Ace of Batons (I)

Notes of a Hermetic Conversation between Phillip and Joel on August 27, 2022.

Note that we see the (incomplete?) vortex head on, yet the hand is in profile.

A contrast to the Ace of Swords. There we see the back of the hand rather than the front, and it is on the left side of the image rather than the right. However, it is the right hand in both cases.

Maybe the Ace of Swords has the portion of the vortex in the Ace of Batons that is missing? But it’s a very different vortex, it’s more of a blob. Not fully formed.

The hand in the Ace of Swords looks like its been cut off, no longer attached to an arm. Didn’t we say it belongs to the Knight of Cups, gets returned to him?

Whereas in the Ace of Batons, that hand still looks attached to an arm, like it is actually emerging from the vortex. The chopped-off hand in the Ace of Swords looks like it simply dwells side by side with the blob-vortex, not coming out of it.

In fact, the hand in the Ace of Batons is more like the object (sword) in the Ace of Swords. The sword is actually emerging from or entering into the crown. And likewise, the hand in the Ace of Swords is more like the object (baton) in the Ace of Batons. It is severed, a stump of sorts. A complete reversal.

So in that sense, the vortex of the Ace of Batons is actually more akin to the crown in the Ace of Swords, not the blob-vortex.

The blob-vortex has vertical stripes, whereas the proper vortex in the Ace of Batons has circular stripes, rings. That blob-vortex is more organic, more like a sea urchin, but also electrical. Whereas the proper vortex in the Ace of Batons is more a saw blade cutting wood. Like a sprocket, mechanical, like a bike gear. The spiky forms that are radiation or electricity in the Ace of Swords have become the teeth of a blade in the Ace of Batons.

It somehow reminds Joel of the scene in the movie Amelie when she imagines vinyl records being painted onto the record player.

…but like the record is still in the process of being painted, not finished with the movement yet.

The Ace of Swords’ vortex is primitive, protoplasmic. The Ace of Batons’ has organization. Is it still living?

In the Ace of Swords, it shows all the life that gets cut off of the plant, it shows all but the trunk. Whereas the Ace of Batons is all trunk. Stark.

And that vortex could be a stump. Tree rings.

That’s a weird imagination! This hand emerging from a stump. It mirrors this sword-plant dichotomy that runs all through the Suit of Swords: a tree with a blade that cuts itself, and then grasps itself after it is cut! All the activity that pings back and forth between the odds and evens in the Suit of Swords is here in one image.

It is reminiscent of the Jupiter planetary seal.

Surrounded by Omegas. The omega form is a bit like a Vesica Piscis. Many of them intersecting, interwoven together. Flesh and blue colored, arranged in a circle:

An increasing blue, like in the Numbered Swords? The blue portion became gradually larger.

We attempt to make the form out of the Numbered Swords:

There are five flesh-colored omegas, and four whole and two half blue omegas (which also comes to five). For a total of ten—just like the ten Numbered Swords.

This way of arranging the Numbered Swords is nothing we ever came to while we were in the Suit!

And at the same time…these Omega forms are like Cups. And overall, the vortex they create is like a big Coin. Like the Ace of Coins, the sun rays coming out of it:

With the Ace of Swords, it was a breaking open of the Ace of Coins, and a change of orientation—what was facing us in the Coin was then above us in the Sword. Could it be with the Ace of Batons, there is now something coming through from the other side of the Coin/Crown? And we have more or less returned to the original orientation?

The Ace of Swords is continuous from the Ace of Coins; it is the “Son of Continuity”, since the entire Suit of Coins was that of continuity. But then with the Suit of Swords, the continuity almost immediately breaks down after the Ace. It is the suit of discontinuity. And the Ace of Cups doesn’t continue in form naturally from the Ace of Swords. She is the “Daughter of Discontinuity.”

With the Suit of Cups, looking at the plants in the way they interact with the cups in the Numbered Cups, and then the whole trend of the Court Cups, we have this gesture of continuity introduced into discontinuity. And this leads us to the Ace of Batons—an image of a discontinuous gesture/event which somehow attaches to all three prior Suits perhaps? At least the Coin and the Sword. The hand holding the Baton is somehow calling up the Cups—one would wish to see a hand holding a Cup this way, not the Baton necessarily.

The Suit of Coins is the Divine Order, they are guided.

The Suit of Swords is this jarring oscillation, the struggle for survival.

The Suit of Cups establish the predominance of the Divine Order over the oscillation/struggle.

The Cup seems man-made, formed by humanity. And so a hand is better suited to it, rather than this natural object that has been cut down. And holding a cup is necessary for the function of the cup. It is not necessary to hold chopped wood.

Perhaps we have this journey of Order (Coins) to Disorder (Swords) to Recuperation (Cups) and now we come to a final Unification in the Batons: the Divine Order brought into unity with that which is completely living.

Viewing the Ace of Coins as the Threshold to the spiritual world. The Ace of Swords is below, it is breaking the threshold open. The Ace of Cups is that which is above/beyond the threshold. The reaction to our forced entry. And the Ace of Batons is the unifying, the blending of the two sides of the Threshold (Ace of Swords and Ace of Cups).

The Baton is certainly cup like, an opening at the top.

The hand was originally present with the Sword, but then disappeared. Implied that the hand belonged with the Swords, but not clear after the Ace. Now it is shown to actually be the force acting in the Sword. Not just implied any longer.

The return of the hand in the Court Cups…then it is only the Queen and the King who hold their cups they way we might expect, the way the Baton is held in the Ace:

There is a similarity between the top of the King’s cup and the top of the baton.

Perhaps if the cup were to lose its base, it would become hilt-like again, graspable? And this is just what we see in the King of Cups! The cup is cracked for the King, literally falling into this form of the Baton. The trunk snapped off of the stump.

Such an interplay of the man-made and the plant-like. It’s as though that which is man-made comes to its fullness and completion in the Queen of Cups, the Cup of Cups. Then the odd events of the King of Cups take place…life fully germinates, takes over, cracks the cup. The Queen is Mother Nature bearing the greatest mechanism. Whereas the King and his surroundings are all-too-human, all-too-man-made, and he is holding this object where nature is totally taking over.

The opening in his cup starts as circular, but then in the Ace of Batons it becomes a vesica piscis or a tear-drop. Like a drop of blood. The baton is red at four points, and then flesh colored at a fifth point at the base.

There is a preponderance of four throughout the Ace of Batons. Four whole blue omegas—then the implied fifth, made up of two halves. Four red cuts, and then a flesh 5th. Four fingers and thumb. These four flames set apart in the upper left hand corner? No implied fifth here? Perhaps they symbolize YHVH—but from right to left. Yod = white, He = red, Vau = yellow, He = red.

A preponderance of two in the Ace of Swords, and of three in the Ace of Cups.

The green wood of the baton, rather than brown. We so rarely see green. Are there any other moments of green in the Minors? There is grass, but only in the Knaves. A bit of green in the Three of Coins, and the Queen of Coins’ chair.

Four colors: yellow, blue, red, green.

While the colored shapes are similar in both the Ace of Swords and the Ace of Batons, they feel like radiating fire in the Ace of Batons, while they are more like falling leaves or petals in the Ace of Swords.

Also the shape of the Baton vs the Sword. A widening at the top vs a widening at the bottom.

The Ace of Batons changes the King of Cups. He looked defeated and weird before. Now his gaze feels more like, “wait till you see this!”

The King is turning into stone, or like ivy overtaking a cathedral. Nature tearing down/overcoming the manmade. But the Ace of Batons is like the complete opposite: the man-made being infused with nature/life, the union of the two.

The King also seems like a seen from a fairy tale, where there are these weird rules that, if they are broken, everything goes wrong. “Don’t touch the spindle on your 16th birthday or the whole kingdom will fall asleep for a century.” This seems to be related to the question—what is the dynamic between the man-made and the natural?

Before we were talking about “Divine Order”. Does “Divine Order” equate to “man-made”?


Let’s clarify:

Divine Order = Coins (Paradise)

Life/Nature/Struggle = Swords (the Fall)

Neither is comprehensible to the human being. One is unattainable, the other is to be avoided.

The Cups are the actual carving out of the man-made, of the realm humanity creates for herself between the unattainable Divine and the wildness of Nature. Human history, cultural development. Making a space for reintegration to be possible. And the actual attainment of wholeness, of reintegration, is shown by the Batons: the integration of the Divine, the Natural and the Human.

Well, that’s pretty promising we suppose?

Don’t get lured in. “Look out! Don’t get too close, you’ll just get hit by it!” (Phillip quips, “Hopefully it kills me!”)

We suppose it’s possible that this baton is actually a human figure, missing his head and limbs. Five cuts.

It bears quite some relationship to the Hanged Man, which is not necessarily a great/positive sign:

Remember he’s missing his hands!

If we view the baton as a human figure, is it being held at the neck now? Rather than the feet?

Again an inversion: now we have the pole in the middle rather than poles on either side; and a prominent hand vs no hands at all.