Notes of a Hermetic Conversation between Joel and Phillip on July 3, 2022
What’s going on with her knees? They look so strange, exaggerated somehow.
There is a kind of compass created by the sword and the red stripe going down her torso. When she cut herself open she traced a circle with this compass. One of the basic tools of the Mason: compass, straight edge, square, pencil.
Is the cup she holds actually a pen, filled with ink? Is there a ruler/straight edge embedded in the “teeth” of the cup? Or maybe her belt?
The “teeth” of the cup also resemble gears or machinery. There is no distinct lid, but perhaps the top would open, the two halves of the sphere could separate?
She is able to generate/create organic wholeness: the lid and the vessel portions of the cup have fused, and become this wonderful machine; seamless, yet she constructed it through her tools, her art: through her own being, her self-sacrifice.
How does the curling veil relate—is it growing? The “V” gesture in eurythmy, bowing down. The higher world is doing obeisance down to this object, adopting a reverential gesture.
Or—is the cup *extremely* hot? Causing the “leaf” to wilt?
This speaks more of a coming into being. Metal needs heat. Blacksmithing—or goldsmithing. Turning the veil into gold leaf. The red in her head has this fiery feeling. Yet she’s so utterly placid. Administrative oversight, she is ushering this massive undertaking into being.
Like a glassblower—totally calm and focused. A glassblower can’t be jittery, she is constantly keeping balance, always moving and flowing. There is no space to be separate from the task and substance at hand.
Back to the knees…the Chariot is reminiscent of the red/blue, “yes/no” of her knees in his red and blue horses:
The sceptre of the charioteer is akin to her cup. And even though he is not bearing a sword, the gesture of his left hand is very similar to hers.
The Suit of Swords—one half of the Numbered Swords display swords, one half display flowers, emphasising the vesica piscis. This alternating activity is combined, brought together in the Queen of Cups.
Remembering that around the Seven of Swords, we began to perceive that this alternation was an act of blacksmithing, of forging the sword. Alternating between the furnace/flame (flower) and the sword in the furnace (sword).
So, is she holding the furnace? Is that what the cup is? So is she creating the cup-furnace? Or putting it to use to forge the sword?
She’s holding the furnace in her bare hand, just as she is holding the sword by the blade, no hilt. She exposes herself to the blade and to the heat.
Perhaps the Knave and the Knight were bearing to her this molten substance that she can finally make use of:
Her red “knee” is way off. It has this weird abrupt cut off, and strange patterns. Where is the leg is that is the knee?
Maybe she’s actually standing, and the objects she holds are lifting her skirts up in a strange way. The cup lifting the red/right and the sword lifting the blue/left. That would mean she’s not necessarily sitting, she could be standing or even walking. This ambiguous state she’s in—all flame and water down below.
It feels like the reason for what she’s doing should be obvious, or is to her, and should also address the question of why the Numbered Swords alternate the way they do. She is that which stands outside the necessary chaos and dissolution, she who directs and organises it—she works through the chaos. She doesn’t resolve is or end it, she makes us of it.
She is Mother Nature.
The triangle of her tools (crown, sword, cup), these are the intentions that we cannot fathom, she is surrounded by chaos, nature forces surging, yet harmonised. Disparate, yet harmonised.
Something here that reminds us of the Emerald Tablet, the elemental forces described in part 4:
4. The father thereof is the sun, the mother the moon; the wind carried it in its womb; the earth is the nurse thereof.
The Fire and Water are below. Perhaps the Fire heats up the Earth (the Cup), and the Water has Air steaming out of it, the Air element is above her.
One would usually understand alchemy to be a “Father process”, i.e. heavenly forces coming from above to permeate earthly substances below. Perhaps there is a Mother alchemy? One in which forces come from below to above instead?
The Coins were this display of the differentiation of maturity of form. Something concrete and finished that you could hold on to, that seemed to explain everything. The Swords, on the other hand, revealed this chaos of the underworld. The cutting open of the bud before it’s ready to blossom—the goop inside a cocoon. No differentiation between dark and light, personality and shadow. The Cups resolve these two polarities, particularly on display here in the Queen. Order and chaos are contained, brought to a fullness. The Grail Stone of differentiated potentiality. The real magic: heightening the polarity in order to fuse the opposites, rather than trying to unite them through dilution or compromise. Make the harmony so complex is bewilders. Make a chaos so wild it is beautiful. Meeting in the periphery, in the extremes, not in the center.
We tend to filter our perception of the archetypal in relation to our personality—our social, cultural context—yet we only approach approximations this way. The true archetype is so much more than the approximation that it’s unrecognisable.
She seems to have no thumbs? Are the cup and the sword just two enormous thumb’s up? Is the cup her thumb? The sword?
She becomes the center. In contrast to the Knight of Swords, who becomes all these varied animal forms…he dissolves out of the center into peripheral beings. Whereas with the Queen of Cups, what approaches her unites with her, the cup-machine becomes her. She is humanising the natural world out of the Adam Kadmon archetype. Rather than the human dissipating into endless non-human forms, metamorphosing.
He dissipates—all of his latent metamorphic potentials streaming out into other channels. Whereas she draws things to herself and integrates them.
Perhaps we could say that the Court Swords are a pouring out, and the Court Cups are a drawing back in?
The tunic of the Knave of Cups is so similar to the base of the Cup he holds. He is drawing the Cup into his primal nature. The Knight is approaching this floating severed hand, putting himself back together—like Darth Vader being assembled after deadly battle. A goofy image—yet there is something about occult technology all through the Suit of Cups…but it’s like tapping on the outside of the Queen’s cup. We don’t have access.
There are so many intricate nooks in the lower part of her cup. Hallways.
Her knees are like the Empress’s throne wings. They were frozen, made of stone—now they ahve been re-enlivened, but made into legs.
This is reminiscent of the relationship of the Guardian Angel to the human being: the heart of the Angel is aligned with one’s head, and the limbs are aligned with one’s heart. Does this mean the wings of the Angel are aligned with one’s ears?
Yet here, her knees are aligned with the Angel’s wings. As though the human being has been raised above the Angel. The Angel’s head would be aligned with the human heart, rather than the other way around. A special descent of the Angel? Like the Queen is riding on the back of an Angel.
Looking at the big picture of the journey through the Minor Arcana:
Between The World and the Knave of Coins, we have the Numbered Coins. They are the full elaboration of the wisdom of the World, the analysis of her synthesis. The Knave of Coins is in a state of observation/reflection/remembering as he ponders the Coin he holds. He is the completion of a process.
…the Knave then moves into the future after having recollected the entirety of the past. He becomes the Knight, setting out on his journey. The coin in the sky as a kind of guiding star, or a portal that leads to the Queen. Note the coincidence of the Knight holding the proto-Baton, and the opening of this portal in the sky. He is holding the prototypical version of that which he seeks.
…he rides, or is drawn into, this portal in the sky, which is united in some way with the coin held in the hands of the Queen of Coins. He enters into the Temple of Initiation (she bears in her right arm the Pyramid, and the coin is a portal into this Pyramid, this chamber for the death ritual). The King of Coins is the Guardian of the Threshold, ushering the Knave-Knight into the realm of death across the threshold. He is the ferryman, demands payment to transport him across the river. This realm of death, across the threshold, is the Suit of Swords:
…and this realm is one of “higher birth.” The noviciate passes through the “birth canal” of the Numbered Swords, the labor process, dilation to 10 cm, and is born anew as the Knave of Swords. This individual is, therefore, the same individual as in the Knave of Coins and the Knight of Coins, transformed by passing through the Swords. He is like a newborn child, unaware completely of what he has just passed through. His gaze is still to the future, away from the Numbered Swords.
…the Knave of Swords evolves into the Knight of Swords, but cannot control or restrain these over-abundant forces of metamorphosis. He begins to dissolve into a chaos of creatures. The Queen of Swords performs a mercy killing on him, sacrificing/beheading the threefold double that he has become. He then resurrects as this threefold John-being in the King of Swords.
And so the Knave and Knight of Coins, and the Knave, Knight, and King of Swords are all the same individual. The Queen and King of Coins, and the Queen of Swords are other/higher beings, initiating him.
Note that once again, when we arrive at the state of the King of Swords, the proto-Baton makes its appearance again. He is still striving to finish the creation of the Baton, it has moved on a stage from where it was in the Knight of Coins.
And so now the purification of the Knight of Swords by the Queen, creating the King of Swords, allows the King to deliberately unite with his own throne. An ability to expand into things, yet then eventually pulling them back into himself so that it can develop internally what it had acquired externally.
The Numbered Cups as the right version of what was attempted in the Knight of Swords—the King of Swords “dying into” the metamorphic development of the various forms of the Cups. An overwhelming expansion that must find its own limitation, and become self-regulating. Moon in Aquarius: “Set yourself bounds, oh boundless!”
And so then we see this same being again in the Knave of Cups. He (now a she?) has poured herself completely into the coming-into-being of the cup. Something is returned to her in the Knight of Cups. She is renewed, given her self back by the Cup she created by pouring out her own being. And yet a splinter of the Sword remains in her. It must be removed—and this is what we see in the Queen. The choice, the act of removing the splinter of the Sword, the last remnant, is the deed which makes possible the transformation of the Cup into the Baton—and fully integrates the object (Cup-becoming-Baton) with the individual (Queen of Cups).
The Queen of Cups is the image of taking everything in and integrating it. At rest in the order of turbulence. The arising of beauty and order in the midst of turbulence.
And so the process of initiation was to be sent through the Sword and the Cup. She is the image of the total integration, the complete initiation: both sides of the Sword (flower vs Sword) and/or both Sword and Cup.
Comparing the beginning and the end of the process: Knave of Coins vs Queen of Cups:
Note that her hand is being pierced, and lacks a thumb, whereas he is poking his thumb specifically.
She holds a cup that is becoming a baton—perhaps he has a photo-baton hidden up his sleeve in the same region? And he pulls out this baton, hops on his horse, becoming the Knight. His poked hand is now hidden once he becomes the Knight. Has the buried coin in the Knave of Coins risen to become the guiding star/portal in the Knight?
He enters the initiation rite, the temple sleep in the Queen of Coins…and achieves initiation in the Queen of Cups. On either side of the initiation is the Guardian of the Threshold, this John Durham lookalike: the King of Coins leads him across the threshold, this jarring experience of the Ace of Swords (where we can see the hand of the King coming through?) and the the King of Cups perhaps leads her back into reality, with the Ace of Batons:
The King of Cups to the Ace of Batons…an expansion. Is the portal the opening of the Cup that the King holds? Notice there is an opening in the top again, after the completely closed cup of the Queen. Maybe it carries on expanding to become this portal in the Ace. Or is the hand coming through the King’s hand, holding the same object, but now it has become a Baton with not only a red opening at the top, but many openings developing all over it? It is a powerful card. Indestructible. So green, full of life! The counterpart to the Ace of Swords.