Miracles and Magonia

Geoffrey Ashe. Miracles. Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1979.
In his latest book Geoffrey Ashe tries to link the miracles of the Bible with the alleged supernatural powers of the Lamas, and to suggest that meaningful coincidences are an example of minor miracles. Ashe's main argument is probably the weakest. The discussion of Biblical miracles is over-literal in parts, and he again relies far too much on the travellers tales of Madame David-Neel. In discussing the Marian miracles and tradition, Ashe comments that the idea of human beings having a special relationship with the supernatural can be paralleled in certain eastern traditions. A closer parallel and possible common origin is that of the shaman, among whose vocations is to plead for the cause of humanity before the supernatural beings.

Ashe examines the growth of the cult of the Virgin Mary and examines the apparitions at Lourdes and Fatima. In accordance with what I believe is the orthodox Roman Catholic viewpoint, he gives his approval to Lourdes, but not to Fatima. In the latter case he points out that the much vaunted 'Messages of Fatima' concerning communism and the conversion of the Soviet Union date from 1936/37 and 1941/42. These were produced under the aegis of the Salazar dictatorship, and reflect the 'party line' of that administration, and the entire coterie of clerico-fascists who were in varying degrees of collaboration with the Axis powers. All of these unsavoury forces saw Fatima as a rallying point, including the Croatian leader Pavelic, whose regime is still considered by some historians to be the most brutal in recorded history.

As regards the alleged miracle itself, Ashe suggests the original facts are now so underlain with legend as to be ungraspable. As far as I can gather most of the current accounts of Fatlma are derived at the earliest from Marianist tracts of the 1920s, including the discredited Fatima: Esperance de Monde. with its photograph of a solar eclipse passed off as the miracle of the sun.

Ashe goes on to suggest that minor miracles happen all the time. By this he refers to synchronicity, and provides examples from his own experience. As with other paranormal phenomena (including UFOs and the Loch Ness Monster) they remain elusive, hinting at a depth to reality beyond the world of "daylight reality and common-sense". Ashe calls this reality 'The Divine', which in the context seems inappropriate. Otto Rouks term 'the numinous' or ' the Dream time', or even 'Magonia' seem more suitable to me. – Peter Rogerson. MUFOB New series 15, Summer 1979.

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