The Animum: Queering Jungian and Post-Jungian Anima / Animus Theories
In this presentation, I propose a means of rendering Jungian and post-Jungian anima and animus theories (animix theories) fully “rainbow-compatible” in a fully queer, fully analytical/archetypal framework.
The unworkability of prior animix theories for LGBTQ+, queer, trans, non-binary, and intersex people (and cis heterosexual people) arises because those theories sought to synthesize essentialist, binarist truths about specific sexes, genders, and sexualities, rather than seeking archetypal sex, gender, and sexuality itself. This appears in the feelings of shame and alienation they create for queer people by injecting inauthenticity into all queer individuation: authenticity requires “doing it wrong,” while “doing it right” requires submission to a lie.
To remedy this, I construct a unified meta-theory of queer theories (which claim to be antithetical). Queer theories demonstrate a reliance on three ontological and epistemological centers locked in unresolvable definitional and causative tension: sex (bodily facticity), gender (sociality), and sexuality (identity). These ontologies perpetually contain, construct, inter-implicate, negate, and deconstruct each other. Differing theories constitute reductionist or partial viewpoints within the greater field of these unresolvable tensions. Sexes, genders, and sexualities therefore comprise a great multiplicity, both among subjects and across each subject’s biography.
I argue for a single archetype, the animum: Archetypal sex, gender, and sexuality itself, that which keeps the ontological tensions among bodily facticity, sociality, and identity tied in a Gordian knot of mutual causation, negation, construction, and deconstruction. The animum appears in the way dream / mythical images stir up those ontological tensions. It is not inherently a psychic personage with essentialized characteristics, but a shifting psychic territory whose exploration and integration bears a striking resemblance to individuation. This theory allows for greater universality by opening the space for emotionally authentic individuation journeys and accommodating a great multiplicity of sexes, genders, and sexualities.
James Perrin holds a PhD in Mythological Studies with an Emphasis in Depth Psychology, an MA in Biblical Languages, and a BA in Religious Studies. This presentation represents a portion of their recently defended dissertation by the same title. They presented the paper “Separatio & Da’ath: A New Kabbalistic Komah in the Ripley Scrolls” at the Art & Psyche conference, “The Illuminated Imagination” (2019). They identify as genderqueer, non-binary, and gerontosexual.