As we continue our journey of recovering our inner artist, we come face to face with the challenges of healing our sense of abundance; wealth and prosperity for us, in particular, and specifically given to our artist self, so that we have all the materials and energy imaginable to wildly, joyfully explore and fulfill our creative desires.
Abstractly, or on an intellectual level, we might believe this. We try to have faith. But do we actually behave as if our material support, in terms of cold, hard cash, is a done deal with our own Maker? And what, exactly would that look like?
To begin to work with this, and to understand what prosperity actually means, especially when everything around us looks like economic Winter, I am recalling some of the posts I wrote in 2007, when I had researched the history and meaning of money…
At one time, most recently in the Celtic lands before the Roman conquest, 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 continued to be a sacred link between Heaven and Earth well into Roman times. But gradually, with the use of coins and notes to represent the stored grain and other trade goods, the direct connection between money and the Divine weakened. Still, for many centuries, money was thought to be a bridge between the favor of the Gods and earthly life. Coins were often imprinted on one side with a Deity, and on the other side with a secular symbol, such as a portrait of the Emperor.
As the Roman Empire crumbled and finally fell, the local agrarian economy became paramount. During the European Dark Ages, there was little trade beyond a day’s journey. Money was rare among the noble classes and practically nonexistent among the peasantry. It simply had no particular worth or use.
Trade and barter were the basis for the economy in Europe, and wealth was much more directly connected to the rise and fall of the fortunes of working with the Earth. Although Pagan beliefs were being overlaid with Christianity, many folk customs prevailed which honored the yearly cycles and appeased the forces of Nature. Survival, after all, was intimately dependent on the benevolence, not just of the Christ, but the local springs and wells, fertility, the rains, and the changing seasons.
Early Christianity had a deep repulsion for the Roman tastes for sensuality, avarice and materialism. So the Christian Church, in its early days, was a champion of teaching balance between the secular and the spiritual, if not complete rejection of the material world, since it was expected that their God would be returning momentarily.
So began the history of money being the antithesis of spirituality. And yet we also live with the Puritan-based belief that wealth is proof that God loves us. This deep conflict is fundamental to our economy even today. But there is a chance it may be changing, including for us.