(Attila, Mad Scientist, Serial Killer, Spoiler)
Destruction and Reconstruction is another way of describing the Death and Rebirth cycle of life. Systems and structures must be dismantled so that new life can be born. Myths and legends about gods and goddesses bringing destruction to the earth are common to all traditions. Yahweh destroyed the world through the great Flood and rained fire and brimstone on Sodom and Gomorrah. In the Hindu tradition, the goddess Kali, generally pictured wearing a belt made of dismembered arms and a necklace of human skulls represents the positive power of destruction, annihilating ignorance and maintaining the world order. The god Shiva, Kali’s male counterpart, destroys in order to create.
The impulse to destroy and rebuild is archetypal. We are bound to that cycle and therein lies the learning. Destruction also refers to releasing that which is destroying us, and, so, many therapists and other healers serve the role of the Destroyer by assisting others to release destructive emotions or behaviors. The power of positive destruction is enormously healing and liberating.
In its shadow manifestation, destruction becomes an end in itself, and one becomes intoxicated with one’s own destructive power and addicted to it. The Destroyer generates death, madness, and abuse and targets individuals and groups. It can manifest as a nation that destroys other nations or people who destroy the environment. To count this shadow archetype as part of your support group, you must be able to recognize a pattern within your psyche that destroys relationships or promotes attitudes and opinions that destroy others’ dreams or potential.
Films: Jack Palance in The Sign of the Pagan; William Holden in The Wild Bunch; Anthony Hopkins in The Silence of the Lambs; Ralph Fiennes in Schindler’s List; Richard Basehart in Hitler.
Religion/Myth: Angra Mainyu or Ahriman (in Zororastianism, the eternal destroyer of good, personification of evil, and conveyor of death and disease); Kalki (in Hindu belief, the final incarnation of Vishnu, who will descend from the sky on a white horse to destroy the wicked, renew the world, and restore righteousness); the Furies or Erinyes (avenging deities of Greek myth who pursued and persecuted anyone who killed a parent, brother, or fellow clansman by driving the murderer mad); the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (allegorical figures in the New Testament Book of Revelation or Apocalypse, who symbolize war, pestilence, famine, and death).
Myss, Caroline. Sacred Contracts: Awakening Your Divine Potential. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2002, 2003. 366. Print.