Notes from a Hermetic Conversation on April 17, 2017
Tarot Conversation April 17 – Force
Phillip and Joel. We began with the Lord’s Prayer in the Tree of Life, then moved the Divine Alphabet with reference to the petitions of the Lord’s Prayer and themes of each part of the Knight’s Practice up through the 11th letter. We read the invocations from the start of the 11th Letter/Meditation and held the image of the 11th Arcanum amongst the prior 10:
– What’s happening with her red robe? It is always on the right of the yellow sleeve. It is not symmetrical (look at the shoulders). Almost all the other outer cloaks are big and bulky and covering. The lightness of her robe goes hand in hand with her pronounced femininity.
– The question still remains – Where is she?
– The 10th Arcanum is not a physical machine; it is the machinery of involution/evolution, of birth and progress. Numerologically 10=1 and 11=2. Where is the analogy of the 10th and 11th with the 1st and 2nd?
– Our structure was as follows:
This is YHVH where 1=Y, 2=H, 3=V, 4=H. Then 4 becomes the next Y.
So one YHVH is 1, 2, 3, 4. But we can also look at the pillars that are created as YHVH. 1, 4, 7, 10 leads from 1 (The Magician) to 10 (Wheel of Fortune). 4 and 7 are a kind of Path of Analogy, whereby 1 is transformed into 10. The same holds true for 2, 5, 8, 11 – these are like thinking, feeling, willing, realization/wholenss. 1, 4, 7, 10 is not a happy descent (the human being gradually overtaken by animality and devices). The next step is to 13, Death. Ultimately the Yod Arcana lead to the Sun (1, 4, 7, 10, 13, 16, 19). Whereas the Arcana of the Second He lead to the World (4, 7, 10, 13, 16, 19, 22). Both have a sort of birth, death, resurrection theme (Rosicrucian Mantra).
– The first 9 Arcana have to do with the different aspects/archetypes of personality. 10 transitions over to the outer world. 11 is like a capacity that needs to be acquired, not a given like the first 9. It requires the first 9, the entire soul, as a foundation.
– In our biographical development picture of the Tarot, the 11th Arcanum corresponds to Life-Spirit, the transformed Ether body, which is worked on particularly during ages 49-56. The Nathan Jesus was the pure ether body that was held back. The 11th Arcanum is an image of the past and future of procreation, of the two highest ethers that were held back (tone and life—see Valentin Tomberg’s Christ and Sophia).
– 1-9 are like the lead up to the Fall. 10 is the Fall itself, while 11 is the aftermath, picking up the pieces (retreat of the pure ether body). Justice = “And God said it was Good.” The Hermit = God rested on the 7th day. Wheel of Fortune = the Fall.
– She maintains mastery of the beast/self-mastery of a lower part of herself through constant training and activity. Goethe: “He who strives eternally can be saved.”
– The sequence 2, 5, 8 11 continues with 14, 17, 20. This is the most beautiful sequence of the three columns. Most of the female Arcana are within this sequence. The unveiling of Femininity continues: Temperance is equally feminine to Force; The Star is naked; the Judgement has an entire naked family – like the primal family resurrected.
– The Lion as Womb encapsulates everything (the Alpha and Omega of procreation). As Richard has suggested with other cards, this is possibly a good gesture to embody in times of “losing it.”
– The Lion is beautiful and united with her left leg. Her larynx seems to be severed. Was she wounded by the Lion? Or has she sacrificed her voice so that the “Higher Animality” can speak? There is an inner and outer sacrifice. I sacrifice my lower “I” so that the Higher Animality can come into being and speak. Or it is a redemptive sacrifice that we can make on behalf of Nature – sacrificing our speech in order to raise the animal kingdom a stage higher. This speaks to the nature of Purity and Force. The Legend of Teshvara – a goddess who gives away her many eyes to creatures who need them, becoming a Buddha in the process.
– The leap from 1 to 2 is as odd as that from 10 to 11. Not a lot of transference or commonality of imagery. 1 and 2 are complete complements, each one has what the other lacks. 10 and 11 might be similar. Are they images of Electricity vs Life?
– Wheel of Fortune is a wholeness going through bifurcation. The Fall, tension, electricity. Wheels generate power – this is the fundamental human tool. The Wheel implies the human being so much, there are no wheels in the natural world. From the series His Dark Materials, in the final volume of the trilogy, The Amber Spyglass: Huge seed pods are used by certain creatures for mobility, but also for the acquisition of consciousness (forbidden fruit). A wheel is the image of the subjugation of nature, of power. The ability to move too easily, of convenience (technology). Moving at an incorrect and too rapid rhythm – the circle vs the spiral.
– 1-9 are all aspects of the personality. 10 is the monkey wrench: confrontation with the outer world. But why Force subsequently? She is the bandage to the wound. The holding back of the pure element. The Hanged Man wishes he could be up where the purity is, he has re-oriented himself. The Hanged Man is all prophets and “righteous men” (e.g. Job).
– Is Force a Centaur-like image? Steiner says that mythology is accurate in its imagery of post-fall/pre-historical beings. The attempt at reunification turning out not quite right.
– The next cards become rather dark: The Hanged Man, Death, eventually the Devil and the Tower. All are consequences of the Fall. The Mysteries of Death and of Evil, with victors scattered amongst them (e.g. The Hanged Man, Temperance).
– How is this image related to the 5th miracle of Walking on Water? Mastery of the Elements. How will this display itself in the 5th part of the 5th petition in the Knight’s Practice? Something new entirely? The 5th level of Trespass is Fear. The 4th Level of Trespass was the Eating of the Forbidden Fruit, the moment of the Fall = 10th Arcanum. Fear is the first consequence. Fear allows Ahriman to enter the Ether body. Fear completely grips us where we are vulnerable. Purity is the armor. Purity tames the beast. When animals get loose on the farm, fear is what makes them go wild, afraid of being loose. Purity is related to the “Good Shepherd” who can help them return. “I Am the Good Shepherd” = Larynx chakra, also related to the Walking on Water.
– Force is a purity that has been held back, retained from before Wheel of Fortune. Wheel of Fortune is like an image of the animals getting loose on the farm. Force is the solution to the problem. When you can’t get the animals to come back, then you’re a bit like the Hanged Man! Re-orienting yourself to the certainty of Purity.
– The path from 10-13 is that from the Fall to Death. Force is a high ideal. Like the Chariot. It is an image of Hope arising after a disruption. The Hanged Man represents acceptance, fidelity, faithfulness in failure (Job).
– Death is the archetype of the split. Christ overcomes death with Resurrection. The 7th level of trespass is Death, and corresponds to the Arcanum Death. The 5th, 6th, and 7th are very different levels of Trespass compared to Doubt, Desire, and Disobedience. The 4th is the turning point (eating forbidden fruit).
– The 7th level of communion is tears, resin, incense. The ancient practice of wailing for the dead as a re-enlivening of the etheric of the deceased. Jesus wept for Lazarus. It is a communion of re-enlivening, petitioning. The 6th communion is oil – bestowing rulership, kingship, priesthood. And the 5th is fish, representing day consciousness in sleep. Twilight. The weaving between day and night. In the imagery of the card, is it day or night? If it is day, where exactly is she? If it is night, why is it light?
– Every other card has an anchor, a context. She does not. Consciousness in sleep is also like this. Fish communion is an animal communion (the only one). Awakening the animal consciousness in the night.
– In Steiner’s lecture on the Effects of Occult Development from 1913, he talks about the effect of different types of nourishment. Dairy connects us to the whole of humanity and the earth, vegans in danger of becoming fanatical. Animals drag us to far down to earth. But what about fish? Are they not different? What are the effects of eating fish? The life-bestowing effect of fish oils. The Cathars were vegetarian, but did not consider fish an animal, so they also ate fish.
– Her arm bands are asymmetrical as well. True beauty always has asymmetry (symmetry is mechanical/artificial).
– The cards that correspond to the signs of the Zodiac are almost like the boundary points. Justice is not just Libra, she is Virgo/Libra; Force is not just Virgo, she is Leo/Virgo. The Wheel of Fortune is not just Leo, it is Cancer/Leo. This is true also to some degree in the sky (the actual constellations do not stay in neat 30 degree segments).
We ended with the closing of the Grail Knight’s Practice.