Notes of a Hermetic Conversation on July 10, 2018
Tarot Conversation July 10, 2018
Three of Coins
We began with the protective practice.
We then invoked the presence of the Crucified Christ through reading from Luke 23: 39-47.
After focusing briefly the mantra “I AM” on the brow chakra, we moved in eurythmy the fourth part of the Inner Radiance Sequence.
We then read from Revelation 2: 12-17 (letter to Pergamos), and Matthew 5: 38-42 (eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth vs turn the other cheek).
– The passage from Revelation speaks of the White Stone, with a new name that only the one given the stone can know = “I.” The ego, the personality, self-hood is the White Stone (See Christ and Sophia, page 324). We might see this “white stone” as the goal of the Ace and the Two. Notice that in the Two of Coins, the name is in the portion of the arcanum that aligns with the position of the white stone in the Three of Coins. The Three of Coins expresses the precipitation or creation of the ego/personality as a reflection of the Transcendental Self (the upper Coin), through the agency of the right and left lower coins coming into tension/relationship with each other.
This also makes us think of Tomberg’s description of Daath in the letter-meditation on The Moon. Kether is the source: the timeless, eternal intuition out of which both Chokmah and Binah spring (Wisdom and Intelligence). Kether’s earthly reflection exists in the “invisible” Sephiroth of Daath, in Intuition. The imagery of the Three of Coins expresses this exactly: the upper coin is Kether, the lower two coins are Chokmah and Binah, with the “invisible” coin (the white stone) of Daath in between (see 506-509).
– We decided to take a more rigorous approach tonight: to look at the Three of Coins as a Three, as a 6 (since it could be regarded as the 24th Arcanum if the Fool is Zero), and as a 7 (since it could be regarded as the 25th Arcanum if the Fool is 21). We will also look at it as a reflection of The Sun (after Ace = The World, and Two = The Judgement). But to do so rigorously, to take each image element by element and find the correspondences:
We will begin by looking at the pearl, the white stone. What does this correspond to in the 3, 6, and 7 Arcana?
The Pearl is the belly of the Empress, the base of the scepter.
In the Hanged Man, it corresponds to his buttons. 3 above and 6 below. They are very similar to the Pearl, they even have the same apostrophe shape on them.
In the World…is it the Dancer herself? The region of her procreative organs, the only part of her covered by the scarf. This is the opposite of The Fool (our other option for 21): the only exposed part of the fool is this same region (his buttocks—his weak point, Achilles’ heel).
In the Chariot, it is the shield, marked with S.M. (Sulphur/Mercury).
In the Tower it is not obvious. Possibly it is eclipsed, which would be appropriate for the Tower. Or it is in the same region as in Empress, Hanged Man, World, Fool (procreative organs) on one of the falling men. It makes sense that in more portrait style images like The Empress that the Pearl would happen to coincide with that area: but even in the Tower, which is nothing like that portrait style image, it still coincides with the procreative organs.
In The Lover, it is the Lover’s waist, the hand on his belt.
In the Devil, it is once again, and most blatantly, the procreative organs
And in The Sun, the Pearl is the region between the two youths, their hands? The blue dot? Or possibly, once again, at the level of the procreative organs.
Clearly, then, the Pearl/White Stone is related to generative power, to reproduction.
Moving on to the three coins, the triangle of forces shaping the Pearl:
In the Empress, it is her crown at the peak, with the shield on her right and the scepter on her left.
In the Hanged Man it is the noose holding his foot at the peak, and his two arms on either side below.
In the World it is her head at the peak, the philter on her right and the baton on her left.
In the Fool, it is his head at the peak, the dog on his right and the staff on his left.
Notice with many of these, the staff/baton/scepter on the left.
In the Chariot, it is the Charioteer and his scepter at the peak, the red horse on his right and the blue horse on his left.
In the Tower, it is the three windows at the peak, the free-falling man on the right, and the “stuck” man on the left. In the Wandering Fool, Tomberg describes these two as megalomania (recklessness) on the right, and inferiority/sterility on the left. These are his specific, personal, “readings” of the language of the Arcana. One might also say extravert and introvert, thrill seeker and puritan.
In the Lover, the Angel is the peak, the “impudent” woman is on his right, and the fair woman on his left.
In the Devil, the Devil is the peak, the more feminine slave is on its right, and the more masculine slave is on its left.
In the Sun, the Sun is the peak, with a youth on each side.
Overall, the impression one receives is of a guiding force or authority at the pinnacle, and a tension or a battle happening between the two beings flanking the Pearl point, the fourth point.
The White Point in the Three of Coins shows explicitly the invisible tension existing in the Major Arcana related to the Three.
A possible exception might be The Lover, where the tension of choice on the part of the Lover between the two women is the explicit context or story of the Arcanum.
In the Tower of Destruction, we might think of the Tower itself as a kind of enlarged or exaggerated tension point, the scene of battle/folly/destruction between the two men.
In the Chariot, possibly it isn’t just the shield on the front of the Chariot, but the entire Chariot itself (notice the white between the horses). The chariot as the link between the two polarized horses of “yes” and “no”/Mars and Mercury.
Notice the Devil’s slaves are chained to a center point, but it is below the “archetypal” place of the white point in the Three of Coins—it is fallen, sub earthly.
So, we have covered the Pearl and the triangle of forces surrounding it. What of the plants/vines/flowers? What do they correspond to?
In the Empress, they are the stone wings on the throne, and the ground. In a way, this throne of “petrified wings” waiting to be brought back to life is related to all of the Coin cards. The imagery of the Coin cards is not just stone/metal coins, but also plants springing out of the stone, of matter coming to life. There is an odd shape in the bottom hem of the Empress’s dress. This is unique.
In the Hanged Man, the plants clearly correspond to the two trees, each with 6 severed branches; the bar he hangs from; and the mounds of grass that the trees grow out of. The branches almost look as though they are bleeding. We’ve moved from stony wings to pruned trees—a progression in terms of “coming back to life.”
In the World, it is the garland, and the four creatures to which the plants correspond. Here, we have living plants and creatures, we have come all the way back to life.
With the Fool, it is unclear. His curving hat is a bit like the curves in the plants. His patchwork clothes are also a bit reminiscent of the patchwork coloration of the plants in the Three of Coins.
In the Chariot, the canopy is like the upper plants (again, this quality of levity). The supporting columns, red and blue. And below, the two wheels (again, the quality of support, contact with earth).
In the Tower, the upper plants are expressed in the lightning blasting off the roof of the tower, with the dots (debris?) reminiscent of the patchwork coloration. Below it is the ground. The window looking into and out of the Tower like a sense organ. The building is in a way cleansed or activated by the lightning blasting off the crown.
In the Lover, it is the Sun’s rays and possibly the arrow of the Angel. The sleeves of the women are conspicuously white, like the stems of the plants in the Three of Coins. It is interesting to focus just on the hands in The Lover:
Two hands of the Angel above;
Two hands of the “impudent woman” on our left;
Two hands of the fair woman on our right;
The single hand of the Lover in the middle.
A triangle formed by double hands, with a single hand in the very middle (the white point).
With the Devil, the Antlers, wings, and torch are all related to the plants. Also the platform below to which the two slaves are chained.
In The Sun, it is the drops falling from the Sun around the Youths, and the wall/ground below.
– The overall impression that one receives from the geometry and movement of the Three of Coins is “Three in One,” the Triune Godhead. If we look more closely at the geometry of the arcana related to the Three of Coins (the “Threes,” “Sixes,” “Sevens,” and The Sun), we see beyond the more or less superficial or obvious geometry of:
And we begin to see:
In which we see a smaller triangle at the peak of a larger triangle. This smaller triangle is like the father or archetype of the larger triangle. For example, in the Chariot, we have the smaller triangle of the Charioteer: his head and both of his arms. But then we have the larger triangle of the Charioteer at the pinnacle and the two horses forming the base.
This would indicate that in the Three of Coins, the upper Coin is like a father or prototype coin, an unmanifest trinity that is manifesting the larger trinity of the three coins.
– We have discussed before that one could see the entire Major Arcana and/or Hebrew Alphabet as fundamentally a play, an interaction between Aleph and Bet. Aleph and Bet are the two primary realities, the Father and Mother, to which everything else can be reduced and by which everything else can be oriented and seen in its correct light.
In a similar sense, we might see the fundamental nature of Number, of the Minor Arcana, as being found in the play or interaction between One and Two. Everything following from Ace and Two is a manifestation of their interaction.
Mouni Sadhu, in his approach to the Tarot, uses a similar method. When he looks at the 4th Arcanum, for example (The Emperor), he sees in what way it is 1 + 3 (Magician plus Emperor) or 2 + 2 (High Priestess plus High Priestess). He continues in this way throughout the Major Arcana.
However, in this case, it seems that there is more going on that just Ace plus Two = Three. The upper coin, the One, has progressed by flowering and blossoming. The Two below are resting on a solidity that seems to come from the base of the Ace.
So it isn’t just 1 + 2 = 3. The solid, powerful Ace has taken on the flowing, fluid quality of the Two and become the upper coin in the Three. The Two has taken on the solidity and strength of the Ace and become the lower coins in the Three. The Ace had to sacrifice its Oneness and take on Twoness; and the Two had to sacrifice its Twoness and take on Oneness in order for them to actually come together to make a true 3, and not just be placed side by side in the semblance of a three, a collection of 3 discreet unities.
One tries to follow this in one’s imagination. Did the Ace and the Two each split in half and exchange with each other? If we look at marriage, relationships, physical consumation—all involve sacrifice and exchange. Two can only make three through a process of sacrifice and exchange. One is reminded of the quote from Hermes to Asclepius in The Christ Mystery:
|“In the conjunction of the two sexes, or, to speak more truly, that fusion of them into one, which may be rightly named Eros, or Aphrodite, or both at once, there is a deeper meaning than man can comprehend. It is a truth to be accepted as sure and evident above all other truths, that by God, the Master of all generative power, has been devised and bestowed upon all creatures this sacrament of eternal reproduction, with all the affection, all the joy and gladness, all the yearning and the heavenly love that are inherent in its being. And there were need that I should tell you of the compelling force with which this sacrament binds man and woman together, were it not that each one of us, if he directs his thought upon himself, can learn it from his innermost feeling. For if you note that supreme moment when, through interaction without pause, we come at last to this, that either sex infuses itself into the other, the one giving forth its issue, and the other eagerly taking hold of it and laying it up within, you will find that at that moment, through the intermingling of the two natures, the female acquires masculine vigour, and the male is relaxed in feminine languor. And so this sacramental act, sweet as it is, if it were done openly, the ignorant should mock, and thereby the deity manifested in either sex through the mingling of male and female should be put to blush – and the more so, if the act is exposed to the eyes of impious men.”|
– The lower portion, the shape of the plants, comes directly from the bottom of the Ace. Here the two are not one-above-the-other as in the Two of Coins, but are side by side, tense, at logger-heads with each other. It is the Two but in the Mars aspect of the Ace. Whereas the One is now floating above, in a grace and beauty that comes from the Two of Coins.
The Pearl is below the upper One, it has a fixed quality, expressive of the totality. It has gravitationally collected the Two below.
When we look at the form of the Pearl (the White Stone) with the four blue curves surrounding it, what do we see? We see a baby Ace of Coins, the Ace in miniature! A new Ace of Coins. Alternatively, we could say that the Three is what happens when one zooms way out from the Ace of Coins and sees it in its larger context. One looks at the Ace of Coins, sees it as a Unity and as the Beginning, but this was simply a limited (geocentric) perspective. The Three of Coins zooms out from this geocentric perspective and shows us what is happening in a more cosmic light—the origin is Trinity, not Unity.
More than just a zooming out, it’s like a zooming out combined with a time elapse, a readjustment of form. Something is emerging from and moving towards the Ace at the same time that one is zooming out.
– In the four plants of the Three of Coins, we might see two S-curves, similar to the banner of the Two of Coins, intertwining with each other. The Ace, out of its directing power, collects and draws closer together the two coins from the Two of Coins.
– The clear distinction between Above (one coin) and Below (two coins) in this Arcanum. This makes on think of Tomberg’s emphasis on the two lines of evolution, fallen and un-fallen, throughout Meditations on the Tarot. Do these two lines of evolution flow together and intermingle into one river? Or do they simply develop side by side? To what extent do they intermingle, if so? Are they intertwined, not mixed/combined?
We might say that this is the whole story, in a way. All of Anthroposophical Cosmology: at the time of the Fall, what fell and what didn’t? What happened to the fallen and to the unfallen, and what happens when they meet again at the time of Christ?
It isn’t just that the Un-fallen stays pure above, that the Fallen stays impure below, and that the human being is subject to the constant tug of war between the two, the “confused mixture.” At the time of Christ, the Fallen (Zarathustra/Experience) worked itself up to the point of being able to unite with the Un-fallen (Angel Jesus/Sister Soul of Adam)—and then magically, through this sacrifice and exchange, the third (Christ) was able to come about. And Christ was not simply a mixture of Fallen and Un-Fallen, he was the New Creation that can come about through Redemption: the beginning of the process of Reintegration. The Fallen is raised up again, and has added something totally new, a new form of Goodness to the cosmos.
When we look at the Letter-Meditation on the Hermit (see page 218), we see that there are three different ways of combining two separate elements: synthesis, compromise, and mixture. These apply equally to the binary “Fallen/Un-fallen.” Christ achieves synthesis, while the human being on his own can at best achieve compromise, and nature shows us the mixture.
That which has intermingled, that which has been formed both by the Fallen and the Un-fallen (the Human Being) has the potential to become a new creation, the fourth part of the Three of Coins, the White Stone/Pearl.
This is a new understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha. It was not simply a hitting of the “reset” button. Reintegration does not mean a return to Paradise, a return to the state of things in the Garden of Eden. In every way it indicates that “in Christ, we are a New Creation.” Out of the redemption of the Fallen, a new and higher Goodness, higher than was present at the beginning, is given the opportunity to come about.
We might see Cain as the archetype of this process. The Fallen, ultimately offering up the fruits of the fecundity and power of evil/error/experience for the sake of goodness/innocence/purity. He begins as Cain and ends up as Lazarus—the first born of the “New Creation.”
– From a certain, higher point of view, are the terms “Fallen” and “Un-fallen” even accurate ultimately? Steiner emphasized time and time again that Evil is not ultimately working against the Good. It is through the struggle and strife of Good vs Evil that Good becomes stronger, in fact only through this confrontation can goodness truly reach achieve its potential and destiny of Goodness. The “fallen” gods have sacrificed their holiness in becoming Evil, so that the Divine Plan can actually come into being. In the end, they too shall be redeemed and brought back into the Kingdom.
– The Ace = pre-Fall, Paradise
The Two = The Fall
The Three = Something new that wouldn’t come about without the resolution of the conflict between above and below. It expresses what Tomberg talks about in his meditation on the fourth sacrifice of Christ, the harmonizing of horizontal vision that sees below, and vertical vision that sees above. The Two coins below see the horizontal, the third eye above sees the vertical. The pearl sends out plants below to uplift and support the conflict, to cushion it, to keep the two elements in their place. It sends out two plants above to honor, adorn, and praise the un-fallen.
The Representative of Humanity only shows one side of this: the White Stone keeping the two coins below (Lucifer and Ahriman) in their place. It doesn’t show the activity of honoring and adoring the un-fallen above (although possibly Edith Maryon’s inclusion of “Cosmic Humor” above redresses this lack somewhat).
– The upper coin is the Sun, the White Stone is the Earth. The plants are reaching up to the Sun, just like they do in reality.
– When we look at the 19th Arcanum, The Sun, we see Warmth flowing from the Sun above down into the two Hearts of the Youths. Between them is a rain of Tears, what equates to the flowering in the Three of Coins—a Flowering of Feeling. Tears are a perfect symbol for the potential that is brought about by the Fall. Tears only became possible through the Fall (sadness, regret, anger). But Tears have the potential to be elevated, to the Gift of Tears, through which we understand the inner being of the Other. There are tears and then there are Tears.
– The change in perspective:
Ace = a map, the horizontal viewed from the vertical, bird’s-eye view.
Two = a structure, the vertical viewed from the horizontal, from the side.
They are the same object viewed from two different perspectives.
But with the Three = bird’s eye view again, but zooming way out until one sees the fractal, embedded nature that expresses the whole.
Ace = Steiner; Two = Tomberg; Three = Robert
Thinking of Robert’s article for the upcoming Cosmology Reborn: Star Wisdom vol I. He meticulously works through the details in what can come across as abstract/intellectual, but inevitably he draws us down into the Heart and out into the Cosmos. And in fact, with this article he ends up taking us out into the galactic perspective.
Just as we have taken a meticulous, detailed approach to the Three of Coins, and have been led straight to the Heart and out into the Cosmic Perspective.
It is interesting that the Three of Coins seems to exist in large part for the sake of the Fourth (the White Stone) that is forming in the midst of the Three. A large part of Robert’s work has been explicitly to prepare for the Fourth, for the so-called “Kalki Avatar.” This Fourth is similar, in many ways, to the Ace.
But then when we actually look at the Four of Coins, it bears very little similarity to this miniature fourth in the Three of Coins. What we prepare for is often very different from the expectations we have built up!
What do we see in the Four of Coins? For the first time, two distinct plants forming two distinct beings or faces. The upper one is like an owl. And a plant in a box in the center?
– One can see quite vividly, now, in the Three of Coins:
A woman clothed with the sun (upper coin), crowned with 12 stars (the upper two plants) with the moon under her feet (lower coins). A ten-horned dragon (the lower plants) strives to eat the child being born (the White Stone).
Ace = Osiris
Two = Isis
Three = Horus (the reborn Osiris)
– Looking at the end of the Letter-Meditation on the Sun, in which he speaks of the meditative activity of transitioning from the Triangle of the Trinity to the Hexagram of the Luminous Holy Trinity. This activity is 3 + 6 = 9, bringing us somehow back to the Hermit.
We had been looking at things numerologically: Magician (1) = Wheel of Fortune (10) = Sun (19).
But we can also look at the Major Arcana as a progression through the Decad. This is also totally valid, and clear once we proceed with it. The Major Arcana are alive and refuse to be limited in the way in which we work with them:
Magician (1) = Force (1+10=11) = The Fool/The World (11+10-=21)
Notice the similarities between Magician and Force (the hat, for instance). And the Fool and the World could be ultimate manifestations of the male Magician and the female Force.
So, in one sense the Hermit brings us to the Moon (9 and 18 are both “9”).
But in another, the Hermit brings us to the Sun (9 + 10 = 19).
Looking ahead to the Four of Coins, which has a value of 4 (as the 4th Minor Arcana) or 7 (as the 4th Arcanum after 21 Major Arcana = 25) or 8 (as the 4th Arcanum after 22 Major Arcana = 26), then we are looking at the Fours, Sevens, and Eights:
We can look at
Emperor/Death/World/Four of Coins (all Fours)
Emperor/Temperance/Two (or Three) of Coins (4, 14, 24)
we can look at
Chariot/Tower of Destruction/Three (or Four) of Coins (all Sevens)
Chariot/Star/Five (or Six) of Coins (7, 17, 27)
we can look at
Justice/Star/Four (or Five) of Coins (all Eights)
Justice/Moon/Six (or Seven) of Coins (8, 18, 28)
Many insights and relationships immediately leap out at us in the language of the Tarot. How on earth do we write what is clearly expressed simply by taking in these “words” written in Arcana?
How do we ultimately write Letter-Meditations that bring about for the reader what comes about for us in these conversations? This is incredibly daunting!
The basic idea of One and Two playing with each other seems to be key.
Some of our realizations are obvious, they leap right out from the card. But others require a long dialogue, a long process in order to show themselves. And even then some aspect of them remains mysterious. How do we write in a similar way, where some things are obvious, but other things require a long process, a kind of dialogue with the reader?
A brief discussion of Jodorowsky, The Holy Mountain, his relationship to the Tarot and his insight into The Fool (all name, no number = pure quality) vs Death (all number, no name = pure quantity).
We closed with the fourth stanza of the Foundation Stone in eurythmy.