The Kali Temple in Kolkata.
There are no photos allowed inside the temple area. The beauty of the outside is in drastic contrast to the experience of going into the courtyard and temple. I can only use language as a brush to paint the experience encountering Kali:
Shoes and socks are removed. Only bare feet can walk the journey to Kali in the temple. The crowd was thick and any movement was controlled by being shuffled along. The noise of crowd management whistles, and shouts of people left no room for enjoyment. At times, I had to plug my ears as the noise pounded my eardrums. The path of stairs and steel gates, corners and doorways left the goal of seeing the image of the goddess only to my imagination. The end seemed no where in sight and the journey much longer than desired. Then suddenly we cross a threshold into the temple corridor, dark and cramped. My bare feet stepped down onto wet slippery floor of offering petals and dirt creating a cold sandal from heel to toes. A turn left, up a few stairs and inside a giant steel cage sits Kali adorned with so many flowers she is not revealed until I am standing directly in front of her. Immediately there is only my experience of her: all sound, and sense of others evaporates. I am in the presence of an ancient goddess image, often mistaken or misunderstood. There are no words to describe what happened—other than it parallels my experience of trying to describe lightening. Much like a flash of lightening she was gone. The crowd moved me away from her. The stairs up, through a doorway and I am outside of the temple and into the courtyard crowd being moved along by others once again.
I feel the space between lightening and thunder. The rumble vibration of the encounter has not yet happened. I am in that place where all is cut away-an ancient void created by Kali. It is the space between inhalation and exhalation, exhalation and inhalation. Nothing and everything exist in the moment
The bloggers: Ashok Bedi and BJ Jakala presently are on an annual study tour to India under the auspices of the New York Jung Foundation and the C.G. Jung Institute of Chicago. They will post a daily blog for the next few days. BJ who is an avid photographer shares an image that captures his imagination in a deeper way and Ashok Bedi amplifies the image with analytical context.
About the Presenter
Robert “BJ” Jakala, PhD is a Depth Psychologist, Educator, Writer, and Photographer. He is a graduate of Pacifica Graduate Institute in Carpinteria, CA. He is also a Registered Nurse who worked at Linda and Stewart Neuropsychiatric Hospital for thirty-three years. He was a Nursing Supervisor for seventeen years and lead Group Psychotherapy on the Adult Service for ten years. He has taught the First Year Nurse Residents Self-Care and Stress Management at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center for over twelve years. He is the former Assistant Director of the Men’s Center of Los Angeles for 5 years. He retired from thirty years of Private Practice in Woodland Hills, CA in November. 2017.
Dr. Jakala promotes the idea of transformation and change as a function of image and language in patients, as well as clinicians. He teaches the rewards of deep listening to the images created by language and the value of an image’s experience before words emerge. He aligns with Carl Jung’s ideas regarding a universal consciousness that is often hidden beneath the surface of our ego consciousness. He encourages clinicians to appreciate the collective in order to assist clients become more of themselves.
Ashok Bedi, M.D. is a Jungian psychoanalyst and a board-certified psychiatrist. He is a member of the Royal College of psychiatrists of Great Britain, a diplomat in Psychological Medicine at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of England, a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. He is a Clinical Professor in Psychiatry at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee and a training analyst at the Carl G. Jung Institute of Chicago. His books include The Spiritual Paradox of Addiction, Crossing the Healing Zone , Awaken the Slumbering Goddess: The Latent Code of the Hindu Goddess Archetypes, Retire Your Family Karma: Decode Your Family Pattern and Find Your Soul Path and Path to the Soul. He is the liaison for the IAAP for developing Jungian training programs in India and travels annually to India to teach, train the consult with the Jungian Developing groups at several centers in India including Ahmedabad and Mumbai. He leads the annual “A Jungian Encounter with the Soul of India” study group to several centers in India under the auspices of the New York Jung Foundation. His publications and upcoming programs may be previewed at www.pathtotheosul.com
When we sacrifice the dark side of our personality, we make room for the light of the Spirit to guide our path to our soul. When we breakdown our hang-ups at the altar of the terrible, dark, mother goddess Kali, we permit the depths of our soul to break through into our life.
The latent code of Kali is the destroyer of the shadow in our personality and the community. Kali’s code helps us transmute and assimilate this darkness and consciously harvest the potential for light embedded in the shadow. An angry, aggressive individual may learn to sublimate his self-serving aggression into altruistic advocacy of the rights of the disfranchised. She takes in the sins and the ills of her children and makes it into her own suffering. She is the protector of the meek and slayer of the despots and restores the just order in the world. She is misunderstood in the east and west alike as a dark goddess – the darkness she depicts is the embodiment of the dark side of the collective that she takes into her own being so that we may live in light, peace and plenty.
Kali is the fierce dark goddess who amputates the darkness of our soul and makes room for the light. Whenever a life is out of balance, the shadow aspects of the individual or culture get in the driver’s seat. During such times of imbalance in the individual or the community the latent code of the dark goddess Kali incarnates in our life to destroy the darkness of the personality to make room for a new consciousness to emerge. While new consciousness emerges within the realm of Aditi (the grandmother goddess of void and new creation), this can only occur once Kali has cleansed the consciousness of its darkness to make room for the new. Both Kali and Aditi are non-relational goddesses and maintain the rhythm of destruction and creation respectively within an individual’s personality and in collective human consciousness. The wisdom of latent code of the Kali archetype stops individuals in their tracks and forces them to take note of those aspects of their personality that remain in the shadow so that the soul making may proceed. Kali frightens and fascinates us. Kali renders our old attitudes and adaptations powerless, yet empowers us to undertake new ways of perceiving and managing life and its traumas. She is experienced as a paradox within our psyche. She is the bloodthirsty goddess yet she infuses new passion and hope for change. She is dark yet she paves the way for the light in our personality to shine through the dark clouds of the situation. She embodies the Complexio Oppositorium – the union of the opposites in our personality.