The Feminine and the Masculine Revisited

I have always believed that the concepts of anima and animus need to be updated for our times. According to Jung, the anima is the image of the woman in a man’s psyche, while the animus is the image of a man in the psyche of a woman. If the consciousness is feminine, thought Jung, then the unconscious will be masculine, and vice versa. The Jungian archetype of the Self, written with a capital S, spells out a pattern of development, in which the ego must be confronted with the contents of the unconscious in the name of wholeness. Excessive adherence to one side of any polarity will inevitably result in an enantiodromia, i.e. a process in which it will start turning into its opposite.

I have come across a very inspiring theory recently, which aims at adjusting Jung’s somewhat old-fashioned views of gender to our modern sensibilities. In his book Masculine and Feminine: The Natural Flow of Opposites in the Psyche, Gareth S. Hill emphasizes that the masculine and feminine patterns transcend gender. He differentiates between four patterns that define all human activity: the static feminine, the dynamic masculine, the static masculine, and the dynamic feminine. A mature ego is able “to flow freely through the four modalities of consciousness that are based on those four fundamental patterns…,” he proclaims.

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By the static feminine he understands “the impersonal, rhythmic cycle of nature, which gives all life and takes all life.” This orientation, being fatefully indifferent towards the individual, aims solely at “perpetuation of the species.” On a positive side, the static feminine will love us as we are, unconditionally, provided that we do not try to break away from the group. The negative expression of static feminine is, according to Hill, “smothering entanglement, an inertia of ensnaring and devouring routine.”

Th polar opposite of the static feminine is the dynamic masculine. In the ego’s development, it is activated when a child is trying to separate from the mother. Initiative, orientation toward a goal, progress, linearity are some possible expressions of this pattern. When distorted it brings about destruction of nature, rape, domination and violence.

In order to get away from this polarity, the ego seeks what Hill refers to as “fiery initiation,” which is connected to the third pattern, i.e. that of the static masculine. The static masculine is a tendency to create systems, order, hierarchies, laws and the government. When distorted, it results in tyranny, lifelessness, lack of spontaneity and rigidity. In order to solve the conflict between the static feminine and the dynamic masculine, the individual, “through a certain expenditure of effort, and performance to a certain standard, … qualifies for a particular status in society.” This is what Hill understands as the fiery initiation.

The compensatory pattern to the static masculine is the dynamic feminine, which Hill poetically compares to “the undirected chaos of the forest floor.” This pattern equates with openness to the unexpected, responsiveness, participation and the expansion of consciousness. In a negative sense, it may lead to addiction, suicide, chaos, despair and death. The image below illustrates the four basic patterns:

static-dynamic-polarities

In order to overcome the polarity of the static masculine and the dynamic feminine, the ego seeks a watery initiation, which Hill understands as “the dark night of the soul,” which ultimately leads to a deeper and wider sense of the self. The rigid ego of the static masculine relinquishes control when confronted with the wild, dynamic feminine; and ultimately reconnects with the static feminine or the mysterious ground of being. The image below illustrates the flow of initiations according to Hill:

figure-8-static-dynamic-flow

I believe that our civilization has reached the apex of the static masculine development. We are standing at the threshold to the watery initiation. The dynamic feminine has awakened both in its positive and negative expression. The more identified the societies remain with the static masculine order, in which fitting into the system is everything, the more eruptions will we see from the unconscious. We may expect more symptoms such as the social unrest and destruction, until the cosmic balance is restored. Hopefully, at the very end of a long and painful process, we will reach the static feminine – the Great Mother who will take us in her loving arms.

Vincent van Gogh, “Girl in the Woods”

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17 Responses to The Feminine and the Masculine Revisited

  1. I agree with your thoughts on where we are in our collective evolution, and I share your hope. Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jeff Japp says:

    Books sounds interesting, indeed. I also feel that we “are standing at the threshold” of a major paradigm shift. These will definitely be interesting times, or as our old friend says, “Strange Days.” 🙂

    Cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Utterly strange, even surreal. It is interesting how people here in Europe have been instinctively returning to the hearth, staying in as much as possible.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jeff Japp says:

        Yeah. I’m an introvert, so I spend most of my time at home, especially since I work from home too. I have been spending a lot of time reading, meditating, and keeping myself centered. Hope you and your family stay happy and healthy.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. This is sich a synchronicity to tje process i am going through and with the thoughts i have been receiving lately. Maybe i need this book! Love your articles always, thank you. 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  4. jeanraffa says:

    Excellent post. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and information about this book. I haven’t heard of it yet, but will definitely buy it. My new book, The Soul’s Twins, (launch date is late October, 2020) takes the same position that masculine and feminine are beyond gender. We are, indeed on the edge of a tidal wave of change about these concepts and their contribution to psychological and spiritual maturity in the form of expanded self-knowledge and consciousness. Love your blog. Jeanie

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Laurens says:

    To be clear, I have not read the book (yet).
    What do you think of the negative side of the static femine? The negative expression of static feminine is, according to Hill, “smothering entanglement, an inertia of ensnaring and devouring routine.” Would not some kind of middleground between the four patterns be better for the full potential of human beings?

    This is the first time I post something on your site, but the past few years I have read a lot of your posts. I find it very interesting!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello, thank you for your kind words and the comment. Well, you are definitely right that every human being needs these four energy patterns. This is the only way to wholeness, which goes beyond gender. When it comes to static feminine and its negative expressions, he gives a lot of specific examples. For example, he talks about communities or groups that are totally closed off to the outside world. Nothing changes there, people intermarry, it is all quite stagnant. if you try to break away, you are the black sheep obviously. I like the idea that each patterns has a dark and bright side. It can be a wonderful thing to feel the support of the community when you know that you are accepted and loved no matter what you are – that is the positive expression of course.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. What an interesting and thought-provoking ‘take’ on concepts we tend to take for granted without examining…still reflecting on his ideas, thanks, Monika.

    ps I saw the screenshot you sent me, thanks, The email page I got through my email sub had absolutely nowhere at the end to leave a comment; I eventually went back and clicked the URL at the very bottom of the post which then took me though to here. That’s the first time that’s happened to me, and I’ve been subscribing to your posts for a long time…maybe worth checking…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Anne, I had the same reaction when I came across the book. I was amazed and surprised that nobody had thought about that before and yet it seems like such a natural idea.
      Anyway, about the comments fiasco, I always get punished by wordpress when I remove likes from the posts. But I do not “like”likes. I switched to wordpress premium a while ago and it has been quite disappointing.

      Liked by 1 person

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