Eight of Cups (II)

Continuation of the weeks-long Signal chat amongst Natalia, Joel, Phillip, Sabrina:

May 6:

Joel shares some reflections: a little while back he brought in this picture of the Cups being this pulsing between the more Thinking-pole of the Coins where we can resolve polarities, bring them into harmony, and the Swords which are more this Will-pole of having to choose between “yes” and “no”, so the Cups would be this mysterious Heart realm that Tomberg writes of at the end of the Hermit, in which somehow both of those can live, this realm of the beating heart, the walking, the pulsing.

And in our private chat, Natalia was talking about this some more in relation to this certain section of the Lord’s Prayer Course, where he’s talking about Obedience, Chastity and Poverty in Thinking, Feeling and Willing. These nine different activities: Obedience in Thinking, Obedience in Feeling, Obedience in Willing, and similarly with the other two priestly vows. Natalia was just noticing how much these three priestly vows in thinking are related to this clarity and…more along this path from the Hermit which is this resolution of binaries. Whereas the priestly vows in the Will are more this choosing. At least this is what Joel thinks Natalia was pointing out. But then she was noticing that in the feeling life, it’s about opening up this space of silence and receptivity. He thinks she noticed that particularly in terms of her own inner reaction to this loud, crazy Two of Cups.

And he’s been thinking about that a lot. It’s just been a real mystery to Joel, what is this realm of the heart? What is its activity? From Natalia Joel started to get this picture of the heart as just an open space…it’s this silence…in a way it’s this mystery of the Black Perfection, the midnight Virgin. It’s an open space of possibility where you can either choose between “yes” and “no” or you can bring about a resolution of binaries. It’s a realm of silence and receptivity but also giving…giving and receiving together. The Cups as cultivating this open space…”SHE FEELS.”

And then he started to get this picture of the Emperor, the Lover and the Pope as Obedience, Chastity, Poverty…and in the Chariot it’s like they are brought into the Will. He becomes the master of “Yes” and No”. Then in Justice they are brought into the Thinking. She’s the one who can resolve the binaries. That’s where this theme is first introduced before it comes into the Hermit. Then with the Hermit, it’s like he’s taken in both of those and he’s now looking for this mystery of silence, he’s looking into the darkness to solve the mystery of the heart. And so he’s looking to the Wheel of Fortune. And she (i.e., the Wheel of Fortune) is the Prophetess, as Bradley Rader hypothesises, she is the visible/invisible representation of the Prophetess. So the Wheel of Fortune in a way both reveals and conceals this mystery of the Black Perfection, this realm of the Silence, the Void, the open space of possibility. This whole story began to present itself from the Emperor through the Wheel of Fortune. Which again, maybe helps to characterize or bring to consciousness what spiritual exercise is within the Suit of Cups.

The last time Phillip and Joel met, it was so rich to do so in person, they decided that from now on they won’t have virtual conversations. Even for the Transatlantic conversations that include all four of us, they will aim to be together for them. Because there is really no rush to get through the Suit of Cups. There is just so much there. With the Swords we felt this urgency, this “ugh, let’s just get through this”, because it felt like it was taking forever. But with the Cups it feels like we can be luxurious, and with Joel so busy it is easier for him to go through them more slowly…but this leaves it open-ended when the next meeting will be…

But Joel is excited to meet again, because last night as he was going to sleep he began to see this very comprehensive spread, this way of arranging the Tarot that he is excited to introduce…but he really wants to introduce it to Phillip in person, and then to the whole group…looking forward to sharing that…

Phillip gets the impression that perhaps it’s a two-fold thing…the Wheel of Fortune has always been this turning point for Phillip. It’s fairly concrete up to that point, and it’s this kind of epiphany at the Hermit. Then with the Wheel of Fortune you go into this realm of Fallen vs Un-fallen and this river of manifestation. And it’s very…let’s take the resolutions from before, and then introduce them into the wider world as unresolved, and see them at play and intermingling, and so it’s both resolved and unresolved. And from that point on it really becomes more truly a personal meditation of Tomberg. The first Nine he really had clear…the rest was like a work in progress. But it is a work in progress, this whole Weinrebian idea of manifestation as a duality, and therefore somewhat unresolved and unresolvable in that form.

Joel feels that in a way there you can think of the Wheel as this open heart space, but that space becomes a portal. And so everything that comes after the Ten is what pours into and out of this open space. It’s this meeting with the world, as Phillip is saying. And therefore, from that point onwards, a heartfelt meditation of Tomberg’s. He’s building the structure in the first nine, and then opens the door with the Tenth.

Phillip imagines the heart as open space in terms of How to Know Higher Worlds, building the hut, as this kind of container. You have an open space/container, the Tsim-tsum, the separation, the creation of nothing. It’s open yet bounded somehow. It’s like the building of this space that can be an open space, where something can occur.

May 7:

In terms of this heart realm, Natalia almost doesn’t know what to say, but…the Two of Cups as an experience, as it’s also connected to this Wheel of Fortune, made her think of this karmic aspect. The Wheel of Fortune is also called “Dharma”, something your heart tries to solve, unsolved questions perhaps which could cause inner turmoil as well. So her thoughts also revolve around how the Two of Cups affects her inner life. She had been coming to a similar state to the time we first went through it, when she read through the notes…there is a lot of that karmic double aspect in there for her.

So how will this process with the Cups show itself more? It’s interesting that the next Cup, the Eight of Cups, is again connected with the Wheel of Fortune, maybe there is something there which reflects or gives a different point of view to the Two of Cups. Maybe that can give her some personal answer as to what was going on with that. She also wonders if the process also has different aspects for her vs Phillip and Joel, since she didn’t go through the whole process of the Coins and Swords—which it probably does. Since the Swords were a kind of emptying out, and if the Cups also fill in or give a different phase, perhaps there is something that she has to deal with which Phillip and Joel dealt with in earlier phases. How is that for Sabrina she wonders? Maybe she needs to put the Cup upside down, and something has to be taken out at the same time! 

Maybe that’s the reason she likes to put the Cups upside down so often! 

In terms of Swords…she had many dreams connected to the Queen and King of Swords a couple of weeks ago. She felt she had to learn something about the Swords and what happens there. But maybe there is something Joel and Phillip have worked through already.

When Joel mentioned this “yes” vs “no”, this choosing…Natalia thinks of the part in Lord’s Prayer Course where he talks of the karmic doppelgänger having this this “compromise heart”, in the middle realm, and it has to be changed into a “sleeping force of good.” On the other hand, the way Tomberg talks of this choosing “yes” or “no.” There is maybe a connection here to her own struggles.

May 9:

Sabrina has just come from her morning meditation. “Tet” came back to her and the content from the book that she sent out to us. She suddenly saw the Coins as shields, the Swords as swords, and the Cups as transformed shields (like the “hymen” of the “Virgin of Israel”—inspired by TET) and the Batons as transformed Swords (i.e., Words) to which the Virgin of Israel gives birth. 

Also the first 4 Arcana came to her in the sequence of Coin (Magician), Sword (High Priestess), Cup (Empress) and Baton (Emperor).

Then she had some musings on her own “incarnation pain” which is related to what she calls her “Emotional Pain Body”, an umbrella term for all the issues, life topics, and pain that she experienced in different past lives and with which she’s not conciliated yet, but which she intended to do so, to resolve here in her present life on Earth. Because really, we are here to heal—this is the truth, not just a comforting thought. And at this particular point in time, we receive incredible help from the spiritual world, if we’re really asking for it and are able to receive the answer with an open mind.

In recent months she has been dealing with a karmically related struggle which to an outside view might seem trivial, not a big deal, but this is due to exactly what Natalia brought up in her dream: an outsider has no understanding of her karmic past, and therefore cannot judge correctly. The flip side, however, is that Sabrina has used this karmic understanding as an excuse for never moving forward or overcoming this particular limitation. She was constantly looking for excuses, justifying her present behaviour with the past rather than creating something new and free herself.  So she decided to keep silent, and she created a comfort zone for herself whenever she needed it (a space of Motherly love) where she could weep all the tears that needed to be wept, counterbalanced with a space for growth (a “non-comfort zone”, the space of the Father) out of which she could allow herself to constantly be challenged a little bit more. This was really the remedy.

We begin to do some astrological biography work. Natalia notices that we collectively create YHVH in Hermetic Conversation. Each of us has a planet in Gemini, which in Tarot is represented by The Sun according to Robert. Phillip and Joel have often in the past seen this Arcanum as displaying to us the spiritual exercise of Hermetic Conversation. Sabrina has the Sun in Gemini—Sun is The Magician, Mysticism, Yod; Phillip has Saturn in Gemini—Saturn is the High Priestess, Gnosis, Heh; Joel has the Moon in Gemini—Moon is the Empress, Sacred Magic, Vau; and Natalia has Jupiter in Gemini—Jupiter is the Emperor, Hermeticism, Heh. 

May 10:

Natalia is unfamiliar with the word “hymen” in Sabrina’s reflections on the Hebrew letter Tet. Joel explains that the hymen is like a veil or a shield so to speak, a membrane. And it is only there for a virgin woman. It is pierced as soon as a woman makes love for the first time. So it is this real sign of virginity, and the veil. So it is very interesting Sabrina brings that up in terms of the Coins and Swords as a “lower” version, and the Cups and Batons as a spiritualised version, of the same birthing process. Phillip and Joel experienced the Coins as something like cell division happening, like the gestation of a child. With the Swords they saw the progression through the Ten Numbered Swords as the dilation of the cervix—when a woman goes into labor it has to dilate to 10 centimetres, that’s what the contractions are when labor begins. So we saw the Swords as a birthing process: gestation and birth with Coins and Swords.

And so then to bring the Cups in as the hymen is really interesting…it’s like a return to virginity after birth has already occurred. What it made Joel think of were Steiner’s lectures on the Fifth Gospel. It made him think of Jesus’s conversation with Mary, with his mother before he goes to the Jordan. When he has this conversation, he’s confessing, pouring out his heart to his mother. And as he speaks, the spirit of Zarathustra leaves the Nathan Jesus body which it had indwelt for 17 years or so, and joins with the heart of Mary. And when it does so, it returns Mary—who has given birth to many children by this point—it returns her to a state of virginity. She becomes the Virgin Mary at that moment right before Jesus goes to the Jordan, through this conversation. The Nathan Mary unites with her, with the Solomon Mary. So there you have a case where a woman who has gestated and given birth to children is returned to the state of virginity. And right after she returns to the state of virginity, you have the Baptism in the Jordan, which is the birth of the Word, of Christ, into Jesus of Nazareth, this empty vessel. As Sabrina described, the Baton, the Word is born out of the Virgin, the hymen-Cup. Very illuminating.

The fact that she brings in the Magician with the Coins, the High Priestess with Swords, the Empress with the Cups and the Emperor with the Batons is very interesting for Joel, because Joel and Phillip have consistently looked at them the other way around: the Magician holds a Baton; the High Priestess is the Cup, she’s the shape of a chalice; the Empress has this sword-like quality; and the Emperor is this realm of Coin, of facts. It’s interesting to look at them the other way around and see that it weaves back and forth like a lemniscate. Because really the Magician is holding both a Coin and a Baton; and the Emperor is holding both of those objects but joined together into his sceptre.

So in light of that, this image that Natalia brought of our four planets in Gemini is really beautiful to Joel. Because the Arcanum The Sun really does represent Hermetic Conversation to Joel, and with Sun, Saturn, Moon, Jupiter you have the first four Arcana and these four stages from Mysticism to Hermeticism. And Joel had brought up this picture a week or two ago that we could view each other as, “here I am, my developing Ego, and the three of you are that developing Ego laid out before me: as thinking, feeling, willing; or truth, beauty, goodness, etc. That you are this external reflection of my own developing soul and I am the same in some part for each of you.” Well that was the other way Joel had thought of it, is “my Ego as Baton, the developing Baton that is just not quite there yet, whereas each of the others can represent Coin, Sword, Cup.” But here, this image gives yet another aspect of that, where we can each stand for one of these four aspects of Christian Hermeticism towards each other. Sometimes the Magician is a Coin, and sometimes he’s a Baton, there’s this mobility brought in.

May 16:

Sabrina’s morning inspiration: has anyone ever been thinking of the 10 Sephiroth as 10 vessels (cups) into which the Divine Light (Ain Soph Aur) gets poured?

Natalia recalls that Ain Soph and the Ten Sephiroth come into the Path to Shambhala at some point.

The day before, the group was going to have a second attempt at a transatlantic conversation, but Joel had to cancel at the last minute. He had just sent out the notes from their previous conversation on the Seven of Cups. Natalia points out that really it’s fine as so much of our conversation has now revolved around this astrological biography sharing. What is interesting to her is that, re-reading the notes from the last conversation, so much of it revolved around karma, issues with karma. And now with this astrological biography sharing we are, in a way, picking up on that thread—working with the Seven of Cups in a different form.

Joel feels that’s an excellent point. We are still picking up on the thread. It also feels to Joel that…well, in the summer of 2019 after he and his family moved away from Plowshare, it felt quite natural and necessary to slow down and have a bit of a breath from the constant Tarot conversations that had been going on for three years very steadily. Phillip and Joel spent about 4 months on the Ace of Swords. And so now it feels natural again somehow to have a bit of a Sabbath…he guesses that goes with a Seven…a break from the once again very intense pace that Phillip and Joel had going for the past year and half once again.

May 21:

Joel shares some reflections based out of Phillip’s life-path and gesture of experience: it’s a powerful and beautiful experience to hear Phillip describe his world. Joel shared some pages from the Hermit on May 20 in response to some biographical sharing of Phillip’s:

Part of that was because, well here’s Tomberg presenting something as a spiritual exercise, something to be striven for. And maybe you have a certain positive association with it when it’s a spiritual exercise that you’re striving for. But when it’s your life destiny to be the solitary Hermit, to be alone, and to have to walk around the colored body, when you’re homeless…you’re only at home walking the fullness, therefore you’re never at home. Like the Sun going through the constellations…the Sun isn’t at home in any of them, the Sun is at home only when travelling. It’s a hard karma, it’s a heavy cross to bear. And as he points out, the joys are fleeting…the joys are really only there when you meet someone else who is also a solitary Hermit, when you have these chance encounters so to speak, not “chance” per se, but surprise, unexpected encounters. But also there is a certain satisfaction…the other joy that can come in is that you are alleviating the burden of the one who said “foxes have holes and birds have their nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” So it’s not purposeless. It’s traveling through what feels like meaningless chaos, or meaningless suffering. But the purpose is to alleviate the suffering of Christ, to bear his burden with him. And so that’s a comfort to some degree. And in a way that’s our only home, is Christ.

Natalia appreciates these words…she needed to hear them. Even if one knows they are true, it is much more True when said aloud.

May 22:

Natalia shares some words from Beinsa Douno which deepen this theme of suffering (images).

May 25:

Natalia asks for a refresher on Joel’s thoughts on the spiritual exercise of the Hermit…something about the lamp, the mantle and staff. She also wonders in terms of Synthesis…he speaks of a knowledge/will polarity…is there a limit for Synthesis? If a polarity exists, can a Synthesis always exist for it? Could one approach, for example, clockwise and counter-clockwise house systems with that in mind? Or are they not polarised enough? Does Synthesis sometimes just mean a new approach that can occur for things that are seemingly polarised? Tomberg gives a lot of philosophical examples, but are there possibilities to use this method in more psychological or practical areas as well?

For example, if one has a problem of two different opinions, to do what people often do which is to hold to silence over it and accept the limit of the solution…it often happens that a third and unexpected solution arises.  She would call this the “Christ solution” which usually feels right for both parties. But is this something else than what is in the Hermit? It feels that in this way the solution happens also out of the blue, or out of the darkness. Or is this a different kind of process that has no connection to the Hermit’s method? She feels the Hermit has more to give somehow, and maybe more examples of polarities would help with understanding.

Joel reiterates more-or-less what he laid out between May 3-6. 

May 26:

Natalia feels this last part, where the heart is more the center, this is more the starting point or more natural for her than to solve philosophical riddles. She doesn’t operate so much in the realm of ideas, she realised.

Somehow she never gave this last part much attention, because there is so much coming before it, but in another way it feels like the higher octave of what he has been talking about throughout the whole Letter-Meditation. And this example she gave of holding silence between two points of view…he speaks of directing everything to the heart…whether it’s imaginations or will-impulses, in the heart this process can happen which she calls the “Christ solution”, something which is coming out of this acceptance and silence, and non-willing actually. 

And she doesn’t know how it is for anyone else, but for her this astrological biography work is a kind of state where she exists right now, and the next period of life is approaching her when she has spoken out the earlier one. People and things start to come from that future…it is strange, because it is as if she would enter into some kind of stream, but because we are doing it voluntarily, it is as if she would bring something into that stream of the past…a little bit in a Tarot way…some kind of light enters. And it’s more like she discusses these memory-people, not just observing them. “Who are you?” Last night she was having a bit more space…remembering people from the past….but really pondering, “What are the memories really? What is this, where we meet our memories? And how much do I keep this alive? What is the reality of this? And is it my emotions or my points of view that keep these things alive or dead?” Like in a Madame Toussout cabinet. She was pondering, what is this realm of memories of people? When she woke up, she was thinking….she could just change things, in a way! It was strange, because she felt more active towards this stream that usually you just carry these experiences and memories from the past. And she was more in this living relationship. Does anyone have thoughts about what that realm is? How we have created these memories? In her dream life she was trying to convince the memory of her ex-boyfriend that he is no longer 19, they have both grown up. She’s never had that kind of thing going on before…it seems to come from this biography work, but also a bit Tarot. How is it for others?

Phillip sees in the way Tomberg talks about it, there’s this ascent to the bright spot of the intellect where all resolves and becomes unified, and at this dark point of the will there is this peace of passivity, or conversely it is the predominance of one choice of will, the will in the course of its action; through the deed things become resolved in that way: that’s the choice that was made and determined everything, that’s all that happened, end of story. But there is a certain element of….perhaps one doesn’t get to the more complete working of the activity along the circumference until there is a functional lamp (white point) and a functional staff (black point), and then it becomes a little bit more complex because the functioning of the lamp gets condensed into a unity, and the functioning of the staff and its complexity are condensed into a unity, then those two unities which are actually activities are brought into a wholeness in relation to the heart and the mantle. In some sense, then, it isn’t that they’re all distinct from each other. This deeper function of the heart enriches, the more functional the intellect and the will become, the heart becomes yet again even more integrating of a more complex and deeper level of activity.

And the flip side to what Natalia is saying is that….in a way, to talk about either the lamp or the staff is to already do a bit of analysis, to separate out something from the whole. The heart really carries the whole, and in truth this is all we do is act out of the whole. So the complete process is more represented by the heart, and to engage in this intellectual exercise is to fragment and compartmentalise something out from the whole and treat it as its own whole…which it is in its own right…but it’s a smaller portion of the whole, not the true whole…even though it has wholeness. So he thinks you could recast what he was just saying in that this is the fundamental expression of the wholeness, in that the heart is making use of both the intellect and the will and bringing them together into this third term which is this direct intuitive relationship to things, which is like feeling and a visceral life connection. The reality of the interconnected wholeness of things.

Which to Phillip actually expresses something of what Natalia is saying about memory, and about how the present moment can reach back to the past or look forward into the future and from this present moment it’s like a magical ability to alter the past or the future in a way, or recast it. It’s like this magical reality that there is this kind of interconnection between things such that nothing is really static once and for all in a permanent way. Yes, there is a deep fundamental stability that underlies all things, but intrinsic to that stability, that unchangeable quality to the past and maybe even the future, there is still a capacity for things to become malleable and transform in deeply meaningful ways, and in magical and unexpected ways, while still honouring the unchanging, fixed quality of things as well. That’s this quality of being where the fact that something is and has existence…like self-hood is the essence of being, the being that when it has the knowledge of itself, this is also an amplification of it’s own being, and actually a realisation and completion of its own being. That’s the nature of our reality in its essence, is this quality of magical being. Our beings, life itself, the quality of life is this quality of transformability embedded in absolute unchanging real existence. It’s this fundamental dichotomy of which life is composed. And here we are reflecting it and experiencing it and unfolding it in our own lives. And of course the world we live in, we don’t know that from the very beginning. We have all these assumptions of cause/effect, start/finish, young/old, and yet that’s because our consciousness is picking up on the structures of the reality of things which are more apparent to the mode of our life here, in earth-life, but it’s just one half of the coin. And the other half is maybe more what we live in after we die, seeing the interrelationships and the way that things act upon each other so as to really change them. The power of life, that isn’t as readily apparent in earth-life. It’s fundamental to our nature to see it that way, this exercise of walking the circumference really represents the whole, we all do it naturally. It’s the way we experience things, it’s the way experience is formed from the totality of our being. It’s a little bit contrived and fragmentary to talk about it as an intellectual exercise or will exercise, even though that is a way of guiding our intellect and will into consciousness of their participation in the whole, which it then re-synthesizes in an alchemical process.

Natalia ties this in a bit with some of her astrobiographical aspects, having a strong Neptune aspect. Maybe to do with this Moon/Neptune opposite Mars aspect. Dealing with unconscious elements, learning to discriminate what is actually happening, what is the will side, what is she actually thinking. Writing brings about this clearness for her, which is therefore not a very natural state for her. Sometimes she can get so much into a state of being, in some subject like astrosophy or biography work, it fills her with its substance or essence and then it can be hard to jump into something else, and that is her strength and weakness at the same time. Then when she immerses herself in the Tarot notes on the Coins or something, that can activate a lot of this thinking, of being inspired. She likes to spend time with people who have the capacities she doesn’t have, that’s one way to develop certain places that don’t come naturally for her, or where she has always struggled a bit. She has a lot of dreaming going on in her thinking, so it becomes painful to focus in something like mathematics—to keep numbers in order for example. 

Phillip sees it as an alchemical process. When he thinks about a container that an alchemist might be working with, and inside of it you’re putting different substances. You’re making one substance, refining it, making it stronger, like an acid or something. You put that in another container. Then you take an organic substance, cook it and burn it down. Then you mix the acid and the organic substance, you heat them and let them sit, and there’s this time element, things have to react and the container has to be strong enough to hold it, the reaction can’t go too fast or too slow. For Phillip the analogy goes to this place of math, and how it’s painful. For Phillip it’s writing and drawing that are painful. It isn’t natural to go into that state. But going into that state is like going into a container. The math is a bit of a container, a structure to which you have to conform. If he’s trying to draw or write, it’s clear what he has to do, but doing it makes him reorganise himself in a way that makes him uncomfortable. But there’s something about the pain representing this alchemical process where there’s a container, and there’s a natural component and a refined component of the structure working on each other. And it’s part of the way integration happens and openness happens. It’s different stages of the process, where the preparation is a process in its own right. And then these prepared substances are then being put through a process, which is actually the integration of opposite things. For Phillip, the pain is like an orientating element; if it feels right you can tell by the quality of the feeling of the pain itself, you can tell whether a thing is progressing at the right pace, going too quickly or too slowly, or going deeply enough or completely enough. If we’re guiding ourselves through a process like that, the pain is connected to the heart. It’s connected to the sense for the wholeness of a thing. Yes, there is joy and love, but it’s on a continuum where on the other side of that coin is pain and discomfort. And the pain and discomfort are somehow more objective and free from error, more reliable in terms of sensing one’s limits and boundaries. And the needs of the parts of ourselves that are undeveloped and have more potential, that will need to start to become fulfilled. For him, coming to recognise the rightness of pain as an orientating feeling that somehow creates this certainty, creates this confirmation…is that just a part of his character and constitution? Or functional in a general sense for all people?

May 27:

Joel shares again this image and inspiration Sabrina had shared on May 16 (see above). Somehow all that Phillip and Natalia have brought reminded him of this image and inspiration from Sabrina. It struck him, especially while Phillip was talking about how the heart is what brings you into reality, and how there’s this twofold aspect to it. That reality has this permanence and yet there is also this dynamic portion of it. When they were talking about the nature of memories, there is a dynamism in the midst of something that’s permanent, that’s the nature of reality and also the nature of the heart.

And already there he felt close to it, but then Phillip made it more concrete by bringing in this image of alchemy and the vessel. And the transforming substance in the vessel. So the heart as the vessel…the whole nature of the Cups, the Grail, is that you need to have two parts. You need to have the vessel that offers the permanency for something dynamic to be constantly transforming inside of it. This is what brought him back to the Ain Soph pouring into the ten vessels, and this whole thing of God is One, but the One can only be expressed as Ten. Maybe in addition to there being this transcendent realm of thinking—of analysis/synthesis, bridging polarities— and then the realm of the will is this realm of cutting wholeness into the particular, a realm of only analysis. Yet creating unities out of that, of creating single whole pieces, but no bridging of polarities. Whereas the heart is the realm of simultaneity, where the One is the Ten. There is a kind of identification going on, rather than a separating as it is with the will, or a harmonising as it is with thinking. 

And this realm of the simultaneity, of the identification, where One = Ten, where vessel as container and contained belong together. As Phillip is saying, that’s the realm of true reality, of true experience. You could say that thinking and willing can only have their existence out of that place. Maybe from the way Phillip is characterising it, love and joy are the vessel, and this turbulent substance, this dynamism within it, is experienced as painful. We need joy, and love, and satisfaction to have the wherewithal to bear the pain of dynamism and growth. So it’s this place where joy and pain are kind of identical in a way or married to each other. So that took Joel in two different directions.

The first directions is…well, Joel just posted the notes to the conversations for the Four of Cups. And the third one that Joel and Phillip had is just incredible. Joel remembers being in that conversation, and it’s one of the richest events they’ve created together and that still lives in the notes. So much came out of that. There is so much in there about the trial and the verdict. And whenever something is brought to trial, it is brought into that realm of dynamism where it can be evaluated and transformed into something else. Then there is a kind of permanency in the verdict. There is this constant pulsing, between trial and verdict. So everything Phillip was saying…typing those notes up was so fresh, he was doing so at exactly the same time Phillip was sharing, and it felt so much like he was expressing the same thing we’d come to in that conversation in a new way. It really revolved around Rosicrucianism, the Cain stream, constantly needing to go to trial so that the Abel stream of Tradition, the Church, can remain consistent, can remain the vessel. 

And the other direction his thoughts went into was…a while back, during Coin conversations, he doesn’t know when this was…but it was when we were getting into this question of “Is the Ace of Coins a Platonic, transcendent thing? Where there is a transcendent spiritual archetype projecting a manifest reality downwards? Or is it an Aristotelian immanent archetype, where the archetype is within the manifest object, and is kind of growing it out of itself?” And we came to this place where maybe both types of archetypes exist, and they both originated from the One Thing. And we eventually got to this place where we decided the One Thing is in the center, and the transcendent grew upwards out of that, and the immanent grew downwards out of that. But the origin is not above or below, the origin is in the center where both of those are still identical somehow. So this cosmology, this theology has been coming at us in different forms the whole time we’ve been in the Minor Arcana. And it’s just become clearer and clearer for Joel experientially as we go through it. Now Phillip has come to this in a different way yet again. The realm of the mantle, the realm of the Grail is the center. And upwards out of that can arise the transcendent realm of the Coin, and below out of that can arise this immanent realm of the Sword, but the Grail holds the center and is the source from which both of those have their life and origin.

And similarly yet again, maybe you can say, with the will needing to choose yes or no, this is again maybe the vessel or the structure. The will needs structure in order to be stable. But then maybe it’s the thinking in particular that needs that dynamism so that thinking can come to life and bridge polarities. And if the thinking is too much of a vessel, if it is too formed, it becomes to rigid. And if the will is too much of the dynamism, it becomes too turbulent. So it’s allowing the heart and its proper operating to guide the operating of the thinking and the willing. So the human being becoming all heart, the solarisation of the chakras, that’s what he discusses at the end of the Hermit. 

So the Ain Soph pouring into these other ten cups…but the image he has is not so much the Ain Soph being something above that pours down into these ten cups, but it almost dwells behind Tiphereth, the heart Sephiroth, and it’s more like an upwelling of a spring that then fills the Cups, or rather the Sephiroth above and below from the center.

And yes, Joel understands very well this experience that Natalia is having in terms of her memories and her presentiments of the future coming out of astrological biography work. Taking one’s destiny in hand. It’s like a Goethean phenomenological experience. From a Goethean perspective, that which you perceive only gives you half of reality. Then you shape the rest of that reality with the conceptual/ideal portion that you bring into connection with what you perceive. So your memories are a perception, but depending on how you are thinking about your memories, you are going to change what they are, you will change half of their reality. So astrological biography gives you the opportunity to infuse your memories with, let’s say, the original content of your biography. Similarly with your present, you can begin to perceive your present and what is coming to you differently based on your reading or what is coming to you from the stars.

Phillip has this question in terms of this picture of the heart, as the origin being in the middle. But what about the Emerald Tablet?  It speaks of “As Above, so Below” but what about the middle? What is in the middle? It isn’t really described. Tomberg makes a comment about the Hermetic Zone. Is that this middle realm between heaven and earth? He supposes you have heaven and earth, with the human being in between? Human being is the heart, earth is the will, heaven is the head? Just trying to find some correspondence there. “As Above, So Below” but where is that being spoken from? Like an implicit speaking from the middle so to speak.

Joel finds the conversation where they discussed this, back in 2019. Knight of Coins part 3. (Interwoven with the conversation above, Phillip had brought up an image of the Jupiter opposite Pluto aspect in his astrological biography as a kind of “King of the Overworld” looking down at the “King of the Underworld,” a meeting of opposites, which had brought to Joel’s mind the image of Aragorn becoming a kind of King of the Dead in Return of the King. He was startled to stumble upon this exact imagery in the Tarot conversation we was looking for to address the question of the Emerald Tablet! A striking synchronicity).