The Symbolic Meanings of the Image of the Dark Feminine

All cultures and religions in the world have various images of the dark side of the feminine archetype that carries positive as well as negative and dark projections, such as Eve, Lilith, Medusa, Kali, Black Madonna, Mary Magdalene, Isis, etc.

The image of the dark feminine, whether in mythology or as it emerges in our psyche through dreams and active imagination is not always negative and can have both positive and redemptive qualities. Historically, the image of the dark feminine is often misunderstood and has been demonized and carried dark projections. It is actually the experience and exploration of the darkness that she brings with her that becomes a necessary initiatory experience in the stage of transformation and healing that is required as the next phase in life and consciousness. For example, the Crone is often misunderstood as a destructive devouring evil witch who devours her children, but she is also the bringer of deep wisdom in development in later life.  Or the image of Inna, who symbolizes fertility, sexual love, healing as well as the state of exile and homelessness, loss and death; or the terrifying Medusa with serpent locks in her hair and her gaze that kills and petrifies, is also is the bringer of wisdom and the inevitability of death;  or Coatlicue, the Aztec Goddess that is like the devouring mother, is also the bringer of both life and death; or the Hindu Goddess Kali, known as the divine mother or the ultimate reality, is the symbol of time and the bringer of life and death.

Mythologically and psychologically, the Dark Feminine embodies intuition, mystery, magic, sexuality, birth, forces of creation and destruction, positive joyful feelings as well as destruction, negative and destructive dark affects, horror, trauma, soul loss, disintegration, chaos, death, destruction and despair. The emotional and psychological states associated with her are joy, creativity, ecstasy, mystical experiences, visions, relatedness and ecstatic and deep love and compassion as well as moodiness, depression, lunacy, alcohol or drug intoxication, hysteria, soul loss, identity diffusion, and psychosis.

As the energies of life and soul are more denied, repressed or oppressed either in the psyche or in a relationship or in a culture at large, then the more negative or darker aspects of the feminine energy become activated in the psyche or in a collective cultural group at large.

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