Several nights ago, I met my animus in my dreams. He was a young man, sweet, kind, wise in the way that life experience makes a person, and an addict. He was in a hospital bed, with another man, slightly older and a fellow addict, sitting beside the bed him giving him comfort. They both had very destitute appearances, sallow skin and defeated eyes. It seemed that my animus was affected by alcohol, because his liver was failing, and he was hooked up to many life support machines to keep him alive. I sat with the two men and had lengthy discussions with them, which to my annoyance I cannot recall anything that was spoken between us, but the conversations were very comforting to me, helping me to understand that not all male figures in my life are dangerous or threatening to me. I felt I understood now how to perceive male energies in a more integrative way, to help me heal many deep scars left in me by mortal males, and to move forward without judgement or assumptions of positive male presences in my life. At this point, my animus flat-lined, and me and his friend were shouting for help. A nurse finally sauntered up, chewing gum I thought and having a completely unconcerned attitude about the patient dying in front of her. I understood at that point that it was not up to her to save my animus, it was up to me. I have to save him.
The animus is my soul, and it is believed that the liver or solar plexus region is the “seat of the soul”, where the soul resides in the body. In women, the soul is called (by Carl Jung) the animus and is male energy, and in men, the anima, is female energy. The path to immortality of the soul is the full integration of the animus/anima into the Self; in a sense, “saving” the soul from the oblivion of death, and therefore “resurrecting” the soul from the cycle of death/rebirth and allowing it to evolve to the higher levels of evolution, which I understand to be a state of pure energy. This path, as we understand it through the telling of mythologies, is not an easy one. It requires serious dedication, devotion, faith in the Self and in the Unseen, many trials and challenges, usually some kind of “dismemberment” and “re-assemblage” of our parts, and symbolic, shamanic death (or deaths) that awakens us in new and profound ways. These beliefs are ancient, extremely complex, span across the globe, and would take a lot more than a simplistic exploration to understand, but I would like to also mention here the symbols of the path of enlightenment seem to span across belief systems as well, and which I find very fascinating: the lower, primal energies of the soul are often represented by a snake or a dragon that resides in the base of the spine, the higher self is often represented as an eagle that resides in the crown chakra, or the branches of the top of the world tree, and the messenger between the lower and higher selves is represented as a squirrel that runs up and down the tree. When the Fate of the soul is awakened, or enlightenment is achieved, or when the gods initiate you, this is represented as the “awakening” of the snake or dragon, which then coils up the spine or trunk of the world tree and aligns itself with the eagle. Theories exist, as well, to describe a person for whom their Fate has been awakened and yet the person is unable to fully integrate themselves with it, and can be seen in those with severe mental illness. I’ve heard it described as the dragon being awakened, but instead of the person riding it, they are “being ridden” by the dragon. It is no mystery that this kind of heavy work can drive a person to madness if they do not keep their wits about them. There are many disturbing things to face and conquer, life is not soft and squishy, it is beautiful, treacherous and hard, but wise guides walk with us. As I move forward, I am trying harder to listen for my guides. They speak in symbols, riddles, serendipitous language. They come to me in dreams, through intuition, and through signs in nature and even through other people or words in books. They find me where ever I happen to be looking 🙂