Since 1986, her show has been the number-one talk show in America—and the source of guidance to people of all races and economic groups. In recent years, she has begun to shape culture. Books she features instantly become best-sellers. Musicians who appear on her show sell records. People who hear her emphasize health, spirituality, and personal responsibility practice what she preaches. Oprah became the mother, the aunt, the big sister for a nation. At the same time, she carried the archetype of the Black Madonna, who scholar Robert Graves tells us is black because the color black is archetypally associated with great wisdom. All these ﬁgures carry the same energy as the biblical ﬁgure of Sophia (whose name means “wisdom”) and the Greek goddess Persephone, who understood the secrets of the underworld (death) as well as of ordinary reality. Jungian analysts Marion Woodman and Elinor Dickson, in Dancing in the Flames, quote the call of this goddess (from the Bible’s “Proverbs”) in words as relevant to today’s man and woman as they were to the ancient Hebrews: O people; I am calling you. . . . Listen, I have serious things to tell you, And from my lips come honest words. My mouth proclaims the truth . . . All the words I say are right, Nothing twisted in them, nothing false, All straight forward to the one who understands, Honest to those who know what knowledge means. Accept my discipline rather than silver, Knowledge in preference to gold. For wisdom is more precious than pearls, And nothing else is so worthy of desire.2 How typical of 20th-century America that the Dark Goddess/ Sophia Wisdom speaks to us through a wonderfully savvy talk show hostess and Sage-brand icon. Is Oprah aware of her Sage brand identity? Of course she is. It
2. Marion Woodman and Elinor Dickson, Dancing in the Flames: The Dark Goddess in the Transformation of Consciousness (Boston: Shambala, 1997), p. 11, quoted from Proverbs 8:4–11.