Notes of a Hermetic Conversation on September 4, 2018
September 4, 2018
Conversation on the Five of Coins
We began with the protective practice
We then invoked the presence of Michael through moving the Michaelic verse in Eurythmy (5-pointed Star)
After focusing the mantra “I AM” on the brow chakra, we moved the fourth part of the Inner Radiance sequence.
We then read from Revelation 3:7-8 (beginning of the Letter to the Philadelphians) and Matthew 7:6-11 (Ask and you shall receive).
The past few conversations on the Five of Coins, we had observed it as the last card in the sequence Ace, Two, Three, Four, Five (i.e, as the second He). This time, we chose to look at it as the second card in what will be the sequence Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight (i.e., as the first He).
– After last week’s conversation, Joel was reading through the Letter-Meditation on the Star, and was struck by page 484. Tomberg characterizes John the Baptist as a summary of all of Hebrew History, and a kind of turning point in the spiral from Abraham to David, and from David to Babylon. This is so similar to our characterization of the Four of Coins—a summary of all of Hebrew history in one blast. We might think of the Ace, Two and Three as the three steps in the spiral leading up to John the Baptist—but what is the Five?
– The verse from Revelation speaks of the “door that is open and no man can shut”—this is the Four of Coins—and the “door that is shut and no man can open”—this is the Five of Coins.
– Looking at the Four of Coins as the Yod of a new sequence, as the first card. This makes it much less inappropriate and jarring than when it is the fourth step (Vau) in the sequence Ace, Two, Three, Four, Five. It takes on a kind of joyful, exuberant quality, like the introduction to a piece by Wagner. A fanfare. No longer disturbing, unnerving, abrasive.
– The Four has a much more firm and fixed quality than the Five. It is marching to a military beat. With the Five, both the tempo and the volume decrease. There is a lack of a clear rhythm in its music, it is more rambling, flowing, melodious.
The Four is all Drum and Trumpet. The fanfare, introduction, the Overture.
The Five is all piano. The introduction of the melody proper, the central motif of the piece.
– There is something about the compression between the upper and lower coins in the Four. There is a strength in that. A kind of amplification through reflection; reflection plays a role in this expression of strength. On the other hand, the Five has such a delicacy. It is Poise, not Strength. The way the coins are embedded in Four creates a lot of tension. In Five, it is more open, a more balanced quality (specifically here, we were noticing how tightly packed together the plant and coin were in the Four vs the Five).
Four – compression in the middle
Five – expansion in the middle
Four – flower, blossoming, emerging from the stem—convex.
Five – seed scattering to the wind—concave.
Four – Yod, insemination quality. Insect/bird at the flower, spreading pollen. Upper more phalic shape vs the flower shape below (the red forms).
Five – gestation (flow, taking shape, watery process).
Four – As Empress? Procreative, sacred magic?
Five – As Emperor? Gestational?
Four – As Magician = Conception
Five – As High Priestess = Gestation (as we have established long ago in our conversations of the Majors)
– The Four as the Overture, trying to do and be everything at once vs the Five as the main melody. This process of the Five teasing out the main, representative distillation from the Four.
Four – The whole emerging from periphery to center, everything coming together
Five – A thread, a following of a main thread or trail that connects parts of the whole and relates to the whole, but all follows a main, winding thread.
The Magician has his table of tools all laid out, a mess.
The High Priestess takes this mess and distills it into order: the Book.
This is a Yod/Mysticism to He/Gnosis process, but rather than a reflection process, or the bringing of subconscious to consciousness, it is more a distillation process.
– Looking at the negative space in these images. In the Four of Coins, the negative space in the middle surrounding the box looks like a Genie’s lamp, or a Sultan’s palace. It is divided in terms of Above and Below. On the other hand, in the Five of Coins, it looks like a Crest or a Shield, and is divided in terms of Left and Right.
Four – Yod – Vertical Experience, Vertical Memory.
Five – He – sifting out, discernment. A horizontal experience.
– Last time we felt as though the Five could spin out into all directions, it became a bit manic. But with this new perspective, it keeps the focus on the center, no matter what happens to “scatter to the wind” or fly off in all directions.
– There is a quality of Beauty and the Beast between the Four and Five. Something wild in the Four is tamed by the Five. Or one thinks of Cerberus, the 3-headed dog who is lulled to sleep with the flute music. The Five brings a balm, a calming, soothing influence to the Four.
– Notice that between the Four and Five, the opposite color scheme exists between the upper and lower flowers/leaves, emphasizing that this is two sides of the same portal/threshold.
– Looking at the Five of Coins as either the 26th Arcanum (therefore of the value of 8) or the 27th Arcanum (therefore of the value of 9):
Justice—Star—Five of Coins
Hermit—Moon—Five of Coins
When we see the Four as the Chariot and the Five as Justice, this seems very natural. The scales and the sword of Justice, as well as her crown could all be transposed into the Five of Coins very easily.
It is the same with the Tower of Destruction and the Star—a movement from explosion (Tower/Four) to relief and flow (Star/Five).
When we looked at the Four as an “8” Arcanum, we saw Justice’s Guardian of the Threshold quality in the Four, and the Rainbow of Peace quality of the Star. When we look at the Five as an “8” Arcanum, we see more the nurturing, maternal aspect of Justice and the Star. The Waters Above and the Waters Below.
– The Letter-Meditation on the Star gives us the perfect word to describe the Yod experience of the Ace of Coins (analogous to the word “mysticism” for the Magician as the Yod experience of the Major Arcana). This word is thelema, on page 488, which relates to wonder, desire, longing, and spontaneity all at once. The formula acting in the manner of a spiral.
On page 487, we see the formula of the Minor Arcana: first step in the spiral: stars (pentacles); second step: woman (swords); third step: water (cups); fourth step: tree (baton).
We might even say that there is an un-named fifth step in the spiral, the bird that lands in the tree. This bird is the fifth “suit”—the Trump cards, the Major Arcana.
The bird in the tree is given a close up view in the Four of Coins.
We see in the Letter-Meditation on The Star elements related to that on the World (joy, spontaneity, as well as more or less explicit formulae for working with the Minor Arcana). Similarly, we see a reflection of themes between the Moon and The Judgment, especially if we look at the notes in the Wandering Fool. They are both related to the aspect of memory, but in a polarized way: one is vertical memory bestowed from Above to Below; the other is memory as the only light left to one who is in complete darkness. The Sun then holds the center. This gives us a different way of looking at Yod He Shin Vau He, where the 1st and 5th elements reflect, and the 2nd and 4th elements reflect, while the 3rd holds the center.
– Looking more closely at the steps in the spiral:
Ace – Abraham to David/Rudolf Steiner/Ancient India
Two – David to Babylon/Valentin Tomberg/Ancient Persia
Three – Babylon to John/Robert Powell/Ancient Egypt
Four – John the Baptist/Life of Christ.
And what about the 5th?
The odd thing about the fifth shows itself in terms of cultural epochs. Each epoch is contained as seed within any other one (the first is always repeated in the first portion of the others, etc), but the fifth has only ever been there as seed, it is only now that it is appearing as reality. Both the fifth cultural epoch as well as the entire post-Atlantean age—it is in process of unfolding for the first time, not as a memory like the others. It has only been germinal up until now. It is still in becoming, open-ended. Whereas the Greco-Roman epoch remembers the Fourth Age of Atlantis, the Egyptian/Chaldean remembers the Third Age of Lemuria, etc.
After Christ, it seems we have stepped away from cultural epochs or phases of Hebrew history. Instead, we have entered the time of the Church:
Four – Church of Peter (rock, foundation)
Five – Church of John (flowing, heart, rose with thorns)
Six – Church of Paul (???, not observed yet)
Seven – Uniting of all 3? Ecumenism? Anthroposophia?
According to Robert, each century after Christ is equivalent to one year in the development of the human being. The first “seven-year cycle” of the Church, from 33-733 AD, was focused on the Church of Peter (Roman Catholic). The second “seven-year cycle” from 733-1433 AD, was focused on the Church of John (Eastern Orthodox). The third “seven-year cycle” from 1433-2133 AD is focused on the “Church of Paul” (Anglican/Protestant). The “Sun Years” of the human being last from 21-42. This is when the fourth member of the human being, the Ego, can begin to express itself. So the time period 2133-4233 AD is focused on the development of the Grail Church, the synthesis of the prior three. Robert describes the advent of Anthroposophy as equivalent to the Moon Node of the human being at 18.61 years old—when a kind of inspiration can shine into the young adult, planting the seed for the true ego-development to come. So we could say that the Seven is related to Anthroposophia, or the Grail Church (Robert presents this in several of his works. See for example the Appendices to Hermetic Astrology vol I).
– When we look at the Five of Coins as the 27th Arcanum, and therefore as a “9,” a much more melancholy feeling emerges. The Hermit is wandering off into the lonely landscape of the Moon, with only his lantern to guide him. This brings out the aspect of the Five as the scattering of seed, of the periphery abandoning the center. A spitting up, letting it fall into the distance. The central coin is now trapped in isolation. The upper and lower coins are holding the middle so tenuously, as they are getting ready to let it go off on its own.
On the other hand, we might say that the central coin has been trapped by being held onto by the upper and lower coins, and now it is going to experience the relief of being set free. Not abandoned. This becomes the climax of a transitional process. The pending release: the moment of eclipse will surely pass, as it is only a moment. It feels eternal when one is in the darkness, but at heart it is just a transitional moment.
The Five as Death, the Church of Sardis. It is the karma of the Three, Ancient Egypt. Just as the Seven is karma of One, and Six is karma of Two, while Four holds the center point. From Christ and Sophia:
Ace = Weight = India — Seven = Toil = America
Two = Measure = Persia — Six = Suffering = Russia
Three = Number = Egypt — Five = Death = Europe
Four = Freedom = Greece/Rome
Is the Death of the Fifth an abandonment or a setting free?
The meditation from Christ and Sophia on the Letter to Sardis:
Human beings experience the complete lack of the spirit from both the inner life (thinking) as well as from nature (technological progress). Abandonment. They experience on the deepest possible level the failure and inadequacy of human efforts, and in response a deep outer silence. Then a new type of questioning can arise, true concerns of conscience (Parzival questions). The response to these questions is given by the Etheric Christ; the deeper nature of both the inner life (i.e. karmic memory) and nature (i.e. Cosmogenesis) is revealed, from the Akashic record. Here we find once again abandonment and a setting free mutually intertwined. A death process that brings about new life.
We might see this in what is currently happening with Estelle Isaacson. Something more evolved arising out of retreat/submersion/death process.
– We questioned last time how these Arcana should be placed on the Tree of Life, with the Sephiroth. Let’s do the traditional arrangement of Ace = Crown/Kether, Two = Light/Chokmah, Three = Warmth/Binah, Four = Peace/Gedulah, Five = Activity/Geburah:
But wait…Four as Majesty/Peace/Mercy/Magnanimity?? And Five as Power/Activity/Justice/Severity??
This seems the opposite of what one would intuitively associate with these two Arcana.
But maybe the Five is showing us Severity imbued with warmth and life, not so rigid.
Actually, the qualities of the Sephiroth are counter-balanced by the images/Arcana associated with them.
The Four as Peace and Mercy, Magnanimity that is much more kingly, stately. Mercy that is truly deserved, not from a doting mother.
The Five as Activity that is alive, graceful, and balanced, not overbearing and explosive.
On page 509 of the Letter-Meditation on The Moon, we see that between the Two (Wisdom) and Three (Intelligence) there weaves Daath, the Great Arcanum of Gnosis: intuition enlightened by intelligence, or intelligence in service to faith.
Between the Four (Mercy) and Five (Severity) there weaves the Great Moral Arcanum, the balance of Peace and Activity.
Four as the merciful aspect: it is creating a space which upholds and honors something other than itself (the flower/box in the center). It is thereby reflecting something of the “other” which isn’t really about the Four at all. There is something selfless about this Arcanum. For all of its pomp and royalty, it is using its stature to reflect the higher element in something else. The Four is related to the “image” rather than the “likeness”: It is focused on what is holy, unfallen, higher in the other.
The Five is about the “likeness.” It is in perfect harmony because it is a perfected/redeemed likeness, but when anything that lacks perfect/redeemed likeness is compared with it, the flaws stand out. “You have not achieved your ideal.” Something is being cast forth, rejected vs the Four where something is being uplifted; the Prodigal Son returns.
If something is rising up in the middle of the Four, something is sinking, falling into the cracks in the Five.
Precision is required in the Five.
Four is so well supported from all sides, it can shine forth what it is reflecting.
Whereas if Five is not perfectly balanced, it is going to fly apart. It is a highly attuned and balanced position to uphold. It looks easy, but a razor’s edge in reality. A razor’s edge both for those being judged (those who are attempting perfect balance in the likeness, i.e. virtue) as well as those that judge (what is right judgment? What is fair judgment? This decision process itself is severe). The invisible part of this Arcanum is all that went into finding the balance and all the goes into keeping it.
Four shows us that Mercy is a no-brainer. One doesn’t need precision to either obtain or to bestow Mercy—it is just a matter of penitence on the one hand and being magnanimous on the other. Both require vulnerability and openness, not vigilance and precision.
Four = Grace. Five = effort. Even though Five is so graceful, there is a lot of unseen effort involved.
We have used the word intention so much in our discussions of Five, whereas Four is just an unexpected force of nature—or super-nature, really, as this force is Grace—something grand is happening, and we’re not sure what.
The Pillar of Mercy = Two of Coins, Four of Coins. vs the Pillar of Severity = Three and Five. The Merciful Arcana are bold, and the Severe Arcana are subdued. This is possibly a lesson: may we be bold in our mercy, and subdued in our severity.
This makes sense of why the Merciful pillar is called the masculine, and the Severe pillar the feminine. If it was the other way around, then one would be thrown into unhealthy extremes.
Opening another Pandora’s Box: one wishes to see the paths (22 Major Arcana) placed amongst the Sephiroth (ten Coin Arcana). Not enough time this time around.
This brings the Sephiroth to life in a way they weren’t before. Anne Catherine Emmerich: the Sephiroth are the “Sapphire Root.” Even there we have the plant/stone, just as the Coins display.
It is interesting that we never worked with this relationship between the Coin Arcana and the Sephiroth until we were about to head into the Six of Coins, which has the right geometry. It’s coins are placed in the form of a hexagon, with a coin at each corner of the hexagon—the same form that is made by the first six (i.e. upper) Sephiroth.
The only other Arcanum prior to this that had the “right” geometry was the Three of Coins (i.e., a triangle, the shape of the first three Sephiroth).
Next time we will head to the six, which will definitively lead us out of our first YHShVH and into the second one:
We ended with the fourth stanza of the Foundation Stone Meditation in eurythmy.