On Paneurhythmy as Movement Reflective of Tarot on the Tree of Life
Jean-Michel David – www.fourhares.com – paneurythmy
Peter Deunov and Paneurhythmy
During the first half of the 20th century, between the two world wars, Peter Deunov, a Bulgarian teacher and violinist through whom flowed hermetic-spiritual Christian and Bogomil insights, established a brotherhood (still in existence today). Amongst the many contributions he made to education, to Christian insight, and to the esoteric task called forth from eastern Europe, he also developed a series of movements to original composition. He says of these that they reflect universal movement found in the cosmos and nature: Paneurythmy. Once a year, amongst the seven sacred lakes in the Rila mountains south of Bulgaria’s capital Sofia, hundreds of members of this spiritual brotherhood as well as many other paneurythmist gather to greet the new ‘Year’ opening on the 19th of August.
Paneurhythmy and Tarot
Having daily (or near-daily, subject to weather conditions and rare commitments that precludes practice) participated in paneurythmy for some time, it was not through seeking to find any connection between paneurythmy and tarot that the following description arises. Rather, it unveiled itself whilst doing paneurythmy – and then my own critical mind wondered and considered whether I was making something more than is contained within either paneurythmy or tarot. My initial hesitation is likely in part a consequence that I have all too often seen what I can only describe as ‘forced’ correlations that the human mind can bring to any disparate content. As such, I do not ask that any of the following be accepted, but rather I offer it as something that revealed itself in a manner that I find personally highly meaningful and esoterically significant. For myself at any rate, given my own work with tarot, it further confirmed the depth of wisdom, light and truth majestically musically inherent in paneurythmy.
I need to begin with a simple observation (and realise that most of what I will write below on tarot I have previously offered either in my book, on my site, or in various presentations or papers, and therefore simply beg indulgence if you are already familiar with what immediately follows). The trumps of the tarot have a dynamism that sees in their progression an ever closer rapprochement towards the Divine, to Christ, to God. Placing the trumps in pairs based on their (Roman) numerals, one can also see a natural outer manifestation and inner quality within each pair, with the World and Fol cards placed, in some manner, following the rising sequence and forming a completion at quite an elevated level.
In that pairing, X and XX also have a unique place, in that they indicate (amongst other things) a turn towards the inner (X) and a re-turn (or emerging outwards) towards the outer (XX). Quite some time back, a similar personal insight to that which I will present with regards paneurythmy became apparent between the trumps and the Kabalistic Tree of Life. Perhaps I should here also briefly point out that I consider the correlations all too commonly found, these days, on the internet, are incorrect (i.e., I regards as incorrect – except for the purposes of interconnecting or bringing together any two concepts or images – those correlations that place the cards on so-called inter-sefirotic ‘paths’). I had also been working, some 20-30 years ago, and independently of tarot, on Kabbalistic exercises and notions, and certainly wasn’t expecting for there to emerge any connection between the tarot and the Tree of Life.
In any case, what resulted is depicted below, with a tarot ascent beginning in Malkut and ‘finishing’ in Keter. That it is, with tarot, an ascent, makes sense, as the progression is one of increasing proximity towards the infinitude of the divine.
The 28 exercises of paneurythmy reflect exactly this ascent twice, following the precise order of the tarot, with the first ascent (the First Day of Spring) stopping wihin Da’at with the Wheel of Fortune, only to begin again in Malkut with Evera (as depicted, incidentally, as the woman in card XI). Raising through to XX with the ‘pushing’ of air and stepping out of the grave, and into the lofty realm of the Joy of the World.
Incredibly, paneurythmy then completes the tarot sequence by now also beginning a two-fold descent to balance the two ascents made, beginning with the Fol in Keter, in our own Acquaintance with the meeting of the angel in the other; thence a direct descent through the middle pillar through Da’at with feet movements that reflect the sound ‘n’ and the touching forth to knowledge in eurythmy (as well as a movement from a discovery, through to a walking with, and then a sharing with the other); that joyous dance (How Happy We Are) in Tifaret; down to the harmonising (Step by Step) foundation of the work done in Yesod; and into the threefold work (Early in the Morning) in Malkut.
This is followed by again descending from the supernals, this time singing (or breathing) tones nine times, the first three harmonising the spiritual supernals (Keter, Hokmah and Binah); the next three the soul qualities of Hesed/Gedulah, Pahad/Geburah and Tiferet; and the final three to more variegated tune those of Netzah, Hod and Yesod; completing our descent with the threefold prayer (Providence – though I use an expanded form, mentioned at the end of this entry) and greeting our brethren (both in the flesh and in the spiritual realms) from the region of Malkut.
And here ends the 28 ‘exercises’ of paneurythmy (to be followed, of course, by the Rays of the Sun and by the Pentagramme, each having their own special qualities respectively of, in essence, Zodiacal Freedom and the five Virtues).
There are, within the 28, important reflections that more deeply connects each of the movements, indications or comments by Petar Deunov with the inherent qualities of both card and sefirah, and perhaps I’ll also add to this preliminary commentary with those notes at a later date.
So let’s have a quick look at each movement and its position on the Tree and the card in question.
I – Le Bateleur (Malkut). In Meditations on the Tarot, the author speaks of making one’s burden light, having ‘work as play’ and comparing the concentration without effort that is required as with the tight-rope walker. Here the movement has this same sense of awakening or beginning as though walking in a new way, with the feet walking in an unusual manner (toes first, then heel), and the arms moving to a balancing motion. For myself, the more I begin this exercise, the more I sense the connection with the Bateleur.
II – La Papesse (Yesod). Here she is depicted in a contemplative or meditative state, perhaps undertaking the spiritual exercises of Lectio Divina, an exercise that brings about, I would suggest, the very reconciliation brought about through inner tranquility regularly exercised.
III – L’Empresse (Netzah). The giving (and, I would suggest, the all too often difficulty in receiving gratiously that which is gifted) is evident in the role of the Empress as well as her connection with Netzah, whose importance is not its ‘face value’ or how it appears, but its genuine act of giving.
IIII – L’Empereur (Hod). Here the movement (for the Emperor) is one of constant striving towards what is needed, towards, relatively considered, an increased ascending from the current state.
V – Le Pope (Tifaret). The figure of the Pope, if considered in its pontifical nature, bridges the mundane to the divine. Every true spiritual teacher both points to this elevation, as well as is able to bring it down to humanity in appropriate form.
VI – L’Amoureux (Hesed/Gedulah). Here it is the equivalent to an opening both towards wisdom on one side as well as to love on the other.
VII – Le Chariot (Geburah/Pahad. One of the characteristic of Geburah (upon which the card rests) is its
strength and means through which to liberate oneself from any bondage, and experiencing an form of inner triumph.
VIII – La Justice (Binah). The clapping comes about through the forces of nature passing through a point and giving rise to flowering living forces. The scales from which Justice balances, examines and takes to bring divine law sounds the clap or point of the sword towards freedom.
VIIII – L’Ermite (Hokmah). In the visual depiction, the light is held aloft to enlighten those whom he encounters. In the movement, the word is spread from the inner light. In both cases, that of purifying is implied.
X – La Roue de Fortune (Da’at). In flying, there is the comment by Petar Deunov that one is moving to acquire within oneself Light and Knowledge, an appropriate description of the position within Da’at.
We now recommence at Malkut.
XI – La Force (Malkut). Evera stands for all the beauty and inner strength of feminine attributes merged with the Solar principle, amply illustrated within the depiction of this card.
XII – Le Pendu (Yesod). Whereas his stance is fixed & suspended, jumping complements and falls to the ground – yet here is the only movement that is ‘on-the-spot’, and during which our head is (temporarily) downwards and our feet (through the jump) off the ground.
XIII – La Mort (Netzah). Death is itself a weaving, a reaping movement of the seeds grown through life.
XIIII – Temperance (Hod). This is within the Sefirah of Hod, of thought, and accords well with the inner activity required of the Emperor in the movement of the activity of thinking.
XV – Le Diable (Tifaret). What better way to free oneself from its bonds than to chant Aum and Amen (or indeed, the full AUM, Aum / Mani / Padma / Om, Aw-main, which precisely fits the rhythm given).
XVI – La Maison Dieu (Hesed/Gedulah). whereas the depiction shows a tower struck and two falling figures, it should be recalled that this depiction is of the fall of idols at the arrival of the Light of the World (Christ) in his infant-year escape to Egypt, thereby appropriate as the rising of the Sun, together with the rising motions from below and the lemniscatory motions of the hands in front (somewhat visually similar in the giving and receiving motions).
XVII – L’Etoile (Geburah/Pahad). Here she pours the waters of living life from both hands onto all portions, both water and land. Together with the four posts and drape of the Chariot, this well accords with the turning to face all directions in the square.
XVIII – Le Lune (Binah). One after the other, the harmonising of the howling to the Moon by the canines in front of the raised towers allowing the unconscious rising from the waters seems fitting.
XVIIII – Le Soleil (Hokmah). The undulating arm movements inner and outer seems to mimic the waves upon the seashore and the blessings of both watery and solar dancing.
XX – Le Jugement (Da’at). The pushing forth of the coffin lids, and then stepping up and out, reflects well the conquering of death.
XXI – Le Monde (Keter). Joy of the World dances and touches the four cardinal points and its evangelist representations of, in order, Mark (Lion), Matthew (Man-Angel), Luke (Bull), and John (Eagle).
Fool (Keter). Here begins the dances in which one meets the divine in the other, and our first step in our downward journey through the middle pillar towards Malkut.
These downward movements I have already mentioned above. The whole is concluded with the prayer (Providence) and greeting in Malkut.
May the Peace, Love, Wisdom and Truth of God abide in my [our] heart[s] and throughout the world;
May the Peace, Love, Wisdom and Truth of Christ arise in my [our] heart[s] and in the heart of each human being;
May the Peace, Love, Wisdom and Truth of the Holy Spirit shine through the thoughts of my [our] heart[s] and through the thoughts of all people.