moonMATRIARCHAL ATTITUDE OF CONSCIOUSNESS sunPATRIARCHAL ATTITUDE OF CONSCIOUSNESS
Dominance of feminine archetype Dominance of masculine archetype
Lunar, Dionysian; material principle; prime symbol = darkness Solar, Apollonian; spiritual principle; prime symbol = light
Cosmology: priority of matter (chronologically first, first in importance); primacy of genetic principle = world comes into existence through birth, procreation Cosmology: priority of spirit (chronologically first, first in importance); devaluation or reversal of genetic principle = world comes into existence through non-physical means, creation
Psychology: primacy of the unconscious; importance of emotional, intuitive, non-rational forces; consciousness viewed as “moonlike”—generated out of unconscious and dependent upon it (light of moon can't be seen without darkness) Psychology: primacy of the consciousness; importance of rational, intellectual, logical forces; consciousness viewed as “sunlike”—independent of and master of the unconscious (darkness can't be seen in light of sun)
Spirit is always embodied; “soul” cannot exist without body; rebirth principle Spirit is independent of and superior to matter; “soul” seeks release from body; immortality principle
Union with and respect for Nature; tendency toward methods of lifestyle and worship that activate and celebrate the senses (eating, drinking, singing, dancing, etc.) Conquest and control of Nature; tendency toward methods of lifestyle and worship that suppress or reject the senses (asceticism, meditation, fasting, prohibition of sex, etc.)
Characterized by natural symbolism, imagery compatible with natural processes Characterized by anti-natural symbolism, imagery incompatible with natural processes or at least artificial or mechanical
Highly values qualities associated with feminine archetype (what Jung called EROS)—static and cyclical, receptive and passive, relating, communal and synthetic Highly values qualities associated with masculine archetype (what Jung called LOGOS)—dynamic and linear (progresive), active and forward thrusting, individualistic, separatist, and analytic
Tendency to symbolize and identify as feminine (and therefore highly value)—world of nature, life, matter, instincts, urges; birth, death, sex; all elements and forces which weaken reason and conscious control (drugs, alcohol, sleep, dreams); all entities which are regarded as natural and emotional Tendency to symbolize and identify as masculine (and therefore highly value)—all spiritual phenomena, law morality, tradition, convention; all contents capable of conscious realization; things invested with “sacred” might and right; all entities which are regarded as rational, spiritual, and ideological (political, social, and economic institutions)

This table presents in polarized form two worldviews and value systems. I call these “attitudes of consciousness” because either can characterize the conscious attitude of individuals or groups (religions, cultures, etc.) in an extreme or modified form. The left side of the table shows the attitudes and values that tend to follow when the Feminine Archetype exerts the most influence on consciousness and the right side when the Masculine Archetype does; in either case, what is on the other side will be disparaged and devalued. This is simply another way of conceptualizing what is sometimes called (referring to the right side of the table) a “patriarchal value system” or an “androcentric gender lens.” Looking at it this way, however, places emphasis on the power of symbols to affect how we think, value, and behave. Demaris Wehr (22) quotes Carol Christ's affirmation of this point in her article “Why Women Need the Goddess”: “Symbols have both psychological and political effects, because they creater the inner conditions (deep-seated attitudes and feelings) that lead people to feel comfortable with or to accept social and political arrangements that correspond with the symbol system” (click here for the full text of the article). Or, as Jung would say, since the qualities are symbolized as masculine or feminine, they are projected on actual men or women and society is structured upon those projections.

I worked out this table myself, but I was influenced by Erich Neumann, The Great Mother: An Analysis of the Archetype (Princeton University Press, 1963), especially pages 55-58, and by the following quote from Ann Belford Ulanov, The Feminine in Jungian Psychology and Christian Theology (Northwestern University Press, 1971) 143-46:

Jung argues from the following premise. The psyche is structured in polarities of opposites whose interchange of energy is the life energy of the pscyhe for the human being. . . . These polarities—conscious-unconscious, flesh-spirit, reason-instinct, active-passive—are most often characterized in masculine-feminine terms. The way we conceive of and value psychic polarities, which are symbolized most often in masculine-feminine terms, may vary according to historical time and cultural influence, but the fact of psychic polarities and the centrality of the masculine-feminine polarity is a basic structure of the human psyche.
February, 1999
Barbara F. McManus
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