With a week away on training courses beckoning, I spent the weekend getting in plenty of riding. In this I succeeded.
That was not all. I also caught another episode of Camelot. I suppose that anything vaguely based on the local mythology can be expected to catch my attention. The series may be pure historical fantasy, but then the Arthurian legends began as literature drawn from folklore with little basis in actual people or events. However it is a gripping tale of human hopes and failings - the duality of character - against a backdrop of the moral code of chivalry.
The superbly dark, erotic character of Morgan - a woman capable yet flawed, intelligent yet unable to see truth - whispered a cunning greeting to my anima. The energy of such a character is intoxicating.
I keep a picture of Tolkien's Aredhel on my desk to remind me that the anima unchecked can be a fickle, divisive bitch. Of this fact I need reminding.
One night I dreamt of searching for an old woman in a run-down city – a place reminiscent of the back-streets of Transylvanian Cluj (or Kolozvar / Klausenburg depending upon one's allegiance) where once I lived – looking into one eccentric shabby apartment after another without finding her. Where is she, and what does she symbolise? Somehow she possesses some special knowledge, and also holds something of mine that I want.
Now it’s come to me. Within my unconscious I’m looking for my mature anima. I’m searching for the wise old woman who is stable, deep and intelligent - or, rather, trying to nurture her spirit within.
Up to now my anima has been rather of the sort with an over-developed Eros - here I am thinking of Jung's archetypes - immature, sexual, flighty and judgemental whilst possessed of energy, creativity and intuition. Typical of this archetypal image she balances positive and negative. She will, if given free rein, descend into bitchiness and division. She likes some women but detests others - those akin to her and, I suspect, better at it. Men who are leaders or just open-minded and creative she is attracted to, whilst despising the negative-minded and impatient with the plain dull. What a burden she can be to carry, and what joy she promises.
Perhaps I am looking for a role model. If so them I may find one more readily in fable than in reality, though I remain hopeful that either or both will yield something. Myths, of course, provide instructive examples of essentially good people secumbing to their own inner darkness or that of others. On reflection in my own storytelling I have written about wise old women who tend towards being role models and, at an intuitive level, in fiction I recognised them as such.
Neither Aredhel nor Morgan is a remotely suitable role model. Of course not. I've made that mistake in a tempting yet seriously misjudged marriage too. I should know better by now.
So I shall keep on searching, learning, creating and nurturing that a good mature anima might bless me. Just as I keep Brena in check when she snatches at vegetation, so also I shall try to keep the anima's wilder and less helpful excursions in check. This is quite a balancing act. It is a matter of maintaining equilibrium as I haul a burden up a steep, rocky slope. I just hope that a resting place will appear when I need it, and that good companions will join me along the trail.