Notes of a Hermetic Conversation on November 28, 2017
November 28, 2017 The Sun
Phillip and Joel
We began with invoking the Archangel Michael with a reading from Steiner’s Michael Mystery
We then practiced the divine alphabet through the 19th Letter (Qoph), with references to the Knight’s Practice.
Reflections on the Sun:
– Which Arcana have faces staring directly at us? Not many. Justice, Wheel of Fortune (Sphinx), Hanged Man, Devil. But the face of The Sun is so large and detailed. These other faces are (respectively), severe, cold, in pain, and frightening. The Sun’s face is radiating goodness directly at the viewer like no other image. It remind’s one of Joel’s inner impression of “beholding John beholding you” during the Communion of Fish, or of Estelle’s vision at the Goetheanum (see notes from August 2017, “Grail Knight’s Intensive”). An incredibly intense loving kindness and joy, an intensity we usually only associate with evil.
Whereas Justice, Wheel of Fortune, Hanged Man, and the Devil are warnings and messages, The Sun is like an offering, a gift, not so much a message.
– The two youths are subtly indicating to their left. There is a mild asymmetry in their gesture, in the exchange happening between them. Otherwise there is no asymmetry in the card, both in terms of top to bottom and left to right. There are three reams:
Torsos (above wall)
Legs (below wall)
– The drops falling from the sun: other than the top two, the rest exactly mirror each other color-wise. The top two plus the other eleven = 13. The middle drop is blue, very centrally placed. Central section of the card: Yellow face, Red sunbeam, Blue drop.
– There is an asymmetry in the sunbeams. One notices different geometries, different groupings, whether by straight vs curved or by color:
2 straight green sunbeams
2 curved white sunbeams (each approximately 135° angle)
curved blue triangle
straight yellow cross (with upraised arms, or could be an arrow)
red five pointed star, with three curved and two straight. The head of the star with this combination is on the left side of the sun, pointing down and to the left.
Although this is not really symmetrical at all, neither is it a chaos. There are many patterns and forms to be seen. Both the point of the yellow arrow as well as the head of the star point to the left, going along with the gesture of the youths towards the left.
– We then aligned cards 16 through 19 (a Yod He Vau He: Tower, Star, Moon, Sun), but with 19 on the left through 16 on the right (opposite of what one might naturally do). The four images flow together: the land of the Tower aligns with the land of the Star; the water of the Star flows into the pool of the Moon; the landscape of the Moon flows into that of the Sun (wall joins with tower).
Where is the wall? Is it a parapet? But then why is there soil in the foreground? Maybe its a yard, on the ground? The wall seems curved.
Maybe The Sun is taking place on top of the tower in The Moon. There is a blue drop directly between the two dogs, just as there is one directly between the two youths.
The men in Tower become pitchers in Star, then dogs in Moon and then youths in Sun. Have they safely come back to the ground again? Maybe the Tower is an imagined or internal Fall; they’ve been on the ground the entire time, but what is shown in 16 through 18 had to occur to bring about the state of being they’re experiencing in 19.
With this arrangement, when they point to the left they are pointing back to 18, 17, 16. Maybe there is a dialogue happening between them about what has happened. 18 and 17, on the other hand, look to the Sun, to the Right.
Cards 16-19 are like warnings or counter effects of cards 1-4. Tower of Destruction is the charlatanism that works counter to true mysticism of The Magician (perception of truth via analogy). The Moon is the voodoo magic from the underbelly that works counter to true Sacred Magic of The Empress. An impasse rather than the flow of divine will into human will.
The Sun is complementary to (if not a warning about) The Emperor. The Sun is about community and the principle of cooperation; this counterbalances the anonymity and isolation associated with the Crucified King that is the Emperor.
The Crayfish of the Moon (Scorpion) vs the Eagle of The Empress. A the Empress’s Shield vs a magic mirror/crystal ball of the pool in The Moon.
Perseus uses his shield as a mirror against Medusa. To see evil in its reflection so that one is not overcome, turned to stone – then one can behead the evil. Perseus is an image of Michael – the Michaelmas meteors come during the Perseid meteor showers.
The Shield is the shining of an ideal that draws you out and upwards, more and more – the eternal striving of Goethe. vs. the Pool which hypnotizes, draws one in, turns one to stone (the pillar of salt referenced at the beginning of the 18th Letter-Meditation).
The movement through cards 1-4 is so gradual, they are so familial. Whereas 16-19 is a movement from extreme to extreme, very dynamic. There is something musical here. 1-4 is like a gentle prelude, whereas now we are in the overture, the crescendo. The figures are strongly in the foreground in the early cards, now they are receding into, overtaken by the landscape – again compare 1-4 to 16-19.
– looking at the figures in The Sun: the one on the right is stockier, while the one on the left is a bit thinner
They have flesh colored hair? Some kind of collar shape around their necks? Are they etheric beings, all peach-blossom colored? But why then the blue loin cloth?
The red band of the wall divides the torso from the legs through the sacral and root chakras
The two dogs in The Moon are also completely flesh colored
– Looking at the movement of the color blue from 16-19: in The Tower, it covers the head, loins and feet. Then in The Star, it covers the head (hair) and is below the feet (water). Then it completely disappears from any of the figures in The Moon – all in the Pool, the Crayfish. Finally in The Sun, it only covers the loins. Maybe this is the only place that Blue (chastity, devotion, purity) belongs? Everywhere else must remain completely open, warm, radiating?
Maybe the misplaced blue was part of their destruction in The Tower. Blue head = Ahrimanic intellect, cold. Blue feet = cold feet, lack of will. What about the red? Red and blue alternate vertically on the two men falling from the Tower, then they alternate horizontally in The Sun (wall/loin cloth/wall/loin cloth/wall). It changes from blue/red/blue/red/blue to red/blue/red/blue/red. In The Tower, this alternation is a bit of a chaos, a mess. In The Sun, this alternation is seamless, flowing, harmonious.
– The point of the blue triangle in The Sun follows the direction of the pointing hand, they point down to the Pool in The Moon (if arranged 19, 18, 17, 16 moving one into the other, as above)
– The positioning of their legs has a kind of unintentional harmony. Above the red, there is a dialogue occurring. But where the red and blue alternate, a process is occurring. The blue loin cloth hangs a bit too low on the left hand figure, exposing the navel. This is a question. He is too thin, the cloth doesn’t fit. The other is worried – “eat the crayfish.”
– The left hand figure is in a way more central than the other, due to the configuration of the hands. He is being touched, and has his arms open. There is a perfect harmony in this card, very little in the way of crisis, but on the other hand maybe this is an image of something coming into balance between them, and once balanced, maybe the left hand figure would take the central position.
– Where is the crisis in this card? What is the crisis? Nothing obvious, esp compared to The Moon
– The face of The Sun is clock-like, like a sundial, a protractor, or a combination lock. The small lines around the border of his face are almost exactly lined up with the longer black lines streaming out. There seems to be 69 smaller lines and 59 larger ones?
This is a very different image of Time Keeper vs the modern age. There is nothing mechanical about The Sun, it is very living.
– What does time have to do with these two beings? Time as an etheric unfolding, as a growth/metamorphosis process. There is an irreversible quality to time, an inevitability that is none the less non-mechanical. The feeling of being a teenager – “Why must things be this way?” The feeling of arbitrary suffering. Yet this seemingly objective awareness of what appears to be arbitrary suffering is merely the projection of one’s subjectivity, one’s loss of sense of self upon reaching puberty that one projects out onto the world. Joel and existentialism in high school, the absurd and the meaningless held a great metaphysical attraction. Maybe this card represents the resolution to the larger crisis leading up to The Sun (Tower, Star, Moon). The different arrangements in the rays of the Sun are different preceding cards. Now they are all seen together, in their wholeness and duration, rather than as scattered chaotic fragments that are unrelated.
– The shape of the Triangle above the Square (The Lord’s Prayer) can be seen in this card. Triangle of Sun and two youth’s heads, square of two shoulders and two feet.
– Maybe these two are having a Hermetic Conversation like ours. One could look at it two different ways: they are being imbued with a Wholeness from above, that can only be expressed via their conversation, each of them bearing a part. Or one could say that each of them holds within them a different spiritual species, a different spiritual perspective, that through their conversation finds unity in the Sun above. They are finding unity in their difference: they are both pointing in the same direction, but using a different gesture.
– This brings to mind Tomberg’s eventual rejection of Spiritual Science. Why did this come about? What are its limitations? Spiritual science sees spiritual perception as a potentially universal activity. For science, observations and experiments must be repeatable to be authentic. The idea in Anthroposophy is that if everyone follows the spiritual path laid out by Rudolf Steiner, all of us will one day come to perceive the exact same things that he did in the spiritual world, and everyone will have a more or less objective and universal picture of the spiritual world. This is a narrow and dangerous way of thinking. What if the reality is closer to this:
Each human spirit is like a species unto itself. We are like the different eyes on the wings of the Cherubim. Yes, all of us have the potential for spiritual perception, but that which each of us will perceive of the wholeness will be particular to our individual spirit. What Rudolf Steiner was able to perceive was comprehensive, yes, but it was also particular to him. In other words, no amount of training will make you see what Rudolf Steiner saw, exactly the way he saw it. You are emulating something unattainable, whereas instead you should and could be actively cultivating your individual realm and mode of perception in the spiritual world. Look at the difference amongst Steiner, Tomberg, Robert, Judith von Halle, and Estelle – all are offering to us a completely different perspective and content of the inexhaustible fount of the spiritual world. And learning to truly take in these different observations is what begins to activate our own forces of perception.
But how then do we avoid a chaos of relativistic pictures of the spiritual world? Is it all just subjective? No – it is trans-subjective, hence Tomberg’s emphasis of this term in Meditations on the Tarot. What is needed is not a spiritual science, but a spiritual language, a common tongue through which different spiritual experiences can be shared amongst different “spiritual species.” This spiritual language is nothing other than that which is created through the Divine Alphabet – The Tarot! Christian Hermeticism is not spiritual science, but something much more necessary – a common, universal, spiritual tongue (The Word).
We must learn to understand the content of Anthroposophy as an alphabet, as a collection of highly intellectualized archetypes. Not something to be attained and witnessed by each person, or as literal facts/dogma to simply be believed. Spiritual ferment, spiritual food.
– Joel recognizing inherent biases in his psyche, his world view. Years ago he had a serious conflict with his father. Out of this came a certain perspective – that his father, and actually each human being, is at one and the same time ruler over him, servant to him, and equal with him. Each of us is master, servant, and equal to the other, depending on what realm we have in question. This is the same with spiritual knowledge. Yes, Rudolf Steiner is the Master in his own domain. But in someone else’s spiritual domain, he becomes servant. And inasmuch as all human beings can develop mysticism, gnosis, sacred magic, and hermeticism, we are all equals as spiritual beings per se.
This is a razor’s edge to walk. Our goal is to become spiritual extremes, individuated beings, centered around the “personalizing personality” of Christ. To miss this mark means risking drowning our unique spiritual experiences and gifts in the color of our personality.
– The Through the Eyes of Mary Magdalene trilogy and the characterization that each soul is a world unto itself. That Christ created a special soul-world for Magdalene to dwell in. If each soul is a world unto itself, what is the link from soul to soul? Are they completely independent?
Steiner has created a spiritual language of symbols that allows spiritual realities to be deconstructed and reassembled on an intellectual level.
Tomberg has accomplished the same thing at a moral level, a deeper level.
Their works are tools of orientation for the seeking soul. They can just be read, absorbed on a surface level, or really digested and used as tools of orientation.
Certainly there are special cases of spiritual expression such as Steiner and Tomberg! Exceptional “species” we might say. But potentially each and every human being has their own point of view on the Cherubim’s wing.
– In Rune Soup, they discuss the grimoire, Cornelius Agrippa – the Magician’s diary/notes.
MOT is a grimoire of Sacred Magic, through which we can become conscious of the moral atmosphere, and how to align one’s will with the divine, the basis of Sacred Magic.
We closed with the end of the Knight’s Practice.