Knave of Swords (I)

Notes of a Hermetic Conversation on August 12, 2020

August 12: Knave of Swords

Prior to this meeting, Joel and Philip briefly discussed some of Joel’s reflections from doing the notes for the first Ten of Swords conversation:

– The connection between these two swords in the Ten of Swords and the two swords of jurisprudence referenced by Tomberg in Michael Frensch’s biography: the temporal sword of the Emperor (Security Council?) and the spiritual sword of the Pope (UN?). One representing humanity to God and one representing God to humanity. Divine Law as the necessary foundation of international law. The eternal principles vs their particular execution—something that has been on Phillip’s mind in regards to the General Flynn saga. 

There is, however, a third kind of possible peaceful order in the world, that of superordination, i.e. the presence of a supra-national jurisdiction, by which all states are equally governed:

“The unlimited sovereignty of states ceases and the states recognize a higher power which stands above them—not the power of one state over the others, nor even the power of a mere principle over them, but a jurisdiction which disposes of the powers and obligations directly or indirecly connected with world peace.

     ‘Superordination’ was a medieval idea: the ‘two swords’, the ‘temporal’ sword of the Emperor, and the ‘spiritual’ sword of the Pope, were superordinate to the hundred and thousands of individual ‘swords’. Essentially the same idea lies behind the modern institutions of the League of Nations and the United Nations. […] In this way, the ‘spiritual sword’ corresponds to the unconditional validity of the principles on which the United Nations is based, whilst the Security Council corresponds to the Emperor’s ‘temporal sword’.”

– Joel had the immediate impression with the Ten of Swords that the yellow hilted one was “correct” and the red hilted one was unusual. But then looking back at the Nine, Seven, Five, Three, and Ace, all of them have mostly red hilts. However, looking ahead—to the Court Arcana—all of them have yellow hilts to their swords, completely yellow. So it’s like the Ten of Swords is a transition moment, from red to yellow, and contains both.

– The two of us had a long conversation on July 30, beginning with this difference between works on the Tarot like those by Mebes or by Mouni Sadhu that are all about laying out a certain content, a very systematised picture of the world and the Tarot, with usually overly-complex cosmologies and concrete “meanings” for each of the Arcana. This vs Meditations on the Tarot, which somehow takes all of that—that Tower of Destruction—and dissolves it. Tomberg simultaneously brings things back to the primal source, the virginal source, but also brings it into contact with real life, rather than leaving it an abstraction. 

We began to reflect on the “process of incarnation” of Christ in our time. How you might see Anthroposophy as the ur-system, in comparison with Mebes or Sadhu, but this whole trend of “spiritual systems” is like the Solomon Jesus child. The accumulation of years of effort, inquiry, experience, until a flawless “system of initiation” is developed. This abstract program of initiation, that one aspires to do exactly as it is written (e.g. How to Know Higher Worlds). 

But then the Zarathustra being—Anthroposophy—dies, it sacrifices itself, and enters into the virginal, pure, simple Nathan Jesus, the Krishna being. This is like Valentin Tomberg taking the anthroposophical method—as opposed to the vast content—and imbuing the Catholic Church and Hermeticism (Nathan Jesus) with this method (Zarathustra Ego). 

So Anthroposophy vs Orthodoxy = Solomon Jesus separate from Nathan Jesus

And then Tomberg entering the Catholic Church, culminating with Meditations on the Tarot, is like the transformation in the Temple. 

But there will be further transformations, the actual initiation is so much more intense than the “program of initiation.” This program of initiation must be dissolved. So the Zarathustra ego eventually gives up the ghost, makes room for Christ to enter in at the Baptism in the Jordan. 

Then, beyond this, Christ dies on the Cross, unites his Ego and his Body with the Earth, culminating in the Resurrection. So even Christ follows the path of Zarathustra and Krishna, sacrificing all for the sake of the lower to rise higher. 

It’s three levels of sacrifice in a way—Zarathustra sacrifices his body, then his ego, then Christ sacrifices both.

So there’s something of a conversation happening here, a pinging back and forth. Something is seeded, taken to its limit, and then dissolved. It starts over in the virginal purity, and then follows the previous path of growth but can grow even further. 

Like a tree being cut down in a field (when Joel mis-heard this, he imagined a tree growing in a lake, rather than in a field), only for the seed to be replanted somewhere else, for the tree to grow again taller and stronger, incorporating that which brought about its destruction last time. This goes with so much of the imagery from the Swords—plants being cut down.

And this bouncing back and forth from intention or “program” of the flowers/evens to the actual meeting with reality with the swords/odds, until one finally actualises the “ideal” of the two sword-flowers crossed in the Ten of Swords, is precisely this process in picture form.

Rudolf Steiner indicates in lectures throughout 1916 that we have to sharpen our understanding of what is real vs what is Maya, illusion. For example—we come upon a fallen tree in the woods and we think of it as real, as a tree. But it is actually a total illusion—a tree is only real, only true, when it is connected to the whole of nature and the Earth, and to its process of growth: branches, blossoms, leaves, seeds, etc. Otherwise it is empty, a shell, an illusion. And so the Swords have this quality of exposing the real vs Maya. 

The role of a cultivator or gardener, in the Hermetic sense, vs a tower-builder. Zarathustra was Seth, the third brother who resolved in some prototypical form the primal Cain-Abel dispute. Thinking of the Golden Legend that Rudolf Steiner described on May 21, 1907:

“When Seth, the son of Adam who took Abel’s place, was mature, he was allowed to gain insight into paradise. He was allowed to pass by the angel with the flaming sword and enter into the place from which the human being had been driven. There Seth saw something quite special. He saw how the two trees, the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge, intertwined with each other. From these intertwined trees Seth received three seeds, which he took with him and laid in his father’s mouth when he died. A mighty tree grew out of Adam’s grave. This tree revealed itself to those with psychic senses as if radiating in the form of a glowing fire. For those who could see this glowing fire, there twisted together the letters “J B,” the first letters of two words that I do not have the authority to express, but which mean: “I am Who was; I am Who is; I am Who will be.”

This tree divided itself into three parts. Seth took wood from it, and it was used in manifold ways in world evolution. A staff was made from it; the legend says this was the magic staff of Moses. The beams in Solomon’s temple were made out of this same wood. There they remained as long as human beings understood the old secrets. Then the wood was thrown into a pool, in which, at certain times, the lame and blind were healed. After the wood was taken out again, it was used to build the bridge over which the Savior walked on his way to the cross. And lastly, the legend tells that the cross itself on which the Savior hung was formed from the wood of this tree that grew out of Adam’s mouth after the seeds of the intertwined Trees of Life and Knowledge were laid therein.”

This legend in a way encapsulates exactly what we’re getting at in terms of preserving seeds, and this kind of living organism, ever deeper incarnation of the being of initiation—a golden thread running from Eden to Golgotha. 

– Another part of this portion of the biography of Valentin Tomberg quotes his words from the end of the Lord’s Prayer Course, in February 1943. He speaks of the need to build an Ark, to preserve all that is of value culturally to rescue it from the coming deluge. What is fascinating about these words—the words that ended the Lord’s Prayer Course—is that they are repeated virtually verbatim at the end of the 17th Letter-Meditation on The Star, written in the mid-60’s (see page 490 of MOT). It is amazing that this guiding image—this “Star of the Magi”—lived with Tomberg for so long, and in so many different contexts. And this fits also with our work with the Swords—the Ace of Swords as the unplugging of the dam, the release of the floodwaters, and each of the numbered Arcana part of the process of “building the boat”, creating the vessel to traverse the waters. And now these words of Tomberg’s feel very very real in the modern time, as traditional culture seems to be ever more rapidly erased. How can we ever get back to “normal” after covid-19 and its aftermath, including the rioting and destruction of monuments, erasing/amendment of history?

This boat building also brings us back to Indonesia/Bali once again. From a very young age, Indonesians build boats, and they are like a force of nature. There is no thought involved. Every line is a perfect work of art that springs from an intuitive uniting with their tools and the substance they are transforming. There is something of Bali throughout the Swords—the kris (sword), the boat building, even gamelan music, with its “shimmering” quality. It’s like the radiating Swords are a visual representation of the shimmering of this music.

– Speaking with a coworker, a friend with whom Joel had a slight disagreement during a meeting. He came to Joel afterwards to make sure everything was ok, because increasingly since covid time this fellow coworker has lost friends simply over a difference of opinion during a meeting. He feels as though he is walking on eggshells at all times. Joel shared with this friend a letter exchange between Steiner and John Henry Mackay from 1898 which is very timely, addressing the difference between true “individualist anarchism” and the false anarchism of violent communist revolt (what would become bolshevism and in our day antifa).

The idea that Joel subscribes to is related to this, and to the Curative Course from 1924. In the Curative Course, Steiner describes kleptomania as a disorder stemming from activity that is meant to remain in the nerve-sense pole descending to the metabolic-limb pole. The mind and the senses should always be stealing—stealing new impressions, new ideas. Stealing is totally appropriate and even necessary in this sphere. But if it descends to the limbs, it becomes either a crime or a disorder, it becomes what we conventionally understand to be stealing. For Joel, it is similar with violence. It is totally inappropriate to engage in physical violence with, to kill, another human being. But this is absolutely necessary in the realm of ideas. We must be ready to engage, be “willing to draw blood” as Joel’s friend said, with the full realisation that this is how we discover the truth—through the competition of viewpoints and ideas. In the meantime, we must remain fully conscious that our camaraderie, our essential unity, lies on a much deeper sphere than the realm of ideas. We do not have to agree about everything in order to love each other. Our mutual affection springs from our working together towards the same aims, and love can and should be deepened through a difference of opinion. 

– In that first Ten of Swords conversation, we made a coy reference to Star Wars. It reminded Joel of the Yoda mantra: “Do or do not, there is no try.” The uni-directional nature of the Swords. There are no second tries, only failed vs successful attempts. There are no do-overs. No going back once begun. It also is reminiscent once again of that brief non-philosophical piece from Laruelle in which he speaks of Truth = Silence yielding meaning = logos, words. But that this process is uni-directional: one can create meanings in order to express Truth, but meaning alone will never lead one back to Truth. The experience of Truth is a primal, incommunicable, non-replicable one. (

– This image of just a spark of Goodness overcoming Evil is like a small dot of white in a black field. But this other image—the need for a core of absolute darkness, of pure darkness, to facilitate the existence of light, is like a dot of black in a field of white. These two together yields the yin-yang. This is an image we keep returning to, in our discussions of master vs student for example. The master is the field of white, but he has one key blind spot, the wound of Anfortas. Whereas the student is a field of black, mostly error, but with a dot of white that exactly addresses what is lacking in the master (Parzival is a fool, but has the question to put to Anfortas that brings healing). 

File:Yin yang.svg - Wikipedia

– Going back to the image of the Wheel of Fortune, which expresses the Divine Feminine via absence of image rather than presence of image, because this Divine Feminine is death, emptiness, silence, void. And this makes perfect sense of the phrase on the statue of Isis: “I am Isis, the Past, Present and Future—and no mortal has ever lifted my veil and lived.” This is not a threat, it is a description. To lift the veil of Isis, to “know her form” is to die, to know death, void, absence, silence. The Virgin of Perfect Night, of Black Perfection. 

– The urge or temptation to have “black and white certainty”—this brings out the image of the increasing aposematism (striping) of the Numbered Arcana. An increased warning, the danger of desiring “absolute (rigid) certainty.”

– Going back to this contrast and similarity between the Ace of Swords and the Ten of Swords. The Ace is splitting the plant above, with a solid sword below. The Ten, however, has a spit sword/flower below, rather than above. But if we imagine into the form that must have been there before the plant was split in the Ace of Swords, it actually looks quite a bit like a fleur-de-lis. In the older version of the Grimaud Marseilles deck, there were fleur-de-lis on certain of the Arcana, which are now replaced  with tulips (for example, the Four of Coins). 

File:Fleur-de-lis-fill.svg - Wikimedia Commons

Thinking of the Rose and Lily, that maybe the Rose is more related to Rosicrucianism/Freemasonry, whereas the Lily is related to French Catholicism, to Hermetic Martinism. 


….and now to the conversation.

We began with the protective practice.

We then invoked the presence of Archangel Michael to guide our conversation, with the Michaelic meditation.

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 in the Godhead of the World) and the 14th letter of the Divine Alphabet, Nun, in relation to Temperance. 

We read from Revelation 12:1-3

– Well, Joel really intended to only look at the Knave of Swords, standing on his own, without comparisons to other Arcana. But what immediately struck him was the posture, which is so reminiscent of Temperance, the Major Arcanum with which we have brought the Knave into connection in our current rhythm:

Ace = Tower of Destruction = Nine

Two = Devil = Eight = Ten

Three = Temperance = Seven = Knave

Four = Death = Six = Knight

Five = Hanged Man = Five = Queen

It’s so interesting that with the Coins, we repeatedly had a geometric/archetypal resonance between the Minor and the Major we had associated with it (e.g. Ace with World, or Four with Moon, etc). But this has not applied at all really with the Swords. The Two of Swords has no geometric similarity to the Devil, it’s something that lives more in the underlying mood, or bits and pieces of one are similar to certain bits and pieces of the other. Only the Ace of Swords really felt geometrically attached to the Tower of Destruction. With the Knave, this is the first time we’ve really returned to that. 

– And now, what’s interesting looking closer at this handle of the Knave’s sword, it isn’t really yellow strictly speaking. It’s more orange or golden. Haven’t we seen this color before? Haven’t we noticed this slight distinction between yellow and orange? 

Looking back, it seems like the only other Arcanum in which this difference occurs is in the Knave of Coins (see his shirt cuff above). 

But now when we compare our Knaves of Coins from our two separate decks (which have the same design, BP Grimaud), there is a slight difference in the coloration of our Knaves! Joel’s (see above, next to Joel’s Knave of Swords which the reader will notice is differently coloured than the older version used earlier in this conversation) has a distinctly orange cuff to his sleeve, whereas Phillip’s is more uniform in color:

How did we not notice this before?? Like being in a twilight zone, an alternate reality. 

– The Knave of Coins: with the coloration of his clothing, it makes it seems as though his left side is exposed, like we can see his naked torso. Otherwise, his torso looks very strange, the wrong shape.

– There are definitely interesting correlations between Knave of Swords and Magician, Temperance, Knave of Coins.

But looking directly at the Suit of Swords, in its progression, it is interesting that the two swords of the Ten of Swords are followed by/transformed into a sword and a sheath…and part of his hand/hilt is outside of the frame of visibility. Like he’s in the process of stepping out of one world into another, a twilight zone, but you see just this little remnant before he’s completely in the frame. He’s 98% in frame, and a small portion of him is still back in the Ten. Like when you just wake up: a tiny fragment of the dream you were just having, just the tiniest snippet you can grab onto and try to hold in memory for a bit longer. But his waking comes in the form of “Whoah! How did I get this sword and sheath??”

– Joel has been in a study group in Camphill, trying to grasp the nature of the world situation from the perspective of Anthroposophy…something that has been an alarmingly uphill battle considering this is supposed to be an anthroposophical community. Someone in the village had pointed out that the whole covid situation helps us all to relate to folks with special needs—none of us understands what is going on around us. We’re all in the dream-state of the person with special needs to one degree or another.

But at our study group, someone countered by saying that he feels like he woke up when covid hit, like he finally sees clearly certain realities that were not clear to him before, or should have been clear but he was not wakeful to them—both in terms of the world situation (in a more so-called “conspiratorial” sense) and also in terms of unhealthy community dynamics.

By the end of the conversation, Joel characterised the feeling as “the sleepwalker wakes.” You have been in the dream state, and have been performing activities of which you weren’t conscious. When you wake, you’re (for example) up on the rooftop, about to jump into a tree. You are more fully awake than you have been, yes, but the reality that is before you is unsettling, non-sensical. You still have a very strong “dream-state” feeling of “what is going on? How did I get here?” A strong feeling of panic or trauma. And yet you are more awake than you were before, more equipped to get a handle on the situation, as strange as it is.

Perhaps this is the state of being of the Knave of Swords as well. Waking from a sleepwalking state, finally becoming aware of activities he was performing unconsciously. 

– This brings us back to this dichotomy between nominalism and realism, between “word” and “Truth”, principle and action. Jacob Collier interview: he says that life doesn’t actually make sense. Adults create or fabricate “reason” and “purpose” for children (or for themselves!) but there isn’t really any. There is pure, real, Truth, from which you can derive “meaning” or “meanings,” but there isn’t a logical reason, a utilitarian purpose to life.

For example, this fundamental question—why does the soul incarnate in the body? Here there is no reason, there is only the “logic” of the dream, which isn’t even a logic, it’s a longing. Pure reason is totally detached from true being

– The Knave is waking up from non-reason into reason, and all constellates around that waking and what it brings with it from the realm of non-reason.

This dream-motive, that dreams to this point, outside of reason, is the experience of Ace through Ten. Now we transition out of a process of repetitive, mysterious transformation, forgetting it all, in order to focus on one practical detail—“Oh! This sword here fits in this sheath over here.”

– What this transition process brings up for Joel is Monty Python’s Flying Circus. The genius of their sketch comedy is that they realised the weakest part of any sketch is always the punchline (i.e. where “reason” and “purpose” intrude and put an end to the pure comedy). So they decided to simply do away with the punchline. Their sketches don’t end properly. One sketch might take place in a pet store, where two men are having a ridiculous argument. Then all of a sudden, the camera might zoom in on a hat that suddenly becomes an animation, where the hat jumps off the wall and walks around eating people, until it gets chased by a lion into a church, and then it jumps out of animation to a real church, in which the next proper sketch takes place. So there is a continuity of forms even if there is no continuity of story or logic or purpose. And it gives this fantastic, flowing comedy to the humor, a childlike and dreamlike quality that draws you into this beautiful feeling of silliness.

And so here we have the Knave of Swords, as the illogical, but formal, result to the dream-process of the Swords. It is a similar mood!

– If you stay in the moment of the Knave, everything makes total sense…as long as you don’t think back and try to figure out how we got here.

Wouldn’t that be a nice treat for our time! For everything to suddenly leap out of the dream-movement and suddenly make sense…expunge 2020 (or the 20th century for that matter) from the record…”let us never speak of it again.”

– Like the end of the Inferno. Crawling up the legs of the Devil in the pit of Hell, and then suddenly you’re upside down and coming out of the pit, you’re released, climbing up into fresh air rather than down into the murk. “Wait…how did I get here??”

– A comparison with the Knave of Coins: he is pricking his finger, keeping himself awake, a stern focus on the Coin. Deep penetration of awareness.

Traveling through the Numbered Coins, in hindsight, just seems to have been a journey through the consciousness of the Knave, his reflections on the Coin. You’ve just accompanied and witnessed this contemplation.

Contrast this with the Knave of Swords: even the way he holds the Sword is very awkward. “Why am I in this position? How did I get here?”

– The awkward grip on the sheath…really it looks like he detached a piece off of himself, and it turned into a sheath that he pulled a sword out of. 

“Hm. A piece of me fell off and there was a sword hidden inside of it.”

This is not the gesture of someone ready to use a sword!

– And there are issues like this with his garb altogether, it’s disproportionate and disjointed. And look at the area of his larynx. It looks as though he was beheaded, but then also “be-shouldered.” It looks like under his proper head, he has another head, like a red bird’s head, or someone wearing a mask. 

Tarot Card – Valet d’Epee (Page of Swords).

– The way his right leg is out of alignment with the sheath—like the sheath was his hip only projected down, like a telescoping straw. 

– One is also reminded of the lance wound, the piercing of the heart of Christ.

Like a ray of projection from the heart. 

– The yellow above the right hand is continuous with the portion of hip that has been removed: the whole right side has a chunk missing.

– Which hip was displaced on Jacob? The consequence of wrestling with the Angel and demanding the blessing.

– He’s still coming together from the realm of dissolution, he’s disjointed, still coming into focus and cohesion. The origin of the sheath could be: wherever he came from, he brought the Sword with him. He stole it, or rescued it, but had to sacrifice a portion of his being in order for it to become a sheath for the acquired sword.

This sure sounds reminiscent of the texture of our QandA conversations this month, around Fred Gettings meeting Robert Powell and bringing about this awakening, etc. The cost of karmic clairvoyance. The Yin-Yang as master and student, where the master is all white with one black spot—that which had to be sacrificed (the black spot) in order to make a vessel for illumination (white).

The inevitable interweaving of one’s shadow/blind spot with one’s highest gift.

– Now this is bizarre. Turn the image sideways—there is a fish!

(Already the conversation had a growing feeling of levity, humour, dreamy silliness. It becomes palpable at this point. A very different mood from any prior conversation.)

This explains another disjointed aspect to his garb—the strange shape of his hat. It isn’t quite round, it’s a bit pointed. Now it makes total sense as the nose of the fish.

Vesica Piscis!

It’s like he’s some kind of bizarre fish-man, a fish disguised as a man.

This is ridiculous!

A “fish out of water”, he’s totally out of place.

A feeling of delirium after traversing the numbered Swords, like how one might feel after fasting or wandering through the desert. 

The left shoulder is like a dorsal fin, this blue-coloured area.

The Vesica Piscis shape has been fully internalised, fully realised, come to life, after nine repetitions from Two through Nine.

The left side of his body even bears the stripes of the scimitars, and the hair has this aposemetism as well. 

– It’s the very disjointedness of the image that draws you into this much more fanciful realm.

– The Knave of Coins is all about focus. Even the partial exposure of his torso isn’t really disjointed, because it is the same color as the ground. He is so focused that he is at one with his environment. The flesh ground with a coin in it is mirrored in him, or mirrors him. They are one, an integrated binary of observer and observed.

Whereas here it’s all this fanciful, fluid, disjointed dream realm. 

– There’s just no symmetry here, it doesn’t make any sense. For example, the portion of ground that is white with green grass growing out of it vs the yellow ground with yellow grass growing out of it. Again this impression of “98% there” but a small portion that differs.

Although the more we look at this card…the portion of it that is “there”, that is fully incarnated/present/ordered seems less and less—more like 70%…

– White ground is very uncommon. There is white grass in the Fool. 

The Tower has two white puddles on the ground.

The Emperor has two white feet.

White as nothingness? As the void of spirit?

There is also white on the handguard of his hilt, the cross-piece. That is a first.

Tarot Card – Valet d’Epee (Page of Swords).

Now that we really carefully look through, this is the first appearance of white ground so far…47 Arcana in…

– It’s interesting…in the Emperor, it’s almost like he’s less present in his feet—like it prevents him from making full contact with the ground, only contact “in principle” so to speak. Like he’s not disturbing the ground beneath him…the ground of Tradition. He leaves no trace, nothing of his own person on the Earth…no footprint…an absolute purity in his productive giving to the Earth.

– But here, we have green, authentic, real grass on this spiritualised Earth…or snow…or a white rock. Right next to a golden plant in golden earth. 

This green grass on white is on the same side as the hilt and the hand which are off frame. Like that’s also a remnant or is somehow growing under the influence of the sword above it. Like the sword casts a magical shadow that bestows life (grass) and purity (white).

– How often does a sleepwalker actually come to harm? While what is happening to a sleepwalker is irrational, it isn’t actually damaging. He finds himself coming into a form, a situation, that expresses all that he went through in this other sphere. And the shadow cast by the sword performs this same action on the ground below—it imbues it with the “end result” of the dream-motive process in the same way that the final position of the sleepwalker (the Knave) expresses the end result of the dream-motive process of the numbered Swords.

– Reminiscent of standing in the shadow of the Cross, the healing of the Cross.

– Or it’s a bit like he’s using the sword to reflect light down to his feet. He’s irradiating a particular patch to show its true colours. He’s focused on performing this action—his gaze is not to this illuminated patch. This implies an observer, another party—that he’s illuminating it for someone else to see, not for his own investigation or edification.

– In that sense, he’s very reminiscent of the Magician. Sleight of hand, redirection of focus. Creating a magical state of consciousness in another person is sleight of hand. But here, it’s more like he is in that sleight of hand state from within, like there is a force from within him that his bringing about a “sleight of hand” consciousness in his own soul—not him, as a Magician, bringing it about in someone else’s, in an observer’s consciousness. He is detachedly entering into that magical consciousness in order to enact the reflecting of the light.

“Detached”! Ha! Quite literally detached. He has removed a portion of himself.

He’s not focused on the deed of shining the light, anymore than he is focused on the result of this deed, the illuminated ground. He has removed himself completely from the whole operation.

He’s stepped back, and allowed the magical consciousness—the dream-motive—to move the sword to reflect the light for the sake of another—he has become pure instrument, at the behest of another will and for the sake of another observer. It calls to mind the selflessness of the sense organs. The eye does not seek the light for itself, but is an empty, disinterested receptacle for it to be passed on to the human soul.

– The other “white ground” that comes to mind is the sea of glass from the Apocalypse. To become the sea of glass is to become empty, pure, clear in order to be a prism. A detached object, that brings about the “detaching” or splintering of white light into a spectrum of color. 

– Aposematism: Goethe says that color is the deeds of light and darkness, what happens when they interact and play. 

It makes me think of those spinning black and white circles that they have at children’s museums. They looks like little records. They have differently arranged black and white circles on the, but you push a button and they spin around really fast, which creates a color impression. It’s reminiscent of the black and white striped circles of the Swords: imagining them spinning around really fast and yielding color (see here:

– Just thinking of deriving color from black and white. This is a magical process, no? A magical process driven by a “dream-motive,” with no logical reason or purpose behind it. You would never, ever be able to divine color, to intuit color, from black and white. Yet this is a fundamental reality in our experience of the world, one we never think deeply about or question. The basics of reality are actually nonsensical, they spring from the “dream-motive”, with no practical reason per se whatsoever. And yet they are full to the brim of order, and of Truth. Isn’t this the definition of Fairy Tale, through and through? A story without reason, but full of order and truth. 

There is no higher hope for our time, that we are in a story without reason, but by its end recognised to be full or order and truth.

– It’s becoming clear that there is something wrong and totally out of place with his cape. The shape is weird. It being the same color as the ground is weird. And the flesh-coloured shoulders don’t match the other part of the cape, the back of it is blue down below. It almost looks like a floating rock or something, hovering behind him. There’s not the same sensible relation that is usually there between the figure, their clothes, and their environment. The cape just doesn’t look quite right as it nears the ground.

The lower portion is blue and yellow. Are there two different capes? Look at the shaded vs unshaded yellow. Does the shaded yellow go with the blue, while the unshaded goes with the flesh-coloured?

– That and his very splayed feet—this is actually very similar to the other Knave. But again, they nearly go out of the frame. This shines a light on the fact that the Knave of Coins has no frame to move out of on the bottom. Like Death, and all the numbered Arcana. They are beings of pure number, vs the Fool who is a being of pure quality, lack of any quantity.

In terms of the Majors, it is only the Magician and the Lover that have these splayed feet.

Possibly what makes his splayed feet so remarkable here vs these others is that it occurs in conjunction with this exaggerated leaning posture of Temperance. It isn’t this kind of solid and symmetrical stance of the Magician, Lover, and Knave of Coins.

– It’s fascinating to reflect again on this idea of turning the corner, of this image being the mirror reflection of the Four of Coins. The Four of Coins was the entry into the Twilight Zone, and now with the Knave of Swords we’re 98% of the way out. And it’s a bit like, we made it out but we brought some of the Twilight Zone back with us! We got “exposed” or “infected” by the dream-motive, the dream realm. Reduced to a state of hunger and desperation to a certain degree, stripped bare to the essence: “Please God, make it all work!” Rather than feeling any reliance or confidence in our own efforts or forces alone.

– Maybe that has been the whole point of traversing the wild dream desert of the Swords. To become an empty vessel, a Cup. Realising that in terms of the greater world situation, we have to trust absolutely in the spiritual world. All we’re really able to do on our own is follow unusual voices on Twitter 🙂

And now, as we turn to close with the third portion of the Foundation Stone Meditation, we hear these words about the World Thoughts in a totally new light—that they are more like fairy tales than anything else, nonsense imbued with impeccable order and absolute truth…

We closed with the third portion of the Foundation Stone Meditation.