Five of Batons (I)

Notes of a Hermetic Conversation between Phillip and Joel on December 11, 2022 on the Five of Batons.

We bring the Five of Batons into connection with the High Priestess, in line with the sequence: Ace of Batons—Lover; Two of Batons—Pope; Three of Batons—Emperor; Four of Batons—Empress.

We’re so close to the Magician! Is he next? No…we’ll make our retrograde movement back through…Six with Empress, Seven with Emperor, Eight with Pope, Nine with Lover…then we will turn back again, and not get to the Magician until the King of Batons. Like the retrograde movement of planets, or the twists and turns of a labyrinth.

Noticing the change from Two to Three to Four to Five. The central flowers. The yellow portion gradually opens up, and the white stem is further revealed.

Is the central baton in the Five in the background or the foreground? See how it overlaps some of the red on the diagonal batons. This is different than the Three of Batons, where it is clearly in the background. Here it is more interwoven, it stands behind the weaving of the diagonals, and yet is overtop the red. In fact, one could imagine that the red is continuous behind the central baton, that the red connects. Notice that the outer edges of the red stripes are parallel with the yellow except for those parts where the overlaps happen. It remains ambiguous, however, whether the red is connected behind the central baton or not.

The blue portion of that central baton extends well beyond the blue weaving, both above and below. Compare it to the Three, where the blue on the central baton is more tightly connected to the blue X in the center, tucked right in. Here it extends beyond it. It could have been drawn more like the Three—with the red bars on the central baton right up against the red bars on the diagonals. The blue is extending out somehow.

The central blue is more interwoven here, more complicated. And this somehow brings a bit of the red of the diagonals into the weaving. On the other hand, the red and blue of the central baton are more extracted, removed from that interweaving center.

The blue is peripheral in the upper and lower flowers of Two (upper and lower). Only found at the top and bottom. Then it descends into the center in the Three. In the Four, it is back up in the flowers, but it has spread into more of the flower, into leaves and stem, not in the blossoms anymore. Now in the Five the blue in the center has increased, and the blue of the central baton extends out. It is spreading.

If we look just at the batons, we can see this pulsing from an X in the Two and Four to a six-pointed figure in the Three and Five:

Notice that the quantity of central batons doesn’t change. The change (from that respect) only happens to the diagonals. And the basic shape of the central baton doesn’t change either. The most expansion/activity takes place in the blue region. A new level of complexity is now there in the central blue shape. It is no longer just an X (as in the Two or Four) or a six-pointed figure (as in the Three). It is something more complicated.

In the Four, the “X” is flat, you feel like it could close shut, like scissors or shears. The flowers are actually in between, in a space with depth.

Continuing to see the blue center as a circle. Elaboration of the Coin. As a seed, germinated somehow.

There is a strange mirroring of the Swords—in the Swords, there was no sign of a cutting motion. Here we have signs of cutting motion, akin to scissors, but no swords.

The central Baton in the Five is like an outgrowth of the central blue area/circle.

Note that in the Ace of Coins, we have an inversion: stunted blue appendages and a fully yellow circle:

Whereas here, we have only the indication or hint of a blue circle, with full radiant yellow appendages.

What begins as a meagre blue X in the Two of Batons starts to fill out the circle gradually over the course of the Suit. More and more blue becomes present. A circle being created out of straight lines, a weaving. Like calculus, or projective geometry.

This is exactly the point and circle meditation, from the Curative Course (see here:

Suppose you want to be able to speak to some fellow human being from out of an intuitive power of vision. The things you need to behold in him are by no means written plain for all to see; and you may take it that statements made about backward children from the ordinary lay point of view are generally false. What you have to do is to see through what lies on the surface, see right through it to the real state of affairs. If therefore you want to come to the point of being able to say something to him out of intuitive vision, what do you need for that? You need to tell yourself with courage and with energy — not just saying it at some particular moment, but carrying it continually in your consciousness, so that it determines the very quality and content of your consciousness: — “ I can do it.” If, without vanity, in a spirit of self-sacrifice, and in earnest endeavour to overcome all the things that hinder, you repeat these words, not only feeling them, but saying them to yourself over and over again, then you will begin to discover how far you are able to go in this direction. Do not expect to find the development of the faculty you seek, by spinning out all manner of theories and thoughts. No, what you need to do is to maintain all the time this courageous consciousness, which develops quite simply of itself when once you have begun to fetch up from the depths of your soul what lies hidden there, buried (metaphorically speaking) beneath an accumulation of dust and rubbish.

Generally speaking, people are not able to achieve anything of this kind in the realm of pedagogy. They could do so if only they would set themselves seriously to bring to life within them a certain truth. Let me explain to you how this can be done.

Try to accustom yourselves to live your way every evening into the consciousness: In me is God. In me is God — or the Spirit of God, or what other expression you prefer to use. (But please do not think I mean just persuading yourself of this truth theoretically — which is what the meditations of the majority of people amount to!) Then, in the morning let the knowledge: I am in God shine out over the whole day. And now consider! When you bring to life within you these two ideas, which are then no longer mere thoughts, but have become something felt and perceived inwardly, yes, have even become impulses of will within you, what is it you are doing?

First, you have this picture before you: In me is God;

and on the following morning, you have this picture before you: I am in God. They are one and the same, the upper and the lower figure. And now you must understand: Here you have a circle (yellow); here you have a point (blue). It doesn’t look like that in the evening, but in the morning the truth of it comes to light. And in the morning you have to think: Here is a circle (blue); here is a point (yellow). Yes, you have to understand that a circle is a point, and a point a circle. You have to acquire a deep, inner understanding of this fact.

But now, this is really the only way to come to a true understanding of the human being! You remember the drawing I made for you, of the metabolism-and-limbs man and the head man. That drawing was nothing else than a realistic impression or record of what you have before you now in this simple figure for meditation. In the human being it becomes actual reality; the I-point of the head becomes in the limb man the circle — naturally, with modifications. Adopting this line of approach, trying, that is, to understand man inwardly, you will learn to understand the whole of man. You must, first of all, be quite clear in your mind that these two figures, these two conceptions, are one and the same, are not at all different from one another. They only look different from outside. There is a yellow circle; here it is too! There is a blue point; here it is too! Why do they look different? Because that drawing is a diagram of the head, and this a diagram of the body.

This inner movement that has to be made, whereby we realise that the blue point in the yellow circle becomes the blue circle with the yellow point in the region of the infinite, and back again…and that in actuality they are one and the same. So the Ace of Coins = the Batons (at least, the Two, Three, Four, Five).

This is akin to the way Steiner describes the true nature of seeds germinating: they must dissolve into a state of total chaos, and then into that chaos can descend the actual formative forces that bring about the plant. The seed reemerges inverted, alive.

We get this impression that the center of the Numbered Batons is gradually filling with water. Like reeds collecting condensation, or channels filling a well, filtering the water, sieves.

Is it hydroponic? With plants growing out of it?

Feeling resonances from every other Arcanum in the deck, yet not sure why sometimes.

The quite thick X in the Four of Batons, for example, makes Phillip think of the Pope. The center of the Five, on the other hand, makes him him think of the World. But he’s not quite sure why.

The blue center in the Five is somehow raised above the rest, like the dancer in the World, elevated, honoured. Framed by four creatures. As for the Pope, he does have the X mark on his hand?

Phillip was in his office the other day, and set the Five of Batons on the floor to take it in. Unable to focus on specific details of it. The full gestalt has to draw details into something different. Keeping the image further away, leaving that gestalt image in the background, allowing something to catch your eye in the peripheral vision. And what happens when he does this is he can perceive a well-defined circle at the center of the image that doesn’t appear when he is inspecting small details clearly and at close range.

If it is a distinct circle, though, something particular is going on there. Filling with water for example. It stands apart from the rest of the image.

The rectangular shape that is tracing the outside of the Four of Batons (the flat flowers emphasising this). Wouldn’t that be a more natural way to arrange staffs? Standing vertically in a line or something. Rather than all interwoven in this complex way.

The overall shape of the Four of Batons has something of the World or the Five of Coins. This strong, round center, surrounded by a kind of egg shape and then a rectangular shape.

In the Two of Batons, since it lacks the flat flowers, it is less of an egg or rectangular shape, and more of a vesica piscis.

With the Three and Five it’s a different basic form. In the Three, the leaves are facing out, which makes the diagonal batons look that way too, radiating out. All together, a radiant star.

Whereas in the Five, it is very similar in some way, but the central leaves turned in makes a great difference. More of the vesica piscis gesture, when they are put into connection with the central baton. The turned-out leaves in the Three don’t form a vesica piscis with the central baton in that way.

It feels like the yellow portion of the big X in the Five of Batons can be ignored, erased. Leaving a form that’s like a trophy or something. Ornamental.

It’s like a little figurine. Related to martial arts somehow. A figure collecting, flexing, yet moving up at the same time. Wrappings, a gi, as a monk or martial artists might have.

Or an ancient martial arts weapon.

The Three of Batons is radiating, yes, but it is also listening, drawing in from the outside. Whereas the Five is more this gesture of: that which is within is going to be expanded after drawing in. Collecting itself, about to attack.

The Three of Batons is very much the Leo eurythmy gesture. These ear-wings which radiate out from the heart yet listen to the cosmos. The shape of the Leo sigil is like an ear. And we placed the Three of Batons in relation to the Emperor—he is also a bit of a lion, with the great mane.

There aren’t really these strong links between the Minors and the Majors anymore, not like their were in previous Suits. These Minors are their own thing, archetypes in the realm of archetypes, unrelated to the material realm at all. They are in total contrast with the Swords, which are a constriction of reality until it crystallizes out and separates from everything. Whereas they are the total fulfillment of the Coins.

There are actually many similarities to the Swords, but the difference is in this living interrelation within and between the images. The Swords are the abstraction process of the intellect. The archetypal nature of materialistic empiricism. A living thought is abstracted in one arcanum, and it withers by the next card.

Whereas here it is the opposite. It’s hard to put it into words, because it is hard to abstract it!

The one thing that comes to mind to which it can be compared is this process of seeing the gestation of the sceptre over the course of the Magician, the High Priestess, the Empress, and the Emperor. How the ball and the wand held by the Magician slowly become the vertical sceptre held by the Emperor. And then beyond that, how that evoked the Magician as conception, the High Priestess as gestation, the Empress as birth, and finally culminating in the Emperor as a kind of “Presentation in the Temple.”

And it took something like a year for that image to fully come into consciousness, and yet in some way we could nonetheless feel that being expressed so strongly in those four arcana from the very beginning. That’s the same feeling the Batons are giving.

The Swords are a disruption of the storyline. A non-story storyline. If the Major Arcana warranted the Letter-Meditations in Meditations on the Tarot, then the Suit of Swords are more like letters found in an attic, out of order, some of them damaged by fire or incomplete. And written by someone slowly losing their mind, going mad. This collection of letters would give an impression of something, but would have no perceivable path or storyline running through them.

But there’s not really a story per se in MOT, is there? No. But there is nonetheless a central theme around which everything hands, even without a clear storyline. There is a thread. A thread formed with powerful images. It isn’t a matter of Mystery, which is entirely unknowable, or only knowable “in the night.” It is a matter of Arcanum, of that which is concealed and revealed simultaneously, the “open secret” of the twilight.

The Major Arcana are the school in which one learns how to learn, the art of learning itself, and they must be given in arcane pictures. This idea of Marshall Mcluhan’s, “the medium is the message”—the mode of presentation needs to match the content. In MOT, the medium exactly matches the message, so much so that you don’t take notice of either. You just take the whole thing in, let it wash over you, they’re totally united with each other.

We are seeing the Batons with a far greater clarity than we did the Coins, and yet they’re a bit more inscrutable at the same time. They border on the inexpressible. This really carries us to the spirit of Plato’s 7th Letter, with which Tomberg more or less ends MOT. In this letter, Plato more or less lays out five levels of philosophy: the name, the definition, the image, the knowledge, and finally the very essence of the thing itself. The name is the lowest level, and the easiest to put into the written word. The essence is the highest—and Plato claims that if one has truly found the way to the essence, one will know that it is futile and a debasement to attempt to put into writing these highest mysteries, as they can only come into being in conversation from soul to soul [I include the key except from the 7th letter here, taken from the full letter here:

On my arrival, I thought that first I must put to the test the question whether Dionysios had really been kindled with the fire of philosophy, or whether all the reports which had come to Athens were empty rumours. Now there is a way of putting such things to the test which is not to be despised and is well suited to monarchs, especially to those who have got their heads full of erroneous teaching, which immediately my arrival I found to be very much the case with Dionysios. One should show such men what philosophy is in all its extent; what their range of studies is by which it is approached, and how much labour it involves. For the man who has heard this, if he has the true philosophic spirit and that godlike temperament which makes him a kin to philosophy and worthy of it, thinks that he has been told of a marvellous road lying before him, that he must forthwith press on with all his strength, and that life is not worth living if he does anything else. After this he uses to the full his own powers and those of his guide in the path, and relaxes not his efforts, till he has either reached the end of the whole course of study or gained such power that he is not incapable of directing his steps without the aid of a guide. This is the spirit and these are the thoughts by which such a man guides his life, carrying out his work, whatever his occupation may be, but throughout it all ever cleaving to philosophy and to such rules of diet in his daily life as will give him inward sobriety and therewith quickness in learning, a good memory, and reasoning power; the kind of life which is opposed to this he consistently hates. Those who have not the true philosophic temper, but a mere surface colouring of opinions penetrating, like sunburn, only skin deep, when they see how great the range of studies is, how much labour is involved in it, and how necessary to the pursuit it is to have an orderly regulation of the daily life, come to the conclusion that the thing is difficult and impossible for them, and are actually incapable of carrying out the course of study; while some of them persuade themselves that they have sufficiently studied the whole matter and have no need of any further effort. This is the sure test and is the safest one to apply to those who live in luxury and are incapable of continuous effort; it ensures that such a man shall not throw the blame upon his teacher but on himself, because he cannot bring to the pursuit all the qualities necessary to it. Thus it came about that I said to Dionysios what I did say on that occasion. 

I did not, however, give a complete exposition, nor did Dionysios ask for one. For he professed to know many, and those the most important, points, and to have a sufficient hold of them through instruction given by others. I hear also that he has since written about what he heard from me, composing what professes to be his own handbook, very different, so he says, from the doctrines which he heard from me; but of its contents I know nothing; I know indeed that others have written on the same subjects; but who they are, is more than they know themselves. This much at least, I can say about all writers, past or future, who say they know the things to which I devote myself, whether by hearing the teaching of me or of others, or by their own discoveries—that according to my view it is not possible for them to have any real skill in the matter. There neither is nor ever will be a treatise of mine on the subject. For it does not admit of exposition like other branches of knowledge; but after much converse about the matter itself and a life lived together, suddenly a light, as it were, is kindled in one soul by a flame that leaps to it from another, and thereafter sustains itself. Yet this much I know—that if the things were written or put into words, it would be done best by me, and that, if they were written badly, I should be the person most pained. Again, if they had appeared to me to admit adequately of writing and exposition, what task in life could I have performed nobler than this, to write what is of great service to mankind and to bring the nature of things into the light for all to see? But I do not think it a good thing for men that there should be a disquisition, as it is called, on this topic—except for some few, who are able with a little teaching to find it out for themselves. As for the rest, it would fill some of them quite illogically with a mistaken feeling of contempt, and others with lofty and vain-glorious expectations, as though they had learnt something high and mighty. 

On this point I intend to speak a little more at length; for perhaps, when I have done so, things will be clearer with regard to my present subject. There is an argument which holds good against the man who ventures to put anything whatever into writing on questions of this nature; it has often before been stated by me, and it seems suitable to the present occasion. 

For everything that exists there are three instruments by which the knowledge of it is necessarily imparted; fourth, there is the knowledge itself, and, as fifth, we must count the thing itself which is known and truly exists. The first is the name, the, second the definition, the third. the image, and the fourth the knowledge. If you wish to learn what I mean, take these in the case of one instance, and so understand them in the case of all. A circle is a thing spoken of, and its name is that very word which we have just uttered. The second thing belonging to it is its definition, made up names and verbal forms. For that which has the name “round,” “annular,” or, “circle,” might be defined as that which has the distance from its circumference to its centre everywhere equal. Third, comes that which is drawn and rubbed out again, or turned on a lathe and broken up—none of which things can happen to the circle itself—to which the other things mentioned have reference; for it is something of a different order from them. Fourth, comes knowledge, intelligence and right opinion about these things. Under this one head we must group everything which has its existence, not in words nor in bodily shapes, but in souls—from which it is clear that it is something different from the nature of the circle itself and from the three things mentioned before. Of these things intelligence comes closest in kinship and likeness to the fifth, and the others are farther distant. 

The same applies to straight as well as to circular form, to colours, to the good, the beautiful, the just, to all bodies whether manufactured or coming into being in the course of nature, to fire, water, and all such things, to every living being, to character in souls, and to all things done and suffered. For in the case of all these, no one, if he has not some how or other got hold of the four things first mentioned, can ever be completely a partaker of knowledge of the fifth. Further, on account of the weakness of language, these (i.e., the four) attempt to show what each thing is like, not less than what each thing is. For this reason no man of intelligence will venture to express his philosophical views in language, especially not in language that is unchangeable, which is true of that which is set down in written characters. 

Again you must learn the point which comes next. Every circle, of those which are by the act of man drawn or even turned on a lathe, is full of that which is opposite to the fifth thing. For everywhere it has contact with the straight. But the circle itself, we say, has nothing in either smaller or greater, of that which is its opposite. We say also that the name is not a thing of permanence for any of them, and that nothing prevents the things now called round from being called straight, and the straight things round; for those who make changes and call things by opposite names, nothing will be less permanent (than a name). Again with regard to the definition, if it is made up of names and verbal forms, the same remark holds that there is no sufficiently durable permanence in it. And there is no end to the instances of the ambiguity from which each of the four suffers; but the greatest of them is that which we mentioned a little earlier, that, whereas there are two things, that which has real being, and that which is only a quality, when the soul is seeking to know, not the quality, but the essence, each of the four, presenting to the soul by word and in act that which it is not seeking (i.e., the quality), a thing open to refutation by the senses, being merely the thing presented to the soul in each particular case whether by statement or the act of showing, fills, one may say, every man with puzzlement and perplexity. 

Now in subjects in which, by reason of our defective education, we have not been accustomed even to search for the truth, but are satisfied with whatever images are presented to us, we are not held up to ridicule by one another, the questioned by questioners, who can pull to pieces and criticise the four things. But in subjects where we try to compel a man to give a clear answer about the fifth, any one of those who are capable of overthrowing an antagonist gets the better of us, and makes the man, who gives an exposition in speech or writing or in replies to questions, appear to most of his hearers to know nothing of the things on which he is attempting to write or speak; for they are sometimes not aware that it is not the mind of the writer or speaker which is proved to be at fault, but the defective nature of each of the four instruments. The process however of dealing with all of these, as the mind moves up and down to each in turn, does after much effort give birth in a well-constituted mind to knowledge of that which is well-constituted. But if a man is ill-constituted by nature (as the state of the soul is naturally in the majority, both in its capacity for learning and in what is called moral character)—or it may have become so by deterioration—not even Lynceus could endow such men with the power of sight. 

In one word, the man who has no natural kinship with this matter cannot be made akin to it by quickness of learning or memory; for it cannot be engendered at all in natures which are foreign to it. Therefore, if men are not by natural kinship allied to justice and all other things that are honourable, though they may be good at learning and remembering other knowledge of various kinds—or if they have the kinship but are slow learners and have no memory—none of all these will ever learn to the full the truth about virtue and vice. For both must be learnt together; and together also must be learnt, by complete and long continued study, as I said at the beginning, the true and the false about all that has real being. After much effort, as names, definitions, sights, and other data of sense, are brought into contact and friction one with another, in the course of scrutiny and kindly testing by men who proceed by question and answer without ill will, with a sudden flash there shines forth understanding about every problem, and an intelligence whose efforts reach the furthest limits of human powers. Therefore every man of worth, when dealing with matters of worth, will be far from exposing them to ill feeling and misunderstanding among men by committing them to writing. In one word, then, it may be known from this that, if one sees written treatises composed by anyone, either the laws of a lawgiver, or in any other form whatever, these are not for that man the things of most worth, if he is a man of worth, but that his treasures are laid up in the fairest spot that he possesses. But if these things were worked at by him as things of real worth, and committed to writing, then surely, not gods, but men “have themselves bereft him of his wits.” 

Anyone who has followed this discourse and digression will know well that, if Dionysios or anyone else, great or small, has written a treatise on the highest matters and the first principles of things, he has, so I say, neither heard nor learnt any sound teaching about the subject of his treatise; otherwise, he would have had the same reverence for it, which I have, and would have shrunk from putting it forth into a world of discord and uncomeliness. For he wrote it, not as an aid to memory—since there is no risk of forgetting it, if a man’s soul has once laid hold of it; for it is expressed in the shortest of statements—but if he wrote it at all, it was from a mean craving for honour, either putting it forth as his own invention, or to figure as a man possessed of culture, of which he was not worthy, if his heart was set on the credit of possessing it. If then Dionysios gained this culture from the one lesson which he had from me, we may perhaps grant him the possession of it, though how he acquired it—God wot, as the Theban says; for I gave him the teaching, which I have described, on that one occasion and never again. 

The next point which requires to be made clear to anyone who wishes to discover how things really happened, is the reason why it came about that I did not continue my teaching in a second and third lesson and yet oftener. Does Dionysios, after a single lesson, believe himself to know the matter, and has he an adequate knowledge of it, either as having discovered it for himself or learnt it before from others, or does he believe my teaching to be worthless, or, thirdly, to be beyond his range and too great for him, and himself to be really unable to live as one who gives his mind to wisdom and virtue? For if he thinks it worthless, he will have to contend with many who say the opposite, and who would be held in far higher repute as judges than Dionysios; if on the other hand, he thinks he has discovered or learnt the things and that they are worth having as part of a liberal education, how could he, unless he is an extraordinary person, have so recklessly dishonoured the master who has led the way in these subjects? How he dishonoured him, I will now state. 

So, we are approaching that place about which Plato says, don’t bother trying to express this in language. The highest things.

Seeing what is there out of the direct experience of the wholeness cannot be justified by pointing out minor details. It cannot be “proved.” We have completely lost any capacity for the spiritual exercises of the Knave of Coins in this realm, he cannot access here (deliberate attention to and concentration on details). Here it is entirely King of Coins—this embracing of, and being embraced by, the wholeness.

Tomberg makes these indications in the Letter-Meditation on the World in regards to the four Suits being a journey through the four planes of the Sephiroth Tree, from Action to Emanation. That has definitely been our experience, but it has only been a beginning, not something with which to flesh out 56 Letter-Meditations.

Going back to this theme of “the medium is the message.” If MOT is the perfect mode of expression for the content of the Majors, what would the proper expression of our experience of the Minors be?

The Suit of Coins would be best expressed in the form of deep and expansive philosophical and anthroposophical expression. A realm of unsullied perfection/ideal.

The Suit of Swords should read like a Kafka novel. The Trial.

The Suit of Cups would be more of a an actual story, a fairy story or a Grail legend.

And what of the Batons? How can it contain and summarize and elevate the previous three?

(Phillip) Maybe it would be something like Faust Part II? (Joel) Yes, that’s the perfect example.

It would not end up as a rehabilitation of Catholicism, a la MOT. It would be more of a question of…how does one rehabilitate one’s own imagination? That has been Phillip’s experience.

MOT isn’t just a rehabilitation of Catholicism, it’s a rehabilitation of Christianity herself, of moral conscience. Moral laws in a landscape of moral awareness. Rehabilitating the Church is rehabilitating one’s moral perceptual faculty.

Whereas the Minors…they’re dealing with something much more personal…or they have been for us.

Joel would have to really go back in time and try to remember what exactly the intention was when we set out, other than to complete the assignment set by Valentin Tomberg to write 56 Letter-Meditations on the Minor Arcana.

Joel’s experience has been a distressing one…this impression that the further we went into the Minor Arcana, the exposure to each Arcanum brought about some crisis 1) within his own soul, 2) in the lives of close friends and associates, and 3) on the world stage. And that each of those crises were somehow mirrors of each other, interrelated in quality. Living with this question, this paranoia, “Am I bringing this turmoil about through this? Or am I coming to a deeper experience of the synchronicity and interrelationship of the individual, the social, the cosmic, etc, in the Jungian sense?”

Experiencing the mutual destruction of self and world through the medium of the Arcana. Perhaps pictured adequately by this trimmed Five of Batons. But feeling this particularly in Phillip’s life since we entered the Minors, especially since the Four of Coins. A sense of responsibility for exposing him to that.

We were raised with destructive/wrong ideas, applying them to the world only for pain to result, ugly reflections of self. This isa training to rehabilitate the ruined imagination to actually allow that process to somehow be corrective. Imagination as disorganised, unconscious sacred magic.

Where it really all began, with the Four of Coins…it is so beautiful, it draws you in. But the natural corrective corollary is so undesirable. Out of left field, blindsided.

As we approach the Good, the underlying structure of All, it exposes how far I and the World have fallen from it. This causes destruction of that which is ultimately unreal.

Perhaps we should include warnings in the Letter-Meditations—that if you follow this path, you open yourself up to the possibility of experiencing painful correctives. You are exposed. This was true for us to some degree even during our work with the Majors. In 2016-17 there was the deterioration of Estelle’s involvement with esoteric work, and the dissolving of our New Hampshire group. Joel was in an earthquake in 2016.

Phillip has a friend from his Bali days who did some work with the Minor Arcana, but not at all in an MOT context, more mainstream. Hadn’t read MOT. Doing it for real this time.

A long painful initiation…but is there any other kind?

Well, Steiner speaks of three different ways of meeting the threshold depending on what part of the world you’re from. The typical Western (Anglo-American) initiate only sees darkness across the threshold, the powers of Ahriman standing behind nature, the demonic. The Central (European) initiate sees the struggle between the darkness of Ahriman below and the light of Lucifer in the spiritual world. The European initiate gains the capacity to entertain a multitude of viewpoints, can live into this struggle and vacillation. Whereas the Eastern (Russian) initiate only finds Lucifer, the light of the spiritual world, feels it as a blessing and a grace drawing it up into the spiritual.

It seems like Robert’s initiation back in the 70’s was more of an Eastern one, where all he experienced were waves of light and grace. Whereas we seem to have a blend of a Western and Central initiation. Seeing the necessity of evil, the inevitability or even the blessing of evil, and its possibility for redemption.

There is a yellow circle forming around the blue center, just as in the meditation.

The Fourth Suit. The Fourth Phase of the I Am; I Live; I Will; I Breathe. Soul breathing. In the Batons we have collection and release, pulsing. Not a cutting as in the Swords. This is a very calm but complex interweaving.

The representative awareness in constellation, giving your soul ever broader experiences, so that you get to know the wholeness. Not resorting to the sword, cut off, isolated. Breathing into another being, but still grounded in oneself, able to have overarching connection.

The Staff of Mercury. Mercury is related to the lungs, to breathing.

The creation of diamonds out of coal. Maximum pressure + time.