Jungian Animus in Tarot cards
The Tarot deck contains numerous male images that can be related to Jungian Animus archetype.
A few weeks ago I wrote an article for CEPEIDE, a journal of intersubjective analytical psychology, talking about the various images of “Anima” contained in the Tarot. The Anima archetype, in the Jungian sense, concerns the female component present within male psychology.
To learn more, I refer you to that article (click here!).
However, I would like to explore the symmetrical topic of “Animus”, which corresponds to the male psychic component of a woman.
If you are a lady reader, try to think about which male figures appear within your dreams. Unless it is a matter of male characters with whom you have direct and still current relationships (eg your father, your son, your partner, your colleague, etc.: in this case the dream speaks about them in an objective way) , you are dealing with a symbolic representation of your Animus. The Animus, according to Carl Gustav Jung, is your unconscious masculine energy, and as unconscious, it is projected onto male characters.
Emma Jung, in her essay “Animus and Anima”, identifies four different nuances of the Animus, starting from the most primitive representations of the masculine to the more spiritually evolved ones, in order:
Jungian Animus and the male images of the Tarot
We see these different representations of Animus using as usual the symbolism of the Tarot.
Jungian Animus as a strenght
The first expression of Animus, at a more elementary and primitive level, is the masculine as an expression of physical strength.
In the Tarot the “Force” is iconized by a woman and concerns the female ability to establish a profound relationship with nature and its instincts. That is a gesture of strength that seems to be closer to a caress, to an embrace. Male representations of the Force are found instead in the Emperor, as a capacity to exercise dominion over things, and in the Chariot, as an archetype of the Hero who triumphs over adversity thanks to his warrior abilities.
Animus as willpower
The willpower is a voluntary “directed” act, that is will addressed to a specific objective. Always in the Chariot we can find an expression of willpower, if we think of the knight who puts his leadership virtues at the service of a heroic enterprise.
Even the Magician Tarot card is an expression of willpower, since through his magic wand (male symbol “phallic”, as Freud would say) he performs an action directed on the disk (money, coin, pentagram or object of little value).
The Animus as Word
It is the logos, the intellectual discriminating capacity. It is the prerogative of the Pope, as a great communicator and as one who spreads the “Word” to his followers.
Again, the Magician can represent this aspect of the Animus, being also a great storyteller, a charismatic artist … or a charlatan!
We started with the “muscular” Animus figures, based on strength and willpower. At the last level we find male representations of pure spirituality, far from the constraints of matter.
It is the kingdom of the Hermit Tarot card, the archetype of the Old Sage; unlike the Pope who lives in contact with the community, the Hermit performs a solitary, silent, internal search, isolated from the world.
At the highest level we find the male energy of the Sun-God, pure spirit that illuminates the minds. The spirit also recalls the “Holy Spirit” of Judgment and the Angel therein depicte. Or, again, the Magician, if we see in him the archetype of the Magician archetype who has achieved enlightenment.
The Animus images of the Tarot: what’s your Animus?
By examining your dreams, dear lady readers, you can get an “X-ray” of your Animus!
What “unknown” male characters do you dream of? Are they expressions of strength, or of pure spirit? At what level of development is yours Animus? 🙂