Notes of a Hermetic Conversation on November 27, 2018
November 27, 2018
Eight of Coins
First we performed the protective practice.
Then we invoked the presence of the Holy Spirit through reading the third stanza of the Foundation Stone Meditation.
After focusing briefly the mantra I AM on the brow chakra, we moved the fourth part of the Inner Radiance Sequence, and the 20th Letter of the Divine Alphabet.
We then read Revelation 4:9-11, and Matthew 17:24-27
Contemplating the Eight of Coins as an 8 (with Justice and The Star); as the 29th Arcanum (as 2, with High Priestess, Force, and Judgement); and as the 30th Arcanum (as 3, with Empress, Hanged Man, and the Fool).
– Looking at the 8 stars above the woman in The Star in relation to the Eight of Coins. This is like a bird’s eye view above those stars (the coins), shining over the river (the plants). The two red pitchers that the woman is holding, pouring them into the river, are like the two red flowers above and below the central flower. She is like the central flower, pouring out two complementary streams, an above and below. This makes one think of the Eight of Coins as a bifurcated archetype. In the Star, the pitchers are pouring into the same stream, but here they are going in two different directions.
– Noticing the number of points on each of the stars in The Star. There are five with 8 points, 2 with 7 points, and one with 16 points. The 5 X 8 = 40. So with 40, we have the 40 numbered cards of the Minor Arcana. With 16, we have the 16 court cards of the Minor Arcana. With 2 x 7 = 14, we have the number of cards in each suit of the Minor Arcana. The largest, 16 pointed star reminds one of the central flower in the Eight of Coins, which has 8 petals and 8 lines/spines = 16.
These stars above the woman are like the shield for the Empress or Emperor—it is her Standard, “I come in the name of the Minor Arcana.” The stars as the regalia or garment of the Cosmos, as the Archetypal Temple, of which all earthly temples are reflections. “You are in the Temple of the Cosmos as Tarot.”
The stars above are showing a particular layout or presentation of the Minor Arcana. Once again, this self-referential quality of the Minors in relation to the Majors, and the displaying of several sides/aspects simultaneously.
The lower portion (the woman’s activity) is an active expression of the stars above. She is the activity of the Minor Arcana. But this leads us back to the question raised in the 17th Letter-Meditation: what is the link between the above (macrocosmos) and below (microcosmos)? What is the magical agent? Recalling the discussion of the Dove vs the Serpent as magical agent (from the 11th Letter-Meditation, page 250).
Thinking of this in terms of cell biology and genetics. The DNA doesn’t actually do anything. It has this static, stellar quality to it. Just an antenna that draws in the signal that all else responds to. The DNA is just plan, book, not activity. The Minor Arcana are the DNA of the human/cosmic drama. The Majors are more like the components of the cell, the organs and pieces that perform their functions. The Minors are a latticework or plan underlying the Majors.
The movement from working primarily with the Majors to working with the Minors is a bit like the difference between cell biology and genetics. The fascinating piece of genetics is epigenetics: what exactly is it that is determining the expression of certain genes and not others out of the mass of raw material? What is the connecting link between DNA/genes and the manifestation of activity in the cell? It is the environment.
– Noticing that the 40 numbered cards are divided by 5 into 8, rather than 4 into 10 as they are in the deck itself. Why is this? Is it of any significance? It makes on think of the two different Divine Names with which we have been working: one is of four letters (YHVH) and one is of five letters (YHShVH). Reviewing Tomberg’s reference to this in the 5th Letter-Meditation, on page 117. Here it is brought directly into connection with the five currents of will, and the five wounds.
Richard Rohr: the resurrection body of Lazarus has an intimate connection to the God with the 5 Letter Name (Jesus).
Thinking of the black magical alternative to the name of Christ. If one is only working with the five currents of will (thelema) and not piercing them with the five wounds of Christ, we have the path of Aleister Crowley. One must be careful when working with 5! Perhaps the 4 Letter name of YHVH is safer somehow.
– The first week we ended by looking at the first eight Coin Arcana as a spectrum of totally unique beings, each emanating a particular eternal message or activity. Then the second week we found the way that they connect and grow one out of the other, how they are actually one united organism. Again a strongly united contrast! Absolute uniqueness vs absolute wholeness. This is akin to the way that the Eight is absolute Life and Death, Resurrection Body. Antinomies that are perfectly balanced: doesn’t this bring us to Justice? The whole message of Justice is balance, resolving antinomies, the 8th force that puts everything in its right place.
The end of the 7th Letter-Meditation: the 8th force of equanimity that harmonizes the other 7 soul/planetary forces (page 169). She has the ability to bind and separate judiciously. What is balance? It is two separate, distinct beings that are brought into unity/equality through attaining equal weight. Here we have difference united with identity. Her sword does not destroy, rather it separates one thing from another, it discerns and sorts. The only way to have two pieces that can be put into each cup of her scales.
We could see the Eight of Coins as multiple balances, all balances (or scales).
The central flower has a blue pearl, with two red pearls (one above and one below). The two red pearls could be seen as two unique entities with their own points of orientation, balanced by the blue pearl.
Are we looking down from above? Are they really connected to the central flower at all? This could easily be five separate plants, although it appears to be a unity. The coins appear to be hovering above the plants (if we are looking at this from a bird’s eye view). The coins are more in the foreground of the image.
– Going back to the central flower, and this issue of uniqueness vs wholeness. The flower is the center of gravity. The expression of the invisible factor that binds several unique entities together into a wholeness.
The horizontally directed flowers growing out of the central flower. At their base is something like a transformation of the pearl, and this form of flower is a new one. New pearl, new flower. A presentiment of what is coming.
– Looking back at the other arcana, and whether they have more than one plant form.
Ace = ambiguous. Is it four? It all depends on whether they are connected to each other by the central coin (or behind it).
Two = One interconnected plant form.
Three = One interconnected plant form.
Four = Two distinctly separate forms.
Five = Two distinctly separate forms. Notice the strange, ornamental stem in the lower portion.
Six = Five separate entities, akin to the Eight, but more leaf emphasis than flower emphasis. Indeterminate what exactly some of those forms are. They are a bit like Cologne Cathedral, a bit Gaudi-esque. Psychedelic plant forms.
Seven = have we gone back to one interconnected form? It is once again ambiguous.
So it is interesting that the Six also had five separate entities, since the Six also had this quality of referencing everything else. But the Six’s plants are more flowing, whereas the Eight’s are more radiant, not as flowing. The Six had the ability to flow into and become whatever Arcanum it was referencing. The Eight, on the other hand, is either absorbing or repelling that which approaches it. It’s more discerning. For example, the Three of Coins has no place here in the Eight.
– Looking at the Eight as a Two: High Priestess—Force—Judgement—Eight
We have already discussed the Eight as a following up on the Judgement; this is like getting the preparatory stages to that progression.
The Eight is like the Book that the High Priestess is holding. Like the opening of a book, an unfolding. There is a “G” eurythmy gesture to the opening of a book, also in the opening of the Lion’s jaws in Force, and in the Angel’s emerging from the clouds in the Judgement. The emerging from the tomb. The pitchers of water in The Star (looking at the sequence of Eight arcana). It’s another gesture of separation, like the sword and the scales in Justice.
– One would tend to associate the number Eight with the “Father God in the Octenary” as Saint-Martin says on page 172. But there are many female figures here, and the gesture of opening is a fundamentally feminine gesture—a gesture of giving birth. Unity and separation is gestation (unity with the Mother) and birth (separation from the Mother). When we look at DNA and cell biology, at astrology weaving into the ether body, this is all the gesture of “book” (DNA, Stars) becoming “life” (Cells, Biography). Wisdom imprinting onto the active recipient.
But it is a mysterious thing. No aspect of transformation is depicted. No clear transition from Stars to Woman in The Star—it is a leap. The Book is written in the High Priestess—but who wrote it? Is she reading what someone else wrote, or what she herself is in the process of writing?
What is the backstory of Force and Judgement in the same regard? Did the woman and lion in Force have a prior relationship, do they know each other well? Or did she exercise some spontaneous, semi-hypnotic influence over this wild beast?
When it comes to The Judgement, was there some kind of consciously enacted rite performed in order to attempt to raise the youth from the dead? Or was this a complete surprise, a miracle of grace amidst their sorrow of losing their loved one, out of their desperate prayers?
Justice is the clearest in this regard, even though it’s not totally explicit. It took us a long time to see the direct connection between the sword and scales, but it is certainly there. And this connection perhaps helps to illuminate the more mysterious transitions/interconnections between apparently disparate pieces in the other Arcana we are observing here.
Side note—what is the horizontal element that seems to be emerging from the base of the sword in Justice?
– The Hanged Man, in a way, continues the theme—he is the victim of Justice. Like a counter-image of the Eight of Coins, with the two trees that are totally stripped of their growth, rather than this radiance of flowering. The Hanged Man is like a complete sacrifice of what is in the Eight. The Eight is a radiance of the full activity of bringing everything into its right place. The Hanged Man is the accused—the absence of things in their right place. Stuck and fixed, not radiant. At the whim of fate, not the determiner of fate.
Whereas the Empress has more to do with consequences as well. The Empress as Birth, Opening, Separation.
The emphasis in The Empress is central (navel/belly). In the Hanged Man it is below (head in the earth), and in the Fool it is above (head in the clouds, so to speak). One can even see the Fool as having cut off his own head.
The Empress is all-powerful, Divine Magic. The Hanged Man is an expression of inner power, of fortitude and fidelity, in the face of outer powerlessness. The Fool is the perfect blending of these two. He is all together, yet falling apart. He knows everything, and knows nothing. He is the ultimate indestructibility that arises out of having been completely destroyed.
The Eight of Coins changes so much next to the different Major Arcana. New aspects emerge that wouldn’t be seen at all otherwise.
Notice that the Eight achieves a complete separation of its eight coins, they are divided from each other. Yet it does so in a way that they achieve the most solid and condensed geometric form we have seen yet. Dividing to create wholeness.
In regards to this block-like geometry, after our first conversation as we were reflecting on it, Molly noted that there is something domino like about the Eight of Coins. The next week, without remembering this comment of hers consciously, we then joined up the Coin Arcana in a way akin to dominoes. There is something of this ancient game here. One wonders about some of these other old tile-based games, like Mahjong in China. Or runes. Something to look into.
– These three sets of numbers:
2 = High Priestess—Force—Judgement
3 = Empress—Hanged Man—Fool
8 = Justice—Star
They all coalesce very well thematically. Many powerful women. The men seem to be suffering some kind of subservience.
Are High Priestess, Empress, Justice and Force like a Tetragrammaton for the Mother? For the Mother God, not just a “great mother goddess with many breasts,” some kind of fertility goddess, but the feminine side and nature of all these powers.
In fact, we have 8 cards total here! And they could be arranged somehow with the Judgement as the center; The Star on the left as mother, the Fool on the right as Father; the Hanged Man as youth being raised; and the 4-fold Mother Goddess (Justice, High Priestess, Empress, Force) as the Angel above:
– We then briefly looked at Nine, as a preview of what is to come.
Noticing that when we connect all Ten of the Coin cards correctly:
Where One and Two share one, Two and Three share one, Three and Four share two, Four and Five share two, Five and Six share three, Six and Seven share three, Seven and Eight share four, Eight and Nine share Four, and Nine and Ten share two—
Then we have a total of 33 coins; spiritually, the adding together of 1 through 10 creates 33!
(As I write this, I realize that this means that 22 coins are “shared” amongst the ten numbered Coins, as in “normal” math, the first ten numbers add up to 55; 55-33 = 22).
We ended with the fourth stanza of the Foundation Stone Meditation in eurythmy.