Before Jung’s work was about the Shadow and the Self, it was about Salome: the young, sensual Jewish woman, the dancer, who requested the head of John the Baptist from the transfixed King Herod. Jung met this disheveled, discarded woman in the depths of his own psyche and withdrew in horror. “Let me be,” he tells her when they first meet, “I dread you, you beast.” But, Jung had embarked on this journey in order to pay attention to what arose. So over many nights of his descent into the unconscious (and his many years of exploring these early visions), Jung came to acknowledge Salome’s divine power. He experienced Her divinity within his own body, not as he had once understood the divine feminine in Mother Mary, but as Kali, the dark goddess of Hindu mythology. He wrote: this “many armed bloody Goddess—it is Salome desperately wringing her hands,” and in the face of his fear, he strained to witness her presence and power. She transforms as he does, and finally, Jung came to love her: “[she] takes hold of me, she is my own soul”. He discovered that She is him. She is that which brings him life and joy, the capacity to feel, to create art, to deeply connect, and to trust. But she had not come to him at first in the form of someone safe or beautiful; she did not descend from on high in golden light.
This 6 week seminar will provide ample space for exploration of this text, chapter by chapter, encountering all the characters with whom Jung traveled during his inner journeys in the early 20th century.