Notes of a Hermetic Conversation on April 9, 2019
April 9, 2019
Queen of Coins
We began with the protective practice.
We then invoked the presence of the Holy Spirit through the third stanza of the Foundation Stone Meditation.
After briefly focusing the mantra “I AM” on the region of the brow chakra, we performed the fourth part of the Inner Radiance sequence and the 17th letter of the Divine Alphabet, Pe (in relation to The Star). We then read from Psalms 119:129-136 (for the letter Pe); Revelation 7:1-3; and Matthew 25:13-30 (the burial of the talents).
– The face of the Queen is in profile, somewhat similar to the face on the Moon in The Moon. Especially the lips, but also the nose.
– There is quite a bit that can be found in this image that is reflective of different aspects of the Major Arcana, but overall there is so much more that is new and original vs what is reflective. She is a unique individual.
– With all that Joel wrote down of his initial observations, the overall impression is “what an incredible variety of new and unique features.” Not knowing even where to begin—perhaps the most striking is the giant hands, and the large distinct facial features. We haven’t seen hands like that before. One could say we haven’t seen a face like that before either, except for the Moon. But not on a human figure. And there is still something about her whole persona that sets her apart from the gesture/mood of the Moon.
– Yet if we look at the Moon the way we did long ago, in a sequence with The Star (letting the ground at the base of each card flow into the next), it looks as though the Moon is gazing at the Star/the Woman. And the Queen’s face gazes at the giant Coin. The central star in the Star is 8-pointed, and the central flower on her Coin has 8 petals.
– Once again this is something new, the arrangement of petals on this Coin. We have a 14-petalled flower on the outside, an 8-petalled flower within, and a dot in the very center of the coin. This central circle with a dot in the middle is reminiscent of the astrological sign for the Sun. It’s like she’s scrying, gazing into a crystal ball, seeing the future. She is the 13th Arcanum looking towards the 14, what comes next. And notice that 14+8 = 22. She sees the interrelationship of Major and Minor.
– This Coin appears to have concentric rings, it has a suctioning quality, drawing the observer in. Like a tunnel.
– The Knave has an intellectual/studious/conceptual focus on his Coin. The Knight is purely open, a sensory/visionary experience of the Coin. Washing over him. But the Queen is a much greater degree of intensity in terms of her gaze—she is completely linked, totally immersed in her Coin. More like an Estelle Isaacson: her being is wide open to it, visionary in a bodily sense, a more complete sense than with the Knight.
– Notice that the Knave only holds the Coin, the Knight only holds the Baton. She holds both. Yet she is barely grasping the Baton. She just has her hand lightly laid upon it.
– Her eye is so unique. The curvature, the circle under the eye, makes it heavy, thick, ponderous—and yet beautiful. It’s the eyebrow, which has an ornamental quality that makes it quite distinct from the equally heavy gaze of, say, The Magician. His gaze is heavy, but not beautiful.
– Her face is quite full. She has jowls, and a high forehead. She has blue hair—like The Star. And who else? Temperance? We look through…
One of the figures in The Lover; The Hanged Man; Temperance; the two figures in The Tower of Destruction; The Star; and the family in The Judgement. But there especially seems to be some relationship to Temperance, the level of beauty, and the fullness of face.
– Going back to The Moon: we can also place The Sun to the left of The Moon, in which case the Moon is gazing at the Sun and the youths, bringing them into relation with the Queen’s Coin.
– Is it the amount of black on the Coin that gives it the quality of a tunnel? The other coins have heavily black portions, but not concentrically—the black is concentrated in one area. It isn’t necessarily the concentric yellow portions that bestow depth, it is the concentric layers of darkness.
– Note the yellow on the torso—this is certainly also similar to Temperance, except in that case it is not all yellow, there is a flesh colored portion in the middle on Temperance. The vertical yellow on the Queen’s torso is new. Maybe this indicates a lack of religious status? She has no stole. She is only royalty. It’s actually quite similar to the Empress. The Empress’s has more of a curved top portion, vs the v-neck of the Queen, and the belts are different.
– It is interesting to contrast the Empress to the Queen. The Empress’s baton is her “I AM,” it is power for her. Her shield, the fruit of this power, is in the mid-section, even a bit in the lower portion. There is something similar in the Queen, in that her baton might also indicate something has come to fruition and borne a power, but all of this is happening in the upper triangle of the Queen, a triangle formed by the coin/arm and the baton, with the point downwards, and her head in the middle between the two. The location of the baton and “shield” or “coin” is very different vs the Empress.
For the Empress, the Baton yields the Shield, the sign of her power. With the Queen, it is the other way around—the Coin yields the Baton, a sign of her status. An inverse relationship. Notice that her baton is more like the Charioteer’s, not like the Emperor’s or Empress’s. A symbol of something, not an implement.
– Going deeper into this idea of the Shield as the Empress’s offspring. “By their fruits ye shall know them.” The Shield, bearing a noble insignia, is proof that the generative process (magic) that she performs is indeed pure (sacred). Like the formula of Sacred Magic on page 73: “ET INCARNATES EST DE SPIRITU SANCTO EX MARIA VIRGINE.” Conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit. We never supposed before that the fruits of the Empress’s magic were shown in any way in the image (note—Tomberg characterizes the Shield as the aim of her Sacred Magic, not the offspring). But actually one could say that the Shield is the outer sign or indicator that magic has produced something, produced an invisible but no less tangible and real effect. Like the scent of roses after meditation/contemplation as an indication that a divine presence has been present. The unmanifest/invisible effect of the magic doesn’t show itself directly, but a proof or a stamp of it does. The stamp, seal or signature—this is the Shield.
Her deed doesn’t have to do with giving birth to a child in any literal/material sense. It has more to do with the transcendent archetype successfully being integrated into the manifest domain—wholly (i.e. completely intact) and holistically (i.e. in concord with the rest of the manifest world).
– The Magician lives completely unified with the realm of the archetype/the Divine. The High Priestess has separated herself from this realm enough, and has cultivated the peaceful stillness, in order to become conscious of it directly and reflect upon it. The Empress has reached the point of allowing it full activity through her, she channels it to another plane.
By contrast, is the Queen the human soul dwelling in the transcendent realm, communing with the transcendent archetypes in a similar way to the Empress? The difference being that the Empress creates something new within the manifest plane, originating in the transcendent plane. Here both the origin and the creation are happening within one plane (the coin and baton are all in the upper level, not the lower level, of the Arcanum).
The answer, briefly, to the above question is “Yes.” For a fuller explanation, we have to go back to the Four Worlds in relation to the Four Court Arcana:
World of Action = Action in terms of Philosophy of Freedom, creating reality through cognition. This is represented to us through the Knave.
World of Formation = Forming in terms of archetype as shaper, developer of the manifest world. Hermetic Axiom. This is represented to us through the Knight.
World of Creation = The actual realm proper, the home, of the Archetypes themselves. (We could tentatively say the realm of Transcendent Archetypes in particular, and that the World of Formation is the realm of Imminent Archetypes in particular).
So, how do we bring the imagery of the Queen of Coins into relation with the World of Creation?
We can see the Coin as, in one sense, a mirror. It is an archetype made by the Queen in the realm of Archetypes which reflects back to her a confirmation of her Queenly stature (the baton), it emanates into her the fullness of Royalty. The Coin is produced by her, is in a sense a miniature version of her. It is perfect. This perfection is reflected back to her, and stands as confirmation that her being and her action are perfect. She gazes lovingly at the confirmation of her own perfection, which is also the product, we might say the child, of this perfection. But her perfection is not complete until it is proved by her works.
All of this would be the greatest vanity on any lower sphere. But her absolute perfection makes it that it is not at all vanity; in fact, it is the only action that could possibly be. It is in a sense her right and responsibility to admire this perfection that is also herself. Her admiration of her own appearance within the Coin/Archetypes, in what she has made, only elevates that thing that she has made. It doesn’t take anything away from it, as vanity always does on the material plane—on the material plane, vanity is nothing other than the attempt to abrogate and appropriate the value of other things and beings. It negates life and variety. Her self-admiration only creates life and variety. “The Rose enobles the whole garden when it enobles itself.” So here we are watching the active creation and reflection upon the Archetypal Realm, the World of Creation. It is like seeing both the act of Creation in the Book of Genesis, as well as the reflection upon the Creation: “It is Good.”
– The Ten Numbered Coins are like the created world, the finished world, which is complete up to a point. Whereas the Four Court Coins are like the human soul, the human realm which is incomplete in its creation and development. It’s like Anthroposophy vs the Traditionalists. The Traditionalists wish to see only the completed portion of the cosmos, whereas Steiner’s main focus is on that which is still in development. One is in the school of Creationism (Traditionalists) and the other in Transformism (Anthroposophy)—these two are discussed at length at the beginning of the Letter-Meditation on The Star. The Human Soul is actually the answer to this conundrum, it is where both meet. The Image and the Likeness. The Image is finished, it is complete, created, fixed. Whereas the Likeness varies, transforms over time, due to its fallen nature. It suffers the path of fall and redemption. Whereas perhaps a highly reflective likeness (reflective of the Image) is like a New Creation? Does that endow it with the status of New Creation? Yes…the likeness, having followed the path of redemption, ultimately attains the goal of Reintegration. This, then, is the marriage of water (Likeness, Transformed) and Fire (Image, Created)—in Christ, a New Creation.
This begs the question, do the Image and Likeness have a separate existence? Are they Two in One? Do they perform a self-reflecting activity, which brings about the fullness of the Human Soul—i.e. the state in which the Queen dwells?
For a fallen likeness, this would be an inappropriate activity—vanity. But for an un-fallen or redeemed likeness, it is unavoidable and perfect.
– This is the ultimate question: how does one resolve Creationism, that which is complete once made, with Transformism, something that develops over time and only has fullness at the end of its span? How do they actually, practically interact? What is the nature of their involvement with each other?
With the Star, he brings in the distinction between the “agent of Magic” which is the invisible force linking intention with action, and the “agent of Growth” which is the invisible force linking the potential with the real. These seem to be pre-existent forces, forces that operate in the universe as forces of nature.
Maybe it is the whole purpose of Earth Evolution to cultivate a third agent. That which flows between:
These two do not yet have a naturally operating link between them. It is not yet a matter of grace. It requires effort in order to bring these two sides together.
Could we say these two sides are:
Where Magic is the Fire of Creation and Growth is the Water of Transformation? It is a matter of cultivating the Agent flowing between Agents! Tomberg describes this as the “Serpent (Transformism/Evolution) nailed to the Cross (Creationism/Salvation)”—but what is the actual agent of this crucifixion? What bridges their infinite abyss?
Perhaps the mysterious “Fifth Ether” plays a role here. But what is that when it comes down to it?
The Human Being is the Agent. Specifically, the Personality, Personhood. This is the tension we experience at all times. We are the active agent between Image and Likeness, Created and Fallen, Good and Evil.
Is the Queen representing that Agent in the controlled/un-fallen environment of the Transcendent? In a sense. But a true understanding has to go a little deeper than “controlled environment.”
In the Philosophy of Freedom, Steiner writes that for human experience, the world is split into two pieces: percept and concept. It is the act of cognition, and only the act of cognition, that heals the (more or less arbitrary) split in the universe, reuniting percept and concept into a whole. But this is only true for human beings. Another being, with another level of consciousness, would experience the spit in another place, and a different type of inner activity would result in the “healing” of the sundered universe.
We could say the Queen shows us the realm prior to the “split” between Image and Likeness (or, on the other hand, the world that exists after their reunion, the redemption of the Likeness), between Creation and Transformation. She is showing what the agent that truly marries and unites the two looks like in its fullness. In her world, Creation and Transformation are not separated from each other, they are One.
So who is she? She is Mary. Either the pre-Fall Sophia or Mary after the Assumption, Mary Queen of Heaven. She is the Queen of all Souls, not all Spirits. She is the Queen of all beings attempting to re-unite the Image and Likeness, all who suffer and struggle as a Personality.
The Earthly Virgin Mary—she was not a queen, she was the purest and the humblest of beings. This seems to align with the designation of the Queen of Souls, this is not a lofty, unreachable, grandiose Regent. It is a humble Queen, a Queen of the People.
– The idea has always been laid out by Tomberg that once one comes to the Swords, one must “trade in” what one has earned as Coins. It must be cut, erased. Up to even the Ten of Coins, part of us still felt a bit like “well, what on earth do we even have to trade in? We haven’t gotten anything substantial as of yet.” But now, ever since we’ve come to the Court Arcana, it feels like a wealth—a wealth of truly new yet authentic spiritual/theological content. And this becomes much more tempting to hold on to! Yet it is our task, especially as we bring this process to a wider audience, to forget, to let go, and return to the beginning…otherwise we close ourselves off, we enter a cul-de-sac in terms of development. But it is right and proper that we feel tempted! It gives the right spiritual force to the effort.
We closed with the fourth stanza of the Foundation Stone Meditation in Eurythmy.