia on December 27, 2012:
Yes, Alastar. I have been reading your amazing hubs with great interest! I think I left a comment similar to what I'm about to say on one of them--you are one of the few people I have read who recounts ring true to me. I think it is the straight reporting that your articles contain free from the need to provide elaborate embellishment. The accounts speak for themselves--they appear to inform rather than seek to convince and that's always a sign of truth-telling to me.
Your feeling about the entity I encountered is similar to my own interpretation of its presence. The reason I mentioned an angelic is because of the myths of the Grigori or Watchers. That's precisely what the entity seemed to be doing--watching, not in any malevolent way, but more or less keeping an eye on things. Given that I suffered no ills effects--not even an obsession with the paranormal resulted from the encounter--I take it as a sign of good fruits exactly as you quoted.
Alastar Packer from North Carolina on December 27, 2012:
Some that should know aver there are indeed multiple universes and realities, from seven to like pages in the Atlanta phone book, one next to the other. Some of these may share our near space in a space-time, or is it time-space, fashion so to speak. Interesting to think on though regardless isn't it.
Your night-time experience with its subtle projection is very similar to other reports including my own. Neither of us feel it as a negative encounter. Your description of the entity is most fascinating. My guess is you had what it took to be receptive and for that one and only one time you were to be made aware of this benevolent presence that certainly has and probably continues to have your best interests at heart. That's only my feeling of course - but like the christian good book says, you will know them by their fruits, or actions, and what a person feels deep down about it.
Aisling Ireland (author) from Savannah, Georgia on December 26, 2012:
It's so funny you say that about the frequency because that is exactly what it felt like! Nothing was really injured--I never lost consciousness, passed all the time/space cognitive tests, didn't even go to the hospital, but man oh man did I have an amazing knot on my head. Honestly, it was more like a horn. I kept thinking, "How much bigger can this thing get before it explodes!"
But the feeling was trippy--not loopy or disoriented, but honestly like I was in a slightly different realm. It made me wonder about string theory and multiple dimensions--if inter-dimensional travel is something that happens much more frequently than we are aware of.
I've read your fascinating articles and encounters. I will tell you one of mine that is similar to this frequency discussion.
One night about five years ago, I was in bed when I woke from a dream. The dream had to do with bees pine trees, which I bring up only to point out that what happened next was not a hypnogogic hallucination.
I woke up and was trying to get bees out of my hair, when I realized I was awake, I stopped with the bees and turned my head.
I have a terrible fear, a phobia actually, of people breaking into my house while I'm asleep, a fear rooted in an actual event in which I luckily suffered no harm other than the development of said phobia.
I bring that up because when I turned my head, there was sitting in bed, a, I don't know what. I can't say ghost, because that isn't what it was, nor was it human. I didn't get any kind of malevolent nor radiant impression from it. I say that, but I must have gotten something from it because I was not remotely afraid. Not even close. I was fascinated. I bring that up because for me to find anything in my bed in the middle of the night and not be terrified means I felt something contrary to what I remember. A friend even suggested that in biblical stories angels always greet humans with the phrase "Be no afraid"--she conjectured that perhaps that isn't a verbal command, but more of some kind of projection into the psyche.
The entity appeared to be male, was wearing a hooded cloak but its body and clothing appeared to be made of the same material. The best way I can describe it is that it was almost like that water creature in the movie, The Abyss. It wasn't completely diaphanous but it wasn't completely solid. It was like I could see through it but couldn't.
To make sure I wasn't dreaming, I shook my head, rubbed my eyes, blinked and the entity remained.
I then whispered, "Oh my God" and reached out to touch the entity.
That's when it went away.
What is odd though is that it wasn't like it went away so much as it was that I couldn't see it anymore. I realized that it wasn't just the entity that was weird, but the whole room had been altered while it was there. It was like something shifted, like my eyes refocused or something and I couldn't see it anymore more than it was that it left. I remember thinking, "They're here all the time, we just don't see them."
I got up from bed, went to my computer, wrote the entire encounter down and went back to bed. I did a lot of research on the subject including some really interesting stuff on left-brain right-brain synchronization, something called right hemispheric vectority and "the sensed presence" that gave a very scientific explanation for the encounter and a list of others who have had similar experiences. To this day, I have no idea what I encountered and have never encountered it again, but it has made me wonder what is out there and in here that we don't see for what ever reasons.
Alastar Packer from North Carolina on December 26, 2012:
They are from a Meier contact - prepared notes by Osborn. Very nice, Madailein, you have an inquiring mind and that is a very good thing to see. The BM case is a very long running and contentious one to say the least. Personally I look at the info presented and take it into consideration in and of itself. The contacting humans say it was never their intention to force their reality upon us.
That is an excellent point you make with some in the religious cultures refusing to consider such subjects as a possibility or rather reality, which we and so many others know to be so. The holy books are indeed full of angels, demons, djinn and giants on and on. In this regard it wouldn't be so far off base to say blessed are they that have faith in their fellow humans but have not had a direct experience themselves. Of course there are the mentally ill, the fantasists and outright liars and hucksters. But the majority of people are not these things.
How very interesting with your temp injury and all-night vigil with the physicist imparting his knowledge of things and your epiphany with the inner workings of the universe and creation. Some might say your concussion put you on another frequency for a while, like tuning a radio into higher realities one could say. But, that is another story as they say too. eh my friend.:)
Aisling Ireland (author) from Savannah, Georgia on December 25, 2012:
Whoa, that is really fascinating stuff, there, Alastar. I tried googling some quotes from your reply, but I cannot ascertain to whom they belong--are they from Billy Meier or Maurice Osborn? I am not really familiar with either person. I don't know Maurice Osborn at all and only vaguely knowledgeable about Meier who was a reported contactee, isn't that correct? Wasn't he one of the first reported contactees? And isn't his story supposed to be one of the most credible? Wasn't his wife a reported contactee as well? Or do I have him confused with someone else?
The theory proposed is interesting in that it would answer questions such as why some mental illness is hereditary.
Someone recently posited on a facebook page that mental illness is a symptoms of damaged evolution, or rather that some form of evolutionary leap was meant to occur or was occurring but that the human body, mind, soul, whatever, as an entity has suffered some kind of structural damaged--that it is been weakened as a whole and can't really take on any leaps, except in certain individuals.
If the theory that you posted were accurate, it might explain why the human entity has suffered some form of structural damage.
I find it a it fascinating that in a Judeo-Christian culture the idea of spirits and non-corporeal entities, demonic possession, inter-dimensional beings, etc., is so readily dismissed, especially given their prevalence in both New and Old Testament writings. In Christianity, Paul lists "discernment of spirits" as one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and Christ himself is depicted as master exorcist. Numerous saints are held as possessing the power to heal those afflicted by spirits, and on and on it goes. I totally get scientists, without tools to measure and subject these supposed entities to scrutiny, completely throwing them out and I also understand atheists, who also need empiric evidence for belief to see it all as nonsense. But in the States, where, what is it? 80 percent or more people profess Christianity, to dismiss such claims of experience with entities as nonsense, seems to run counter to their professed belief system.
In that vein, I keep hoping that science and religion will some day come together. I know, it sounds wacky, but one night a few years ago, I hit my head and believing that I shouldn't go to sleep a friend's visiting brother who was either an astro or nuclear physicist stayed up with me the entire night. (Sorry I can't remember, but I was suffering from a concussion.) This guy talked to me all night long about Einstein's Theory of Relativity, time itself or the lack thereof or the incorrect way we perceive it, however you want to look at it, and on and on. I swear there was a minute there when I understood the inner workings of the entire universe. (Probably due to the concussion, LOL.)
At any rate, he told me the most fascinating things about science and religion. I cannot for the life of me remember what it was, the way protons and neutrons move in an atom, or what, honestly, I must look him up to find out, but he told me that whatever it was the movement was the exact same movement as the dance of Shiva. He said that it was as if religion had given voice to something that science later on confirmed. A similar story can be found in Kekule's dream of the Ouroborous that led to his discovery of the structure of the benzene molecule. His hope, as is mine, is that more discoveries of this sort might come to light, making science and religion partners rather than adversaries.
I think though, for that to happen, horizons have to be broadened. For example, I don't believe in one guy delivering presents on Christmas Eve, but I totally believe in Santa Claus. LOL. What existence is, what makes something real, I think is what must be examined.
Alastar Packer from North Carolina on December 25, 2012:
Thank you for another awesome reply Esme, you will never have to be sorry for anything with me. Here's an interesting take on mental illness, at least i hope you find it so.
"Real mental diseases result from a powerful confusion in knowledge of spirits. As the genes become influenced by the spirit, they acquire the confused impulses, store them, and create the confused idea into a confused form of life. This hurts the normal creatures from generation to generation by the irresistible further development of the spirit periodically causing conditioned evolution. This means that the confused spirit's crucial functions of the genes become afflicted with the improper regulation of certain factors. This improper regulation causes its impulses to intermingle with the brain's acids and affect the same wrong factors to evoke a confusion, which then becomes organic."
"The evolution of the spirit can cause the confusion to become normal again over generations. Each hurt form of life can be burdened differently along with their descendants. The development of the descendants can be hurt, more so with low developed spirits than highly developed ones, which are even able to neutralize such wrong regulation. So, it is absolutely possible for the descendants of insane creatures to become normal. After many generations, when all is normal again, there can be small lingering factors that break out as afflictions."
Aisling Ireland (author) from Savannah, Georgia on December 24, 2012:
Excellent question, Alastar. You know, to this day, no one really knows for certain what schizophrenia is. There are theories that it is a virus, theories that it is a genetic disorder, and theories that it is a chemical imbalance, etc. Modern medicine might say, well, duh, to that last theory, but what is fascinating is that even in our culture which believes pills solve all ills, no one can say even why medications seem to relieve symptoms of schizophrenia. I love that there are some meds known as "atypical antipsychotics" when no one even really understands exactly how "typical" ones work.
I hate to sound like a complete flake, but I don't discount anything. Why do some psychotics respond to exorcisms? Is it due to the simple power of belief in a system? Or does it there an actual entity attached to the person suffering from schizophrenia? And why was Jung able to cure schizophrenics with nothing more than talk therapy? Could that have been a way of moving off an entity? And why is schizophrenia sometimes hereditary? Could there be a generational curse or a haunting or a poltergeist encounter at work? I don't know. What I do know is that sometimes there are things that I have seen that do not make sense to me, things that I only accept once I have gone through all rational means available to me.
I think that sometimes we are way too quick to close our minds to that which we cannot define. But think about it--400 years ago we could not see bacteria, germs, etc., and we had no idea that these things we could not see were wreaking havoc on our lives. In a way, bacteria might be thought of as some kind of inter-dimensional entity--yes, I'm aware that they are not in reality, but think of their effects on us and how we used to be completely unaware of their existence. Could what we term "interdimensional entities" just be some form of "bacteria"--some thing that we simply haven't yet developed tools to view, study, and label them yet? Imagine trying to not only describe, but convince people prior to microscopic imaging of the reality and effects of bacteria. Sounds strikingly familiar.
I personally also feel that we may have no idea what we are missing out on by simply drugging people without really knowing what we are doing. We do it for expediency, we do it for control, but for all of the negative press the mentally ill are getting these days due to shooting tragedies, I am yet to hear what mental illness any of these people suffered from. Asperger's isn't a mental illness. Carrying a briefcase to school instead of a backpack isn't listed as a symptom of anything in any issue of the DSM. I am not saying that the mentally ill do not need treatment or that they cannot be violent, but I do question just how much more violent they are than a typical member of society. When people go on trial, most of the time they are people who acted out of rage or passion, rather than mental illness. All it takes is a quick check of the papers to verify that. And the people who commit atrocities are people who I believe fall into a category about whose actions I don't think we can predict or prevent really. I think the mentally ill do not need to be stigmatized any more than they already are because of the actions of people whose disturbance, I believe, runs deeper than anything listed in any psychiatric text.
Sorry, I went a bit off topic there. I've just been very disturbed by what I see on TV as the response to these horrors committed these days.
Alastar Packer from North Carolina on December 24, 2012:
Awesome reply Esme, thank you. Jung is a the most admired here of all the founding psychiatric-types. He not only had incredible talent and creativity but kept an open mind on esoteric subjects. The vast majority of schizophrenia certainly emanates from deep within the mind, but there are those who are respected in their fields and posit that in rare cases inter-dimensional beings are responsible for some of it. As a hands on care-provider in the psychiatric field do you have any thoughts on that being a possibility in at least a very few of these afflictions?
Aisling Ireland (author) from Savannah, Georgia on December 24, 2012:
Yes, Alastar. You are correct. Jung had a number of experiences with all manner of archetypes. The book that was published a couple of years ago, his "Red Book" is filled with all manner of encounters. He was such fascinating person. For a period of five or more years he had what is termed a "creative illness" by his proponents or a severe mental illness by his detractors. Jung himself termed those years a "welling up" of all the contents of his unconscious, a time when all that was in him threatened to tear him to pieces. He had a specific entity he called "Philemon" who would guide him through his unconscious contents. Whether he experienced a psychotic break or creative illness, what is remarkable is that he navigated the experience by himself--he had family and friends, but no one on par with his intellect or a counselor or medication to help him see his way through. That in and of itself is a testament to Jung's unbelievable strength and ability to honestly look at himself and his psyche. Jung also has the distinction of being one of the few psychiatrists to cure schizophrenics with nothing more than talk therapy. Jung believed in approaching clients where they were, not where we are. For example, he had a client, a "woman who lived on the moon." When he described he as such to a contemporary, Marie von Franz, she replied, "Oh, you are treating someone who believes she lives in the moon." Jung corrected her, "No. She lives on the moon." This underscored his belief that people cannot be approached from the angle of disbelief; their worlds are as real to them as ours are to us and they must be approached from that angle, otherwise, no trust is possible. I have personally seen this in my work on psychiatric units and with mentally ill people. When people tell me about what their voices are telling them, I never tell them that the voices aren't there because to the person hearing them, there are most definitely there. I will listen to the person and then tell them what is often the truth, that the voices are liars. Because they are--telling my beautiful client that she is ugly or that everyone hates her is a lie. This has helped clients more than any denial ever has, and has actually helped clients gain some control over the voices themselves, it removes the power they have by isolating the client who knows that no one believes in their existence--a fact that gives the voices a LOT of power they don't have once someone reaches out to a client from where the client is, rather than where the counselor is.
Jung's Red Book is a marvel to read--not only does it reveal the foundation of his work, but man, that guy! Talent is an understatement. He has drawings he did in that book that are first class artwork. I just don't know how one person could have that much going on and not end up with a "creative illness!"
Alastar Packer from North Carolina on December 23, 2012:
Yes, thank you Esme. Jung wrote of imagining himself peacefully relaxing in a cave where an animal archetype- he expected this to happen- came to him and took him on a deep sub-conscious journey. At different 'levels' he met other archetypes who spoke about things concerning his life. An exercise in the collective unconscious I believe.
Aisling Ireland (author) from Savannah, Georgia on December 23, 2012:
Thanks for you comments.
The anima and animus typically deal with the unconscious part of the psyche, it is normally of the opposite sex of the dreamer's gender. Sometimes in dreams when one meets up with animals in dreams, the animals tend to represent a more wild, more repressed part of the psyche.
I'm not sure, but I think maybe you are thinking of shamanism perhaps? It is typical of shamans to have an animal totem that they have a relationship with that they use to make contact with the spirit world. This is where the concept of shapeshifting originates.
Does that help? Or did I not answer your question? Let me know and I will try to help!
Alastar Packer from North Carolina on December 22, 2012:
I like Jung's mind-set and interior paths of exploration. Studied some of this in school but had forgotten a good bit which your excellent write refreshed and added to, Esme. What is that where one imagines meeting an archetypal animal in a comfortable setting which leads them deep into the psyche? Jungian Anima maybe?