Three of Cups (III)

Some conversations between conversations…first, these between Phillip and Joel, February 5-6:

After the February 4 conversation…a strong impression of clam-shells or oyster-shells popping open, fish grazing against coral causing it to retract. Deep ocean imagery. Then thinking again of the pearl of great price. The Venus de Milo.

Afrodite ou Vênus de Milo | Deusa da Mitologia Grega | Botticelli paintings,  Renaissance paintings, Renaissance art

Then this impression Joel had under a very clear starry sky, of that night sky being the “upper ocean” and the stars were floating in the upper ocean. Earth as earth/Coin, then the atmosphere as air/Sword, and then the starry heavens as upper ocean, as water/Cup. 

Parable or aphorism of Pearl of Great Price. From Matthew 13:44-46 we have both of these analogies: “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and in his joy he went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls. When he found one very precious pearl, he went away and sold all he had and bought it.”

Phillip had this new insight into this parable. The Kingdom of Heaven is like falling in love. The Pearl of great price—the one thing that is more valuable than the whole. Like Christ, in his personhood and in his individuality and being is of greater worth than the whole of humanity. Yes, you would find a treasure and hide it and sell everything to get it. Love is like that, if you see it and you have that in your grasp, it outweighs all other things that come into consideration, outweighs how much money you make, or retirement, or whether you’re messy. Other things are very secondary. The Kingdom of Heaven is of such greater worth than this world. It is so interesting Joel had brought this up, because Phillip had this exact verse on his mind quite a bit this last week in a different context.

Thinking of the Ace of Swords, where you say “Yes” to the one thing and it negates everything else…maybe that is the lesson in the Swords, to aim for the highest. Casting pearls before swine. The Kingdom of Heaven presented to unseeing eyes or unlistening ears, the reaction is “well, that’s not worth anything.” I’d rather have the world of the social justice warrior, the Great Reset, fill in the blank. But the flip side is…to treat something that is not the Pearl as though it is the Pearl. Thinking that you’re aiming for the highest, and destroying everything else in your wake, maybe even including the highest. The Sword is the lesson—that you didn’t choose the Pearl of great price. You were fixated on something that isn’t actually greater than the whole, and now you have to find the true Pearl. The lesson from the Swords is to up your ante, raise your eyes to what is highest. Be discriminating and careful before you make that plunge and say Yes to the One, because saying Yes to the One involves saying No to everything else. 

It’s like you’re presented with the Pearl in the Coins, but maybe part of the journey through the Cups is finding the origin of the Pearl. The origin of the Pearl is the oyster, is this creature, this whole process of digestion and filtration and struggle, this alchemy of taking all this dirt that is present in the food that is going through the oyster, until it’s concentrated and turns into the Pearl. The Ace of Cups as the oyster, this difficult process going on inside of it that ends up turning into the third cup in the Three of Cups. Trying to understand the mystery of the Pearl, the mystery of the Kingdom of Heaven, so that then you can truly say Yes. Maybe the Batons are the True Yes as opposed to the false or limited Yes of the Swords. Finding true Love is the Batons.

Something about the relationship between the plant and the Coin has to do with this dualistic world, this manifest world, and it’s counterintuitive to think there is a singular thing that stands as greater as opposed to the whole. That is completely opposite to the way the world is structured and operates. In the world of Coins, you are generating value, recognising value and the nature of value. But the ultimate recognition you’re aiming for is that there is a part that is greater than the whole. The context of learning value in the Coins is to see that value is increased as one approaches the whole. It isn’t to be found in the part in the realm of Coins. So then there is a transition of recognising something as good, but freeing yourself from that context in which the Good is associated strictly with increasing as it approaches the whole. As opposed to finding an increase and a concentration in a part of the whole, in a way that supersedes the whole. The transition from the Coins to Swords to Cups, perhaps?

Yes, this realm of Swords, upping the ante, raise your eyes to what is highest. Persist through the destruction of that around you that you have found value in, along the path of finding or moving towards that which is of greatest value. A counterintuitive thing of that which you value being destroyed around you, yet it is leading you to that which is of greatest value. 

Is it in the Letter-Meditation on the Hanged Man that it goes into the normal logic of the material physical world, that the whole is greater than the part? That is maybe the mode of experience of the Coin. You are learning about value, in that value increases as quantity increases. The two are related. The closer you get to the whole, the greater your value. Then he speaks of a biological picture of value, biological logic. Where the part is equal to the whole. The example he gives is the heart, it is only a part of the organism, but if you remove it, you destroy the entire organism. It is of equal value to the whole. Maybe that is the lesson of the Swords, that if you cut away, prune, remove parts from the whole, you might find that the overall value doesn’t change. It’s giving you an experience of that, of negation of certain realms, experiences, or parts doesn’t destroy the value. The Cups finally take us into moral logic where the part is greater than the whole. Finally coming to that experience of the Kingdom of Heaven, where Christ, this one human being is of greater value than the whole Cosmos, the raison d’être for the whole Cosmos. That kind of begs the question, what level of logic is the Batons? That feels like the progression: the lesson of addition, the lesson of subtraction, and then coming to the mystery of the One with the Cups.

This image from the card game Hearts, a strategy where you “shoot the moon,” where you try to get all the tricks, which would normally give you the worst hand (the highest score, a high score is bad). But if you take all the tricks, it reverses and you get a negative score and everyone else gets a lot of points. So a bit this reckless, courageous, foolhardy move: “Yeah, we’re gonna go for everything, go big or go home.” The lesson you learn from the Coins is “get the whole, grasp the whole thing!” And then that’s what’s attempted in the Ace of Swords, “we’re gonna shoot for the moon!” And then you don’t get it, it fails, and you end up destroying everything instead of getting everything. That’s where you learn that lesson, don’t shoot for the moon, don’t go for the whole; aim instead for the essential, what is best. And get that. Let everything else go to the wayside.

You try to shoot the moon, and you’re gonna fail most of the time. The Ace of Coins is very: “This is the whole, everything that comes next is embedded here, prefigured already.” With the Ace of Swords it’s, “Here’s this future glory.” But in the act of seeing this thing, you’re initiating a chain of events that is bound to fail, it doesn’t unfold organically like the Coins do. It’s a process of trial and error, and learning. The gambler’s false motivation: “If you can shoot the moon, here’s what you can be!” And then you’re in it for the long haul. And then it’s learning how to extract the true value out of the value you had earned, or at least orient by it, and then you truly encounter it only after you get out of the Swords.

The Star Wisdom entry for this week spoke to this contrast of Rose and Lily… 

Then, some conversations amongst Phillip, Joel and Natalia, February 8-14:

Joel was uploading past conversations onto The Unknown Friends website, and while reading through the third conversation on the Queen of Coins, he was so struck by how much resonance there was between that conversation and the conversation he, Phillip and Natalia had had on the Ace of Cups. 

Natalia can see this when she reads these notes, feels this resonance. It is a lot of interesting material in here, but at the end one can feel like everything flips out and comes out at once, and one feels like one is in the middle of so many things at once. One is not used to being in that state, and like Joel references at the end of the notes, one’s head is spinning from this experience of everything that has come out, difficult to keep up with it or feel steady. All of this immanent, transcendent, up and down is a lot to keep up with. Many things happening simultaneously, hard to keep them all in consciousness at the same time. Many things that are really inspiring, how she is reflecting, and how Cancer is part of this card, a higher understanding or octave of Cancer. There is still one line that is too difficult…”The Queen shows us how the activity of Mysticism manifests in the realm of synthesis proper (Plane of Creation) as creative analysis.” Can Joel open that up? She couldn’t hold onto that thought all the way through.

It’s good that Natalia is making her way through the Court of the Coins, because they are really a kind of experiential/philosophical explosion, so really hard to keep track of it all. Like reading German Idealism or something. What Joel really wanted to point out is this cradling of the pyramid, like cradling the top of a mountain rather than a shield as in the Empress. And how this is exactly what is there in the Ace of Cups, in terms of the shafts in the pyramid and the certain light falling through, taking us to Astrogeographia, and this Isis-Osiris initiation…the fact that all of this was there in the Queen of Coins, and she is like the image of the whole Suit of Cups within the Coins, and that’s exactly where we came to with the Ace of Cups was again to the Pyramid, again to the Egyptian mystery, with no conscious memory of this conversation from the Queen—no memory at all in Natalia’s case, and she was the big part of bringing this focus on the pyramids in. This for Joel speaks to the Tarot as an organism, an authenticity is there that we don’t project into it—it speaks to us. That the Egyptian Mystery is woven in with this Suit of Cups, and Plane of Creation, and the role of the Queen. So that was the main thing, which doesn’t come until the third conversation on the Queen of Coins, and carries on into the conversations on the King.

Natalia’s question might be good to post to the website, then it can become a conversation online. People should be confused sometimes, and raise clarifying questions, or counterpoints, different points of view. But Joel is pretty sure what he and Phillip were getting at was that the Queen and the Magician are performing completely opposite activities. The Magician stands before this table that has all these different elements spread all over it. They have been analysed, i.e. separated from each other. And he is performing the act of synthesis—that’s what Mysticism is, it is this spontaneous grasp of the wholeness of something that has been divided into pieces. The realm of analysis, of separation, is this physical-material plane. We perceive things as separate, and it’s this mystical experience that brings us into the realm of “suddenly, I can see the whole that weaves all these separate parts together.” Whereas the Queen, the way we presented her, is she is having this experience of the One Thing, the wholeness, and she is in this higher Plane of Creation, this plane of synthesis where all is one. Things are not divided in this plane, they are a unity. And so she’s beholding this One Thing and she’s analysing it. She’s creating new, unique, individual different things out of this One Thing. She’s performing the opposite act as the Magician, but in a way the same thing, just the mirror image of it. Mysticism as it plays out in the realm where all is One—Mysticism that leads to the creation of new forms. Whereas Mysticism in the realm of separateness, in the realm of analysis, is an act of bringing things together. 

Phillip echoes this in a different form—the Magician is in the 4th world, the Plane of Activity, and his act of Mysticism is to perceive the living archetype that is immanent in each of these separate objects and to move the objects based on their archetype, thus stimulating their unfolding of that latent potential so that they can move towards their archetypal fullness in their manifestation. That’s the act of synthesis done in the material realm by the Magician. The act of Mysticism where Mysticism has embedded in it this fullness. The same action that the Queen of Coins is doing looking at that Coin is realising this latent potential within the Coin that she perceives mystically, through this mystical synthetic process of seeing the archetype. But the unfolding of that analogous archetypal latency that she perceives happens instantaneously in that realm.

And maybe this is where the immanent and transcendent piece comes in? The immanent archetype is buried in the “real” thing it has manifested as, and it needs to be discovered by the Magician. Whereas the Queen is dealing with a transcendent archetype, and buried within that are the specific forms in which it can manifest, and she is busy discovering those. But they are both using the act of the spiritual experience of Mysticism in order to find that latent piece of what it is they’re dealing with.

This touches on a really interesting aspect of this, the relationship between Mysticism and Sacred Magic. And the way Phillip was talking about Mysticism in this perception of the immanent archetypal nature of thing in the manifest realm—well, doing that in this realm of Creation is much more Sacred Magic-like, much more procreative. Whereas in the manifest realm, it’s more like a Sacred Magic of the Spirit immanent in the manifest. So there’s kind of this overlap where Mysticism seems to simultaneously be this perception, this reflection in Gnosis, this creative act of bringing those things together in Sacred Magic and the realisation of the Magical or Mystical fullness of Hermeticism, in a way it contains these different things just as a mystical state and function and activity. Whereas properly you could associate the Queen with Sacred Magic being the third term of the Court Cards. But there is this relationship, this Mystical gaze and act of perception which she is so statically doing, in a way being an act of Sacred Magic at the same time. 

Yes, Natalia felt the Pyramid connection was very interesting, and also how the Coin in one of the conversations was perceived as going into the Pyramid. Reminded of the Ace of Cups really. She is also very fertile, creating many forms, which brings in a relationship to the Two of Cups. Maybe she is Mothering all the Cups somehow?

After coming back to this question again the next day, Natalia understands something especially because of this picture of the Plane of Creation still having everything in such unity, and the Queen of Coins is the one able to analyse and bring out these differentiations. She still doesn’t grasp how or why Sacred Magic has a connection to the Queen. These things are tough to digest in a conversation that is not in one’s mother tongue. 

She has read the first notes to the Three of Cups, and has some observations. Her attention is draw again to these points where it really feels as if these poppies are kissing the middle part of the cup. The right one seems to be closer, like it was with the fishes, a difference between right and left. And then the blue thing below the upper cup, it looks like a door handle, and the one on the right is actually touching this upper cup whereas the left is not. The leaf on the upper right is also closer to the upper part of the cup. What could that mean? Have we thought about the right side being more in touch with the Cup?

She also got a weird Asian/Buddhist imagery out of this image. On the other hand it has this really tender kissing, caring, lovely mood and suddenly it turned to the kind of a face that is a terrifying Buddhist face…the poppies as eyes, and something like teeth or mouth with the blue door handles, the lower part of the upper cup as a nose. That sort of wild, terrifying face. Than she looked up those terrifying faces in Buddhism and they seem reminiscent of that, and she immediately came to a picture of a two-sided goddess named Tara. One side is “Palden Lhamo”, the terrifying female protector aspect of Tara. Then Tara herself being a goddess of compassion associated with the Moon, compassion and emptiness. She’s the leading female Boddhisatva goddess in Mahayana Buddhist mythology. Is there a two-sidedness in this card happening? So something tender happening in this card with those poppies, then suddenly those poppies becoming eyes and it becomes this protective side of the goddess or a kind of window for Natalia to find these two sides. What do the others think? Can we see that at all?

Tara (Mahavidya) - Wikipedia

Joel thinks this is great, especially this thing about the face. He just took a glance at the card with that possibility in mind, looking for a face, and it’s very alarming actually. It almost looks like a creepy man with dark round sunglasses on, and smoking a cigar or something. It’s very strange. The interesting thing for Joel about the face is…already in the Ace, Phillip had this strong, inexplicable but unshakeable feeling of an ominous undercurrent which maybe became more explicit in the Two, this abrasive aspect of the Cups. But is still there in the Three and went unrecognised by Joel and Phillip. But Natalia has discovered this ominous undercurrent still running through it.

Phillip doesn’t know if it is totally PC to say, thinking mainly of Natalia, but he wonders if there isn’t something in this twofold goddess, this benevolent goddess of compassion vs the rageful face of chaos and violence, and maybe this is part of the archetype of the feminine. He has seen it in the women in his life over and over again. There is a certain point where you accept it the way it is, without judgement. But there are these two sides, on the one had this beauty, harmony, empathy and concern for the harmony of the whole. Then there is this intensity and irrationality on the other side, being enraged. For example, the time around having a period, or being overwhelmed or being tired or stressed where it’s very untethered from this connection to the whole, and there’s this deep experience of being thrown back upon oneself, and being completely subjective and enraged and chaotic out of that subjectivity. Those are the two halves of the feminine. Of course the masculine has these two sides as well, the light and the dark side. Maybe there is this undertone in the Cups of this thing which is so beautiful and sensitive and harmonious, and then it getting untethered and something very intense and very irrational and subjectively powerful can just pour through. 

Joel thinks of the old and fairly accurate trope: Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. For Joel it really throws into relief a little bit of this bittersweet feeling that comes with getting to the Cups. The Swords were such a difficult journey, and you’re kind of looking to the Cups as though it is this oasis in the desert, or finally getting home after being in enemy territory and expecting it all to be just like you remembered. And then suddenly noticing, “Oh, things aren’t quite right. Things aren’t the way I left them. There are problems here to.” It’s like with the Swords you have this strong polarity, this binary going on the whole time that is so unstable and just wants to become a harmony. It either wants to retreat back to unity or race forwards to becoming threefold, to becoming a harmony. Now with the Cups you have this strong gesture of harmony, of trinity, of being threefold, and yet there is still some kind of unresolved polarity hanging onto it, that it’s trying to hide, but it hasn’t quite resolved it all the way, it’s still infected with it or something. And so maybe that’s tied up with this: “I’m presenting three sides to you, but there are three sides behind.” It’s more of a six-fold gesture, a binary of trinities. Two threefoldnesses. 

It also made Joel think, especially in regard to the Three of Cups since it is this extreme focus on the Trinity, we were working on that in conjunction with the Hermit. And The Hermit brings in this idea of four types of peace at the end of the Letter-Meditation. There is transcendent peace, immanent or Catholic Peace, hegemonic peace, and nihilistic peace. From Tomberg’s and Joel’s point of view, even though there are four types of peace, only one kind is worth pursuing. The other three are unacceptable forms of peace. It’s like the Three of Cups is saying, “well, there’s Harmony and then there is harmony.” You can have peace, but at what cost? Is it a true Peace, or is it a peace that is kind of manufactured and managed by this man in the dark glasses and the cigar in his mouth? Is it some kind of a dark compromise and not so much true Peace, true Harmony? 

Definitely, Joel agrees with Phillip’s characterisation of the feminine archetype really expressed by the Moon in all the different mythologies, and you think of the waxing and waning phases of the Moon. The Moon is this image of the gentle, waves of the ocean and the gentle Mother holding the child, something of the Mother and Baby in the Moon. Then there is also the image of the tempest or insanity or lunacy. This kind of sybelline energy.  We had been considering the Cups as a journey through Ancient Moon evolution, so all of that is wound up together and maybe comes back to this polarity of electricity vs Zoe, these two types of life or magic that run parallel and sometimes weave together throughout human evolution.

Natalia feels it’s very interesting, and actually Natalia agrees totally with Phillip, and this was the first thing she thought of, was that Tara is showing the two sides of the feminine archetype. She’s also wondering, after reading the Queen of Coins, she feels she is very much a part of what is coming out to her…like she has many sides, like Tara. She is trying to express something…and also this part about Sacred Magic, which Natalia still doesn’t understand what she’s doing.

Joel describes his and Phillip’s understanding of the Queen as bringing together the act of Mysticism and Sacred Magic. It is a matter of approaching the Queen of Coins from two different angles. The first approach is a formal one, in her form and gesture she is really similar to the Magician. This equal but opposite gesture, and one is Mysticism on the material plane (Magician) and the Queen is in this higher spiritual realm performing the same activity. In that sense, we relate her activity to Mysticism. From another perspective, in terms of sequence, she is the third of the Court Arcana (Knave, Knight, Queen). One way of looking at them—not the way, but a way—is Knave in relationship to Mysticism, Knight in relationship to Gnosis, and Queen in relationship to Sacred Magic. So how is she expressing Sacred Magic? And you can kind of see that in the results of her mystical experience. So the Magician, when he has this mystical experience before all of these implements that are before him, it is an inner experience, it’s a totally spontaneous rising of love from the depths inside of him. It’s only as that spontaneous feeling progresses through to the High Priestess, becoming conscious, becoming Gnosis, and then the Empress, becoming deed—it has to move through these stages before it can become Sacred Magical act in the world externally, born of this original Mysticism. Whereas with the Queen, her mystical experience of the One Thing, what arises within her beholding the One Thing, immediately becomes and gives birth to new forms—her beholding is creating, her Mysticism leads directly to magical creation. That is what Phillip is getting at—due to the plane she lives in, this realm of the living archetype, to behold something is also to create something, simultaneously. And Joel thinks that is something that is woven so much into our conversations on the Court of the Coins, is that it is like they are weaving together, and experiencing simultaneously these four spiritual exercises that are presented separately in the Major Arcana. The Knave is experiencing Mysticism and Hermeticism simultaneously. The Knight is experiencing kind of a Gnosis and Sacred Magic and Mysticism simultaneously. There’s not this clear boundary anymore. And all depending on the angle you look at these figures, they’re gonna express some different piece of this to you, because they are taking you into different planes of existence. We’re no longer looking at Mysticism, Gnosis, Sacred Magic, Hermeticism purely on the earthly plane. We are still on the earthly plane with the Knave—but then the Knight is taking us into an elemental realm, the Queen is taking us into a spiritual realm, and the King is taking us even higher. So these things begin to interact with each other, or identify with each other in ways that they couldn’t in the Major Arcana. Or ways that couldn’t be expressed through the Major Arcana.

Natalia remembers that Joel mentioned the evolution of history; if we think of this Sophia image and how actually we had these different cultures coming in: Egyptian in the Ace, in the Two this Chinese allusion, and now in the Three this Buddhism. Sophia has this future image of bringing all the different cultures and religions together. Could that also be something coming up here? Natalia had a dream connected to this. She had a dream of Buddha, something very golden in him, in a lotus posture, very human sized, and it was said in the dream that this golden color of Buddha gives the possibility of multi-dimensional thinking or perspectives. And then his knee or some part of his leg opened and from under this golden surface there came out a lot of small pictures all interpenetrated on top of each other, very intense, all packed in. And now that Natalia wrote it down, it made her think of this Queen, that she is holding this triangle/pyramid as a prism. Does that spark any ideas? She’s perhaps to do with this multicultural aspect.

And from that she now associates these poppies kissing this golden round part, maybe that is a bit Buddha like as well?

Joel thinks it remarkable Natalia had this dream about the gold making it possible to experience things on multiple dimensions at once, and actually that was exactly the answer to her question regarding the Queen as Mysticism and Sacred Magic at the same time, we have to be able to recognise the interaction or dwelling on different planes simultaneously. And then this image of these interpenetrated pictures emerging from the legs or knees of the Buddha, that made Joel think more of the King of Swords, who has what looks like bugs on his knees.

There’s something really important about the knees in the Court of Swords. In both the Queen and King. In the Queen it looks like this beheaded creature is on his knees in front of the Queen, and then in the King the knees have come to life. What is the mystery there? Do the Cups have something to do with the knees? The shins are the Grail Bearer, Aquarius, the Water Bearer, so maybe that’s where this comes in.

Also it’s a fascinating relationship to create between this pyramid that the Queen of Coins is holding, which is a prism through which the light shines and this rainbow spectrum of creativity comes out it, and to bring that into relationship with the various cultures and religions all as expressions of Sophia, that is an interesting connection to make. And there does seem to be—starting with this strong Egyptian element or Mesopotamia with the Ziggurat temple, or Aztecs, or the Hebrew Temple. But now this more Chinese/Buddhist feeling with the angry dolphins and this floating Chinese dragon mask.

Joel shares a response to a question from Julie Humphreys regarding the meaning of the three drops of blood that Parzival sees in the snow:

As for the three drops of blood…it’s a good question! I mean…he witnesses the falcon fighting the goose, right? And then these three drops in the white snow make him think of his true love? It strikes me as this leap from this realm of purity/the etheric (snow) to the realm of struggle/astrality (the birds) and then into the three-fold soul, the ego, with the drops of blood. Thinking, feeling, and willing. And Parzival is still integrating this sense of Ego somehow, he is just totally transfixed by blood, harmony, ego, love, the feminine against the backdrop of this purity, the blank slate of the etheric. He’s only a teenager still, he can’t yet grasp the mystery of the Ego, the bridging of polarities. It reminds me a bit of entering the spiritual world without due preparation, and not really knowing how to stand in the face of what one is seeing with full consciousness.

But on the other hand, doesn’t he snap out of these reveries and suddenly become this dangerous fighting machine anytime the blood is out of his view? It makes me think a bit of a martial arts master, who, unless he is fighting, keeps himself in a state of absolute balance and tranquility. Again though, he can’t find the middle ground between absolute tranquility and extreme action. 

It does also make me think of the 3 nails in the cross, and also of the triangular shape of the Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions over time.

It’s funny, we’ve just been working with the Three of Cups, which is reminiscent of these three drops of blood. And as Natalia has pointed out, you can kind of see a face concealed within this image. Like Condwiramur’s face appearing out of the drops of blood. 

– And maybe this face could hypnotise you, the way he is hypnotised by Condwirimur’s visage. Joel hasn’t gone further with it, but maybe interesting to think about a connection between the Three of Cups and this part of Parzival. Actually, come to think of it, this part is right after he is in Monsalvaesche and fails to ask the question, because it refers to this being a Michaelmas snow. So that would go with the Cups so far: the Ace as the Grail Castle from the outside, and then the Two of Cups as the Fisher King and the lance and this whole ceremony inside, and the Three of Cup would be the aftermath, after he leaves the castle.

Phillip finally gets to look at the Three with this idea of the face in mind. It is a complex face. For example, if you take the Ace of Cups and that castle you can kind of look at it as a being, like a bird-like quality and it’s more mechanical, more geometrical looking. Some of these other faces we would see in the Coins they had more of this quality of being mechanical or geometrical. This is different, there is a feminine quality to it, richer, more subtle. 

Pondering Natalia’s dream, of the Buddha and the golden aura or hue, quality, and also the imagery that came out of the knees or joints, below the golden color.

And Phillip concurs with Joel’s characterisation of aligning the four Court Cards with the first four Major Arcana. Another layer is, as the third term, even in this first Suit she represents the third term—so in the realm of Mysticism (1st term) she represents the 3rd term (Sacred Magic). [Edit, as Joel is transcribing this—alternatively, she could be seen to represent the 2nd Plane, the Plane of Creation (Queen/Cups), in the 4th Plane, the Plane of Action (Knave/Coins). The question here is: does the Plane of Creation relate to Gnosis and the Plane of Action relate to Hermeticism? Again, these categories and the analogous relations between them are much more fluid than one might assume!]

Natalia did a little research, and apparently those Asian demon beings are there to evoke one’s consciousness to become aware of that part in themselves, so Westerners often get afraid, so it reminded her of the question, what is this face making her confront? And as Joel pointed out, it’s almost captivating, and one can no longer see the beauty or the kissing poppies and all that. Then when she began to think of the Three Cups and bring them into the forefront, as these three drops of blood from Parzival, and one tries to concentrate on that part, it is funny what happened to the face, because then it started to have more fun in it, some more humour. The ears come from the leaves, and the poppies, it began to be less frightening. And then she began to dwell more on the red parts of the three cups. And she found that interesting, how this face started to come into balance, or disappear slowly depending on her attitude. And that makes one wonder how you distance yourself also from the feelings or what you’re seeing. So along those lines, it made her think of this perception of the card. And could there be some kind of border, or some training present, in that way, of your perception? With Parzival, he is looking and drawn into these red drops so she thinks there is something emotional, seeing an emotion. That became a more concentrated idea now. 

And she also thought of this femininity. Phillip addressed this with the mask…that made her think of this feminine quality of the emotions, and how women can be drawn so strongly also sometimes into this extreme subjective perception.

She rereads Parzival, and she never realised he is seeing the face of Condwiramur there. With the three drops, it’s unusual, because usually you would see two eyes and a mouth to make a face, and he is seeing two cheeks and a jaw or a mouth…he associates these parts of the face very differently, it’s a bit weird. It’s also weird that before that it says that the snow is cleared with blood…too difficult in English. It doesn’t just say “snow with red blood.” It says it also the opposite way. So it is a weird way of expressing it, almost like in Kalevala, two times from two different angles. The third thing is that he really gets captured, like in sleep, it makes one wonder about his state of being.

“In a snow that has been cleared or clarified by blood.” That is the first sentence. Then “The snow that is made red by the blood.” To her it sounds like he doesn’t see only the face in these red blood drops, there is something strange there. Like if the snow is clearing the blood somehow, does the blood that is dropped into the snow, does it look more pink? Or is that the point at all? That also associates to those religious rituals of blood sacrifice, and people felt something in their astral bodies. This releasing of blood made them have some crossing over, some emotion in these rituals, maybe Steiner spoke about that. Is he also getting this kind of experience somehow with this blood, this emotion or something?

Joel gets the impression that what Eschenbach is trying to express is that the whiteness of the snow is enhanced (clarified) by the contrast with the redness of the blood, and the redness of the blood is enhanced from the contrast with the snow. So each of them becomes stronger or clearer due to their contrast with each other. You don’t notice the snow is so white until the red blood drops on it. And you don’t notice that the blood is so red until you see it next to the whiteness of the snow.

Natalia wonders: white and red = purified blood? Innocence vs Passion. Rose vs Lily. Do the colors effect Parzival so much, and how he sees the face? It feels those colors really effect his state of consciousness and only then they appear as a face, perhaps. As a reader one gets this image of White and Red, but we have no idea what his experience of the face of his lover is.

Phillip speculates about the blood sacrifice and how this evokes emotion and consciousness-movement, it’s like the power in the blood can strike your astral body or sentient body and sort of open you up to experiences. And you’re experiencing something that’s richer, and there are these archetypal flows, like he’s perceiving destiny in a way or his connection to Condwiramur, or his heart, something like that.

Natalia likes this idea that he’s drawn to remember something of his destiny, like we can’t assume that this blood sacrifice would have been the same for him as in the past, maybe he had a more modern experience. She sends some more questions and observations in an email:

Some observations. Or perhaps questions, it always feels more like making a silent question on these cards would be more appropriate…

The poppies give a feeling they would have eyes closed. 

They have something young in them.

They give an impression of being a bit sleepy.

It seems strange that flowers are beneath big leaves and not the other way around.

Why is this third cup so adored?

Is it so new, just born baby cup perhaps?

If it would be The third drop of blood, why The third is so precious?

A friend of mine said Three of Cups looks like a fountain in sleep. Like put into winter sleep or state.

That is funny as we talked so much about fountain in Two of cups.

And today this connection to Parsifal and snow, crystallization of water into snow.

All that gives a bit “frozen” mood now to three of cups as one looks at it. Like a still picture or something. 

Almost like feeling that nothing much moves on those white parts of The plant.

One starts to wonder how The Fourth of cups looks like…so much more order there coming up! Little army of Cups! And a cat face…miau!

Joel got this picture too of snow as the most crystallised, expressing the crystallisation of what’s living, of water, so this materialisation process, but somehow quite spiritual at the same time, they become shaped like stars. Whereas the blood is this turning of water into fire, it is the greatest expression of the Ego, of this warm soulfulness. And at the same time he thought of the six-pointed star of the snowflake and then the threefoldness of the drops of blood, and it made him think again of the Trinity and the Luminous Holy Trinity, and this exercise from the end of The Sun.

Natalia remarks on this connection with The Sun…after Tomberg speaks of the Novena, he speaks of seeing ordinary things in the light of the Sun, through the gaze of the Child. Is that the exercise? This childlike thing, there is something childlike in the the Three of Cups. 

She shares an image of the Three of Cups in the snow in Finland!

Natalia feels the Tarot notes are “Golden.” Not just what’s written down but the living etheric force that flows into one. At least that is her experience. She wonders if that is the spiritual current or the atmosphere that Phillip and Joel met in conversation. But she can say this, it is somehow healing, golden, if she has to give it an adjective. In Judith von Halle’s books flows her spiritual power. Like phantom crystallisation power. Compared to the Tarot notes, she feels the notes are more golden, round, warm, and full and clear and embracing, as life force or power. Also more spacious. She feels she is taken to a big spiritual “spaceship” when she reads and tries to understand them, and if she sleeps and reads again she is more able to understand the “current” that is there, and where she needs to flow herself in order to be able to understand what’s there. Judith is also clear, but she has had to make it anthroposophically clear to be accepted by her German anthroposophical audience she feels. 

Joel is heartened to hear this, as the notes can often be so disappointing to go back and read, as they feel like just a skeleton or shell of the realm they were in during the conversation itself. It is that golden, living, powerful realm. Both Joel and Phillip were totally renewed in the most recent conversation. As Natalia has experienced, even over a phone call you can be brought into that space, and healed and reinvigorated and bewildered by it. It’s great if others are able to experience that even through the notes. It’s a bit like hearing your own voice in a recording, you feel like it doesn’t sound like you, but it does to other people. And Joel can understand the characterisation of Judith von Halle’s work. There is a very strong contrast what you receive from her vs what you receive from reading Estelle or experiencing Estelle having a vision. You can understand why German anthroposophists would not be so into Estelle’s work. It has a very different quality than this crystalline clarity that you get through Judith. Joel likes them both! And Joel and Phillip strive to strike something somewhere in between the two, or rather that’s what comes to us, what we discover in the midst of our Tarot conversations.

Natalia points out that in one of Estelle’s Maitreya visions, he says “I am the golden warmth at the heart of the Earth. I am the healing elixir for souls.” Doesn’t Tomberg in the Lord’s Prayer Course write of different modes of clairvoyance, he says something about the heart? The heart and warmth, it is fragmentary. Natalia has been wondering about this theme of the Cups and emotional/feminine quality. The strength and difficulties with it. She wonders what kind of transformation it requires to be more serving or even rise to heart clairvoyance, what is that? And are the Cups connected to the sphere of Neptune? And if so, to the second temptation?

Phillip and Joel later on got into a conversation around sex and power dynamics in unhealthy relationships. That there is something going on on the physical level between male and female, on the sexual level, that is mirrored or influenced by something going on in the soul level, where the physical male is female and the physical female is male. This realm of the will, that can be fraught with kind of unspoken Faustian bargains at times in unhealthy relationships, e.g. “If I offer you all the pleasures that your heart desires, then it goes without saying that I am the one in charge on the emotional level. I give you total satisfaction and power on this physical/sexual level, and that means I can do whatever I want in all other realms.” This is an unspoken power dynamic that one is drawn into without knowing it. The physical male gets complete satisfaction, with the corollary being that the etheric/soul male also gets complete satisfaction. It made Joel think of Parzival paralysed by seeing the face of his love in the drops of blood, or this face that is hidden in the Three of Cups. Both of these say something about an unhealthy relationship. Let’s say you look at the Three of Cups, and you see the three cups and you can’t stop looking at them, and it’s actually the hidden face behind that is hypnotising you and won’t let you look away. And it isn’t until you can come to see that face, to recognise it and its influence on you that you can actually engage freely with it. Something like that. Where in a relationship, the one partner might have a hidden motive that goes unsaid and won’t ever be acknowledged, and when you don’t see it and aren’t conscious of it, you somehow keep getting drawn back into the disfunctionality, the relationship or the situation, and you don’t know why, you can’t help yourself. You’re drawn into a state of passivity, watching yourself fall asleep and not knowing how to rouse yourself. You’ve made an unconscious, implicit agreement from the get-go with something you aren’t recognising. You can only become free when you recognise it, then you have this free, more objective relationship to the situation or person or dynamic. 

The overall process is a bit like jumping from the height of the tower, and needing to hit the bottom and be rescued by Angels (interesting that this analogy came in from Phillip with no knowledge of Natalia’s offering of the second temptation being related to the Cups!). It’s like the two cups below are the Yes and No, and still in conflict with each other, this paralysis of the will. Being drawn down out of something that you otherwise wouldn’t be effected by. Then the one cup can rise up and attain a new degree of purification and clarity. A drama that unfolds.