Notes of a Hermetic Conversation on November 22, 2020
November 22, 2020
King of Swords, pt III
We began with the protective practice.
We then invited the guidance of the Virgin Mary through praying the Hail, Mary.
After briefly focusing the mantra IT THINKS on the region of the larynx, we moved the third portion of the Inner Radiance Sequence (I rest within the Godhead of the world), and the 11th letter of the Divine Alphabet, Kaf, as well as the 11th portion of the Grail Knight’s Practice, in relation to the 11th Arcanum, Force.
We then read from Revelation 13:16-18
– Just after we finished our conversation last time, the phrase “the Bee’s Knees” popped into Joel’s head, and made him laugh aloud. Totally ridiculous…but it only enhanced this image that he has these bees on his knees that are excreting beeswax. And then this different picture came…that it’s like his throne is fresh bee’s wax, or a candle. And the baton is like a wick that is being fed into him. Maybe this wick is like that “Ariadne’s thread” that guided him through the labyrinth. Or it could be that the baton is a match, and his belt is this extra wick. His hair is the fraying of the top of the wick. The light burning from his crown is the flame, and the blue columns in his chest are smoke. The red wavy skirt is the melted wax. He uses the sword to trim the candle, to keep it lit properly.
And then this whole image came of candle-dipping. That it’s this repetitive process in which you carefully add thin layer after thin layer of wax to the candle. And he was thrown back into the Numbered Swords, gradually acquiring layer after layer of curved swords. Perhaps these are like layers of wax, the candle being dipped in the Numbered Swords. And the vesica piscis is the shape of the flame burning on the candle. So again, like with blacksmithing or gardening, we’re thrown into some kind of repetitive manual labor with the Swords.
Anyway…these were all Joel’s thoughts over the course of the past week and a half. But then tonight, as we were praying the protective practice…”As smoke is driven away, so drive them away. As wax melts before fire, let the wicked perish before God”…it struck Joel so strongly that here with the King, we have a living image of the protective practice. Of this melting the wax of the wicked through God’s flame.
A flame has these different colors because it’s burning different particulate at different temperatures. As it reaches a certain temperature, a different color appears. It expresses a temperature gradient. And then there’s the black soot coming off the top, and the melting wax spilling off…yes, you could definitely see him as a candle.
And then with the gesture of his hat, you could think of that portion of the Gospels about letting your light shine before men, not covering it with a bushel. It’s like he’s covered it with a bushel, but it’s burning through. It’s a transitioning to the Ace of Cups, where that light is allowed to shine unabated.
The Ace of Cups then really calls to mind “…salt of the earth, a city on a hill…” Are these from the same sections of the Gospels?
[Edit—yes they are. They are from Matthew 5:13-16, after the beatitudes:
You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt should become insipid, by what shall it be made salty? It is no longer of any use except to scatter outside for people to tread upon. You are the light of the world. A city set upon a hill cannot be hidden; neither do they light a lamp and place it under the dry-goods basket, but rather they place it upon a lamp stand, and it illumines all who are in the house. So let your light shine out before humanity, so that they may see your good works and may glorify your Father in the heavens.]
One of the impressions we had after last week was that he was trapped in a block of concrete, carving himself out of it, yet also turning it into a beautiful throne. But maybe it’s like he was entirely a statue, a “pillar of salt”, and this pillar of light that is running through the centre of him vertically is transforming him from a pillar of salt to a pillar of light, or animating this pillar of salt. And the Ace of Cups is the fulfilment of this transformation.
– If he is a candle, and burns completely, burns to ash, is he like a Phoenix rising from the ashes? Something new created from his being? Just an analogy…
Really it’s all about this combustion that’s happening in his core, this pillar of light, where the healing of opposites is taking place. It goes back to this Hermetic Zone, the realm of active silence situated between the celestial drama above and the earthly drama below. The eye of the storm. It’s an active resting, this place. And in this active resting, it becomes a zone of combustion, and this combustion itself is the Phoenix rising, it is the new being or the new capacity.
Like this transformation of thinking brought about by Abraham/Maitreya. Abraham brought us out of dream-like picture consciousness into brain-bound reason. But now we have come to the time in cognitive development when we can enter into one thought content, penetrate it with our reason, and come to certain conclusions (e.g. covid-19 is dangerous, wear masks) and then go into another thought content, penetrate it with our reason, and come to entirely different conclusions (e.g., covid-19 is a power grab, don’t wear a mask). This means that our source of certainty can no longer reside in the realm of reason or brain-bound logical thinking. We reach out to these different thought-streams on different sides, but must be able to come back to a coordinating centre. It is in this centre that we must learn to find our inner certainty, our living faith, which cannot be provided to us from anything outside of us, or by any logical thought structure. It must go deeper—it must be provided by the moral sphere, the realm of the Good. And this realm of the Good that can draw together the different (limited) thought structures is this realm of combustion, this realm of silence.
– Natalia’s feedback on the last King of Swords:
“In one article about Christian Rosenkreuz and the Chemical Wedding, it says that he gives to one guardian of the door his salt, and the guardian gives him back a coin with SM on it. In this article it says that SM would be “Sal Mineralis.” Like becoming the Salt of the Earth. While reading your notes on the King of Swords it strikes me how much there is of the Chariot elements in there. This thing he sits on is strange, all these parts, almost like a sarcophagus or something. And those signs or almost letters, but upside down, G and H in plantlike form?”
So yes, the SM of the Chariot means on the one hand Sulphur-Mercury, but also Sal Mineralis. The two opposites of Sulphur (Fire) and Mercury (Water) are brought into balance by Salt (Earth). The Salt is this zone of silence, this realm of combustion. And that SM on the Chariot is very reminiscent of this strange “signature” at the base of the throne.
– Conversations with Sabrina: the Knight is this threefold nature that is entirely unstable, he’s out of balance somehow. He dissolves into the threefold double in the Queen. The pillar of light in the King is this eye of the storm, the hermetic zone that brings these three fallen natures into harmony. They are transformed into the three Johns rather than the three doubles; the pillar of light is Christ.
– This idea of the throne as a sarcophagus is new. It adds other layers. Almost a Lazarus kind of image. Very appropriate in terms of the 3 Johns.
As throne, it could be a “tomb throne”, where he’s finding renewed life out of a kind of “death”—out of whatever it is to be the king on the throne. There is a death-phase in being a king on a throne—and now he’s come through that. In contrast to the Emperor, who says “I must decrease that he may increase.” With this, it is more of the “Lazarus, Come Forth!”
It is more of a Return of the King kind of feeling. With Aragorn in Return of the King, there is a huge death process, an initiation process, that comes with becoming King. The Emperor is fading to the background in order to make room. The King of Swords is rising—taking his rightful place.
“And you shall do this and much greater in my Name…”
Maybe that is his name written on the throne, that only he can read. Like on the white stone given to those who overcome.
– There were so many impressions and follow-ups during the last week, after the second conversation…
On Tuesday evenings, Joel is part of a study group working with some of Steiner’s final lectures, to the Christian Community Priests, on the Apocalypse. There is a portion in the 9th lecture in which Steiner describes the use of the word “house” in ancient times, and its double meaning:
The concept of building dwellings merged with the concept of building one’s body. This was a beautiful picture, for it is also quite practical. The body in which deeds were done and where soul processes and functions took place was a house, and the external house provided protection for all of this. There was this wonderful picture: If I build a house from earthly materials for my external activities, then the walls of the house, the house as a whole, provides a protection for what I do. This is merely an expanded, or you could say a hardened, more sclerotic continuation of the first house the human being built—the first house, the one that contained the inner processes of soul, is his body. Having built his body, which is a house, he then builds a second house, which uses ingredients from the earth as building materials. It was considered a perfectly everyday matter to regard the body as a house, and this house as the protective garment donned by the human being here in the physical, earthly world. What is formed out of the soul like this was regarded as the housebuilding done by the human being.
He’s doing both at the same time—he’s at once carving out his house and his body, like he’s a statue come to life.
Again this comes back to Joel’s image of “the Bee’s Knees” after the conversation last week. He got this picture that the severed being in the Queen is on his knees, and somehow this being on his knees is what turns them into these productive bees. They come to life and begin to produce beeswax, encasing the King in a block of wax. “Cut off at the knees.” But then he uses the sword to cut open the block of wax, and finds the baton, which he uses to turn this block which was trapping him into a throne, into something magnificent.
This activating power of having been on his knees made Joel think of the magical force of humility and prayer, the “Thy Will Be Done.” For example, page 393 of MOT:
There is, truth to tell, no technique in the intimate and spiritual domain of inspiration—just as no technique exists in the domains of vision and intuition. In these domains everything is essentially moral. For in order to “think together”, one thing before everything else is required—and this is humility. In thinking, in order to “think together”, I have to bow before an intelligence surpassing mine, and to do so not in general terms and in an abstract way but, rather, concretely—by yielding the “author’s exclusive rights” to the anonymous co-thinker. “Thinking together” means to say thinking on one’s knees, i.e. humbling oneself before the other—diminishing oneself so that he may increase. This is thought-prayer or prayer-thought.
Fascinating that this quote alludes to the “I must decrease that he may increase”!
But yes, these knees…is there something to do with Capricorn, maybe also with the acolytes bowing in the Pope? But they begin to “flow together” like the two vases, and excrete the substance that can become throne. Then the King and the bees must work together as well.
So…going back to this “building the house” and simultaneously setting free the harmonised three-fold body of the King, building the house of his body…there is a focus on the completed physical form in this Arcanum. And Joel was reflecting on the one perspective we have used throughout our Tarot work, in that:
The 22 Major Arcana are the journey from Conception (Magician) to Death (Death) to the Saturn Sphere (The World)
The Numbered Coins would then be the Midnight Hour, or the Realm of Fixed Stars
The Court Coins would then be the Saturn Sphere again. The Saturn sphere, in this context, is related to the Spirit-Self. How so? Well, the Lord’s Prayer through the Chakras places the petition “Hallowed Be Thy Name” at the Crown (Saturn) Chakra. This petition is related to the Spirit-Self. This is bolstered by Steiner’s description of the Saturn Sphere in Theosophy, in which he calls it the third realm of spirit-land, the realm of the “archetypes of everything of the nature of soul”—the “archetype of the astral body”, which would be the Spirit-Self.
Then the Numbered Swords would be the journey through the Jupiter Sphere. In this context, the Jupiter Sphere is related to Life-Spirit. The petition “Thy Kingdom Come” is related to the Brow (Jupiter) Chakra. And in Theosophy, this second realm of spirit-land is that of the “archetypes of everything living.” The “archetype of the life body” would be Life-Spirit.
And now, with the Court Swords, we come to the Mars Sphere. The petition for the Larynx (Mars) Chakra is “Thy Will Be Done.” This is related to Atman, to Spirit Body. And again, in Theosophy, the first realm of spirit-land is that of the “archetypes of everything with a physical body.” The archetype of the physical body is the Resurrection Body, Atman. And this is what we are seeing develop in the Court Swords, but particularly in the King of Swords—the Spirit Man, the “house” of the physical body and its temple. The Temple is Man.
This Realm of Fixed Stars, the Midnight Hour, would then be the realm of the archetype of the Ego? Yes, of the Image. The Image is the Archetype of the Ego. The Image coming face to face with the Godhead in the Midnight Hour.
– After last week’s conversation, we had a further talk the next day on this idea of arbitrary and genuine human creativity. Following on this idea from Schiller and Goethe that Nature is unfinished, and that we are the part of Nature that must consciously and conscientiously complete this unfinished work. You get the picture that the Suit of Coins is showing you “unfallen Nature”, virginal Nature. Nature as pure expression of spiritual archetypes prior to the Fall. From this point of view, it is a wholeness, it is pure and complete, nothing needs to be added. This type of nature, you could say, is purely biological. It has to do with this picture of the primal cosmos given through Anthroposophy, as this seed of warmth—a seed where life-warmth and soul-warmth are identical, and everything else grows out of this living seed. Not this mechanistic picture given through the Big Bang.
But there is this remnant, this dross in Nature, this extra—and this extra is not living. It is mechanical, technological in its gesture. For example, molecular machinery. It has the gesture of something man-made, of something unfinished and arbitrary. And this portion of nature could not be finished or completely integrated through the more instinctive, biological upwelling that had held sway up until then. Since it had the nature of death within it, it needed something of the nature of death to confront it, elevate it, complete it, bring it to life. And this brought about the Fall of Man. According to Tomberg, it is only at this point that biological evolution (“survival of the fittest”) began, the “way of the serpent”, the “groping trial.” These technological forms had to be confronted consciously, with human consciousness, and deliberately re-integrated into the whole. This aligns with Weinreb’s picture that true human creativity doesn’t consist in adding more to the world—this only continues the creation of technological/dead/fallen forms—but rather in the reintegration of that which has been sundered from the Godhead in the process of Creation—taking that which is fallen Nature and redeeming it, bringing it out of the realm of the mechanical and into life.
This then becomes the gesture of the whole Suit of Swords, culminating in a condensed expression in the King, where the “remnant” or “dross” produced by the bees lays the foundation for the creation of the throne. The waste-substance is elevated to magnificence. We could think of this as expressing the accumulation of karma, of “bad” karma. Something that over time increasingly traps us, immobilizes us. But it can become transformed, carved, redeemed—turned into a throne or a temple of beauty and magnificence. The King uses his accumulated karma to rise, to become King.
– Going back to this place of the Fixed Stars as the realm of the Archetype of the Ego, of the Self…
This reminds Phillip of the study group he has been attending, looking at Steiner’s lectures on the “Inner Experience of Evolution” from 1911, especially the first lecture (see here: https://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/Dates/19111031p01.html)
Here Steiner describes the experience of the Ego—just the ego, stripped of any connection with the other three worlds—as only comparable to the experience of the Saturn Sphere. It is an experience of nothingness, of timeless-ness and spaceless-ness, of an absolutely overwhelming feeling of fear and dread in the face of annihilation. And of needing to overcome this with a completely self-generated firmness and inner certainty.
A box where everything is compressed, where distance doesn’t exist, there is no foreground or background, and time has no place. There is no time without distance, without measurement. If you can’t measure and compare, then there is no time, there is no difference or change.
This idea of compression—of intermingling everything in the same space, with no place for movement.
And then the primal sacrifice of the Thrones to the Cherubim, out of longing, brings to birth the Archai—to the Time Spirits, and therefore Time begins.
And maybe this Realm of Fixed Stars, as the realm of the Archetypal Ego, is akin to this experience of the Ego that Steiner describes here. The Ego as the most rarefied substance which magnetises identity. It is the aspect of thought or consciousness which is able to carry the experience of identity. “I AM the I AM.” And suddenly, Phillip has this overwhelming feeling that if one goes to that space in the Fixed Stars where there is only Ego-nature…That there, there would be thought, intention, consciousness, yet totally inverted from how we know them. A timeless, spaceless dimension. Like Adam Cadmon. Phillip has this powerful feeling, “Yes, I could speak to God in that space—and be understood.” But there is no way to transmit the context of the state in which we live here, during Earthly life, to the state in which that realm exists, other than the intrinsic nature of the Ego that we have in common with God.
When you find your way to the Ego-experience, it’s a timeless, spaceless experience.
(Afterwards, we will discuss something shared with Joel by Sam Guzman, who is studying psychology. He refers to the work of Richard Schwartz, who views the human psyche as a collection of different personas, not as a single persona. Yet underneath these different personas, there lies the Self. This Self is seemingly—based on Schwartz’s experience with many clients—totally immune to any form of trauma. It is timeless, changeless, eternally fresh and young and innocent. See here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internal_Family_Systems_Model)
Suddenly, it feels as though a dialogue is possible in that shared context of being of the same Ego-nature—between Man and God, but also with the Hierarchies who are more embedded in that nature. It’s where the two ends meet—where Man and God become identical…not in substance, not in the sense of “I am God!” But identical in essence. Where we can say “God and I are one, because I AM that I AM.” It is this part of me that is purely God-like, and can know God. It’s like a bridge, or a telephone, or the telephone number. This is the thin layer of reality that can create a link between me and God [Edit—again Ariadne’s Thread?]. A consciously made link.
And so the Numbered Coins, as this realm of the Archetypal Ego, really are the elaboration of the 10 Names of God, as the One Name of God, which is I AM.
And the Court Coins are the ideal cognising activity of the Spirit-Self coming out of that realm. As we moved through these, the whole process of cognition in which we engage through Hermetic Conversation was made crystal clear. Four levels of understanding.
Then we come to the Numbered Swords. As Life-Spirit, these are the Sephiroth Tree, or the Ten Hierarchies perhaps. But it also makes one think of karma, being woven into the etheric body during gestation—that Life-Spirit is fundamentally a karma body. [Edit—during the 10 lunar months of gestation]
And now the Court Swords. Well, clearly with these we are not dealing with some cognitive process the way we were with the Court Coins. They are much more of the nature of dealing with the life-spirit, dealing with what Karma provided. They are much more transformative in their gesture. Taking oneself in hand and transforming oneself. Perhaps we could say in that regard that the Knave is particularly connected to the body, and the Knight to life, the Queen to the soul, and the King to the spirit, to the Ego.
This is about becoming something, whereas the Coins were four levels of understanding something through Hermetic Conversation.
– You know, this is very alchemical language that’s coming out of this conversation: “dross of Nature” for example. Humanity as the match, as the right “piece” to pick up where Nature left off. The companion to the dross. There’s something of the same quality in that idea as this picture of the two ends of the circle meeting in the Midnight Hour.
Before, Phillip thought of alchemy as something added “on top” of Nature, something that simply imitates Nature in its processes. But no…Nature creates a wholeness, but then there is this tiny portion left over, that nature can’t complete. Man is needed in order to complete Nature. This speaks of the Fall, of these two parts that have to meet each other. A separation. We are at this stage of development because things have lost their wholeness—and yet all of this is embedded in a larger wholeness and ultimately brings back this reconnection—through this maintaining contact with the realm of the Ego.
– There’s definitely a complex embedded-ness…
…The Swords are the unfinished “remnant” of the Coins…
…The Court Swords are the “remnant” of the Numbered Swords…
…The King is the “remnant” of the Court Swords…
…and the King himself is excreting and dealing with the unfinished remnant of this throne…
There’s this fractal gesture all through.
– Going back to our first conversation on the King, we talked about this magical glance that the King casts backwards over the entirety of the Suit, completely transforming that which has preceded him through his presence and his retrospection. And maybe this transformative reflection or transformative memory is the best definition of the “Magical Gnosis” we spoke of before. What’s interesting is, if we think back to the Coins, this happened with every new Arcanum. The Ace appeared one way, and then the Two of Coins transformed what came before. The Three transformed the Ace and Two, and so on throughout the entire Suit. Each new Arcanum made all the past new.
But with the Swords, it didn’t really happen until the very end. Everything felt stagnant, repetitive, disconnected until the King appeared at the 11th hour and drew it all together. This reminded Joel of Goethe’s Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship. Joel read it the summer of 2014, just before going to Dornach and meeting Judith von Halle, and everything that came out of that.
Basically each chapter of it is a vignette involving Wilhelm Meister, kind of all the different dramas and foibles he gets into. None of the chapters seem to have any thread tying them together. It feels very sanguine, a movement from one disconnected adventure to another. For 12, 13, 14 chapters or something. And then it isn’t until the last chapter that Wilhelm Meister is initiated into the Order of the Tower, where he discovers that all of these seemingly disconnected events were orchestrated and interconnected in order to bring him to this place of entering the Order of the Tower, so that he can become a Journeyman—he can begin to take his destiny in hand, to determine his own destiny, and work with the Order of the Tower to do the same for others as they did for him.
There’s a very different impact on the soul with this type of a story—where all seems a bit lost for the entire tale until the very end (like the time between Election Day and Inauguration perhaps?)—vs a “Coin” story, where there is a clear development and unfolding from chapter to chapter and scene to scene.
[Edit: Actually Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship has 10 Chapters, and it is the 7th—not the 10th—in which this “magical recollection” takes place.]
– Out of another conversation with Sabrina, Joel came to this picture of the three Aces so far, and how they’ve expressed themselves in our lives. With the Ace of Coins, it was all middle—all “hermetic zone” so to speak. At this point, we had reached a great deal of clarity in our inner and outer lives, and really knew how to navigate in the realm of the Tarot. We operated primarily from this place of the “zone of silent activity.”
By the time we reach the Ace of Swords, the centre is destroyed, ripped in two. Activity is drawn both upwards into the realm of the “cosmic drama” and downwards into the “earthly drama.” The Hanged Man is driven out of his comfort zone, the “zone of silence” in the middle, driven into cosmic and earthly karma. This was June 2019, when Joel left Plowshare. It has been a process ever since then of reintegrating, of re-establishing the centre.
And now we come to the King of Swords, who has this pillar of light, this hermetic zone within, establishing harmony between above, middle and below. He is forming himself into the Ace of Cups—where there is perpetual contact between above and below, and a constant open space in the centre. The Ace of Cups has integrated the Ace of Coins (all middle) with the Ace of Swords (all above and below).
– What else did we have trickle in over the past week…ah, that the symbols on the throne are like musical notation, like a bass clef, and the baton could be a conductor’s baton. Perhaps the dots all over him are musical notation, a musical score?
– Going back to this idea that the throne is also a temple, a building, it seems to have two “wings.” His right leg appears to be sticking out more to his right, whereas his left leg is pointing a bit more towards us. There is a wedge cut out between these two pieces of the throne, like it is two wings of a building. But this is a play on words—there are two “wings” on the throne of the Empress, but in her case they are like the wings of a bird turned to stone.
– It really seems like his left arm is resting on something. Maybe this portion under his left arm is curling, like a sheet of paper?
Maybe the baton is a scroll that he’s unrolling?
If the baton were turning, it could be like what makes the music in a music box, or a player-piano. The Baton is emanating the harmony of the spheres—a layer of depth and dimensions that is imbued into him, now that he has this container for drawing all these disparate states of being together.
– Going back to Wilhelm Meister…in Dennis Klocek’s classes, he would talk about the nature of a solid, that it’s contained in reference to a central point. It gravitates towards a centre, always contracting.
Whereas with gases, they are always expanding. The absolute periphery becomes their “centre point.”
So with this thing of 14 independent narratives in a cosmic drama, with the organising centre at the end of the sequence—its a bit like the element of Air, where the organising centre is in the periphery. The future is the organising principle, rather than the past, the first event, as it would be in a “solid” story.
Which is interesting, as the Coins relate to the solid element, whereas the Swords relate to the Air.
And again this interpretation of the Sword—this hand of the Brotherhood, the invisible Hand of Fate, crafting events from an unimaginable plane on the periphery. Or the Harmony of the Spheres, weaving karma into the etheric body during gestation—writing the song of destiny to be played out during life.
– Hm, so another realisation Joel had in between conversations is related to this ongoing theme of the “Act of God”, the mysterious Sword provided seemingly ready-made from God and disrupting everything. If we think of the Sword as this ready-made object, God-given, and yet resembling something man made; and if we begin to think of it primarily in terms of the mineral realm, the crystalline realm—think Bismuth for example:
…well, isn’t this the Ego itself? The “foundation stone”, the primal mineral of the spiritual realm? And it certainly appears to be something man-made, or self-made. We like to think of our Egos as our own property, our own private creation or private world…but the reality is they are born of God. They come from this realm of the Midnight Hour. And so the idea of Ego as Sword…this again takes us to the place of the Ego being a “match” for this fallen/unfinished realm of the mechanical/mineral…and it takes us back to the image of the Sword as the “Fallen Likeness,” with Eve-Mary as the “Guardian of the Fallen Likeness.”
Another observation Joel had is that the baton is like a ruler, and it seems to be related to measure. And the throne seems heavy, related to weight, while all of these dots bring in the element of number. So maybe the unearthing of the baton is related to “bringing the timeless into time, and the spaceless into space”, into the realm of measure, number, weight. So the Sword being related primarily to this terror of the emptiness of the Midnight Hour, while the baton helps to bring it into manifestation, like the birth of the Time Spirits. Opening up the timeless ego-zone to something which unfolds in time.
– These dissolute fragments of the Ego…each bearing its own narrative…gather around this organising element, and it finally makes sense, but only due to the presence of a further element in the sceptre. The Swords get to be their own organism, fully integrated, for a fraction of a second in the King, just before something new arises.
Which is a bit how the Swords feel—“Oh, this is finally making sense! And now we’re done.”
Looking back, making the past whole, Christ being the determining centre of time both towards past and future…there is a causality in these points of view that just isn’t familiar to us in the normal way we conceive of causality.
– OK…two last thoughts to end this very long, strange journey through the Swords. At the very end of last week’s conversation, the ridiculous phrase “the Bee’s Knees” popped into Joel’s head. He looked into the origins of this phrase, which 100 years ago would have been slang for “the best thing that there is.” There is no consensus as to the origin.
It could be an abbreviation of a phrase originating from Macbeth. “The Be All and the End All.” The B’s and E’s…The bees ‘n’ ees…The Bees Knees. That gives it the gravity of “the best there ever was or could be.”
On the other hand, it could just be a funny way of saying “business.” Which is interesting because nowadays one might say “beeswax” in place of “business”, e.g. “mind your own beeswax.”
And then there is a good argument to be made that it once meant either something totally insignificant (small as a bee’s knee) or else was a kind of joke, a hazing for new apprentices—“Go to the apothecary and get me 18 lbs of bee’s knees.”
This certainly summarises the whole experience of the Swords for us—either as the most important experience there could be; or the most insignificant; just a matter of business (activity); or a totally ridiculous practical joke.
– The last thought, the last observation Joel has is the similarity between the hilts of all of the broadswords and the Cups, especially after the Ace of Cups. It is as though we had the primal Coin in the Ace of Coins; this was then split open into Crown and Sword in the Ace of Swords. And now, we find that if we remove the hilt from the sword and just carry on with that, it gives us the Cup. The Cup is an upside down hilt. Notice that in the Queen of Swords, there is wine or blood pouring out of the bottom of her hilt, which would be the upper portion of a Cup.
– The King of Swords is similar to the Ace of Cups. His throne has something of the geometry of the base of the Cup, and his crown looks like the city. He becomes the Cup—he and his throne.
He’s the container, the collector of opposites, furnace of opposites. They are his fuel. There is so much activity, nothing watery or passive or flowing about these swirling columns in his chest. Instead they are combustive and active. There is some mirroring of that in the Ace of Cups. Perhaps in that red and blue place in the middle.
– You know, it’s really interesting because there was zero evolution from the King of Coins to the Ace of Swords. Simply an “OK! Now we’re just going to blow all of this up.”
This is more like the transition from The World to the Ace of Coins. Not as distinct or exact, but somewhat there.
I guess we’ll bring him along as we head to the Ace…Farewell, Swords!
We closed with the third portion of the Foundation Stone Meditation.