Anima and Animus: A 21st century feminist revisioning

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Anima and Animus: A 21st century feminist revisioning

A presentation by Suzanne Cremen Davidson

Thursday, May 5, 2011 7.30pm - 9.30pm
Venue: The Quaker House, 10 Hampson St, Kelvin Grove
Admission: Members & Concession: $10 • Non-members: $15

Jung’s theory of the contrasexual element in the psychology of men and women was advanced and socially challenging when it was articulated in the 1920s. Jung used the term anima to describe the feminine component in a man’s psyche, his muse or soul, and postulated that an equivalent masculine archetype must be present in women, which he called the animus, representing mind or spirit. Projection of the anima or animus accounts for the phenomenon and archetypal quality of romantic love. “Talking about anima and animus means talking about all the messes we get into spiritually and sexually, about all the experiences that mark our lives” (Ulanov, Transforming Sexuality, 1994).

The concepts of anima and animus have been helpful to both men and women in bringing to awareness the unrealized potential that has been repressed for so long, by history, myth, biology, and society. However, it is now recognized that much of what Jung took to be archetypal and biological about gender was in fact stereotypical and conditioned by society. This presentation will trace the developments of post-Jungian writers including James Hillman, Edward Whitmont, and Susan Rowland who have worked on reformulating the concepts of anima and animus as they apply to consciousness and gender. Jung’s psychology, at a profound cultural level, is an attempt to rebalance the gender symbolism that will keep the psyche healthy. Reformulated by his successors to accommodate changing cultural perspectives on gender, Jung’s theories also offer unrealised potential for understanding how we can address the critical task of reimagining and remaking the collective soul-sickness in our society and its institutions.

Suzanne Cremen Davidson BA, LLB (UNSW), MA (Pacifica, USA), CDAA
Suzanne is a PhD candidate in Depth Psychology (Jungian and Archetypal Studies) at the Pacifica Graduate Institute, USA, from where she holds an MA in Engaged Humanities (Depth Psychology and Mythology). Suzanne is a professional member of the Career Development Association of Australian, an accredited Myers-Briggs practitioner and member of the Australian Association for Psychological Type and the International Association for Jungian Studies. A former practising lawyer, communications professional and conference producer, Suzanne founded a career consultancy for adults in mid-life called Life Artistry. With her husband James, she established eContent Management (, an academic and scholarly publishing house. She produced Australia’s first National Children’s Summit at Federal Parliament House, Canberra, and has served on the boards of non-profits including the inaugural National Interfaith Festival, which won the grand prize in the Australian Multicultural Marketing Awards. Suzanne has presented lectures, seminars and courses on career development, Jungian and archetypal studies, and marketing and communications in Australia and overseas. She is the current President of the C.G. Jung Society of Queensland.