Notes of a Hermetic Conversation between Phillip and Joel on November 6, 2022
The impression Joel was left with at the close of the previous conversation was that the Three is a uniting of the vertical of the Ace with the X of the Two. Like the insertion of the key that turns on the machine—we had this impression of the Three of Batons as a rolling wheel, or a gyroscope, a fantastic machine.
Ace = Two = Three. The Three is made up of the Ace and the Two. It is a combining and an igniting, yet it is a simplification as well. A consolidation. The Ace and the Two complete and satisfy each other. A quieting down.
And yet—now the wheel can begin rolling. The gyroscope can start spinning. It can only do that if it is simplified enough. The car that is being worked on in the garage has all the parts exposed, some are strewn all over the place; it all looks very intricate and complex. But the car at the car show is sleek, pristine, perfected in its simplicity. Complexity vs beautiful simplicity. The presentation of the finished product—we are back to the theme of the Emperor, the Presentation in the Temple, with which the Three of Batons is related.
Is the Three of Batons aggressive? Powerful? Martial? It is somehow reminiscent of those giant satellite dishes from the 80’s-90’s. So static, but a form that is very functional. Something that will accomplish a very specific technical function.
The Suit of Coins was the raw material. The Suit of Swords was the process of transforming that material into a useful form. The Suit of Cups was the assemblage of these magical devices. The assembly continues up to the Ace, Two and Three of Batons. Now the device is finally finished, ready to go.
We’re back to where it all started: the Magician holding the wand (Ace of Batons) and the ball (Two of Batons), about to insert the key into the clock. Here they are finally put together.
The interplay between sleight-of-hand vs an actual magical deed. Two sides of the coin. Sleight-of-hand displays the ability of rational consciousness to go beyond the limit of naive perception. The inability of one’s naive perception to be aware of something that it could/should have been if it “knew the trick.”
Whereas actual magic operates a degree higher. Here it is rational consciousness—that which makes slight-of-hand possible in relation to naive perception—that is transcended. A deed that goes beyond reason, conveys the limits of our rational consciousness the same way sleight-of-hand conveys the limits of our naive sense perception. There is a rational explanation behind the sleight-of-hand, whereas there is a moral explanation behind Magic (the transcending of the rational).
If the Magician is doing some sleight-of-hand, with the combining of the Ace and the Two of Batons in the Three, we have actual magic on display. The Three of Batons is a kind of Gnosis, the moral “explanation” behind the true Magic analogous to the rational explanation behind the sleight-of-hand.
We’re back to the process from Magician to Emperor—how two become one. Except this time it occurs in three moves instead of four:
Or maybe it is a step-wise process…the Magician is the magical act between Ace and Two…the High Priestess is the Gnosis, the “explanation” that comes between Two and Three…
The is a much greater completeness in the Batons in terms of the “being” that is expressed through the components of the image. In the Cups, it was more like these primitive animal/totem forms were being expressed. Very basic, primal. Here so much more of the “Being” who stands behind the image is able to come through. You can feel the magic and the power. The “Magic Wand.”
Perhaps the order goes the other way? If the deed of magic is meant to occur between the Ace and the Two, this would put the Empress in relation to them…and if the Three is the act of Gnosis, then the High Priestess belongs after the Empress…
There is certainly a resonance here between the Emperor and the Ace of Batons.
Does this mean with the Ace, Two, Three, etc, we’re working with the Divine Name in reverse? HVHY? Doesn’t Tomberg describe this as the formula of materialistic science?
Yes…but in our practice, what we’ve discovered is that when we move through YHVH in reverse, we don’t get HVHY, we end up with YHShVH, the five-fold name of Yeshua. When inverted, the Four becomes Five.
We can even extend it backwards, placing the King of Cups between the Emperor and the Pope.
There is still a question, really, of what exactly happened in the transition from the King of Cups to the Ace of Batons. A sudden leap.
The Minors are like an expression of the activity of a higher world above influencing the activity of a more mundane world below in the Majors. The pillars behind the Pope. This breathing. The gateway of breath. Whereas the hat/crown of the King of Cups is resonant with that, like a gateway of breath, an opening to what is above. And the opening of the blue robes for the Pope…this is also a gateway, like the two monks before him are going through the gate into the realm of the night. But it is as though they are passing into the realm of blue behind the Pope, that ascends—these blue pillars. They are lifted up. There is a similar opening of the robes for the King of Cups—an ongoing gesture of ascent between the Pope and the King of Cups.
And is the opening in the King’s Cup related to the fifth wound, the heart wound of the Pope? The prior cup in the Queen had no opening, perhaps it was “wounded” in order to be re-opened.
The Queen of Cups is the culmination of the undisturbed archetype of the Cup—in fact, she is in a way the culmination of the undisturbed archetype of all of the Court Arcana before her. In all the prior Court Arcana, something is disturbed, something is off. But with her, all is as it should be finally. The cup is intact, her throne is fine.
This places the Queen of Cups as the transition from The Lover to The Pope.
Again, having this impression that in reality the King is identical with the cup that the Queen holds, and the Queen is identical with the cup that the King holds. They give each other life at the expense of their own. “I become cup that you become real.”
And perhaps they are there again in the Ace and Two of Batons. Like the Two is the vortex, the back side of the Ace, and if the Ace is pulled towards the vortex (i.e., towards the Two), they unite and become the Three. So in the Three of Batons, we have the King and Queen united in the Third.
The Queen’s cup is almost a baton, she wants it to be a baton. It no longer has an opening at the top.
An enchantment…a Queen wants her lover to be human, but he is cursed to be a cup/baton. She sacrifices herself to bring him back. But then he feels—what is the point of living without you? And so then they both become objects so that they can unite. The Ace and the Two become the Three.
The yellow teardrop shape at the base of the Ace of Batons is reminiscent of the yellow spotlight on the floor of the King of Cups.
Seeing this reflected in the Majors. There are two lovers getting married in the Lover. In the Pope, these two are invited into the robes of the priest who has married them. When they go through, they transform into Emperor and Empress. The High Priestess beholds it all, has the overall understanding of this process.
It seems as though the Queen becomes the King’s Cup, which then becomes the Baton in the Ace:
Whereas the Queen’s Cup becomes the King, who then becomes the Two of Batons:
This is a bit counterintuitive, as the Ace of Batons seems male and the Two seems female, but the arcanology speaks otherwise. With the King, it’s all about the elaborate, ornate detail. With the Queen it’s all about the red opening at the top.
Joel had some ruminations while on a hike the other day. There’s this persistent idea that comes up especially in Tomberg’s work and in the Sophianic world that the mission of the consciousness soul is to become this cup, this empty pure vessel into which the revelations of the spirit self can pour. Giving the consciousness soul this distinct female quality and the spirit self a male quality. Joel finds this point of view increasingly dissatisfying, and outside of his realm of experience. How does such a point of view align, for example, with the path of Philosophy of Freedom, which places so much emphasis on the activity of thinking, rather than its silencing?
Joel’s experience is a little bit more like this: the spiritual world only discloses unfinished realities, always with a portion missing (a Tsim tsum, a void) that can only be filled with human creativity born of active imagination. It isn’t that any product of our arbitrary imagination will “fill the gap” in the revelatory picture given by the spiritual world, but it is definitely not a given—it relies on the capacity for the exakt Phantasie of a Goethe. Two different individuals might be given the same partially-completed revelatory picture from the spiritual world, and find a way to “fill in the gap” in completely individual ways, two different ways, both of which are none-the-less accurate. This, to Joel, is spiritual science, and the mode of Goethean cognition that Steiner lays out in books like Philosophy of Freedom or Goethe’s Worldview. In this case, the consciousness soul plays the part of the male, rising up to meet the descending female Spirit.
On the other hand, there is the experience of moral inspiration. In this case, Joel feels that he must continually purify his soul in order to make it receptive to the right ideas and impulses at the right moment—the capacity for spontaneous moral responsibility. In this situation, the consciousness soul becomes female, she must become totally open to the descending guidance of the male Spirit.
[Something that went unmentioned during the conversation—it seems that our souls are required to become androgynous during this time period, able to be male in the domain of revelation and female in the domain of morality. We can only achieve this in relation to an equally androgynous spiritual level of our being (the Spirit Self). However, if the human being remains unconscious of the spirit, instead we will attempt to achieve this a level lower down—to make our body-soul organization androgynous rather than our soul-spirit organization. This is perhaps part of the rise of gender dysphoria in the modern age. The core impulse is a healthy one, but is misdirected into materialistic channels].
It seems to Joel that on the Tombergian/Sophianic path there is a confusion of these two realms—as though moral purification of the soul leads to spiritual revelatory content. For Joel, these are two distinct realms that need to be differentiated. The age of the downpour of a freely given spiritual vision, not requiring the active participation of human thinking/imagination, is over. Spiritual science is a completely different activity of the human being vs the visions of the seers of the past. We should not confuse this type of activity with the moral inspiration that becomes possible through the silencing and purification of the soul.
To Joel, the Three of Batons seems to reveal both of these paths, where the vertical Baton is Male (either Spirit or Soul) and the crossed Batons are Female (either Soul or Spirit).
How much of our inner nature demands a spiritual reality in order to resolve, crystallise, form? How much of our outer life demands something spiritual in order to complete itself?
My being is a moral question. I need a spiritual experience in order to act. Acting is essential to my coming to being. A moral domain.
Whereas spiritual facts (e.g, Atlantis, angelic hierarchies)—they are not necessary to determine my becoming. They are needed in order to complete my understanding, awareness, consciousness.
Intuiting principle as having behind it living archetype—as its essence—is essential in order to navigate the moral domain, through which the path of development leads. The stepping stones of growth happen only on the crux of moral questions. The intuition arising at the right time so that you can act—this is so different than the idea of spiritual science.
Ideally one realm would fructify the other.
Phillip is not haunted by the idea that we might attain clairvoyance of “essential facts”—he can trust Steiner, he doesn’t really need his own clairvoyance. He is thankful for Steiner, whereas what is essential for us is moral intuition. How to find the intuition needed to act and develop—this is what Phillip needs. He doesn’t need more spiritual facts, he needs some and he has those.
Joel’s process involves more of this self-enhancing, self-improving activity ideally. Where the artistic completion of semi-clairvoyant content leads to a carving out of the moral bowl within oneself. The more of his own effort he has to put on the co-creation of the revelatory content, the more he strikes away, the more he has to purify his own being, opening himself up to new moral inspirations.
Spiritual facts…some are essential for salvation, i.e. dogma. Whereas some are…just tradition? Less essential? None-the-less true, however.
The maturation of the soul depends on the subset of spiritual facts. Part are a given, part are finished. Interesting in the light of this male/female aspect that Tomberg gives two seemingly opposite descriptions of how dogma comes about—in his work on the Ten Commandments, he describes it as a revelatory content coming from above, from God to his sanctioned representative and then to the people. There is nothing democratic about it, it is entirely theocratic/aristocratic.
On the other hand, in the Letter-Meditation on The Sun, he describes how the dogmas relating to Mary begin as yearnings in the hearts of the faithful, which grow in intensity, traveling their way upwards from the faithful through the hierarchy of the Church, until they are finally proclaimed out of the mouth of Peter, the Pope. So here too, we have an above-to-below and a below-to-above direction of the manifestation of dogma, or spiritual facts essential for salvation.
Going back to this maturation of the soul depending on the subset of spiritual facts. With Anne Catherine Emmerich or Estelle Isaacson, they too received an incomplete revelation that needed to be completed with the content of their own imaginative activity. They could only fill in the gaps of what they received with what they had within them. These incomplete spiritual vistas, products of soul activity with spiritual revealing. The incomplete revelations meet our souls filled with life, find something of a nature akin to them, and finish.
Going back to this mysterious question that has been plaguing Phillip of late—how can the four bodies of Christ be separated? What does that actually mean in a concrete, experiential sense? Christ appeared in the physical realm, in a physical body, 2000 years ago. In our day his etheric form appears in the astral sphere. In 2000 years his astral form will appear in lower devachan, and in 4000 years his Ego in upper devachan.
We realised in conversation prior that this makes Christ akin to the stone, and vice versa. Steiner portrays the human being as manifesting all four bodies on the physical plane. It is different for the mineral kingdom. The mineral kingdom only projects its physical form down to the physical world. Its etheric dwells in the astral—which is related to the atmosphere surrounding planet Earth, shaping the mineral kingdom over eons. Its astral dwells within the center of the Earth, a place filled with the passions of the mineral kingdom. And its Ego dwells in the outermost periphery, it radiates in from the starry heavens themselves. So Christ is the “Foundation Stone.” He shares this split experience of the mineral kingdom.
And perhaps we could say that visionary content, when it descends, is in the same condition, sundered into several pieces descending from different spheres. And it is looking to incarnate into a body, just as we are when we descend into birth. It is a mutual work—we bring something to help heal the split just as much as the spirit does.
What was new and palpable for Joel in having this rumination about the Male and Female was that he was experiencing what he was thinking. The Three of Batons was in that moment for him the female element, this incomplete revelatory content which he had to complete with his own active imagination. It was the first time he had so consciously experienced one of the Minor Arcana as a “spiritual exercise”, as Tomberg always describes the Arcana in Meditations on the Tarot.
This seems to go along with this culmination of the meeting of the King and Queen finally happening.
In prior conversations, we have seen the Queen as the culmination of the path of the novitiate: Knave of Coins—Knight of Coins, he passes through the portal of the Queen of Coins and meets the Guardian of the Threshold, the King of Coins. He is transformed, must be “born again” as the Knave of Swords, becoming the Knight of Swords, who is mercifully killed by the Queen of Swords. He then becomes the King of Swords, but descends into his Throne, giving away his own life to create the cups, becoming the dying Knave of Cups. He is reborn/reassembled as the Knight of Cups, and culminates in becoming the Queen of Cups. She meets the Guardian, the King of Coins, on the other side, as the King of Cups. If this is the case—if the Ace is the Queen of Cups, and the Two is the King of Cups—that means that now the Guardian has been brought across the threshold by the novitiate. She has returned with something of the spiritual world, and in a way the Guardian is being initiated, and she is the guardian of the mundane/physical world. The Guardian is now the one on the Journey…
Taking a sneak peek at the Four of Batons…the return of cut flowers…and no longer symmetrical: