Notes from a Hermetic Conversation on November 21, 2016
Tarot Study 11/21 – The Lover
Richard, Gail, Rosario, Joel and Phillip were there.
We began with the first 4 parts of the Knight’s Practice.
Picking up where we left off – reading from page 126 of MOTT about one’s neighbor and the two ways of overcoming the disconnect between oneself and other people (Me-living; you-shadow). Either detachment (Me-shadow; you-shadow), or love and empathy (me-living; you-living).
This goes with the gestures of the two figures on each side of the Lover. The dark haired figure makes the Buddha gesture (detachment); the other makes a gesture akin to our “circle of hearts,” with one hand on the heart of the Lover and the other at her own solar plexus [Edit December 2020: the “circle of hearts” gesture formed in such a way that those in the circle would take the right hand of the person to the left them and hold it over their own heart with their left hand; and they would offer their right hand to be placed over the heart of the person to their right; in this position we would say our meditation]. It is similar to a “B” gesture, but the one hand seems to be seeking for something beyond her self.
In the Noblet version of the card, the gestures are quite different – many features are different. The facial expressions, the jaw like and angular Sun, the arrow pointing to the head rather than to the shoulder/chest.
The pale figure is crowned with flowers; the dark figure is crowned with leaves in the Noblet. This again indicates the difference between love (flowers) and detachment/passivity (leaves). In the Noblet, the Lover is much closer to the “Flower” figure.
The challenge of our time is to stay in the flow of love. There are situations coming at us from al directions, bringing up very emotional reactions, both on the world scale as well as interpersonally.
The question of anger, and how to respond to anger – love as a healing force. The card shows the art of coming back to center, remaining centered, as people and situations knock us off center. Community/neighbor – re-centering each other.
One hand of the pale figure is at her solar plexus – “I am the door, the entrance and the exit” – this hand turns the closed circle of hands in the image into a spiral with an opening. (The Wheel of Fortune and The Star discuss this theme). This gesture also indicates keeping the subconscious in check, in one’s awareness. Does the solar plexus radiate out or get locked in?
The Emperor is like the Magician – displaying his implements (Shield, Throne, etc).
The Pope is like the High Priestess – the implements/powers have drawn behind the scenes – into the “sea,” the opening.
The Lover is like the Empress – an emphasis on the legs, lower human being. The legs are very strong, yet naked and vulnerable. The two acolytes from the Pope have entered the “door” and come through the other side, as the figures on each side of the Lover.
The 3 vows heal the 5 wounds – Obedience heals the Heart/Head (Emperor – emphasis on the upper portion). Poverty heals the Hands (The Pope – emphasis on the mid-section). Chastity heals the Feet (The Lover – emphasis on the legs, lower portion). A movement from Above to Below, which is recapitulated in the 6th card.
His outfit is like the Fool’s – exposing the legs all the way (in the Fool the dog reveals a portion). The Fool = Love; Love and the Lover. The Magician is reminiscent as well.
The Lover is an image of youthful innocence – caught with his pants down! He is both strong and vulnerable, like Parzival.
The imagery of the Lover expresses being held together, held upright by one’s neighbor. It is like he is being taught balance by his community, from outside – “Love of Neighbor.” This becomes, by the 7th arcanum, The Chariot, “Self-Mastery” – he has internalized the lesson of balance [Edit December 2020: These associations with different themes or qualities also came from the workshop with Robert Powell, and the Divine Alphabet portion of the “Path to Shambhala”; see below courtesy of John Hipsley].
One’s neighbor = the Sister-Soul. We lost the Sister-Soul at the Fall (the fallen Likeness); we are incomplete without her, and hence liable to error. We are not in the “Adam-Eve” relationship. Eros – The Fairy Tale by Novalis. The Angel fills in for the Sister-Soul (Temperance – maintaining verticality). If we are asleep to our Guardian Angel, blows of fate must wake us up!
Hence, the “neighbors” in the card could represent support being given or trouble and strife – either way one’s relationship to the vertical is re-established by community.
Developing our sensitivity to the periphery develops our uprightness. Animals – a very localized sensitivity = four footedness. Steiner indicates that what makes us man is that we can look up and gaze at the starry heavens. We don’t have just a horizontal periphery, but an “all-round” that includes the vertical. Horizontal love = “falling in love”, “swooning.” Vertical aspect of love brings in something different. All encompassing, unconditional love is expressed by the perception of the starry heavens.
Dying to Be Me. A near death experience. She comes to a realm of Unconditional Love, that changes her perspective utterly. Every experience became new, reborn. Like a baby or a new child. Unconditional love exists in and is expressed to us by Nature. According to Steiner, nothing expresses this better than the starry sky – pure Love streaming down.
The path through the planetary spheres after death (lecture cycle from 1912: https://www.rsarchive.org/Lectures/GA/index.php?ga=GA0140). After Kamaloka comes Mercury and Venus – we are in a cloud, still dwelling on the unresolved aspects from our previous life. When we come to the Sun sphere, the clouds part and light streams in – unconditional love – we can begin again anew. This depends entirely on our relationship to Christ.
Again the question – what and who is my neighbor??
The 2nd transgression from the Grail Knight’s Practice (the circle of neighborly love…).
What has become of love of neighbor post-election? Whatever happens, we can still radiate love, and maintain uprightness.
Dwelling on gestures as an answer to the question about love of neighbor. The gesture of Universal Love, or the Vitruvian Man. Completely outstretched – difficult to knock over.
The gesture of the Representative of Man – a Readiness to meet the other, a willingness to engage. His facial expression looks on the cusp of any emotion. His arms could be reaching for embrace or to wrestle. There are many nuances to how each of us loves, and how each person needs to be shown love – we don’t get trapped in one idea when we ponder gestures and images rather than strict concepts.
With Universal Love, we are totally exposed, completely open – no protection. Yet powerful – like the Lover.
In therapeutic eurythmy’s “Love/E”, we weave between Universal Love and “E” – a process of withdraw and protection, then radiation. Balanced like the “Aumeyn.” Working our way up to constant Universal Love!
Gestures have a way of breaking up ossification in oneself. “Inner Radiance” – cocreating a new body with Christ.
The first part of the Knight’s Practice – Me, You, Us – the mystery of Neighbor.
Communion as archetypal expression of Neighborly Love. The Church = Love of Neighbor, Community.
We ended with the first 6 letters of the Divine Alphabet, and the closing of the Knight’s Practice.