Notes on a Hermetic Conversation on October 10, 2016
Tarot Study, 10/10 – The Fifth Arcanum, The Pope
June, Joel, Gail and Richard were present.
We began with the first 5 letters of the Divine Alphabet and the invocation.
The Pillar of Severity = left = knowledge
The Pillar of Mercy = Right = Life
The Sephiroth Tree is explicitly in the fifth Arcanum (see previous week’s notes).
He is like “Petrus” – so solid. The first 3-dimensional Arcanum, real depth. The acolytes in the foreground and the threshold in the robes as background.
He is the first that looks truly active, who is interacting with other beings. The Magician only looks like he is prepared to act.
The acolytes are like elemental beings; they are disorderly, akin to the disorderly objects on the Magician’s table.
There is a water-wheel like mobility to the card. Is he standing or sitting? The same ambiguity as with the High Priestess. Both have sacrificed their lower portion, one to be an outpouring, the other to be a door.
Two different versions of the Pope have different staffs. The artists had a different lighting up in their consciousness as to the reality of the Staff. While the Grimaud card has one explicit and one implicit staff, the Noblet has only one explicit staff which seems to combine qualities of both from the Grimaud – it has a curved top rather than a three tiered cross.
The implicit or esoteric staff in the Grimaud almost looks like a mask from a masquerade, like the Pope is holding something in front of his face. Reminiscent of Michael = “The Likeness of God.” Michael is the Guardian of the Threshold, Solar Plexus Chakra, Mercury – like The Pope. He has sacrificed a lot of his being (lower half is a door, upper half is concealed by the mask – Pope as representative of God).
The benediction hand seems to be blessing his own heart rather than the acolytes – almost like he is pointing, directing them to go into the night/into his heart.
Something about it is reminiscent of Kama Loka. The quote on St. Francis from page 115, raising beings from natural state (limbo) to human state (purgatory) to spiritual state (paradise). Following the hand gestures, there is a sort of “scooping up” into the heights.
Why are the stigmata wounds specifically on the hands/gloves rather than the feet?
The five dark currents of the will. They are transformed into organs of spiritual will through the 3 vows. Obedience transforms will to power (heart wound); Poverty transforms the will to take and to keep (hand wounds); Chastity transforms the hunter and the setter of traps (foot wounds). The Pope represents the vow of Poverty – hence the hands are emphasized. Page 113 on Chastity.
Quote from 114 on the presence or absence of Good, rather than fighting Evil. Reminiscent of portions of Gautama Buddha’s Successor. Standing firm in the presence of Evil.
The quote on Poverty from page 112.
The Pope is poverty in so many ways – he is Mercury – the Lungs, emptiness. The acolytes are the impetus (the kidneys) which impel the lungs to fill and empty again; otherwise they are empty vessels waiting to be used. The Pope exists only to be a medium for Spiritual Air (the Breath of God).
At Gethsemane, blood came from every pore – the whole body was Stigmatized (a comprehensive organ of Divine Will).
Kaspar Hauser – where was he stabbed? (Left breast)
The prevalence of lung cancer and diseases – what does this say about our vertical respiration?
Many poets had issues with their lungs. Like the man born blind who sacrificed physical sight for divine sight, they sacrifice some of their horizontal breathing for vertical respiration. The curving of the 90 degree angle from life to death, the more one develops divine breath. Easing the transition – Keats. Shelley drowning.
Keats had tuberculosis. Respiration began to fail – vertical respiration became stronger. Keats able to express the dying experience at age 25.
Novalis has a similar story.
The morning meditation cultivates finishing the out breath and the pause between out-breath and in-breath is focused upon. Most in modern culture do not finish the out-breath before breathing in again – damages the relationship to the vertical and the horizontal.
All three levels of true horizontal breathing are levels of love – hierarchies, neighbor, nature – where is our love of these levels nowadays?
For the Pope there are not categories of “truth,” only Truth = harmonious respiration. The False is what upsets harmony. He struggles with ideal vs. actual truth.
The tragedy of the intense amount of intellectual effort that must be put into learning lies in modern education.
Rare instances (e.g. Erik Erikson) of someone fortunate enough to find a Sophianic light in the midst of false scientific study.
To filter the lies, our spiritual kidneys are on overload.
Richard’s brother – becomes Episcopal priest; comes to Freud through divinity school – begins to question and doubt the spiritual (Anthroposophy).
Hermeticism – how to juggle conceptual systems. Learning to think multi-vocally. Something other than mere conceptualization which stands above and behind any thought system one approaches. Allows one to enter into it without getting lost. Anthroposophy devolved into just a thought system, hence it cannot stand up to another thought system (e.g. Freudian) so well. It needs Hermeticism as an activity in order to bring it to life.
What happens to those who incarnate and yearn for the ideal, and cannot find it? Drug abuse, cynicism – lost. Joel had a strong experience of this between 12-24. Great dissatisfaction with the “truth” he was taught in church.
Thomas Wolf – Hermeticist who couldn’t find Hermeticism. Died of Tuberculosis.
How can we cultivate Hermeticism for those who need it?
A Hermeticist is an anonymous servant. Fragile. It spreads slowly and invisibly.
Gail – Latin Mass was so mystical. Became “accessible:” something was lost. Just going through the motions.
Hermeticism could fill the void in a searching, skeptical teenager.
Years ago there was only rote tradition. Now there is a menu of spiritual choices – but are people any better satisfied? Hermeticism is still not experienced, even in Anthroposophy.
The journey through Anthroposophy – bruised by hard edges.
The Path to Hermeticism seems to always be painful, a struggle. Loneliness, not finding one’s tribe – some kind of suffering.
How do we plant Hermetic seeds? What lies around and within and behind the content of our words and conversations?
E.g., introductions at dinner in Ecuador – how can we speak Hermetically rather than describing a list of details?
What does it mean to speak Hermetically?
Presenting polarities. Goethean conversation. Opening a door in someone else’s inner experience.
Joel describing working on Hermetic Astrology to a good friend who is atheist/agnostic. The friend holds Joel in high regard – if we can speak with an impetuous enthusiasm, and innocent confidence, without preaching or arguing, we plant a seed even if the person doesn’t agree with us. Joel left him wondering at something new.
Richard and Gail presenting Mass of the Lamb and his Bride to parents.
June – imbued by Hermeticism (the Boddhisatva impulse) in meeting conventional religion. We embrace and elevate it, we keep it connected to Truth, rather than dismissing or judging it out of our “correct” perspective.
Peter becomes the Rock when he says “Thou art the Son of the Living God.” He speaks impetuously the Truth.
The Pope is the image of this – opening up an endless vista in his heart for the sake of the unorganized masses.