Knave of Batons (II)

Notes of a Hermetic Conversation between Phillip and Joel on May 15, 2023

The flow of lanscape between the Knave of Batons and the Emperor:

The first thing that stands out this time are his blue shoes. They seem quite unusual. Have we seen blue shoes before?

The Magician has only one blue shoe. There are blue shoes in both the Hanged Man and the Tower of Destruction, and in *all three* of the Kings.

A Knave bearing the mark of a King.

In both the Hanged Man and the Tower of Destruction, the figures wearing blue shoes are upside-down, either falling or suspended. The opposite of a King. Low status.

Or perhaps an overthrown King?

Three Majors, three Minors.

Joel has been thinking over the past two weeks about the “empty” space where the ball and cross ought to be. Trying to formulate it in reference to the Rose Cross meditation. Where an image is built up in this very intense way, fully imagined, invested with life—and then in the second stage, one contemplates this inner activity that built up the image, instead of the image itself…then in third stage, one contemplates nothing at all, the pure silence that is left behind. Like a Buddhist Mandala, all this work to create this beautiful form, only to wipe it away.

And the Rose Cross is meant to be an Arcanum, a living symbol which represents a spiritual reality but at the same time “is what it represents” to paraphrase the 22nd Letter-Meditation. So with the Tarot, we are working with a whole series of images akin to the Rose Cross, magical images that can lead the soul into contact with the spiritual world. In other Arcana, it seems to be represented to us this honoring of the Arcanum, of the sacred image. But here, in the Knave of Batons, it is like we have attained to the third level of the Rose Cross meditation: he is contemplating a holy absence. The absence is the object. There is not something missing—he is contemplating, beholding, exactly what he ought to be, the silence, the invisible, that which cannot be fully represented.

It is as though throughout the Minors we have been working our way up to the silence. It’s like the Ten of Batons was the culmination of stage two of the Rose Cross. Looking intimately at the actual inner work that composed the image of the Rose Cross, rather than the image itself. We eventually saw the X of the Numbered Batons as the blossoming aspect, the “roses” so to speak, and only at the end in the Ten of Batons does a cross appear behind the roses. The Rose Cross in reverse, the cross appearing behind the roses rather than roses blossoming out of the cross.

Perhaps we can view the Coins as roses, and the Sword as a cross. The Cup is the combination of the two. The building up of the image. Then the Batons are the process of comprehending the build-up, and simultaneously the erasing.

Now, in the Knave, he turns the Ace of Batons upside down, he fully erases/reverses what has gone before. Hides the light.

The ball and the cross on the Emperor’s scepter is the sigil for the Earth.

If we reverse this—if we imagine that the Knave has turned the scepter upside down—we have the Venus sigil, the penultimate phase of planetary evolution:

Reminiscent of the plant as an upside-down human being. In fact, Steiner claims that the human being was oriented this way during Sun evolution—head towards the center of the earth, limbs pointing upwards. And that Venus evolution, as the reflection of Sun evolution, is the stage at which we reattain this plant-like orientation. Our heads are always oriented towards the Sun, whether it is outside the Earth or remains bound up with her.

This exact contrast is contained in the portion of the Grail Knight’s practice we performed. Tracing the shape of the Crux Ansata/Venus form for the “Give us this day our daily bread” and tracing the upside-down Crux Ansata/Earth form for the “Receive this day the living memory of Thee from human hearts.”

We could imagine that the Emperor is holding aloft the ball and cross, the symbol of Earth and Christ. More of an “Our Father who art in heaven” gesture. Whereas perhaps the “top” of the Knave’s Baton is the Earth herself. He is standing upon the “ball” of his scepter. More of a relationship to “Our Mother, Thou who art in the darkness of the underworld.”

If that is the “upper” part of the scepter, it seems spongey, almost brain-like ground. The baton as part plant, and the “ball”/ground as protoplasmic, semi-animal. Like something from Steiner’s descriptions of Moon evolution or Lemuria.

That which the Emperor honors he holds aloft. With the Knave of Batons, “the top of my scepter is below me.” A gesture of Washing of the Feet.

The process from the Magician to the Emperor was the gradual uniting of coin/ball and baton in order to create the scepter—the baton topped with the ball. Maybe now we are in the reverse element to that—maybe the process over the course of the Minor Arcana is the dismantling of this combination into its elements. The Knave as the fullness of the Baton portion of the scepter.

He is fully devoted to the Mother as oppposed to the Emperor who has earthly authority by acknowledging the heavenly authority of the Father.

This brings the Knave further into connection with the two inverted figures of the Hanged Man and the Tower of Destruction.

Going back to Weintraub’s image of man’s path of evolution out of God and back to Him:

The Knave shows us this return to unity in consciousness. He is not recollecting anything. He is simply Present. The purity of the face, pure emptiness.

Look at the way the Knave reflects the coin in the first Suit. He is the opposite of the Magician—concentration with effort.

Here, with the Knave of Batons, its an inversion of both. It’s more…action below produces effortless concentration above. The turning of the scepter upside down, this action has facilitated this effortless concentration. There was a top to that scepter that has now united itself with the “greater” top—the symbol of Earth has been subsumed into the real Earth. And so he is no longer gazing at it, as the Emperor or the Knave of Coins does, and no longer needs to gaze at it. The upper coin, or that which is represented by the upper coin, has been united with the lower.

Compare the scrutiny of the Knave of Coins with the complete peace and satisfaction of the Knave of Batons.

If you brought together the left side of the Knave of Coins with the right side of the Knave of Batons—would it be neutralised, blended in, harmonized?

The intensite of the gaze of the Knave of Coins—slightly below the center of the coin.

In the Knave of Batons, you don’t notice the eyes in the same way. They are like cat’s eyes, a thin line. Diffuse but present. Like he is remembering something wonderful. Very inward.

Noticing that there is a triangular shape on his neck, complementing and completing the triangular collar. Creates a diamond shape. Like the rhombus shape between the Emperor’s knees. The modern diamond symbol in a deck of playing cards. The King of Coins has these all along his chair/throne:

So many triangles and diamonds on the King of Batons. Are they related to the triangles on the Knave of Coins’s belt?

Last time we looked for the other Arcana that are in solid profile—only very few. Emperor, one figure in the Lover, the Queen of Coins. But we didn’t notice the Moon:

And in fact, of all the profile faces, the Moon’s is the most similar. The mouth, the emphasized features.

And there is a shared, yet totally opposite, focus on nothingness. Dissolution.

In the Moon, it is more about fallen nature collapsing in on itself, causing a further falling.

Whereas with the Knave of Batons, it is Nature completed—and therefore the completion of reflective consciousness.

We get a strong impression of the last line of the Emerald Tablet from the Knave of Batons: “That which I had to say about the operation of sol is completed.”

The calm expression is accentuated even more when he is upside down—with the scepter properly oriented, with the “ball” of Earth on top of his baton—due to the fact that he looks so calm while hanging upside down. And he isn’t even hanging on! Totally at peace, confident that he will not fall.

It’s like he’s rooted through his feet. Connected. A plant-animal-human reintegrated into the Earth. Infusing it all with wholeness.

It seems more like he is the one holding the baton into the Earth, maintaining that connection, not the other way around. He is not holding onto it so that he stays connected. It relies on him, he does not depend on it.

A primary act, in the sense of the presentation of the scepter in the Emperor, like the presentation of the Jesus child in the Temple.

The Knave of Coins is also a presentation of some kind. But who is the audience? In what sense?

With the Emperor—the restraint of the belt, the making of the scepter visible, the throne, all expresses quite strongly this underlying impression of “Presentation in the Temple.” But the Knave of Coins is indistinct.

The baton of the Knave is like a blend or distillation of the scepter, throne, and shield of the Emperor. Clear connection to the scepter, but it is positioned in the same place as the back part of the throne. And then this idea that it is connected to the Earth, going into the Earth—in this way it is akin to the Emperor’s shield, which goes into the Earth in a way similar to the Hanged Man.

His left hand is very expressive, like Frog and Toad or something.

There is a certain curve created by his left hand, garment, and right leg. Almost like a bow and arrow, only the string of the bow is curved while the wood is straight.

That right sleeve really is like a separate being, a separate outfit.

Or like the pulling back of the curtain. The butler: “he will see you now…”

Like a salamander butler from Alice in Wonderland or something.

The bow is half of a Vesica Piscis. Split in the middle.

Taking note of the particular striping on his shirt. This central thick line of blue stands out. It is somehow reminiscent of the Queen of Cups:

When we worked with the Queen of Cups, we saw this as her spine, or the place where her spine was. This visceral removal of the embedded sword fragment, flaying her flesh, yet creating a prototypical cup-baton within her being. The piercing of the top of her head with the point of this sword fragment creating the ball for the scepter or the bowl for the cup. So perhaps there is some relationship also between the Knave’s blue spine-stripe and the baton he holds. And the dots around the middle of the Queen have moved down to the trim of the Knave’s garment.

The Knight of Coins—why does he even have a baton? It’s not even a proper baton really. More like a baseball bat, very polished and smooth. His baton vs the Knave of Batons is like a fake Christmas tree vs the real thing freshly cut.

Or is it a weird, narrow money sack? Somehow carried upside down? Almost like the paper rolls at the bank, made to fit a stack of coins.

The Knave of Batons brings with him so many prior Court Arcana. It was somewhat similar with the Knave of Coins, but there it was quite pointed—oh, he looks like the Emperor mixed with the Magician. Very exact. But here it is all blended, all finely mixed, a living mixture.

If the bow is half of a Vesica Piscis, then the baton itself is Christ or Mary as traditionally represented at the center. Or the Dancer from the World.

The dancer…Joel had the thought during the May Fair that the Numbered Batons conjure the image of a Maypole dance. The weaving together of all the ribbons. Are the Batons arranged in reverse? It looks like the Knave is setting up for the dance. Or is he taking it down now that the dance is over? And the Ace is the setting up of the pole.

A Maypole dance is the opposite of the World—the dancers are all around, while there is stillness in the center.

The 18th Letter-Meditation contrasts the eclipse of consciousness with the attainment of Da’ath, the leap into the darkness surrounding the intellect, beyond waking consciousness. The expression of the Knave of Batons is that of one who has attained Da’ath.

Noticing the positions of the cuttings. They are aligned with his heart and his groin. But there is not one aligned with his head. The largest notch at the bottom is aligned with the feet. Seems unusual, out of balance somehow. Heart, groin, and limbs, rather than head, heart and limbs.

Strange waves in the ground? They look a bit like eyelashes, especially when the image is upside down.

This is the first Knave to face to the right. Not looking back, looking ahead.

It’s crazy how magical these images are. Taken at surface/face value—oh, well it’s just a Tarot card. But then to enter in, bring it to life, see details like eyelashes in the sand…that is a crazy image!

The Knave of Swords—related to birth, after the ten centimeters of dilation of the Numbered Swords. Breaking out of the bag of waters, the “blue bag.” The Knave of Cups is related to death, the last breath at the end of the race, dying so that something else can come into being. A polarity.

Perhaps then the Knaves of Coins and Batons are a similar polarity. The polarity of scrutinizing vs personal certainty. Seeking knowledge vs transcending knowledge, pure knowing.

The way that he holds the baton is akin to the sevenfold eurythmy rod exercise:

The prior “move” to this position would be the rod oriented the other way, with the right hand above and the left hand below. Rotated.

This would pivot all of the notches. The heart moves to groin, the groin to heart, and the will (feet) to the head. The “thinking” notch faces outward, the only one we cannot see.

Perhaps it would be better to think of the “feet” position as making contact with the Earth, the groin as will, and the heart as feeling. So in the starting position, the large notch is aligned with the head, the white notch with the heart, and the yellow with the metabolism. Then the heart (feeling) goes into the metabolism (will), the metabolism (will) into the heart (feeling), and the thinking becomes totally (substantially, intuitively) united with the outer world, when the baton rotates.

Very reminiscent of the spiritual exercise of the five-pointed star from the ninth part of the Grail Knight’s Practice: “Oh Human Being: Stream the light of thinking into depths of will; raise the light of the will to the level of heart and hands; experience it in the creativity of heart and hands, and stream what is experienced again into the depths of will—in order to raise creative power again to the head’s heights.”

So we have a concrete spiritual exercise indicated in the Knave of Batons when we realize the “starting position” of the Baton. In reality, his relfecting on the nothingness before him is an awaiting for a further illumination from the depths of will, from the depths of physical substance, once he rotates the Baton back to its starting position.

A five-pointed star exercise in the Grail Knight’s Practice, but a seven-pointed star exercise in eurythmy.

So lovely. So effortless to enter into. Seeing his face as a peaceful dissolution of what was gives it a special quality.

Once again we return to this conclusion that the Batons are the Swords done right, the proper experience of nothingness/negation, instead of a torture. The inversion of the handle and blade—Swords have a giant blade and a tiny handle. The (numbered) Batons are mostly handle with a tiny blade.