|Personification of the Anima|
Jungian analyst Daryl Sharp offered a practical discussion of Jung's characterization of the anima in The Survival Papers: Anatomy of a Midlife Crisis. Added emphasis appears in red, and my reactions are enclosed in a box: (Note 85)
Jung distinguished four broad stages of the anima in the course of a man's psychological development. He personified these as Eve, Helen, Mary and Sophia In the first stage, Eve, the anima is completely tied up with the mother - not necessarily the personal mother, but the image of mother as faithful provider of nourishment, security and love. The man with an anima of this type cannot function well without a vital connection to a woman and is easy prey to being controlled by her. He frequently suffers impotence or has no sexual desire at all.
In the second stage, personified in the historical figure of Helen of Troy, the anima is a collective sexual image. She is Marlene Dietrich, Marilyn Monroe, Tina Turner, all rolled up into one. The man under her spell is often a Don Juan who engages in repeated sexual adventures. These will invariably be short-lived, for two reasons: 1) he has a fickle heart - his feelings are whimsical and often gone in the morning - and 2) no real woman can live up to the expectations that go with this unconscious, ideal image.
The third stage of the anima is Mary. It manifests in religious feelings and a capacity for genuine friendship between the sexes. The man with an anima of this kind is able to see a woman as she is, independent of his own needs. His sexuality is integrated into his life, not an autonomous function that drives him. He can differentiate between love and lust. He is capable of lasting relationships because he can tell the difference between the object of his desire and his inner image of woman.
In the fourth stage, as Sophia (called Wisdom in the Bible), a man's anima functions as a guide to the inner life, mediating to consciousness the contents of the unconscious. Sophia is behind the need to grapple with the grand philosophical issues, the search for meaning. She is Beatrice in Dante's Inferno and the creative muse in any artist's life. She is a natural mate for the "wise old man" in the male psyche. The sexuality of a man at this stage is naturally exuberant, since it incorporates a spiritual dimension.
Theoretically, a man's anima development proceeds through these various stages as he grows older. When the possibilities of one have been exhausted - which is to say, when adaptation to oneself and outer circumstances requires it - the psyche stimulates the move to the next stage.
In fact, the transition from one stage to another seldom happens without a struggle - if it takes place at all - for the psyche not only promotes and supports growth, it is also, paradoxically, conservative and loathe to give up what it knows. Hence a psychological crisis is commonly precipitated when there is a pressing need for a man to move from one stage to the next.