Notes of a Hermetic Conversation on December 12, 2017
Tarot Conversation December 12 2017
The Yod Sequence: The Magician; The Emperor; The Chariot: Wheel of Fortune; Death; Tower of Destruction; The Sun
Phillip and Joel were present
We began with invoking the inspiration of Archangel Michael with a quote from The Michael Mystery. We then practiced the Lord’s Prayer in the Sephiroth and the first 19 letters of the Divine Alphabet with references to the Tree of Life.
Reflections on the 7 Arcana listed above, with emphasis on the 19th Arcana, The Sun:
– Almost all of them have an underlying triangular geometry. The peak of the triangle in different cards is: the head/hat of the Magician; the Charioteer of the Chariot; the Sphinx of the Wheel of Fortune; The Skull of Death; the Flame of the Tower of Destruction; and the Sun in the Sun. The odd man out, appropriately enough, is the Emperor (considering the emphasis on anonymity/loneliness in the 4th Letter/Meditation). He is more of an upside down triangle?
Looking more closely, it seems as though there is a movement, an interaction between an upper and lower triangle of some kind in each of these seven cards. The Sun seems centered around one main triangle more so than the others.
It looks as though the two heads of the youths in The Sun are within the triangle, rather than making up the two points of its base. If The Magician is the image of setting out on the path to Mysticism and The Sun is the image of its fulfillment, Mysticism achieved, then it is appropriate that the heads of the youths are within the triangle (within the Holy Trinity), and not standing outside of it or supporting it from below.
Is there a progressive movement of the interacting triangles in the sequence of cards? In the case of The Sun, it seems to be something like the Trinosophia:
Except the two triangles are only just intersecting at the midpoint: the upward pointing triangle and downward pointing triangle’s bases are only just intersecting.
The Emperor seems to be only the upside down triangle (point downwards). Has the Sun brought together the separate triangles into a harmonious form?
– The Sun is very strongly reminiscent of the glyph of Gemini, where the boys are the two vertical lines of the glyph, and the sun is the top line and the earth is the bottom line.
– Focusing on the beginning, middle and end of the sequence: The Magician—Wheel of Fortune—The Sun. The form of the Sun seems related to both the Magician’s head as well as the Wheel itself in the Wheel of Fortune.
– Are the youths aware of the Sun, or is it invisible/unnoticed by them? Is it the sign under which they are performing their communion/conversation/rite? Is it two levels of one reality?
– The Sun is explicitly in the background of the 19th Arcanum, whereas the magical operation is implicitly in the background (i.e., assumed on our part) in the 1st Arcanum. 19, The Sun is the culmination of 1, The Magician.
– There are two different images that arise from this sequence. The first has to do with this idea of the pocket watch in the 15th/16th century: a decorative sphere that is wound up by a key. This could be what the Magician is doing, he is preparing to wind up the watch (ball) with the key (wand). Then we move to the 10th Arcanum, Wheel of Fortune – this is like being inside of the watch while the gears are being wound up, seeing the mechanism of time. Then The Sun, with its clock-like but living face, shows us Time unfolding in Eternity—Duration, the All-Time.
The second image: The Magician’s hat could be seen as the Sun rising over the horizon. The red rim of his hat is transmuted into the red wall of the 19th Arcanum. The remainder of the imagery of the 19th Arcanum is what is made visible, or unfolds, due to the rising of the Sun into full daylight.
The 1st Arcanum is related then to how things can look at twilight, a bit funny. Seeing something for the first time and only getting one dimension of it. Just a presentation of symbolism.
Whereas the 19th Arcanum is seeing this same thing again in clear daylight, without its former trappings. Seeing it in its full simplicity, its balance and symmetry, which has the effect of stilling the thought process. No effort of interpretation is needed, as the meaning and significance is directly perceived. The quote on page 552 about the simplicity of, for example, praying the Rosary, speaks to this very idea. Here there is no crisis, as in the other Arcana – it speaks for itself.
– The Magician (1) = The Sun astrologically; Wheel of Fortune (10) = Leo, which is ruled by the Sun; then The Sun (19, related to Gemini) is itself called The Sun. All are somehow related back to The Sun, and all have a numerological value of 1 (1, 10, 19). The numerological value of the 7 cards we are looking at is 1, 4, 7, 1, 4, 7, 1.
Wheel of Fortune is the center, the turning point of this sequence. Possibly we could arrange these in a particular way around the Wheel of Fortune, as we have done with other cards before:
The Chariot (as Sphinx)
Magician and The Sun (As Dogs)
Wheel of Fortune in the centre
Tower of Destruction and Death (As Monkeys)
Emperor (in the Catacombs)
– The Magician, though, is also a bit like the Sphinx: the primal human overlooking all the elements of the human microcosm. The Adam Cadmon, the Old Wine.
Then the Wheel of Fortune is the Fall of man into the earthly microcosm. The bifurcation of Image and Likeness. “Thus, Spirit Light creates Blood to Water” (quote from the 7th portion of the Grail Knight’s Practice) – the necessity of Death, the purifier (renewer of Water) – the next stage.
The Sun becomes the image of the New Wine that has been suffused by the “Faith, Hope, and Love-Warmth” of the Trinosophia.
The “heavenly light and earthly sap” from the Knight’s Practice. The elements of light, sap, and wine. The wine goes bad, and the purified water is then re-enlivened. A fresh activity of the light invigorates a new wine.
The Magician, The Emperor = Pure (original) Wine
The Chariot, Wheel of Fortune = The Fall (wine goes bad)
Death = Death as safety measure (3 primal curses, spirit light creates blood to water)
The Sun = “Yet when spirit light’s number, measure weight, etc…” = Luminous Holy Trinity
What about the Tower of Destruction? This is a prerequisite for the Grace of the Mother in 19. Why? It is the chaos that is so supremely taxing that the new formation that is simultaneously coming into being through the chaos is for a time invisible. Like the dissolution of the caterpillar in a chrysalis.
All of human history is the Tower, failure upon failure, until we are saved by the grace of the Mother.
This then is the 7-fold path of Mysticism. What does that mean for us practically?
1, 4, 7 = mastery of the earthly domain, the building up of one’s ego-powers.
13, 16 = confrontation with the Belt of Lies.
10 = entering into a new domain. Personal mastery doesn’t hold sway here, but it does have an impact, albeit indirectly, on the world (of spirit, humanity, nature).
Interesting that in Joel’s characterization of the 7 Miracles, as of 2004-2016, we passed through a stage of development represented by the Wheel of Fortune (see http://www.treehouse.live for the article series “The Seven Miracles” or page 17 of: https://sophiafoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Starlight-Holy-Nights-2019-20sm.pdf). The Magician unfolded between 1896-1908 (Rudolf Steiner = Master); The Emperor between 1933-1945 (Valentin Tomberg = Master); and The Chariot between 1968-1980 (Robert Powell = Master). But now we have entered a domain, as of the confrontation with Ahriman and humanity crossing the Threshold, where Mastery no longer holds sway in the same way. We have entered a realm of confrontation with an outer force, not consolidation of inner forces.
Reflecting on our conversation with Robert from the previous week. The strong impression that Robert has attained an authentic and particular kind of mastery. He enters utterly and completely into his spiritual capacities, but is never in the slightest overtaken by them. He is solid in his personality, in his practicality.
The ability to have awareness of his own past lives, while maintaining equanimity in relation to his current incarnation. He speaks of being protected, but it also seems as though he performed the appropriate inner work before hand. Like a child who learns to speak, and only years later learns the rules of grammar. He had built up in himself the ability to “speak” spiritually, and when these things were revealed in a completely conscious way to him, it was no more alarming than learning grammar when one knows how to speak already.
For the rest of us, we might be like teenagers who never learned to speak and are trying to learn the rules and the method at the same time (*as I write this, I think of Kaspar Hauser). We are like Helen Keller, needing to reinvent the Wheel (of Fortune).
1, 4, and 7 = the build-up of the earthly personality
10, 13, and 16 = development or acquisition of karmic knowledge (about oneself), throwing one into a crisis of either self-aggrandizement or self-annihilation
19 = integration of current self/identity with prior self/identity, of temporary self with Transcendent Self. The Sun = Hierarchies shining over self and Self as protection, harmony (this is discussed in the 19th Letter-Meditation). The image would be disharmonious, there would be a crisis, without the presence of the Sun above.
The Sun = duration. What your mission is, and who you are, from beginning to end.
The 10th Arcanum is a crisis in the ego – it is the Guardian of the Threshold
The 13th Arcanum is a crisis of astrality, a removing of the non-essential, of death forces
The 16th Arcanum is a tempering, a crisis in the etheric
The 19th Arcanum is a crisis in the physical – the true nature of the resurrection body. Like a baby’s body: a perfect and amazing physical body (hence they are youths). Earlier we had discussed how when a baby is born, the physical is perfect, but the rest of the bodies (etheric, astral, etc) are in a disarray, haven’t fully incarnated yet. The physical body of a baby is self-explanatory in its simplicity and perfection, like The Sun.
The 13th Arcanum is a hollowing out, the feeling of self-annihilation that comes with knowledge of one’s prior life.
The 16th Arcanum is a coming to terms, a strengthening of the vessel. Resigning oneself to the loss of one’s false/incomplete sense of identity, creating an openness to grace.
The 19th Arcanum is the filling of the opened vessel. The baby is a pure, open vessel.
– Each of us has a fatal flaw, a kink in each of our personalities that is also potentially our greatest strength; the point of orientation in the spiritual world, opening up the particular region we can observe and bring down to earth. It is the double edged sword, our success and our downfall. The Grail Question: “What Ails Thee?” is what has the ability to change this downfall into a success (e.g. Anfortas).
We see this in the cards. The build-up of personality in 1, 4, 7 – finding success due to our specific gift, our ego. Then this gift becomes a kink in the personality, a crisis of personality. The Grail Question (the dialogue in The Sun) heals and elevates this curse into a blessing.
What does the Mystery of Golgotha have to do with this crisis of the personality, with the Grail? Christ = Sun. All other events are just symbols of the primal mystery of Christ, which contains all (like the rays of The Sun). The youths could be Magdalene and Lazarus.
In what way is the Christ Event the primal mystery? Even God himself has a kink, the kink of Perfection, of Perfect Knowing and Willing. He must descend into the depths of Nothing, of Powerlessness in order to counterbalance the kink of Knowing and Being All. This is the greatest possible expression of the transformation, the balancing of the kink that we referred to before. Hence the spiritual world holds its breath at the descent of Christ. This was an absolutely unique deed. This planted the seed to make it possible that all others could counter-balance the kink – it is like the seeds being blown off the dandelion (again, similar to The Sun). Christ becomes the “center of centers,” the “personalizing personality,” through which the Old Wine (the collective kink of humanity) passes through death (water) and then to the Mother and becomes new wine (resurrection). Then each human being’s kink, their downfall, becomes a secret weapon for the Good through Christ. The collective chaos becomes a super-harmonization. This speaks to the absolute need for and value of community.
It is so easy to interpret Steiner’s description of the multiplication of “phantoms” or resurrection bodies from the risen Christ in a rather mechanical, hum drum way – but the reality is much more momentous and dramatic, as we understand it above.
We closed with the ending of the Knight’s Practice.