Transitioning to the Swords

June 10, 2019

Our last meeting at Plowshare. Rather than leaping right into the Suit of Swords, we have a looser, more experimental experience. 

We began with the protective practice. We then invoked the presence of the Holy Trinity through performing the closing of the Knight’s Practice.

After briefly focusing on the mantra IT THINKS in the realm of the larynx, we performed the third part of the Inner Radiance Sequence (Resurrection), and the 16th Letter of the Divine Alphabet, Ayin, in relation to the Tower of Destruction.

Some background to what came next:

Over the course of our journey through the Major Arcana, we began to experience them as the journey of the Soul into and out of incarnation:

Magician = Conception

High Priestess = Gestation

Empress = Birth

Emperor = Physical Body/0-7

Pope = Etheric Body/7-14

Lover = Astral Body/14-21

Chariot = Sentient Soul/21-28

Justice = Mind Soul/28-35

Hermit = Consciousness Soul/35-42

Wheel of Fortune = Spirit Self/42-49

Force = Life Spirit/49-56

Hanged Man = Spirit Man/56-63

Death = Death

Temperance = Etheric Review

Devil = “40 Days in the Wilderness”

Tower of Destruction = Kama Loka/Moon Sphere

Star = Mercury Sphere

Moon = Venus Sphere

Sun = Sun Sphere

Judgement = Mars Sphere

Fool = Jupiter Sphere

World = Saturn Sphere

Looking back over our experience of the Suit of Coins, we wondered if this journey continued in the Minor Arcana. 

Perhaps the Numbered Coins (Ace through Ten) represented the “Midnight Hour.” We (that is, Phillip, Joel and Molly) then immersed ourselves in the music for the experience of the Midnight Hour from the Grail Celebration of the Journey of the Soul into Incarnation, while observing the Numbered Coins. 

The music was the 1st and 2nd movements of Beethoven’s Fantasia in C Minor, op. 80:

This music unfolded in what felt like three distinct parts. The first was like a conversation—as Robert characterizes it, a conversation between God the Father and the Self during the Midnight Hour. Here we are at the Empyrean, the Fire of Love. It is interesting that at the Midnight Hour, all hinges on a conversation—the activity that has become so central to our process. Rudolf Steiner describes this moment as a kind of temptation for the Soul. Lucifer gives the soul the opportunity to achieve perfection, to rise to a higher sphere and be made perfect, no longer to incarnate. Yet on the far shore, the Soul sees the Image of Man, the Ideal of Humanity. And the Soul realizes that she too can add something to the creation of this Image of Man, and must make the decision to achieve immediate perfection and abandon humanity, or to sacrifice perfection in order to aid in achieving the goal that lies far in the future. 

Upon deciding to reincarnate, the Soul then chooses the Ascendent—the time and place of birth. A kind of foreseeing of one’s birth appears. It is interesting that this next section of the Fantasia contains a foretaste of the music that Robert chose for the moment of birth (the 3rd movement). Here perhaps we are in the Primum Mobile, where the hierarchies put things into movement.

Then comes the second movement, which Robert puts into direct relationship with the sphere of the Fixed Stars radiating in from 12 directions the basis for the “Image” of Man—the foundations of the physical body. This music brings us into a lofty, harmonious mood in juxtaposition to the faster-paced activity that has come before. 

Next, we consider the Sphere of Saturn as the realm of the Seraphim, the Spirits of Love and Memory. Here we are confronted with something analogous to the “etheric review” after death. In fact, Steiner indicates that our “etheric review” at death distills into a Cosmic Thinking that runs far ahead of us over the course of life between death and rebirth. We become beings of pure feeling-will, or will-feeling. Only after the Midnight Hour do we “catch up” with the Cosmic Thinking that has run so far ahead. We once again remember the Earth. We remember our Name and our Mission. Saturn bears all of our positive karma, all that we have achieved towards our mission and all that we still owe to it. 

This sphere is represented to us by the Court Arcana of Knave, Knight, Queen and King. Musically, it is brought to us by Beethoven’s Largo from Piano Concerto No. 3, Op. 37:

The mood of this piece is very much akin to the mood of the Court Arcana. It could more or less be summed up as: “Remember who you are! Remember your divine origin! You are a child of the Gods, you bear the greatest glory and therefore the greatest responsibility. Always comport yourself as the Nobility that you truly are!” There is an austere nobility to this piece, and just a touch of the tragedy of departing from the highest spheres and setting off on the journey to incarnation—and therefore fallibility. 

Next we come to the realm of the Cherubim, Spirits of Harmony in the Jupiter Sphere. We immerse ourselves in Beethoven’s Piano concerto no. 5 in Eb major, Op. 73, 1st movement:

Steiner speaks of the Jupiter sphere as one of lightning flashes of conscious, the thunder of the blood’s pulse of morality. With the Emperor Concerto, we explode out of the austerity of the Saturn sphere into the Suit of Swords. 

Perhaps something of the Midnight Hour and the Realm of Fixed Stars has something to do with the Magician, with the moment of conception; and perhaps the Saturn Sphere is related to the High Priestess and gestation. This would make the entry into the Jupiter Sphere related to the Empress, to the moment of Birth—and the Emperor, like the concerto? The Authority, the Conscience?