Notes of a Hermetic Conversation between Phillip and Joel on the King of Cups from July 24, 2022
Going back to the notes of our last conversation on the Queen of Cups. This description of the Knave of Coins recollecting all that came before, then becoming the Knight, following the Coin/Star, and entering into the Queen of Coins, entering the Temple Sleep. The King of Coins is the Guardian of the Threshold on this side. Takes payment for entry.
Then there is the birth/labor process of the Numbered Swords, which culminates in the Knave of Swords, a second self. He begins to evolve in all directions as the Knight of Swords and loses himself. The Queen of Swords is she who dwells at the heart of the initiation process. She executes the monstrous, out-of-control being that the Knight has become, and he resurrects as the King of Swords.
This King of Swords can now properly sacrifice himself into a multiplicity of beings in a way he couldn’t as the Knight of Swords. He becomes the Ace of Cups and multiplies the cups as a plant/animal being who slowly disappears completely. This is represented in the Knave of Cups, showing us this complete outpouring of self into the Cup. The Cup then begins to renew the being who created it, as shown in the Knight of Cups. The Queen of Cups is the culmination—she is the fully transformed Knave of Coins. She pulls the last remnant of the Sword out of herself, making both herself and her cup into proto-Batons.
Now we meet the King of Cups. Perhaps he could be seen as the Guardian of the Threshold on the other side? And perhaps there is a necessary confrontation in the attempt to return? Is there a test of worthiness, akin to that when one enters the spiritual world? Is there a battle to prove one’s mettle? Or temptation to never leave? There is a mood here like the dream ending…like everything is falling apart…
The Guardian (King of Coins) imprints spiritual seeds into the consciousness of the novitiate. A trail of breadcrumbs. Things not to be understood until later.
The novitiate loses his Coins, he has to pay them to the King to gain entry—and the last thing said to the novitiate by the King of Coins is, “Remember this coin.” It plays the role of the focal point amongst all the chaos, all the nonsense of the Swords and Cups. The anchor is the memory of the Coin.
There is a journey before initiation, leading up to it (the Swords) and a journey at another level after initiation, the Cups.
In the death process, parts are cut off as one expands into the cosmos. They must be regathered for the birth/incarnation process.
Michael Ende’s Neverending Story. The first part of the journey is Bastian saving the Kingdom. His initiation. But the second part of the journey is him rebuilding the Kingdom, following the path of his wishes/desires. In doing so, he loses himself. Loses all memory of being Bastian, of being an earthly child. The final task is to remember himself, to return to his earthly self.
Here there is a struggle, a momentum, up to the King of Swords. Then there is a more reflective mood, a gathering. Then it gets too full. It can’t be carried over into the mundane world. Like a dream, it can’t be carried over into waking life in the form it had in the dream space. A portion must be given up. The top of the Queen’s Cup, the fulfilment, is taken off in the King. Hers was too full. Is the coin of the King of Coins that removed portion? Complements. “Did you remember the Coin?”
The King of Coins as a warning: “This is all you will be able to bring back with you” or perhaps “This is what you will owe in the end.” You can’t bring it all back. You must pay a portion to make, and retain, a Baton.
The hand in the Ace of Batons is very similar to the King’s:
The King of Cups goes to hand the “cup” to us, and only a portion goes along. The contents become sap, a living thing. The Grail. The coin of the King of Coins is more a seed that that he will plant.
Jim notice a tree at Camphill Village Copake that was planted on the day JFK was assassinated, as a commemorative. He said it was like seeing an external expression of the course of most of his entire life—reduced to a single tree. Perhaps the Baton is similar, vs the seed of the King of Coins.
(Did the Tarot make more sense 400 years ago?)
Each Suit represents both an elemental force and a human made object, and they are intertwined. Seed and Coin as potential. Sword and pruning as the concentration of life through death. The Cup and the collecting of life (gathering sap/juice), or the enhancing (watering plants). In the Baton, it is as though the man-made and the natural become one thing? We can’t really say whether this Baton is man-made or a product of nature. It is fully both. It is actual, living life. A scepter-staff-tree.
The Earth-Coin, bearing the weight of all potential and forces. The Air-Sword, the negative space, the turning inside out, the shaping.
Technological growth: vs Natural growth:
Coin = Mining and sealing (wax) Seed/Root
Sword = Blacksmithing Stem/Leaf
Cup = Occult technology Flower/Fruit
Baton = ….life itself??? That which remains when all falls away???
The death/end of Nature vs Technology transcending the mechanical and becoming alive.
The gesture of the New Jerusalem, a descending triangle and an ascending triangle intersecting.
This is in a way the gesture of the Numbered Batons:
The Batons as both the ultimate death/failure (of Nature) and the ultimate triumph/success (of Humanity). Throughout 1918, Steiner spoke out against the fallacy of the so-called “Law” of the conservation of matter and energy. He said that there is one place where matter and energy are annihilated, and that is within the the human being. A portion of all the matter and energy we take into ourselves in our earthly lives is annihilated, spiritualized. And the deed of Christ was such that something could be retained of Nature, something could be carried forward into Jupiter evolution as a seed. The purpose or mission of Humanity is the annihilation of Earth, the death of Nature—to take it all in and completely spiritualize it.
Is this our task only in the context of the Fall? How would it/could it have been without that event?
Considering Christ’s Transfiguration as only a penetration to the level of the Soul. Whereas the Crucifixion/Resurrection is a penetration all the way to the Body, a total transformation. Tomberg writes that, at the Resurrection, it was only Christ’s body that was raised up. The other members of Christ are still on the Cross, he is still Crucified etherically, astrally, as an Ego. Hence the second, third and fourth appearances of Christ on different levels, now and into the future. Perhaps the annihilation of the body/Earth/Nature is related to the full Presence or Resurrection of the four members of Christ?
In Paradise, we were embedded in a holistic nourishment field. A simultaneous annihilation and recreation, as a kind of gentle respiration. But then a part of this “falls” out, crystallizes. Suddenly this portion becomes increasingly harder to both annihilate and recreate. Christ is able to return the cosmos to full, primal Life.
Human beings are here to annihilate. To aid in the intensification that leads to the higher life.
Temptation is due to annihilation and regeneration no longer being naturally linked. It is chosen, up to us to coordinate.
The Coin and Sword ascension process: The seed (coin) of the King is a picture of the deadened life process, in stasis. The Swords come to annihilate. Like whacking the coconut. Some seeds need a serious level of destruction in order to reveal the germinal part (e.g. seeds that require digestion). An intense stripping away that reveals/concentrates the transformative life process.
Then sadness, these bowed heads in the Court Cups. “There doesn’t seem to be much here, perhaps not enough to carry on. But I’ll collect all that we’ve been able to get after this tremendous amount of work in the Swords. Was it all for nothing?”
If the Coin and Sword are the annihilation, what are the Cup and Baton? Restoring the higher life process that one has recovered back into a realm of a lower or deadened life process?
The Court Cups are sad at the little that was retained but that is only because they are thinking of rebuilding that which has already been. They are hoping to re-create the Coin or the Sword, to bring back what was lost. But there is not enough for Coin or Sword. They are not realizing that what they have is plenty for the creation of something totally new—the Baton—something of even greater value than what came before.
The King of Cups is once again reminiscent of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. The Numbered Swords reminded us of the trials he must pass through at the end. Nearly being beheaded by spinning blades, “Only the penitent man shall pass”, bowing is what saves him. Then remembering the name of IEHOVA, walking the Name of God. Then needing to pass over the apparent abyss, blind faith. Finally he comes to the Knight Templar guarding the Holy Grail. The path through the Swords to the Cups resonated with this.
However, when he gets to the Knight, he must choose the Holy Grail from a table covered with cups. Not every cup is the Grail, on the contrary! And to choose the wrong cup leads to rapid decay and damnation. This is a bit how the Suit of Cups has felt—are these cups beneficial? Or illusory?
Then at the very end, a character attempts to remove the Grail from its sanctuary, and the entire edifice begins to crumble. An earthquake. That is the mood of the King of Cups. The whole place is crumbling, due to the attempt to bring the Cup along, to remove it from its true place, its true context.
The fullness demands fullness. The vessel once formed wants to be its own fullness. But once it plays its role, it must be re-absorbed—and it is, through the very striving to retain it! This results in the appearance of Baton.
This image of the lamp stand that one pulls on to reveal the trapdoor below the throne—it is as though this lamp that must be broken is connected to his own body, he must break himself.
“I can show you the way out…you’ve wandered long enough…”
Is the white part under his thumb gauze? Cloth wrapped around the stem?
Also his shoulders and ears, like padding.
Something strange going on.
The shoulder is either too big (if we include the white) or too small (if we exclude it). Yet the overall image looks fine. Only strange in details.
What would make sense is if the cup he holds actually has a white wing, which blocks us from having a proper view of his shoulder. Like it has Mercury’s wings, a “Mercury Cup.” Staff of Mercury = Baton.
His hat looks like crab claws, or beetle wings. A shell that when closed would cover the crown. The opening up of the cup (vs the Queen’s) goes along with the opening up of the Crown. Notice the Queen has a closed “beetle crown” and a closed cup.
There’s more there than we’re recognizing right now…but there’s also not a dire need to know. It’s speaking, but we don’t have to know the language to understand it on some level.
Like he’s in a train station. In a rush. It’s time to go, things have gotten weird. A discontinuity.
Perhaps we’ve finally gotten inside the building of the Ace of Cups, this building that when we first saw it was so magnificent, so enticing, like all of our dreams could come true if we only got inside. And now we’ve entered, and it’s all so weird, bizarre, disorienting.
Expecting it all to culminate in Beauty—and it becomes so strange! It reminds us of someone we know, someone we love and respect. It all began with so much beauty, and now so many are left bewildered in the end!
Whereas the Swords culminated in Beauty and were totally bewildering for the entire build-up.
The 5th letter; the arising of the New requires conditions that feel irreconcilable.