Notes of a Hermetic Conversation from April 10, 2017
April 10 – Force (accompanied by Arcana 1-10). Phillip, Jim and Joel were present.
We began with the Divine Alphabet up through the 11th letter. We added to each letter its corresponding petition and theme of the Knight’s Practice (e.g. “Hallowed be thy name” and “The Nine Beatitudes” with Aleph) [Edit December 2020: perhaps at some point I will post a description of this exercise with full detail. As with all eurythmy, it is easier to show than to write]. The 11th arcanum takes us into unexplored territory of the Knight’s Practice (the next piece of the 5th petition, which we’re assuming would deal with the 5th level of trespass: Fear, the 5th miracle: the Walking on Water, and the fifth level of communion: Fish [Edit December 2020: this 11th mantra would become available two years later, in 2019]).
We then spoke the quotations from the beginning of the Letter/Meditation.
– Her robes are red over blue rather than blue over red. So far, it has only been the male figures that wear red over blue (except for maybe one of the women in The Lover).
– Her hat bears a strong similarity with the Magician’s (lemniscatory). Yet there is a polarity in the gesture of the arms. The Magician is reaching out to keep things from flying away, pulling them together. Force is pulling apart jaws to keep them from snapping shut. The Juggler and the Lion Tamer (who usually inserts her head into the Lion’s mouth).
– She is facing to the left with her whole body. This is a bit unusual compared to the other cards (some are looking to the left, but not facing left; again, one of the women in the Lover is an exception).
– There is a distinct lack of scenery. There is no ground, no spatial orientation. Is she floating? Is this happening on Earth?
– Is it her foot that is peaking out of the robes, or a lion’s paw? It appears to be a sandaled foot.
– What she is doing would require an extreme concentration and vigilance. Is it effortless, concentration without effort? Not in the same way as in other active cards (e.g. 1 or 7). Jim recalls a tree that was so large he could run on the branches as a child. There is an enormous strength and force there, but it is effortless – static energy.
– In the other cards, there is either quite a bit of inner activity or else a static “eternal” image. This is something really meeting the external. Even the Charioteer isn’t holding any reigns. However, perhaps the Wheel of Fortune is the bridge between passive/automatic activity and outer, intentional activity. The Wheel is ambiguous – depending on which way it is spinning, the dog and monkey could just be carried along or they could be fighting against the wheel (actively engaged in a drama). Force follows up on this choice, representing true engagement with the animal nature – is it a struggle? The Wheel is an appropriate geometry for such a transition.
– There are still questions about the Wheel of Fortune. What are the dog and monkey wearing? One looks like a butler, with a suit and tails. The other is in a sort of barrel or kilt.
– Her hat is a different sort of lemniscate. Rather than a sort of bowl with a golden ball floating in it (like the Magician’s), it wraps around itself. There are triangular shapes at the top – is this part like a crown? Is the white portion an empty space between points of the crown or is it part of the hat? There are 4 points on the crown and 5 crossings in the lacing on her robes.
– There are two distinct sides to the hat. On her left it is white and golden, shaped like a horn or a Cornucopia. Expressive of the Day. On the Right it is blue, like water or the night (like the inside of the Pope’s robes). Yin and Yang.
– The 1st letter talks about the cessation of mental motion. Instead of mental restraint, this expresses a kind of restraint of soul. Like the Sea of Glass vs the Torrent of Water from the Dragon in Revelation, as discussed in the 11th letter. This makes one think of Hiram Abiff’s molten sea, which is a sort of synthesis of the sea of glass and the torrent. In the Temple Legend, Hiram’s equipment is sabotaged by Solomon out of jealousy. The molten sea overflows and transports him to the Cain sphere (8th sub-earthly sphere, where Christ’s ego currently dwells). There he meets Tubal Cain ( Tubalcain = Tu Bulcain; “Bulcain” sounds like Vulcan, Volcano). He is the master of the Arts. Footage of traditional peoples casting a bell – it takes the entire village months of work, and it may fail terribly at any stage in the process.
– VITRIOL (alchemical motto): Visita Interiora Terrae Rettificando Invenies Occultum Lapidem (Visit the Interior of the Earth; by Rectification thou shalt find the hidden Stone). Vitriol is purification through burning, acidity. A portal between heaven and hell.
– The New Jerusalem as a bridging of Heaven and Nature. The New Heaven above and Shambhala below must be brought together through human activity (New Jerusalem). Reintegration of Earth into the Planetary Spheres. (A descending and ascending triangle creating the Seal of Solomon)
– Her hat is a bit fish-like, continuing the oceanic theme of the past 4-5 Arcana. This Arcanum is related to the fifth level of communion, that of fish.
– Her head appears to be unattached to the rest of her body, again reminiscent of the Pope.
– The lacing together of her garment, the curvature of her body, overall she is much more feminine than the other female Arcana (High Priestess, Empress, Justice).
– The Lion is very ornamental. He looks like a dog, except for the flowing mane. Where is the rest of his body? It’s like he finishes her skirt. They’re not just interacting, they are united. Is the body of the lion bent around behind her? The lion’s tale seems to be in her hat.
– Her foot feels significant for some reason. Reminiscent of “her heel will crush the head of the serpent.” The theme of the 11th letter/meditation – electricity vs life.
– The Lion dwells in the Will (below the belt). Above is Life in Consciousness (the Lemniscate). Thought that is an act of will, concrete, not wispy. It’s like an evocation of the Lion out of the unconscious, again like the Pope with his two elementals (acolytes). She then achieves mastery over what she has called forth.
– Why is she holding the jaws? In the letter, she is described as detached, gentle beauty. She has convinced the lion to be tame through the “emollient action” of the warmth of heart. But why? Is it just a display? She seems to be at peace, not looking at the lion at all.
– The lion’s head, open mouth is aligned with her generative organs. Like the ball of the Magician. The Virgin opening the Womb for the Christ to be conceived. “Let it be to me according to your will.”
– According to Anne Catherine Emmerich the purpose of the cosmos is creation of a Virgin who can receive the Promise, the Blessing (the God-Man). At first the Promise is passed from Patriarch to Patriarch until the time of the Ark of the Covenant. But problems, depreciation of the Ark occurs over time. As the time of Christ comes closer and closer, it gradually disappears, withers. New life is taking place outside of it in the form of Mary. The Jews didn’t understand that the Ark has died and become Mary. How the Virgin conceived is the fulcrum of everything.
– At the creation of Adam, God bestows the Blessing, after the Fall is was removed. What would have happened if man had not fallen? Would Christ have been necessary (discussion of the book Perelandra by C.S. Lewis, a science-fiction/fantasy novel in which a man is sent to Venus at the moment of the creation of the human being in order to prevent an event equivalent to the Fall of Adam and Eve). It is a question of self-consciousness alone vs. Freedom. Had man passed through Earth evolution under the aims of the Elohim, it would have been akin to the ego-development of other hierarchical beings. A development of sense-perception and self-consciousness while maintaining “holy instinct,” direct guidance from the Elohim. The Lucifer spirits brought about an aberration, but this resulted in moral freedom. We fell too far into matter, however, necessitating the deed of Christ. The Wisdom of the Godhead in allowing the activity of the “good” Elohim to play against the “evil” Luciferic spirits in order to create the Hierarchy of Freedom. There is only the question of “what would have happened” from the Earth-bound, linear perspective of humanity. If Death is a trick that Nature plays in order to have an abundance of Life, then Evil is a trick the Spirit plays in order to have an abundance of Good. Guenon calls evil the possibility of impossibility.
– The 3 points created by the two hands and one foot. The foot is significant. It is the Right Foot, while the Left Foot is the Lion’s. The Right Hip/leg is “Force” as in the force of levity; the Left Hip/leg is “Radiance.” The righthand Sephiroth Force (woman) and the lefthand Sephiroth Radiance (Lion) are meeting at the central Sephiroth Power (generative organs).
– According to Anne Catherine Emmerich, the ancient form of procreation occurred via the hips/groin (same word meant both/either). A deformation on the hip indicated a prophet was to be born. Modern sexuality overtook this, and the successor to this will be procreation via the larynx. Possibly it was through the hip Sephiroth (Force or Radiance), i.e. through an etheric organ, and not the physical/material hip? Anne Catherine misunderstood some things that she saw, or certain pieces were misinterpreted/ignored by Brentano and others due to a lack of concepts through which to properly see the meaning (confusion of material with etheric/astral etc.). There are lots of confused scraps – a huge undertaking to salvage the lost/ignored pieces.
– Moses’s Rod was called by her the “Sapphire Root.” Like the legend of Arthur. Jethro had a root and planted it in his garden. Moses is the one able to pull it out, hence he can marry Zephyra (similar to Sapphire and Sephira). There were 7 buds on Aaron’s rod.
– Force, Power, Radiance seem to be related to “Lift, Carry, Place,” threefold walking in eurythmy. Robert has associated this exercise with the Rosicrucian Mantra and bringing together Shambhala, Earth and Heaven. This circle exists in the card, shaping a womb.
– Force is the 11th Arcanum, the halfway point – somehow she ties it all together.
– The Esoterism of Dante by Guenon. Heavy symbolism of 11 (the number of lines used in his poetry). Beatrice as his muse.
– The lion is not what she is giving birth to. Rather, it is the transformed lower nature that becomes a vessel for something lofty. The lion’s mouth as birth canal = the reproductive larynx!
– In massage, Phillip experiences the different muscles as different creatures or animals. Every organ, every bodily process (e.g. procreation) is incredible. It is in no way a mechanical, closed system. In Steiner’s lectures from 1913 on the Effects of Occult Development (https://www.rsarchive.org/Lectures/GA/index.php?ga=GA0145), he describes the experience of the physical body during sleep of the initiate = it appears as though the withered human form were being cast out from an Eden, full of a variety of beasts. Each part of the human body correlates to one of these beasts, and once was a lofty complex beast.
– Is the Lion in the Arcanum a part of the human being that once was and is being formed again? The return to Eden?
– All animals are discarded pieces of the evolving human being, the primal Adam Cadmon. Evolution proceeds from above downwards, not below upwards. This was the path leading to Christ. On the reascending path, do we reabsorb and re-enliven that which was cast off? The redemption of the animal kingdom.
– The mystery of the transformation of the human will nature vs the animal will nature that we carry within us. We have our own, more or less conscious will impulses; but there can be extreme, animalistic will impulses that take over, dull our consciousness – afterward we can’t understand what happened, why we behaved that way. Like the werewolf. When it takes over, it is me. But it is an obsessive, other-me. This is like the “obsession downwards” (monkey) or “obsession upwards” (dog) – “let it be to me according to thy will” – of the 10th Arcanum.
– Steiner describes the unlimited destructive capacity of the astral body that is kept in check through earth-bound, sense based consciousness. The story of Cain and Abel is the story of the astral body – it contains both sides, the opening chalice/Abel (Manas) or the destroyer/Cain (lower astrality). The effacement of the Ego for an alcoholic allows the destructive astrality full sway. Things are done that are not recollected later on, things that the “normal” self would not do. The contrast between the fallen ego (human failure) vs the fallen astral body (animality).
– Phillip experiences attacks related to this during the Hail Mary prayer, which is telling, as in the 11th letter Tomberg describes the Virgin Mary as our one true protection against the Luciferic Sphere/Belt of Lies. He is attacked because he has aroused the fear of the opposing powers. The virtue of the 11th Arcanum is Purity. Purity is invulnerable to the destructive power of the Astral.
– The Puritans in the 17th century sought a return to Paradise, to cleanse the human being in preparation for Christ’s second coming. The founding of America was in no small part (but esoterically) to prepare for the Second Coming. The story we are now living through (the rule of Antichrist) is as crazy as the “flat earth” theories – but it, and all occult history, is none the less there.
– Page 282 (referencing the festival of the coronation of the Virgin on Earth) ties together the events of 1775—at which point, according to Robert, Sophia began her gradual descent to incarnation, by moving from the Galactic Center to our local arm of the galaxy—the 12 signs of the Zodiac, the belt of fixed stars. She will unite with the Sun in 2375; with the Moon in 2975; and incarnate on Earth in an etheric body in 3575, at the dawn of the Russo-Slavonic Cultural Epoch.
– Velikovsky’s “electric” universe. Space is a plasma, not a vacuum. It is full of levity, an organizing life-force. Not cold, mechanical, vacuous gravity.
– Comenius sought to establish the PanSophia (All Wisdom) on earth.
– There is currently a different kind of genealogy (Karmic, metaphysical) preparing for a different kind of Incarnation.
We ended with the closing of the Knight’s Practice.