Notes of a Hermetic Conversation on December 18, 2018
December 18, 2018 Nine of Coins
We began with the protective practice.
We then invoked the presence of the “pastors and healers of humanity,” specifically Hermes, through reading the Emerald Tablet.
After briefly focusing the mantra “I AM” on the brow chakra, we then moved the fourth part of the Inner Radiance sequence. Www also moved the 22nd letter of the Divine Alphabet, Tau (The World).
We then read from Revelation 5:3-5 and Matthew 18:12-13 (the one lost sheep out of 99)
Observations of the Nine of Coins as a Three (30th Arcanum): Empress—Hanged Man—The World; and as a Four (31st Arcanum): Emperor—Death—The World
– This is the closest we’ve come to the form of the coins as a lemniscate. It’s more like a lemniscate that is open at the top and the bottom, whereas the plants have taken on a more structural form:
An exchange of qualities: the flowing plants have become more structural, and the coins are making the flowing form of a lemniscate.
In fact, this middle part formed by the plants looks a bit like the dancer in the World turned on her side. The flowers on each side of this middle form might represent the Philter and the Baton that the dancer holds in her hands. The petals are similar to her scarf. The plant as a transformation of the tricolor garland around the dancer.
Tricolor: notice that this is the first time since the Ace that the plant is composed of only Red, Yellow, and Blue (like the garland in the World). But in addition to that, it is more balanced in terms of its color. The Ace’s plants are predominantly blue. And this is a rather complex (not strictly symmetrical) balancing of color.
The Two had Red, Yellow, Blue, and White. The Three had Red, Green, Blue and White. And ever since the Four, the plants have been Red, Blue and White. Now we have the return to Red, Blue, Yellow.
Looking at the flow of our spread thus far:
In our conversations, we have felt the retrograde motion. The conversations had built up to a certain point as we approached the Five, and then passed through a less clear/intuitive phase moving from Five to Nine. Now we feel we have returned to the source, a rejuvenation.
– Looking at the central coin in relation to the Dancer in the The World. Recalling her role as the rhythm, the tempo. Joy as the concordance of rhythms. She turns a chaos and cacophony into music.
In terms of the progression of the Minor Arcana, we have begun with an image that is all center (the Ace), that then moved more and more into the periphery, and now it has returned to the center in order to turn chaos into music.
– The baton vs the philter. What do they represent? The Philter is associated with illusion. Maybe it has to do with guarding against illusion? The alchemical Vitriol. The litmus test in chemistry, the substance that proves/reveals basic or acidic. Proving and disproving, false vs real. In medieval/alchemical times, the vial that one would mix things into.
But a philter is also a love potion, something that hypnotises/dulls consciousness. The philtrum: according to legend, the philtrum is formed right before the baby is born. In the womb, the baby still knows all of the cosmic wisdom. Then the Angel presses its finger to the baby’s lips, silencing the cosmic wisdom, and in the meantime creating the philtrum. The draft of forgetfulness.
Whereas the wand is the conducting wand. The world as a work of art: the magic wand.
– Looking at the two sequences of Three and Four (notice that The World is 21 in the first sequence, and 22 in the second sequence):
3 (Empress)—12 (Hanged Man)—21 (The World)—30 (Nine of Coins)
4 (Emperor—13 (Death)—22 (The World)—31 (Nine of Coins)
We might combine all of these as an expression of The World:
(with Nine laid horizontal across, to line up the garland and petals)
Here we put Death in relationship to the “draft of forgetfulness” of the philter, and the Emperor in relation to the conducting baton/magic wand. The Empress reigns above (winged creatures) and the Hanged Man obeys below (four-footed creatures): Thy Will Be Done (Sacred Magic).
Joel has here created, without realizing it, a traditional spread, in which six arcana are chosen and formed such that the left and right Arcana are the Past (e.g. Death) and Future (e.g. Emperor); the upper and lower Arcana are the Ideal (e.g. Empress) and the Fallen (Hanged Man); and the central Arcana are the horizontal problem (e.g. the Nine of Coins) and vertical solution (e.g. The World).
– According to Tomberg, the Wand is the creative power of realization below of that which is above. He warns of seeking joy over truth (the philter of illusion). One must seek Truth first of all, and true Joy can then be found. Page 643.
In that sense (the latter sense) this is like Cup and Baton. Two types of experience. 1) the Manifestation of Truth and 2) the Joy of manifesting the Truth.
– As usual, the Minor equivalent of the Major (in this case, the Nine vs The World) encompasses the negative/positive binary in a much more fundamental/neutral fashion. The World expresses these things as more black and white. For The World, it is simply the search for joy which leads to illusion/mirage vs the search for Truth which leads to true Joy. A black and white choice.
Whereas here, we might look at horizontal joy vs vertical joy. Is there an appropriate place, actually, for the intoxicating joy? Not that one should prioritize it, but whether it has its rightful domain?
It’s a question or distinction akin to Tomberg’s distinction between horizontal and vertical hereditary; two types of heredity that are always a mixture, until the eventual triumph of the resurrection body (complete vertical heredity).
Because in fact, one could ask the same question around Truth. There is horizontal truth and vertical truth. Horizontal truth: the realm of scientific fact and experience, vs vertical truth: the living realities of the spiritual world. If we seek first or only for horizontal truth, we will find neither truth nor joy. We will find only death.
In a comprehensive theory of Truth, something isn’t true until it is reflected and confirmed in several domains or planes: for example, both the horizontal and vertical realms of both truth and joy (four realms). And at the center, there is the balance of the whole.
In a way, he’s presenting something in a very black and white contrast. Not that its simplistic or untrue. It just might not be comprehensive.
Recapping: for Tomberg, there is either 1) Joy (illusory) or 2) Truth which leads to Joy (authentic).
But what about Truth that moves in four directions (up, down, backward, forward) interacting with a Joy that moves in four directions (up, down, backward, forward)? All four (or eight?) of theses movements reflects to us the wholeness of something until it becomes absolutely True or complete. But something else (other than Truth or Joy) must hold the center: LOVE and GOODNESS.
It goes right back to a difficulty that Joel has had with Philosophy of Freedom for sometime. Steiner argues that thinking is primary in any philosophical inquiry, for one must always begin with thinking when one investigates thinking. But experientially this is not so. How does one discern between or resolve two apparently conflicting truths that are both offered through our thinking activity? What is the quality that one must have prior to any kind of logical discourse or philosophical inquiry? It is what Steiner calls elsewhere the “Feeling for Truth,” the “Truth-sense.” And this is nothing other than conscience. In fact, it is not thinking that is primary and fundamental, it is conscience. That is the capacity that enables us to discover any kind of Truth in the first place. But it has to recede/disappear into the center in order to draw the rest (Truth, Joy) into proper orbit.
It must become “Wisdom at the service of Love” and “Love at the service of Wisdom.” Love has to disappear into what it serves and what serves it. In fact, in all the things we are saying about Love, we are coming closer and closer to Paul’s characterization of Love. 1st Corinthians 13:1-13:
“If I speak in the tongues of human beings and of the angels, but do not have love, I have become resounding brass and a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophecy and know all the mysteries and all the knowledge, and if I have all faith, of such a sort as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I distribute all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may be burned, and do not have love, I am profited nothing. Love is magnanimous, love is kind, is not envious, love does not boast, does not bluster, does not act in an unseemly fashion, does not seek for things of its own, is not irascible, does not take account of the evil deed, does not rejoice in injustice, but rejoices with the truth; it tolerates all things, has faith in all things, hopes in all things, endures all things. Love never fails; but if there are prophecies, they will be made ineffectual; if tongues, they will cease; if knowledge, it will be made ineffectual. For we know partially and we prophesy partially; but when that which is complete comes, what is partial will be rendered futile. When I was an infant, I spoke like an infant, I thought like an infant, I reckoned like an infant; having become a man, I did away with infantile things. For as yet we see by way of a mirror, in an enigma, but then face to face; as yet I know partially, but then I shall know fully, just as I am fully known. But now abide faith, hope, love—these three—and the greatest of these is love.”
Goodness, love, is like Parzival. It is blustering, foolish, impulsive. Like a child. It must come into concordance with Truth, must rub up against reality. It must come into “concordance of rhythm” in order to actualize, differentiate, both recede farther into the center and distribute into the periphery. It does this through Wisdom, in service to Wisdom (service to the Maiden).
The operation of it seems impossible, like Baron Munchausen lifting himself up by his own hair.
– Possibly the “Threes” represent the axis of Joy, and the “Fours” represent the axis of Truth. Creative Joy—the intoxicating joy of creativity—as it flowers and develops leaves behind the realm of the particular and moves into the general. In other words, one is not craving for some particular satisfaction of desire, not obsessing, but rather enters into a realm that is deeper and higher than both joy and suffering—into Beatitude.
It is the same with Truth. Horizontal Truth focuses only on particular details, and misses the comprehensive whole. Whereas vertical truth is comprehensive, sees the whole in each of the parts.
– Jordan Peterson in a debate with a more atheistic/humanist philosopher. Peterson leaves an open door to religion’s validity, whereas the atheist does not. In his view, rationalism trumps religion, because religion is primitive, at best the phenomenology of religious ecstasy might offer something to humanity. How do those with so much knowledge and acuity fall into these obvious blindspots? How can they assume as a given that certain ideas are part of the intellectual landscape?
– The Ace is like an image of Good yet stupid Parzival. It is all center, all heart, undifferentiated. The Coin and Flower are united—is the flower an image imprinted on the coin, or is the giant coin itself the flower of the plant? The ur-plant, the gestalt?
The journey from Ace to Five and back to the Nine is the story of Goodness knocking up against Truth and finding Wisdom, becoming truly Good. In harmony, disappearing into the other elements in the Arcana, constellating—the other elements become servants of goodness, goodness in miniature. Could we say that Coin = Truth, and Plant = Joy? Could we call Goodness Joy instead? The two (Truth and Joy) relating via this invisible harmony.
No, Joy is not the same as Goodness, it is not primary. It is the result. But neither is Truth primary. Goodness is primary:
Goodness—Truth—Joy. (Later on, after the conversation and re-reading Tomberg, Joel realizes that actually Tomberg makes the same point. He reprimands the reader, reminding us that it is solely through the cultivation of the three vows of obedience, poverty, chastity that one is able to discern between truth and mirage. In other words, the cultivation of goodness and conscience, of love, must precede the search for Truth, which only then leads to Joy).
The Coins are the Truth. The Plants are the Joy. The Center is Goodness. We had this question last time regarding the center. In the Eight of Coins, it is all centers, all antinomies brought to their extreme yet also united. A cacophony of creatures, the four holy creatures without the uniting rhythm of the dancer. The Nine brings this cacophony a rhythm, a tempo, a directing center. It creates Joy: look at the beautiful flowers. They are no longer lifeless/uniform. The center brings in a pulse. A pulse is a movement between antinomies, each in its own domain (red and blue blood).
– The movement from Eight to Nine. Thinking about the Nine in terms of the Nine Beatitudes. All of the Beatitudes are processes of circulation, respiration, exchange. Transubstantiation. Repentance.
Whereas Eight has more to do with the Eight-fold Path of Buddha. Nirvana. Transcendence of both Good and Evil, Life and Death. Perfectly balanced among antinomies.
These are like the Ace and the Two done properly. The Ace contains all (like the Eight does), but it is murky, unclear. It’s all in potential, not actualized and differentiated.
The Two is attempting circulation, but it’s unsustainable. Taken to its conclusion, it will unravel because it lacks a center. The Nine achieves this properly.
Looking at this arrangement:
This gives us the image of the ideal (above) actualizing (below) only partially or incompletely into the real, and its renewal (back to above).
– Going through the stories of the Divine Names (YHShVH) we have confronted so far:
Ace, Two, Three, Four, Five = A unity yearning, suffering for binary and circulation to come about. Needing help from an external sphere (Four) in order to achieve a tenuous circulation (Five).
Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight = the path of Life, Death, and Resurrection.
Seven, Eight, Nine… = 9 is the center of circulation. The beating heart. Where circulation was once the goal (Five of Coins), it has not taken up its rightful place, in the center.
Seven is a Goodness that is somehow isolated, lonely. Eight is an explosive and insistent Truth. Nine brings about a balancing, a finding of Joy.
– If we think back to the Major Arcana, when we finished following the paths formed by the Divine Name, we discovered four Paths:
Where the path from Yod to He took us from the Magician to The Sun and thence to the High Priestess. The first path showed us the stages that lay between Mysticism (Magician) and Gnosis (High Priestess). Then the path from He to Vau took us from the High Priestess to the Judgement and thence to the Empress, showing us the stages between Gnosis and Sacred Magic. Then the path from Vau to He took us from the Empress to the Fool and thence to the Emperor, showing us the stages in between sacred magic and hermeticism. Finally, the path from the Emperor to the World (and thence to the Ace of Coins) showed us the stages leading from Hermeticism to a new form of Yod—the Suit of Coins.
Now we are forming five new paths, through following the Divine Name Yod He Shin Vau He. The gesture of the “paths” we’re creating:
The path from Yod to He: Ace, Four, Seven…this is a path of blossoming.
The path from He to Shin: Two, Five, Eight…this is a path of finding form.
The path from Shin to Vau: Three, Six, Nine…the path from Triangle (three), to Cube (Six), to….????
Well, that is a path from two dimensions (triangle) to three (cube)…so the next would be a move into the 4th Dimension. The Nine is a double helix, contoured.
Ultimately the path from Yod to He will lead to the Two: Ace, Four, Seven, Ten—Two. A complete blossoming out.
Ultimately the path from He to Shin leads to the Three: Two, Five, Eight, Knave—Three. Coming completely into form (triangle).
Ultimately the path from Shin to Vau leads to the Four: Three, Six, Nine, Knight—Four. Coming into inter-dimensionality! The Four as the breaking in of another dimension! This is confirmed for us through the very structure of the Minor Arcana when framed in the form of the Divine Name Yod He Shin Vau He. Now it makes sense, why the Fourth appears so inappropriate and out of sequence. Once it is seen in the greater context of the paths formed by the Divine Name, suddenly it becomes crystal clear why in the Four a new dimension has broken in, in order to realign the transformation. But this realization is only possible by seeing the Minor Arcana through the lens of the name of Christ: Jesus (YHShVH)! “For those who have eyes to see and ears to hear.” All of history, all of life actually operates this way. What might seem terribly inappropriate, unexpected, inorganic is brought into crystal clarity through love and knowledge of Jesus Christ. He gives us the eyes to perceive the Truth.
There are Five paths, ultimately leading to the Swords:
The Path from Vau to He leads to the Five: Four, Seven, Ten, Queen—Five (achievement of Beauty).
The Path from He to a new Yod leads to the Swords: Five, Eight, Knave, King—Ace of Swords.
It seems that a transformation of the whole occurs through the relationship of Goodness and Truth. A trading in of values, worths. Exchange of truth for goodness and vice versa. New goodness leads to new truth and the other way around. A positive feedback loop between the two, which is the concordance rhythms, which is harmony, which is Joy. Joy is the dance of exchange between Goodness and Truth.
The Numbered Coins = accrued values that one must trade in. A build-up, progress and development of value that can then be traded in. Gathering up coin to trade in…or as a gift to the royalty? Exchanging values (numbers) for real figures (the court cards, human beings).
Interesting that in the history of playing cards, they originate basically from Islamic Egypt in the 12th century or so. But they did not have any court cards, no human figures, due to the iconoclastic nature of Islam, especially its conservative branches. The injunction to never make a representation of Allah or Muhammed extended to all sentient beings just to be safe. So there were only numbered cards in the suits of coins, swords, cups, and polo sticks. It was only when the playing cards were brought into Europe that human figures were represented, that court cards were brought in.
What is Islam then? Or maybe we could say the spiritual stream of Arabism in general? It is materialistic science, horizontal truth (number) without goodness (human figures). Islam and Arabism is an enormous accrual of values and worths over millennia, which eventually must be exchanged, handed over to the royalty—i.e. it must be given over to Christ, baptized, and become the highest Good in the world.
Isn’t this expressed so wonderfully at the end of Parzival? Parzival reunites with his Arabian half-brother Feirefiz, and brings him to the Grail Castle. Feirefiz cannot see the Grail, however, because he is not baptized! The injunction against icons—he cannot see the divine. But in the form of Repanse de Schoye, due to his love for her (Vertical Truth), he becomes baptized. This is an image of Islam/Arabism ultimately being Christened via love of Sophia, of Divine Wisdom. Then Feirefiz/Islam can see the Grail. Repanse and Feirefiz go to India, and Prester John (Lazarus) becomes a great spiritual teacher who Christianizes India.
(As I write these notes, I think of the final epoch, the American, as the transfiguration of the first, the Indian—the end of the story is the Christianization of India).
Notice that here we have exactly an image of what we have experienced with the Minor Arcana. Without acceptance of Christ, Feirefiz cannot see the Grail; what he is witnessing makes no sense to him. Analogously, with the Minor Arcana, if we do not view the sequence through the lens of the name of YHShVH, then we will not understand why the Four of Coins seemingly interrupts the sequence between the Three and the Five.
So the salvation of Islam, the Christianization of Islam and the East is the end of the story—the end of the cosmic drama, not just Parzival—in which the greatest amount of “worths” (i.e. horizontal truth/knowledge) is exchanged to become the highest, ultimate form of Goodness!
Thinking of Jim, and his connections with Traditionalism, and the strong mystical Islamic element that weaves through Traditionalism. It is for good reason that Sufism and mystical Islam has always been on the periphery of the Grail Christianity (Parzival, Templars, Dante, Traditionalism, etc.). There is a presentiment there of the irreplaceable gift that Islam will be at the end of history, when it is completely given over to Sophia, and therefore Christ. It also makes one wonder how much Islam must be given its due in an investigation of the Minor Arcana and be Christened, just as Judaism was in the investigation of the Major Arcana.
We closed with the fourth stanza of the Foundation Stone Meditation in eurythmy.