Psychology of Yoga and Meditation

Kâlî, also Kâlikâ, Hindu goddess of time, change, and destruction.

Kâlî is the violent and fierce aspect of Parvati, the gentle manifestation of Shakti, the consort of Shiva. S

he is said to have destroyed the demon Raktabija by sucking the blood from his body.

Drunken from his blood, she danced over the bodies of the slain, thereby stepping on Shiva’s body.

When she recognized her consort, her rage and blood thirst left her immediately.

The moment of the blood-drunken Kâlî standing on Shiva’s body is a well-known iconographic representation of the goddess.

For her worshippers Kâlî is the highest reality of Brahman.

As Kâlî is associated with death and cremation, her devotees cover their bodies with the white ash of the cremation grounds.

When Jung was in India in 1937/38 the temples of Kâlî had an enormous emotional impact on him.

His travel companion Fowler McCormick (see n. 27) noted: “As we would go through temples of Kâlî, which were numerous at almost every Hindu city, we saw the evidences of animal sacrifice: the places were filthy dirty—dried blood on the floor and lots of remains of red betelnut all around, so that the colour red was associated with destructiveness.

Concurrently in Calcutta Jung began to have a series of dreams in which the colour red was stressed.

It wasn’t long before dysentry overcame Dr. Jung and I had to take him to the English hospital at Calcutta.…

A more lasting effect of this impression of the destructiveness of Kâlî was the emotional foundation it gave him for the conviction that evil was not a negative thing but a positive thing …,

The influence of that experience in India, to my mind, was very great on Jung in his later years.” ~Psychology of Yoga and Meditation, Page 13, fn 121