Notes of a Hermetic Conversation on March 13, 2018
March 13, The World
We began with the invocation of the Holy Spirit, as tonight began a Lunar Thursday, by reading the third stanza of the Foundation Stone meditation.
We then performed the Lord’s Prayer through the Sephiroth, and the complete Divine Alphabet (up through the 21st letter, Taw).
– The halos of the Angel and the Eagle pierce through the frame of the card. The only other image in which this occurs is the High Priestess, whose tiara pierces the frame. The polar opposite of this is Death, who has no bottom frame or title at the base (extending into the depths rather than the heights). The egg shape of the garland around the dancer is similar to the tiara of the High Priestess (and the Pope).
– There are many forms, a lot of geometry in this arcanum. The overall shape of an X with an oval in the center; the crosses on the top and bottom of the garland; the form that is created in the negative space between lion and bull; and her scarf – is it in the shape of a hebrew letter? (It is very similar to Bet…
…but turned on its side, it looks like Taw…
…the letter to which this arcanum corresponds).
– She stands on one foot, or rather she is dancing. This form is like the Hanged Man, except that she is upright, not hanging. The stance is also similar to the Emperor. It seems as though this arcanum brings in elements from many (perhaps all?) of the other arcana. A lot of symbolism.
– Where is this taking place? What is the center of gravity? Earthly or celestial?
It seems like the garland is like a frame or a window, through which the cherubim are gazing. Like in some fairy tales, a pool of water through which events occurring far away can be seen.
In The Judgement, we have a portal opening through which the spiritual invades the mundane world and creates a miracle. This is like the other side: a portal is opening in the spiritual through which they can create/observe the mundane world.
This portal is more like a womb. It is the inverse of the portal in The Judgement.
– She is only one color, like the Bull. Her gaze inclines toward the Bull. Whereas the ground upon which she stands is golden, like the Lion.
The Angel and the Eagle are more related to the colorful aurora, the bow.
Here we have distinctive roles: the winged creatures bring levity, color, adornment. The creatures below bring form and foundation, they are bearing the dancer.
– It is a window into a burgeoning, a new creation. Seeing the manifest world at the moment of its creation by the hierarchies, something new is being added to the spiritual world. Perhaps the manifest world is always a new creation for the spiritual world? Tomberg describes the intellect as operating in an eternal Fall, where all is the past, is harvest. Whereas spontaneous wisdom operates in an eternal spring, where all is new and blossoming (see the 18th Letter-Meditation on The Moon and the 19th Letter-Meditation on The Sun). From the perspective of the spiritual world, no matter how long they gaze at human evolution, it is an eternal Spring, a Becoming.
Possibly this is an image of the “ideal true,” the eternally true, meeting the “real true”, the temporal or particular truth (a reference to the 5th Letter-Meditation, on The Pope).
– The verse from Proverbs at the beginning of the letter/meditation speaks of presence and influence of the Feminine from the very beginning of creation. This is related to the Most Holy Trinosophia that is outlined so specifically in this book. The Divine Feminine brings about completion of creation through her feminine qualities of reflecting (first He) and amplifying (second He, realization). The ideal truth can only become one with real truth through the Feminine.
– Elohim created Adam. He was alone, and they realized it was incomplete. He needed Eve to reflect and amplify him so that he could become truly human.
We could see the whole created world, up unto the present day even, as Adam. Alone. Eve represents the created world’s need for the Divine Feminine element. It is only through the Divine Feminine that the world can become The World. This is tied up with the redemption of nature, nature needs to be reflected and amplified: the stone needs the warmth, the plant needs the light, the animal needs the word, and man needs the life (ability to bestow life) (a reference to notes from the Lord’s Prayer Course, as well as Christ and Sophia). Tomberg’s picture of the future natural world is a bit Narnian.
– She’s a bit monotone, even though she’s a dancer. She is like a statue. Is she a static ideal? She is mid-dance, living and moving, but also seems like a fixed ideal.
– Is she standing/dancing on the ground? On the horizon? That is what the yellow patch seems to be.
– There are a variety of perspectives amongst the four creatures. The Eagle gazes at the Angel. The Angel gazes at the Woman. She seems to be looking towards the Bull, who is looking away (to our left). The Lion gazes straight ahead, at us.
– When we arrange the final Yod He Vau He of The Sun—The Judgement—The Fool—The World, the Fool really sticks out. There is a natural progression from The Sun to The Judgment to The World. We see in The Sun the spiritual world above, inspiring the conversation of the two youths. With The Judgement, the spiritual world emerges from inside/behind the Sun, invades the mundane world to bring about a miracle. With the World, the portal has inverted; we have the perspective of the spiritual world rather than the mundane. It is a process of inversion, of turning inside out.
Does this make the World the final Vau and not the final He?
Tomberg balks at the idea that the Fool could be the final He, the last card in the sequence, since he is in motion and lacks the quality of summary of all preceding arcana that the World has. However, if we take into account the Minor Arcana, we could see him as an ending that says “to be continued,” carry on into the Minors.
In this sense, the World is the He of all the Major Arcana, but the Fool is the He as a bridge to the Minor Arcana.
The two of them belong together. He is like the romantic Knight, and she is his maiden, the feminine ideal.
– On the other hand, the Fool could also lead back to the Magician, heading to his table to set up his bag of tricks. A circular continuation.
And the World certainly leads naturally into the geometry of the Ace of Coins (large center with an emphasis in the four corners). It is like the World stripped down to its bare geometric lattice.
We could look at it this way:
Here we have The Fool wandering over to become the Magician, but he is busy daydreaming about The World: see how he is looking up, and not ahead? He only has eyes for her, his Muse, his Divine Ideal. Then we have the Ace of Coins as a kind of zooming in on the Magician. Like we are taking a very close look at the coin that he is holding in his right hand.
This might be a fruitful exercise, as recommended by Fred Gettings, when we get to the Minors: to take the first 9 Major Arcana and compare them to the numbered Minors in their different suits/realms.
– The Ace of Coins: why are the four flowers in the corners facing inward/downward? Why would growing flowers point this way and not outward/upward, toward the sun? This is what flowers do when they are asleep. Maybe it is the night in this card? Or is the central coin the sun toward which they point (sun united with earth)? The central flower is wide open…but we are getting ahead of ourselves….
– Death stands on one leg as well, as he has cut off his own foot. It is his left leg that is off the ground, like the dancer, whereas both the Hanged Man and Emperor have their right leg lifted.
– She holds both a wand and a phial = baton and cup. No sword? No coin?
The coin = earth. Cup = water. Baton = fire. She is bearing water and fire?
It is still a question/unclarity as to which elements go with which suits. One could see it in a straightforward analogy:
Coins = Earth
Swords = Water
Cups = Air
Batons = Fire
Here both the elements and the suits are “in order.”
Or we could look at it in terms of the zodiac. With the Zodiac, the order is Earth, Air, Water, Fire (eg Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo). Here it would be:
Coins = Earth
Swords = Air
Cups = Water
Batons = Fire
The Baton is the fire of the creative will, it can be burnt as a torch.
The Cup holds the water.
The Coin is the Stone = Earth.
But the Sword as Air? How are these two related? One thinks of the sword proceeding from the mouth of Christ: Sword=Word. The Word is the Sword made of Air.
In Dennis Klocek’s alchemy, Air has the quality of inverting, of turning things inside out. Earth is individual facts, water is a metamorphosis/changing, air is a turning inside out, and fire is complete transformation/reforming.
– When we look at the first four cards of the Major Arcana, we can see a similarity with the four Holy Creatures. We noticed this when we first began, back in 2016:
Magician = Angel
High Priestess = Bull
Empress = Eagle
Emperor = Lion
Do we still agree with this? Possibly a question with the Empress. Her wings are frozen, she’s not quite there in terms of the Eagle. Like the sword/air, the analogy doesn’t seem complete.
The High Priestess is the Bull—does that make her the stone? No. She is a cup. She is receptive to the divine, the perfect vessel. Like the horns of the bull, ready to receive the spiritual (the veil is shaped both like horns as well as like a chalice).
The Magician is the Baton, the element of Fire, but he is aligned with the Angel, the element of Air.
The High Priestess is the Cup, the element of Water, but she is aligned with the Bull, the element of Earth.
The Empress is the Sword, the element of Air, but she is aligned with the Eagle, the element of Water.
The Emperor is the Stone, the element of Earth, but he is aligned with the Lion, the element of Fire.
These four Arcana are complementing/elevating the Holy Creatures of the Zodiac.
– This shows us this form for The World:
Here Yod = Magician/Angel
He (1) = High Priestess/Bull
Shin = The Dancer
Vau = Empress/Eagle
He (2) = Emperor/Lion
Here, rather than the Abrahamic Divine Name YHVH, we have the Christianized Divine Name YHShVH = Jeshua, Jesus. It is the Divine (YHVH) with Shin, the Fire of Love, the Fire of the Personality in the midst. The God-Man, Word made Flesh.
– The gesture that we see with the Major Arcana is a movement from above to below, archetype to realization. Hermetic Axiom: “As Above, So Below.”
We see this even in how we have moved through the cards:
A descent from above to below.
This is showing to us the relationship between the spiritual world and the world of human beings, the creation of the spiritual world. It is a moral instruction.
What is missing or implied throughout is the Cross, the Fifth Element. Tomberg discusses this explicitly in the 10th Letter-meditation on the Wheel of Fortune.
Is it possible that with the Minor Arcana, this fifth element has entered into the movement of the cards? Giving us this movement:
With our prior arrangement, the second He became the Yod of the next Name of God. In this case, both the Vau and second He become the Yod and first He of the next sequence:
Notice several things: it moves horizontally, rather than vertically. Due to the presence of the fifth element, the quintessence of the human Christ, it is no longer about the creation of man from above by God, but rather about the redemption of the natural world by man through the vehicle of history, a horizontal movement. “As it has been, so shall it be, and as it will be, so has it been.” Or “I AM the Alpha and the Omega.”
The second thing to notice is that with the YHVH, it is a matter of the He becoming a Yod. This is a primal unity, the primal Father.
But here, it is Vau and He becoming Yod and He. This indicates a primal duality of Mother and Father, of Spiritual and Human, of creation out of Lover and Beloved. It is an evolution/progression through Time, rather than a creation within Space as in the Major Arcana.
– The Major Arcana describe the creation of Sophia, of Divine Wisdom, by YHWH. It is like the process of the tsim-tsum from the letter-meditation on The Emperor (page 84). God is All; hence, the first act that must precede positive creation is negative creation, destroying a piece of Himself in order to make a space in which something new can exist. This space is not not-God, it is still God, but has space to be other than God as well. This space is Divine Sophia, there at the beginning of creation. It is the window through which we see the dancer in The World.
Like Adam and Eve: Eve/Sophia is the tsim-tsum of YHWH, an open space through which God can be reflected and amplified.
The Minor Arcana is then that which is created out of their Love, their mutual activity.
The Goal of the Major Arcana is The World, which is then the vehicle for the unfolding of the Minor Arcana.
The story of the last 3-4 arcana is to create the space, the space which allows new creation.
God is Emanation. The Tsim-tsum (Feminine) is contraction of this emanation.
God is Revelation. The Tsim-tsum is limitation of this revelation.
God is Word. The Tsim-tsum is Silence.
The Void creates the possibility of Freedom. A mystical space of the interaction of effort and play.
– The Void (The World) becomes the Ace of Coins, the solid. Steiner says that anything material is a void in the spiritual world. That which is a spiritual void in the World is equivalent to the physical blossoming out like a flower in the Ace of Coins. The material world is a turning point, a point of inversion. It is then a reference point, an anchor and teacher for human beings to attain higher levels of consciousness.
– What do we understand of this fourth path, then? That The Emperor (Hermeticism) leads to the Opening of a Space (The World). The Creation, not of something new, but of the space that makes new creation possible. Creation through limitation, through the void. A potent void: it is static, yet potent, ready to come to life. Like the statuesque figure of a woman dancing. She is ready to come to life.
Like the planting and growth of a seed. One thinks of taking cuttings of a plant, until one finally lets it grow all the way to seed. Only then can a new plant come about.
Bamboo dies it if blooms. Fruit trees wither if not pruned.
There is a difference between the pure repetition of above to below (pure reflection of above in the below) vs a differentiating propagation in time, from past to future and future to past.
We ended with the closing of the Knight’s Practice.