Notes of a Hermetic Conversation between Phillip and Joel on April 19, 2023.
Last time we thought we noticed that one side of the vertical was longer than the other, but questioned it somewhat. It seemed very subtle.
But now we notice that its actually quite clear. One of the red horizontal bars actually touches the diagonal batons (on the bottom above), while the equivilant red bar in the upper vertical is relatively distant from the diagonals. Once you notice that, its clear that they are quite different.
It’s made quite obvious when the image is flipped:
Are the leaves of different lengths as well? They are certainly more different from each other on the one side vs the other. On one side the stems are of similar thickness, while on the other one is quite thin and the other is quite thick.
Can the X slide up and down the “track” of the vertical? Like an adjustable tool. Spin the leaves on the side to adjust the tool, to move it up and down. Calipers. Measuring, digital read-out.
Reminded again of molecular machinery in the cell. Enzymes, proteins.
Or a Chinese yo-yo.
Was the Nine secretly Ten?
If the upper and lower batons are separate, that makes it already Ten. It isn’t clear whether the vertical is one baton or two.
But with the Ten of Batons it seems pretty clear it is two vertical batons that run all the way through, not four batons (two above, two below). Like each of the “two” batons in the Nine grew, one up and one down, and met each other.
We don’t feel the same potential for mobility in the Nine, this ability to slide the X up and down the central rod. What has made the difference? Why do we feel this now in the Ten, and not in the Nine? Is it because the central batons are now white instead of yellow?
It’s because of the two of them running parallel to each other. It makes it appear like a railroad track. There’s a stability about parallel lines, they give confidence that they could be travelled upon.
Whereas in the Nine, you feel at best it could spin on either the vertical or horizontal axis, but not slide.
The Baton image expresses taking pieces of wood, and weaving them in a mechanical fashion, yet with an adjacent organic process within it, the leaves growing out.
We think back now to all of the Batons. Comparing/contrasting with the Coins.
The Coins aren’t at all mechanical. Whereas the weave in the Batons implies a process that has been done with this material. With the Coins, they are at best a hunk of metal that has been stamped or engraved, not a machine or something worked by a machine.
With the Swords, it’s mysterious. They are also woven. Somewhat mechanical in gesture. Yet you never have the impression that they were put there or arranged that way by someone. As in the Batons. We always saw them as a portal, a gateway. A weird space/antispace. A snapshot of time-space that is outside of time-space. They are not developing into something more and more functional, as the Batons are. It’s a mere accrual, an accumulation. And it isn’t clear how exactly the black portion relates to the colored portions.
Whereas in the Batons, the black has found its proper place at the tips. In the Swords, it is dispersed throughout. Strange. What is it?
The weave of the Swords is like electric fencing that you didn’t properly coil at the end of the season. If you leave it in a pile, it will naturally becoming totally entangled, automatically. Similar with fishing line. An “automatic weave” that is a pain, and more complex than an intentional weave.
Let’s imagine with the Swords: what would this image look like if the development kept progressing? And what would it look like in the Batons?
In the Swords, the center shrinks away, gradually disappears. Whereas in the Batons, there is more order, completion. The center is growing in the Batons, and is destroyed in the Swords.
Batons—a center developing outwardly, radiating out.
Swords—the periphery eating away at the center.
There is no end to the former, and there is a definite end to the latter.
The shift from the Seven to the Eight: a total change of the center shape:
Note the change to the angle of the diagonal so that the diamond form can fit. Is this some kind of projective geometry?
If we imagine the progression of the diagonal red bars, they would move as such, until they become totally vertical:
If we then move the projection in our imagination into the infinite, the form would become totally radiant. It goes indefinitely, even past physical limitation:
The Swords must fight their way out of the disappearing act, the end of all things.
Whereas there is an inherent mobility in the Batons.
Some kind of movement is happening in all of the Batons.
With the Swords, we are going deeper into a dark tunnel that is increasingly smaller. I, the participant, am moving, but the image is restrictive.
Is there a Batons—Swords pairing, and a Coins—Cups pairing? We lay them all out.
The Batons—Swords pairing is an inversion that is all about curved vs straight.
The Cup-Coin pairing is harder to put into words. Flatness vs depth. A depth that is animal/human, astral, multidimensional. Vs the flat coins, which are mineral/plant, innocent, stellar, cosmic. Unconscious nature (Coin) vs conscious nature (Cup).
The Swords are fate/karma, the Batons are freedom/grace.
The Swords are the subnatural, the technological, automatic, vs the Batons which are the miraculous.
The Swords are a portion that fell out of the irreducible complexity at the root of all things, becoming mechanical. Vs the Batons: that which is totally embedded in the living, organic.
The automatic vs the miraculous, as in the 13th Letter-Meditation.
There is nevertheless this mechanical or machine-like component to the Batons, but…
With the Swords, there is a mechanical component that is not related to machines. It is cold and lifeless. It is more related to the spirit of AI or something.
The Baton is a loom. The mechanical which is in relation to the human. The Sword is the mechanical which has taken on a mind of its own. Demonic. Technological.
The Two of Swords vs the Two of Batons really exemplifies this contrast. Encapsulates the polarities. Life is constrained in the Two of Swords, amplified in the Two of Batons.
In the Aces of Swords and Batons, the hands are coming from different sides. Even though it is the same (right) hand. The right on the right, vs the right on the left.
When we line up all ten Batons, it is very striking. Really like learning an alphabet. One letter at a time. “See. Spot. Run.”
There is a strong connection between the flowers of the Twos, Fours, Sixes, Eights of Swords and Batons.
Notice that the Nine of Swords is a broken sword, and the Nine of Batons is the one with the divided yellow vertical baton, a “broken” baton.
In the Ten of Batons, we have the two rails allowing movement, and in the Ten of Swords, two swords are opening something up.
In the Batons, the vertical baton passes all the way through, whereas in the Swords, only the tip of the sword passes through the top.
The lance/baton has a blade on each side. So it can pierce through both top and bottom. Whereas in the swords, only the tip of the blade can pierce, not the hilt.
We have the basic form of the Batons (a vertical line with an X) in the Three of Swords.
The black part at the end of the lances/batons brings forth the scimitar blade from the Swords. This is no longer “side by side”, Sword vs Baton. The Baton has incorporated a piece of the past Suit.
Both Suits imply circles without showing them directly. With the Swords, you have to place two cards side by side to form full circles. Whereas in the Batons, we are focusing on the center of a an implied circle, or a series of implied concentric circles.
Comparing the Twos again: in the Swords, the Vesica Piscis is the center, whereas in the Batons, it traces the outside through the leaf and flower forms.
This primal Minor Tarot form of the World is everywhere.
It’s interesting that we first see it in the Two in both the Swords and Batons. The Ace is like the emblem, the shield. The title. Whereas the Two actually shows everything that is coming next. The Two of Coins has something so special and beautiful about it, so alive. The Two of Swords is a pretty direct callback to the World, though.
Looking again to the “big spread”, all forty Numbered Minors. The Swords are like this conflict of life and death, whereas the Batons are a Sacred Marriage, an Alchemical Wedding.
The Coins only correspond to the Cups to a point. Not so exactly as the Sword—Baton mirroring. There is a clear connection in the Aces, Threes, Fours, Fives. The others are arranged quite differently from each other.
In this spread, the Ace of Coins stands alone as the “One.” The first of the first Suit. Then the second column: Two of Coins and Ace of Swords, displays division. The third column shows us the attainment of harmony and balance. Then the fourth column is like a rocket taking off, explosive. The fifth column again attains not just balance, but a real beauty. The sixth column brings in a strict form, a geometry. Then the seventh column attains an even higher degree of beauty than the fifth: a playfulness. The eighth column again has a geometrical form to it as in the sixth, but fuller, coming to an end. The ninth column expresses a kind of dying or moving into another dimension of being. The tenth column is the actual living within this new, strange realm. With the eleventh column we have a change: the first Court Arcanum appears. There is an emphasis on division, and again a kind of dying/hardening/finishing. The twelfth column expresses revelation descending from above into a naive consciousness. The thirteenth shows a process of becoming (Queen), vibrant life (Knight), dying (Knave) and death (Ten). The fourteenth column is again a turning point: the only column to have four Court Arcana. The King of Coins opens up the gateway to a mystery. The Queen of Swords beheads us and renews us in this tabernacle. The Knight of Cups is going through the process of being reconstituted. And now we come to our next Arcanum…the Knave of Batons…
This is a hale, healthy, plump lad.
And the Ace of Batons is back—but upside down?
It’s like he turned the Ace of Batons off, turned it the right way. A tree trunk growing.
Is it not alive? Maybe alive?
Are his clothes on backwards?
His sleeve looks like a cape.
He is similar to the Fool? The stick vs the baton, the disjointedness.
He has a unique hat. More mundane, fashionable. Not proper for certain formal or martial situations. Maybe he’s a chef?
There are a lot of triangles.