Eight of Cups (I)

The first part of notes of an ongoing Signal chat amongst Phillip, Joel, Sabrina, and Natalia that took place over the course of a few weeks

April 18:

Joel felt very refreshed ever since the conversation. It was really great to see and speak with everyone. Thanks for making the time…

Sabrina echoes this. She feels grateful that she can be part of this four-leaf clover. She loved the atmosphere of both concentrated work and heartfelt laughter.

This picture came to her mind while observing the sequence of the Cups, the metamorphosis which she attempted to characterise. In this growing process, the shape of the leaf becomes “sharper” then rounder, then sharper and so on.

A book that has stood unread on Sabrina’s shelf for many years suddenly gave her a call! The Letter, a Road of Life—Symbolism of the Hebrew Letters.

April 19

Natalia agrees that yesterday was enlivening indeed. She experienced a few times the phase that she gets really tired and then as if she is awakened anew on a higher level. Something similar happens working with horoscopes, that you just watch and get tired and numb, and then you pass some sort of threshold (brain thinking?) and get a new capacity, get inspired.

She is interested in what the page for The Hermit (i.e. Tet) says in Sabrina’s book! Somewhere she read that Tet is the letter/symbol for a pot or a man praying.

Sabrina then shared the actual pages in Italian, which she later translated and sent via email:

TET – the 9th Letter of the Hebrew Alphabet 

(from “La lettera, strada di vita. Il simbolismo delle lettere ebraiche“ by Annick de Souzenelle) 

“Tet“ at once means “serpent“ and…
(It’s an ideogram from antiquity that shows a serpent which is biting its tail.)
…for the Egyptians this very same ideogram shows a shield.
The primitive shield was round – a bit like the form of a serpent.
(It is a letter that does not exist anymore in our alphabets…it still existed for the Greeks) Basically, it’s the image of the Ourborus.
A guiding thought: 9 is not yet 10!
Nobody can know and fully understand 10 if one has not yet reached out to 9,
the perfection of creation, mysteriously symbolized in a sign of completion:
the serpent which is biting its tail.
But…why is it also the sign of a shield?
The divine energy that is found in yod (10) is protected by two cherubim!
On the one hand it expresses the perfection of creation, the reintegration of the divine energies…on the other hand it symbolizes protection, nine before ten,
before the divine.
It is the shield that stands before the Sword. (WORD) 

Before – symbolically – reaching the yod (the hilt of the sword, that corresponds to the head of the human being) the LOVER in Solomon’s Song praises the beauty of Sulamit: 

“Your neck (halse) is like the tower of David…Thousands of Shields protect it….(…).“ 

The Virgin of Israel is called; the shield symbolizes the hymen… Finally, the shield transforms into a cup and receives the Sword. …And she gives birth to Jahwe (the Word)
The serpent symbolizes the rising of energy. 

The serpent rises up the spine (vertebrae) and joins the head. 

At this stage of evolution, the feet have arrived at the head, the alpha has become the omega. 

This acrobat at the basilica of Vezely symbolizes the “man of perfection“:

In other realms, such as in the Tarot, he is called “the Fool“, the man who has finished/closed the circle of his evolution.
“Chiudere“ e “scudo“ (Italian for “to close“ and “shield“) both derive from the Latin word “bucco“ (bocca in Italian) which means “mouth“.
The human being that re-ascends the tree, is the organ that gives birth to the Logos, the Word. 

But when the Tet (which is taken as the essence of the word “tov/tob“ = good!) wants to guide the whole opus of creation it gets chased away. 

It’s the good from the tree of knowledge that it symbolizes.
The perfection of the divine world vs. the imperfect world that always develops. 

That is the good and beautiful, in the sense of the good and beautiful. 

But the true good (the good which is also true – note from Sabrina) indicates the light that has integrated/incorporated the darkness. 

Tet is like: You’re good but you are still not the “true“ good. 

Like a seed veils the tree and needs to die in order to give birth to the tree…
So the good needs to die and transform into its opposite (evil) in order to give birth from what comes after its transformation…”Heavenly Jerusalem.“
(In terms of language, the “tenses“ perfect, imperfect, more than perfect form give us also a hint to this mystery!) 

The circle is not closed…if it was closed it would symbolize total death. 

The perfection of the created world is always the world of the future:
When the two poles of the tree of knowledge will be married.
So the man of the future, that has integrated all of the evil, will be Jaweh, tov, the Word! 

Tobi (Tobias) is the “man of the good“, righteous man of Israel.
His name consists of three letters of the divine Tetragrammaton.
In order be complete, he needs to descend into the darkness…he becomes blind.
When he finds the divine light again he recognizes Raphael, and marries Sara
(his female pole)…
“Tobel“ means “immersion“, also “baptism“.
Lamed symbolizes/means “toward the right direction“ , towards perfection.
(–> Baptism of Christ in the Yordan)
The whole of creation rejoices over Jesus Christ’s completion, that begins with the baptism.
Through the 9 beatitudes Christ shows us “the way“ towards perfection.
(every month of pregnancy corresponds to one beatitutde.)
The Indians called the body of the human being the “city of the nine portals“. 

We praise the nine divine hierarchies (one after the other) during the nine days that are in between Ascension and Pentecost – Christ goes up those 9 levels to open the fruit of the tree of life – the full acquisition of the Holy Spirit…and the Apostles are getting drunk by it. 

The energy in the human body that rises up the spine (The kundalini, I’d say – comment from Sabrina) is depicted in the Christian iconography when the Virgin(s) have a strong halse (neck), this means that they are also “attuned“ to the 9 hierarchies. 

April 20:

Natalia really appreciates this translation. She loved that certain sentences and words had been made bold. They resonate especially. It makes it more understandable why the Hermit is the 9th and then one is taken to the “Karmic Wheel” and all that follows in the Majors towards the integration of evil to arrive at a more complete goodness (a continuous process of course).

Sabrina is glad Natalia could get something out of it. And she always highlights in bold the things she considers to be vital. She got a lot out of doing the translation work, so thanks for requesting it! Perhaps she could do this every month (i.e. for each Letter/Arcanum). The acrobat of Vezeley Abbey (the human being that brings his feet to his head = The Fool = the Ace of the Major Arcana) made her also think of the human being who symbolises the whole of the Zodiac, the Master of the Zodiac. He touches his head (Aries) to his feet (Pisces).

April 28:

Joel shares some difficulties he is having with having enough staff/support in the house he lives in at Camphill, and how it may not be possible for some time for the group to have another session where all four of them are present for a live conversation. The easiest time for Phillip and Joel to meet is usually at night, between 8-10 pm, which is around 2-4 am in Finland and Austria. So this would be difficult for Natalia and Sabrina to join.

Natalia suggests that maybe once it would be kind of fun to do a “late-night” Tarot Conversation. They would have to change from “Day Disciples” to “Night Disciples”!

The conversation enters a very silly and at times flirtatious realm around all of this…discussions of “exotic horror Tarot conversations”…is this the Finnish way???

Natalia has been reading the old conversations on the Cups which Joel has been posting on the website. It’s always so interesting to read older notes over again. She now understands something more of the Coins and Swords as well, as she keeps reading those Suits every now and then as well. Everything is not so “Hebrew” as it was before! A funny thing happened recently…when we were in the Ace of Cups we spoke of the Cups perhaps having this connection to Ancient Egypt, and on the other hand all that was there in Joel’s dream with the Sword while reading the Persian legends of Ahura Mazdao during the Holy Nights. Getting the idea that the Swords are more connected with Ancient Persia vs the Ancient Egypt of the Cups. The funny thing was that she was reading on Monday the Two of Swords in the evening, and then on Tuesday she went to a new hairdresser. She was speaking a strange language and Natalia asked her about her origins. She said that she speaks Persian and was born in Iran. Natalia asked her a bit more about Persian and Iran. And then when she got home, there happened to be a documentary on TV about Persian culture! So she was educated in the evening all about the history of Ancient Iran/Persia and how out of all the nations that originally spoke Persian, Iran was the only one able to retain this ancient language all through history. Anyway, she kept on thinking there must be something to this idea that the Suit of Swords has a connection to Persia. Or at least her whole day was giving this impression! Such a synchronicity of events, including the notes!

Ha, and aren’t scissors a bit like mini-swords! But she was gentle with them 🙂 and Persian is actually very gentle compared to Arabic.

April 29:

Natalia send greetings to all on Cosmic Easter (Sun conjunct 15° Aries). She points out that in Finland, there is a sort of pagan Spring feast called Vappu, the only carnival type of celebration they have…they eat round, sweet “Monks”…beware, Finnish horror again!

Joel asks is this like Walpurgisnacht in Faust? Isn’t that April 30?

Sabrina says yes, Witches’ Night, “Walburgisnacht” in German speaking countries. 

Natalia says yes, it has roots in history to St. Valburg, the Celtic spring Beltane feast. On the Swedish side of Finland fires are burnt to scare away witches. In cities the students party a lot, you go to a picnic and get drunk. Children get coloured balloons, adults get nostalgic and sing, you put flowers to grow outside and eat sweet things with very sweet drinks. That’s how it’s celebrated where she lives, with lots of color around.

(More mischievous conversation ensues, at times things are lost in translation)

April 30:

Natalia shares an impression of the Seven of Cups. She sees these lower white “leaves” as sheets of Christ flowing on Easter morning in the air before settling down again. That moment of Christ floating through and above the Tomb. She shares a portion of the Grunewald Resurrection painting to illustrate what she means. She wonders if this central lower cup is like the origin of the rising. 

Then she finds a portion of A. C. Emmerich where she describes the mantle, how it “floated in the the breeze behind him as he walked, it glistened blue and white, like smoke curling in the sunshine.” Makes her think how smoke was mentioned in our last conversation in terms of that white part. She doesn’t remember too well, but it is interesting how ACE mentions this “smoke curling.”

The air is finally cleared in terms of some of the playful/flirtatious mood that prevailed the past days. Joel chimes in and says it is good to clear the air on the flirtation on Walpurgisnacht, the day before Beltane, before May Day. This is the May Day mood, right, with the May King and May Queen? And trying to ward off the mischief makers…anyway…Joel appreciates Natalia bringing her focus back to these Stages of the Passion. That was really strongly there with the Six of Cups, that it was this stage of Entombment. And she’s spot on that the Seven of Cups very much has this gesture of the stage of Resurrection. Fascinating. We’ve brought this into relationship with the Hermit, and there’s this whole mysterious part at the end of the Letter-Meditation on the Hermit about the beating of the heart and walking, and the solarization of the chakras, and it’s all about these different seven-fold chakra meditations on the I AM statements, and Stages of the Cross, and these things, and he thinks this is really being pointed to or expressed by the Seven of Cups.

It makes him want to go back and look again at the seven Cups in relation to the seven Stages of the Passion. Once again you kind of have this gesture in the Seven of Cups that you have this central cup….like the Resurrection stands apart somehow from the other six stages. They’re kind of above and below, honouring or preparing, laying the foundation for this Seventh stage that transcends and fulfils the other six.

It’s really fantastic that she brought this picture or realisation today, because it’s the cosmic memory of the original Resurrection, with the Sun at 15° Aries today. So it’s very appropriate.

What’s interesting to Joel is that right from the very get-go with the Cups, the first conversation on the Ace of Cups, Phillip and Joel had this experience of this very regal, heavenly paradise, this Angelic realm. But at the end of the conversation, Phillip had this sense of some kind of undercurrent, something hidden at work in the background. He thinks that on some level they tied it back to this polarity in the Letter-Meditations on the Wheel of Fortune and Force between Zoe and Electricity, this tension that is there. Then he was thinking of it again in terms of the fact that the cosmic memory of Easter Sunday, at this particular time in history, it aligns with Walpurgisnacht and Beltane. These kind of darker, more pagan festivals. You again have this interesting pairing of this highest Christian celebration with this much more…elemental, astral feast, this pagan feast. So this interesting polarity there. Also then this interweaving then…high Hermitic conversation with romantic flirtation…all of that reminds Joel of the saga of the Holy Grail. This is the highest spiritual/esoteric content that you meet in Eschenbach, but at the same time it’s full of this bawdy humor and these almost Shakespearean romantic mis-adventures. So there’s something about the Cups, that that is in the essence of the Suit of Cups that both of these elements are there and they interweave with each other. Maybe even more so when you learn from Robert some of the modern incarnations of these individuals from the Grail stories, that just continues…it goes all through Anthroposophy and the Sophia Foundation, this mixture of drama (with a lowercase “d”) and Drama (with an uppercase “D”). So anyway…it’s all in the mix, somehow.

Joel had the thought or realization/inspiration that he has done a good deal of biography sharing with each member of this group individually, but maybe it would be a good thing to do some biography work as a group, as a way to really build familiarity and trust and openness with each other. He doesn’t know when or how…whether that’s over email or voice messages or whatever. Just something to think about, if someone has a particular inspiration in that direction.

Everyone feels very open to this idea.

May 3:

Natalia is reading the Two of Cups and realizing how much this “underground” stream presented itself there. All this Anfortas wounding, fire of passion, etc.! Also for her personally there were many “old karma” questions. She remembers back to the days of the Two of Cups she had dreams that she was shouting at other people, really passionately, showing her angst. Now that she is reading these loooong conversations again she is feeling that realm rising again more. There seems to be some kind of “incarnation pain” there almost. Now she had a dream where she was shouting again to someone, a stranger who said something to her (with a kind of cliche anthroposophical tone in his voice, so to speak) about how she should be more grounded, get into her body. Natalia got so angry and shouted that “I have heard that hundreds of times! That is nothing new to me, but people have no idea how difficult it is for me to get into this body, and nobody has the right to say that to me unless they know about my earlier incarnations. They just can’t know how difficult it is for me. Those who know of these incarnations have a right to give me advice.” That mood of deep angst followed her the whole day yesterday.

She also rediscovered her pictorial summary of the Santa Fe 2019 presentations.

And now something to give color to our day: from the Lord’s Prayer Course, “Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread.” A coloured drawing for the Ankh: 7 colors of the rainbow, 5 yellow tones. Silver horizontal, gold vertical. The blue sphere is “Our”, connected with “I AM the Bread of Life.”

Joel thinks this is great. He had a feeling when he had sent out the meditation on Saturday that she would come back with a full color version. Much better than the low-quality black and white image included in the Sophia Foundation’s LPC.

This thing with the undercurrent/underground in the Cups…he gets this sense of a pulsing, a bit like the Swords have a pulsing between the broadsword and flower. But it’s like the undercurrent is hidden in the odd Cups, then explicit in the even Cups. There is this tension in the Two, Four, Six that is pretty clear, whereas the One, Three, Five and Seven it is something very beautiful but it belies something threatening or uncomfortable underneath. It’s maybe least obvious in the “middle”, in the Five. Somehow there more strongly in the One, Three, Seven. Maybe also in the Nine. It will be interesting to see how this resolves. The Ten of Cups is still very strange to Joel, but with the Ten of Swords it resolved in the sword and the flower more or less becoming one object. But this pulsing at the same time is almost like the pulsing between Coin and Sword. The Coins were this more beautiful Suit, and the Swords were more this uncomfortable, electrical Suit. The Coins were this Suit of Unity, the Swords the Suit of Polarity. That itself is a polarity of Coin vs Sword, and the Cups are trying to resolve this polarity through their odds vs evens. Which in a way brings us back again to this theme of the Hermit. The heart is this realm that brings together the realm of Truth which is all about bridging polarities/uniting opposites, and the realm of the Will, which is all about choosing one or the other. There is no resolving a polarity in the Will, there is only choosing Yes or No. The Heart somehow works in both of these realms. So maybe the Coins are this light of thinking, and the Swords are this stark choice of the Will, then the Cups are this pulse that’s trying to bring them together.

Which, that’s in this whole section of the LPC where he talks of this circle of 12 forms of nourishment. He brings the yellow into relation with the nervous system/thinking, the blue into relation with the rhythmic system/feeling (the heart), then the red is brought into connection with the metabolic system/the will. So this “Give us this day our daily bread” is meant to address the whole circle, and the Ankh is the living image of that Daily Bread.

In terms of Natalia’s dream it feels related to that dream Joel had a while back about Estelle and the swords. And it’s something he was speaking with Sabrina about over the weekend a bit, this question for Cain: “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Maybe that question then changes over time to, “Yes, I am my brother’s keeper; but, how? How can I be my brother’s keeper?” Because we have the tendency to project into the other person our own needs or point of view. Until we’re really able to get clearly from the other person their own perception of their needs and where they’re struggling, we’re gonna make pretty presumptuous choices as to how to help them in their development. And Natalia’s dream expresses that, this very narrow-minded, short-sighted way of quote-unquote “helping” a fellow Anthroposophist by giving advice that hasn’t been drawn from the other person, it’s just coming out of one’s own preconceptions. The “recipe” for how to be a “good Anthroposophist.” Somehow that question is wrapped up in there with the Cups. He guesses that’s the Parzival question, “How can I help you?” Rather than just saying, “well, this is what’s wrong with you” or just leaping in and doing. But to really find out from the other, “What do you need? What are you struggling with?”

Natalia agrees that the sequence of Two, Four and Six really felt the most pressing and intense. And the dream world was as well following that line. She thinks after the Four she came also with this question to Joel and Phillip if she could join more…this was also prefaced by a very intense dream involving “karmic tension.” So yes, it’s like something was releasing in the Five and in Seven as well. Interesting, and obvious once one looks at it that way.

And Natalia liked the way that Joel felt the dream…that is the truth pretty much, of how one is usually experiencing this situation in a more cliche Anthroposophical way, in certain circles. It’s actually not so easy to formulate what one really needs. But now that she mentioned this other dream…that’s kind of what she was formulating in asking Joel and Phillip to be involved more, as doing conversations over WhatsApp was missing something…it all turned out to be Sabrina joining as well…She thinks that was something that was really making her feel more whole, when all four of us are sharing and working the Tarot path together. But that is so important, this question of how we offer a real support…maybe we learn that slowly, it takes a bit of effort to get there.

And she thinks a big help is if one is already feeling that one is heard or seen, which this dream also indicates. It’s kind of blocking it…often the way that people react to things that are not so easy…or if you try to express something uncomfortable, you aren’t necessarily seeking for answers from the other person. They might come out of that deeper state slowly, or in time. That’s the first step, to be heard and seen.

Joel feels that Natalia is good at doing biography work along with Astrological Biography as well as Tarot and asking leading questions to other people. So he wonders if Natalia has all of our Astro-biographies? It might be an interesting exercise to have a Tarot spread related to a particular period in a person’s life. Let’s say…Sun conjunct Venus in Leo for Joel in 2003…so Magician and Lover in Wheel of Fortune….what did that look like? How did that express itself? So a kind of Astrological/Hermetic biography sharing. It wouldn’t need to be a beginning to end biography sharing, but maybe sharing different moments in our lives. The things that led up to them and resulted from them. 

Natalia was thinking the same thing exactly. They begin to discuss the nitty gritty details of that. [The biography sharing in its details will not be included in these notes]. Maybe this has something to do with Natalia’s dream, that perhaps in doing not just biography sharing but Astrological biography sharing, one is operating from a certain higher perspective in forming one’s picture and questions towards the other person. And so like in this dream, one needs to have “karmic understanding” before one can really give appropriate advice, it doesn’t necessarily need to be full karmic understanding, but at least indications from the chart. So that’s a good step in that sense too.

Natalia also shares an invitation to Archangel Raziel who can lend this helping hand in Karmic issues if Joel has understood him aright. Maybe he can inspire us.

So Joel feels this Raziel image is really beautiful…he had forgotten this conversation to some degree in the past weeks. If he remembers correctly, Raziel is the other mysterious Archangel…Joel brought him hypothetically into connection with Lazarus/CR but also maybe Zarathustra as the third in addition to Metatron/Rudolf Steiner above and Elijah (Sandalphon) below. Thinking of Raziel as Maitreya. That is who we are aligning ourselves with. And he does bring this new karmic understanding of each other to the social life.

Joel was struck from something Phillip shared with Joel earlier today. His other best friend Lucian has just moved to this area…so he has both of his closest male comrades living in the same place. Which is an interesting synchronicity, because Phillip has just moved to the same area of Vermont where Joel’s other long-time best friend lives. These two happened simultaneously. A friend of Phillip’s remarked that Joel and Lucian are like the two halves of Phillip. The one let’s say a little bit more earth-bound and the other more spiritual, but that’s a gross generalisation. But it got Joel thinking about how we could approach this group of the four of us. That we perceive the other three in the group as a kind of expression of our soul life, where speaking for himself, “I am my I”, but then here’s this group of Natalia, Phillip and Sabrina as let’s say Thinking, Feeling, Willing, or Truth Beauty Goodness, or whatever threefold you want to use as the lens there. And it might give an insight into the inner workings of one’s own soul…so then the social process and the inner process become reflective and interactive with each other.

In that sense, Joel has also been working with Goethe’s Fairy Tale with his second year students. So thinking of himself as the Fourth King, the mixed king who needs to be replaced by the striving youth. And so the other three would be the Gold King, Silver King, and Bronze King…leading Joel’s way forward for my own soul development. And so that was another image that came throughout the day, for Joel to take in the other three as aspects of himself, and vice versa.

May 4:

Joel had another thought before going to sleep, going back to this picture…it’s like each of us is striving to become the Baton, the 4th Suit…and so the other three are for each of us the Coins and Swords and Cups working together to try to develop the 4th. Maybe on a superficial level, Coins having something to do with Thinking, the Swords with the Will and Cups with Feeling, but he doesn’t think those kind of Aristotelian categories need to be so strict. But that picture of “me as developing Baton” and “the other three as Coins, Swords and Cups” made Joel think of something he had read in a children’s history book that was lying around at a friend’s house, about  the time of Charlemagne. And he had a sword named Joyeuse, which means joyful, and the legend is that in the pommel, in the hilt of the sword, the ball that is on the bottom of the hilt. Inside of this pommel (maybe you unscrew it or something?) he had a piece of the lance that pierced Christ’s side.

So there you have a kind of developmental thing a bit along the lines of what we’ve come to in our work…where you gather the Coin, melt it down to make the Sword, but then the hilt of the Sword is secretly a Cup…and then for there to be a piece of the Lance, or like the seed of the Lance, the gestating Lance inside of the Cup/Hilt…the word “pommel” comes from…something like “pommus”…it’s the Latin word for apple. So the Lance is inside of the apple. This brings in this connection of the seed in a fruit. But also maybe the forbidden fruit, the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge is traditionally understood to be an apple? But somewhere inside of this forbidden fruit is the potential to overcome it.

When Natalia was listening to Joel’s messages about Coins, Swords, Cups, Batons, she was just about to get off of a train. Now walking towards her home there were ten boys throwing in the air objects that looked at first like batons, but then they were jumping off of them and they took them from the ground and they looked like soft swords…thinking then together…Baton/Swords?? It was funny also with the sword of Charlemagne having this chalice part at the bottom…then these boys throwing something in the air that she couldn’t recognise as Batons or Swords…a funny coincidence…

But Natalia is really not sure what Batons are about? What does it mean to “become a Baton”? She only read somewhere in the notes that they are kind of like a higher level of Swords or something similar to them.

Joel doesn’t really know what the Batons are either! He doesn’t think we’ll really know until we get there. But he does think they have something to do with this Ego, this 4th principle that balances the other three…like with the splitting of the personality in How to Know Higher Worlds, where Thinking, Feeling and Willing each try to go their own way, and you need to have this fourth element that continues to keep them in harmony.