Six of Cups (I)

Notes of a Hermetic Conversation on March 21, 2021

March 21, 2021

This was our first time having a transnational Hermetic conversation over the phone. Natalia and Joel were there from the beginning, and then Phillip joined part way through.

We began by reading the 1st Healing Miracle in John 2, the Wedding at Cana. There Christ transforms six jars of water into wine. We brought this into connection with the six cups on the Arcanum.

These are not just six jars of water—each jar is 15-25 gallons! Very large. And they are not full of drinking water; they are full of water for purification, for ritual bathing/cleansing. And he changes it into wine for a wedding, for a celebration! In a way, outer purification through bathing becomes inner purification through drinking. Did they become intoxicated by this wine, we wonder?

Natalia remembers there being a discussion of the Changing of Water to Wine in the Two or Three of Coins, but can’t remember what Joel and Phillip came to. Something of these pure water forces vs the sun forces of fermentation. 

This element of the wine has been there all through the Cups—remember we saw the Ace of Cups as a winepress, as squeezing this red grape in the center. Is that what is inside of these cups—wine?

And in the Five of Cups we had this presentation of something ready to be drunk.

The Five really feels like the wedding feast, the celebration. There is more of a separation in the Six of Cups. 

Last time we looked at the Chariot with the Five of Cups, using our particular system of moving backwards through the Majors with the Minors. This time we turn to the Lover with the Six of Cups (as they are both a Six—one is the Six of the Majors, the other the Six of Cups). The figure in the midst of the two women in the Lover has this same gesture of dividing as in the Six of Cups. 

But the right hand portion is emphasised in the Lover. It looks like the right hand figures are getting married by a priest or priestess on the left. It can be seen as a wedding, in contrast to Tomberg’s interpretation of a man choosing between a pure and impure woman. The figure on the left even looks like a Christian Community Priest, she has the right sort of hat on. And she looks a bit older than the other two figures. Her hat goes right up to the Angel, and then his arrow brings the Lovers together. 

It’s like the lovers share an arm…hard to tell whose arms are whose.

There is an orange hand in the center of Joel’s.

The Five of Cups also could be seen as a priest (central cup) marrying the two flowers.

What about this strange math of Four < (“less than”) Five > (“greater than”) Six. 

You know, it really feels that way actually. 

Like the Four and Six are on the same level of complexity and beauty, whereas the Five is on a higher level, of greater aesthetic value.

The Six Cups connect to the Wedding at Cana—to the transformation of the water into wine—yet the Five has this gesture of actually drinking it, the actual celebration. Five = drinking the wine; Six = transformation of water into wine. Like the Six actually happens before the Five.

Notice the cross/flower in the middle of the Six, this place of transformation (blue and red).

In Christ and Sophia, Tomberg characterises the first healing miracle as healing the future, as drawing some kind of impulse to the present from the future. Whereas the 2nd healing miracle heals the past, redeems the hereditary stream. So the Five is able to draw the Six into itself to become what it needs to be. An impulse from the future (the Six) is brought into the present (the Five). 

The Five is more relaxed; the Six is tense. In its middle column there are a lot of rounded yellow, blue and red pearls or pearl-like objects. 

There is one of each, actually, and each one is related to a cross of some kind.

The blue pearl at the top, is it in the center of a kind of Knights of Malta or Knights of Columbus kind of cross?

Knights of Columbus - Wikipedia
History of the Maltese Cross

Then there is a red pearl in the middle, with this more standard cross.

Then at the bottom a very strange yellow pearl on a strange three-pointed yellow cross? This pearl almost looks like an eyeball.

The pearl first appears in the Three of Coins. (See notes for the Three of Coins). We speak of it there as the “pearl of great price,” the human personality, the highest treasure for both nature and the spirit.

The first place we ever saw or noticed this eye-like pearl was in the Knight of Swords. It also appears in the King of Swords. There we spoke more about the “string of pearls,” a coming to consciousness of one’s past incarnations.

– After the wedding, the better wine was offered after the poorer quality wine, again this aspect of unusual timing or an unusual sequence.

Tomberg speaks of this miracle indicating a transformation of human relationships and spiritual destiny/karma unfolding. Anthroposophy as a drawing in of that which is needed from the future, the Sixth epoch into the Fifth epoch, the present, so that the Fifth epoch can actually achieve the Sixth epoch—so that we can actually get to the future. This is the Christ impulse of wine that needs to replace the spent Yahweh forces of the water. The human blood, the personality, can then become the bearer of the Christ impulse—this is like the cross (Christ impulse) being borne by the pearl (the personality). 

This miracle depended on the mutual interaction of Mary and Christ, with Mary prompting him with the question, and his response of “Woman, what is it that weaves between us?” Perhaps it is a Yahweh cross above (mostly blue, water), and then in the middle there is this Christ and Mary cross, prominently red (Christ) with blue behind (Mary), this weaving of the heights and the depths achieved through Christ and Mary-Sophia. 

(Phillip joins us here, we catch him up with where we’re at)

– Karen Rivers always said that the six jars of water at the Wedding at Cana were related to the six petals of the twelve-petalled heart chakra that need to be awoken deliberately through the human being’s activity. Half of the petals are an inheritance of warmth and light from the past; the other half will only awaken if the human being decides to develop them, for example through the six basic exercises. 

This connection to Mary…an emphasis on Mary directing the servants to do whatever Christ tells them. In a way, it is also an alchemical wedding of Christ and Mary, a spiritual wedding. 

Some of Estelle’s final visions from the 2017 Grail Retreat in Odielenberg were about the Youth of Nain, and how there was a weaving between Christ and Widow Maroni in her grieving over her son. A similar kind of sacred magic was achieved—the higher octave of the Wedding at Cana.

– But what about that bottom “cross”, the three points surrounding the eye? It’s a bit like the bottom half of a St. Andrew’s cross. An X shaped cross.

Saltire - Wikipedia

Something is missing there, you can feel this, or maybe there are leaves behind that thing, in a germinal state, not yet lifted, not high up.

The Knight of Swords was in a constant state of evolution. This is the living point of that plant, this yellow part, where development and evolution are still happening.

The “eye” is haphazardly placed on the Knight—here it has a definite place.

Reminds you of peeling the banana or shucking the corn. An uncovering of the Eye. It changes the whole gesture of the plant—ornate, beautiful, and then suddenly an eye at the bottom that freaks you out. 

The top is a bit of a two-petal lotus flower; the middle is a heart chakra; then the bottom is a root chakra. The journey to the Mother, the golden Shambhala realm. 

– The Six of Cups is almost like a body. Christ in the tomb, the body being wrapped and embalmed, in the tomb. 

Isn’t that the sixth stage of Christian Initiation? The Entombment? And then thinking of the Five of Cups as a turning point, yes the 5th stage of Crucifixion is the Turning Point of Time, the central point around which all past and future revolve. 

Or the Six of Cups as the Laying in the Grave and the Five of Cups as the Crucifixion, and the Cross would be the central cup in the Five; the two flowers might be John and Mary at the foot of the Cross. The flower above the central cup might be the sign above the Cross: “This is the King of the Jews.”

That would make the Four of Cups the Bearing of the Cross—the Cross borne by the four cups.

So in the Six, the central plant is Christ’s body. What is significant in this 6th stage of the Christian Initiation, is it is actually the community around Christ who performs the deed. The other stages he experiences or goes through himself—but this stage is care for his lifeless body on the part of the community around Christ—Mary Magdalene, Virgin Mary, Joseph of Arimethea, Nicodemus, etc. Maybe this is a process belonging to the experience of Entombment.

Whereas in the Four of Cups, the central plant is the Cross, not the body of Christ.

The Entombment is also tied to the descent to the Mother, the Holy Saturday mystery.

Yes, this lower golden point is now even more reminiscent of the Mother. 

One can find three directions of movement here: upwards, outwards, and downwards. Is the yellow arrow pointing upwards? Culminating in the yellow part at the top? Is this like a Resurrection? The yellow weaving through, in and out of, the other colors and forms.

At first that upper blue cross felt detached from the rest of the plant. But if the yellow is coming from below—it’s like the yellow is drawing this upper YHVH back into connection with the rest of the plant.

It’s so peculiar, this plant as a whole is in total harmony, yet there are all these disconnected parts coming into union or reconnecting.

There are blue “waves” periodically along the plant—they seem to align with the red rims of the cups. More connection towards the openness of the cup—water and wine.

More communication, as in previous Cup Arcana, between plant and cup. It’s never totally clear, but always indicated.

Now the plant is not covering the cups, as it has in prior Arcana—they are exposed all the way finally. They are open, without hindrance.

Three, Four, Five of Coins are similar to Three, Four, Five of Cups. But the Six of Cups is very different from the Six of Coins. Instead of two opposite triangles of coins creating a Vesica Piscis shape, we have this strict division into two columns of three cups each. With the geometry in the Six of Coins, it results in the coins being covered by leaves or parts of plants, something is still concealed. If the Six of Cups had carried on with this geometry, the cups would still have been veiled (note the uppermost and lowermost coins in the Six of Coins in particular). It is this strict division and the new geometry that allows them to be exposed and revealed.  

The cups are higher, carrying Christ to the Tomb, more actively engaged or equal with the plant. They have to be revealed, released, elevated in order for that Stage of the Passion to take place. It relies completely on the community for the 6th stage to take place—they must rise to it. Even after the Entombment, the Holy Saturday vigil is an active one…quite actively holding the question, “What will happen now??”

The 3rd stage of the Christian Initiation is Crowning with Thorns, the 2nd is Scourging. Do we see this in the Three of Cups and Two of Cups? 

Certainly in our conversation on the Two of Cups we saw this screaming of Lucifer on the left and Ahriman on the right, with Christ trying to maintain the center in between. This is the gesture of the Scourging, the attack from right and left, Ahriman and Lucifer. 

– This central plant is full of confusion, complexity, disjointedness—yet the more you look at it, the more you see every stage is there. 

In the Three, we saw this Fleur-de-Lis, this husk/seed, and that is recalled in this three-pointed flower form coming up from below.

Like seeing a metamorphic process condensed into one moment, a simultaneity.

– Maybe there are three pairs of Cups in the Six of Cups—upper, middle, lower. Maybe these upper cups are the Night Disciples, Joseph of Arimethea and Nicodemus, taking Christ down from the Cross.

And the middle cups could be more traditional John and Mary at the foot of the cross, Masculine/Feminine. Or it could represent the Holy Women, Mary Magdalene and Virgin Mary, washing the body, present at the burial. 

Then the bottom two could be the guards at the tomb, exposed directly to Christ’s overwhelming power when he resurrects. The “watchful eye.”

Three groups of people involved in his inability to transfer from Cross to Tomb on his own.

We closed with the second stanza of the Foundation Stone Meditation.