The evil female demon

The diabolizing of female eyes is the shamed man’s cloak of invisibility. On an intrapsychic level, evil germinates in this fabric. When separation from the mother is accomplished through her repression, diabolical qualities are attributed to her and she becomes a demon. Maternal femininity combines with evil which are not separate for a man. However, since the male merges to maintain narcissistic omnipotence, and so identifies unconsciously with demonic aspects of the mother, evil gets in. The repression of the maternal feminine and her enantiodromia into distortions such as the child-killing and castrating succubus represents an extreme loss of human feeling that makes up what we mean when we speak of “humanity” itself.

Egohood dawned with civilization in the same way it emerges in the development of the infant in its frustrations and separations from mother. The Terrible Mother with the Evil Eyes is born of patriarchal distortions, not developed under its control. The evil eye has been described as a castrating gaze, threatening to make men impotent through the denial of vision. Even Perseus who killed Medusa in a primal act of violence was not afforded the right to look. The mighty hero gazed into his shield, echoing the magical image of narcissism and the curse to stare at one’s own face.

The revengeful destroyer is created as a result of shameless thinking and attempts to have power over nature. The evil Lilith, Maid of Desolation “who dances in the ruins” resents the lack of recognition around her equality. This causes it to twist into “a pride born of envy;” with this her activities become wholly destructive. When the mother is repressed, she becomes succubus. Then her life-giving forces are turned towards annihilation, and we live in destruction and condemnation without end - manifestations of Lilith and her grandchildren, the seven deadly sins.

When shame is repressed to extinguish the maternal feminine, it becomes the core of a narcissistic psychosis. This is the moment the succubus seizes to climb on top of the male and co-opt the power of maternal absence to give birth to demons (evil). The memory of loss is transmuted into the perpetration of evil, an emotional ice jam maintained by shame and the fear of losing power over another. Alienated from the source of his conscience, he is ripe to fall into evil when a situation provides the temptation.

In order to control nature, man projects his shame into driving evil away and overcoming demonic succubi. According to Becker, “most of the evil that man has visited on his world is the result precisely of the greater passion of his denials . . .” (1975: 90). He goes on to describe one of the great tragedies of human existence as mankind’s need to “fetishize evil,” a “shrinkage of vision” that attempts to

locate the threat to life in some special places where it can be placated and controlled. It is tragic precisely because it is sometimes very arbitrary: men make fantasies about evil, see it in the wrong places, and destroy themselves and others by uselessly thrashing about.

(p. 148)

The “shrinkage of vision” (depicted in Cezanne’s The Eternal Feminine) is similar to Jung’s concept of the shadow, the dark thing in one’s own psyche, “an inferiority which nonetheless exists even though only dimly suspected”; the most direct way to avoid it is by “looking for everything dark, inferior and culpable in others” (1970: 203). Their formulation encapsulates in a nutshell the principle that fortifies the blinding power of the succubus as a repository for masculine shame. An evil lies hidden in the heart of mankind because the maternal feminine has been repressed. This, in turn, perpetuates a negative view of these qualities, visible over the course of history in a spiral that has been recurring, and intensifying increasingly, over the last seven thousand years. Not recognizing the mother and her goodness means being cut off from an important source of sustenance, pleasure and, most importantly, recognition. Worldly success or power does not provide any real fulfillment or enduring satisfaction.

When mankind does not give recognition to the maternal, he wants to dominate nature with culture, feeling with reason, and the whole psyche with the ego to create a world with magic power made real by a genie in a bottle. In addition to creating a dynamic of dominance and submission, power and the absence of recognition engages the aggressive, vengeful, evil side of the maternal image. The succubus is simply a reflection back to mankind of his own wild and primitive exercise of power, and if mankind resists her to hold onto his ego, then her manifestations will indeed be annihilating. This means that the hero may destroy whatever he has power over, but ultimately he destroys himself.

The integration of masculine shame requires a fuller awareness of the evil female demon within - that maternal feminine place in the back of a man’s mind, hardened over and made coarse so that contact with shame is thwarted. And when there is a confrontation between the male self and the evil female demon, it is not the Oedipal hero, the one with immunity power, who confronts the succubus - it is the helpless infant (victim) self. As Riker puts it, “evil is not consciously and freely willed, but partly generated by unconscious compulsions arising out of profound childhood injuries and neglect. Until these experiences are exhumed and worked through, the tendency to create evil will remain” (1997: 103). Evil is the result of dark memories.

I would like to replace the words “profound childhood injuries and neglect” with “the repression of the maternal feminine,” the more traumatic of the two. This is due to the fact that when the good mother and her containing function are internally absent, the mind evacuates and dissociates injurious feelings. Facing masculine shame is not about putting evil under control - that is a resolution centered on the ego: it is about seeing the shame that inevitably results from succumbing to it. This means that a resolution to shame lays in the victim self, the recipient of evil.

By facing shame in a process of restoring maternal feminine vision - the sight that was taken from all of us when the Great Mother was diabolized beginning in 5000 B.C. - mankind can redeem his shame and recapture his soul sucked away by the succubus. The succubus is not only a repository for shame, but of the forgotten, true self as well; it is for this reason that facing the child-killing and seductive female demon brings a man into the fullness of his creative life. It is just as the Sufi leader Pir Vilayat Khan questioned and taught his students to ask: “what is there in this that returns to me because it comes from me?” But the task is daunting - even God struggles to see His own shadow.

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