In dreams he may appear as the tender lover, the wise teacher, a knight in shining armor, a liar, attacker, or thief in the night. Within the Animus is woman's strength and creativity, along with her capacity to be destructive and sadistic.
The Animus is "the male personification of the unconscious in woman." ~ Man and His Symbols ~ Carl Jung
The Animus is the collective energy of everything women have ever experienced with men throughout time; the father, lover, brother, hero, betrayer, thief, sexist and abuser.
To dream of this archetypal character means that a woman needs to unlock her creative capacity, face her fears, accept responsibility, and find meaning in the life she is living.
Carl Jung believed that every archetype had both a light and a dark aspect, and that once we accepted the dark aspect, the light aspect would emerge.
This is the main theme in the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast. Beauty must accept the Beast as he is, in perfect trust, and even fall in love with him, before he can return to his form of the handsome prince. It is her love and acceptance which allows him to be redeemed.
The negative aspects of the Animus may appear as pessimism, negativity, recklessness, spitefulness or just plain meanness.
In dreams he would appear as a frightening character, one who seems to wish the dreamer harm.
The positive aspects of the Animus appear as creativity, integrity, enthusiasm, responsibility, courage and spiritual wisdom.
In dreams he would appear as a supportive, even loving, character, who wishes to help the dreamer.
When women dream of the Animus in his frightening aspect, it means it's time for her to face her own insecurities and fears of inadequacy. To see the negative aspects of the Animus in waking life are the first steps in integrating this powerful, energetic force for change.
"He gives the woman spiritual firmness, an invisible inner support that compensates for her outer softness." ~ Man and His Symbols ~ Carl Jung
Of course not every dream about a man is a dream of the animus. If a woman dreams of her father or brother she may simply be dreaming about her father or brother because he has been on her mind.
Many women are raised to believe that they need a man to rescue them, look after them, and even make sure that their dreams come true. But it is impossible for any mortal, no matter how wise, kind or compassionate, to fill this role. This kind of success and support can only come from within.
It is said that a woman who has not integrated her Animus, is possessed by it. And women will continue to be possessed by it until they allow themselves to see their own innate power and creativity, and take responsibility for creating the life they want to live.