Thanks for hanging in here with me. I realize that money is not the most comfortable subject for a lot of us. It is often a very private matter, and there are a lot of taboos around how we discuss and even relate to it.
But as Jacob Needleman, widely admired author of Money and the Meaning of Life notes, “Our lives are hell, not because money is so important to us, but because it is not important enough.”
“If money were more important to us,” agrees author Sarah Ban Breathnach, “we would seek to understand its impact and how it influences every aspect of our lives.”
So I would suggest we begin to think of money as a magical tool, for surely, it is powerful and pervasive in our lives. It affects us in countless ways, every single day. For Witches and others who devote so much attention to understanding and working with the subtle energies, it seems to me that money is one of the most ancient and powerful forms of human energy there is.
You may remember from your history books that banking originated in ancient Mesopotamia where the royal palaces and temples provided safekeeping for grain and other valuables. The receipts written for these grain deposits became transferable, not just with the original depositor, but also to third parties. Over time, private families in Mesopotamia also got involved in these banking operations and the laws regulating them were included in the Code of Hammurabi.
In Egypt, too, the centralization of the harvest and grain tributes into state warehouses led to the development of written orders that allowed for deposit and withdrawal by the crops’ owners. Eventually these receipts were used for other kinds of payments, including to tax collectors, priests and traders.
Even after the introduction of coinage, these Egyptian grain banks reduced the need for precious metals, and were kept for domestic exchange.
So from the very beginning, especially in places where money was not itself made of valuable materials, but instead was a written note, it became the objectification of trust and good will.
From the earliest days, money has represented a promise between people. It is a form of communication and connection. We’ll be considering the implications of this in more depth.