The most important aspect of the androgynous psyche is the soul-image. In every man and woman there is an inner being whose primary function in the psyche is to serve as the psychopomp – the one who guides the ego to the inner world, who serves as a mediator between the unconscious and the ego.
Jung became aware of the soul-image when he sensed a feminine presence within himself who pulled him toward the unconscious, who embodied the part of the self that lived in the realm of dream and imagination. When she appeared in his dreams, he found she was a creature of mythical quality, seemingly magical and half divine. Like Beatrice, in the Divine Comedy of Dante, she led him to the inner world of the unconscious and served as his guide there. He found the same archetypal feminine presence in other men. He also observed a corresponding masculine soul-image in the dreams and lives of women.
Jung felt that this inner person corresponds to the traditional religious conception of the soul as an inner part of ourselves that connects us to the spiritual realm and leads us to God, so he referred to the feminine soul image in men as anima, and the masculine soul image in women as animus. Anima and Animus are Latin words for soul.
It is important to be aware of the soul-images. They appear regularly in our dreams and play a tremendous role in our development as individuals. They affect the entire course of our lives.
Both as energies within us and as powerful symbols, the soul-images are tremendous forces to be reckoned with. All our inborn desire for unity and meaning, our desire to bring the opposing parts of ourselves together, to go to the unconscious and explore the inner world, to find religious experience, is concentrated in these inner beings who are the mediator between our egos and the vast unconscious. If we don’t interact with the anima or animus in our inner work, we inevitably project them into areas of our lives where they don’t belong.
~ Robert Johnson, Inner Work