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Theories of Masculine and Feminine Individuation of the Psyche

I theorize that the masculine psyche individuates in the pattern of the Oedipal myth. The young buck needs to grapple against and overthrow the elder. His prize is the herd and supremacy. He needs the leader or father to struggle against to develop his own muscle. And just at the moment that he is ready to lead, his muscle becomes strong enough that he overthrows the powers that be and takes his rightful place.

And masculine energy often does just that. It seeks to lead, to have full authority, to separate, to explore and to conquer. It is very much pioneer energy resplendent with courage, capacity for risk and endurance.

The feminine psyche has a different goal in its individuation—that of integration. This energetic pattern would liken itself to the Demeter and Persephone myth. A young girl is raped and separated from her Mother. She learns to integrate daughterhood, allegiance to another tribe as a wife, and then finally her own Motherhood one day--literally integrating a child into her very belly. The role of the female is often integration, holding the family or the village together. Furthermore, the way that the feminine mind is grasped and taken over by an idea is also like the metaphor of rape, in which she cannot escape the penetration and is forever changed by integrating this new element into her heretofore closed world. The elasticity and flexibility exists for her to integrate and make meaning out of the intruding thought—a necessity for development and improvement and building upon what is.

We all have feminine and masculine energies within us, but according to Carl Jung, we are not all called to the path of individuation....