The first stage of female and male development is that of psychic unity characterised by the symbol of the uroboric serpent, forming a closed circle; it eats its own tail. The serpent of vitality and dynamic opposing the process of unity visible to see. In the oedipal phase of fusion, a non-separation of the ego as the unconscious prevails—the unconscious of the superior mother, who dominates the child and can’t escape from her grasp. To a certain extent, the child is still unborn and contained within the maternal Uroboros, in maternal protection, the power of the group, and the tribe. The mother is the prototype of the primal relationships, where the male child realises she is the other and different. Only the achievement of detachment from this relationship and an objective attitude towards it leads to male self-discovery and actualisation. Without separation, the male remains outraged and castrated in the matriarchal incestuous bond, remains inauthentic, and estranged from himself. This leads to more isolation of the ego and consciousness, in opposition to the female psyche.  The woman, however, can continue in the primal relationship, expand in it and come into her own without leaving the circle of the maternal Uroboros. She remains childish and immobilised in her conscious development when she remains in this realm. With a limited point of view and perspective, she fixated on but not estranged from her true nature.

Even in the patriarchal culture, the woman can flourish psychologically underdeveloped, which would have caused the man to fail and become neurotic. She remains hidden in women groups and the mother tribes and maintains her upward continuity concerning the mother group. Her solidarity with the proximity to woman and feminine coincide with her segregation and sense of alienation from men and the masculine. The husband, where there is a sexual relationship, remains a foreigner to the woman’s group and is large without the right of power or influence. The married woman with children may stay unconscious, without self-awareness about life or living with another person. She is filled with her own unconscious notion about the masculine character and her husband without having experienced herself as an ego or individual within the relationship. An inner hostility towards men makes intimacy and sexual relationships impossible. The male is loved as a child but viewed only as a tool for fertility, but integrated as a subordinate to the feminine and the whole masculine is never acknowledged.

When the woman is seized by the unknown, the overwhelming power she experiences as a formless numinous and experiences the limits of her ego. The ego is confronted by a new consciousness, feeling overwhelmed and defeated, facing the need to embrace her spirit. This can lead to enrichment, more differentiation, and incarnation of the numinous. The matriarchal virgin is overtaken and consumed by the overpowering god, the phallus, who penetrates her with the profound emotions of the masculine. This overcomes the states of self-conversation and infantility, with a self-surrender expressed in the body and her spiritual character. If the woman does not overcome this stage, she may become bound to a transpersonal spiritual force that appears within a religious framework, acting as the godhead or guru to be admired. She lives life as the man`s anima, identified with an inflated feminine archetype, exceeding her human capabilities and needs. When the woman is held captive, she loses her earthly nature and relationship to reality; the guru appears, who fascinates and hypnotises her, holding her prisoner in a cosmic trance. The negative great mother may appear, avenging her daughter’s perceived betrayal by withdrawing or castigating her femininity. When estranged from the great mother, the woman becomes hysterical, disassociated from her body and nature, and may become sterile.

Unable to differentiate herself from this animus possession, she overdevelops her masculinity and surrenders to masculine power.

The woman who wants to become conscious must attain the experience of otherness and dissolve the original totality and narcissistic realm. The liberation of the feminine from the powers of the patriarchal Uroboros is the task of the male hero, who must redeem the virgin from the dragon. The intervention of the male hero liberates her rigid consciousness and supports her spiritual and emotional development.  This allows the ego to grow stronger; a new conscious awareness can be formed, where the personal sphere can delaminate from the impersonal. The patriarchal marriage is a way to prop up each other to achieve a cultural symbiosis, resulting in a polarisation between the masculine and feminine, with a false sense of security grounded within the family unit. The inflated male projects onto the woman via aggression, status, and image and, in turn, losses his soul. He loves women in an infantile way and can be moody, unstable, dependent, overbearing and insincere. His partner can turn into his mother, where he can only discharge his anger into the outer realms of politics and career goals. The more patriarchal and tyrannical the male persona is, the more he is valued from within by his daemonic anima. The male may seek homage in the collective, engrossed by the patriarchal values and beliefs, and his individuality fears are allayed.

The presence of neurosis may indicate a person`s individual development no longer fits into these old, collective patterns and struggles to form relationships based on their own individuality. The discovery of the feminine begins when moving to individuation, encountering one`s destiny, and surrendering and devoting oneself to their true nature. Every transition can only prevail through psychic conflict; the entire personality must be engaged and open to change. The man will suffer as he embraces his anima and the woman with her animus. The vital relationship between the tension of opposites, letting in the good and bad aspects of both the male and female. One may feel as though they are being held captive, as this phase holds major difficulties, where the problem with a relationship cannot differentiate from individuation problems. At the highest point of female development, her self-discovery encounters her masculine, where she experiences her inner maleness for the first time. With the emergence of a higher image of self, the great mother and the father are united.

The woman attains an inner renewal, a new spiritual and emotional reality, whole with an objective psyche.

The hero archetype must battle with the dark powers of the unconscious, setting free the treasures of new content and new life from the underworld. He emerges as a newborn, rebirthed into a greater consciousness at the risk of his life. Going through primitive rites of passage intended to strengthen the ego of the initiate. The purpose of the ancient mysteries was to reignite the wholeness of the psyche, so it would no longer be vulnerable to the fragmenting effects of the dark feminine. The hero`s deed always consists of stealing something from the depths of the unconscious, whose symbol is the great mother, and bringing what he has stolen to the light of consciousness and form.

The child lives in the archetypal world of images, a pre-ego state, where the child has no understanding that their mother is blameless. The child, unfortunately, experiences the negative exposure and vulnerability of abandonment, unable to distinguish the difference between the outside world and the inside unconscious. For the ego to evolve, one must conquer the father archetype, who appears as the terrible mother who tries to arrest and hinder the child`s development. The terrible mother becomes the antithesis of any ascending energy of ego development. The symbol of stagnation, repression, death, and the devouring, seductive force sucking one downward. Any retreat may materialise as a physical illness; the person simply endures the dragon world in comfort and normalcy that avoids battles.

This repression manifests as neurosis, phobias, and addictions, and if the ego is destroyed, psychosis.

The child must commit a form of matricide to kill their mother; the ego can slay what they hold most dear, the relationship to the idealised mother, under the guise of the dragon that holds the child fast. This deed of the ego comes with guilt feelings, which may prevent the slaying. Otherwise, the ego development is disturbed, and he has not attained independence and remains infantile due to his mother’s fixation. Unable to achieve masculinity and power, the combative nature to slay the dragon. His anima will entice him to adventure, to the conquest and journey, as the male can`t develop without stepping into an incalculable danger that demands transformation. The spirit of the anima helps destroy all delusions and illusions while enduring the dark feminine forces. The fear of the feminine may also be concentrated in fear of the female body, either because the body is taboo or because the female genitalia is feared as a castrating chasm.

The normal adult attainment of individuation Is possible only through a severe crisis or illness. This forces one over the threshold, into the conquest and battle to slay the dragon, into the depth of the abyss. Inner and outer realities that first appeared strange and frightening are now experienced and unmasked as belonging to one`s own true being. The ego experiencing belonging to the self, an ego-self axis, determines the personality development at a higher level of expression. The ego becomes the transparent exponent of the self, the agent of transformation, as the self becomes one`s most treasured essence. Only during this process does courage arise for the ego, which no longer clings to itself but surrenders and devotes itself to self through transformation.

Neumann, E.(1994) The Fear of the Feminine: And Other Essays on Feminine Psychology, Princeton University Press; New Ed Edition