Notes from a Hermetic Conversation on July 12, 2016
Tarot Study, 7/12/16
June, Joel, Laurel, Jim, Gail, Richard, Dennis, Phillip, and Rosario (!) were present. All nine at last!
Once again, we began with the Lord’s Prayer through the Chakras, the invocation from the beginning of the second Letter (“Wisdom has built her house…”), then silently dwelt with five or six different representations of the High Priestess.
Afterimages from “thinking in unison” the High Priestess:
– “Reading through the Heart.” Last time we noticed writing from the heart; this time, she seemed to be perceiving/reading through the heart. Transmission from Above to Below, Below to Above.
– The vertical of the Cross (stole) – heart to book. Horizontal – Right Shoulder to Left Hip. Sephiroth: Binah to Netzach (Intelligence to Victory = Gnosis) [Edit from Dec, 2020: this and the following exemplify that we were novices regarding the Tree of Life and Kabbala at this point in time. The right shoulder is not Binah, it is Gedulah (or Chesed), which is “Majesty” or “Peace”; the left hip is not Netzach, it is Hod, which is “Glory” or “Radiance”; therefore, this portion of the Cross/stole is Gedulah to Hod (Majesty to Glory = Gnosis)].
– Clasp connects Binah and Chokmah (Intelligence and Wisdom) [Edit from Dec, 2020: again, this is incorrect. Binah and Chokmah are the left and right sides of the head, respectively. The clasp connects the right shoulder and left shoulder, which are Gedulah/Chesed (Majesty, Peace) and Geburah (Power, Activity)].
– The four levels (Mysticism, Gnosis, Magic, Hermeticism = YHVH). Four levels (Mystical act/reflection, memory, speech, book). From the Grail Knight’s Practice, second petition: “I am, I live, I will, I breathe.” The eurythmy gestures for this section recall the shape of her posture (Tree of Life—”Ex Deo Nascimur, In Christo Moriumur, Per Spiritum Sanctum Reviviscimus”—and then an “L”). Originally seated for this portion, like the Priestess.
– Book as Grave. Cross as headstone. Pieta – Mary holding body of Christ. Last week we noticed how it is akin to a Nativity, Mary holding Christ Child. Both cases are Incarnation of the Word (into a human, into the Earth). A cave at both Nativity and Entombment.
– The geometry of the card: From crown to clasp is a triangle, below the clasp is a square. Shape of the Lord’s Prayer according to Steiner. Wisdom’s House.
– Cross piece is like a curtain rolled up – exposes a red outpouring. The shape of the Veil is like a chalice, with Wine/Blood pouring out. (Chalice of Repose).
– Veil is like an Akashic Record.
– Horns on Crown – Moses. In animals, etheric organs, spiritual receptivity. Page 42 – modes of experience become senses. Another way of saying direct perception of Truth via law of analogy. The desire to transmit what one has perceived leads to the book.
– Is she reflecting? She looks content. Offering the book? “Take the book and eat” (Revelation 10 juxtaposed with Genesis 3). In terms of fourfold process, book=fruit. Forbidden fruit=”book” missing one or more stages of the fourfold process.
– Was the book in front of her face while she read it? The book is revealed as her face (persona) is revealed. Or did she pull it out of the “scroll” from behind her. Saturnine gesture.
– Some expressions seem joyful/startled. Others seem completely passive, selfless. Some youthful, some aged, depending on card.
– Hard to tell that she is seated – what is she sitting on?
Discussion around the book. What is the book?
– Entombment of the Word (Close to Sacral Chakra, Virgo gesture). The Stream of Tradition = the final stage of Mysticism, Gnosis, Magic, Hermetic Philosophy (synthesis, tradition).
Moving through the “U”: Mysticism at the top, descending to Book at the nadir. The book contains within it in seed form the path of reintegration (Hermeticism leading to Mystical Union).
Community as Book. If a community is properly engaged with the four levels, life/art will spring forth from it as benefit for the outside world, as transmission. Art springing from Monastic Communities (illuminated texts).
The book is not the end. It is open – creates the possibility to continue a cycle.
The book needs a reader, less so than speech needs a listener, whereas soul forces need no one outside. Meditations on the Tarot is just such a seed, a portal for the reader to pass through. A potentially Magical text.
Contrast of Magician and High Priestess, both the Arcana and the Letters.
1st – Evocative, experiential. Resting through Activity.
2nd – Principles, Concepts, contrasts, processes. Active Repose (choosing powerlessness — the Cross in the Heart).
Concentration without effort — Prayer without ceasing.
It does seem as though she is giving birth – to what? The Word? Wisdom? To Tradition.
The Book is dead, remains entombed, if nothing is brought to it by the reader. The fire burning within, no other light to see by. The Grail Knight’s Practice was written in minuscule text by Valentin Tomberg in the mid- to late-40’s, parts of it in an obscure dialect (Church Slavonic) – would go unnoticed by most as important text (Nazi Germany). Little children have trouble with small print. Tibetan Buddhism – hiding/preserving sacred things in everyday objects, brought back into manifestation by a later Lama who can perceive what is hidden.
If the Book is produced with one of the four stages compromised, spiritual hygiene is distorted. A missing stage leaves a void filled by dark forces.
What if the High Priestess is Blind? Unable to experience that which she has helped bring to birth. Tomberg burning original copies of his work. Different and strange distinctions in the original version.
Burning Goetheanum – Etherizing sacrifice.
The variety of twofoldness, particularly legitimate vs illegitimate. Like Philosophy of Freedom – resolving/contemplating many apparent paradoxes.
The many personal elements in the text (“Good Lord!”, “spiritual drunkard”). Possible due to anonymity? The irony of personality infused into something anonymous.
Thieves and Robbers – second meaning from Chapter 7 of the New Testament meditations in Christ and Sophia. Part greater than whole vs whole greater than part. One is a thief, one is a robber. We are always torn between the compromise of this choice, until Christ creates the possibility for the miraculous third – sacred magic, miracles of Christ.
What is lacking in our world today in terms of the four levels?
– Media (anti-Book)
– Consumerism, Technology, Hollywood (anti-Magic)
– Intoxication (anti-Mysticism)
Antichrist = Synthesis of Temptations – the struggle of our time.
Steiner (Michael School) = Gnosis = Head Being = 1st seven years
Tomberg (Christ School) = Mysticism = Heart Being = 2nd seven years
Robert (on behalf of Novalis individuality) (Sophia School) = Sacred Magic = Limb being = 3rd seven years.
School of Archangel Jesus = Hermeticism = Synthesis = integration of three parts = 3X7 years.
The Synthesis of the Good is what is required to meet Antichrist, the Synthesis of Evil.
We must acquire the will forces to work on that part of the four stages that is lacking in us. It gets harder to do a spiritual practice every time. Morning meditation can be easier.
The four worlds (Emanation, Creation, Formation, Action). Amazing balancing act of four points of view on the creation/existence of the world.
The path of the Major Arcana takes us from Emanation to Action, from Crown to Kingdom, from Mysticism to Hermeticism – the downward path of the “U.” The path of the Minor Arcana leads from Coins (realm of Action) to Batons (Realm of Emanation), from Kingdom to Crown, from Hermeticism to Mysticism. The Book = the path of the Minor Arcana, path of the transformation of consciousness according to the 22nd Letter. Book = transformed Table of Objects.