THE BOOK OF THE HANGING MAN
Full Moon November 10, 1962
Present: Rhom, Nadine, John, Dean.
John’s painting of the Nameless One now hung on the wall next to his second version of the Mother. (The Mother Book was the only one he did over again.) The group thought his cat-dog looked rather odd, but still it conveyed the idea. As the group centered in stillness prior to the session, a very high vibration was felt in the room. Was it due to the Grail?
WE: The quest of the filling cup. Pondered long and completely, they, the meaning of the cup. Forgotten in the study was the Fashioner of the cup and the score who quaffed at its rim. The contents–virgin, unchanging-differed for every man. No man will drain the cup, yet all must hold it aloft and become immersed in its elixir. Drunk indeed are they who wet their lips in its blood. Death shall know them not.
(Pause) Mary, the ring-bearer, tells a tale: Thunder is a character in the tale. Released he was. The void crackled in his presence. To him rushed the vibration of ringing bells in millions. Under Thunder’s heel was the serpent green. His two–tongue spat bolts. His coils wrapped upward to Thunder’s life-center and beat a steady song. Thunder mis-breathed and crushed serpent green who reflexed the life center. Still silence reigned, awaiting Thunder’s new breath. How long? End of tale.
This odd tale has to do with John, who is Thunder, and his former wife, Mary. The green serpent represents sexual initiation.
(The group paused to discuss the tale. Unlike the first tale, the tale of the eagle born without wings, it seemed obscure and incomprehensible. John thought Mary “the ring-bearer” probably referred to his former wife, Mary, who had a very valuable and supposedly magical or “force-carrying” diamond ring which she had worn when they both lived in North Africa and were on the quest of T, also of the sacred letters I,R,O and U. But in this he missed the connection between the cup–or Holy Grail–and Mary, the mother of the Christ. Thunder referred to the Christ, and to the thunder of God, so to the Hanging Man, whose meaning was Redemption, who was to be described ere the evening was over. However, “serpent green” was to remain a mystery as was his relationship to the ”life-center,” the solar plexus. Yet the tale is clearly related to the Hanging Man who wears a girdle of serpents starting with his solar plexus, and pointing, in the form of an inverted pyramid, to his groin.)
The road onward stretches forth over broken-ness. Ties are broken, backs are broken, minds are broken, spirits are broken, but the road ends not. It is not beset with danger or mortal fears. Walkers tread lightly, freely, gaily, forever.
We live in a materialistic, reductionistic age, one which doubts the independent existence of the mind, much less the soul. So, restoring a sacred purpose to life is not going to be easy. From a spiritual point of view, we live in a dark age, where the road does indeed stretch over broken-ness, where ties are broken, minds are broken, and spirits are broken. But the source gives comfort in the paragraph which follows, and spurs the group onward.
A poem is sung to a Weary One unnamed: Report to us. Stay not your moments. Push out the One to be delivered. Grind your eyes and drip those stones; let them fall around below. They mount skyward; they glisten like the pearls they were. Mount up and report. Strike the steel to the steed, bend over the mane. Sure-footed, come to us and report. Behind and below are the depths; above, the deeps. Seated firm is the reporter. Sure is the rein. Gallop on, gallop on, gallop! Sands cover that which must not be seen now. Sands preserve something for each one here tonight. The items are as small as a tiny jewel and as large as a modern city. The areas are scattered in many directions. It is enough to know these things are yours and will come to you, whether you labor for them or others do. Only when these things are returned will you be fulfilled. (This was a reference to the “lost treasures” which would be expanded upon in the next session.)
WE bring this matter forward now so that the power of attraction can commence. In this regard, it has begun. Do not labor it. Let it function, however. Something has been stolen.
Q: Who from?
WE: ONE. Justice has been done. Ask that question, John. Your question.
John: About the stolen object?
WE: That is not the subject. The question, John, please ask.
John: Is Andre’s arrival connected with the Tarot? Did YOU bring him here?
(Andre-later to be called Peter–had recently visited at the Highlands with a mutual friend from San Francisco. A brilliant and gifted poet, age 22, he had a very “shining” quality about him. He was to return later, to stay for several months, before leaving for Europe where he intended to settle in Florence and continue writing poetry. But, curiously, before leaving Carmel in the spring of 1964, he destroyed all his poetry though knowing in advance that he had another fate before him. After only a few weeks in Rome, he departed for Katmandu, Nepal, where he became secretary to the Sakya Lama and, eventually, a Buddhist monk, wearing the orange robe of the sannyasin. Today he still lives in India, as a highly revered monk and Sanskrit translator.)
WE: Yes, he was sent here. He is the ‘harbinger” mentioned before.
John: What “bringer”? Please remind me.
WE: Not necessary. The point is being missed. (Andre-Peter was the “bringer of bright stones” mentioned earlier. John picked up the reference when he reread the transcript the next day.)
John: What force does Andre carry? Is it a new and different force?
WE: Central. Into the matter has leapt the Mind which WE love-but not as much as YOU.
John: Is it because of reincarnation that I feel so close to Andre? What is the connection?
WE: Child, father, mother, friend . . . these are beads on the chain. There are other beads. Together, they repeat-and repeat.
John: Why Rosalind’s recent series of difficulties? (There had been financial problems, fruitless job-huntmg, housing and car-breakdown hassles, etc.)
WE: At the edge of the forest lies a clearing. It is better when one finds the clearing in the middle of the forest. To answer the question: there is a clearing somewhere. She will stand in it, she will rest in it, she will advance from it. How unfortunate for the wanderer of the forests to be without a compass on dark days! Be prepared with one–food, also–when the clearing is won and left. A word of comfort to some wanderers is necessary. If the clearing is not sighted before darkness, remember scouts are on the way. WE prefer not to relay in curves, though.
(This was the first example of a seemingly personal question–or rather one relating to a specific personality-which was answered in a way that was universal and could apply to Everyman. Many more such will be found in the sessions to come.)
Treatment of Books of Life well done.
Q: Ought we to “place one on the table” now?
Q: Please describe the Hanging Man. What is he hanging on?
WE: Man hanging in card, not ON. The Hanging Man is a man who hangs, but he is not hanging. He hangs others.
Q: Where on the card is he?
WE: He is atop two buildings. (Like the two pillars of the Mother Book- repeated as a motif later in the Donor.) One has a dome; the other has no roof and hides his feet. In his extended arms-ON, rather-are hung a man and a woman-the man upright, the woman inverted. The domed building is on the left, the hung man is on the right. (The domed building, therefore, corresponding to the woman; the one with no roof to the man-yet another reversal)
Q: What does the Hanging Man wear?
WE: A robe of purity. A girdle of serpents many, their heads pointing to his center. The girdle is a belt from which are suspended many serpents whose heads point downwards but centerwards. The two serpents in the middle are longer than their neighbors. Those at the edge of the robe are hung just below the girdle. The pattern is like an inverted pyramid.
Q: What does he wear on his head?
WE: A flower-red, tulip-like.
Q: What do the hung man and woman wear?
WE: Naked. The man is hanging by his hands, the woman by her two feet. Not roped. The man has a linkchain, the woman hangs by a glove.
WE: On forearm.
Q: What is beneath the Hanging Man?
WE: Animals-wolf, lion, sheep. Daylight, sunrise. A peep between the buildings. Horizon distant and of no importance. All activity is taking place in the fore-ground. Animals are upright but tranquil. Center is sheep looking to right, wolf on left facing right, lion right facing right. The Hanging Man is weeping.
Q: Are the animals looking at anything?
WE: Facing only. No number.
(Everyone noticed later that it was interesting that the WE of the board specified numbers for only a few of the new Books of Life-whereas numbers had been assigned to the members of the group. But, evidently, numbers were to be “tested” on later-but never were. Later the board was to say: “There is no number but ONE.”)
Q: What letter and ought it to be drawn somewhere?
WE: A. Above on chest. WE will test later on numbers.
John: Are we through with the Hanging Man?
WE: Never! Pace is good. We all made it. Thank you.
Earlier it had been stated that the meaning or function of the Hanging Man was Redemption-the same function as that of the Christ, the “lamb of God.” and a lamb was one of the three animals at the foot of the Hanging Man. A trinity was seemingly implied; the wolf as the egoic personality or persona, the lion or Lion of Judah as the Self, and the lamb as the “holy spirit” or the Christ in Everyman. The symbol seemed very Christian at the time, but it was also related to the Pyramid, the T, and Osiris and the concept of sacrifice or self-sacrifice (and suffering) in order to achieve the balance of ONE. The Hanging Man was, in fact, to “hang heavily” on those present throughout the sessions. He, too, was a riddle, a mystery, never completely understood but always felt. And, after all, he was weeping. What did this mean? And was he, truly, the right reversal for the Hanged Man? Was he not suffering even more cruelly by standing atop two buildings and hanging “others”- the opposite polarities in himself?