Notes of a Hermetic Conversation on November 20, 2018
November 20, 2018
Eight of Coins
We began with the protective practice.
We then invoked the presence of the Holy Spirit through reading the third stanza of the Foundation Stone Meditation.
After briefly focusing the mantra I AM on the region of the brow chakra, we performed the fourth part of the Inner Radiance Sequence. We then performed the 20th Letter of the Divine Alphabet (Resh) in connection with The Judgement.
We then read Revelation 4:8 and Matthew 17:14-21.
Observing the Eight of Coins initially as the second He of the sequence Yod He Shin Vau He:
– Noticing that the plants create the three-fold cross of the three Great Arcana (see pages 508-509 of the Letter-Meditation on The Moon). Have we seen this formation before? Not quite. The Six of Coins is similar, but the cross is incomplete (we discussed this during the conversations on the Six of Coins). The red tongues of the Six of Coins seem to have grown into the large flowers of the Eight of Coins, splitting the upper and lower coins in two. The Eight as a direct movement from the Six.
The Seven seems to interrupt the sequence, actually. There is a more natural flow from Six to Eight. In fact, the Seven plays the same role in this YHShVH sequence as the Four of Coins did in the first sequence (Ace, Two, Three, Four, Five). The Four was an interruption of the sequence, it seemed to have little connection with the Three and Five, whereas the Three and Five fit together naturally.
Maybe the Arcana aren’t necessarily meant to proceed in numerical order, in a linear fashion. Perhaps the evens and the odds are meant to go together:
Two—Four—Six—Eight: this sequence is rather intense
Ace—Three—Five—Seven: this sequence is gentler.
All of the even numbered Arcana show a distinct above and below. Cutting the evens in half, the sequences both above and below are One, Two, Three, Four.
– Remarking again on the flowers in the middle of the Eight. They are a new form, no lines on them. Very soft/rounded flower form.
– Really we should put the odds sequence above the evens. The odds seem less incarnated/formed/fixed, and the evens seem more incarnated/formed/fixed. The presence of clear duality adds to this.
With the odds, only the Ace and the Five have an above/below symmetry. Yet all of them have a left/right symmetry. On the other hand, of the evens, the Two lacks right/left symmetry.
The Seven doesn’t seem to come naturally, even in the sequence of odds. It brings in the square form which seems to have more to do with the evens (Four, Six, and Eight).
– Looking again at the transition from Seven to Eight, we could see the Eight as taking the bottom part of the Seven (the four coins) and duplicating/mirroring this grouping to form the eight (two squares of coins). Notice that the three-fold stem in the bottom part of the Seven, in the midst of the four coins, is similar to the three-fold stem both above and below in the Eight. Except in the Seven the central stem is thicker, and the flower from which it emerges is blue instead of red.
The Seven is like a meeting of the odd and even.
The Seven holds the fourth place from the Ten (moving backwards), the mirror of the Four, which is in the fourth place from the Ace:
They are again, in this sense, in the same, seemingly odd position.
– Looking at the Arcana as a descent from Above to Below:
Suddenly we notice that the bottom half of each Arcana becomes or prefigures the top half of the subsequence Arcana. As Above, So Below. The Coin Arcana suddenly become generative and organic. We have found the way in which they flow together.
Many beautiful correspondences appear when we overlay them in this form. This makes sense of the seemingly strange way the coins are arranged on some of the Arcana. For example, the arrangement in the Seven always struck us as odd. Why an upside down triangle above and a square below? This is so that it “connects” onto the bottom portion of the Six and the top portion of the Eight. This will continue into the Nine, which has four coins at the top (it is basically like the Eight with a central coin rather than a central flower). How will this change, we wonder, when we get into the Court Cards?
For some time we have been aware of a way of arranging the Suit of Swords so that they become one continuous image of intersecting circles. Now we have found the analogous or equivalent arrangement of the Coins, the way they flow one into the other.
It seems to work best when the bottom half of the upper card is covered by the upper part of the lower card. The most natural images arise from this, and it also somehow speaks better to the idea of the generation proceeding from Above to Below.
This also can teach us to see the odds within the evens and vice versa. If we arrange just the evens, we can see an Ace in the upper part of the Two, and a Three where the bottom of Two meets the top of Four, etc.
– This relates back to the split between Above and Below in the Eight and in others that we were looking at before. The generation based on above and below, from above to below—perhaps it then becomes horizontal until another “above” generates a below. This perspective is laid out in the Letter-Meditation on the Magician (see page 13) on archetypes and myths. We could also see it as akin to the four planes of the Sephiroth Tree: Emanation is Above Creation, but Creation is Above Formation, etc. Levels of condensation.
– Going back to the Eight as the second He—do we see anything here?
Notice that the Four and the Seven are the originators of the next sequence. They are in one context the Vau, but in another the Yod of what comes next. They have stepped a bit out of line, they have opened the circle to a spiral and created a new path. Therefore they don’t quite fit in.
The Eight is like the central flower in the Four of Coins, only it has taken over the entire image. What is sought for, yearned for, or perhaps only feigned in the Four is accomplished completely in the Eight.
– Ace through Five seem to be a journey from the solid and static (Ace) to movement (Five). A proper and healthy respiration being found.
– Looking at Four through Eight. What is the journey here? The Eight is so radiant. The Four is more contained, but is pregnant with radiance, full of it and ready to bear it forth.
Four through Eight is like a see-sawing back and forth between radiance and stability or might, seeking their marriage. The Five and Seven are radiant without any might or solidity. The Six is too solid, no radiance. But the Eight weds the two perfectly.
The Four through Eight is a movement from the living (Four) to the dying (Five) to the dead/buried (Six) to the arising (Seven) to the resurrected (Eight).
Remember we said that the Seven looked like something coming over the horizon? The Eight is full daylight.
Perhaps we can come to something like this:
Ace through Five: the Stone is seeking life, respiration
Four through Eight: the Plant is seeking consciousness, awareness, sensation.
Seven through Knave (our next sequence): the Animal seeking self-consciousness, Ego-hood (represented by the Man, the Knave).
The Ace is the coin, the mineral being taken up into organic evolution. Plants are surrounding, but coaxing, acting on it, leading it on and imbuing it with something new.
This is like the image of Saturn evolution, where the physical body of man is in the center, surrounded by the beings of the Hierarchies that are radiating the semblance of life into it. It takes on the semblance of life, a semi-mechanical being. Only at the end of Saturn evolution does the light of the Sun begin to shine (Four of Coins), giving a foretaste of the next phase of evolution. The Five of Coins is the accomplishment of Saturn evolution, bringing life into connection with the purely physical.
Then in Sun evolution, the Light shines properly (Four of Coins as the Yod). Four is the brief flashing in of light that won’t actually happen properly and fully until the end of Sun evolution (Eight of Coins).
Saturn evolution is a dance between cold and warm leading to life and respiration.
Sun evolution is a dance between light and darkness leading to sentience. This is the journey of Four through Eight.
The Seven of Coins sets the stage, then, for Moon evolution to take place. Moon evolution is the dance between sound and silence leading to self-consciousness. The Seven is the first brief flashing in of the “music” of the Moon.
– The description of working with the Coins that Tomberg gives at the end of the Letter-Meditation on the World seems pretty straightforward. “Acquired value”: ideas, experiences, imagined ideals. What we’re dealing with here, for example bringing in Cosmic Evolution, seems much more dynamic, maybe over-complicated?
He somehow accomplished the task of condensing topics of immense complexity and dynamism into concise descriptions, basically throughout the entire book. He used language in such a way that what he’s saying cannot be mis-read; it only means what he’s attempting to communicate, but at the same time its like he’s using a new language altogether. Ordinary language used to portray something dynamic and fluid and archetypal. We seem to be doing the opposite. We seem to be imposing many ideas onto a few simple images. Is there a way for us to see the ideas we’re going through as a set of values, as he lays out on pages 655-656?
When he speaks of imagined ideals, the schemes of the intellect being neither illusory or real, they are merely values as such, representations of what is real. They have a transitional quality, not a true ideal nor of lasting value. The process of exchange—what has been experienced (on the one hand) and how it is internalized (on the other).
But doesn’t he say that even experiences are merely coin? He lists life experience, accumulated knowledge, and ideals or moral imaginations (conscience), all of them as coin, as not reality. Hasn’t this been our manner of working? We bring to the Arcanum in question our experiences, knowledge, and moral imaginations. The Arcanum then re-organizes this chaos of coin into a higher level of organization. We invest, imbue these Coins with the value of our experiences, knowledge, and ideals in order later to “pay up,” relinquish and sacrifice them (Swords). Even something as lofty as Cosmic Evolution is still, for us anyway, only representation—it is not reality.
The Swords are still not an experience of reality—they are just the process of “paying up” what one has invested in the coins. Only at the stage of the Cups has one become empty enough, poor enough to receive reality.
Phillip’s experience as of late is one of “paying up;” not just pain, it’s a passing and a sacrifice of almost all that he built up.
It isn’t necessarily that our content is that different, or more complicated. It’s the way it’s woven together. For example, in the Letter-Meditation on The Judgement, he somehow deftly weaves the picture of the Three-fold Akashic record into the narrative, in a way that feels completely natural. And it would be hard to approach a more complicated idea than that of the threefold Akashic! The question becomes how we can do this in our own approach, if we were to write Letter-Meditations on the Minors?
It’s a matter of portraying different overlays which express portions of a dynamic archetype that can’t really be captured in its fulness: it can only be indicated. Only through examples, e.g. Cosmic Evolution. The Arcana/Archetypes are multi-vocal. One cannot, with one “voice” express a whole choir. One can only pick out one melody at a time to give an idea of the whole song.
It’s appropriate to get into this more meta- discussion. It ties into the self-referential, reflective sentience of the Eight of Coins vs the Four. The nature of a second He (a “He of Hes” one could say) is to be extremely reflective of a whole.
– What are the implications as we turn to the Swords next year?
Will any kind of linear schematic process apply at all? [Edit January 2021: Ha! No.]
Would it be inappropriate to continue with the same process? It would be equally inappropriate to try to impose some new contrived process onto it.
Ideally it will arise organically out of the process we are in now—and frankly, that trumps any idea that Tomberg or anyone else may lay out as a prescription (for example, proceeding in the same, Sephirothic order through the coins and slicing them with the Swords, as he describes at the end of The World). It still doesn’t solve or invalidate the question of what happens when we get there.
– During the whole of the time with the Coins, we have been absorbing, back to front, front to back, and back to front again, the Letter-Meditations from The World back to the Star. It has been a really immersive experience so far. The emphasis is very much on Cosmic Evolution throughout these Letters, on Bergson and Chardin, etc. This has informed and set the stage for our process and approach to the Coins. We are going to end, during the King of Coins, with the Tower of Destruction—the destruction of the fixed schema!
The next set of Letter-Meditations we will immerse ourselves in (The Tower, The Devil, Temperance, Death, Hanged Man) are much more somber than those we are in now. They are like an impasse, a dead end, a silence, and a darkness. This will also likely inform our process and content of conversation.
We can see from this that the sequence from Ace to Five is like the entire suit of Coins in miniature: Cosmic Evolution, the movement of Life through the physical cosmos.
The sequence of Four through Eight is like the suit of Swords in miniature. A struggle between light and darkness. A dark night of the soul. Again this makes it appropriate to cast our gaze forward to the Swords for a time.
Seven through Knave is the suit of Cups in miniature; Ten through Queen is the Batons in miniature.
It is interesting that the fourth term of the sequence Yod He Shin Vau He has been an odd or transitional term. 4/5 of the way through the 14 Arcana of each suit of the Minors takes us to the Court Cards (4×14=56, 56/5=approximately 11; Knave is the 11th Arcanum), which are a sharp departure from the numbered Arcana. We could say, then, that this fourth term represent within each Divine Name the transition from Number to Court.
We ended with the fourth stanza of the Foundation Stone Meditation.