The Unknown Woman


The pattern of all that is feminine within a man, is referred to as his inner feminine or anima, and involves all that is emotional, intuitive and instinctive in his nature. The word anima is the root word for animates, or gives life too, and this is her purpose, to give life to. It is in this inner figure that a man at first only glimpses in his dreams that which above all else can bestow value and give meaning in his life. This is the part that for a male usually tends to get projected onto partners or female idols. When a male in the ‘grip’ of his anima it can present as being overtaken by moods, sulkiness and obsessions.

To quote Robert Johnson.

More than anything else a man hungers for validation of his masculine world. Only a feminine value will give this validation.

Residing as she does, in that interior place, she (the anima) is almost a total mystery. Unknown but not unknowable, glimpses of this elusive, inner figure can be found in men's dreams, meditation states and creative expression.  It was Rilke who said:

The deepest experience of the creator is feminine, for it is experience of receiving and bearing.

Dreams attempt to compensate for lop-sided development and so the appearance of an unknown feminine figure in a dream may be suggesting a need to connect the more nurturing, feeling side.

Anima figures also often portray qualities and needs that have much in common with needs and qualities that your mother was unable to deal with and express in her life, and these issues become very pressing at around the time of mid-life.

Whenever, in dream-life, you find yourself in the presence of an unknown woman you are in the presence of the anima, whether in the form of a Madonna figure, a whore or a silent guide. Whether as virgin, mother or crone. This may be representative of not only their particular qualities, but also the very real reminder of the need to develop or recognise qualities within. How does your relationship rate with them? From spiteful, venomous old hags to the sex symbols of the big screen. Over time these figures usually become less distant and anonymous, they become more human, in your dreams they appear as people that you can relate to, learn from, and be guided by, but this takes time, sometimes, many years. However the mere fact that you are exploring your dreams in such a way now shows that you have well and truly begun the process.

Unknown women figures in the dreams of women usually refer to your own unknown shadow qualities that you are as yet still consciously unaware of.