Thursday, March 09, 2006

(129) From the third to the fourth; "a more individual evolution of the feminine..." and a less lonely Christmas

In December 1996, I mentioned Entry 49 to my wife.

She said that she had once been an invited guest on The Time, The Place.

Then she realised that it had been this very edition!

A car had driven her from Hastings to Southampton where the show was broadcast (live), but the night before she had developed a problem with her throat and so was unable to speak!

I started to think more about this coincidence from a coincidence.

The story concerns a man who: lived very happily with his cattle until one morning he... found that they had no milk to give; in other words... the life he was leading had no more sustenance to give him in the old way.

Van der Post speaks of a moment: when this primal nourishment is not enough and it needs transformation into a less collective and more individual evolution of the feminine in man.

This, I think, is the meaning of his capture of the most beautiful of the women who have come down from the stars to draw on his own primal feminine element.
And how: the star people scattered immediately and ran up the cord as fast as they could, but he managed to catch hold of one of the girls and pull her back: he succeeded, in other words, in catching a portion of the future to live with him and become his wife.

And I too would take my future wife from the complementary, synchronistic counterpoint to the story.

In 1992, Roderick Main drew my attention to an alchemical idea that also featured in the writings of Jung:
"The Fourth".

This is the notion that somehow things seek their completeness through striving to move from a trifold state to a quaternity.
"All things do live in the three, but in the four they merry be," runs an old alchemical maxim.

Jung drew attention to this curious, shadowy principle:
The quaternity is an archetype of almost universal occurrence. It forms the logical basis for any whole judgment… A quaternity… often has a 3+1 structure, in that one of the terms composing it occupies an exceptional position or has a nature unlike any of the others.

(For instance three of the symbols of the Evangelists are animals and that of the fourth, or St Luke, is an Angel.)

This is the "Fourth" which, added to the other three, makes them "One," symbolising totality.

In analytical psychology often the "inferior" function (i.e. that function which is not at the conscious disposal of the subject) represents the "Fourth" and its integration into consciousness is one of the major tasks of the process of individuation.
(From Psychology and Religion: West and East.)

In the extract from his book given in Entry 49 van der Post refers to the first book of Dante’s Divine Comedy trilogy, Inferno.

I noted that a character with the same name as the TV presenter, Michael Scott, also featured in Dante’s Inferno.
He was a mediaeval Scots wizard and alchemist, mentioned in Sir Walter Scott’s Lay of the Last Minstrel, and he crops up in Inferno in Canto 20 where Dante has him consigned to the Fourth bowge (trench) of the Eighth Circle of Hell in the company of other sorcerers.

Dante and his guide, Virgil, have just progressed from the third bowge, so they too are moving from the third to the fourth.

My future wife found herself unable to speak on the TV show about love triangles, so she fulfils the role of the different, not fully articulated fourth part (the addition to a triangle).

And apropos the idea of a journey towards wholeness, the Jungian individuation trip, she was to later become assimilated into my life.

Earlier in 1989 I had heard Fiona give a recital in Bedford library.
She had recited one recently composed poem of hers called Just Good Friends which she introduced by saying that we have all heard of the "eternal triangle", but that this poem pertained to a slightly different situation, of which she had found herself a part; the "eternal quadrangle".
... ... ...
For other instances of a trinity (or a Trilogy) completed by a mysterious, different and not fully conscious nor expressed fourth element, see the incidents with the fishing boat, the (supposed!?) giant octopus that towed it, and Canto 26 of Dante’s Paradiso, recorded in part Two: The Narrative, Epilogues and Appendices section

Also Entry 166 (leading to 187 and 211) and all of the events and many Entries here stemming from my involvement with The Millionaire Three (commencing with Entry 201).

In the last cited case, we are dealing very much with a " ... whole judgement", due to a completion through the involvement of a fourth element, essentially distinct and different from the initial three.

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