Five of Batons (II)

Notes of a Hermetic Conversation between Phillip and Joel on January 9, 2023.

(Phillip had done a reading over the Holy Nights…his deck was still mixed up from it)

The impression of something being pierced (by the vertical Baton) and bursting open (the diagonals). This in contrast to the Three, the only other Baton so far with this overall shape. The Three does not give this same impression of piercing and bursting. The vertical has to pass through this complex weaving in the Five, it’s a real piercing. Not so in the Three.

The Batons at first sight appear to be quite rigid, or you would assume them to be. But they wouldn’t be able to weave around each other like that if they were really so rigid. They would have to bend.

It goes with this impression from prior conversations on the Batons, that the blue center is watery, that it is fluid or malleable. The place where the weaving is able to happen.

Is the yellow of the flowers in the center a continuation of the yellow of the Batons around the blue? If we look at the progression from Two to Five, the yellow portion of those flowers opens, gives way, more and more as the yellow within the Batons grows:

But the yellow of the Batons doesn’t seem to be solid per se either. It seems more like beams of light. Or if you could see the chords played by a pipe organ. That’s what the sound would look like.

Light that nourishes the leaf. Light/root that goes into the water. Does the water nourish the light? A rippling interweaving of blue, then straight yellow beams—is the light refracted somehow through the water?

The Spirit of God hovers over the face of the deep (the void, the waters). The water that reflects the fire. That is the theme of the Letter-Meditation on the High Priestess, with which we bring the Five into relationship (after the Lover and Ace, Pope and Two, Emperor and Three, and Empress and Four).

Very powerful. It’s like we are peering out over the edge, into the void. And the image of the light/fire, its reflection, is the generating force.

Almost like a loop: the yellow light-root nurtures the blue leaf, but the blue water nurtures the light-root.

The process as laid out in the second Letter-Mediation has one aspect as primary (the Fire, the Mysticism) and one as secondary (the Water, Gnosis). The female water is subservient to the male fire. But this is more of an organism, a wholeness, where the fire generates something within the water, which in turn generates the fire.

The Ace of Batons has this hovering quality, with tongues of spirit or flame. The Spirit of God hovering. In contrast with the Swords, a hovering void. Indirect, ambient presence of nothingness.

All was formless and void. The Spirit of God breathed on the face of the waters.

Fire = light plus heat. Spirit (Fire) = consciousness (light) + primal motion (heat).

There are two forms of spirit influencing the waters. The glowing stick vs the growing plant. Reminiscent of the later part of Theosophy, the elementary kingdoms. There is the pure expression of the formative power in the cosmos, taken to its limit in crystals, and there is the formative power still permeated with the not yet formed, the forming, which can be passed on, in the plant kingdom. The Baton as formed crystal (and as ego/man?) and the plant as forming plant (and as astral/animal?).

In the Coin, we could ask if that is a sun? A being containing its own light?

The progression of forms throughout the Coins never led us to ask the question of an outside influence until the Swords. This three dimensional reality coming into play.

Then in the Cups we began to sense this real animal-like consciousness as an intermediary within the Arcanum.

Now there is a real presence, an inwardness, not overtly, but coming to us, all through the Batons.

The Five is akin to a Native American image, maybe of the “World Turtle”, bearing the cosmos on its back.

The eye of a turtle is strange. The pupil is almost like a cross. Phillip would see them on the bank of the river in Colorado.

The feeling of the Native American is that the turtle lives in total union with an earthly-mystical state. United with Earth Spirit.

The feeling of an atmospheric consciousness acting from “outside” the Arcanum to the “inside” of it, as a stimulant that has an internal effect.

The four leaves in the center are such a consistent pattern. There aren’t any major changes there (the Three is a little different, turned the other way). Only minor differences. Strange that this is the consistent thread.

There is a motion of winding implied in all of these. Like bike pedals, or a turbine, a wind turbine. If that were really spinning, would it compress what is inside? Would it cause the central rod to move, like a piston moving up and down? The other parts would spin, in a complicated way, like a gyroscope. Rotating around the axis. But the vertical itself doesn’t spin. It pumps.

Begins to seem like a kind of steampunk time travel device. Reminiscent of Continuum or Dark.

This feeling of occult technology was ever present in the Cups, but never time travel. That is a distinct feeling here.

The Ace of Cups was like the asteroid the Millenium Falcon lands in, a living building that might eat you.

But not the impression we have with the Batons, that we are experiencing both a living being as well as that which gives it life by implication. Very sophisticated.

Wheels within wheels, covered with eyes. The beings described in Ezekial as the companions of the Cherubim. He basically implies that the wheel next to each Cherub bears its spirit, its ego.

Are those eye-wheels Thrones? Merkabah mysticism. The Merkabah is the Chariot. A wheeled throne. Each one is a companion of a Cherub. The Cherubim have four faces and four wings.

Perhaps the Throne is the visible aspect of the Baton, while the Cherubim are shaping them, they are the part that is “outside” of the card which we can so distinctly sense. A Cherub-shaped Throne.

What specific presence is this accommodating?

The relationship of the Cherubim and Thrones is the seed of good and evil in the world. On Ancient Saturn, the Thrones sacrificed themselves as an offering to the Cherubim. A portion of the Cherubim accepted the sacrifice, but others (more or less arbitrarily) restrained themselves from enjoying the sacrificial offering. The rejection created a kind of “smoke” or darkness. The beginning of a “split” world: one part that flows in a unified, original condition. A bit splits off, and begins to eddy and flow back, becomes a counter-current. A splitting, bifurcating influence. The stream of originality intermingling with a stream directly, paradoxically opposite. The rejected sacrifice flows back into those who sacrificed. The source of all feelings of longing, dissatisfaction, jealousy, etc.

In the lectures Inner Aspects of Evolution, Steiner brings this into relation with Cain’s rejected sacrifice, as well as Abraham’s. (See here:

Abraham’s? Yes, when Abraham is asked to sacrifice his son, Isaac, it is in the end rejected, the lamb takes his place. Wow—Phillip had never made this connection before. And fascinating in the light of what Robert tells about the relationship between Cain and Abraham. And that carries on to Lazarus himself. Joel has, over the years, come to this understanding that Lazarus could recognise that he needed to be the sacrificial lamb on behalf of humanity, since he was to blame for the descent of the Mother/Paradise when he slew Abel. “Better that one man should perish…” And so he attempted to be this willing sacrifice at the hands of Abel-Magdalene. But this sacrifice was rejected. Christ brought him back from the dead, took on his karmic burden, and gave him the dynamism of the cosmos in exchange (Christ’s so-called “etheric body”).

The destiny of this Cain, Abraham, Lazarus individual is to have his sacrifices rejected. And to always receive from what is higher, a kind of undeserved/unexpected grace or reward (the kiss of protection as Cain, the Lamb as Abraham, the etheric body of Christ as Lazarus). He is always told, “No, we do not want what you have offered. Learn to receive.”

He also experiences the bread and the wine communion early, from Melchizadek, as Abraham. The Father of all Israel.

His deeds are treated as “mistakes,” but perhaps in reality they are like requests from the spiritual world: “We need you to do that thing that is not quite correct.”

Is this destiny an entirely separate story from Adam and Eve? Is there a link?

With Eve, it is the act of taking that which was not offered. With Cain, it is the rejection of what he offers. The offering of what was not asked for.

Have we seen any fruits in the Minor Arcana?

Sometimes portions of the Cups looked like fruits. If an apple were to be cut open. In the Ten of Cups.

Also, the pumpkin-form of the pommel on the Swords.

Pommel is reminiscent of pomegranate. Doesn’t it mean “apple” in French? Pom is apple. This form continues as the bowl of the Cup. Also, there are many fruit/animal forms throughout the Cups (e.g. the Four):

This imagination of something being pierced, bursting open in the Five…is there a connection with the High Priestess? Her pierced heart, like the heart of Mary?

Notice the cross that forms over her heart. In the Five of Batons, it’s as though the upper clasp came down and joined with the stole (pen?). The crossing stole would be the X, and the upper clasp would be the vertical baton.

There is a veil, a “skin” in both the High Priestess and the Chariot that allows a proper contact between the spiritual and the human (as Tomberg describes in the 7th Letter Meditation). The image of the Chariot, the Merkabah.

Perhaps we could say that the High Priestess is also a chariot. She has been adequately shaped by Cherubim. How can the Five of Batons be the proper vessel/vehicle for Cherubim? How can it contain them?

If both diagonals are spinning/oscillating while rotating around the central vertical baton. Like a gyroscope, a living pulsing, oscillation.

Are the Cherubim the vibrations motivating it? The atmosphere, the waves of sound and light. There is an ear-like quality to those central leaves.

That gyroscopic pulsing reminds us of the heart beating. All interwoven, they pulse back and forth, while rotating around the center. They swing all the way one way and bounce back the other.

The blood pumps the heart, not the other way around. The flow of blood creates the pulse. The flow of blood as the Cherubim, the heart as the chariot/Thrones/Merkabah. Four chambers, four creatures.

The Cherubim have a face on all four sides. We are a one-sided being, therefore we have a particular form for our vehicles (i.e. they face forwards, drive forwards, etc.).

What would a vehicle for a four-sided being even look like? Moving in four directions at once, reaching all the way out, then moving back in to recollect. A pulsing movement of expansion and contraction around a center. Four, not a fifth facing inwards?

This is in Ezekial. In contrast to chapter 4 of the Apocalypse. Here the four holy creatures are Seraphim. Each one has a different face, rather than all of them having the four faces. Like a single Cherubim divided into four creatures. And each Seraphim has six wings rather than four. Shaped like the six pointed cross of the odd Batons. They are around the Throne, and at their center is the 5th creatures, the Lamb in the midst of the Throne.

The four leaves in the center—they have been the constant representation of the Four throughout almost the entire Suit (all but the Ace of Batons). It is the only constant so far. The diagonals increase, the vertical comes and goes.

Comparing to the Four and Five of Coins…such a contrast. There the representation of the actual number of the card was so pronounced.

Now, seeing the Four’s presence in all the cards of the fourth Suit. There isn’t a “Four of Fours” that is definitive. There is a non-number process, much more qualitative.

Even the “extra” Batons that appear in the “empty” space between the diagonals, throws one off in terms of seeing the nominal number of the Arcanum, the number is it is supposed to represent. The attention is taken off of the concrete number. All the numbers are present in each one. Which begs the question—what exactly is it that makes them “One” or “Two” or “Three”? Something other than a quantifiable object. Something qualitative.

In prior Arcana, we had a strong impression of a circle of blue forming in the center, with the implication of concentric circles around it. Now, we get the strong feeling of a hexagon forming. This interesting relationship of Four and Six: a hexagon is a six-sided two-dimensional object, but if it is made three dimensional, it becomes a cube, which emphasizes the aspect of Four. If we trace the outline of a cube we have a hexagon.

This is the form of the New Jerusalem, an enormous cube. We could think of it as a cube formed by the meeting of a downward facing triangle descending (the Father in the heights) meeting an upward facing triangle ascending (the Mother in the depths). The cube/New Jerusalem is the hexagon made where they meet, the Child of the Sacred Marriage.

The uniting of the two triangles is there in the Lord’s Prayer Course, in reference to the sacral chakra. Mary (as Feminine) and John (as Masculine) at the foot of the cross:

Picture the “soul situation” at the crucifixion on Golgotha, with John and Mary standing beneath the cross. John the beloved disciple stands at the foot of the cross. He stands, and his soul reaches up ever higher and higher until he unites with the Father indwelling Christ the Son. This is his standing: like a candle whose flame ascends above in order to spiritually grasp and experience what Christ is experiencing, to experience the moral profundity of Christ’s sacrifice.

On this account John was present at the scene of the pietà and Mary at the ascension also, otherwise Mary would have sunk down deep into the depths and John would have soared off to spiritual heights (enraptured).

Mary also stands at the foot of the cross. Her standing, however, is such that she sinks down deeper and deeper into the depths and is immersed in the suffering of Christ. She goes so deep: she experiences suffering even unto the depths of the soul of substance, all suffering even unto the soul of physical substance. It is an immeasurably deep feeling into substance. Now the words resound: “Behold, this is your son,” “Behold, this is your mother.” Remembrance is awakened through the Son – the striving towards the Father in the heights and the striving towards the Mother in the depths. Thus there are the two kinds of standing at the foot of the cross – that of John reaching up to the heights, and that of Mary feeling down into the depths. Memory awakens and the connection between above and below arises. The Son unites these two into a unity – here a rainbow appears.

The two – John reaching up to the heights and Mary feeling down to the depths -are united through the rainbow. Now we picture the 6-petalled lotus flower, consisting of two directions of striving, upwards to the heights and downwards to the depths: one thinks of the hexagram with the “Sun-I” at the center.

The center begins to radiate like a sun – this signifies the awakening of the soul. At the center the “Sun-I:” this is the heart force of the Son awakening the “Sun-I,” then the soul awakens like a radiant sun.

When the soul awakens like a radiant sun, the two triangles stretch, one above and one below, according to the strength of striving, towards the Father in the heights and the Mother in the depths, alternately in movement, sometimes reaching higher and sometimes reaching deeper, like living flames becoming a two-edged sword. Then one experiences what St. Paul says concerning “the groaning in travail of the whole of creation to obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Romans 8:21-22). This moral experience is possible even unto the depths of chemical substance. Then the evil of the 6-petalled lotus flower is overcome. Two lightning–like flames leaping up and down. The flaming up and down does not take place continually but like lightning. With each flaming up and down knowledge (gnosis) of the heights and of the depths arises, and the inner nature of the creation is known and experienced – the “groaning” of which Paul speaks. After the death of Jesus, the pietà took place, and John was there again together with Mary. At the ascension John was there, and also Mary; for where the heights and the depths are known, both are there together.

All throughout the Suit of Batons, this shape is building up, the cube in the center of the six-pointed star. But it’s in this weird stellated version. A star slowly becoming a form. A crystal growing in the center of the Earth.

As we move through the Suit, the yellow will continue shortening and thickening (overall decreasing relatively), while the blue keeps increasing until it becomes a diamond. It’s weird to conceive of a diamond as a fat stunted X.

The center, the blue diamond, is the Sea of Glass from the Apocalypse, before the Throne. The Breath of Spirit penetrating the Water…if it is a Sea of Glass, it is totally penetrable by light.

It’s a wild idea though! This sea of molten glass, and yet the glass is clear. Unlike molten glass in our experience, which is orange/glowing. This rippling, folding, clear glass. Hiram Abiff. Another rejected offering?

We take a preview of the next Arcanum, the Six of Batons:

Ah! After all of our focus on them during this conversation, the four central leaves finally change!

They look like the antlers of an ibex or something. Very African. Or tongues of flame.

It’s insane to see an elk or ibex. Their antlers are so bulky, they look so heavy. But they don’t behave that way at all, they don’t have the heaviness of a cow or ox. They are so light, mobile.

There is a cool weaving now in the center, with the three batons diagonally.

There is only one retention of old leaves, in the one flower. All the others are new and different. In that flower, there is one central petal that stands out. A special region.