We celebrate the turning of the Wheel, the time of the harvest season, when we reap what we have sown. At this time, a central concern is abundance, which usually means – money.
At one time, precious metals like gold and silver were not symbols, but were understood as literal manifestations of the Divine – gold for the Sun, silver for the Moon. As such, they were treated with extreme reverence, and were given only to the Gods and Goddesses in artistic shapes such as goblets, cauldrons, and jewelry. Often, these offerings were dropped into holy streams and wells, hence the wishing well of modern times.
Money as a sacred link between Heaven and Earth lasted well into Roman times. But gradually, with the use of coins and notes to represent the stored grain and other trade goods, the connection between money and the Divine weakened. Yet for many centuries, money continued to be considered a bridge between the favor of the Gods and earthly life. Coins were imprinted on one side with a Deity, and on the other side with a secular symbol, such as a portrait of the Emperor.
In fact, there is a very good probability that when Jesus of Nazareth made his comment about, “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and unto God what is God’s,” he would have been holding a coin that literally illustrated this point. At that time, doing so was not difficult at all, for the Divine and the human realms of abundance were joined. Everyone understood that they were simply two sides of the same coin.
Things began to change, however. We know that when Julius Caesar conquered the Celtic tribes of Gaul in the first century BCE, there was a Gold Route of the Celts. It linked the gold fields of Eire (Ireland) and Britannia into Jutland (Denmark) and Gaul. This gold was carried in a sacred pilgrimage from temple to temple, so that its Sun blessings would be given to each location.
But the Romans saw it simply as loot, and when they finally conquered Britannia, they stole the gold and burned down the temples. By the time of Nero’s bloodthirsty reign in the late first century C.E., money had become as mundane and non-spiritual as it has been in modern times.
However, between those times and the present day, there were many more twists and turns in the story of our relationship with money. I hope you’ll check back here tomorrow for more!