Notes of a Hermetic Conversation on December 11, 2018
Nine of Coins
We began with the protective practice. We then invoked the “Pastors and Healers of Humanity” (specifically Hermes) by reading the Emerald Tablet. A very powerful invocation.
After focusing the mantra I AM on the brow chakra, we moved the fourth part of the Inner Radiance sequence, and the 22nd Letter of the Divine Alphabet, Tau, corresponding to the World.
We then read Revelation 5:1-2, and Matthew 18:6.
Focusing on the Nine of Coins in relation to the World—keep in mind our progression has gone as such:
– There is so much intricate detail here! This makes it difficult to know where to begin
– Which side is above and which is below? We can compare, “link it up” with the Eight of Coins to discover this. In doing this, we see that the bottom four coins of Eight align better with the four coins around the red petalled flower with the blue bud (as opposed to the blue petalled flower with the red bud). At the base of this upper flower is a downward facing red flower with two large blue petals curling out. This is a metamorphosis of the flower at the very bottom of the Eight of Coins.
This also feels correct. The upper flower then has a gesture of openness and receptivity, whereas the lower flower has a gesture of condensation and presentation.
We see the upper flower has the yellow stem, with a flower growing out of each end of it. Expresses something in process of becoming. Vs the lower flower, with its rich yellow ornamentation rather than a stem, and the blue flower that is facing towards the observer rather than above or below. This expresses completion, but is also a new contrast and expression in the Minors.
What is interesting about how they are formed is that the top flower appears to be longer than the bottom flower, but it isn’t. they are the same length (the height of two coins). It’s visually confusing and misleading. The bottom flower is stout and thick and therefore seems short. The top flower is lean and thin, with the yellow stem, making it appear long.
In comparing this to The World we can see a relationship between the open, lean upper flower with the winged creatures (Angel and Eagle), and a relationship between the closed, stout lower flower with the four legged creatures (Ox and Lion).
Going back to the illusory character of the length of the two flowers, it brings us back to one of the themes of the Letter-Meditation on The World: Truth vs Mirage. But it is from a different angle. In The World, the emphasis is on the fact that Mirage can look so much like Truth, that we have to practice the three vows in order to cultivate our ability to discern Truth from Mirage. But here in the Nine of Coins, we see that sometimes the Truth can appear to be a Mirage, can appear on first glance to be something that it is not! One needs to live with the Truth for a time in order to see it properly, and not jump to conclusions based on first impression. This goes back to a conversation we had earlier in the evening concerning the visionary content received through Estelle Isaacson; sometimes we were jumping to conclusions as to what this content meant in terms of the immediate future, and then when the reality comes we are in a way closed off to it due to our illusory preconceptions we have inserted. Looking back, as time passes, the visions appear in a different light.
In a way, the top is longer than the bottom, not in terms of actual length, but in terms of number of elements. In the top flower, we have:
Large flower (Red and blue)
Decorative fringe (Blue)
Small flower (Red)
Large petals (Blue)
In the bottom flower, we have (from bottom to top):
Large flower (Blue and red)
Decorative fringe (Yellow)
Small flower (Blue)
Large petals (Red)
So we have 5 elements above, and 4 below, we do have a contrast that in some sense makes the top longer than the bottom. We could think of this in terms of our on-going contrast between the 5-letter Divine Name (YHShVH) vs the 4-Letter Divine Name (YHVH). 5+4 = 9.
– The small blue flower in the lower section is more of a badge or a medallion than a flower. It is more solidified, less of a flower. This is the first Arcanum with only a blue pearl, and the first with an all blue flower facing outwards like this.
Three = One white (below)
Four = One red (above), one white (below)
Five = One white (above)
Six = One red (central)
Seven = None (or one red at the base?)
Eight = One central blue, two red (one above and one below, as bases)
Nine = One blue below
Previous outward facing flowers:
Four = One simple small four petalled red flower below
Six = One small four petalled flower in the center, with four large blue amorphous shapes growing out of it
Eight = One rather larger eight-petalled flower in the center. The Six’s flower is like something in between the Four and the Eight.
Nine = One very integrated, intricate, but small, blue flower below.
So this is a strange pattern. Four, Six, Eight—these are the sequence of even numbered cards starting from Four. But then we go to the Nine, not the Ten; the pattern seems to break.
Notice that these flowers seem to have something to do with arrangements of four coins. The Four has a fourfold arrangement of coins, obviously, surrounding a lower flower. Then the six has a four-fold arrangement in the center around a central flower. The Eight also has a four-fold arrangement around a central flower. Then the Nine returns in some transformed sense to the Four: a four fold arrangement around a lower flower, but this time the fourfold arrangement is also below (not around the center, as in the Four).
The Nine very strongly mirrors the Four, actually, when we place them side by side. Also the Five, but very much so the Four. A remarkable resonance.
The Four has something to do with an experience of the Guardian of the Threshold, on the personal level. How we each individually experience the Threshold itself. Whereas the Nine displays something to us more along the lines of the lectures in Tomberg’s Inner Development: the full description of the Threshold, with Sophia on one side (above, the blue petals administering revelation from the spiritual world), and Michael on the other (below, with the red petals guarding experiential knowledge of the spiritual from those who are not prepared). This is a more objective picture; not what one experiences, but what the Threshold actually is. A world process, not something happening to me necessarily.
Like the Emperor (4) vs the Hermit (9).
Notice that both the Four of Coins and the Nine of Coins are connected to The Moon, but in different ways. The Four of Coins we connected with The Moon in our reflective journey back through the Majors:
Ace = World
Two = Judgement
Three = Sun
Four = Moon
Whereas the Nine is connected to The Moon by nature of being a Nine:
Hermit—The Moon—Nine of Coins
There is certainly something of the Mirage/Illusion activity happening in The Moon. Not Mirage as falsehood per se, but the contrast between something appearing in its archetypal form (its eternal form, completion, fullness) vs its manifest form (its temporal, partially expressed or idiosyncratically expressed form).
Fullness vs idiosyncrasy. One aspect emerging and clouding the rest of the expression of the being.
Like Judas wanting Christ to become an actual King of the Jews.
Or the wish for a school to form around a self-proclaimed “Bearer of the Maitreya.”
Or the wish for the coming of Antichrist (incarnation of Ahriman) to be something obvious. The macabre wish for world events to actually take a downward spiral in order for one’s predictions to be proven right or worth the risk.
Life will not appear the way that one wants or expects it to.
But the Theodora figure doesn’t necessarily see it that way. She’s not in the position to see the contrast between the so-called “archetypal” and “real.” What she sees is real and valid in the eternal domain, but she’s not able to give expression to the fact that when what she sees comes to manifest, it will look completely different. She can’t prepare people to see it how it will actually present itself, only how it forms itself in the realm of the eternal.
Think of Christ—who actually recognized Christ? Even those who did, might we say that all of them had incorrect or incomplete assumptions about what he was or would become?
– Going back to the Hermetic Axiom and the Emerald Table. The “miracles of the One Thing.” This One Thing is only described as sol. The Theodora, the Seer, can see the One Thing that appears in unlimited adaptations in the manifest world. We envision her descriptions in the form of pre-conceived “adaptations,” things known and familiar to us. When the new adaptation of sol presents itself, the intellect rejects it. The intellect is in the state of Autumn, of harvest, it can only perceive the discontinuous. It cannot perceive that which is authentically new and alive.
We might see The Moon as a warning in regards to the circles that can form around a Theodora figure. The howling, the frozen quality of the figures—they are unable to actively engage and step out of the paralysis in the face of the revelation being delivered.
The Moon is related to the materiality of the brain. The fixation on the concretization of visionary content, unadapted, whole-cloth, as originally described.
The same tendency was there just after the time of Christ. Prophetic statements such as Christ returning “before this generation passes away” were concretized into familiar adaptations, familiar ideas (i.e. Christ would come again and destroy the Roman Empire shortly after his Resurrection). The same thing was done with the Book of Revelation, where 666 = Nero, a black and white “this equals this” when it comes to living archetypes.
– This reminds one of what Joel has written recently on TreeHouse, that the School of Christ has nothing to do with any special knowledge or mystical experience; it has to do more than anything with moral deeds. The experiencing and receiving of revelations (Sophia School), or the research of spiritual knowledge (Michael School) vs the Firing of the Will of the Christ School.
Keep in mind, the Will does not mean planning or intellectual speculation. The receiving of revelatory content in order to “figure out what one is meant to do next,” does not equate to the firing of the will just because one is concerned with what one is “to do.” The firing of the Will does not mean figuring out what to do, it means doing. This is a fundamentally sympathetic, sleeping gesture—faith—the zodiacalized will, where one does first, and then knows later.
– Both the Four and the Nine are very powerful.
The World (Nine) vs The Moon (Four). This seems to apply to this week’s meditation from the Lord’s Prayer Course (Week 37). What is the mineral world lacking? It is warmth, the primal warmth of Saturn. The contrast of warmth ether vs solid matter. The Moon depicts that moment of crystallization/materialization as a snapshot, the crisis moment. Whereas The World shows us absolute mobility in the realm of Life, it is mirrored by a complete rigidity in the material realm in The Moon. All mobility has been squeezed out. The moment of stillness before the in-breath.
Exercises from Knowledge of Higher Worlds. One is meant to contemplate the crystal vs the animal—not the crystal vs plant, but vs animal. One begins to notice that the crystal is flowing movement that has been frozen into a fixed form. On the other hand, animals are fixed forms, archetypal forms that have been brought into movement. This is like The Moon vs The World.
We could see the Nine as having more to do with the mobility, and the Four as the crisis point, when the mobility is getting squeezed out.
This brings us back to the question of why the Four as a form in its own right has been skipped? The Five is already present in the form of the Four of Coins, with the enormous emphasis on the central figure. The future, the Five, has been drawn into the Four and immobilizes it. All the focus is put on it. A picture from a realm that only properly exists in the future, that only exists in its fullness in the future, is having difficulty finding a natural place in the “present” of the Four. It appears in a devolved, less than ideal form because of this.
The middle flower then becomes a catalyzing agent, as in a science experiment. A sudden crystallization or explosion takes place.
It isn’t until the Nine of Coins that the central place allows a proper interweaving of the Above and Below. The center is finally being held properly. This is particularly meaningful in terms of the question of how a receiving group can properly hold a Theodora figure and her visionary content. We don’t actually know how to do this yet (like Four of Coins). There are certain figures who are purely there to support the visionary (e.g. Estelle’s friend Rachel). They are not volleying for position or special knowledge. These are the figures who are really necessary. We need to be doing something analogous with the visionary content itself. Simply support it, and not transform it into mirage.
Notice that the center of the Five of Coins is another attempt at this holding of the center, but it is too tense and tenuous. There needs to be a lot of concentration and coordination in order for the central coin to stay put in the Five. In the Nine, it is contained so comfortably and naturally. Comfortably yet beautifully. Balanced.
With the Five there is more uncertainty—“Where is this coming from?”—also the busy-ness of the colors.
The Five and the Nine are also quite similar.
Notice that once the center is held in the Nine, then two sets of Four coins can develop—one above and one below. Fourfoldness expresses the solidity of reality. This is two discreet realms forming, and adequate perception of each realm developing. This is reminiscent of Tomberg’s discussion in Christ and Sophia of the two eyes developing, one which sees the ideal above and the other which sees the real below. Not confusing the two, or squishing them into the same reality when they belong in separate spheres (Steiner warns time and again that one must develop a new self for the spiritual world, and that one must not bring this new self down into the physical, nor bring the physical self into the spiritual). This is how things are still in both the Four and the Five. It is one fourfoldness attempting to hold the center that is the Threshold to the spiritual world. What is coming from this threshold gets muddled, misinterpreted.
How does this center develop over the course of the Minors?
In the Ace, it is like the image is all center, the center dominates.
In the Three and the Seven, there is something being held properly (as the center is in the Nine), but it is not holding the place of the center. It is being elevated, held above everything else. We don’t know how to hold the visionary without undue elevation.
In the Four and the Five, there is an attempt to create a center, but it is forced and unnatural. It isn’t working. It isn’t comfortable like in the Three, Seven, and Nine.
In the Two and the Six, there are two coins being held, not one. Two centers of being. Integration hasn’t been able to happen yet.
And in the Eight—what is happening here? This is the explosion that finally carves out that proper place for the center to develop comfortably. The flower holds the center that will be filled by the coin in Nine. In doing so, it blossoms out and creates many centers, as well as many fourfoldnesses.
– Is it the plant that is the “One Thing” of which Hermes speaks? Or is it the coin? Neither. It is that which weaves between them, that which one cannot see, cannot observe directly.
– Working over the index for Meditations on the Tarot makes certain aspects of the text come to light that didn’t before. For example, the word Agent, which is used many times by Tomberg. E.g. the agent of growth, the magical agent, the agent of transformation. The agent is the invisible actor, the invisible instigator, the invisible link (like “secret agent”). This is what the “One Thing” is: the Agent.
– Similar to the Ace, we cannot agree in terms of what aspects of the Nine are in the background vs foreground (i.e. central coin vs outer coins, coins vs plants, etc). It depends on how one looks at the image. Unlike, for example, the Four and Five of Coins, where it was clear that Four was a convex form and Five concave, two sides of one Threshold.
– This arcanum is much less geometric in a way compared to the previous Arcana. The plant is much more visually symbolic with the forms and colors, not so geometrically determined, and not with the emphasis being on the geometry. For the past few arcana this has been building up (more emphasis on forms and less on geometry/structure/symmetry) but this brings it to a certain level of expression, an accumulation of what had been building up and taking it into a more complex level of organization.
It breaks with the symmetry even though it appears to be totally symmetrical. It isn’t off-putting. Not like the Eight which really is almost symmetrical and you don’t notice the asymmetry at first. This actually is quite asymmetrical, and you still don’t really notice at first. Has symmetry been broken like this before?
Ace = Symmetrical in all ways
Two = More or less symmetrical, other than the writing.
Three = Symmetrical from side to side, but not from above to below. But at the same time, it doesn’t seem to be. It’s obvious.
Four = Close to symmetrical from above to below. Minor asymmetries.
Five = Ditto to four. The colors around the central coin feign asymmetry, but really it’s just a more complicated mirroring.
Six = Almost 100% symmetrical (some spiral forms in the blue make it not)
Seven = Clearly asymmetrical from above to below, like the Three. Also asymmetrical from side to side. But it seems a bit patchwork, playful, haphazard. One might even say silly and simplistic. Again, it doesn’t find an asymmetry that is both quite asymmetrical as well as not obvious.
Eight = Almost 100% symmetrical (like the Six) with minor differences.
With the Nine, we have something intricate, artistic, and yet it preserves that sense of reflection and balance that has developed throughout all the arcana thus far. It’s a reflection, but not a symmetrical reflection.
Put in terms of Spiritual Economy or Exchange, we are no longer dealing with “an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.” Christ replaces the old reciprocal law of Moses for something higher and more nuanced.
A healthy exchange (i.e. relationship) between two things doesn’t mean they become identical. This is counterintuitive for humanity even still.
“That which is Above must be as unto that which is Below, and that which is Below must be as unto that which is Above”: this does not mean Below and Above are identical, a facsimile. It means they are united in essence, yet totally different in terms of substance (or manifestation, or adaptation, or presentation). This brings us right back to the core of Spiritual Exchange. Difference is absolutely essential to the operation, not similarity/being identical.
Accomplishing the miracles of the One Thing—this is only possible if the One Thing comes into contact with beings that are different from it, and new “marvelous adaptations” of the One Thing result. It comes into contact with things different from itself, yet that it itself gave rise to! Yet it is only difference, coming into contact with difference, that yields adaptation.
What is coming from the Nine feels new, voluminous, as things felt when we discussed Ace through Four. Like we entered into more obscure territory with Five-Eight, and now we are re-emerging. Interesting that this seems to dovetail with Phillip’s destiny over the past months.
We ended with the fourth stanza of the Foundation Stone Meditation.