Eight of Batons (I)

Notes of a Hermetic Conversation between Phillip and Joel on February 26, 2023

The cut stem at the base of each flower—it points to the right above, and the left below.

The bases of the flowers point in different directions due to the diagonal cut. In the Two, there is no cut at all, a white root-flower instead. In the four, the cut is also diagonal, but not as steep in its angle. In the Six the flowers are not the same, and the cuts are pointing to the same side (to the left, if oriented with the round-leaf flower above; both right, if the other way).

There is a diagonal cut on the baton in the Ace as well.

Actually, four of these diagonal cuts in the Ace, and then the fifth at the base.

Diagonal cuts are all throughout the Swords: the Ace, Three, Four and Six:

Each of the Aces amplifies their place in the sequence of four, yet also hides a pointer to the future, akin to the way that the “four” of The World (22 = 2+2 = 4) points to a fifth in the center.

The Ace of Coins is a One becoming Two, the Ace of Swords a Two becoming Three, the Ace of Cups a Three becoming Four, the Ace of Batons a Four becoming Five.

The entire Minor Arcana follow on from the World. Does the Ace of Batons then lead back to the World? Is this diagonal cut the Vesica Piscis of the World?

But really the “Ace” of the Majors is the Magician. If the Ace of Batons is “Four becoming Five”, does that mean he is somehow a “Five” of sorts? Can we consider the Major Arcana the fifth Suit?

His baton is a clean cut, more perpendicular, not a slant. The baton held by the dancer in the World is meant to be as well, but seems rounder.

His table has three legs—should there be five? But there are five! If you include his two legs as legs of the table.

The front-most leg of the table continues off the edge of the image. But his leg is aligned with it and yet we see his foot on the ground.

So we can work either way with the Magician, it could also be moving backwards. It can either be Four becoming Three or Four becoming Five. There is an option there.

Notice in the Ace of Batons there is also this three vs two: three side cuts, and two in the vertical, one above and one below.

Thinking of the World as a cut, we’ve never thought of it that way before.

Her garland is composed of smaller Vesica Piscis.

The blade of grass below the Magician—maybe that is a “cut” as well, an opening rather than a blade? The World in seed form, just beginning. He is roosting on it. Brooding.

That’s how Steiner translates the beginning of Genesis. “The Spirit of God was brooding over the waters.”

The blade as the source of heat, and he is the alembic perhaps…as in alchemy.

Perhaps, then, the Magician is “Five becoming Six”, and that slit is the hidden sixth “leg”. A leg starting from below, reaching up to the table, rather than descending from it to the ground.

Or is he busy assembling the sixth leg, out of the materials he handles?

Now, we have to stop ourselves from entering into the Majors, and return to the Minors, the focus, the Eight of Batons.

All is complete, except the cut plays the role of the 3rd edge of an incomplete diamond shape. The 4th edge must also be present. The white diamond above and below, which has two red edges, and one edge created by the stem. A fourth side is implied, but missing.

The blue is a cut shape, that same diamond. Notice the white arrows that are formed, pointing into the blue diamond from left, right, above and below.

The blue is a diamond that is full of smaller diamonds.

We just discussed the cut shape for ten minutes—that is the most prominent aspect here, the cut shape.

The Six and Seven of Batons were such obvious and blatant leaps in terms of form, but actually the Eight is as well, only it is much more subtle until it is brought into comparison with prior Batons. The Ace stands alone:

Then the sequence Two through Five is a set, they belong together:

The Six and Seven are a flying leap from Two through Five, and they belong together. But then the Eight is a new departure, once it is compared to them:

Note the sudden emergence of the diamond shape in the center. It hasn’t been there before at all. Yet this diamond shape was expected somehow although unseen, therefore we aren’t surprised when it arrives.

The angle of the red is so different from before. It has become much steeper—a shift from about 20° to around 45°. This brings about the white diamonds on the sides, and removes the space for the plants to grow.

There was a woven diamond forming in the center of the blue in the Four through the Seven, growing in size. But now it has taken over the entirety of the blue. That’s why it doesn’t come as such a shock—it has been hiding in plain sight in the center since the Four. Prior to the Eight, the progression was most notable through the plant forms on the sides, therefore we didn’t pay attention to the center. Now those plants have drawn completely into the blue, and the diamond has emerged fully. The first time (other than the Ace) that we have not had these side plants. The orientation is now completely to the center.

We were seeing that diamond all along, so it wasn’t unexpected or unnatural at all, even though we didn’t notice it consciously.

The red cone of the flowers is akin to the diamond shape. A real tear drop shape.

And maybe they aren’t quite identical? We can’t really tell. One of them has five levels in the spiral, the other has four solid spirals and two partial ones at either end. So one is somewhat larger than the other. They are only very slightly different, almost unnoticeably. There is a lot of subtlety in the details of this Arcanum.

The Eight is now more influenced from the World coming from the future, not by what came before it. It grew out of what came before, of course, but the most forming is the future presence of the World shape.

The outer red angles have also changed. They are making triangles in the corners. A prototype of the woman in the center (diamond) with the four creatures as the corners. The two flowers are like the bands on the wreath.

The center is riddled with little diamonds. And there is no weird imperfection anymore, as there was in the Seven. It is an intricate enough pattern that it isn’t quite recognisable as a pattern. It’s hard to sum it up, e.g. “skip two, go under one.”

For the border of the diamond, we have: Long—3 diamonds—Long—2 diamonds

If we look at it strip by strip, we see one strip that is “skip three, go under one” (x2) and then a strip that is strictly “under-over-under-over” etc.

There is a lot of blue in this image.

We are back to having white in the vertical plant. It hasn’t been that way since the Four and the Two.

The Two through Five are a pulsing. The plant that is outside in the Two goes into the center in the Three, becoming a Baton as it does so. It is given some blue and comes out again in the Four. It enters again in the Five to gather more blue, a gathering of blue increasingly in the vertical plant. Then the Six and Seven, there is no pulse. The plant leaves fully blue in the Six, but then doesn’t return. Instead, there is white that reaches out from the blue center, it touches the blue plants above and below, and turns them each into batons. We could see the Seven as already an Eight, if we consider the vertical Baton as two, one above and one below, instead of one Baton running through the center. The white reaches out, begins to overtake the blue plants in the Seven; then in the Eight, it has overtaken them completely, transformed them into white plants rather than blue —except for the leaves.

Note the blue shapes in the center:

Because of this torpedo-like red on the flowers in the Eight, like a bird’s beak, they really look like they are flying away. More so than those in the Two, Four, Six.

That degenerate prince in the Six. Hovering, wafting evil perfume. A vampire. Then the big leaves in the Four—they’re not going anywhere. Levitating, like the Transfiguration, but not leaving.

In the Eight, it is the presence of a hummingbird-angel, about to depart after delivering a message. Or after eating/pollinating.

What is this image meant to be? If it was “real”? The yellow and the blue are continuous—more continuous than before. But what is the object? Why blue? The yellow makes sense somehow, but the blue?

The blue seems to be crystal, or perhaps metal (steel). The yellow is golden, or made of wood.

Yet it could also be water vs light.

So the blue is either this totally solid and interwoven crystal/metal, or it is totally malleable, pure water. Like a fairy story. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. It is up to the world of magic as to whether you’re worthy of passing through. It could be completely solid or completely permeable.

The verses from Revelation spoke of God tabernacling with humanity in the New Jerusalem. The image as a whole resembles a tabernacle, as seen from above. Spikes, poles. Also reminiscent of DBH’s translation of the first chapter of John’s Gospel, the Logos “pitched a tent among us.”

A tabernacle is a mobile Temple. The Hebrews used the tabernacle as their place of worshipping YHVH until the Temple was built. Christ as the tabernacle, the mobile Temple within each of us. In Chapter 21 of Revelation, it says the tabernacle will be in the New Jerusalem—instead of the Temple? The Old Jerusalem had the Temple; the New Jerusalem has no Temple, rather it has the Tabernacle, the mobile Christ.

A study group in Copake has been focusing on Chapter 11 of Revelation for the past few weeks. It mentions a reed like a measuring rod to measure the sanctuary. Reminiscent of the “bruised reed” in Isaiah 42 and Matthew 12. John is to measure the sanctuary but not the courtyard. The bruised reed is reminiscent of this break in the baton in the Seven of Batons. There is still an outer courtyard in the Seven. It is no longer there in the Eight. This is all sanctuary, all tabernacle.

A holy place—measuring the holy place. Architecture, drafting, construction. Is the holy place related to the cut? To the Vesica Piscis?

Is this the first Minor Arcanum with no plant life? Well, there are plants here actually. And many Swords are bare. Really the Ten of Cups comes to mind primarily.

But still…there is nothing growing out as there usually was.

In the earlier Batons, we saw a face in the middle, in the blue. Especially in the Two and Four. The pearl eyes.

Then in the Six, it shifted, we saw two opposing forms depending on the orientation, in the flowers above and below.

Now…Joel hesitates to point it out, because it seems ridiculous…but the flowers above and below in the Eight make alien faces. Even more ridiculous than the “dark prince” in the Six. The negative space, the white around the flower, is the head. The blue leaves are eyes, the white stem a nose, the diamond shape a narrow mouth. The red and yellow blossom like a third eye or a crown of sorts.

It is removed from the objects, yet made of the objects. A candlestick making a face.

An alien encounter, or an alien craft. Like the entire image becomes an alien craft hovering above. Reminiscent of the Egyptian Pyramids somehow now. Consumption of mushrooms bestowing I-consciousness, as in the Amber Spyglass, the last of the His Dark Materials trilogy. The creatures in an alternate dimension gain I-consciousness through using the seedpod of a certain tree for their mobility. An oil from this seedpod spears onto them as they use it as a wheel, and it makes them receptive to “dust”, i.e. the substance of thought. Thought-particles. Those books are so rich with valid spiritual imagery, yet they have been chained by a kind of rigid materialistic interpretation by the author. Unfortunate. Those books are potentially quite unhealthy to the psyche unless the reader is prepared to do the work of forcing the translation of the symbolism outside of that intended by the author.

For us, a feeling of a kind of indignation: “How dare you use symbols univocally??!” A kind of blasphemy. Enslaving a symbol.

This face is also very similar to Ahriman’s in Steiner’s representation. He is stuck outside of the center. Irritated. Confused.

Is it like the Essenes at the time of Christ? Dispelling the demons from their midst through their purity, but casting them out to the common people?

Or this strange ending to Revelation. All are welcome to come drink of the water of life. Yet outside the City are the liars, the whores, the murderers, the idolators, in eternal torment. Those who can’t or won’t drink from the waters of life. If those waters of life are a dense metal/stone configuration to you, then of course you cannot drink of them.

The four rivers of the New Jerusalem. Are they flowing from within out? Or without in? And where to? The four rivers were more clearly represented before, in the X form. Not so clear as a diamond.

Moses striking the rock with his rod, and the water flows out. The meeting of the “stone” image with the “water” image, and the rod.

Moses was not meant to do that. YHVH instructed him to speak to the rock, not strike it (Numbers 20). But Moses was frustrated with the Hebrews, and struck it out of his anger. He was punished for this. Not allowed to arrive in the Promised Land, only allowed to see it from a distance. Does this say something of the destiny of this individuality?

The Promised Land, this crystalline purity. And the Face—intense, in the background. The vibration of a high being. Ahriman is intense. Ahrimanic beings are those beings of any hierarchy that have remained at the stage they were in Old Sun. Are these Elohim, stuck at the archangelic stage they were on Old Sun?

If you frame the face with a Vesica Piscis shape, it is no longer so intense, doesn’t draw you in. It is a very different being.

Are the four rivers made of light? That then transform into water once they enter the sanctuary? And then flow out, becoming light again? Does it constantly vibrate between the two?

Darkness (at the moment of saying this word, our lit candle goes out)—is it annihilation, a great nothing? Or is it Silence, the water of life? The question from Faust, when he travels to the realm of the Mothers. There Mephistopheles says he finds nothing, a void. And Faust says that within this “nothing”, he will find his All.