Notes of a Hermetic Conversation between Phillip and Joel on March 20, 2023.
The weird, subtle asymmetries are challenging. Are they real? Or are my eyes just tricking me? At first it is so symmetrical…then you look closer, and get lost in these tiny differences. Are they real? Am I crazy? Does it matter?
Looking at all four “Lover” Arcana:
The asymmetries could be natural, hand-drawn, organic. But on the other hand, a pretty obvious disregard. Didn’t they have a straight edge and ruler? They could have made it more exact without much trouble.
Entranced by the complexity of number here. We are able to say—we are at the 73rd Arcanum! So it is “7+3 = 10” which is a One. It connects it in another way to the Ace of Batons.
Other numbers appear in here: there are seven “bars” in each diagonal. So it could be 7×2 + 1 = 15. Or it could be 7×4 + 2 = 30. Such a complex overlay of numerical formulations.
It’s reminiscent of bagpipes, or a church organ. Musical number-complexity. The imperfections of a musical scale. Tempered vs non-tempered. Tempered music tries to “correct” the imperfections. Whereas before that music was non-tempered. There was a “Pythagorean comma.” When you calculate the circle of fifths using a true Pythagorean ratio, sharps and flats are actually different.
The shift from Bach, and classical music based on the well-tempered harpsichord, to Beethoven, where it was based on the equally-tempered piano.
That middle part is a whole other story, the blue section. What manifold numbers are expressed?? Where to even start?
The background hum of the combined notes. A drone. The overtones that make up a single tone—overtones extend endlessly, each note is made up of infinite overtones.
Such a simple form. Just an X. Straight lines. A weave. Simple to digest. Then trying to digest the numbers embedded/expressed in the simple form…not simple at all.
Similar to this apparent symmetry disguising many subtle asymmetries. Simple—and then not so simple.
Bagpipes are based on just intonation, the overtone series. They have a constant drone in the background.
The theme of breathing, of respiration, that we keep returning to in the Batons. A bagpiper must have powerful breath. There is a breath tube for filling the bag, and then a playing tube, and then multiple drone tubes coming out of the bag.
Is the Nine a bagpipe? A blue bag of air? With these different types of pipes?
We’re back to that “blue bag”, the bag of waters, from the Suit of Swords:
The Knave is this fish-man, who is born of the waters…in the Swords, it is the “waters above and waters below”, notice the increasing blue is split above and below in the Numbered Swords. But in the Batons, the waters are a unity.
Reminiscent of the descriptions of the New Jerusalem—a new Heaven and a new Earth…but no sea. Instead a river of life.
In Genesis, the waters are above and below the firmament. In Lazarus, Come Forth! Tomberg describes the second day of creation as related to the first. That the light created on the first day then dwells between two “waters”—the waters above the light, and the waters below the light. He brings this into relation with concept and percept—that the light is the realm of thinking, which comes into relationship with earthly perceptions below, and spiritual perceptions above.
Here it is a bit the opposite—the water is in the midst, with light above and light below.
Somehow that feels like Mary.
The spiritual/physical percept in the center, universally understood/appreciated. The cosmic light above, the adoration of Heave. The unfallen (Virginal) Nature below, adoring her.
Going back to the “Lover Arcana”:
The stripes in the floor of the King of Cups…similar to the ground of the Lover. 10 vs 11 stripes?
There are precursors to the Batons’ diagonals around the King’s feet.
The cloak of the Lover—the stripes. Joseph’s coat. A rainbow. This coat seems related to the Sun’s rays.
There is an arrow (of negative space) pointing between his legs.
Feels like we’ve never looked properly at the Lover before!
The finger points to the space between red and blue.
Are there eyes or buttons on the Lover’s shirt? One of them is blue on the yellow? (It may be bleed, not universal to all Lover cards).
There is an emphasis on the shoulder and groin in both the Lover and the King of Cups. The blue groin in the King seems related to the blue center of the Batons. Like a blue womb.
Wow, that weird arm in the King of Cups, we forgot about that!
The King is yellow and red surrounding blue.
The white in the Lover is directed towards the “pure” Virgin, clothed in blue. The stripes of the Lover and the Sun’s rays will adorn her in the Batons.
The two button/eyes—reminiscent of the elephant creature in the Nine. The King of Cups has elephant ears, and a tusk-like beard. Is there a trunk wrapped around his arm? The top of the cup looks like the end of an elephant’s trunk. Same with the top of the Ace baton—elephant trunks always have that finger.
There is an Adam’s apple and a belly button on the cherub in the Lover. Are they linked to the buttons/eyes?
They are related to past and future procreative organs.
The Nine of Batons has the three gates in each of the four directions (the three white “teeth”), just as described in the Book of Revelation.
Laying out all nine Batons:
There is definitely a shift at Five. And then there is a kind of turning inside-out that happens from the X of the Seven to the diamond of the Eight.
It’s really hard to look at them all together. Too much going on in each one. A complexity that is exhausting.
The diamond is still not complete in the Nine. But more complete than in the Eight. Really in the Eight it is just a thick X.
Looking at the series of Ten/One arcana:
There is something about the centers with all of these…the coin, the hub, the drop of water, the complex flower, the sword, the dual sword, the cup, the blue of his cloak and the blue diamond.
Something is clarified somehow when the Ten of Swords is flipped over:
Like a first incision is made in the Ace of Swords, a cutting open. The Ten is keeping the incision open during the surgery, the forceps. Then in the Five, the displaying of the Cup. The two swords have become those two blue stems below the central cup. In the King, the cup is removed from the wound, and in the Nine, this is the place left behind where the cup once was.
The leap from King to Nine is so great, if we consider the Nine to be this creature. It’s like a plant-machine before the King, in the Five of Cups…then afterwards, this breathing, elephant, bagpiper creature. A stark geometry contested with an animal-like living being.
Five is plant in contrast to object. Not this integrated geometry-being that we have in the Nine of Batons.
There is a mirroring in the sequence. The Ace of Swords in the center. Then the Vesica Piscis of the Six of Coins mirrored in the Ten of Swords. A celebration in both The Sun and the Five of Cups. A chaos of some sort in both the Wheel of Fortune and King of Cups. And so the Nine of Batons is the goal of the Magician.
Our current day machines are the future lifeforms of Jupiter evolution. Archetypal structures of future life forms.
The circle and the line are the main actions of the Magician. They are represented in the hub of the wheel and the sword of the Sphinx in the Wheel of Fortune. Then they become integrated, in the sun surrounded by sword-rays in The Sun. In the Ace, they become the sword piercing the crown. The sword is actually a sceptre, with the ball-cross of the red flower on the top of it, not a sword tip.
Even up through the King, there is a unity of ball and sceptre, of circle and line, of curve and straight. Only when we get to the Nine, do we finally have no curves left—all has become line, Baton.
The Magician is this microcosmic magical act, the demonstration of the act of Magic. The Wheel of Fortune is the act of Magic behind all Life, more macrocosmic. The “wise animal”, holy animality, standing above, with the mindless machine/evolution below.
In The Sun, it is the human being below doing Magic in conjunction with world-Magic above. The Sun has this Ten-like quality, inasmuch as the minor Tens always seem to have this twofoldness, and the Sun has this twoness to it.
The Six is a Vesica Piscis, but also a cube, or a square with a triangle above and triangle below (as in The Moon). A jewel, kind of a diamond.
The leaves of the Six of Coins and Five of Cups are similar, and predict the hat of the King.
The Six of Coins as a cage, broken open by the Ace. A surgery. Removing the combined ball and sceptre, which has become a Cup. Then a space is left. The two were combined over the course of Magician—Wheel of Fortune—Sun, and came to full union in the Six of Coins. The Ace of Swords broke it open, surgery in the Ten of Swords and Five of Cups, removed in the King of Cups. The Nine of Batons is the space that was made by all of this.
The point, the ultimate goal, was not to unite ball and sceptre. The point was to create that which can unite them, and how this thing was changed by the unity of the two.
The thing you didn’t know you were making while busy making the thing you thought you were supposed to make.
The breaking of the Cup in the King—”You don’t need it anyway.” What we thought was the point the whole time, the union of the ball and wand, is broken, tossed away by the King. It was the effect of making them, and the vessel that is left (the Nine of Batons) that was the point.
An octave that is not just mirroring. We got somewhere new just by trying to repeat the same thing.
The Pythagorean comma. We reach the octave through the circle of fifths, but end up somewhere just beyond it, a new tone. The octave, but somewhat different.
Taking a peek at the Ten of Batons:
We finally have a double vertical. And the plant is back, like it never left. Reminiscent of the old form from the Two through Five:
There is a lot more white here overall vs other Numbered Batons.
Are there two or three vertical rods? Or is there a little sword in between?
It is alive with something. It touches the heart.
It’s like a bridge. Welcome home.
(Suddenly, our candle burns down to the previous one that it had been placed on, and we have double wicks for the very end of the conversation)
This conversation felt like a Major Arcanum, not a Minor.