Conversation—Laying the Groundwork

Notes of a conversation April 10, 2018, during which we continued our preparatory discussions as to how we want to frame our work around the Minor Arcana.

April 10, 2018

Our first meeting on the Minor Arcana. Rather than going right into a discussion on the Ace of Coins, we decided to have a preparatory meeting going over changes to our format.

First, we sealed the space using the same practice we used at our gathering in August (this is described on page 422 of MOTT, in the 15th Letter-Meditation).

Then, we began by invoking the Pastors and Healers of Humanity, specifically Hermes, by reading the Emerald Tablet, based on the current phase of the Moon.

– It will be helpful to look at both the Marseille as well as the Sola Busca (see here: The Sola Busca will retain the more elaborate imagery we have become accustomed too, juxtaposed with the strictly geometric imagery of the Marseille. Additionally, the Sola Busca have an historical significance as the first known 78 card deck.  The Latin on the Ace of Coins from the Sola Busca reads “I am drawn by Fate to serve. If you persist, you win (obtain) in the end.” This follows on quite naturally from the content of our last meeting on The World (see the previous notes, pertaining to the quotes from Goethe).

– Rather than changing our Arcanum with the change of month, we will more strictly follow the Lunar Calendar. This means that the first meeting after the New Moon will be a meeting for sacred practice (full Grail Knight’s Practice and Divine Alphabet), while the other three will be dedicated to observing the Arcanum.

We will continue with the protective practice of sealing the space referred to above at the start of every meeting.

It no longer makes sense to do the Knight’s Practice/Divine Alphabet at the beginning of each session. We were doing this particularly in relationship to the 22 Paths of the Tree of Life, which we have now passed through completely. Doing it once a month as a full practice keeps it alive etherically, but it no longer pertains directly to our observation of the Minor Arcana, and hence does not set the right tone, necessarily, for the meeting. 

– A suggested (and ultimately accepted) alternative:

First of all, it should be made clear that Joel and Phillip have dedicated themselves to taking up the Lord’s Prayer Course as they move through the Minor Arcana, particularly the portion referred to in the Sophia Foundation version as the “Our Mother Course.” This comes after the first 96 weeks of “Our Father Course.” Those 96 weeks dovetailed exactly with the 22 Major Arcana (96 Weeks = 22 months), and were more or less an overview of the meditative practice of the Lord’s Prayer. After these 96 Weeks, each petition is focused upon for long periods, and entered into much more deeply. In the absence of Letter-Meditations to inspire our conversation, we will keep up with this deepened weekly study and meditation guided by the “Our Mother Course.” 

The first of these meditations brings our attention to the heart as the center of a lemniscate moving upwards to the Father above and then downwards to the mother below, focusing on the words “Our Father, Who Art in Heaven” with the upward swoop of the lemniscate, and “Our Mother, Thou Who Art in the Darkness of the Underworld” with the downward swoop. This is a very similar exercise to the fourth part of the Inner Radiance Sequence, which works with the phrase “I Shall Find Myself Within the Godhead of the World,” as well as the Apocalyptic Christ (see Cultivating Inner Radiance by Robert Powell).

Now, the four parts of the Morning Meditation/Foundation Stone Meditation/Inner Radiance Sequence can be brought into a relationship with the four suits of the Minor Arcana:

The fourth part of the Morning Meditation, “I Shall Find Myself Within the Godhead of the World” relates to:

– the fourth part of the Foundation Stone Meditation (“At the turning point of time…”)

– meditation on the Brow Chakra with the words “I AM.”

– The 7 Apocalyptic Seals

– The Suit of Coins

It also relates to Earth evolution and Hermeticism

The third part of the Morning Meditation, “I Rest Within the Godhead of the World: relates to:

– the third part of the Foundation Stone Meditation (on the Holy Spirit)

– meditation on the Larynx Chakra with the words “IT THINKS.”

– The Risen Christ

– The Suit of Swords

It also relates to Moon/Jupiter evolution and Sacred Magic

The second part of the Morning Meditation, “In Purest Love for All that Lives Radiates the Godhood of my Soul” relates to:

– the second part of the Foundation Stone Meditation (on the Son)

– the meditation on the Heart Chakra with the words “SHE FEELS.”

– Christ’s Passion

– The Suit of Cups

It also relates to Sun/Venus evolution and Mysticism

The first part of the Morning Meditation, ‘In Purest Outpoured Light Shimmers the Godhead of the World” relates to:

– the first part of the Foundation Stone Meditation (on the Father)

– the meditation on the Solar Plexus Chakra with the words “HE WILLS.”

– Christ’s healing miracles

– The Suit of Batons

It also relates to Saturn/Vulcan evolution and Gnosis

According to the Lord’s Prayer Course, the Coins relate to the 7 Letters and Seals in the Book of Revelation, the Swords relate to the 7 Trumpets, the Cups relate to the 7 Vials, and the Batons relate to the New Jerusalem. 

In the Fourth Part of the Inner Radiance Sequence/Morning Meditation, the Coins (or Jewels, Stones) are immediately brought into relationship to the 7 Seals, and the Brow = the “Stone” of the Skull, the Coins that are our thoughts, which must be exchanged in order to achieve spiritual sight. We might also relate the phrase I AM to the white stone with the name written on it, the name that is known only to the one to whom it is given (this is the name I AM).

In the Third Part of the Inner Radiance Sequence/Morning Meditation, the focus of the mantra transforms from “I AM” on the region of the brow, to “IT THINKS” on the Larynx. This is related to the Suit of Swords in the image of the Sword proceeding from the mouth (larynx) of the Apocalyptic Christ. The Sword = The Word. When we bring the Swords into relationship with the Trumpets, we can think of the imagery of the 20th Arcanum, the Judgment, which shows an Angel performing resurrection via the blast of a Trumpet connected to the larynx. The seven stages of meditation in this third part of the Inner Radiance Sequence are on the phrases of the Risen Christ.

In the Second Part of the Inner Radiance Sequence/Morning Meditation, the Cups are brought into relationship with the Heart through the mantra “SHE FEELS”, and with Christ’s Sacrifice on Golgotha. The relationship here is immediately clear, a realm of mysticism, deep feeling and sacrifice.

In the First Part of the Inner Radiance Sequence/Morning Meditation, the Batons are brought into relationship with the Solar Plexus Chakra, the Mercury Chakra through the mantra “HE WILLS”. Mercury’s symbol is the Staff = Baton. 

Whereas the path through the Majors was a passage from Crown Sephiroth to Kingdom Sephiroth (from Above to Below on the Tree of Life, via the 22 paths of the Major Arcana), the path through the Minors is the opposite. The path through the Minors is the “detailed elaboration of the Major Arcanum “The World”—or again, its application in the domain of the various planes of consciousness, rising from the plane of action to the plane of emanation.” (page 655 of MOTT)

This is the path laid out above, related to the Morning Meditation. For the plane of Coins is the plane of Action; the plane of Swords is the plane of Formation; the plane of Cups is the plane of Creation; and the plane of Batons is the plane of Emanation. (see attached image:  the four circles on the Tree of Life shows these four planes. Action is at the very bottom while Emanation is at the top. One could also see page 653 of MOTT). 

Moving downward through the Chakras:  “I AM” = Action, “IT THINKS” = Formation, “SHE FEELS” = Creation, “HE WILLS” = Emanation is at the same time a movement upwards through the Sephiroth Tree. We can relate this to the statement on page 10 of MOTT that when consciousness descends from the head/nervous system into the heart/rhythmic system, it is actually and simultaneously an ascent (into the spiritual).

This is the movement up through Jacob’s Ladder, through the 4 Planes of Reality. The important piece for the Minor Arcana is not a movement down through 22, but a movement up through 4.

Therefore, taking all of the above into account, it seems right to begin our sessions on the Coins with the 4th part of the Inner Radiance Sequence (rather than the Divine Alphabet), and hypothetically in the future to add in the 3rd part for the Swords, the 2nd part for the Cups, and the 1st part for the Batons. Rather than closing our sessions with the end of the Knight’s Practice, we will close the sessions on the Coins with the 4th Part of the Foundation Stone Meditation. 

In Joel’s experience, the Knight’s Practice is very grounding, it gives one gravity, structure, form. In the long run this can become taxing and one-sided. On the other hand, the Inner Radiance Sequence makes one fluid, light, gives levity and movement. This can also be taxing, in a different way, if practiced for too long. Weaving the two together, however, alternating the practice of the two of them, is very fruitful and gives a more balanced result. Depending on the person, practicing one more than the other might be helpful. In terms of our work going forward, to weekly practice a piece of the Inner Radiance sequence (week = astral rhythm), while monthly practicing the entire Knight’s Practice (month = etheric rhythm), will most likely be very harmonious.

– It might be useful for us to refer to “The Art of Goethean Conversation” by Marjorie Spock (see here: Both of us have worked with this material in other groups in the past. It is a more rigorous approach/guideline vs. what our practice has been thus far. It has a Tombergian quality to it.

– In our sessions on the Major Arcana, we introduced our observation of the Arcanum with the quotes introducing the corresponding Letter-Meditation in MOTT. We no longer have these quotes. A two-fold solution:  we should bring quotes that we feel resonate particularly with the Arcanum in question. One might choose one of the manifold portions in the Gospels relating to Coin (many parables for instance). Joel gives an example from C.S. Lewis which he feels truly captures the quality of Coin as Exchangeable Thought:  

“From all my lame defeats and oh! much more

From all the victories I have seemed to score;

From cleverness shot forth in Thy behalf,

At which, while angels weep, the audience laugh;

From all my proofs of Thy divinity,

Thou, who wouldst give no sign, deliver me.

Thoughts are but coins. Let me not trust, instead

Of Thee, the thumb-worn image of Thy head;

From every thought, even from my thoughts of Thee,

Oh thou fair Silence! fall and set me free.

Lord of the straight way and the needle’s eye,

Take from me all my trumpery lest I die.”

We might also think of the Lord’s Prayer Course:  the focus for the first portion is on Hallowed Be Thy Name. This petition relates to the Nine Beatitudes, the first of which is “Blessed are the Poor in Spirit.” The portion of Christ and Sophia on the First Beatitude is so rich with content that could be brought in. In particular, there is a section describing the true nature of Grail Knighthood that is very powerful and relevant to our work. The fundamental striving of the Grail Knight stems from a dissatisfaction in the Spirit only descending to the Ego—the Grail Knight wishes for absolute communion, down to the very physical body. This necessitates an equally absolute poverty.

On the other hand, in addition to this more organic and spontaneous selection of quotes that resonate on the individual, heart level, we might also incorporate a more structured movement through quotations from the Book of Revelation. We could focus on the Letters/Seals during the Coins, the Trumpets during the Swords, etc. It would be good to refresh our familiarity with the section of Christ and Sophia that focuses on the 7 Letters.

This is intimately related to our task. Tomberg left these studies unfinished:  notice that he never wrote meditations on the Seals, Trumpets, Vials, and New Jerusalem. Then, in the Lord’s Prayer Course, he explicitly ties these four realms to the four Suits. And then in MOTT, he ends by requesting 56 Letter-Meditations on the Minor Arcana. Hence, a set of Meditations on the Minor Arcana would be at one and the same time the completion of Tomberg’s Anthroposohic Meditations on the Apocalypse. 

The Apocalypse is all about Ascent, about Reintegration, vs the Fall and Salvation of the Old and New Testaments. This brings us back to the distinction between Major Arcana (path downwards) and Minor Arcana (path of Ascent, Reintegration). 

One might think of MOTT as the first part of an elaborated Third Testament (Apocalypse). Robert Powell has called it a Bible for the New Age, and it is indeed a Third Testament. But the Third Testament recapitulates the Old and New prior to actually entering into its true content. Hence, Tomberg wrote meditations on the Old and New Testaments, and MOTT one might classify as a work focusing on the Old and New Testaments; it focuses on Tradition, but recapitulates it into a form in which it can give birth to the new that is emerging. 

The Old and New Testaments are like two sides of a coin, question and answer, Fall and Salvation. MOTT ties those two sides together seamlessly. 

A “Meditations on the Minor Arcana,” however, would follow this up with a “proper” Third Testament, that which can begin to come forth in our time:  the path of Reintegration.

When Joel was a child, he was always fascinated by a portion of Revelation in which John hears the 7 Thunders speak, and is about to write it down, when an Angel warns him not to:  that what the 7 Thunders speak cannot be revealed. This is in Revelation 10. We might relate this to our time, that in a post-Apocalyptic age, after the advent of the Etheric Christ and the incarnation of Ahriman, we have entered a new time, when that which was withheld previously can be revealed. 

One might wonder if in addition to or rather than the New Jerusalem being related to the Batons, maybe these 7 Thunders are related to them? One thinks of celestial lightning proceeding from the Thunderous Cloud, and this is the gesture of the Batons, a creative emanation moving from Above to Below.

– Speaking of living in these unique times, these Apocalyptic times, there is one 8chan user who has written about a World War II soldier who foresaw his own death, and hence knew he was indestructible. Planes he would fly would be shot at, virtually leaving a silhouette or outline of his form in bullet holes, just missing him. He had the courage to do the unthinkable due to this foreknowledge. This 8chan user hypothesizes that DJT has had a similar experience; that he knows with real certainty the path laid before him, and hence can take action in a seemingly reckless but actually very calculated way. This relates back to our characterization of The Fool, as one who has passed through a certain experience that makes him immune to death and destruction, and therefore he comes off as a reckless idiot to some. Among the posts on Q, there is a description of the “16-year plan”, half of which was brought about under BHO, the other half of which would have come about under HRC. It is remarkably reminiscent of passages from Rose of the World. Whenever we are reminded of what could have been, of the enormous calamity that we only just missed, we are filled with an overwhelming sense of gratitude, not just to the specific people in power who have recognized Evil and are attempting to thwart it, but towards the Grace of the Spiritual World, of Christ.

– So, thus far we have decided how we will begin and end our sessions both in terms of sacred practice and in terms of inspirational/guiding quotations. We have dovetailed into the esoteric underpinnings of our striving. Now to bring in the nitty-gritty of our approach.

When we worked with the Major Arcana, our approach was to work with the Divine Name YHVH (Yod, He, Vau, He) in this way:

Where the second He became the Yod of the next iteration of the Divine Name. This created the following structure:

From this, we could see 4 paths emerging. The first was a path from Mysticism (Yod) to Gnosis (He):

Magician, Emperor, Chariot, Wheel, Death, Tower, Sun

Where the Magician is the Archetypal Mysticism, and the Sun became the transition into the Archetypal Gnosis of the High Priestess.

The second path was a path from Gnosis (He) to Sacred Magic (Vau):

High Priestess, Pope, Justice, Force, Temperance, Star, Judgement

Where High Priestess is the Archetypal Gnosis, and the Judgement became the transition into the Archetypal Sacred Magic of The Empress.

The third path was a path from Sacred Magic (Vau) to Hermeticism (He):

Empress, Lover, Hermit, Hanged Man, Devil, Moon, Fool

Where Empress is the Archetypal Sacred Magic, and the Fool became the transition into the Archetypal Hermeticism of The Emperor.

The fourth path was a path from Hermeticism (He) to Sacred Art (Yod):

Emperor, Chariot, Wheel, Death, Tower, Sun, The World.

The World becomes the Yod of the next phase, the Coins of the Minor Arcana. But it is a Yod = Sacred Art rather than a Yod = Mysticism.

So, overall we could say the Major Arcana have four Archetypes for each letter of the Divine Name:  Magician, High Priestess, Empress, Emperor; but the last card plants the seed of a new, different Archetypal Yod, one that brings out the Sacred Artistic aspect of Yod rather than the Mystical aspect.

For the Minor Arcana, we were drawn to the idea of working with the Divine Name Yod He Shin Vau He = YHSHVH = Jeheshua = Jesus. We are working with God Incarnate in the Minor Arcana, the God-Man, rather than God Above, the Father God. 

The format for this is given to us by The World, which is described by Tomberg as the key to or map of the entire Minor Arcana:

Angel Eagle


Bull Lion

When working with the Majors, we saw that Magician (Yod) = Angel, High Priestess (He) = Bull, Empress (Vau) = Eagle, Emperor (He) = Lion.  The Woman would then represent Shin, the Personality:

Yod Vau


He He

In this case, we are working with a primal duality rather than unity, God-Man rather than God the Father. In the pattern of YHVH, the second H was also the Y of the next iteration. In the case of the Minors and YHShVH, due to the emphasis on duality, two letters are fluid in this way; the VH becomes the YH of the next iteration:

Notice we are also working horizontally (more in the realm of Time) rather than from Above to Below (the realm of Space). Again, the Human and Natural realm are integrated into the process.

Originally, we were looking at the 56 Minor Arcana as a whole, working from the primal Yod of the Ace of Coins (the seed for which had been planted by the transitional Arcanum of the World, which is structurally almost identical with the Ace of Coins) until the final “He/He” of the King of Batons. This would result in 5 Paths, analogous to the 4 Paths created by the Major Arcana:  1) from Yod to He, 2) from He to Shin, 3) from Shin to Vau, 4) from Vau to He, and 5) from He to Yod. However, each of these paths would have been 18 Arcana long! A bit much.

Joel had a breakthrough just the other day that we ought not look at the Minor Arcana as a whole, but rather as 4 Suits. This is much more manageable. This creates the following pattern:

1 4 7 10 Queen

3 6 9 Knight

2 5 8 Knave King

The Five Paths are then:

Ace, 4, 7, 10 (Yod to He)

2, 5, 8, Knave (He to Shin)

3, 6, 9, Knight (Shin to Vau)

4, 7, 10, Queen (Vau to He)

5, 8, Knave, King (He to Yod)

These Five Paths would appear in four different iterations, by appearing in the four different suits. The King of each suit becomes a “transitional Yod,” similar to what the World is to the Suit of Coins:

Transitional Yod:  World to       Primal Yod:  Ace of Coins

      King of Coins               Ace of Swords

      King of Swords         Ace of Cups

      King of Cups     Ace of Batons

      King of Batons     Magician (looping back to the Major Arcana)

We also see that the first five Arcana of each suit represent the Archetypal Divine Name YHSHVH for that suit, just as the first four Arcana of the Majors represented the Archetypal Divine Name YHVH. These five cards in each suit “set the tone” for the entire exploration within that suit.

The question that has plagued Joel is this:  with the first four Major Arcana, we have the Archetypes of the Divine Name, expressed as Mysticism, Gnosis, Sacred Magic, and Hermeticism. But what exactly are we working with in the Minors? Even though we are moving back up the Tree of Life, we cannot work with the Divine Name in reverse (HVHY):  first of all, this is the fallen divine name of the scientific method (see page 213 of MOTT), second of all it simply doesn’t make sense to begin with Hermeticism and move to Sacred Magic, etc. 

No, in fact when we reverse our direction through the Tree of Life, when we reverse (or rather, invert) the Name of God YHVH we come to the Name YHShVH! Christ is the reverse or inversion or balance of God the Father:  the Devil is not a reversal, he is an ape, a pale imitation.

And in this case, in this backward movement, we are working through the name of God not once but 4 times: once for each Suit, or in each of the Four Planes of Jacob’s Ladder:  Coins, Swords, Cups, Batons (Action, Formation, Creation, Emanation). One thinks of the one Genesis vs the four Gospels.

But this cannot simply be a repetition of Mysticism, Gnosis, Love (=Shin), Sacred Magic, Hermeticism, and back to Mysticism over and over again four times in a row. We see this already in the first Yod established by The World:  the primal quality being elaborated by this first Yod is not Mysticism, but Sacred Art. Yod=Sacred Art is our point of departure. What, then are the 20 other qualities we are dealing with, qualities akin to Mysticism, Gnosis, Sacred Magic, Hermeticism? For we are looking for twenty-one total:  five for each suit, and then a final “Yod” that transitions us into the Major Arcana. 

Let us for the moment set aside The Fool:  treat him as the Zero card. That leaves us with the 21 Major Arcana of the Tarot. Here is our answer.  We move backward through the Major Arcana. Here we have 4 groups of 5 (4 Divine Names) and then The Magician, who equates with the King of Batons as the “transitional Yod” back into…Mysticism! The Yod of the Major Arcana.

Let us see how this would work with the Suit of Coins.  The Divine Name would be:

World (Y) Moon (V)

Sun (Sh)

Judgement (H) Star (H)

That means:

The World = Ace of Coins

Judgement = Two of Coins

Sun = Three of Coins

Moon = Four of Coins

Star = Five of Coins

We see immediately great resonance between the geometries of these cards and their counterparts. We have already noticed this with The World and Ace of Coins. But look at Judgement vs Two of Coins:  the latter image is like a reduction that encapsulates the whole activity of Resurrection. Then comparing Sun with Three of Coins:  the latter is again a geometric reduction or summary of the former. The same can be said for the other two pairs as well. This is a remarkable aesthetic confirmation of this idea!  The Major Arcana then become woven into the Minor Arcana in a very organic way. We might say they are the “illuminated letters” beginning a text, and the Minors are the rest of the text. For these five Arcana become the “Headers” of the Five paths:

1.  World (Y)/Ace—Four—Seven—Ten/Judgement (H) transitions to….

2. Judgement (H)/Two—Five—Eight—Knave/Sun (SH) transitions to…

3. Sun (SH)/Three—Six—Nine—Knight/Moon (V) transitions to…

4. Moon (V)/Four—Seven—Ten—Queen/Star (H) transitions to…

5. Star (H)/Five—Eight—Knave—King/Tower (Y) 

And the Tower transitions us into the next Suit:

1. Tower (Y)/Ace of Swords…etc. And these two Arcana once again have a great aesthetic/geometric resonance!

Hence, we will have to find the Archetypal qualities, akin to those laid out explicitly by Tomberg for the first four Major Arcana, for all of the Major Arcana as we move through the Minors. This is very helpful, as it gives us a starting tone so to speak, using one of the Major Arcana, for each of the first five Arcana of the Suits. We don’t feel quite as much like we’re heading into the void, we can orientate using the Majors as Archetypal qualities of the Divine Name YHShVH. It is interesting that in Joel’s striving after finding qualities on a conceptual level for us to work with in relation to the Divine Name, the answer was given not in a conceptual form but in the form of Images, in the form of ferments which will inspire the discovery of these qualities in an organic (rather than abstract/intellectual) way.

These four iterations of the Divine Name YHShVH are then:

World Moon


Judgement Star  for the Coins

Tower Death


Devil Hanged Man for the Swords

Force Justice


Wheel Chariot for the Cups

Lover Empress


Pope High Priestess for Batons

And King of Batons = Magician, transitioning (via the Fool) back to Majors….

We can see in the quality of each of these four groups the overall quality of the suit in question. Coins = Preparation; Swords = Purification; Cups = Illumination; Batons = Union

It is interesting that when Joel first proposed working with the Major Arcana to the group back in 2015, Phillip was reading backwards through MOTT, starting with The World. This would very likely be a helpful exercise, to slowly work backward through the text over the next 4+ years. A different side of each Arcanum will likely present itself.

We now feel more certain of our structure going forward…

We ended by reading the quote from CS Lewis once again.

(Hopefully this made sense to anyone reading!! It is easier to show than tell…)