Notes of a Hermetic Conversation on April 30, 2019
April 30, 2019
Queen of Coins
We began with the protective practice.
We then invoked the presence of the Holy Spirit through reading aloud the third stanza of the Foundation Stone Meditation.
After briefly focusing the mantra “I AM” on the brow chakra, we moved the fourth part of the Inner Radiance Sequence, and the 17th Letter of the Divine Alphabet (Pe). We then read from Psalm 119: 129-136; Revelation 7:9-12; and Matthew 27:3-10
– Her face is like the face of the Moon, but in that case it is the face of Eclipse—she is the un-eclipsed Moon, the radiant Full Moon. This brings to mind what is written in the Letter-Meditation on The Sun: the physical Moon is reflecting the light of the Sun, whereas the Sun reflects the light of the spiritual Moon. Is the Queen the Spiritual Moon? Is the Coin reflecting her, like the Sun reflects the Spiritual Moon? What is so beautiful about this picture that Tomberg paints of the Moon and the Sun is the implication of reciprocity and equity. It doesn’t operate in one direction: from Sun to Moon. It is more like a horizontal lemniscate with Sun in one half and Moon in the other.
In our first conversation around the Queen, we saw the Coin as a perfect mirror, reflecting her own perfection back to her perfectly, and bestowing the Scepter upon her as confirmation of this perfection.
In our second conversation, we saw her as absorbing and creating forms out of the Coin, the One Form; she acts as a sieve. This is like the phases of the Physical Moon (the different forms she creates) reflecting the Sun (the One Form, the Coin). This is more obvious in terms of a Sun—Moon connection. The phases of the Moon reflecting Sunlight bring about different forms, life/metamorphosis/gestation on Earth.
However, the content of the first conversation is thrown into a much more alarming light when we think of the Queen as the Spiritual Moon bestowing perfection upon the Sun (the Coin she holds). This brings the entire concept of the Sun reflecting the Spiritual Moon into a much more concrete and vivid reality. This has always been a difficult picture for us to absorb in any kind of concrete way, we didn’t have fully formed thoughts about what exactly it implies that the Sun reflects the Spiritual Moon. But now this image of the Queen of Coins as the Spiritual Moon, perfectly bestowing her perfection and wholeness onto the Coin (as Sun) makes this a much more impressive, living picture.
– It makes on re-examine the question of primacy, i.e. is everything that is represented by “Human Being” primary? Or everything represented by “Forces of Nature”? Fundamentally speaking, Nature has the human being structured into it, but ultimately, the human Form and Heart is at one side of the spectrum of Creation. This question leads us in a way back to the dichotomy of Transcendent vs Immanent.
If we see the Human Being at the heart of Creation, this makes the Transcendent primary.
If we see more or less non-personal Forces or Beings of Nature at the heart of Creation, this makes the Immanent primary.
This is something akin to Buddhism vs Christianity.
If the Queen comes first, and the Coin only reflects her perfection, then the Human being is primary. On the other hand, if we see the Coin as primary, the human arises secondarily out of “blind” and/or Superhuman Nature. How do we resolve this?
The Queen crafts the Coin. Then the Coin is “drawn through her,” resulting in a variety of forms. So, the Human Being (Queen) crafts the Forces of Nature (Coin), that then “pass through” the human. When they pass through, metamorphosis and evolution are the result.
Placing this in juxtaposition to what we see in the Knight. The Coin is spreading over him, it has a power over him, bringing all into resolution and clarity. Clearly, here we are dealing with two different realms/planes of existence. Plane of Creation (Queen) vs Plane of Formation (Knight). The Queen is so clearly in a different domain than the Knight. She calls one into this nebulous, creative, mildly psychedelic realm.
– Notice that there is white on her robe, and white ground beneath her. Or is this simply more of her own robe? When we look at the progression from Knave to Knight to Queen, we see that the ground goes from flesh-colored, to yellow/golden, to white. A flowing, surging sea, that blossoms upwards into her.
Notice also the tiny triangle of white just between the scepter, her belt, and the red cape. It’s just above what seems like the belt turning a corner. Joel noticed this by seeking out more white in the image after noticing the robe and ground below.
If we look around this white triangle, a form begins to appear. It is bounded on the left by the black of the scepter. It is bounded from below by her arm. And it is bounded on the right by her red cape. We see the form of a pyramid, with one side larger and/or more visible than the other (the left side). When we notice this form, it begins to look like she is cradling a pyramid underneath the scepter—in fact, this makes sense of the fact that she is barely grasping the scepter, as it is actually resting on the side of this pyramid.
Is she Isis? With Osiris (split into parts) on one side, and Horus (the Sun, the Fullness) on the other?
Again she appears as the polar opposite of the Empress. The Empress holds a scepter with a Globe and Cross at the top of it, condensing to a seed at the base and bringing about an act of Sacred Magic. Whereas the Queen bears a pyramid (a tomb) at the base, with a Bee flying up and out of it in the form of the Scepter—a gesture of Resurrection.
Something about this makes one think of the particular shafts in the pyramids that would let a certain light or constellation to shine through at particular times.
The base of the Bee-like shape at the top of the scepter looks a bit like the base of the Empress’s Scepter. The “acorn” or drop of blood, the seed as Tomberg characterizes it (see page 60). In this case, we don’t have a seed or a drop of blood. We have either a Bee or a Skep (old style Beehive). This beehive/bee has four layers of yellow divided by three black lines.
– When Phillip was working for a while with the Extra Lesson from remedial Waldorf education, drawing “Man—Tree—House,” he would always feel compelled to draw decorative insignia of wings or petals on his house. He feels they were actually something Taurian, like horns. Are these two petals/wings/horns surrounding the bee(hive)?
Well, the Beehive is in Cancer, not in Taurus: Praesepe. Maybe these are two spirals, only they aren’t intertwined, they are opening up.
This region of Cancer is of great importance to the Kalki Avatar. This is the area of Jupiter’s exaltation, where when Sun, Moon and Jupiter are conjunct this marks the “birth of Kalki Avatar.” See Gautama Buddha’s Successor, page 3.
– The only Major Arcana that has a scepter and crown anything like the Queen’s is The Chariot. And the message of the Chariot warns against megalomania! And here we have already concluded that she is in a plane that transcends the possibility of megalomania—she rightly honors herself as highest. Notice that the Charioteer is pulled forward by horses, he is compelled, and he gazes at his own Scepter (the mark or bestowal of his own worthiness).
In contradistinction, all flows out behind the Queen, and her gaze is not on her Scepter at all, but squarely on the Coin. He is distracted by his power, while she is intently focused on her own creation. He is unsure, distracted. He needs reassurance that he’s in control, and risks losing control because of this.
She is calmly focused on the work, which is the Coin, which is the wholeness of Her nature, which is the wholeness of Human Nature.
– We see the pyramid as small, tucked under her arm and on her lap, but it could be just the peak of a form connected with what appear to be robes, like a mountain top. It’s a bit akin to the Empress cradling the Shield. It’s a separate, camouflaged object. It’s what the scepter rests on, hence she doesn’t need to grasp the scepter. She and the scepter are each leaning, and each leaning on something not quite perceptible. Like the Emperor. The Emperor is leaning on his Throne. He is connected with it, yet acting in service of it. The Scepter and Pyramid are in a similar relationship to each other.
– Last week we discussed three “routes” that the influence of the Coin can take through the Queen. The first streamed through her right arm and then up through her torso to her head, creating the Crown. The second continued to stream through the belt, down through the left arm, and then out of her hand, shooting upwards as the Scepter. Then there was a third route, that continued beyond the belt into the strange Throne behind her. It seemed to loop around the curve of this Throne and then go nowhere. Now this Pyramid “closes the loop” so to speak. It seems as though the rim of the Throne is a pathway leading to a kind of subterranean entrance in the base of the Pyramid. There the Coin finds its final resting place, within the Pyramid.
– Looking at the Coin and the Bee in relation to the Pyramid: there is a kind of perpendicular relationship here, like the Coin shines into one shaft and the Bee shines into another. Or is the Coin shining into one shaft, and the Bee emerges from the other as a result? Like white light shining into a prism, and being refracted into colors? Yes, this is a perfect analogy for what is happening in this Arcanum: the Pyramid is a Prism.
Notice the white in the bottom right-hand corner: it refracts into the tricolor robes. It mirrors the Coin’s refraction into the three objects.
– Is there a lateral divide in this Arcanum? Or more a vertical one? It seems to be more divided in terms of right and left, not above and below like most of the other Arcana. There is no mirroring of above and below in this image. Certainly there is a strong contrast of above and below in that there is so much formed and active above vs the formless mass below. It is divided between right and left, but not at the midline—the dividing line is between the Coin and the Face.
Actually, the strongest divide and overall gesture is a diagonal one. The divide is from the upper left-hand corner to the lower right-hand corner. And this diagonal gesture is all through the card, in the scepter, the way she holds the coin, to her leaning, to the pyramid, etc.
– The Empress’s Shield vs the Queen’s Pyramid. The Empress embraces the Shield. Is the actual pyramid under the Queen’s clothes, and we are just seeing its sharp contours press up against her clothing? Or is it actually colored that way in order to camouflage into her clothes?
– A pyramid represents strict hierarchy. She is in the capstone point, that is that plane in which she exists. Notice that one side of the pyramid is blue and the other is white—is this a dual mirroring of the Queen, one more cosmically (i.e., in the Coin) and the other on a more human level?
These two different sides are distinct: the left side has four levels, blue—flesh—flesh—blue. The right side has three: white—flesh—flesh.
Hierarchy…she is the capstone…the Queen of Heaven, Mary Queen of the Angels/Hierarchies.
– The Empress bears a shield with an Eagle, and her Throne has petrified wings. These mirror what the Empress is, but she is not in the realm of absolute perfection like the Queen is, and so these symbols do not mirror in the same way for the Empress as for the Queen. The Queen has a threefold Perfection—Tristmegistus? Thrice-Blessed?—1) She is Perfect; 2) Her Creation is Perfect; and 3) Its reflection back to her is Perfect. “True she is, most true, without falsehood.” Maybe she expresses corollary magical mantra to this one. This phrase has to do with Truth—what of Beauty and Goodness?:
Beautiful she is, most beautiful, without blemish.
Perfect (Good) she is, most perfect, without flaw.
…And yet, in terms of Beauty, is the Queen beautiful? Not particularly. Now, she isn’t ugly, but she has powerful features. One is reminded of those women who are real forces, who run companies. There is a firmness there. Perhaps there is something here that goes back to Mary and the Magnificat: “My Soul magnifies the Lord”—it is not an outward beauty that we are speaking of here.
We are back to asymmetry. In art, in nature, it is asymmetrical beauty that brings about awe and reverence. It is not a matter of beauty in the typical sense of a “beautiful woman,” by which we simply mean a desirable woman. Here it is not beauty which inspires lust and craving, it inspires awe and wonder.
– One starts to see a line beginning in the upper left-hand corner (with the Coin) which moves diagonally towards the lower right, but then curves slightly upwards, to the green on the throne. Lines of refraction radiate out and up from inside this curve, leading to the various implements (throne, scepter, crown).
Another line begins in the lower right hand corner (where the white is) and moves towards the upper left hand corner, but curves downward, away from her right hand. Lines of refraction radiate downwards within this curve, creating the various colors of her robes. Again, like the two spirals/curves of Cancer interacting.
– The Green is on the right side, and completely unique like the patch of white. This point where the green emerges is like a fulcrum, one instance of balance and symmetry within the image. It is in line with the path leading from Coin/Sun to Pyramid. We see here that the light of the Coin shining into the Prism/Pyramid can either become upper light (Bee) or lower light (Green). Like two different types of light.
Looking down the entire right hand side, from above to below, we see:
The Bee and the Throne are like the Transcendent and Immanent Above, while the Green and the White are like the Transcendent and Immanent Below.
The White at the very bottom is like an undifferentiated pre-substance. Like a quantum; potential matter/life/etc that needs to “flipe,” to activate. Like a seed.
In this sense we see that this is not:
but more like:
In the upper plane, the Transcendent hovers above the Immanent, while Below (in the realm of incarnation), the Immanent is above, and what is Transcendent is below, in the Depths.
This speaks to the kind of topsy-turvy nature of this Arcanum, e.g. that the Crown is oriented strangely.
– There is an abundance of activity here, but it is more inward, not like the Chariot. It is in the realm of orientation, not motion. It is not that there is a lot of activity being expressed by this image, but more that we ourselves must reorient ourselves constantly within ourselves in order to discover everything within it. This constant movement of inner orientation can lead to losing one’s orientation, lack of center of gravity.
– The quality of this conversation is very distinct from others—the conversation has her quality. A cerebral feeling combined with an incredible potency. A stream of consciousness that yet has definition within it. The movement from kernel/seed though to full blown idea occurs without passing through an elaboration phase. Glimmers go straight to speech, nothing in between, it’s just immediately fleshed out. And then one has the feeling, “How did we get here???” Again this issue of orientation. From Point A to Point B…? But what is Point B? Is it a Point at all?
– The Knight’s conversations were much more a feeling of ideas in one’s body, a sense for how reactions take place. Experiential. In the case of our current conversations on the Queen, it is more like forces unbound and clearly visible in stark conceptual outlines.
– We can’t stay here forever…we need the King! We need him to round all of this off. Any more of this, more intensification of this, wouldn’t work, it would be unsustainable.
One thinks of Chess, in which the Queen can go anywhere and do anything. The King can only move one deliberate step at a time—and in the end, it’s his survival that matters!
– Thinking of Tomberg’s bringing into relationship of the Virgin Mary and Saturn. Are there any Saturnian qualities here? Maybe the structures that Saturn imposes, which we feel as abrasive or destructive, are perfection in her own domain. We feel them as restrictive boundaries.
This makes Joel think of MacDonald’s book At the Back of the North Wind, where the pure and innocent little boy Diamond meets the Being of North Wind in the night. He sees her as a beautiful mother goddess, but as the book carries on, you realize that she is the Angel of Death. What the grown-ups perceive as her destructive activity is seen completely differently through Diamond’s eyes. She is pure love to him. This is possibly the best picture of the connection between Virgin Mary and Saturn (although written almost 100 years prior to MOT!).
In Steiner’s lectures “Spiritual Science as Foundation for Social Forms” from 1920, he talks about how the Saturn forces of formation are active in our “head-thinking,” and that these forces are in their right sphere and very constructive in the realm of artistic and scientific genius, in the realm of individual achievement in the cultural sphere. But they become a destructive force in the economic/social sphere. Here there is a need, not for these Saturn forces of head-thinking and individual thinking, but for “limb thinking,” for group/collective thinking. The social life needs service, openness, not genius. Perceiving what others need, not what I wish to create.
This takes us back to the Archetypal Social Phenomenon (akin to Goethe’s Archetypal Plant), which Steiner described as conversation. It is in conversation that the archetypal meeting takes place: I wake up and speak, you fall asleep in listening. Then you wake up and speak, and I fall asleep in listening. This is of course archetypal, and therefore doesn’t happen “correctly” most of the time. But the practice of this hinges on silence, “I must decrease that the other may increase.” This is key to true, living, social conversation. And this is what the Arcana lead us to! Hermetic conversation.
– The relationship between Praesepe and Jupiter. Jupiter as the King and Saturn as the Queen. She too is pointing towards and looking for the King.
We ended with the fourth stanza of the Foundation Stone Meditation in Eurythmy