Kali was born from the forehead of the Devi Durga, created from the rage of a goddess in danger of abduction and rape. She is fearsome to behold, emaciated and wild eyed with a sky-shaking roar, ready to devour everything. The hubris of Asura Sumbha, and those who aid him, begin a war they lose, along with their heads (Cartwright, 2013).
Divine rage currently grips our nation. A rage fueled by the hubris of power and born from the bodies of survivors of sexual assault. Millions of Kali filled the streets of our major cities after the election of a self-confessed perpetrator to the Presidency. Thousands packed the hallways, offices, and elevators of the Senate during the Kavannaugh hearings. Heads have rolled. Heads of studios, industry and politics felt the Kali’s blade descend upon their necks, bewildered by the rise of a nemesis to their long-standing hubris.
Kali is only brought relief by the sacrifice Shiva makes by being fully present to her anger, “performing a symbolic mood of death” (Jung, 1964, pg. 112). He represents the necessity of individuation to listen to a victim’s rage without minimizing, justifying, soothing, or naming it something else. Assured of his own ego strength he feels her anger without being overwhelmed, “beyond the reach of emotional entanglements and violent shocks – a consciousness detached from the world” (Jung, 2013, 229). He understands his own ability to harm others with his power and therefore his shadow does not control his actions. Instead the individuated person understands the power in the shadow can be used for good and he “must come to terms with its destructive powers . . . before the ego can triumph” (Jung, 1964, pg. 124). He doesn’t subdue her with shadow power, but instead with his integration. Those same qualities of individuated life act as an impediment to the misuse of power in sexual assault.
Cartwright, M. (2013, June 21). Kali. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://www.ancient.eu/Kali/
Jung, C. G. (2013). The essential Jung. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Jung, C. G. (1964). Man and his symbols. New York, NY: Dell Publishing.