Aion 84

Aion 84

Carl Jung

l 4° These few examples may suffice to show what kind of spirit
animated these movements. They were made up of people who
identified themselves (or were identified) with God, who deemed
themselves supermen, had a critical approach to the gospels, followed
the promptings of the inner man, and understood the
kingdom of heaven to be within.


In a sense, therefore, they were
modern in their outlook, but they had a religious inflation
instead of the rationalistic and political psychosis that is the
affliction of our day. We ought not to impute these extremist
ideas to Joachim, even though he took part in that great movement
of the spirit and was one of its outstanding figures.


One must ask oneself what psychological impulse could have moved
him and his adherents to cherish such bold expectations as the
substitution of the “everlasting gospel” for the Christian message
or the supersession of the second Person in the Godhead by
the third, who would reign over the new era.


This thought is so
heretical and subversive that it could never have occurred to him
had he not felt himself supported and swept along by the revolutionary
currents of the age. He felt it as a revelation of the Holy
Ghost, whose life and procreative power no church could bring
to a stop.


The numinosity of this feeling was heightened by the
temporal coincidence—”synchronicity”—of the epoch he lived
in with the beginning of the sphere of the “antichristian” fish in
Pisces. In consequence, one might feel tempted to regard the
Holy Ghost movement and Joachim’s central ideas as a direct
expression of the antichristian psychology that was then dawning.


At any rate the Church’s condemnation is thoroughly understandable,
for in many ways his attitude to the Church of Jesus
Christ comes very close to open insurrection, if not downright
apostasy. But if we allow some credence to the conviction of these
innovators that they were moved by the Holy Ghost, then another
interpretation becomes not only possible but even probable.

That is to say, just as Joachim supposed that the status of
the Holy Ghost had secretly begun with St. Benedict, so we
might hazard the conjecture that a new status was secretly
anticipated in Joachim himself.


Consciously, of course, he
thought he was bringing the status of the Holy Ghost into
reality, just as it is certain that St. Benedict had nothing else in
mind than to put the Church on a firm footing and deepen the
meaning of the Christian life through monasticism.


But, unconsciously—
and this is psychologically what probably happened—
Joachim could have been seized by the archetype of the spirit.


There is no doubt that his activities were founded on a numinous
experience, which is, indeed, characteristic of all those who
are gripped by an archetype.


He understood the spirit in the
dogmatic sense as the third Person of the Godhead, for no other
way was possible, but not in the sense of the empirical archetype.
This archetype is not of uniform meaning, but was originally
an ambivalent dualistic figure 58 that broke through again
in the alchemical concept of spirit after engendering the most
contradictory manifestations within the Holy Ghost movement


The Gnostics in their day had already had clear intimations
of this dualistic figure. It was therefore very natural,
in an age which coincided with the beginning of the second Fish
and which was, so to speak, forced into ambiguity, that an
espousal of the Holy Ghost in its Christian form should at the
same time help the archetype of the spirit to break through in
all its characteristic ambivalence.


It would be unjust to class so
worthy a personage as Joachim with the bigoted advocates of
that revolutionary and anarchic turbulence, which is what the
Holy Ghost movement turned into in so many places.


We must
suppose, rather, that he himself unwittingly ushered in a new
“status,” a religious attitude that was destined to bridge and
compensate the frightful gulf that had opened out between
Christ and Antichrist in the eleventh century.


The antichristian
era is to blame that the spirit became non-spiritual and that the
vitalizing archetype gradually degenerated into rationalism,
intellectualism, and doctrinairism, all of which leads straight to
the tragedy of modern times now hanging over our heads like a
sword of Damocles.


In the old formula for the Trinity, as
Joachim knew it, the dogmatic figure of the devil is lacking,
for then as now he led a questionable existence somewhere on
the fringes of theological metaphysics, in the shape of the mysterium
iniquitatis. Fortunately for us, the threat of his coming
had already been foretold in the New Testament—for the less
he is recognized the more dangerous he is.


Who would suspect
him under those high-sounding names of his, such as public
welfare, lifelong security, peace among the nations, etc.? He
hides under idealisms, under -isms in general, and of these the
most pernicious is doctrinairism, that most unspiritual of all
the spirit’s manifestations.


The present age must come to terms
drastically with the facts as they are, with the absolute opposition
that is not only tearing the world asunder politically but has
planted a schism in the human heart. We need to find our way
back to the original, living spirit which, because of its ambivalence,
is also a mediator and uniter of opposites,59 an idea that
preoccupied the alchemists for many centuries.



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