I’m relaxing at home on a rainy evening after a terrific circle led by Joy Reichard on Kali, the Hindu goddess of endings and beginnings. If you’ve read The Metaphysical Detective, then you might have guessed that I’m more of a Greek goddess type of person. And you’d be right. I grew up reading Greek mythology, and as an adult I’m finding new, more subtle layers to it. But Kali/Durga’s battles with the demons resonated with me.
In The Alchemical Detective, the book I’m currently laboring over, Riga undergoes an alchemical metamorphosis. Alchemy is a multi-stage process which involves psychological dissolution and then a rebuilding of the psyche. I’m over simplifying, but the various stages work well for building a narrative. Things are bad, things get worse, things get worse, hero overcomes obstacles, more are thrown in her way… Compare this to the alchemical operations: calcination, dissolution, separation, conjunction, fermentation, distillation, and coagulation.
Riga’s battles are both physical and psychic, and to set things right she must go up against three demons. As is typical with demons, the warfare is largely psychological. To quote Father Merrin from The Exorcist:
Especially important is the warning to avoid conversations with the demon. We may ask what is relevant but anything beyond that is dangerous. He is a liar. The demon is a liar. He will lie to confuse us. But he will also mix lies with the truth to attack us. The attack is psychological, Damien, and powerful. So don’t listen to him. Remember that - do not listen.
Joy Reichard led us through a Kali visualization in which we fought our demons/fears with some help from this multi-armed deity. Now I’m trying to figure out how to build some Kali symbolism into The Alchemical Detective. I think I’ll keep it subtle. I’ve already got daimonsand demons and alchemy — adding a Hindu goddess into the mix might be overdoing it. Still, the symbolism is too good to resist.
If you’re interested in the Kali visualization, Joy sells it on her website here.