Portion taken from the book “Seth Speaks – The Eternal Validity of The Soul.”
If you wish, there is a PDF version of this book (without notes from the co-authors) available on the internet that you can access to your leisure, at this link.
CHAPTER XIII: REINCARNATION, DREAMS, AND THE HIDDEN MALE AND FEMALE WITHIN THE SELF
As I mentioned earlier, each person lives both male and female lives. As a rule, conscious memory of these is not retained. To prevent an overidentification of the individual with his present sex, within the male there resides an inner personification of femaleness. This personification of femaleness in the male is the true meaning of what Jung called the “anima.”
The anima in the male is, therefore, the psychic memory and identification of all the previous female existences in which the inner self has been involved. It contains within it the knowledge of the present male’s past female histories, and the intuitive understanding of all the female qualities with which the personality is innately endowed.
The anima, therefore, is an important safeguard, preventing the male from overidentifying with whatever cultural male characteristics have been imposed upon him through present background, environment, and education. The anima serves not only as a personal but as a mass-civilizing influence, mellowing strongly aggressive tendencies and serving also as a bridge both in communicating with women in a family relationship, and in communication also as it is applied through the arts and verbalization.
The male will often dream of himself, therefore, as a female. The particular way in which he does so, can tell him much about his own reincarnational background in which he operated as a female. Maleness and femaleness are obviously not opposites, but merging tendencies. The priestess, the mother, the young witch, the wife, and the old wise woman – these general types are archetypes, simply because they are “root elements” representing, symbolically, the various kinds of so-called female qualities and the various kinds of female lives that have been lived by males.
They have also been lived by females, of course. However, the women do not need to be reminded of their femaleness, but again, so that they do not overidentify with their present sex, there is what Jung called the “animus,” or the hidden male within the woman.
Again, however, this represents the male lives with which the self has been involved – the young boy, the priest, the aggressive `jungle man,” and the wise old man. These are types, representing generally and symbolically past male lives lived by present women. Women, therefore, can learn much about their reincarnational past as men, through studying those dreams in which these types appear, or in which they themselves appear as men.
Through the anima and the animus, so-called, present personalities are able to draw upon the knowledge and intuitions and background that was derived from past existences as the opposite sex. On some occasions, for example, the woman may go overboard and exaggerate female characteristics, in which case the animus or male within comes to her aid, bringing through dream experiences an onrush of knowledge that will result in compensating malelike reactions.
The same applies to a male when he over-identifies with what he believes to be male characteristics, for whatever reason. The anima or woman within will rouse him to make compensating actions, causing an upsurge of intuitive abilities, bringing a creative element to offset aggressiveness.
Ideally, left alone, these operations would result in a balance individually and en masse, where aggressiveness was always used creatively, as indeed it can and should be.
The animus and the anima are, of course, highly charged psychically, but the origin of this psychic charge and the inner fascination are the result of a quite legitimate inner identification with these personified other-sex characteristics.
They not only have a reality in the psyche, however, but they are imbedded in genetically codified data by the inner self – a genetic memory of past psychic events – transposed into the genetic memory of the very cells that compose the body.
Each inner self, adopting a new body, imposes upon it and upon its entire genetic makeup, memory of the past physical forms in which it has been involved. Now the present characteristics usually overshadow the past ones. They are dominant, but the other characteristics are latent and present, built into the pattern. The physical pattern of the present body, therefore, is a genetic memory of the self’s past physical forms, and of their strengths and weaknesses.
I will try to put this as simply as possible. There are presently invisible layers within the body, the topmost layer that you see representing, of course, the present physical form. But enmeshed within this there are what amount to invisible layers, “shadow,” latent layers that represent previous physical images that have belonged to the personality.
They are kept in abeyance, so to speak. They are connected electromagnetically to the atomic structure of the present body. To your way of thinking, they would be unfocused. They are a part of your psychic heritage, however. Often you can call up a past strength of a previous body, to help compensate for a present weakness. The body does not only carry memory biologically of its own past condition in this life therefore, but indelibly with it, even physically, are the memories of the other bodies that the personality has formed in previous reincarnations.
The anima and the animus are closely connected with these interior body images. These body images are highly charged psychically, and also appear in the dream state. They operate as compensations and reminders to prevent you from overidentifying yourself with your present physical body.
They are, of course, both male and female. When you are ill, in the dream state you often have experiences in which you seem to be someone else with an entirely healthy body. Often such a dream is therapeutic. An “older” reincarnational body has come to your aid, from which you draw strength through the memory of its health.
Reincarnational experiences are a part of the framework of the self, a facet of the multidimensional reality of the living psyche. These experiences will, therefore, be reflected not only in the dream state, but in other layers of activity.
The fabric of the present self is interwoven with these reincarnational “pasts,” and from them the present self draws unconsciously from its own bank of personality characteristics, activities, and insights. Often past life memories come to the surface but are not recognized as such, since they appear in fantasy form, or are projected into art creations.
Many writers of historical pieces, for example, are writing out of direct experience with those times. Such instances represent an excellent working rapport between the present self and the unconscious, which brings these memories to the surface in such a way that current life is enriched. More often than not, true awareness of the situation often becomes almost conscious, and just beneath awareness the individual knows the source of his authentic material.
In dreams this reincarnational material is likewise cast into a dramatic mold very frequently. Beneath all this, the anima and the animus work together, again not opposites but blending characteristics. Together, of course, they represent the fount of creativity, psychically as well as physically.
The anima represents the necessary initial “inwardness,” the brooding, caring, intuitive, inside-turning characteristics, the inward focusing from which creativity comes.
The word “passive” is a poor one to describe the characteristics of the anima, in that it suggests a lack of motion, and this is hardly the case. It is true that the anima allows itself to be acted upon, but the motive behind this is the desire and the necessity to tune into other forces that are supremely powerful. The desire to be swept along, therefore, is as strong with the anima as the opposite desire for rest.
The characteristics of the animus provide the aggressive thrust that returns the personality back outward into physical activities, triumphantly holding the products of creativity that the anima characteristics have secured.
The whole self is obviously the sum of these characteristics, and more. After the final incarnation, the physical, sexual type of creativity is simply no longer needed. You do not need to reproduce physically, in other words. In simple terms the whole self contains male and female characteristics, finely tuned together, blended so that true identity can then arise – for it cannot, when one group of characteristics must be emphasized over the other group, as it must be during your present physical existence.