Anima - which is the Latin for 'soul' - that which gives life to or in other words animates the body. It refers to the image of women that men carry around in their own psyche. From puberty children assimilate the characteristics associated with their sex in their conscious personality, whilst the contrasexual characteristics remain unconscious.
These also become polarised so that we carry both idealised and shadow versions of our anima/animus. It was believed that this happens at a group level as well as on a personal level. For example, the Roman Catholic church (being masculine) projects it's anima positively onto the Virgin Mary and negatively on to Mary Magdalene.
When people fall in love, it is thought that they have found someone who fits closely to the positive version of this unconscious image that they carry within, love at first sight being an indication that it has probably been projected onto the other person.
The other person is then appreciated but only in a rather idealised form. Recognition of one's 'other half brings a passionate desire to unite with it in order to become whole. When love dissipates the two people must start to appreciate each other as individuals, a process which is made easier if they each also start to recognise the power and quality of their own anima/animus.
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