Notes of a Hermetic Conversation on February 8, 2017
February 8 – The Chariot
Jim, Phillip and Joel.
We began with the Lord’s Prayer in the Tree of Life, the Divine Alphabet through Zayin, then the first part of the fifth petition of the Knight’s Practice.
– Are the two faces on the shoulders in other versions of The Chariot? (edit – yes, but not the Noblet)
– The Anonymous Author doesn’t discuss the imagery of The Chariot too deeply. The Letter goes more into Jungian Archetypes/Individuation vs Megalomania. Acting in one’s own name.
– When the three temptations are overcome, this leads to 7 miracles; whereas when the three temptations are succumbed to, there are three evils. The magical math of morality. Interesting that in our work, this Arcanum is paired with the start of the 5th petition in the Grail Knight’s Practice, which centers around the 7 healing miracles.
– Sulphur and Mercury – why this pair of substances? vs Sulphur and Iron, as in the Rudolf Steiner’s Curative Course. What about Salt, the other alchemical substance? Mercury is usually the mediator between explosive sulphur and contracting salt.
– The image recapitulates many aspects of the first 6. In particular, the right arm is held like the left arm of the Empress – the restraining arm. The Charioteer’s left arm is holding the scepter, like the right arm of the Empress.
– The 4th Arcanum is the Presentation. In the 5th, there is a drawing in – an education in the Church. In the 6th, there is a pulling back into the foreground, social challenges. The 7th is active. Actually seems to be coming out of the card – a back and forth motion between the 5th-7th.
– Only the 5th-7th have a clear top/bottom polarity. The 8th returns to the form of the first 4 – only for the first time, the character’s gaze and bottom is completely facing forward (the Empress, Lover and Chariot come close).
– The Red Horse side of the Charioteer – holds the scepter, active. The Blue Horse side – the red tears/feathers, with a yellow sleeve exposed. Expresses restraint, or a badge of honor.
– It is so harmonious above, not so much below – he is not steering. Where are the horses taking him? To the Wilderness? A war zone? To Friends? Is it lack of restraint or a lack of penetration of his lower forces that is expressed by this? Or is it something else – is he completely trusting in fate and destiny – the destiny arising out of the Wheel of Fortune. The Wheels that are pointing sideways express evolution in progress – the process of involution/evolution. All of nature is what man has left behind, the lower kingdoms emerge out of man as he evolves. Everything in this picture appears fallen apart, no control. What is psychic mastery? Is it complete control, or is it rather complete trust in the spiritual world? The traditional stories of a coracle that you can’t steer or it spins in circles; of a horse that guides you where you need to go.
– The angry Blue Horse and the resigned Red Horse. The Two thieves.
– Sulphur = Sun and Quicksilver (i.e. Living Silver) = Mercury.
– The book The Secret Garden. Doxology. Deep spiritual book. The archetypal Mother, the Nature child resurrecting the garden. He cuts the stem in what seems to be the dead garden – he says it is still “wick” or “quick” – green, quick with life. Hence, Sulphur is burning/exploding. Quicksilver is green, living, flowing. Fire vs. Water.
– The experience of handling mercury. Breaks into globes if you drop it, but then can all be pushed together into a unity again. It always returns to its form vs sulphur, which cannot. Sulphur’s association with Hell.
– The faces on the shoulders – expression of Drama, the Stage – conflict. The Male/Female polarity? In the Sephiroth Tree, the shoulders are Peace and Activity.
– The Magic of the Serpent vs that of the Dove. Fallen and unfallen Nature are intermingled; karma and disease are one portion of a twofold stream. The Serpent and the Dove are the ultimate expressions of the Scorpion/Eagle sides of that sign of the Zodiac.
– In Anne Catherine Emmerich (ACE), she speaks of Heavenly Jerusalem and Terrestrial Paradise – a place that still exists, where one goes to be refreshed. It is related to not eating.
– The Cherubim have 4 faces in Ezekiel – does the Charioteer? We cannot see behind the card. Does he only move forward? The 10th Letter on the Wheel of Fortune (p 258) – the reestablishing of the primal Sphinx, Divine Animality. The task of re-integrating the 4 fallen beasts.
– In ACE, the top of a hill in Tibet – there lives Elijah/John the Baptist. He has a half-buried chariot. He reads the books of life that people give him, and sets fire to that which needs to be burned (St John’s Day). The Chariot will reascend when his mission is fulfilled. This vision was from the 1810’s-20’s – Novalis died in 1801. Through Clemens Brentano, she was tangentially associated with German Romantic circle (Franz Brentano, Goethe, Schubert, etc)
– ACE – The Ark of the Covenant has embalmed organs. Ann, the mother of Mary. Ann and Joaquin. Glen Williamson tells the story of the two Jesus children – Ann and Joaquin enter into a Temple sleep, guided by Priest/initiates. The Promise of the hereditary stream leading to the body of Christ comes through Joaquin.
– The interrelationship between MOTT and ACE – both have to do with maintaining spiritual hygiene so that the highest can incarnate into the lowest.
– The Tower of Babel – Heber is the one given the Hebrew Language in order to preserve that which would be lost after the primal tongue died away.
– The Tarot are this language – the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. We are practicing a method of conversing with these letters, not of rote memorization of MOTT (an impossible task to begin with). There is a hesitation to bring that which doesn’t seem to do directly with Tomberg’s text – but that is the entire point. To allow the firment of the Arcanum to draw out of each of us what we have that is contained in the Arcanum.
– The legend of the Green Mountain where Elijah/John is – reminds one of the legend of Kashyapa. The successor of Buddha, whose body remains un-decayed until the coming of the Maitreya. He touches the body and it ascends into Heaven in flames.
– Page 165 – the 4th temptation. Pride, which is in the center of the triangle of temptations. He speaks of the 4 elements in the three realms – fourfold thinking, feeling and willing. Is this related to the 4 faces? The four posts of the canopy? Another four-headed being.
– In the pre-Earthly Sacrifices of Christ, Tomberg describes the development of skin as a protection from the ahrimanic element that lives in sense perception. The Canopy=Skin. Related to the 1st pre-Earthly Sacrifice (“Practice true self-control” (7th Arcanum), “healing the physical body through the force of the 1st sacrifice of Christ…”—quoted from the third part of the Grail Knight’s Practice).
– The old punishment of flaying – Mani suffered this, and obviously Christ. Was there an occult intention, other than the pain? Exposing the person to Ahriman? What about self-flagellation (Peter of Alcantara). He becomes Nietzsche – when he sees a horse being whipped, he loses his mind – exposed to Ahriman. He exposed himself in a previous life. Notice the Charioteer has no whip.
– Nietzsche, Wagner, ACE – all these personalities associated with the time of Christ and/or the Grail.
– At the end of the 7th Letter, Tomberg discusses planetary forces. For ACE, what are planetary forces? Not entirely positive, not astrological. A tug of war between Jacob’s Ladder and the purely natural influence. The planetary spheres also have a two-fold nature. Steiner speaks of backwards Spirits of Form who made the planets visible, rather than simply realms of spiritual forces. There are always retarded spirits facilitating the manifestation of something.
– At the very end of the Letter, he describes the “Triumpher of the 7th Arcanum.” The emphasis is put on Trust, rather than control. Confidence is mastery – not self-confidence, but confidence in destiny/God.
– The next three Arcana (Justice, The Hermit, Wheel of Fortune) unpack and complete this picture of Mastery: equilibrium.
– Tomberg mentions that the Canopy can symbolize either “splendid isolation” (self-deification) or Spiritual Well-Being (humility). The I does not equal God, but is of the same essence.
– We are in the final Day of Temptation (2018-2047), where we confront Megalomania (the 4th Temptation) and are ministered unto by Angels. And of course it begins with President Trump.
– Breastplate, Crown, and Scepter – treasures in the Ark of the Covenant, from Aaron. These are related to Divine, Human, and Natural Mysticism (or Mysticism, Gnosis, and Sacred Magic). 6th Arcanum = above is Spirit, below the human. Divine Mysticism (related to the 1st Arcanum; the similarity of the Lover to the Magician). 5th Arcanum = Above is Higher Human, below is Lower Human. Human Mysticism/Gnosis (related to the 2nd Arcanum – Pope and Priestess). 7th Arcanum = above is Human, below is Nature. Nature Mysticism/Sacred Magic (related to 3rd Arcanum – similarity of gestures of the Empress and Charioteer).
– MOTT is an impossible, living tapestry. For the Traditionalists/Perrenialists, there was eXOTerism and eSOTerism. Schuon. Each Tradition has these two sides. None of them has pure Esoterism – it is always in motion, one can’t pin it down.
– Jim: when he was young there was a friend of his who drowned. He dreamed he was in a pond, catching frogs – but he was trying to catch a seed, which he recognized as the soul of this other child. The inability to really pin down Truth.
– Traditionalism is crystallized. It is not slippery. It is so very near complete, but it is not Quicksilver – alive. Somehow, MOTT redeems and resurrects the Traditionalists, Anthroposophy, French Occultism, Jungian psychology, etc etc. Anthroposophy is so slippery, you give up and just believe/memorize. Whereas the magic of MOTT is in the Arcana – they pin down the truth without pinning it down. Each image contains an infinitude of truths/concepts/ideas. What’s more, the method of drawing the truth out of them (or rather, of allowing them to draw the truth out of you, the observer) requires community – whether a community of the dead or the living (Anonymous). It is not a path of isolation and rigidity (a la Anthroposophy). The magic of conversation/communion – where two or three are gathered.
We ended with the closing of the Grail Knight’s Practice.