The Flower Moon started this week complete with a new moon filled with sickness, avarice, and a void of energy. I switched from the Eteilla deck to the Jodorowsky Marsielle, courtesy of my good friend @ghostlyharmless. To accompany this change I also switched my meditations from the Hall of Justice to the Hall of Temperance. This area in my Memory Forest holds the archetypes of the Hermit, the Chariot, the Wheel of Fortune, and the Lovers. My work in the Hall of Justice and the Path of the Sword has not left me though. There has been a lasting impression made by the Devil archetype and a renewed infatuation with the idea of Hell as an alchemical crucible meant to perfect man into a perfect being. Hell has gotten a bad wrap, I think. The more I contemplate it the more its reputation strikes me as some type of propaganda campaign meant to keep us subservient and stuck in a religious hierarchy where only the few are granted the power of ritual, authority, and the lineage back to that time when the lines between the pagan and the Christian were still blurred. It is the details that make me suspicious. Every good lie has a lot of details and I'm not convinced that man would ever be able to break the infernal cryptogram. The following quote from Thomas Mann's Doctor Faust speaks to this idea:
"That is the secret delight and security of hell, that it is not to be informed on, that it is protected from speech, that it just is, but cannot be public in the newspaper, be brought by any word to critical knowledge, where for precisely the words 'subterranean,' 'cellar,' 'thick walls,' 'soundlessness,' 'forgottenness,' 'hopelessness,' are the poor, weak symbols. One must just be satisfied with symbolism, my good man, when one is speaking of hell, for there everything ends - not only the word that describes, but everything altogether."
We must be satisfied with symbolism when speaking of hell. The way to gain access to Hephaestus' furnace is through the deep study of archetypes.
As I mentioned, this week's meditation was in the Hall of Temperance, or rather, the Sugar Maple grove, as the Sugar Bush was the final manifestation of the familiar woman and her cups that we know from the Tarot. The reason my mind chose this isn't exactly clear but I feel it has something to do the the transmutation of water and sunlight into food (a natural alchemical process) and the movement of water through underground mycelia, to roots, and up the phylum to the chloryphillic distillation chambers rustling in the soft summer breeze. The first day Temperance the woman appeared, sitting on a large piece of quartz. The Hermit was in a cave with a fire, even though the forest around him was warm and filled with dappled sunlight. The Chariot manifested as the old wagon in the grove of trees in the pasture in front of my house growing up. Ancient, gray, wood past rotting, preserved, metal wheels rusted. The Wheel of Fortune was a carnival game and the three figures around it were carnival workers in grotesque masks and that dirty clothing that only carnival folk can muster. The Lovers were at first a couple getting married but then a mating pair of foxes, a hold over from my total binge watching of the first season of The Magicians. It was this reference that told me that my vision here needs more work and that the archetypes remain elusive.
The next day the Lovers jumped between a puritan couple and naked hippies having sex in the forest in quick succession. These quick jumps have happened before and usually ended up landing on something significant, like my mind was shuffling its own deck searching for the right language to speak to me. Temperance was in puritan dress as well and resembled Virgo with her jug pouring spring water into a cup. The Hermit became the older version of himself, Father Time, and was out of his Platonic cave and shining a lantern in bright daylight. I know now he is blind. The Wheel of Fortune became a spinning wheel with the Fates at its helm spinning the cords of people's lives and the Chariot a covered wagon with a team of horses suggesting forward momentum but being trapped and immovable among thick trees.
On the third day all of Temperance revealed their animal forms to me. The Hermit was a blind mole, living mostly underground and navigating with his other senses, his eyes being unreliable. The Wheel of Fortune was a black and yellow barn spider with three or four past meals in its web. A childhood memory of a wasp flying directly into a web and being devoured came to mind. Even the most aggressive forward path is immune to the web of fate. The Chariot was just a wild horse grazing among the sugar maples. It seems to be telling me that the real meaning of this card is hidden. It isn't the Golden Chariot that is the archetype but the force that pulls it forward. The Lovers jumped between a number of different animals, but I could tell they were projections until a mated pair of geese appeared. The message here is devotion to the next generation and your mate. You starve and freeze while standing by them but the suffering is well rewarded
On the fourth day the Hermit was back in his human form, with his lantern and standing in front of his cave with a fire going. He cannot see in bright daylight and he is cold in the middle of summer because he won't leave his cave in a spiritual or psychological sense. The Chariot is there and is being ridden by the Fool. The trees of the grove of temperance trap the Chariot but not the horse. The Lovers are connected by the priest. The cave is the focus of the Hermit, his blindness in day but his refusal to admit he is blind. The Wheel of Fortune is telling me that I can stop fate and examine probability if I focus, but when I lose focus it starts right back up again. Only the Fool concentrates on the Golden Chariot, it is a distraction that hinders forward movement. The priest is the key to the Lovers. Ritual marking of the binding of two spirits together is what matters here and not the Lovers themselves. The Wheel of Fortune is again the spinner, I am able to reach out and stop her spinning wheel and examine it but when I let go she smiles and starts spinning again. Her smile fills me with dread, but that fear lifts my heart because I know that I am close to the infernal with her, am close to madness. This crone spinning at her wheel is familiar, we can see and experience her in Lovecraft's story, The Festival:
"When I sounds the archaic iron knocker I was half afraid. Some fear had been gathering in me, perhaps because of the strangeness of my heritage, and the bleakness of the evening, and the queerness of the silence in that aged town... And when my knock was answered I was fully afraid, because I had not heard any footsteps before the door creaked open... the gowned, slippered old man in the doorway had a bland face that reassured me... he wrote a quaint and ancient welcome with the stylus and wax tablet he carried.
He beckoned me into a low, candle lit room with massive exposed rafters and dark stiff sparse furniture... The past was vivid there, for not an attribute was missing. There was a cavernous fireplace and a spinning-wheel at which a bent old woman in loose wrapper and deep poke-bonnet sat with her back toward me, silently spinning... I did not like everything about what I saw and felt again the fear I had had."
The fear is growing in him for in the next paragraph we are introduced to the grotesqueries attached to the Wheel of Fortune, bringing understanding to our Hell of no Words.