There are few archetypes in modern society that allow us to recognize what Jung called our shadow side. In part this is a dark chthonic force, a compendium of what Elizabeth Kubler-Ross calls the four negative emotions of fear, anger, jealousy, and grief.
Kubler-Ross and other psychotherapists (especially the practitioners of Gestalt therapy and Re-evaluation Counseling) insist on our need to ventilate, externalize, or discharge these feeling, either through tears, rageful yelling, or symbolic destroying. Kali of the fearsome form is the patroness of such healing. Kali emanates from the warrior goddess Durga in times of peril, and like a bloodthirsty whirlwind slays the demons of ignorance which conflict the human mind. In her greatest of such archetypal battles, Lord Shiva had to throw himself at her feet to halt her. Dancing upon his body, she calmed and brought the universe back to life, as symbolized by Shiva's enigmatic smile.
Her dance of destruction is ultimately the destruction of evil, and seekers who throw themselves at her feet are reborn out of pain into vitality, spontaneity, and appreciation of the full joy and beauty of existence.
Hindus recognize that beneath her frightening appearance is the truth that life, though fraught with suffering and terminated in death, is ultimately rooted in joy.
All ancient traditions created archetypes of this wisdom. Greek Medusa, Medieval Hecate, Yoruban Oya, Celtic Morrigan, Norse Valkyerie, and Mayan Ixchel Crone each tell us that to realize this joy, suffering and death must be faced.
Only by conquering them through recognizing them as portals of rebirth, thereby reconciling them with ones hopes and expectations, can peace and joy be found.
Kali in Circle of Goddesses
Kali Standing, poster
Kali Dancing, poster