Since he is animus, his seeking has also to do with finding the fully initiated feminine in the psyche and keeping that as the main goal, regardless of whatever else crosses his path…this animus is doing the real work in preparation for showing and acting the true soul-Self of the newly initiated woman in day-to-day life. Clarissa Pinkola Estés
Whether or not you identify as a man or a woman, our androgynous self is always seeking to integrate the feminine with the masculine. This is the only way we will achieve the archetype of the divine marriage. Jungian analyst and author, Marion Woodman, wisely states how this life-long journey is perhaps the most important pilgrimage we will ever take. Why? Because it entails coming into wholeness with yourself and others.
Let’s dive into how female dream characters in your dreams play a role. First we need to understand that female dream characters represent qualities such as nurturing, listening, sensitivity, intuition, receptivity and caring. Likewise, male dream characters often embody such traits as action, intellect, assertion, and will-power.
Therefore, when a woman appears in your dreams, notice the feminine qualities she embodies. Is she passive, bold, fearful, nurturing, outspoken or timid? When we are aligned with the feminine, or feeling-function, we can identify and express our feelings, practice self-love and compassion for others, listen deeply to what others are saying, seek understanding and trust our intuition.
When a man shows up in your dream, observe his behavior and notice how you would describe him. Is he determined, bossy, sensual, heroic, tyrannical, controlling, or creative?
Jung referred to the archetypal feminine presence in a man’s dream as the anima, and the archetypal masculine presence in a woman’s dream as the animus. In Latin, the words anima and animus mean soul. Becoming aware of these archetypal images are essential in our emotional, intellectual, and psychological development.
Perfectionism is not the goal of the journey toward the divine marriage because it is fraught with shame, but wholeness is.
For example, in my counseling practice, when I am working with men and his relationships, we often begin with his relationships with women. And then, we look at how female characters appear in dream time. How women are showing up in his dreams tells me everything about his relationship with his feminine aspect, and therefore everything about his ability to relate to women. Until he accesses what is going on in the inner realm, nothing will change or improve in the outer realm. If a female dream character—his anima—is cold and withdrawn, I know he has work to do in creating a caring relationship with his inner woman. Being more sensitive to his own needs, his creativity, his own soul, is what is calling his attention. Why? Because the anima is reflective of a man’s search for soul. And until he is in right alignment with his feminine aspect, his connection with his soul and his relationships with women will suffer.
Likewise, if a female client is dreaming about a particular male character who consistently bullies her, or in someway makes her feel badly about herself, we will explore ways for her to stand up for her values and speak her truth. In this case, taking conscious action is needed. Until she is comfortable with her masculine aspect, she will attract men who wish to dominate, manipulate, and ignore her strength.
What we are talking about is the integration of both masculine and feminine aspects in a person. Wholeness. Completion. This is the path of individuation and it ain’t easy. But it is, oh, so very fulfilling. I’ve witnessed male clients completely transform their relationship with women by working with their anima. And I have been blown away by women shifting their connection with men by learning to understand and embrace their masculine side. Sometimes the result is ending their current relationship, but usually it entails improving and deepening the relationship they have with their partner.
And in case you’re wondering, sexual orientation and gender is irrelevant in the archetype of the divine marriage.
Each of us requires the delicate balance and intimate dance of the masculine and feminine to achieve the divine marriage. Once you have reached this deeply fulfilling state of being, you will no longer “need” people the way you once did. Your desire for relationship will stem from a place of wholeness and you will recognize that the only real reason you are joining with the another is to support each other’s soul growth. You are no longer looking to “get” your needs met. You are beautifully co-joining with another to deepen your connection with your own heart and soul, as well as the heart and soul of your beloved.