Money exerts a deep emotional influence on who we are and what we believe we can or cannot have, including our social and geopolitical structures. According to some thoughtful observers, our long unwillingness to understand the emotional and spiritual effects of money on us may be at the heart of why we have come to know the price of everything, and the value of nothing.
Once upon a time, money was sacred, used only in connection with our relationship with the Divine. Before the banking systems and commerce of Egypt and Mesopotamia, and the promissory notes and records that represented actual wealth (primarily the grain stores), across much of northern Europe, the Celtic people were using metals for trade, including first copper, then gold and silver.
The earliest, and eventually, the finest of these objects were not for human use, but gifts to the Goddesses and Gods. That’s because gold and silver were considered literal aspects of Deity, specifically, the Sun and Moon. It is important to understand that these precious metals were not symbols or representatives of the Gods; they were an integral part of the Divine Immanence, and Presence in all things.
In her wise and beautiful book Money is Love, Barbara Wilder explains, “To understand this concept, imagine yourself as a member of a Neolithic village. Everything in your life depends on the reaping of a good harvest. The Sun must shine on the crops all summer long to ensure a good harvest. The God [for many, this would have been Lugh. -B.] who is the Sun, must be worshipped and revered to ensure a good harvest.
“Recently, gold has been discovered, and you, knowing that all things in the heavens and on the earth are one in the great cosmic dance, now hold a piece of gold in your hands. To you, this is not an inanimate object that shines and reflects the Sun’s light. This is a piece of the divine Sun itself. And the fact that you are holding a piece of the God in your hand means that you have a sacred responsibility. To do anything with this piece of the Divine but dedicate it back to the Sun God is unimaginable…”
Money as a sacred link between Heaven and Earth lasted well into Roman times. We’ll explore this in more detail on Tuesday*.
* A slight change of format: After today, I have decided to forego the essays and longer discussions on the weekends. Instead, on Saturdays and Sundays, I will offer simpler fare, coming from the voices and wisdom of others. Mondays will continue to be the Tarot Card of the Week. Thanks for your understanding and for continuing to check in!