February 21, 2021
Four of Cups
A conversation in person, something we haven’t done for quite some time—since the summer?
We started with the protective practice. We then invited the presence of the Risen Christ through the Prologue to John in Eurythmy (“I Think Speech”).
After briefly focusing the mantra SHE FEELS on the region of the heart, we enacted the second portion of the Inner Radiance Sequence, and the 8th Letter of the Divine Alphabet (Chet, Justice) with the 8th part of the Grail Knight’s Practice.
We then read from Revelation 15:2-3
Earlier that day, Phillip and Joel had gone to the Act of Consecration of Man at the Christian Community in Hillsdale, where they both received the Eucharist. For the first time in a long time. The impression left on Phillip by the mantra SHE FEELS is akin to that left by receiving the Eucharist at the Service. Receiving the fullness of Christ’s love, one’s eyes suddenly opened to the direction of the Spirit, it is momentarily brought into full consciousness…and then it is forgotten. And yet it stays somehow underneath the surface as a consolation in the midst of disappointment. Like pulling open the oyster shell, and then it snaps shut again.
Maybe Force and her lion are an image of this SHE FEELS.
Yet perhaps this experience is a typically masculine one, of needing to pry open one’s heart to the fullness of feeling periodically. Whereas the typically feminine experience might be that the heart is always wide open, and it can’t stop, can’t shut…leads to fantasy, emotional overload.
Maybe it’s more about having some degree of control or intentionality around this opening and closing.
This is a fascinating place to begin, with this image of Force as she who controls this opening and shutting of the Lion’s mouth, the oyster shell, the heart. Joel had been considering for some time now this gesture of the Divine Name created in the Suit of Cups in our journey backwards through the Majors: Force as Yod; Wheel of Fortune as He; The Hermit as Shin; Justice as Vau; and The Chariot as He. There is powerful imagery telling quite a story with this iteration of the Divine Name…
We begin with Force, with her opening the mouth of the Lion. Out of this mouth comes flying the spiral form of life, as the Wheel of Fortune. This Wheel transforms into the lamp of the Hermit, guiding him to Justice.
This imagery is akin to the oyster shell (Lion’s mouth) with the pearl (Wheel of Fortune/Lamp) inside.
The mollusk shell sometimes bears the spiral form that is emphasised as the counter-gesture to the closed circle of the serpent biting its own tail.
With the Wheel of Fortune as a pearl—this implies it is formed by an organism or organic process the same way a pearl is.
It becomes the lamp…or maybe all three, the lamp, mantle and staff?…and that’s how he gets to Justice.
Force has this horizontal lemniscate hat above, and the lion more below…then we have the Wheel of Fortune, where the lion/Sphinx is now above..then it flips again, where the lamp and the hat/hood is above, and the staff is below rather than the lion.
The lemniscate hat is like a hat in two parts, the two sections of the figure eight…then this flips in the Wheel, with the sphinx above and the two other beings, the monkey and the dog below…then it flips again and the two-foldness of lamp and hood is above, with the staff below. With the Hermit, the hood is like a night-cap…like he has just been woken up and is investigating in the dark with his lamp, “What woke me up?” Like he had been wearing the night-cap, a part of him was sleeping, and then he was awoken in that mode of partially being asleep. He heard a noise outside, went out to investigate. The continuity of consciousness achieved through spiritual practices from How to Know Higher Worlds, wakefulness in sleep.
Then he finds Justice, and through his meeting with Justice he is transformed into the Charioteer. He meets her in the night. The Charioteer is what he then becomes in his waking life, in day-consciousness. The Hermit can’t be the Hermit during the day, the contrasts from the Sun are too intense. In the night he is more flexible, he can move through these shades of grey, the Hermit walking from one color of the spectrum to another. He has no use for his three implements in the full light of the day.
Maybe the tonsils or larynx of the lion in Force are like the pearl—the pearl as Voice or Word, as something that contains balance and harmony.
“In the beginning was the Word…in this Word was Life, and this Life is the Light of the world…all things were made through the Word…”
The entirety of the Prologue of St. John is here in this sequence!
The Lion’s head and his tonsil/pearl is aligned with the genital region of Force, tonsil/pearl as clitoris. She is all about balance, about this region of the heart, and yet the heart is in some way absent from this image—the emphasis is rather on the head/thinking (Hat) and the will (Lion). She is the image of purity finding its full expression in the active domain of the will, not remaining in the heart-realm. Yet there is this stitching over her heart.
The balance of her lemniscatory head with the power of her heart via her arms—all in service of engaging the will, mastering the procreative will.
With the Wheel of Fortune, we find the heart emphasised when we perceive this image as the Prophetess, as Mary with the pierced heart (the hub of the wheel with the crank sticking out of it)—“She Feels.”
The Ace of Cups does have this resonance with Force, with this giant red pearl held in the middle. “In the beginning was the Word.” Then the Two has the central flaming flower at the top as a kind of sphinx, and the two fish as the two animals as in Wheel of Fortune. “All things were made through the Word.”
With the Three of Cups, it’s like the two feet of the Hermit as the lower cups, and the yellow husk as staff between them, and they are following the upper cup as the lamp—“the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness overcometh it not.”
Justice is the day breaking, the dawn…she takes the robe from the Hermit…notice it has the same color scheme as her robe. The inner part of the Hermit’s robe is akin to her throne. She takes the staff, and it becomes the upright sword. She takes the lamp, severs it, makes it into scales. He can then enter the daytime as Charioteer.
The end result of the path through the Swords was the Hanged Man. Force’s hat is like some cosmic process opening her head up. The Hanged Man travels, descends, through this shaft opened by the hat of Force and he is born again out of the mouth of the lion. He is the zodiacalized will, becomes fully zodiacalized will by being born out of the purified will of Force in the form of the lion. She is totally receptive, she organises that will as it travels down through her head and heart.
They unite—Hanged Man and Force unite and re-emerge as Wheel of Fortune. The Sphinx has retained the crown-like portion of Force’s hat, and her hidden heart is now fully expressed. Everything is topsy-turvy, turned upside down. Traveling through the stitching of her torso, like descending Jacob’s Ladder…the descent into incarnation. As he descends, he unites with her and draws her with him and they both emerge out of the Lion in new forms. She emerges as Wheel of Fortune…he emerges as Hermit. The Hermit is guided by her as his implements—Wheel becomes lamp, mantle, staff. The Hermit is the Hanged Man wearing and bearing the Wheel of Fortune, who is Force transformed.
He travels through the night with her guidance, and then returns the garment, lamp and staff of Force at the end of his journey…and she becomes Justice. Earthly Justice vs Cosmic Force. He has aided in her incarnation from cosmic ideal to earthly reality.
We’re painting a picture here of a generalised and lofty archetype descending, being gradually specified in a process of incarnations. That explains the first four Cups—as process of incarnation and specification. The Ace and the Two have this grandeur, especially the Ace—all resources and adornments at their disposal to become something, this last piece that has all roads before it. By the Four all elements have entered the same plane, they’ve entered a specialised path. The four legs of the lion in the Four of Cups—all tread the same ground, they all work together.
There is a gesture of landing, of hitting the solid ground, with both Justice and the Four of Cups.
– Ace = human form, this Lady of All Peoples gesture. Two = animal form in the fishes. Three = plant form. And Four is more mechanical/mineral.
This is correct, and yet also somehow not quite. We also have a human face in the Three, and an animal form of the lion in the Four. So something has completed a journey from human to mineral in the Ace through Four, and yet a new overlay is there, a new beginning is occurring at the same time…Three and Four as the end of one process and the beginning of another.
In the Four, maybe we have Justice’s throne as two upper cups and her scales as two lower cups, with the sword as the vertical beam in between. The forces are distributed very evenly—balanced, both horizontally and vertically.
– It is interesting to think of the Numbered Cups as the Sun Sphere. We’ve journeyed from the Midnight Hour of the Numbered Coins, to the Saturn Sphere of the Court Coins, to the Jupiter Sphere of the Numbered Swords, to the Mars Sphere of the Court Swords. And now we ingress to the Sun Sphere. And it is like everything that came before was established out of this “Father Ground of the World”, this spiritual/physical as He is described in the Act of Consecration. And now this more structural, Image portion of the human being has to be enlivened by the Son in the Sun Sphere. We are in the realm of the Likeness in the Sun Sphere after honing the Image in upper Devachan. A metamorphosis, a story can begin to play itself out, a real life can unfold after all the preparation that came before. Saturn, Jupiter and Mars are Spirit Self, Life Spirit and Spirit Man. With the Sun we enter the realm of Ego/physical body, no longer transcendent aspects of the human being.
There was this primal elaboration in the Coins, and then a honing/pruning process in the Swords—then it’s ready to go into the chute.
The fullness of the archetype at the stage of the Coins is complete and whole—how do you cut away something spiritual/holographic, something archetypal and non-physical and comprehensive? What does that mean? It means a reduction…a sucking out of life or water, finding the compressed essence—then it’s receptive, ready to grow and expand as soon as it is dropped into the right elements.
– With the Hanged Man, it looks like he’s headed to his death, and yet he is calm. He knows exactly where he’s going, and what is on the other side. All the blood rushing to his head—his limbs become head, everything is concentrating to becomes the essence of the next life. This is exactly as Steiner describes, that the head is the limbs of the prior incarnation reduced to their essence, and the limbs prepare the head of the next incarnation. That is their purpose, the purpose of successive lives is the propagation of the head-organism.
Maybe these three buttons “above” his waist (actually below) represent Saturn, Jupiter and Mars. Then there is a threshold, then there are six buttons “below”—the three-fold sphere of the Sun, and Venus, Mercury and Moon. His head as the Earth sphere. The feeling of descent into incarnation is a bit like being buried alive, buried back into matter.
The “upper” part of the Hanged Man has the Image qualities, and the “lower” part the Likeness qualities.
Notice that Force is focused entirely below the waist, forming the Likeness.
The knot in the rope that holds the Hanged Man, at the top, is a gesture seen in the Cups, particularly the Ace and the Four.
When we arrange the four Cups we have looked at so far in the form of the YHShVH, we see the path on the right, from Ace below to Four above making a particular formation—it looks as though they are moving or pointing in opposite directions. The Ace is directed above, pointing to or moving towards the Four. Whereas the Four seems directed downwards, pointing to or moving towards the Ace. In a bit of an opposition or meeting.
– Natalia brought in this military marching imagery for the Four of Cups, marching to the beat of “ONE, two, three, four, ONE…etc”, and there is like a line in the sand, a river with two opposite banks—we’ve taken sides now. It is very ordered collectively, as a whole, but only through being compartmentalised. A lion’s four legs can’t move the same way all at the same time. Coordination means difference in the particular, yet unity in the whole.
– They are like chess pieces. Strategic moves…this is not what Joel expected from the Suit of Cups, a gesture of strategy and competition and warfare…and the Ace is like the Queen piece, the most elaborate.
– The Coins and the Swords each had a way of uniting all the separate Arcana into one picture. We don’t see that as yet here with the Cups.
– The central line in the Four could be a picture of the organism of the chakras, the soul organs as a being. Not split into seven separate chakras that are seen as quite distinct and separate, but as one being. The Tree of Knowledge. It certainly seems to be spit horizontally—like the bottom half of this Tree is the lower chakras, then there is this red heart in the center, then the upper three chakras are above. But like a tree. Root, leaves, red flower at the place of the heart…but then…? A very inorganic mohawk/martial flower? And above that it looks like a white-handled duster. But the blue flower is a bit more organic. The red center is like a blend of the blue flower and the red mohawk above.
Maybe with these upper three “chakras” we have a kind of repetition of the Ace (blue flower) then Two (red mohawk is like the upper flower in the Two) and then Three (this triangular face)…and then the Four is truly represented by the cross-like form below, topped by this red flower. And four the Cups are specifically attached or related to this cross, not the more inorganic three parts above.
We then experiment with placing the different Cup Arcana together. Maybe the bottom two cups of the Four are the top two cups of the Five. Then we find that the Two has a kind of miniature version of the Ace at the top of it…this can be joined up with the Ace. The bottom flower in the Two aligns with the top cup in the Three. The four cups of the Four are like the two bottom cups of the Two and the Three—notice the condensed form of the two fish in-between the upper cups in the Four, whereas the “husk” at the base of the Three is also at the base of the Four, meaning the red flower in the middle of the Four is somehow related to the upper cup in the Three. This is a much more complicated “joining up” than the Coins, although it is similar. There is a 3-dimensional quality to it, whereas the in the Coins it was a simple, two-dimensional vertical continuity. The joining of the Cups has a strong “back to front” element of depth as well.
– A descent…the upper two cups in the Four mirror the lower two. The upper part is Image—an inorganic, structural entity. Then it is more living below. The three “buttons” of the Hanged Man in this blue triangular face, and then the “face of the Lion” below…with the tongue/tonsils/Word at the base of the Arcanum, therefore at the very forefront if we see this as a lion approaching.
– Notice that Justice also has the pierced heart of the Wheel of Fortune. The fulcrum of the scales pierces her heart, like a drop of blood. This is also the “lion’s face” in the Four of Cups, the same shape is there right at the base. All the other busy-ness above and around boils down to this. That is the Lamp split open, the pierced heart and the scales.
Above in the Four we have the Trial, the unlimited potential. Below we have Verdict, the specific result which manifests out of the potential.
The cups above and below are identical yet manifesting in different domains.
Earlier we had read the two different Our Father prayers, one from Matthew and one from Luke, from David Bentley Hart’s translation:
Matthew 6:9-14: “Therefore, prayer in this way: ‘Our Father, who are in the heavens, let your name be held holy; Let your Kingdom come; let your will come to pass, as in heaven so also upon the earth; Give to us today bread for the day ahead; And excuse us our debts, just as we have excused our debtors; And do not bring us to trial, but rescue us from him who is wicked. [For yours is the Kingdom and the power and the glory unto the ages.]”
Luke 11:2-4: And he said to them, “When you pray, say, ‘Father, let your name be held sacred; let your Kingdom come; Give us each day our bread for the day ahead, And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive all who are indebted to us; and do not bring us to trial.'”
There it does not read “Lead us not into temptation,” but “Do not bring us to trial.” This has a totally different connotation, trial vs temptation. Trial in terms of the hierarchies of the left, as in the story of Job. Then it reads “Rescue us from him who is wicked” rather than “Deliver us from Evil.” Also a different connotation. The Wicked One as the Accuser, the Prosecuting Attorney of the left-hand Hierarchy.
The request, “Do not bring us to trial” in the context of the Four of Cups is to say to the gods, “Don’t force my manifest reality into the realm of complex potentiality unless it must be so.” A trial is an opportunity for correction, for an adjustment to be made—taking something out of the realm of manifestation, returning it to the sphere of potentiality so that it can be amended and brought back into manifestation. “Don’t throw my life into disarray unless it is necessary, so that it can be reorganised and brought into a new and better form out of that chaos.”
“You took your potential and made it too specific. We need to bring it back to the generalised potential, to correct and/or renew it, then you can go back and try again.” Being sent to the prison until “one has paid the last farthing” of what one owes.
Wow, it’s like being in the Suit of Coins again! Suddenly it all makes sense!
Thank God for the Majors, for having gone through the Majors initially and now this key or map of going backwards through the Majors as we go through the Minors. This would be a whole different story without that guidance.
– You have all the elements of the trial in the Four of Cups. The two cups on the right = Hierarchy of the Right = Defense; the two cups on the left = Hierarchy of the Left = Prosecution. The two cups above = Judge, while the two cups below = Jury? Or Accused? The whole image is a trial.
You also seem to have all ten Sephiroth represented.
Maybe the white space, the white “handle” of the duster is Da’ath? This unformed or incomplete portion, a bit separated from the rest, keeps it unmanifest, keeps an opening in the spiral.
– Going back to the Fleur-de-Lis, more details about this image. It represented the three medieval classes of Clergy, Nobility, Commoners. It was used equally as a religious symbol, specifically for Catholicism (the Pope) as well as a political symbol representing the monarchy (the Emperor).
It may have come from the Angon, which was a symbol representing a throwing spear, which makes us think of the central object in the Four of Cups.
It may also have originally been a bee. We can think of the bee as very related to the Suit of Cups, with the pollinating gesture of the Two, the Ace as a beehive. Royal Jelly. Also the bee/beehive in the Queen of Coins who is the forerunner of the Suit of Cups. The “bees knees” of the King of Swords who becomes the Ace of Cups.
It may also have been originally a frog or toad. Here we can think of the animal forms or faces that seem to be emerging out of or embedded in the various Cups.
It may not have been a Lily originally. It may have been an Iris, but a specific type of Iris, one that grew by the River Leie, or the perhaps the Yellow Flag Iris, which in the Middle Ages would have had the name Lies or Leys.
The “Lily among Thorns” represented purity and chastity, specifically of Mary, but representative of all women.
Adopted and popularised by Charlemagne and the Frankish monarchy.
The three petals represented Faith, Wisdom, Chivalry.
This imagery of the red Rosicrucianism absorbing or veiling the white Fleur-de-Lis in the Two of Cups, and then transforming into a complex Fleur-de-Lis in the Three…and this idea that Rosicrucianism exists solely to renew and maintain the White Lily, the Catholic Church…that Rosicrucianism can never remain constant or become institutionalised, otherwise it runs the risk of decadence (e.g. Freemasonry). It must ever sacrifice itself and be born anew, in a totally new form, appropriate to a specific time and place, so that it can serve the maintenance of the Tradition (the exoteric Catholic Church), the White Lily. Cain at the service of Abel. The Catholic Church will die without the renewal offered to it periodically by Rosicrucianism, but Rosicrucianism is evil if it only exists to serve and maintain itself. The two need each other, and only in a particular form of relationship.
This takes us back to the Trial of the Four of Cups. Rosicrucianism is put “on trial” perpetually. It must ever be sent back to the generalised potentiality, back to the source, so that it can be sent back again in a new specified form, into new unexplored avenues that adapt it in a new direction.
– The Four of Cups is a bit like this image of the Angel and Devil on each shoulder, whispering in your ear when you’re trying to make a decision. This is an accurate image, if we consider the Angel as Luciferic and the Devil as Ahrimanic. The human being has Lucifer on the left and Ahriman on the right, Lucifer above and Ahriman below, Lucifer behind and Ahriman before. There is only a tiny space, a kind of cube, in the larynx/heart region of the human being where Christ can dwell. We must constantly be making a space for Christ to exist and hold the balance between Lucifer and Ahriman.
And what is this throwing spear? It is an action, a dividing, a structuring—it is Christ, or the space being made by the human being for the entry of Christ, who “judges” or orders, balances Lucifer and Ahriman.
For the one who makes the effort to make that space inside, he or she sets the stage for a future karma when that inner space will externally manifest. It attracts fellow souls to it to manifest this destiny that now has a future potential or goal. Family karma—setting the stage with others in one life to manifest together in the next.
Noticing for the first time the cover of the new edition of MOT—reminiscent of the Cups, but there is also this Vesica Piscis shape, maybe a pearl in the cup making the shape of an eye. And the three-fold geometry at the bottom of the cup.
– Going back to Rosicrucianism…maybe this is like the secret of the Rosicrucian organism in a way? To always find new forms and yet be the same thing. As Augustine wrote of “Christians before Christ” or that there is an Eternal Iran or an Eternal Israel, maybe we can speak of “Rosicrucianism prior to Rosenkreuz,” a “Lazarus-Mystery prior to Lazarus.”
Rosicrucianism as an inner potential bringing about external manifestation. It is already making a new potential in any existing manifest form, planting the seed. It’s really intrinsic to the thing itself—this is all contained in the death and resurrection of Lazarus. The form of it is meant to include a deliberate prefiguring and going-back gesture, in the way Lazarus died before Christ. Lazarus is this “inner potential” and Christ is this “external manifestation.”
The form itself has this “going back”—to die and resurrect is the only constant of Rosicrucianism, a constancy of gesture and not specific beliefs, traditions, external forms, etc.
Christianity as Mystical Fact—Christ manifesting inner rituals of the Mysteries on the external stage of history.
Lazarus was literally doing this—he was actually put into an Egyptian temple sleep that went awry on the public stage. Whereas Christ’s death and resurrection was more symbolically related to an actual Egyptian ritual. Or maybe one could say Lazarus’s death and resurrection was formally attached to the Egyptian Mysteries, whereas Christ’s death and resurrection was 100% biographical, totally genuine, with no formal attachment to the Egyptian Mysteries—yet in a sense, even more real and authentic because of that. It is pure fate and destiny, not ritualistic and planned. A world ritual rather than an individual ritual.
The Rose serves at the behest of the Lily. It goes to the Lily whenever it needs to reinvent itself. It doesn’t serve itself. Lily as Mary, Abel, Catholicism, Tradition, purity. Like the intellect serving conscience as in The Moon.
Earlier we had been talking about this issue of knowing one’s past incarnation, or knowing whether an indication about past lives is wrong or right. And how this kind of knowledge is so often not only unhelpful, but actually can be quite damaging and disruptive. We were also talking about astrology, and that while some people follow tropical astrology and think they are a Pisces, and others follow sidereal and know they are an Aquarius, it doesn’t seem to have any great effect on how that person is able to manage their affairs and navigate their karma. Disfunctionality and difficulty run rampant whether we know our past incarnation or not, or whether we identify with a tropical or a sidereal sun sign. These things don’t really matter at all. What matters is our orientation to Truth and the Method, our ability to learn from experiences. It is about the quality of transmission from back to front and above to below—does it mirror truly? If so, you have the Four. If not, back you go to the Two, and attempt Three and Four again.
The Ace, Two, Three and Four show us the evolution of this Rosicrucian being, which is a constant in terms of its presence in all four Arcana, but totally different in its specific form from Arcanum to Arcanum. This being is brought about by the Lily (the Cup) for the sake of the propagation of the Lily (the generation of more Cups).
Afterwards, we had this image of two static, unchanging realms—Spirit and Body, Archetype and Sensory world—that must interact in order to bring about something new (the realm of Soul, of Ego). They cannot bring about something new on their own. Maybe they are like the waters above and the waters below—two white realms of the Lily, with the “Let there be Light” in between the two waters, this red Rose between the two waters. The Rose of the Soul, of the Ego. And maybe this Rose needs to constantly change in order to make it that the lower waters, the lower Lily (the Church), are an accurate image or reflection of the higher waters, the Grail, the Cosmic Christianity. But the Rose is the channel by which the lower reflects the upper, maintains its purity, while the Rose must constantly metamorphose to make this possible.
The central spear is also reminiscent somehow of the Serpent (Science/Intellect) nailed to the Cross (Religion/Conscience). The Serpent form is above with this three-fold face, which is a bit like the head of a snake. And then below is the fourfold image of the Cross, or maybe it is the Dove.
We also have the image of Trinity (upper three chakras) over Quaternary (the lower cross)—the “house” of the Lord’s Prayer.
We ended with the second stanza of the Foundation Stone Meditation.