My Anima

In my meditations over the past couple of months, I have continually found myself running into a young woman. She has followed me down forest paths, or waved to me in passing, in almost every meditation I’ve done. If I haven’t seen her, I have seen her house in the distance. She isn’t anyone I know in “real” life, certainly. Recently I finally figured it out: she is my anima.


An anima is a female archetype in the subconscious of a man. According to Jung, who coined the term, the anima is a composite of female figures that have influenced the man strongly — beginning with his mother, and later influenced by teachers, girlfriends, and so forth. It is a source of intuition, creativity and inspiration. It is a place where the man projects female aspects of himself that he may be uncomfortable with. Analogously, females have a male archetype, the animus. Less is known about the animus, probably because so many psychologists, Jungian and otherwise, have been male.

I first met my anima during a meditation in which I wanted to see if I could get a message from my higher self. I ended up wandering on a dusty track through fields of tall brown grass to a ramshackle house. A young woman welcomed me in. She was quite short with wispy blond hair and delicate features, wearing a purple dress. I couldn’t really make out her eyes. I had no idea who she was.

She said she was a medium, and she would do a reading for me. I thought it was a little odd for someone in meditation to do a reading — the possibilities for infinite recursion were dreadful — but I agreed. She sat down, holding my hands, and went into a trance.

Her voice became very deep, almost menacing. She said, very firmly, that I needed to make use of my creative powers. I should design and create my own Tarot deck.

I thought this was very odd. It had never occurred to me to do that before; I have nowhere near the expertise needed to do that properly. I said, “How do I know this is a real message, and not just my imagination going crazy? Can you give me a sign of some sort?”

“In three days,” said the medium in the deep voice, “you will receive a sign. The sign will be 44A.”

That seemed to be all, so I thanked the medium and ended the meditation.

Three days passed. On the third day, I saw an eagle flying overhead, which is rather rare for these parts, and may have something to do with this. Then, that evening, out of nowhere, I realized that 44 was twice the number of cards in the Tarot Major Arcana. I had already worked out a way of matching up the 22 Major Arcana with the first four circuits of the eight-circuit model. Maybe the 22 Arcana repeated in some way to match up with the second batch of four. This was intriguing, but was it a “sign”?

I had no idea; and I really didn’t have time to make a Tarot deck. So I didn’t, and I still haven’t.

But after that, this same young woman kept appearing in my meditations. Usually she would sort of keep to the background, watching. Finally, a couple of days ago, I confronted her.

“Who are you?” I asked.

She didn’t answer, just cocked her head to the side and waited. I still couldn’t tell what her eyes looked like.

“Wait,” I said. “Are you my anima?”

At this, she jumped up and gave me a hug. “You guessed! You guessed!” she said.

After that, I was able to see her more clearly. She is small and thin, and her hands and fingers are quite long. Her hair is also thin and almost white-blond with hints of red. This is quite different from me: I am reasonably tall, with a solid build, and blond-brown hair. But her eyes, when I could finally make them out, looked just like mine: blue and slightly almond-shaped.

Since she had a house, I decided to see if I could visualize a nicer one for her. The house, she made clear, was not for her alone; I’m not sure who else will be there, but she was quite firm on that point. So the house is large and has a fair number of rooms. For herself she took one small room with a window on the sea.

During this morning’s meditation I saw her again, and asked if she could try contacting the spirit who had earlier advised me to create a Tarot deck. She agreed readily. We went to a house in the woods that she had prepared, and sat down.

This time, when she connected with the spirit, I could see her eyes go black. That was pretty freaky. The “44” did indeed refer to the number of cards in the deck. As for the “A”, I couldn’t get a clear answer — something about beginnings, perhaps. Then I saw the deck of cards in my hands. It had the word “Stargazer” on it, which I thought was wonderful. I have enjoyed astronomy since I was very young, and my wife and I had stargazer lilies at our wedding. The spirit emphasized that I should use my creativity — it said that I was in a position to bring the spirit world into reality, and I should do that. The Tarot deck would be a way to do it.

After the reading, I thanked my anima, and I asked her if I could see how she’d decorated her new room. She has an extremely soft, thick carpet (not what I would choose — hardwood floors are much easier to clean) and a bed nearly as soft. Most of the walls were lined with bookshelves. Above the bed were pictures of the first house I remember living in. It was very nice; but it was very clearly someone else’s room, not mine.

Next time I visit, I should peek and see what books she has on her shelves…

25 Comments Add yours

  1. Erik says:

    Have you read the webcomic 9th Elsewhere? Based on this post I think it might be right up your alley – it’s written by a Psych major and deals with a young girl trapped in her own subconscious. Fascinating stuff.


  2. Adam says:

    By the way, your Anima wouldn’t have a name, would she?


  3. Jeff Lilly says:

    No, she doesn’t. But then, I haven’t actually asked her. πŸ™‚

    You’ve met yours in meditations, haven’t you? Does your anima have a name?


  4. Adam says:

    Yes, she likes me to call her Eileen, which is a name that I don’t particularly like, (it reminds me of a joke…) but I’m not the one who picked it. πŸ˜‰


  5. Jeff Lilly says:

    Oh dear! Would that be the joke where she’s married to a man named Ben?

    According to what I could find online, Eileen is from Irish Eibhlin (pronounced something like Aveline, influenced by “Helen”. One source says it means “light”, but I don’t know how reliable that is.


  6. Adam says:

    No, it’s a simple question, with her name as the answer…

    “What do you call a woman with no arms and one leg?”


  7. Adam says:

    Doing a quick search of the name, it seems to come from the Germanic nickname Ava, which means pleasant… After going through French and Gaelic, it gained the “leen” part (to become more feminine in those languages), then eventually dropped the “va” as it changed from “Avaleen/Eivaleen” (phonetically, since I can’t pronounce Gaelic words correctly) to Eileen… The meaning has remained unchanged.


  8. Jeff Lilly says:

    Yes, I saw that derivation too, along with a few others — so I wasn’t sure what to believe. πŸ™‚ What was your source, if you remember? Do any of these meanings have any significance for you?

    Something else you might try is brainstorming words that are similar in sound to “Eileen”. I can think of Helen, Ellen, Allen, alien, alone, and a little further out there, elfin, Erin (l, r are closely related sounds). It may also be significant that the name is Celtic.

    I was just emailing Slade in the last couple of days about different ways one could do name analysis from various perspectives. This is something I’m definitely going to be digging further into.


  9. Josh says:

    There’s a word for this? I’ve had one of these for 8 years! There’s a slight problem though. I’m attracted to mine. Is that normal?


    1. Jeff Lilly says:

      Josh, interesting! I’m rather attracted to my anima as well, actually. This hasn’t caused me any problems.


  10. Brandon says:

    Very interesting, indeed! I don’t think I’ve ever come across this anima you all speak of, but it sounds fascinating. Just how do I get in touch with mine? What’s the easiest way (if there is one)? I’ve become very curious about these Jungian archetypes.

    I’ve never really been much of a sexist or chauvinist, and I’m pretty individualist (quite a bit libertarian politically, especially on social issues and foreign policy) as well as open-minded about a LOT of things. I wonder what this anima of mine would be like? Hmm…

    Josh and Jeff, your experiences here sound quite intriguing. You mind telling me more? Drop a line at my email address if you ever check this blog entry again. I’m always up for learning new shit like this.


  11. Brandon says:

    Oh, right. My email address is I assumed it would be available by clicking on my name here or something. It might when the comment gets accepted after moderation.


  12. Brandon says:

    I’m quite intrigued by the notion that there’s a subconscious part of me that represents a whole bunch of feminine aspects that I’m suppressing or haven’t gotten in touch with (or something to that effect, anyway) or an actual subconscious WOMAN side of myself. Kind of turns me on in a weird way as well.


    1. Jeff Lilly says:

      Brandon, thanks for commenting. πŸ™‚ I’ve been working with my anima as one of my primary guides for — gosh, almost five years now? She’s been extremely helpful through all kinds of growth and life changes, especially my divorce. I’ve found her to have the most to say about compassion and connection with other people and other spirits. A lot of the time, she has actually introduced me to *another* guide for a specific time or task. If you want to meet or connect with yours, there are any number of ways, but the most vivid and engaging for me personally is visualization meditation. If you want an introduction to that, try one of the freely downloadable guided meditations (there’s a link them in the sidebar); I suggest the 15-minute “Meet A Guide” meditation. Good luck, and let me know how it goes!


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