Notes of a Hermetic Conversation from June 5, 2018
June 5, 2018
Two of Coins
We began with the protective practice from the 15th Letter-Meditation.
We then invoked the presence of the Risen Christ through reading the second stanza of the Foundation Stone Meditation.
After focusing on the mantra I AM centered on the brow chakra, we performed the fourth part of the Inner Radiance Sequence. We then read Revelation 1:17-20 and Matthew 4:1-4 (the Ahrimanic Temptation).
– The previous night we had talked about Goethe’s Fairy Tale of the Green Snake and Beautiful Lilly, in particular the activity of the will-o-the-wisps vs the green snake, both of whom eat gold. The will-o-the-wisps spit out coins, but the green snake sacrifices herself and becomes jewels. These jewels are then thrown into the river that divides the two realms, and the next morning the coins have become a bridge connecting the two worlds.
Phillip had a very vivid dream recently that involved, at various points, him being the boatman on a river where others were swimming, the exchange of dollar bills, and the attempt to use the dollar bills to skate along city streets. Prior to all of this was a heated discussion in a secret room amongst people with experiences and/or interpretations of karmic lineages that were at variance with each other. These were the same individuals later swimming in the river.
We began our discussion tonight briefly speaking of these things again, but in relation to the myth of Cupid and Psyche (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cupid_and_Psyche#Story). There are many similar elements here, especially Psyche’s need to carry two coins in her mouth in order to pay Charon, the ferryman to and from the realm of the Dead. There is also a ferryman who demands payment in the Green Snake and Beautiful Lilly; in Phillip’s dream, he was a ferryman of sorts later dealing in money (and the preceding conversations around reincarnation make one think of journeys between the realms of the living and dead).
Somehow all of this seems connected to the Two of Coins, like each Coin is a different realm and the banner between them is the river separating them. Especially if we consider the Two of Coins the 24th Arcanum, looking at the series of “6” Arcana: Lover, Devil, Two of Coins. The Lover makes us think of Cupid and Psyche, and The Devil makes us think of Psyche’s journey to the underworld.
There is also a strong emphasis in the legend that Psyche bring only barley bread to eat and nothing that is offered to her along the way. Aren’t the origins of money related to barley somehow, that barley was used as a currency in ancient times? In the Jewish tradition, for the 50 days after Passover, for each day one would celebrate with a sheaf of barley. On the 50th day the anniversary of the giving of the Torah was celebrated—this day is equivalent to modern day Pentecost/Whitsun. The Torah is in a way equivalent to the presence of Sophia at Pentecost.
There is a point in the story when Psyche must somehow retrieve water streaming forth from a rock on a high mountain. The Ace of Coins is reminiscent of Moses striking the stone and water coming forth.
Other imagery in the myth: she must carry two pieces of bread dipped in honey water to Cerberus in order to stave him off as she passes, and two coins (in her mouth) to pay the ferryman, Charon. Both the bread and the coins are tokens of payment. This recalls the third temptation in the wilderness, the turning of stones into bread (a temptation by the lord of Death, Ahriman).
At another point she meets 3 women spinning a tapestry and must not disturb them. The Fates. We are not to disturb the weaving of destiny with our earthly consciousness.
– After death, the soul and spirit arise through the planetary spheres to the Midnight Hour and back again. Is there a mirroring of this journey on the part of the “eternal kernel” of the physical body (the resurrection body = pure will) that descends after death into the heart of the Earth to the Mother? This question only raises many more questions. What exactly is that realm? Is what is happening celestially to the soul and spirit happening in some analogous/mirrored way in the sub earthly realms to the body?
The 2 of coins is like an image of the part of the phantom body/resurrection body that descends, and the soul/spirit being rising up. The soul leaves behind the physical/etheric/sentient body; only a condensed remnant or memory of these remains, that is subsumed into the higher members of the soul.
In Joel’s Camphill Academy coursework, the journey of the soul through the planetary spheres was studied. The instructor pointed out that as far as she could tell, Steiner never mentions what happens to the “ego organization” as she called it—meaning the sentient soul/intellectual soul/consciousness soul. There is mention of the physical body decaying, the etheric body streaming as a comprehensive memory picture before uniting itself with the etheric world, and the astral body being purified of its lower impulses in kama loka. Then the soul (the ego) and the higher members of the Spirit (Spirit Self, Spirit Life, Spirit Body) journey beyond kama loka. But what of the garment of the ego, the three-fold soul garment? Where does this go? Are we to think of the three-fold soul, the garment of the ego, as the earthly expression of the personality (the lower self) and the ego as the higher self, that which reincarnates from life to life?
Is it possible that there is a connection between the Ego and the 3 fold spirit on the one hand, and the kernel of the physical body with the 3 fold soul? Is every physically incarnated form, and every manifestation of the ego (the 3-fold soul, the lower personality) somehow preserved in the heart of the Earth by the Mother? At the Last Judgement (Vulcan), we might get a picture of the resurrection of our entire karmic past—each of our incarnations acting together as a kind of species, while our Ego/3-fold Spirit is above as the Group Soul of the species composed of our many incarnations.
Or is it something much simpler? Does the Mother merely preserve the “eternal core” of our physical body, the form that transcends each individual form; while the Father preserves our Transcendent Ego, the Individuality that transcends each individual personality? And the Last Judgement consists of the ultimate manifestation and union of these two beings, their eternal union.
There must be an analogous process for the phantom body that the Ego experiences at the Midnight Hour: an karmic adjustment and elaboration of the “eternal core” of the physical body that adequately prepares it for its next manifestation (in the next lifetime). This is all very nebulous.
Page 579-581 makes it clear that here we are looking at the preservation by the Mother of only the eternal physical body, that which is involved in “vertical heredity” rather than “horizontal heredity.” Not a preservation of each particular manifestation of the physical body.
What is the nature of the “sleep and awakening” of this resurrection body? It’s quite possible this has something to do with the Ascendent at birth—often there is an interchange/alignment between Ascendent and Mars between death in one incarnation and birth in a subsequent incarnation. Mars is the realm of the archetypes of the physical world, and is associated with the Spirit Body (“Thy Will Be Done”).
Robert speaks of the soul at the Midnight Hour, that this is the time that the Soul chooses its Ascendent, the location of its next incarnation. A relationship develops here between the Moon and the Ascendent (the Hermetic Rule—see Hermetic Astrology vols I + II). We could see this as a kind of communication between the Self with the Father and the Kernel with the Mother—the kernel is informed when/where it is to “Ascend.”
Steiner elaborates the Soul and Spirit as being Ego and the Three-fold Spirit: Spirit Self, Spirit Life, and Spirit Body (Atma). This begs the question—what exactly is the difference between the Spirit Body/Atma that Steiner refers to as ascending through the planetary spheres with the Ego, and the Eternal Kernel that Tomberg speaks of as descending through the sub-earthly spheres to the realm of the Mother?
This is precisely the question that led Joel originally to conceiving of an “eternal prototype” that ascends above, while the form of each individual incarnation descends below, leading to this picture of an unfolding of one’s “Book of Life,” one’s karmic lineage, in its own species.
But it might have something to do with the Nathan Jesus being held back, and the two ethers that accompanied this sister soul of Adam (tone and life). These aspects need, in time, to be reintegrated into the human make-up. Atma/Spirit Body is associated more with the Ego’s effort of transmutation, what the individual soul has accomplished in terms of reintegrating these pure elements that were held back at the Fall. Whereas what descends to the Mother is actually this Spirit Body in its wholeness, its completeness, its purity. It is always there, like the sister soul of Adam (Nathan Jesus). It is always there, just never (as yet, and except for Christ) completely incarnated. It is protected until the Ego has done its work.
Connecting this pure body to the center of the Earth is only done by Tomberg, not by Steiner.
– How exactly does this mirroring and separation work? We have a division of six members above and 1 below? With Steiner, the description of the journey through the planetary spheres can come across as so straightforward: we enter a planetary sphere, experience a purgation of a particular body, and move on to the next sphere. Then in our journey to birth, we go back through these spheres and collect, in a transformed manifestation, the pieces of ourselves we had left behind in the purgation, and re-adorn ourselves.
Tomberg really throws a wrench into all of this.
A more complete picture is that of the expansion of being, of the entire human being, into the whole cosmos. We have to think of this with the Earth as a part of the cosmos. The body, then, belongs just as much to the Earth as to, eventually, the Saturn sphere, equally Earthly and Saturnine. It is a process of peeling away the self-centered and bound aspects of oneself until one can expand all the way to the Saturn sphere. After the reintegration of the planets, Saturn and Earth will be One—Atma and Resurrection Body will be One.
The Mother fills out all of Space, all of the celestial spheres. But with the Earth, there is a gap, a no-man’s land. She only lives in the Heart of the Earth, hidden within layers of chaos. There the Cosmic state is found again, and still lives. It isn’t so much that everything within the Earth mirrors the Cosmos, at least not yet. There is much that happens within the Earth that pertains only to Earth.
If we image the Pralaya state preceding Earth evolution—then Paradise condensing out of this Pralaya state—then there is a gradual “Fall” which manifests itself in the various planetary bodies separating off from the Earth Mass. Saturn separates, and simultaneously an occluding sphere develops around “Paradise.” These occluding spheres continue to build up as various planets are removed (Jupiter, Mars, etc), and this is how we end up with Paradise in the center, surrounded by the nine sub-earthly spheres. These sub-earthly spheres are less a reflection (at this point) of the Cosmos, and more of a dross, an ill element that had to be discarded.
So now we have the Nine Hierarchies vs the Nine Sub-Earthly spheres. They are a corpse, a remembrance. Tomberg describes the descent of the eternal core of the physical body as a relaxation of the will. It is a journey to paradise through the dross. Meanwhile, the soul/spirit organism journey through the enabled element of the planetary spheres to what is essentially the same place (Midnight Hour/Father).
– Notice that with the Hindu, Persian, and Egyptian traditions, the journey of the soul through the spheres was known/remembered/reenacted in some way. On the other hand, the Jews and Greeks spoke only of Sheol, Hades, the realm of the Shades. They were only aware of physical death, not of the transmigration of the soul (at least not in the same way as the prior cultures). Possibly Paradise itself was also becoming a dross until the coming of Christ—releasing the souls trapped in the underworld. At this point in history, it seems that it wasn’t just physical bodies descending to the mother, but also etheric and astral bodies. This relates to what is discussed in the 13th Letter-Mediation on Death, ghosts—the hardening/fall of higher bodies into inappropriate realms. The soul/body combination is unable to access Paradise, because it is unable to rest (relax the will). Therefore, it is also unable to confront karma appropriately, since some of its higher members are stuck below rather than journeying through the planetary spheres.
– The emphasis on horizontal lines in the Lover, the Devil, etc. We can think of this as being related to non-archetypal (non-vertical/spiritual) planes, the horizontal perspective. It also makes one think of layers and hierarchies, time, destiny, evolution.
– With Steiner, Willi Sucher, and Robert we have images of the Solar System that are very reminiscent of this image in the Two of Coins. The two centers of gravity in the Hermetic system (Sun and Earth), the lemniscatory path of the Solar System as a whole, the “cresting wave” of fallen substance that journeys from Saturn to the Sun, where it is inverted (spiritualized). (See pages 94-95 of Cosmic Christianity and the Changing Countenance of Cosmology by Willi Sucher).
– Ace of Coins = Adam-Eve (primal androgyne) surrounded by four primal creatures/instincts/rivers etc.
On the other hand, the Two of Coins could represent a whole slew of polarities:
Adam + Eve (no longer primal androgyne, primal couple)
Cain + Abel
Kernel + Material Body
Will + Consciousness
Image + Likeness
Adam + Sister Soul
Two Jesus children (Purity/Innocence vs karma/wisdom/experience)\
Notice the Ego (represented by the name of the artist) is in the middle of the two coins.
– The Ace of Coins is Undifferentiated Duality: two separate lines of evolution in the same field of activity. 2 evolutions occurring side by side.
– Reading from Romantic Religion, pages 101-102 and 113-114. C.S. Lewis’s experience of what he calls Joy is more or less an intense longing for that which is unattainable. Certain experiences in art and nature bring forth this experience in him, and over time he realizes that this intense longing is nothing other than the soul’s longing for the Spirit. Even if the soul doesn’t have positive spiritual senses (like Steiner), the soul definitely has a negative spiritual sense, i.e. a sense for the lack of Spirit in the earthly world, for that which will truly satisfy the soul. This which Lewis calls Joy is a longing for the transcendent that is so intensified that pleasure and pain meet and become one.
We could see this as, on a human level, analogous to the suffocating longing we spoke of last time that the Creator feels prior to creation. He too feels the lack: the lack of the created world. This same longing which exists in human beings (and is called Joy by Lewis) is also the longing in the Godhead of the world prior to Creation. Joy as the foundation of all creation.
In terms of the Trinity, we might think of two different potentials existing side by side (Father and Son), totally absorbed in the wholeness/unity between them (the Spirit). The Lover and the Beloved and the Love that flows between them.
In Lewis’s biography we see that he is tapping into the primal wholeness, the (in a way) satisfying experience of longing. But for him it was to a certain extent un-investigated, momentary, experiential. It remained transcendental. Like Parzival’s first visit to the Grail Castle. Naive. This was his karma, that this joy was awoken through a welling upward from the unconscious, from the forgotten. But what awakens it is just a catalyst, or an indicator.
The 22nd Arcanum, The World = Joy. Tomberg means Joy in Lewis’s sense when he speaks of Joy. We might call it Beatitude. Only finding satisfaction in the Spiritual, the Truth.
Through this experience of Joy, we are given the gift of certainty. Recognition of the lack of any Earthly thing that could fill this longing affirms the existence of God, the Spirit. One only knows darkness if one has experienced light. This was Lewis’s struggle throughout the early years of his life. He was not just an atheist, he hated God, cursed God for allowing pain to exist in the world. He felt so certain that God could not exist, that the presence of pain and suffering in the world was proof of his non-existence: for if he were perfect and omnipotent surely he would intervene. But over time Lewis realized that his capacity to recognize the absence of the ideal implied a sense for the ideal, i.e. a sense for the Spirit, for what ought to be and isn’t. This is the aim of Antichrist: to convince humanity, Christian or otherwise, that God = Omnipotence, that God is Almighty. But in truth, we do not worship an all powerful God—that is what Ahriman wishes to be. We worship an all-loving God, the primal well-spring of Love. When we understand God to be equal to the well-spring of Love, then our misunderstandings about pain and suffering disappear. The false equivalence of God and Power makes for a very dangerous and false road.
– Is The World a woman or hermaphroditic? In some decks this figure is depicted as a man (Christ). The traditional Church imagery displays the same thing, Christ surrounded by Vesica Piscis and the four Holy Creatures. But in classical imagery of the Zodiac it is Cosmic Sophia surrounded by the 12 signs of the Zodiac (still in the form of Vesica Piscis). Maybe The World is Cosmic Sophia and Risen Christ together—married, superimposed. The Wand and Phial represent male and female, the two different sexual organs. The normal region of the reproductive organs is shielded by her banner, and the wand and phial are in the hands—the reproductive forces/urges are in hand, under control of the will, the heart, conscious direction. Baton on the left, phial on the right: creative (left, above to below) and intuitive (right, below to above) consciousness.
The World = Midnight Hour (Realm of the Father, Zodiac) vs Ace of Coins = Kernel (Realm of the Mother, Center of the Earth). The two extremes meet.
– Looking to next time, at The Sun in relation to the Three of Coins. In Wandering Fool, Tomberg describes the magical quality of this Arcanum as the principle of Exchange, precisely the quality we have been looking at in terms of the Coins. It seems as though the Ace of Coins is more about this deep longing/Joy (Yod), and the Two of Coins is more to do with the discovery of the other, the setting into motion of relationship, but we only reach true Exchange with the Shin card, the Three of Coins. The Sun is the Arcanum of Cooperation, community.
The Sun has 16 Rays (like the Ace of Coins), and possibly 60 small lines on its face (like the Two of Coins) – Ace and Two united.
We ended with the fourth stanza of the Foundation Stone meditation in eurythmy.
Later in the week, after attending a Church Service, Joel had the following realization:
Ace of Coins = Yod = Joy = Gospel Reading/Sermon
Two of Coins = He = Moral Memory = Prayers of the People (Confession, Prayers for the Dead)
Three of Coins = Shin = Exchange = The Peace and Offering
Four of Coins = Vau = Ritual = Consecration of the Substances
Five of Coins = He = Healing = The Eucharist
So the liturgical church service enacts the primal name YHShVH within the Plane of Action.
It begs the question: do the modern Grail masses (Christian Community, Mass of the Lamb and his Bride) have all five of these elements?