Knight of Cups (III)

Notes of a Hermetic Conversation between Phillip and Joel on May 9, 2022. Another beautiful day.

We get a sense of the Knave dying, falling apart, and somehow being healed as the Knight—regenerated.

This is similar to the progression in the Knight through the King of Swords—the Knight begins to overextend, multiply in all directions, and must be slain at the foot of the Queen, so that she can regenerate him as the King of Swords.

This heavy head of the Knave of Cups, the over-ripe fruit. Dour, downcast. The fruit finally falls of the tree. Unlike the Knight of Swords—he isn’t an over-ripe fruit finally falling off the tree, he disintegrates through multiplication, too much life, rather than decay setting in.

The Knave of Cups is falling apart, yet simultaneously already renewing through the Cup she holds. We are moments before the healing draught. The Cup is also renewed in the Knight—a mutual renewal.

The strange paunch on the Knight is akin to the widening of the Knave’s tunic—a similar shaded area on the one side. Perhaps a part that is still coming into vitality.

This paunch is reminiscent of a potted plant—notice how the stripes of the garment spring out like long leaves. Or a well, a fountain—streams flowing in and out. The Knight has become a Cup himself.

This white arrow that is goading the Knight on—it is directed at this paunch. Like bursting the ripe berry, juices spurting out. Reminiscent of the Ace of Cups again.

The hat of the Knave and the curtain/arrow of the Knight are in the same location.

Looking again at these different levels upon which the Royals operate in the various Suits:

The Knave of Coins stands alone. The Coin within the Coins. A stage of preparation.

Then we have this resonance between the Knight of Coins and the Knave of Swords. The birth, the unveiling, the light transforming from above to below. The Sword within the Coin and the Coin within the Sword.

Then there is this third stage, which moves from the seed-like beginning of the Queen of Coins—who is Divine Sophia, creating metamorphic forms out of the One Form—to the flowering of the Knight of Swords, actively evolving in all directions, to the dying away of the Knave of Cups.

A first level that is a kind of mysticism, a second level that is a kind of (practical) gnosis, and then a third stage that is sacred magic.

With the fourth level, we came first to the King of Coins. In our original conversations around him, we saw him as Flegetanis, this master magus who invites the young Kyot into his tent in order to show him the Way. Then the Queen of Swords operated on the same level—she too we saw as like a spiritual tent or canopy hovering over the decapitated body of the Knight of Swords, transforming him from the threefold double to the threefold John. Now we come to the same level of activity again, with the Knight of Cups—in whom we also see this allusion to the tent, the tent opening on the side of the image.

The King is like the gatekeeper of an experience. “I will let you in; here is the pass, the token.” Whereas the Queen is the experience within the tent. The Knight is the result, the leaving of the tent.

Inevitably our gaze is drawn to the Knave of Batons…he is completely original. This arcanum looks like high art in comparison to what has come before. Like it’s from a different century. The fineness of the features, the modernity of the cap, the regularity of shading. Only the arms are weird—criss-crossed, indicating the Numbered Batons:

And he does have a Fool-like quality—hard to tell what is in front, what is behind? He looks twisted around.

Anyway…let’s resist entering into the Knave of Batons, we have a long way to go before then…

What is shown to us here is that the Knight of Cups is on the same level as the Queen of Swords and the King of Coins, which is precisely what we intuited the first time we saw him—here is a Knight that is already on a very advanced level, well beyond the stage the prior Knights were.

And now we are about to go somewhere new…we get to levels at which we leave the Coins behind entirely. A level we have previously only witnessed with the King of Swords.

So maybe we could just remove the Coins, create a new triangle? (Attempting to ignore the Knave of Batons…):

There is a similar concern, a similar face overall, between the Knight of Cups and the Queen of Swords—and they both have a pregnant belly! The King of Coins also has this heft, this focus on the gut/loins:

The right side of the images stands out:

the diamonds on the side of the King’s chair;

The “flesh”-stripe on the Queen’s robes;

The saddle/triangle on the Knight’s horse;

And the huge baton, and accentuated white triangle in the Knave.

The Knave of Batons is almost like the Emperor turned upside down, the complement or inverse; the crossed legs vs crossed arms, the holding of the sceptre up vs the baton on the ground, etc:

The Knave of Coins is the Yod (1), the Knight of Coins and Knave of Swords is the first He (2). The Queen of Coins, Knight of Swords, Knave of Cups is the Vau (3). Then this group of four—King of Coins, Queen of Swords, Knight of Cups, Knave of Batons—this is the second He, which contains all that came before and steps into something new: King of Coins as Preparation—Queen of Swords as Regeneration—Knight of Cups as Result (but still “cooling” so to speak)—then the result in its settled or final state as Knave of Batons.

The progression is like the path of Cosmic Evolution. Saturn evolution stands alone. Then in the Sun evolution, it has to recapitulate—the physical develops over again, this time with the intention to accommodate an etheric body. Then on the Moon, Saturn and Sun recapitulate, this time to develop physical and etheric bodies that can accommodate an astral body. Two steps forward, one step back.

The Knight of Cups is simultaneously a little downcast, yet a little joyful. Suffering, yet almost healed, actively being healed. Like getting a massage, a blessed correction.

The Magician shows the Coin, like the King of Coins; it disappears in the High Priestess, just as the being disappears into the Queen of Swords to be healed; in the Empress, the coin has become a sceptre, akin to the appearance of the Cup in the Knight of Cups; and then the Emperor also has this sceptre, but it is more finished somehow. In the Empress, it is still united with her own being, it isn’t this objective presentation. Similarly, in the Knave of Batons, the Cup has resolved itself into the Baton.

We are getting an impression of the finality of the Batons through the Knave, but not a concrete or comprehensive sense of them—we haven’t passed through them yet. We’ll have to return to the “Coin” level once again—two steps forward, one step back.

In terms of our progression through the Court Cups, we next cup to the Queen of Cups. This takes us to this fifth level, which we only experienced once before with the King of Swords:

Notice the white baton that the King is pulling out of his throne, vs the thin white sword held by the Queen’s left hand. And the white triangle of the knight is now under her left arm:

They got the good artist to do these later cards! She is much more elaborate than those we have seen before, more akin to the Knave of Batons.

What is this thing (tongue?) growing over her? It’s akin to the Queen’s crown in the Coins—same swoop.

She is holding a sword with no hilt…it is cutting her. All along, we have been noticing the similarity between the hilt of the Swords and the Cups…now the hilt has finally transformed completely into Cup—all she’s left with is the blade. This is the cost of attaining the Cup—now we must hold the Sword with no hilt.

It’s like something is cutting through, this white triangular section…such that the flesh-coloured curtain above is then woven into her arm, into her garment.

And then her knees? So strange. What is going on here?

It’s reminiscent of the Pope, this watery, indistinct realm.

All that is above the sword and the cup is presentable—the rest is so chaotic and strange.

The crown she wears is similar to the one in the Ace of Swords—and also the Queen of Swords. But now there is some kind of strange hat inserted between her head and the crown:

This drop of blood coming out of her hand at the base of the sword blade—it is very reminiscent of the drop of blood at the base of the Empress’s sceptre that Tomberg speaks of at the end of the 3rd Letter-Meditation.

The lid is now on the cup. Perhaps, it has become so full that there is something extra coming out. The cups has done its regenerative work (in the Knight of Cups), and now it overflows—the lid is put on it to contain it.

She has withered fingers.

It appears as though the blade has cut through flesh. Like muscle striation in the red portion below it. The teardrop shape of a slice, tearing open.

Fertility abounds in all three Queens:

In the Queen of Coins, she embraces a pyramid, or the pinnacle of a mountain. In the Queen of Swords, she has this pregnant belly—or the head of the deceased Knight. In the Queen of Cups, she performs some strange surgery on herself.

She reminds Phillip of Anne Catherine Emmerich’s description of Mary giving birth in the cave, all alone, totally at one with the needs of the situation. Pain and ecstasy uniting.

The progression of the Queens—preparation (Coins); pregnancy (Swords); opening and birth (Cups).

In all three of the Court Cups, the Cup was a part of their being, or could have been. Either in the belly or the torso.

The Knight of Cups is so harmonious, it stands for itself. It only finds meaning when put in relation to the other Arcana. He (She) is the pinnacle of the Cup as Cup. Then it’s capped in the Queen.

Her cup is like two wheels put together. A gyroscope. A vertical wheel—as in the Wheel of Fortune—is an indication of eternal recurrence. Falling from a great height, rising, only to fall again. Whereas a horizontal wheel indicates stability. Gravitational pull. Magic. Biodynamics.

The vertical wheel is moving in space, grasping, searching. Recurrence. Restless. The horizontal wheel is stillness, balance. A channel for that which rejuvenates being to be present.

Spinning the wheel in the right orientation makes all the difference. Paradoxically, the vertical wheel is stuck in the horizontal, whereas the horizontal wheel enables vertical causality. Outwardly oriented horizontally, but effectively oriented vertically.

Phillip reflects on evolutionary theories from intelligent design. How there was an original Genome in the beginning—an ur-genome that was totally and utterly whole. All so-called “evolution” is nothing other than a breakdown in this original genome, and a struggle to maintain existence despite the breakdown (i.e. mutation). All evolution is actually devolution, breakdown of wholeness, and then attempting to make a new wholeness out of the breakdown.

These ideas are very close to the esoteric picture of Adam Kadmon, who contained all of the cosmos in its wholeness and purity within himself. Then as this being took on physical manifestation, the wholeness broke down, releasing or unveiling the evolutionary progression of creatures, until finally all that was left was for Man himself to physical manifest.

This is the total opposite picture of mainstream, Darwinian evolution—in which life begins as the simplest entity possible and goes through an ever-increasing complexification and progressive improvement. In our picture, the fullness is there at the beginning, and becomes the benchmark, the standard from which all has fallen away.

The Cup borne by the Queen is this fullness. The maximum. The Container of Life.

The path of degeneration is the search for the essence. The most essential, which made the wholeness of Adam Kadmon possible. The center of gravity. The seed of complexity that will grow the wholeness anew after the total breakdown.

And this essence is Christ. He leads to the new fullness, the beginning of Jupiter evolution, or what have you.

Considering the Coin as the seed, and the seed as the midpoint rather than the beginning of a process. The Cup is the new beginning, grown out of the mid-point seed. The Cup is the flower?

The gyroscope image—looking to the red orb at the center of the Cup. We can imagine all it presented itself as originally was this red orb; but then, when activated properly, when the right mantra is spoken, it springs to life–begins to float, spin, glow—blossoms into the Cup borne by the Queen.

Obi-Wan Kenobi activates R2D2, gets the message to start.

Perhaps the Knight—either on purpose, or inadvertently—knew the right thing to do or say to activate the Cup…or perhaps the Knave did, and the Knight enjoys the fruits of her efforts.

So is this the Coin-seed in the middle of the Cup? The red orb? Did it then blossom the top and bottom of the Cup out of itself?

Or instead, was the Coin split into two—not two semi-circles, but two even thinner coins, one above the other. And out of each one a kind of vortex blossomed, out of the flower/chakra image on the coin—one descending from above, the other ascending from below—the the red orb was created out of the meeting of these two vortices?

The second process makes more sense after the Swords, based on Tomberg’s point of view, of the Swords cutting the Coins in two. The Sword splits the Coin, which then has to reintegrate itself, find a new meeting place and center of gravity.