ALCHEMISTICAL ASPECTS OF THE
DECK OF CARDS
(from a lecture by a student, presented at the Second International Alchemistical Convention, Stuttgart, Germany, 1973.)
Now, then, what is the stone? One of the many words Hermes uses for the Philosopher's Stone is the hen. Would there be a hen in the Joker? We see that the sign of the crow is surrounded by a yellow field. which indeed has the shape of the head of a hen with the crow forming the eye of the hen. Its open beak seems to want to pick at the nun and the monk, including the hand of the physically crucified Jesus. Why would it want to do so? To find out you should study the writings of Paul in the Bible.
Before the Roman State Church was officially founded with the aid of Constantine the Great, there was a Gospel preached, which had already been preached to every creature under heaven and of which Paul was a minister (Colossians 1 : 23). At Paul's time, however, there were also other apostles, who preached a perverted Gospel (Galatians 1 : 6,7) and (in verse 8) Paul states that if someone should preach a Gospel contrary to that which had already been preached to every creature under heaven, even if that someone is an angel from heaven, let him be accursed. Paul was preaching a non-physical and non~suffering Christ which is contrary to the Jesus Christ who died on the cross. Paul was one of the Initiated teaching the psychophysical side of the Philosopher's Stone while Hermes tries to teach the material side as well. The psychophysical Jesus is born as a divine child or offspring in every man and every woman, but in each individual at a different time. We find this divine Babe in swaddling clothes in the Joker's right elbow. To see it, turn the Joker until the head of the clown on the end of his stick is uppermost. In the Bible Jesus is also referred to as the Lamb of God. See John 1 : 29, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!". We find the Lamb in the Joker's right shoulder. It's head, forming the right side of the Joker's neck,
faces the hen and the crow. Paul, then, after finding out that his former followers among the Galatians had turned to the perverted Gospel, was very astonished (Galatians 1 : 6), and perplexed (Galatians 4 : 19,20). He said to them (in Galatians 3 : l): "0, foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?" And 5 : 12, "1 wish those who unsettle you would mutilate themselves!" In his letter to Titus 1 : 10-14, he says to rebuke them sharply and not to give heed to Jewish myths. Paul had been crucified with Christ (Galatians 2 : 20), through crucifying the flesh with its passions and desires (5 : 24) - the Crow of Hermes. According to Paul (Colossians 1 : 27) Christ is (born) in us and is the hope of glory (glowray - light), which is your seed (Galatians 3 : 16). He was talking about Abraham then, but he states in 4 : 24 that this is an allegory.
It is also very interesting to read John 1 : 1-4, which says: "In the beginning was the Word and the word was with God and the Word was God," etc. Now turn to Luke 8 : 11, "Now the parable is this: the seed is the Word of God." Also Psalms 119:105 "Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path," and verse 130: "The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple." So the Bible still conveys a lot of truth to us even though Jeremiah states in 8 : 8 that the law of the Lord has been turned into a forgery and, in verse 10, that from prophet to priest, everyone deals falsely.
We can see now, why we find the hen wanting to pick at the Joker's left arm. In the Joker the divine Babe (the seed, the word, Jesus) is born of the Crow. In section V Hermes says: "My son, that which is born of the Crow is the beginning of this art." It is "the tincture taken from the bitterness existing in its throat."
Slowly the pieces of this seemingly impossible puzzle can now be put together, but it will still take a long time to complete.
Earlier, I said that the divine Babe, or psychophysical Jesus is born in us, but in each individual at a different time. The exact time is of vital importance to us. Since the art is in regulating the fire, how can we be successful if we do not know when to use a mild
or strong fire. It is so easy to do the wrong thing, achieving nothing in the end. Does a boiled egg still produce a chicken? Where and how will we find the exact time? Could it be that our Joker is still hiding something? As if inexhaustible the Joker gives us another vital clue. It appears in the clown's head at the end of the stick he carries in his belt on his right side. The clown looks upward. In the clown's head, however, is another clown's head, this one looking down. It indicates a very famous ancient saying and has been expressed in many different symbols, but its true significance usually goes unnoticed. The saying is: "As above, so below." It means that what happens above, also happens below, according to the same laws, which is also expressed in the deck of cards. The clown indicates that we have to look at the above to find out what is hidden in the below. With "below" is meant man and generally the Earth. What else is there above us, but the stars and the planets? Genesis 1 : 14 says: "Let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and "years." This is where time comes in. To find the exact time we, therefore, must have a look at what happens in the above.
It is obvious that throughout the ages our Sun has always been regarded as the most important of all celestial bodies. The Sun is looked upon as the source of animation. Even in most languages, if not all, the word "Sun" is closely related to "son" (offspring) and to "soul" (consciousness). The ancients personified the sun as: Brahma, Amon, Osiris, Bel, Adonis, Makouth, Mithras, Krishna, Apollo, etc. As most of you are familiar with the Gospel story of Jesus Christ I will take this example to help you see that, in fact, Jesus is also another personification of the sun. You will then agree, with Paul, that the Gospel he preached has been preached to every creature under heaven, namely by "the stars".
Christ wears the livery of a Sun-God. His mother is the Virgin. His twelve apostles correspond to the twelve signs of the Zodiac. At his crucifixion the sun was eclipsed, he expired at sunset and rose again with the sun. The day appointed for his worship is the Dei Solis, Sunday, of the Sun Worshippers. The Gospel story of Jesus the Christ, the true Light, which lighteth every man that comes into the world (John 1 : 9) is the story of the Sun, the Savior of mankind. The birth of Jesus is on the twenty-fifth of December. This day had been determined by ancient astronomers as the Sun's birthday
(Adonis) Ez. 8 : 14, became the Christian mourning for Jesus and the joy of the ancients at the rising of the Sun became the joy of the Christians at the resurrection of Jesus. Egypt, Persia, Palestine and Babylonia at the Vernal Equinox - at Easter, the Sun has been below the Equator and suddenly rises above it, exhibiting a Resurrection. There is a fixed time for Christmas, but the resurrection at Easter is a varying time, as in all ancient religions, since the resurrection had to be. associated with the New Moon. According to the Christian Calendar, the birthday of John the Baptist is on the day of the Summer Solstice, when the Sun begins to decrease.
How true to Nature then are the words attributed to him in John 3 : 30, "He must decrease and Jesus increase."
This is what happens above. Now: As above, so below:
Experience will teach us that what happens in the celestial world also happens in our body composed of cells.
Jesus, the Sun in the Macrocosm, becomes Jesus the psycho-physical Seed in us, the Microcosm. The pineal gland (Joseph) produces the positive male force and the pituitary gland (Mary) produces the negative female force. Both glands get their material from the upperbrain, the Most High, the "Mother-Father" substance, through the Claustrum, which means a barrier or "cloister", a secluded place. The Claustrum is a thin sheet of isolated gray matter consisting of spindle shaped cell-bodies. Like Santa Claus, it distributes the goodies with which the pineal and pituitary glands make the "milk and honey." The male force flows from the pineal gland through a channel (Pingala) crossing the spinal cord at the base of the skull, in the medulla oblongata and follows down the right side of the spinal cord. The female force flows from the pituitary gland through a channel (Ida) crossing the spinal cord at the same place and follows down the left side of the spinal cord. Both forces pass through the semi-luna ganglion after which they merge into the solar plexus, Bethlehem, the House of Bread. It is here, where Mary and Joseph become the mother and father of the holy child. The first seed is formed in the solar plexus of every individual at the age of twelve (puberty). Thereafter, it is formed every twenty-nine and a half days at the time of the month when the moon is in the sign in which the
sun was at the birth of the individual. From the Solar Plexus, if not interfered with, the seed passes into the
spinal canal in the center of the spinal cord where it is "baptized" with the spinal fluid. The spinal canal terminates in the Cauda Equina, which makes it look and act like a thermometer. This is the River of God or the Jordan in Biblical terminology. Once the Seed is in the spinal canal it can, through art, be raised to the cross at Golgotha (place of the skull, in Hebrew). In anatomy Golgotha is the base of the skull, where the spinal cord enters the head. There, in the medulla oblongata, the nerves from the left side of the brain cross over to the right side of the body and the nerves from the right side of the brain cross over to the left side of the body. Also the energy channels Pingala and Ida form a cross at the same place. The Seed, then, is crucified on the cross. It is raised in power, for nowhere does the
Crucifixion mean death. We "cross" animals to
improve the breed, the qualities. Crossed electric
wires produce a more powerful current. The Seed
says: 'Father, the hour has come; glorify thy Son
that the Son may glorify thee." (John 17 : 1) The
Crossing of the Seed causes glorification or
illumination and literally enlightens the whole
brain. The Son and the Father become one.
The Stone comes with light and with light it is generated. Hermes goes on to say in Section IV: "Understand, then, 0 Son of Wisdom, what the Stone declares; Protect me and I will protect thee; increase my strength that I may help thee!" Yet, how true it is what he says in Section III: "Our precious stone is cast forth upon the dung-hill, and that which is most worthy is made vilest of the vile."
Now that we know, in a (wal-) nut shell, what happens above and below, in the celestial world and in the physical world, we should be able to find out what happens in the material world. This I leave up to you. When you read the "Aureus" or the Golden Tractate, however, keep in mind that Hermes talks about all three together, because all is one. I promise you, it will be very confusing, but perhaps not as much as before.
End of lecture as presented at the II Alchemistical Convention at Stuttgart, Germany, 1973.
Further comments by the author:
There are some facts about the joker card, which have not been mentioned as yet.
You will have noticed that the joker exhibits the colors yellow, red and blue in his clothing. These are the three primary colors which are an indication of the consistency of the inner-dynamics of man as far as light is concerned. It is interesting to note that in Kirlian photography the energy emanating from the fingertips is registered in red and blue, the two polarities, red negative and blue - positive (see the conventional Tree of Life - red and blue are linked by the yellow path of activities of all "spiritual" beings). Yellow is the color of the energy field showing predominantly around the head of man, where division of the poles is not as evident in the grey matter of the brain.
The comb of the rooster on the joker's head is meant to look like a lion lying down when you turn the card upside down. This red lion, which is of great significance in the Great Work, can be made to show himself as another result of applying the Master Key of the alchemists, the crow of Hermes - putrefaction. Of course, the final product of the crow is the crown. In the Hebrew alphabet NUN, the 14th letter N, means a fish, with a deeper qabalistic meaning of "product" or "that, which is born out of water" - MEM, the 13th letter meaning water. Therefore, the crow plus the letter N form the crown, the philosopher's stone. I am almost certain that the joker holds a white stone in his right hand. On the playing card the top section of the stone, between the index and middle finger is blue, which I think could be a mistake by the manufacturer or the printer. On the front cover of the previous Parachemica I have left it exactly the same, but on the enclosed reproduction I changed it to white. Now the small white field below his little finger reveals itself as the bottom section of the stone. It cannot be his thumb. The thumb is behind the stone in order to be able to hold it. As far as I am concerned, the joker holds the stone and the fact that he points to the crow is a substantial lead as to how he got it. Also see Rev. 2 17; Acts 4 : 11; 1 Pet. 2 : 4-7; Mat. 21 : 44;
Luke 20 17.
Is it not amazing what is hidden in a simple joker card? Are in it more mysteries to be discovered? Is the white field in the clown's mouth a fish, pertaining to spiritual food as a result of a balanced polarity? Does the clown's collar represent a snake with an egg in its mouth? I think, to know the full story, one would have to ask the original artist.
Arthur George Fehres.
ASTRONOMY FOR ASTROLOGERS II
RIGHT ASCENSION (R.A.)
As mentioned previously, The First Point of Aries occurs when the direct ray of the Sun (Ecliptic) crosses the Equator going north, on the 21st March every year. Not only does this mark the beginning of the zodiacal year and spring in the north, but it also serves as the zero reference point for measurement of celestial longitude or right ascension.
We know there are two co-ordinates for locating the position of a place on Earth, just as there are two co-ordinates for locating the position of a planet in the heavens, relative to the Earth.
The former, terrestial or geographical co-ordinates, are latitude and longtitude.
The latter, celestial co-ordinates, are declination and right ascension. Terrestial latitude corresponds to declination : both are measured north and south from the equator. Terrestial longitude corresponds to right ascension : both are measured along the equator.
The Meridian of Greenwich marks the beginning of measurement in terrestrial longtitude, in a westwards direction for 180o, or in an eastwards direction for 180o. Thus
180o West and East is the same longtitude and corresponds
to the International Date Line running through the
length of the mid-Pacific Ocean.
The First Point of Aries might be thought of as the "Greenwich" of the celestial sphere, for it is here that measurement in right ascension begins. But right ascension is measured in one direction only eastwards.
It is measurement taken in degrees, minutes, and seconds of arc, from 0o through a full circle of 360o; or in hours, minutes and seconds of time, from 0 hours through a whole cycle of 24 hours.
Thus, RIGHT ASCENSION (RA) can be defined as measurement eastwards along the equator in degrees of arc, or in hours of time, from the First Point of Aries.
The First Point in Aries is here shown in its correct position for 1970 AD? i.e. It has shifted to an astronomical point well advanced in Pisces, or has it just moved into Aquarius?
THE PRECESSION OF THE EQUINOXES
This phrase refers to the backward motion or "going behind" of the points of intersection of the Equator and the Ecliptic (the Equinoctial Points or Equinoxes).
They move backward so as to meet the Sun in its eastward motion along the Ecliptic. Each Vernal Equinox (First Point of Aries) will occur a little earlier. The time advances 50" per year, and accounts for the gradual shifting of the Equinoctial Points.
The present inclination of the Earth's axis and Equator to the Ecliptic is approximately 23.5o, along which obliquity the equinoctial points recede at a rate of 50" per year, or 1o in 72 years; thus 1o (60 x 60) = 3,600" divided by 50" = 72 years, which multiplied by 30o (one zodiacal sign) 2,160 x 12 = 25,920 years to return to the same point in the Zodiac and so to complete the grand climacteric or Platonic Year. Of course, we are told, it is this same Platonic or Great Year of 25,920 years that our Sun takes to revolve around Alcyone, the Great Sun.
Astronomers tell us that the Earth is something like a spinning top which is slowing down. The top and bottom poles are sweeping round in a great circle. Each circling movement taking 25,920 years. The axis of the Earth wobbling, as it were, 23.5o out of the perpendicular. This in turn is due, we are told. to the fact that the Earth is not exactly globular.
The Earth's equatorial diameter is 7,927 miles, and only 7,900 miles pole to pole. There is a slight bulging, or protruberance, at the Equator, upon which the Sun's gravitational pull is continually attracting down into the plane of the Ecliptic. The rapid rotation of the Earth modifies this attraction and causes the Earth's poles to move in a circle, or into the conical rotation of procession.
About 2,000 years ago, when this displacement of the Earth's axis was first discovered by the great observational astronomer, Hipparchus, the vernal equinox "fell in" the constellation Aries. Hence, the First Point of Aries.
But due to Precession, the First Point of Aries occurs now in the previous constellation, Pisces. So it will continue to move backwards through each constellation, every 2,160 years.
At present the wobble of the Earth's axis is taking the North Pole towards the Pole Star (Polaris), at 1o every 72 years. In 3,000 BC Draconis was the Pole Star and the Vernal Equinox coincided with the constellation Taurus. In AD 7,500 Cephei will be near the celestial pole, and in AD 14,000 Vega will be the Pole Star as it was in 12,000 BC. Polaris will again be the Pole Star around AD 28,000.
The Procession Circle left
Gravitational effects of the Sun. Moon and planets cause the Earth to 'wobble' slightly in much the same way as a top which is running down. This causes a shift in the positions of the celestial poles. and also of the celestial equator and First Point of Aries. In about 25.000 years each pole describes a circle in the sky, 47o in diameter. This diagram shows the precession circle for the north celestial pole. Three thousand years ago it lay near Thuban in Draco (the Dragon); at present it is near Polaris; in 14,000 years' time the pole star will be the brilliant Vega, in Lyre.
Now let us look again at the Great Year from the aspect of our Sun's revolution around the Great Sun, Alcyone. Given this fact, our Sun's great cycle of 26,920 years; an Age or Great Month of 2,160 years, is it not therefore likely that rather the Solar revolution about Alycone and the consequent spiral motion of the Earth about Alcyone, is a more primary cause of Precession of the Equinoxes and also of the 26,920 year wobble of the Earth's axis?
Is this not really just a question of relativity?
Isn't 'the wobble' rather an effect than a cause of Precession of the Equinoxes?
Our Universe is a case of "wheels within wheels" and the facts must vary depending on the view or overview ...... whether geocentric or heliocentric or Alyconecentric. A simple example was the geocentric system in astronomy which worked well (the Sun and planets revolve around the Earth), until it was found that the heliocentric system gave more answers.
The Equinoxes and Solstices
The plane of the zodiac intersects the celestial equator at an angle of approximately 23o28'. The two points of intersection (A and B) are called the equinoxes.
Astronomy for Astrologers III
Teach me, my God and King,
In all things Thee to see.
And what I do in anything,
To do it, as for Thee.
Not rudely, as a beast,
To run into an action,
But still to make
And give it His perfection.
A man that looks on glass,
on it may stay his eye,
Or, if he pleaseth, through it pass,
And then the heaven espy.
All may of Thee partake:
Nothing can be so mean,
Which, with His tincture (for thy sake),
Will not grow bright and clean.
A servant with this clause,
Makes drudgery divine:
Who sweeps a room, as for Thy laws,
Makes that and the action fine.
This is the famous Stone
that turneth all to gold,
For that which God doth touch and own
cannot for less be told.
George Herbert (1593 - 1633)