Notes of a Hermetic Conversation on October 30, 2018
October 30, 2018
Seven of Coins
We began with the protective practice.
We then invoked the presence of the Virgin Mary through performing the Hail Mary in eurythmy.
After concentrating on the mantra I AM on the brow chakra, we then performed the fourth part of the Inner Radiance Sequence and the 19th Letter of the Divine Alphabet (Qoph = The Sun).
We then read from Revelation 4:4-5, and Matthew 13:51-52.
– For this final conversation we looked at the Seven of Coins as either Arcanum 28 or 29, making it have a value of either 1 (28 = 2+8 = 10 = 1) or 2 (29 = 2+9 = 11 = 2). So we looked at:
The Magician—Wheel of Fortune—The Sun—Seven of Coins
High Priestess—Force—The Judgement—Seven of Coins
– Noticing that the middle flower in the Seven of Coins is really a transition point in the image. The two upper stems grow directly out of the center, the base of this flower. The upper stems are so delicate. This vs the lower portion, which is much bulkier. The upper portion is finer.
An arrangement of four coins below, a square is related to the bulkier portion of the plant. This is reminiscent of the Four of Coins, only the central flower/box has descended to the bottom portion (between the bottom two coins). The four seems to be in relation to the bulky single stem.
The delicateness above with the Three, the bulkiness below with the Four.
This was Phillip’s experience.
Joel’s was similar in a way. It’s possible that aligning the Seven of Coins with the Ones and Twos has accentuated this difference between above and below.
His first impression was of the four coins below as a kind of landscape, flat ground receding into the distance. While the plants were like a tree growing straight up out of this landscape. The triangle of coins above were like a sun rising behind this tree, in the far distance above, rising above the horizon of the four coins. The bottom coin of this upper triangle is ambiguous though. One could see it as part of something rising in the sky, but due to the way that it is so perfectly framed by the branches of the “tree”, it could actually be in the same plane as the tree. It is ambiguous—either in the sky far behind the tree, or in the same plane as the tree. The upper two seem to be drawn down by the lower four, and by the tree. In fact, the upper three have a downward gesture in general due to the triangle pointing downward. Rather than a rising sun, it seems better to call it a setting sun.
It seems as though as the triangle descends to the four below, it simultaneously draws the central tree upward, makes it grow. There is something akin to the Judgement from this perspective: the Angel/parents (triangle) descending and raising the youth (tree) from the tomb (four coins).
The central flower as branching point divides the tree in terms of above and below. Above—drawn up, vs below—rooted.
This gesture is further emphasized by looking at the Seven in relation to the Ones. The Four coins below as the wall in The Sun. The triangle above as the sun itself in The Sun. The central tree as the children: a concrete expression of 2=1. This is implied, and exists on a spiritual level in The Sun, but with the image of the tree it becomes visibly expressed. We continue, then, to have this gesture of Light above and Solid below, with Life in between:
Solid below: Wall (19), Tomb (20), Scaffolding (10), 4-footed beast (11), Table (1), Book/Seat (2).
– Going back to this idea that a seven pointed star can never be drawn precisely, as the angle is impossible to get exactly right. Something infinite about it. The Three above and the Four below are conjoined and yet separate, balancing each other. Something refuses to be fixed about it. Unlike the solid object that came at us from the Six of Coins—we called it a crystal, a stone.
Just as an example: look at the Seven as a metamorphosis of the Four of Coins, from the perspective of four coins in the corners, one in each corner, with a central, upward pointing triangle in the center. One has the impression when one looks this way that the four coins are far in the background, the central three are in the very foreground, and the plant/tree is in between the two. This is a very different perspective from the first one that came to us of heaviness below and lightness above. One gets the impression that one has gone “inside the box” in the center of the Four of Coins. The Seven of Coins is showing us what is happening “inside the box.” The four corner coins = four corners of the box.
– Going back to the sequence of “Solid below.” We’d never noticed a connection before between Table and Book. (Edit during original transcription: actually, at the end of our second conversation on The High Priestess, from July 12, 2016, we noted this at the very end of the conversation. But we never investigated it any further—it was the closing observation).
It’s like a kind of transition:
Table—Tablet—Book. All of these = The Law.
All of these “solid below” vs “light above.” All of the upper portions of the Major Arcana are human/spiritual faces, each with some kind of corona, crown, or hat: Magician and his lemniscate hat; High Priestess and her Tiara; Sphinx and his crown; Force and her lemniscate hat; the Sun and his rays; and the Angel and his corona.
– Looking at the gesture of the “One” Arcana: it would appear that Time is in the center.
Whereas the “Two” Arcana: the center shows us the Word as Life, the magical power of the Word.
Both of these can be expressed as Tree, the central portion of the Seven of Coins.
But the “One” Arcana also seem to be about bringing separated things into relationship. Creating harmony out of a mess. It begins with objects spread all over a table. Then two creatures (dog and monkey) who are swirling in a vortex, in opposition to each other really. Finally we come to the two youths in The Sun who love each other, culminating in the Tree, which unites two branches in one trunk.
The “Two” Arcana also expresses the path from the Idea (Book) to Realization (Youth). Maybe the High Priestess shows us Memory overcoming Forgetting; Force shows us Wakefulness overcoming Sleep; and The Judgment shows us Resurrection overcoming Death.
The “Two” Arcana—Gnosis as The Word. There so many germinal stages and processes that underly a completed thought, a thought that can be brought to expression. And yet the spoken word, speaking out loud facilitates this process of knowing what one is thinking. The finished product of thought (i.e. The Word) is itself a prerequisite for its own creation (i.e. in ideation, it facilitates the growth of a thought process). Koenig often shares the anecdote of a small child who said “I don’t know what I think until I say it.” Speech precedes thought developmentally, and throughout life.
Even in one’s mind, our thinking is generally internalized speech, talking to one’s self in one’s head.
On the other hand, the process of cogitating isn’t a word/speech process, comparing and contrasting. Just a looking, a taking in, not a speech process.
This was the reason for Steiner’s emphasis on thinking in images, in metamorphosing images. This type of thinking separates one from analytical speech/thought. We come closer to the activity of thinking itself when it is not in the form of word/language in our minds. In Philosophy of Freedom in the original German, different words are used for things like thinking vs mental imaging which are hard to express in English.
Force seems to express a similar or analogous type of process, only in the ether body and instinctual/biological life instead of ideation. The receptive/responsive dynamic at the level of drive or impulse. Fear and/or desire that are very primal.
It makes one think of The Moon, the “disinterested instinct” that becomes intuition. The normal functioning of instinct (based on fear and desire) has to become disinterested, become a receptive capacity of beholding on an intuitive level.
We might see that thinking that occurs in the form of speech is embedded with our own biases and presuppositions in a way that image-thinking is not. Analogously, desire that still has self-interest is embedded with its own motives. It cannot perceive/receive the inner life of another being; it is full.
Forgetting (2), Sleep (11)…what about Death (20)? Death seems to go beyond the other two.
It is about Death and Resurrection. Resurrection is not a given for modern human beings the way memory and wakefulness are. Therefore The Judgement doesn’t just harmonize or sum up the preceding two. It brings something new to the table. Christ had to descend into the depths of the Earth in order to achieve and create Resurrection. On the other hand, what is forgotten is forgotten—it doesn’t play a role in the process of remembering. Christ, who died (was “forgotten” on a deeper and broader level) played the key role in Resurrection coming into being. He who died was an integral part of the overcoming of death. The Angel of Resurrection can only be summoned through His deed and will.
It makes one think of the process of moral memory spoken of in The Judgment (562-563). That which is totally forgotten has not been penetrated with Love. But if something has been penetrated with Love, it is more easily “resurrected” into the memory. So that which is forgotten does play a part in the process, if it is imbued with Love.
Christ is the ultimate expression of this. He is Love itself. He therefore demands to be drawn directly back to the source of Love (the Father). Or we think of the raising of Lazarus. Christ’s Love, his personal, loving friendship with Lazarus was a key piece of the magic of recall.
– Looking again at the Seven of Coins. From one perspective, the four coins on the bottom as the ground, and the three coins above (downward pointing triangle) as the Spiritual, the Angel descending to a balance point. But from another perspective, if we use the four corner coins as a boundary or a frame, the three coins in the middle are an upward pointing triangle that appears to be rising up: the youth rising from the grave. This then becomes a visual/imaginative dance, a shifting of perspective between the Angel descending to perform the resurrection, and the Youth ascended and being resurrected. Due to this composite nature of the image, it becomes a place that one can enter and walk around in. Even though the image is static, it is interactive, it comes to life when one moves within one’s imagination between these two perspectives. It feels very intimate. As though the Arcanum is aware and alive.
– Going back to the Seven of Coins as an Ankh. Symbol in ancient Egypt for life, resurrection. It is also in the Grail Knight’s Practice, during the fourth petition, “Give us this day our daily bread” (upward pointing Ankh formed through eurythmy gestures) and “Receive this day the living memory of thee from human hearts” (downward pointing Ankh formed through eurythmy gestures). Here we have something that echoes this two-fold perspective expressed by the Seven of Coins: both the Father descending from above to below, and the Mother rising from below to above.
– Over the course of the week, Joel thought a lot about the discussion on the 23rd about how a new number isn’t just cumulative/additive, but actually changes the nature of the numbers that came before. When we think about this in terms of cosmic evolution, in terms of The Judgement/Last Things/Resurrection, we realize the unspeakable importance of the Last Things. Each event as it happens doesn’t just add to the past or build off of the past, it actually transforms all past events which preceded it. This is something that is expressed deftly by CS Lewis in his book Till We Have Faces. One of the main topics of the book is that the past can be transformed by the future, and he actually accomplishes this in the writing of the book: the ending of the book transforms the rest of the story that has preceded it.
So it isn’t just that, for example, Earth evolution involves a recapitulation of Saturn, Sun, and Moon and then a new fourth part is added. No, Earth Evolution actually changes what Saturn, Sun, and Moon evolution are. And so the final deed of all, the Last Judgement, will bring all things to their perfect and harmonious conclusion, regardless of how dreadful things may seem. And this final deed takes up all of time that has preceded it, and makes it into something of great perfection. This is the most hopeful theology one could imagine: absolute confidence in the “last things,” the final judgement of Christ.
And the Seven is the number which really expresses this: the Vulcan stage, the final stage that transforms all that came before.
We might think of the Yod (Father) He (Mother) Vau (Child) He (Family). When a married couple changes into parents, when a child enters the family, it completely transforms what came before. And it is the same with falling in love: one’s whole biography seems to have been leading up to this point; it transforms the essential nature of one’s past.
Anthroposophy is in one way so complicated, so detailed, but in another way is over-simplified. One might say convoluted. We have here the issue of cumulative math/number (the way evolution is expressed in Anthroposophy) vs qualitative math/number (the way evolution is expressed by the Minor Arcana). The “plus One” has added much more than One. It has added to each and all that came before. This is numerology.
– Returning to another theme from the 23rd, and shining a positive light on Anthroposophy. We talked about how playful the Seven is, and how easy it is for us to play with it. Now, when we look at Anthroposophy, so many things are expressed in sevens. When we express things from the viewpoint of the seven, it is very easy for our consciousness to grasp what is being looked at: easy for our consciousness to “play” with what is being focused on. Easy to absorb, remember. When we think of the nature of the 3 Great Teachers, and that Rudolf Steiner is the guardian of the Red Pillar, the Tree of Knowledge, the Tree of the Chakras and the Astral Body, this makes sense. All things are expressed in light of the Seven, the Chakras, and therefore are easily assimilated by the Astral Body (the Psyche/consciousness). The redemption of Lucifer.
Whereas the Blue Pillar, guarded by Christian Rosenkreuz/Novalis is the pillar of Morality, the Tree of Life. It has a different fundamental Number value, and a more difficult one for the human being to relate to. It takes more effort. A new temptation arises: the temptation to remain in the Seven of the Red Pillar, and not move into the Ten of the Blue Pillar. The Number of the Blue Pillar, of Morality is Ten—the Ten Sephiroth of the Tree of Life (Etheric Body). And these Ten must be worked with in the way we are working with the Minor Arcana: each one as a particular unique entity, as well as an entity that has a transformative effect on that which preceded it.
– Thinking of the Stages of the Passion in relation to the Arcana. The Seven of Coins is the Descent to the Mother and the Resurrection. The Six is the Entombment = the stone, the solid crystal, the cage.
Ace = Washing of the Feet
Two = Scourging
Three = Crowning with Thorns
Four = Bearing of the Cross
Five = Crucifixion
– The Ones and the Twos seem to work together:
The Magician seems to express “throught-free sensing,” immersing oneself in the phenomena.
The High Priestess seems to express “sense-free thinking,” beholding the World Thoughts.
Wheel of Fortune seems to express the passage of Time and Purgation.
Force seems to express the Purity attained after Purgation.
The Sun expresses love and friendship.
The Judgement express the Resurrection that is only possible with love and friendship.
These are the Red and Blue Pillars working together. The cooperation of the Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life.
We closed with the fourth stanza of the Foundation Stone Meditation in eurythmy.