Seven of Swords (II)

Notes of a Hermetic Conversation on May 14, 2020

May 14, 2020

Seven of Swords, Part 2

We began with the protective practice.

We then invoked the presence of Virgin Mary to guide our conversation.

After focusing the mantra IT THINKS in the region of the larynx, we enacted the third part of the Inner Radiance Sequence, the Resurrection. We then enacted the 14th Letter of the Divine Alphabet, Nun, in association with Temperance. 

We then read from Revelation 10:10-11, 11:1 and John 15. 

We also read from pages 391-393 in the 14th Letter-Meditation on Temperance. The distinction between intuition-blood-death (in which the lower self is subsumed within the higher self); imagination-sweat-labor (in which the lower self bears the weight of the higher self); and inspiration-tears-suffering (in which the higher and lower self meet and work in synchronicity—the working together of the “higher eye” and the “lower eye”). 

Imagination = Estelle Isaacson

Intuition = Robert Powell

Inspiration = Our own work with the Tarot, our experiences of disassociation and re-harmonization within the realm of the ego/personality.

In our work, it shines a light on the importance of a third party—“What would the thought of the other be?” enters into my own activity, but originates from outside of me. It relies on a visionary, an external ferment, an Arcanum, in order to be active. It needs both. It needs the lower, the raw material, and the upper, the spiritual ferment. Inspiration is the vessel or container that is active between these two in its own right.

– The Coins are Imagination, they receive an impression, a stamp

The Cups are Intuition, they are receptacles for a higher content

But the Swords are a weaving between the two. 

The Batons? They are a harmonizing, whatever nameless activity seamlessly harmonizes Imagination, Inspiration, and Intuition. 

– Throughout these Letter-Meditations, he speaks of the stages of Purification, Illumination, and Union. He doesn’t speak too specifically of Union. Maybe this has to do with the Baton stage. He speaks of it sometimes in terms of Beatitude. Sometimes Preparation precedes Purification as a stage. 

Preparation = Etheric Review

Purification = Kamaloca

Illumination = Devachan

Union = Midnite Hour

Union—not a lot is said because it’s a complete emptying out.

Hermeticism = Union = Wholeness of the preceding three. It isn’t a thing of its own at all, it’s just a harmonizing of the 3 that came before.

– He is weaving a lot together with what is written on pages 391-93

Looking at Chapter 7 of The Zelator by Mark Hedsel/David Ovason/Fred Gettings. Page 297. He speaks of Ros from “Rosicrucian” as relating to the word dew. Not the Rose-Cross, but the Dew-Cross. Dew = Tao, therefore Crux Ansata of Ancient Egypt. The Dew is the Tear of Isis and Nephthys, each one of them a Moon Goddess. Each of them a crescent moon, one waxing, one waning. Together they form the Vesica Piscis, which is the Dew, the Tear. The Virgin (Isis, Unfallen Likeness/Nature) vs the Whore of Babylon (Nephthys, Fallen Likeness/Nature). The two aspects of the likeness.

This particular section of Temperance (391-93) brings all of this together.

– It puts the weaving reeds in the foreground as the IT THINKS quite explicitly. Collective, multivocal thinking. The alternating of Sword and Flower, New vs Full Moon, Activity vs Passivity. Productivity and Passivity (nothing happening). 

There is a complex interweaving here. During the Flower/Even Arcana, there is personal activity—the Sword is out of the forge and being hammered (by us). Passivity of the IT THINKS (the woven reeds, the forge). 

But during the Sword/Odd Arcana, the Sword is in the Furnace. The IT THINKS is active, while there is a personal passivity. 

– The Furnace/Forge as living. It changes, it grows. The Forge/Reeds = the Shadow, Death. Putting the Shadow/Darkness to good use. It becomes the container, the forge. 

Tomberg speaks of this blend of passivity and activity on the bottom of page 392. 

The Flower is passive, something is cooling. When the Sword is in the Forge, it is heating up—active. 

The Forge creates the possibility for being productive in these various types of states. 

The Forge is the Shadow/Death/the Rib that was removed.

It is what’s fallen. Reeds, like husks. The measuring rod that is given to John in Chapter 11 of Revelation. The Dew, the Ros, is related to the dew drops that fall under the moonlight. Gettings relates this to the 18th Arcanum, the Moon.

He relates it to the faculty of the arbitrary imagination, fallen fantasy, the lunar/dream aspect of consciousness. When it is united to the Cross it is heightened, ordered, becomes exact phantasy, as in Goethe’s sense. But in it’s raw form, it is lunacy, chaotic fantasy. It must be ordered and crucified. The Forge, therefore, is the ordered imagination, Lunar Imagination as in the Hanged Man. The Forge by which a “drop of dew can be taken out of the flood of IT THINKS.” 

– The Flower as Flame, as life, as the ability to cause metamorphosis. It is not just symbolic. As in John 15—the branches are trimmed and cast into the fire. It is literally the fuel. The “waste”, the trimmings or prunings of our dead soul-life is not waste, it is used as fuel for transformation. 

– In forging, the outer bits fly off and become slag. Maybe the flower is connected to the slag, bits that separate off and form in their own way, kind of unintentionally. Perhaps that’s a crude way of looking at it, as unintentional waste.

It isn’t that crude, actually. In his lectures on the Karma of Vocation from 1916, he points out that whenever human beings work, they are unconsciously creating elemental beings that will only have a proper existence in the Jupiter evolution. They will be our responsibility the way that we are the responsibility of the Angels. We are always creating unintentional beings. This is the positive side of such an image. The negative side would be the creation of Tulpas, of arbitrary demonic beings that we have imbued with a false but powerful life out of our own psychic energy and attention. 

– The other side of this picture is the Forge, that the Shadow is fueled by waste, by chaff. My Shadow, fueled by waste, creates something amazing. The redemption of Evil.

The Odds = effort

The Evens = grace

These two end with the Ten, in which Grace and Effort are united. 

When the Two appears, Grace appears unbidden in order to turn the darkness to good. Evil seen on its surface is something simply bad, unwanted, but the secret midnight working of Grace turns evil to good. We don’t have a picture in conventional Christianity of the cosmic value of Satan’s role. Whereas Egypt recognized the role of Nephthys/Set in the cosmic drama. 

It’s incredible really—this entire process, seen from this point of view, depends entirely on the shadow and waste.

– The reeds/structure of the furnace is built up from the slag, developed into a complex form out of this process. 

The Flowers are the arbitrary, beautiful, unintended consequences of smithing that are sacrificed to the forge to develop it as a tool to create the Sword. 

– This brings to mind our recent conversations with Kevin and Jim regarding development and sacrifice (specifically in reference to Archangel Jesus, the pre-earthly sacrifices of Christ, etc.). Sacrifice as a rite. The ancient Hebrew sacrifice of the Lamb was established by Abel, the correct sacrifice for all of human evolution from Abel through Christ.

Cain attempted to bring the plant sacrifice too early, at the end of Ancient Lemuria. It didn’t become appropriate until Ancient Atlantis (see articles on concerning the sacrifices of Jesus and Christ, especially the first 2-3 parts). The plant sacrifice is the Cain rite—Tubal Cain = Tubalcain = Vulcan. The forge. Hiram Abiff. Human creativity. Science and art, the social order. This is what we see displayed in the Sword Arcana.

The corresponding Majors are the Hanged Man through the Tower of Destruction. All of them have sacrificial under- or over-tones. 

There is an overall Cain/Lazarus/Rosicrucian theme of the Redemption of Evil.

– The Coins are the initial creative act that itself resulted in unavoidable waste products.

The “Cain mission” is to turn lead into gold, that nothing may be lost. He is sent to work with the waste products of creation, to redeem them. Like the role of the mushroom in nature, to compost dead matter back into living humus. 

This is the secondary but deeper level of creation that only human beings can accomplish—to reintegrate the multiplicity resulting from creation back into unity. 

– This creative night-time process that transforms evil is the cosmic corollary to human freedom. Cosmic necessity that takes the necessary intentions of the left-hand beings and turns them to the good. The father, the prime mover superseding ontologically lower beings. The other side of the coin of human freedom. The age-old question of whether the intentions of the left supersede in any way the Divine Plan. But there is a superseding principle, overarching and untouchable, just like human freedom is untouchable. These are the only two untouchables—the Divine Plan, which cannot be fundamentally altered by the Left, and human freedom. 

Even Lucifer rails against humans; “why are they so special?” Well, we aren’t that special are we, except in one particular way—we are free. 

This brings us once again to this powerful image from Weinreb, with God at the origin and the human being at the terminus, with the ramifying swirl in between. We are the two untouchables, the Alpha and Omega, with a swirling chaos between us from one perspective—but from another perspective, the deepest intimacy. This brings the soul into the deepest intimacy with God.

– Let’s go back to the Ten of Swords as the uniting of Grace and Effort. Let’s complete the form that is indicated by the Ten of Swords: 

It is like the original form—this combination of two crescent moons making a Vesica Piscis—has been transversed and connected by X, by Chi, by the Cross. The dew-cross, Ros-Cross. The goal of the Swords is this Fusion. This shape can be traced with a single line, it’s like a complex geometrical form made out of wire.

– Maybe Coin—Sword—Cup is not really chronological, just as Imagination—Inspiration—Intuition doesn’t necessarily develop in that order, or all three at all for that matter. The way that Tomberg describes Inspiration, for instance, seems to presuppose the presence of both Imagination and Intuition to some degree in that they flow together. 

As he goes on, his whole point is to avoid “technique” or strict enclosures. He keeps it mobile unlike, say, Anthroposophy, which always yields “scientific” descriptions a la “First there is this stage of consciousness, then this, then this…” etc., as though there is a strict rule, ontology, and consistency.

– This brings to mind Jim’s question that led to the discussion of Temporal (advent of Etheric Christ’s miracles in time, for example) vs Spatial (the presence of four schools/guiding archangels who are an eternal YHVH working through these miracles in time). So also can we work with the Minor Arcana as a sequence or as a spatial relationship.

– The Rose-Cross comes to light in the 10th Arcanum. A relationship between space (cross) and time (rose). Vertical causality—the turning point of time. A total revolution in the mode of time/origin of time/direction of time. Space’s structure allows for the forward/backward movement of time, it gives time a body. 

– Remembering the Wheel of Fortune—the 10th Arcanum—as the Prophetess. The Wheel of Fortune conspicuously lacks the Cross, it is anachronistically Egyptian. The Cross is found in another 10, the Ten of Swords. The Wheel of Fortune, in our systematism, will correspond to the Ten of Cups. The Ten will find the Ten. 

– The idea of the Swords being images of “living forges” reminded Joel of Sculptured Rocks in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Glacial melt, thousands of years ago, deposited rocks in cracks in the granite. They swirled round and round in these cracks, gradually forming perfectly bowl-shaped forms, that look man-made. Beautiful, skull like architecture. The splitting of pieces, the formation through fission. This reminds one of the Swords. Like a rock tumbler polishing the gems through friction and controlled abrasion. 

Sculptured Rocks Natural Area - Wikipedia

– Joel was reminded of Plowshare in bringing up Chris McFee last time, and that the name Plowshare comes from Isaiah 2:3-4, “they shall beat their swords into plowshares.” This verse was basically our “theme song” at Plowshare, a Michaelmas song. And this is exactly what the activity of the Swords describes, the transformation of evil (weapon, destruction) into good (farm implement, creation). Melting down the undesired, and turning it to good use.

Also the thought of the Swords as an “unrefined refinement” process, as we discussed last time, made Joel think of social therapy in general. It exactly describes what social therapy is. The workshop as an unrefined refinement of each other and our raw materials. I become unrefined in order to refine someone else. In contrast, the Coins are a highly refined process that leads to something not quite complete, to an unrefined waste material left over. 

– Working out of the void/unseen/unimaginable. Gateway for the impossible to come about. Tangible transition point (our current situation). Human activation, social relations, heating something up and hammering on it. 

– John 15 is a progression. You are already clean because of the Word…abide in Me and I abide in you.

He’s chosen you, given you his Word. If you hold onto it, you become a friend rather than a slave. You mirror him and his Father. The progression: slave—Word—holding onto the Word—Friend—mirror of Father. 

There is so much in David Bentley Hart’s translation from the original Greek. Such a cosmic vastness to the words of Christ to the apostles at the Last Supper. We read these words on Maundy Thursday, and they’ve taken on new life in the weeks since.

Is this progression that is in Chapter 15 living also in the Swords?

– Looking at the Lord’s Prayer Course meditation for this week, which has to do with the Christ Ego and the Descent into Hell. Setting the slaves free with the Word. 

Prior to the Fall, we were in union with God due to origination from within Him. The Ace of Swords shows us the Fall, the separation from God. The experience of original union with God becomes a slavery after disobedience and separation. The intact image + fallen likeness yields a state of slavery. The path back to union with God involves becoming friends, partners again. Only this time conscious of it and therefore fully appreciative. 

The Swords show this path in the greatest way. Break the Coin—go into the Chaos of the Ace of Swords, and subsequent Arcana up through the Ten. But then with the Ten, the end result, the geometry of the Ten of Swords is so multidimensional even though it’s basically a single line. A brand new creation resulting from the “broken Coin” of the Fall. A knot that is not so tight that you can’t discern the pathway of it. It hasn’t reunified as a solid coin, it’s a new complex being.

– The Coin splits—and subsequently the image carved on the Coin enters greater manifestation and life as the flower. The image engraved on the Coin becomes Flower, while the substance of the Coin itself becomes Sword. Essence/form (Flower) and Substance/material (Sword) divide and become unique separate beings. They then reunite in a whole new relationship. Substance is united with form, not just bearing an image of it. It is a blossoming. The silver rose on the gilded cross.

– Wow, we have taken such a turn since the Six and Seven. We’ve gone all the way to pulling discreet images out of the Ten, rather than seeing a wholeness in each card as we did with the Coins. It should, in the end, come back to finding a narrative unique to each card—we see this a little in comparing the Seven of Coins to the Seven of Swords…but that’s for another conversation.

We ended with the third part of the Foundation Stone Meditation.