Embodying the Sacred Masculine
If you’re familiar with the spiritual community, chances are you’ve heard about the divine feminine, but have you heard about the sacred masculine? I’ve noticed an increasing trend in the spiritual community (particularly for women and femmes) to focus solely on reconnecting to our inner feminine. Sounds great right? However, we each have “masculine” and “feminine” energies inside us regardless of our gender identity. They are also referred to yin and yang in Chinese philosophy, Carl Jung coined the terms anima and animus, and some people refer to them as sun and moon energies. A complete rejection of our “inner masculine” is actually damaging in the long run, because we end up rejecting an inherent part of ourselves.
Before we dive in, I know it can be triggering for a lot of people when they hear the word “masculine”. Men have an influential part in all of our lives, and unfortunately for many of us, that experience has been negative. I’m sure many of you have experienced toxic masculinity and as a society, there is a rejection of the inner feminine across theboard. For the men reading this, I’m not attacking you, we live in a patriarchal society that has negative effects on everyone. If you feel called out by this post, I encourage you to ask yourself why. Toxic masculinity affects all of us, regardless of our gender identity. This is why I prefer the terms anima and animus, they are less triggering and the words themselves call back to an inner energy that we all possess.
What defines the anima and the animus?
The anima represents the “inner feminine”, “moon” or “yin” energy. Anima qualities include nurturing, intuitive, compassionate, loving, patience, consideration, hypersensitivity, moodiness, vanity, insecurity, cattiness, etc. The animus represents the “inner masculine”, “sun” or “yang” energy, and qualities include assertive, rational, thoughtful, courage, objectivity, wisdom, honourable, opinionated, ruthless, cold, reckless, destructive, etc. As you can see, there are both positive and negative qualities associated with both the anima and animus. Additionally, if we look at all of the qualities together, you can see that you probably embody some of each of them on a regular basis.
A quick side note: We see this balance of the anima and animus in the tarot as well, most visibly in the Major Arcana. If you look through the Major Arcana on most tarot decks, you will see a repetition of male and female images and titles (ex. 1-The Magician (male), 2-The High Priestess (female), 3-The Empress (female), 4-The Emperor (male)). This is beginning to change though as more tarot decks become aimed towards inclusivity and do away with gender-based images altogether.
Why is it important to embody both?
For many, the whole purpose of spirituality is to find inner balance. As we currently live in a patriarchal society, animus energy is promoted while anima energy is generally looked down upon. This is starting to shift (thanks to feminism!) but it’s going to take a lot of time until we get there on a global scale. As a result, it’s natural for both men and women to feel a disconnect to their anima when they are expected to be in their animus so much.
A lot of material for women and femmes in spirituality is focused on reconnecting and embodying their anima. However, I’ve noticed there is almost no material assisting anyone to connect to their animus, especially the positive qualities it embodies (oddly enough, a lot of material aimed at helping women and femmes reclaim their “inner feminine” actually includes a lot of the positive aspects of the animus, they just refuse to acknowledge it for what it is). Why exactly is this a problem? We are forgetting how to do it and how to use it.
To give you some perspective, as a highly sensitive person (HSP) who was bullied a lot as a kid, I used my animus as a protective shield from the outer world. It was a way for me to appear to be tough and confident when I wasn’t. When I was 18, my family falling apart led to a complete rejection of my animus. I made a massive swing into my anima and I spent nearly a decade solely living in that energy. When I completed my first weekend of Celtic shamanic training, I rediscovered my animus. It was only then that I realised a lot of the behavioural patterns I had established over the years were deeply rooted in the negative qualities of anima and I had lost a lot of my power that way. I rejected and forgot about a whole part of myself and I didn’t even realise it.
I encourage you to look again at the list of traits listed as being part of the animus, specifically the positive ones. We all use those traits regularly, they are necessary to be a human being. Once we can embrace both the anima and animus within us and make use of those positive qualities, we become a balanced and well-rounded person. Do you need to connect to the divine feminine? Absolutely, but you also need to connect to the sacred masculine in order to understand what the divine feminine is. Personally, understanding how I could stand in both my anima and animus was a relief. I no longer had to worry about not being enough of a woman, I no longer felt small, I got my inner critic to shut up. Is it still a work in progress? Of course! But I learned an important lesson.
When they are balanced, the animus supports the anima. For example, think about how you express yourself creatively. Our creativity, that inner spark, begins in the anima and the animus brings it to life. Without the anima, we wouldn’t be inspired, and without the animus we wouldn’t express ourselves at all. The anima begins the idea, and the animus sees it through. Both are essential and they support each other harmoniously.
I hope this helped you understand the importance of balancing your inner energies, and the necessity of using anima or animus when necessary. I encourage you to make a note of what you do throughout the day and notice if it’s based in your anima or animus - you might surprise yourself! We have a lot to learn about ourselves in this life, and finding inner balance is a momentous task. It is possible to do, as long as we understand both halves of the circle.