Notes from a Hermetic Conversation on October 17, 2017
Tarot Conversation on The Star, October 17, 2017
Phillip and Joel were present
We began with invoking the Crucified Christ through reciting the 7 Sayings from the Cross.
We then read the quotes at the beginning of the 17th Letter/Meditation and focused on both The Star and The Tower of Destruction.
– What is the Zodiacal equivalent to The Star? It is Capricorn. It has a remarkably Capricorn-esque quality. Something about the odd left leg, the “pant leg,” makes one think of the Sea-Goat. It looks like a fin or a flipper almost. She is like the Sea-Goat – united with the water below, but in the mountains and stars above.
– It is a very unusual way for her to kneel. It looks like from the knee down her left leg is held up in the air, as though she is squeezing the two halves of her leg together. The lines around the left foot seem to extend it, giving the impression of a flipper.
– Capricorn reigns in the knees and elbows, in the joints. These places are accentuated on the central figure, especially the knees. She flows into the landscape. Her thigh goes into the water, the water originates from her. The hills line up with her pelvis. She is like a spring in a landscape, the deep earth.
– The Sea-Goat = Water and Stars. It is interesting that Robert Powell was born with Sun in Capricorn, and his life work is with Water (Etheric, Eurythmy) and Stars (Astrosophy).
– The right hand stream of water lands at the bottom of the card, we can see where it lands. It doesn’t just disappear off of the edge of the card. What about the ripples this outpouring creates? They are going against the flow, perpendicular to the flow. The water is certainly the odd/unnatural aspect of the card, akin to the table of the magician or the hats that have been cut off by the upper border of certain cards.
– Both pitchers have a plant behind them.
– There are two, no three columns in this card. The right hand column has a pitcher, and the middle column has a pitcher. The left hand does not. The pitcher in the middle column originates from her, and we have to live with the question, will it join the flow? Or is it a separate stream? It is curved, lively compared to the stream from the right hand pitcher, which goes straight down and enters the larger stream. It seems noteworthy that this outpouring is aligned with the larger stream at the point at which it leaves the right hand pitcher.
– Her right foot has created land for it to rest upon, as though magically. It has separated what would otherwise be a united, undivided stream.
– Who is this woman? A goddess? What is her power? She is doing something, but not with reflection or intention. It is natural, and does not seem remarkable to her. She did not train for this task. She is exemplifying concentration without effort, and has turned her work into play. This versus the Tower, where extreme effort has led to failure and disaster, where “playing around” has turned into fruitless labor. These are two crass, mundane fellows, simple in a completely different sense than the pure simplicity of the woman in The Star. She has a simple beauty, not imposing like The High Priestess or Force.
– The color pattern of the picture is noticed. First of The Stars, then of the entire picture. The yellow stars create a “T” shape above, that then splits into the two sides of the landscape below. The red stars create a triangle (which intersects with the yellow “T”), which is turned into a pentagon with the two red pitchers. The two blue stars are just a straight line, but are transformed into a sort of “y” shape with the blue hair of the woman, and the outpouring water.
– We can compare 17 with 8 (both have a numerological value of 8). This is the method Tomberg used, as exemplified in the Wandering Fool. The Star is the star of Hope, of new possibility. For example, “the stars incline, they do not compel.” The so-called “8th Star” in a horoscope is the star of human freedom. The same applies to the 7 chakras, they incline, they do not compel. This is a higher form of Justice, a Justice that consists of Hope and Possibility.
– A similar geometry. The right hand pillar of stars is like the sword, while the two pitchers are like the scales. Or maybe the right hand pitcher is part of this sword (it is held more vertically), whereas the left hand pitcher is held horizontally. Water flows from above on the right, water flows from her on the left. The flow of Divine Justice and Mercy. The left hand side is her free offering, her Mercy (Grace).
– Comparing 16 with 7 (Tower and Chariot) as well as 17 and 8 (Star and Justice). There are many echoes within both sets of pairs. Justice is much more severe than The Star. The Sword is how we uphold and protect the Truth, the Scales are the content of Truth. She is very impersonal, a bit cold. Actually, most of the earlier Arcana are impersonal and detached. As the cards progress, more life and personality come into the figures. The rider in the Chariot is clearly royalty, a prince. He has come of age, received his inheritance. There is potentially a pride and boastfulness that comes with this, but there is also the potential for an increased sense of responsibility to arise within him. It is about the challenge, the path, the choice.
– In both sets of pairs we have the contrast of the angular, messy masculine (Tower and Chariot) with the feminine Star and Justice, where what is angular and messy has congealed and coalesced into something rounder, more organic. What is expressed in The Tower and The Star is the same as what is expressed in The Chariot and Justice, only taken to the extreme. Justice is the Principal/Ideal, The Star is the Activity/The Deed.
– The Star is just being who and what she is. She is not putting anything on. The Chariot sets the stage for The Tower, and Justice sets the stage for The Star. Justice has a degree of soft roundness, but is still so solid and heavy. Remember we focused on the wooden throne that looked like the prow of a ship. There is a contrast here – both The Chariot and The Tower are angular, messy, masculine, but The Chariot shows this in motion, whereas The Tower shows this at rest. On the other hand, Justice displays a feminine stillness, while The Star shows a feminine mobility.
– Why is there a separate flow of water? What is the point of that? Even though there is an abundance of harmony in this image, the crises come from minor tensions that are barely noticeable. Why is there no transition from Star to Goddess/Landscape? Why are there two outpourings with a foot in between?
– Notice that the right column has a bird in a much more vibrant tree (and only one tree). The left side has stunted trees with yellow leaves (2 of them). Less vibrant. The stars don’t indicate any difference in the columns if taken in isolation, but they do by association.
– If we only had the right hand column – of three stars, the tree and bird, the pitcher and the river – it could basically exist without the presence of the woman. The bottom and left of the image is the realm of her personal creation and contribution. This creation and contribution leads to division, ramification, the horizontal, duality. It is “nature naturing.” She is the vessel or the medium through which the purely divine activity of the right side must pass, but she adds what is personal to her with the left side.
– This can be interpreted on different levels. One could see the right side as the purity of creation, with the left side showing Eve sullying the waters of creation by creating strife through giving into temptation. Or it is the lonely creation of Adam on the right side, with the creation of Eve on the left creating the two-foldness that is love and generation. It is not good to be alone.
– Or is the right hand stream that of fallen nature and humanity (notice the fall from the heights)? And the left hand stream shows us the activity of the Virgin Mary to purify fallen nature? She does this not just by bearing the divine, but by the very nature of the divine, pure, innocent personality she bore within herself and offered to the world.
– These two possibilities – the unfallen sullied by the fallen = severity; the fallen redeemed by the unfallen = mercy. Compulsion vs hope/possibility. There is the same unity and division in the imagery of Justice with the Sword vs the Scales. Vertical and horizontal harmony.
– She holds the right side away from her, the left is embedded in her. She’s focused, however, on the right. The angle of the right is akin to the angle of the Magician’s wand, and the left hand pitcher is held in a similar region to the sphere that the Magician holds (over the root chakra), except these are held on opposite sides.
There are other similarities. We could see the objects on the table of the Magician as the stars in the sky of the Star. The two knives on the table are similar to the two streams flowing away from the woman.
– Now that we have adopted the perspective of Above/Right and Below/Left, suddenly the card has come into order. The crisis has resolved itself.
– The right hand pillar = 3 stars, Tree, Pitcher. The middle pillar = 2 stars, Woman, left hand pitcher. The left hand pillar = 3 stars, two trees. The middle pillar seems to be of great importance. The larger star is above her like a crown, it is focused on her. The left hand pitcher is not strictly in the middle or left hand column (although its stream is in the middle). It is a mediator, more like one of Temperance’s pitchers.
– She practices a sacred magic akin to the Magician’s, but without artifice or implement. It’s natural, always there. Truly effortless. It is a magic that enlivens nature. Maybe she is the source of this magic, or the primary magician and conduit?
– The Age of Capricorn in Atlantis = Second Sacrifice of Christ (Organizing of Ether Body, Vowel sounds/tone). The Age of Capricorn in Hyperborea = extraction of the Sun from the Earth Mass. Both have something to do with Etherization, but also with division, social life. This secret place where growth occurs – it is an invisible place, almost invisible (overlooked) to the mind. It is hard to know and conceptualize the spiritual, the etherized. She is displaying to us as explicitly as possible spiritual growth – a gateway that leads the mind to the imperceptible. A bit like our conversations, during which words bubble up like the water from an imperceptible place and lead us somewhere imperceptible.
– The struggle with the crises of each Arcanum is only the lead up to something, being taken to the threshold of something, not the completion of something.
– Joel’s experience of getting asked to speak at the Camphill Association meeting. There is an upwelling of content from the heart, but a feeling of foolishness in the face of this upwelling, of not understanding where it comes from or how to properly express it. One finds that in spite of a reluctance to speak, one needs an audience with which to share these things, only then can it begin to make sense. One thinks of Steiner and others – they were not feeling less Foolish as they went on, they surely felt more and more Foolish – more and more in awe of what was flowing through them for the sake of those to whom they spoke. These individuals come closer and closer to the Beginning, so they become the Child, the Fool.
– There is an upwelling of living symbolic content that the mind needs to put into some kind of order; then one really needs to give this to someone, to speak it. The symbol needs to be finished through the mind, through thought. Then someone needs to hear this conceptualized symbolism in order for it to accomplish its task.
In fact, we have struck on Yod He Vau! Yod = the upwelling of symbolic content. He = the ordering and conceptualizing of this content. Vau = The speaking out of this content. The second He would then be the taking up of this content (a second ordering) within each of those who are spoken to.
It becomes very clear that Tomberg characterized Anthroposophy in the right way. They seem to be living in the repetition of He, He, He, He, where Gnosis and Hermeticism is all that there is, without true Mysticism and Sacred Magic. It is a frozen or mechanical state, with nothing re-enlivened.
– The water is the upwelling. The stars are the Gnosis. She is sharing, pouring it out. The contrast of Light and Warmth – “The Spirit of God hovered (brooded) over the Waters.” The waters must become a perfect reflection of the Image above. Maybe, then, the Stars are the Mysticism and the Water is Gnosis. The mind gives authentic meaning to a Symbol with a whole world of unmediated (directly experienced) meanings.
– It will be good to work with the Minor Arcana. Many teachers have come following the path of YHVH, where a message is offered to humanity from above. But then the student is so easily trapped in the second He, forever relying on the content of what has been brought by the Teacher. The Minor Arcana show the path of the student, of the aspirant. They move from Coin (Established Knowledge) to Wand (Creative Outpouring), from Hermeticism to Mysticism. We need to be able to find our way back to the source.