“[T]he physicist’s models ultimately rest on the same archetypal foundations that also underlie the speculations of the theologian. Both are psychology, and it too has no other foundation.”
—Jung, “A Psychological Approach to the Dogma of the Trinity”
So what have we learned about Magonia, that mystery land beyond the clouds?
(“The facts, Ma’am, just the facts,” as Sgt. Friday used to say on the old “Dragnet” TV show. And although I will not mention UFOs again in this post, the Magonian “facts” have an obvious bearing on them.)
Fact No. 1: Sometime early in the 9th century, a mob at Lyon got hold of three men and one woman who they believed had fallen from the marauding Magonian airships, come to loot the crops of honest peasants. They would have stoned the four to death, if not for the intervention of Archbishop Agobard. (See my post of May 3, “The Mystery Men of Magonia,” for the details.) We don’t know what gave people the idea the foursome had fallen from the skies. Agobard never tells us.
Fact No. 2: Toward the end of the 17th century—5 July 1683, to be exact—the Jewish heretic Abraham Cardozo imagined he saw three men and a woman upon the moon. It was evening, the darkness gathering. The three men proceeded to descend to the moon into Cardozo’s garden. (Details in my post of May 11, “More on the Magonia Men.”) Of course people don’t do that. You can’t just walk down from the moon into a garden by the Dardanelles. What Cardozo “saw” had to have emerged from his own mind. Or soul, if you prefer.
The same men? The same woman? Coming down to earth from the same (or similar) celestial regions?
Direct influence is ruled out; it seems impossible Cardozo had ever read Agobard. That leaves coincidence. Or else that Magonia and its people were (are?) somehow real, visitors from a realm that transcends history.
Let’s try: Jungian archetypes.
That is to say, primordial psychic patterns, penetrating from humanity’s shared unconscious into our individual awarenesses. Of course, it’s pretty controversial that such things even exist. Me, I’m a “believer.” The archetypes correlate and explain too much for me to discard them.
One of the most pervasive archetypes is the quaternity: a group of four, often in the pattern of 3 + 1; three, and a Fourth that’s somehow not quite like the Three. “One, two, three—but where … is the fourth?” Socrates asks at the beginning of Plato’s Timaeus, one of Jung’s key texts for the quaternity. Jung asked Christianity the same question. The Christian Trinity, he suggested, is a Quaternity that’s been mutilated, thereby rendered unreal. Christianity’s error, sin almost, was to have suppressed the Fourth.
Who was that Fourth? Perhaps the devil—for Jung the Christian God was incomplete, even false, because He’d been purged of His evil element. Or the Virgin, the Mother of God. The Christian God is then incomplete in another way—only the male Three acknowledged and honored, the female suppressed. This is the quaternity that Cardozo saw on the moon—and if you’ll scroll to the end of my post for May 11, you’ll see how exact the parallel is.
The same quaternity crops up in Cardozo’s other writings. In one of his essays, he predicts the coming of four Messiahs, three of them male, the fourth female. This pattern was evidently a fixture of Cardozo’s psychic life.
Now let’s go back 900 years before Cardozo, to Agobard’s Lyon. What precisely happened there?
Of course I can’t say for sure. But here’s what I think: The archetype of celestial beings as a 3 + 1 quaternity, three men and one woman, had accumulated such compelling power that it sought, as if on its own, a flesh-and-blood correlate by which it might manifest in the physical world. An element of our collective psychology, it enacted this quest through the collective psychology of the mob. It fastened, for its incarnation, on four real human beings, selected for this purpose on some flimsy pretext—or no pretext at all, aside from their 3 + 1 gender configuration.
So these unfortunates were singled out for the mob’s rage, scapegoats for loss and suffering beyond human control. Loss that could be blamed only on God, for whom the Quaternity is the perfect representation.
(Speculation? Sure. But what else have we got, in these matters? And what does it profit us to refuse to engage in it?)
If Agobard hadn’t been there, to oppose his learning and reason to the eruption of the mass unconscious, they’d have been lynched. Brutally. Unjustly. Outrageously.
And yet, in the Jungian sense, that mass unconscious gave a truer picture of God than all Agobard’s theology.
by David Halperin
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