Durga: encountering the demon of ignorance

Durga Mahishasura-mardini, the slayer of the buffalo demon, Raja Ravi Varma- 1910 US public domain via Wikimedia
Durga Mahishasura-mardini, the slayer of the buffalo demon, Raja Ravi Varma- 1910 US public domain via Wikimedia

In the above image we see Durga Mahishasura-mardini, the slayer of the buffalo demon. The painting is by Raja Ravi Varma- 1910 (via Wikimedia, US public domain).

In becoming aware of the supreme Self, we are likely to behold the demons and shadows of the individual self. Carl Jung believed that an encounter with the demon or monster represented an archetypal stage in the process of individuation. He says, “the initial encounter with the Self casts a dark shadow ahead of time.” In mythic terms the shadow may present itself as a monster, a demon, a darkness or a drought. Here is the full quote from Jung’s Man and His Symbols:

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Lotus Flower: primordial image of the mother goddess

The Gods evoke the Devi, 1780. US public domain via wikimedia
The Gods evoke the Devi, 1780. US public domain via wikimedia

The Devi is represented in various archetypal incarnations, as images or forms of the divine mother. Yet, the true form of the divine mother is more than any image or form can portray. Jung says that the mother is ‘supraordinate to all phenomena’.

“Somewhere, in “a place beyond the skies,” there is a prototype or primordial image of the mother that is preexistent and supraordinate to all phenomena in which the “maternal,” in the broadest sense of the term, is manifest.” (CW 9i, para. 149)

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