Notes from a Hermetic Conversation on August 5, 2016
Tarot Study, 9/5 – The 1st Four Arcana
June, Joel, Gail, Richard, Dennis, Phillip, and Rosario were present.
We decided to recollect ourselves by allowing the first four images as a group to work upon us. We opened with the Grail Meditation, and focused quietly for a few minutes on the images. We then moved together several times the gestures associated with these four cards (A, B, G, D), focusing on their qualities and paths on the Tree of Life [Edit December 2020: Joel had recently returned from a retreat in Assisi, Italy with Robert Powell, during which he first introduced publicly portions of his “Path to Shambhala,” including a eurythmic experience of the Sephiroth Tree in the human body, in relation to the 22 Arcanum, the 22 Paths of the Sephiroth Tree, and the 22 Letters of the Hebrew Alphabet. These eurythmy gestures through the Sephiroth Tree became a regular part of our Hermitic Conversations].
Reflection on contemplating the Arcana and the movement:
– through movement, we feel connections within us in terms of the Paths, but also between the Arcana themselves. We feel connected with the Arcana. Moving vs simply a diagram of the Tree of Life – something much more alive vs something simpy read about
– the individual gestures as well as the movement of the series of four as a whole feels authentic. One moves the four directions of space.
– seeing the four cards together, the differences and similarities begin to stand out
– they are like the Four Beasts: Emperor as Lion, Empress as Eagle, High Priestess as Bull, Magician as Angel-Man. The four cardinal stars of the Zodiac. These four are a set.
– The eagle as been transformed. He now gazes in the same direction as the human figure.
– The base of the Shield and the plant like object have moved from the middle of the picture to the base (come to Earth).
– The Eagle appears to be mature in the Emperor, and still young in the Empress.
– All the masculine figures are standing on the Earth, the feminine figures are seated. The Eagle is now also on the Earth.
– Curved hats for the men (Pharaoh’s crown for the Emperor) that give the impression of movement; angular and stacked hats for the women.
– Blue legs and white feet of the Emperor vs the Red and Blue of the Magician; the Two Pillars have resolved into a Middle Pillar
– The shield and throne have been woven together. The winged form of the Empress’s throne has been given to the wings of the Eagle on the Emperor’s Shield. The curvature of the Shield has been given to the shape of the Emperor’s Throne. The etherized physical, New Jerusalem. The Emperor is also woven into these objects.
– The B gesture of the legs and feet. The shield punctures the limbs rather than the heart – something has moved down from the feeling life into the will.
– The four cards have a movement of metamorphosis, of outer becoming inner, as unto the planetary columns in the Goetheanum.
– Specifically the movement of the scepter – it begins as wand held up and behind and ball held down and in front of the Magician; they enter into the High Priestess, and the horizontal is given to the vertical wand; the ball and cross unite, becoming the scepter of the Empress, who is still united with it; it then objectifies for the Emperor, it becomes the focal point, but still held with the ease of intention of the Magician. The wand is Spirit, the ball is Nature, the horizontal is the Human.
– The Magician is Conception; the High Priestess is Gestation; the Empress is Birth; the Emperor is Presentation/Naming.
– Presentation – Simeon lives to see the Buddha in Nathan Jesus’s Astral Body. “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”
– The Emperor is in profile – a shift in perspective. After this card, other characters begin to come in, rather than sole figures.
– Only outer objects are held in the hands of the other Arcana; in the Emperor, he holds his belt; he holds himself in check.
– Anfortas can only lean. He is a kind of Emperor, but did NOT hold the lower forces in check.
– He is bound in three ways: in the head by his crown (renouncing his own Name), in the middle realm by his belt (renouncing personal opinion and desire); in the limbs by the crossed legs (arbitrary movement). Crowning with thorns, he has renounced his personal mission for the higher mission. He can neither advance nor retreat. His crown unites the curvature, the musicality of the Magician’s with the angularity of the Empress’s. Like a helm for battle.
– The decorative necklaces in the 3rd and 4th. In the 3rd, the necklace touches the band around the heart/solar plexus. In the 4th, there is a great distance between the two and the band is around the sacral. Whereas the Empress is “bringing to birth,” unrestrained below, the Emperor is restrained in the sacral. His necklace seems heavier, unattached to his garment.
– Metamorphosis of verticality: in the Magician, the wand is diagonal, and he is vertical. In the Emperor, the Scepter has become vertical, and the human figure is now diagonal. The Emperor must decrease that the connection between Above and Below may increase.
– Caricatures of the Emperor (Napoleon, Stalin) hold their hearts rather than their belts. Restraining heart forces and letting the will run rampant.