King of Coins (I)

Notes of a Hermetic Conversation on May 14, 2019

May 14, 2019

King of Coins

We began with the protective practice.

We then invoked the presence of Michael through moving the Michaelic verse through a five-pointed star.

After briefly focusing the mantra I AM on the brow chakra, we moved the fourth part of the Inner Radiance Sequence, and the 16th Letter of the Divine Alphabet, Ayin (related to the Tower of Destruction). We then read from Psalm 119:121-128; Revelation 7:13-14; and Matthew 27:57-66.

– Already, the combined effect of invoking Michael, the Tower of Destruction/Humility, and the three Bible readings have created an incredible atmosphere in the room. The image of coming out of tribulation, with white robes that have been washed clean in the blood of the Lamb. These robes are earned via tribulation.

– There are so many details with which we could begin…perhaps the first to focus on is the overall impression that “Here, we have a Master.” This vs. our prior conversation in which we pointed out that the Magician is not a Master, he is an Initiate, he is at the beginning of something. The King of Money is truly a Master. Like a Don, a Godfather. A rich and righteous ruler—yet intimidating. He might even be a bit dangerous, like a Putin kind of figure. You don’t want to mess with him. Yet he doesn’t seem really kingly although he is certainly a ruler? He is the “King of Money”—he is the king of the merchant class, not part of the nobility. He is “king” in the sense of his achievements in his dealings with money. The head merchant. This certainly reinforces the “mob boss” feeling. He is king in the sense of Jordan Peterson—“top of the food chain” in terms of his abilities and competency.

There is something rather informal about him for a king. A vest? A sombrero? But is there a crown hidden in the top of the hat? A king in disguise perhaps. Is he related at all to the prior three Court cards? Are they part of the same family or retinue? He seems out of place somehow. You don’t see him as the Queen’s husband. Maybe her father?

We suppose the Knight is also a bit informal—a cap instead of a helmet, for example. Is he in the employ of the King? 

The Knight seems more likely to be romantically involved with the Queen than the King does. A Knight Servitor. If there is any romance going on in these Court cards, it is between the Knight and the Queen. If the King and Queen are married, they don’t really associate. It is simply a matter of formality. They lead completely separate lives. The Queen is pampering herself at home while the King travels the silk road.

– Maybe he reminds us of someone—tiny hands and a bit orange? But in all seriousness, his hands are quite small, especially in comparison to the Queen’s. He has these bulky arms, and a bulky hat that surrounds his whole head. This makes what is showing seem small. There is barely any of him actually showing. There are many layers in the clothes, making it hard to distinguish what’s what. A confused mess. His robes blend into the chair, the chair is missing two legs—are his legs part of the chair? The whole image is a bit confused.

– The King, more so than the Knave, has the gesture of the Emperor. Is he holding a belt that is under his robe? No. He is pulling his robes up to reveal the Coin. It’s the gesture of “Wanna buy a watch?” Hawking his goods, bragging. Exerting his influence. This is centered around the seat of power, the generative organs. 

You really see again this combination of Magician and Emperor. As in the Magician, we have legs of the human being acting as legs of the surrounding furniture (table vs throne). We see the lemniscatory hat. Where and how the coin is held. All of this is the Magician.

On the other hand, the white hair, the (hidden) crown, his posture, and his bulk are all reminiscent of the Emperor.

But such a different combination than the Knave—

The Knave is as though the Magician has absorbed the Emperor

The King is as though the Emperor has absorbed the Magician

The belt of the Knave has similar forms to the (hidden) crown in the King’s hat.

– Maybe the King of Coins is like the Lion in contrast to the Lioness. The Lioness is the huntress, she prowls and catches the prey and does all of the work. The Lion relaxes, holds down the fort in the den and gets all the payoff of the Lioness’s hard work. It’s similar, once again, to chess. The Queen is on the rampage, while the King just hangs in the back, staying out of trouble—but is the key piece for victory. 

The King makes the decisions, he does the bargaining, he strikes the deal. He barely has to say a word in order to do this. Just a glance and a gesture. 

– A discussion of Humility (the quality of the Tower of Destruction) vs social narcissism. (See this link: We had earlier, in a different context, wondered if the remedy to social narcissism is simply for the narcissist to recognize their narcissism. Not to change it, as this seems to be impossible, but at least to no longer manipulate situations and people in order to disguise their own narcissism. To openly acknowledge it might be healthier. We wondered if perhaps this is exactly what Donald Trump is. A narcissist that has broken the “code of silence” amongst globalists/narcissists, pulled down the curtain, and is open about who and what he is. This breaks the spell and throws the whole system into confusion. Perhaps it is like a “double negative” in this case, the narcissism cancelling out the narcissism. Two wrongs making a right?

What does Tomberg have to say about the stages of narcissism (i.e. megalomania)? In the 7th Letter-Meditation on The Chariot, page 153 describes the three stages of Megalomania: “Here, then, are the principal dangers of inflation:  exaggerated importance attached to oneself, superiority complex tending towards obsession and, lastly, megalomania. The first degree signifies a practical task for work upon oneself; the second degree is a serious trial; whilst the third is a catastrophe.”

 And what is the remedy? This is described on pages 162-63. On the one hand, there is ora et labora, worship and work. These two keep megalomania in check, as one cannot worship without some degree of humility, and any work will expose one’s limitations.  Beyond this, there is the possibility for immunity to megalomania, not just holding it in check. This is accomplished through the actual meeting, face to face, with a spiritual being. Once having experienced this meeting, one can never believe that one is the greatest. One always knows on an experiential level of something higher and altogether other than oneself.

Back to the King—he strongly displays both the lesson and the warning simultaneously. Has he mastered megalomania? Or is he a megalomaniac? Or is he immune to megalomania due to his relationship with the Queen? Is she somehow a higher being than he is? Or is he immune due to his role as a gateway to the Swords? Being constantly aware of a sphere higher than his own?

Perhaps. But what seems most likely is that he is not immune to megalomania, in fact it is an ever-present danger. Yet he is deftly and rigorously managing it through “ora et labora,” through work and prayer. We see someone who at any moment could become a megalomaniac, but has himself completely in hand. This is is Kingly force.

That being said, the Queen as a source of protection also seems valid.

– The four arcana:  The Magician, The Emperor, Knave of Coins, King of Coins are remarkably similar to each other. The position of the Coin in Magician and King is so striking. So similar, but with a different connotation. 

The Magician seems to be saying “Watch what happens next, you won’t believe your eyes…I’m going to join the coin and the baton…” A “trick” is coming. Sleight of hand.

With the King he is presenting, bragging, bargaining. Offering something—for a price…Striking the deal. The Coin seems so low, with his other hand on his hip. A very different gesture than the Magician.

The hand on the hip in both the Emperor and the Knave is just holding up a belt, whereas all the action is above. In the King and the Magician, that is precisely where the action is happening, in the midsection of the image where the hips are.

– The King in the midst of a somewhat confrontational conversation:  “….actually, here’s the money/the goods…take it or leave it…” It could be that he is offering a certain amount of money for some wares or for a job to be done. Or it could be that he is unveiling a precious treasure, and asking a certain price for it. “Show me the money.”

Or, in a completely different context, it could be a Master speaking to his proteges. Finally unveiling to the “worthy” the Secret Treasure—“this is what I’ve been speaking to you about/what I’ve been working on all of this time…” The big unveiling of the project. Here’s what I’ve done with all of my efforts. All my money has been poured into this one coin. 

– It is ambiguous, due to the position of the King’s fingers, whether there are 11 or 12 petals around the outer flower on the Coin. If it is 11 on the outside, with 6 in the center, then it is reminiscent of the coin in the ground in the Knave. 

How exactly is he holding it? With what fingers? It is a strange way to hold something, almost like how one might deal a card. His fingers are pinching right over the potential 12th petal. If 12, it is more similar to the Knight’s coin, yet even this has 12 and 4, not 12 and 6. It is the most similar to the coin in the ground in the Knave.

– The diagonal sash—it has two small buttons above, and one large coin below. The presence of buttons is unusual. The only other figure with buttons is the Hanged Man. Again, the King’s garb is completely informal—a vest, and layers of robes. Not at all a uniform, unlike the Knave and the Knight. Yet even though it is informal, it still seems opulent and somehow fashionable, showy.

– It is strange how embedded he is in the chair. Is his right arm resting on the chair’s arm? What is that under his right arm? Also, it looks as though each leg is coming out of a different layer of robe. The robes blend into the chair, he is completely surrounded/absorbed by robes and chair.

It’s almost as though he is stuck in the chair position, like an auctioneer. If he stood up, and put the coin back into the folds of his robes, he wouldn’t be in the same role. He would be a different person. Whereas if the Emperor, for example, were to stand up and move around, he would still be the Emperor. A lot depends on the current position of the figure of the King in defining his character. If he were to stand up, he would just look like some pompous Mayor or something.

– What is all of the white around his face/hair/collar? The flesh colored portion of the collar looks very much like the Queen’s belt. 3 dots. But it has a line above, not just below the dots.

– The brim of the hat, and the crown portion of the hat are so disproportionately enormous. His head can’t be that large, can it? Are there wrappings under it? He has an almost Spanish feel.

The image of white wrappings underneath—is it a turban underneath the hat? This suddenly makes this image as a King figure come into focus—he is like a Sultan. Sheiks aren’t “Kings as representatives of God” the way European and British kings are. They are just really powerful and rich. Sultan, Spanish/Moorish—are we looking at a Muslim figure here, more so than a Christian one? He is the transition to the Suit of Swords, which are (largely) scimitars, curved Arabian-style swords.

Remember that all of the geometrical forms of the Minor Arcana came from Muslim Egypt—in fact, the basis of the Tarot themselves came from here, but there were no images of human figures due to the iconoclastic injunctions of Islam. 

– Looking at the first three court cards:  Knave, Knight, Queen. They all have forlorn gazes directed at the Coins—full of questioning. Bringing this into relation with Arabel and Kyot. Arabel has all of the wisdom of the East, all of the Muslim gnosis, the teachings of Flegetanis; but she lacks a relationship to Christ. In fact, she disdains outward Christianity due to its lack of wisdom and knowledge. On the other hand, Kyot has had a living experience of the living Grail Christianity; it is an authentic experience, but one that he cannot make sense of, he cannot integrate it into his own understanding. Arabel supplies Kyot with the knowledge that he needs in order to bring the experience of the Grail to full consciousness. Kyot gives Arabel, on the other hand, the true living Christianity of the Grail. He gives her the experiential or mystical spirituality that her gnosis yearns for.

Muslims were all gnosis, and no Christ; Christians were the other way around. All were longing for something. This article gives more context: Kyot knows the “where” of the Parzival event (Hebrew/Christian Stream) and Arabel knows the “when” (Persian/Muslim stream). 

Both of these individuals were guided by Flegetanis, who seems to have integrated both.

– Does this bring us back into the question of immanent vs transcendent? The transcendent Christians, who have an inner experience of Christ, either can’t bring this into relationship with the outer world, or have no interest in doing so. Whereas the immanent Muslims have a deep interest in the outer world, but can’t quite bring it all into focus due to lacking the Christ. Each needs the other.

Just this little thought of “there is something missing” sheds a whole new light on the Knave, Knight, and Queen, a more somber tone.

Yet the King is different than the first three court cards. The King is Flegetanis, as he is presented in The Younger Kyot. There is a confidence in him that he is no longer missing anything, neither the inner Christ experience nor the outer gnosis. The stars speak, and Flegetanis arrives, and waits for Kyot to show up. The story has only just begun. He is in the position of waiting.

Flegetanis waits for Kyot to arrive and then throughout their conversation he hints at a secret knowledge, which he partially reveals, points Kyot in the right direction, gives him an important text. The King of Coins is this kind of figure.

The King of Coins is like the Fisher King or a Flegetanis, a Great One, one who is recognized as great but still has to wait. He’s transient in terms of his identity in that he has no concrete uniform. His identity can take many forms and has many layers.

The other Court cards are self-contained in their identity and spiritual activity. This is different. The King of Coins is waiting for a response from another. 

Like the Fisher King, the Wounded Anfortas—the coin is the wound. He is exposing his wound, waiting for the Grail Question to be asked. In both cases a response is demanded. The overall gesture is “The ball is in your court. You decide.” 

The King is actively in the process of exchange, which has been the implicit theme of this entire Suit. Only now does it occur explicitly. In the other Court cards, the process of exchange is happening internally, between one human being and a Coin. Now, the exchange is happening externally, the coin itself is being exchanged between the King and…us?

– The six white diamonds on the black and red chair. Is there a precedent for this shape? Or for this color scheme of white, red, black? None of this looks formal—it looks more like playing cards. In fact, the Suit of Coins later became the Suit of Diamonds. Yes, this looks more like a game.

The closest to this diamond form is the cross hatching on Force’s dress, although even this is more akin to the Queen’s crown. Are these two the precedent? This again plays with this transition from the belt of the Queen to the collar of the King. Here we have the crown of the Queen becoming the chair of the King. Placing the Queen upside down next to the King—there is something happening between these two, a reversal.

Actually, the Queen looks quite beautiful upside down, she seems more active. Like she is billowing outward, full, like a flower. 

Returning to the Queen…two things that struck Joel as he was doing the notes last week.

One is that we quickly moved past the observation that Phillip had that the pyramid in her lap could just be the tip of a larger object. When we really take this perspective on, we see that the pyramid is the top of a mountain, like she is a giantess hugging the peak of a mountain, upon which a crystalline pyramid, a “City on a Hill” rests. When we take this “third path,” from the Coin, down her arm, through the belt, and into the curve of the throne, we are led into the Pyramid. From there, there are two ways out. Upwards, through the Bee to the King; and downwards, tunneling down the massive mountain, to the realm of the Knight.

The other observation had to do with reading Canto 31 from Dante’s Paradiso (see attached pictures). We read this Canto aloud. This description seems to have so much to do with the Queen, whether it is the Queen of Heaven (Mary) described by Dante or his Beatrice. And he is accompanied at this point by Bernard, rather than Beatrice. Bernard of Clairveaux, founder of the Cistercians and Templars. The Templars were the bankers = Kings of Money.

Dante = Knight; Queen = Beatrice; King = Bernard?

The presence of Beatrice is sacrificed and replaced by Bernard so that Dante’s desire for her might be made perfect, completely removed from the physical realm. The King shows us the pending sacrifice that must precede or accompany the entry to the Suit of Swords.

The Celestial White Rose as the Coin.

We closed with the fourth stanza of the Foundation Stone Meditation in Eurythmy.