Inspiring Enchantment & Illumination with Tarot & Intuitive Guidance

Good Money, Bad Money

Wealth is not his that has it, but his that enjoys it.
— Benjamin Franklin

I don’t want to detour us for too long on the history of money (which I invite you to go back and read from my posts, starting in September of 2007). But I believe it is important for our recovery to come to a clear understanding of the programming we’ve received, in how we relate to money, wealth, and plentifulness.

In Europe, the meaning of money changed during medieval times. For thousands of years, it had been considered, either directly, or symbolically, a manifestation of the Divine. But with the growth of Christianity, a double-bind was created for the first time. On the one hand, the love of money (and money itself) was vulgar, the root of all evil, and a leftover symbol of the material decadence associated with the despised culture of ancient Rome. Yet, money was also a measure of God’s love. It was judged as proof of one’s goodness to have wealth, especially when that wealth was given to the Church in exchange for spiritual favors.

In other words, you were damned if you were wealthy, and damned if you were not.

With this conflicted foundation, we moved into the Renaissance and modern ages. Like sex was for the prudish Victorians, money and wealth became the taboo dark desire of the culture: we need it, long for it and are moved by it in mysterious, deep ways. Yet we pretend it does not matter, that it is crass, trivial, and not a subject that nice people discuss openly.

Which makes it not too surprising that we keep having so much trouble with it. Even now, there are new variations on this same old theme. For instance, in a New Age twist, some would tell us that if you are not as financially comfortable as you’d like, it is because of some karmic payback you are experiencing (translation: maybe you’re good now, but you must have been bad before).

Or perhaps you don’t have enough because you have not mastered the special skills and secrets of creative visualization, meditation, guru teachings, or cosmic clarity. (Don’t worry; for only $19.99 a month, subscribe to our three-year program of subliminal hypnosis prosperity CDs and soon wealth will be yours. Certainly it will be ours).

Money has value because of the energy that we give it. That value comes from the stories we tell, the rarity we believe (or create) about it, and the complexity of the structures and histories that are associated with it.

Today, I invite you to consider your basic beliefs about wealth, money, and their availability to you. Perhaps you have family members who were immigrants to America, in search of the opportunities here that are absent in other parts of the world. Maybe your roots are hardscrabble pioneers or working families that saw serious hard times. Or perhaps you come from more comfortable beginnings. How have your family’s past dreams, struggles, ease, or loss affected your own assumptions about money and people who have it?

We’ll see tomorrow just how powerful these personal and societal myths about money are right now, today. Stay tuned!

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  • July 15, 2009, 5:34 pm Thalia

    How have your family’s past dreams, struggles, ease, or loss affected your own assumptions about money and people who have it?

    Ha. Unraveling this is a huge part of my life's Work.

    My parents were children during the Great Depression of the 30's; my father, additionally, was the oldest of three boys when his father died suddenly in 1934 and he became the 'man of the house.' He (my Dad) was 13 years old; his brothers about 6 and 2.

    Unsurprisingly, he had some security issues. He ended up a hoarder of truly monumental proportions, not helped by the fact that he's probably OCD anyway. He was extremely controlling about all kinds of stuff, but especially when money (or food, on some levels the same thing, especially given what you said about the earliest notes being receipts for grain) was involved. My mother, though not as bad, still freaks out about money and no amount of logic will dissuade her.

    My father hasn't lived here for three years (since he had a stroke and was moved to a nursing home) but his presence, and his fears, are still thick and palpable in this house.

    So let's see; let me name some of the 'lessons' I was taught about money. These are often circular, fed by fear.

    -There is never enough.
    -Unexpected windfalls (a check out of the blue that was not expected) are immediately canceled out by something bad, taking it. Always.
    -Never, ever, EVER invest in the stock market.
    -Don't trust any money making scheme.
    -If you make too much, the government will just take it; so don't even try.
    -Additionally, don't even think about making money. That brings trouble.
    -Everything is always set to just under zero. This is a hard one to explain. My mother still does it. If, for example, one gets government assistance for something, like food stamps or help paying for the heating oil in the winter, that does NOT mean that the rest of the finances are freed up, or that, overall, things are a little easier. No, because 'zero' is a movable concept. Everything gets downgraded to what she's used to, just under enough. There is no ease. Because she (and I) doesn't deserve ease.
    -So just don't. Don't be curious; don't experiment; do not, above all, take any risks. About anything, really. Play it safe. Fear does a good job policing that one.
    -There is so little money, that it is pretty much pointless to save. If you get it, spend it before someone takes it. At least you'll have what you bought.
    -No matter how hard you work you won't have enough money. So why bother working?

    Really, that's just the tip of the iceberg, as they say. So many variations and permutations, all tangled together, all set in immutable stone by fear. Well, terror, really, I suppose. There is no arguing with that, you know? And when you add food? Good God.

  • July 15, 2009, 6:35 pm freak22

    well lets see… for some background until I was 7 years old I lived with my mother and brother and we lived off of welfare and that might not have been to bad except that my mom had a drug problem and the welfare of the 80's just gave her money and no real regulations on what she did with it, luckily food stamps were harder to sell. The total upshot of this was as you expect not a lot of food and even less of other necessities.
    I am a lot better off these days, even if I am struggling a bit right now, but it has done an odd thing to how I view money.
    even when I am doing well I have trouble buying anything more then the basic necessities. I figure that since I have more then I did when I was a child I don't really need anything else and so end up fighting with myself to buy anything else.
    I tend to only buy what I call 'extras' when ever i get a wind fall. I never use a wind fall for bills and the like because you can't depend on them to be there next month. so in my mind its okay to use windfalls on 'frivolous' things.
    I feel blesses to have found my husband. he grew up in the completely opposite situation financially speaking and because of that I feel we balance each other very well. I get him to spend less and he gets me to 'spoil' my self more.
    unfortunately money also affects me in a much more emotional way in that my and my husband have decided that we can't have kids yet because since he is out of work we are just making ends meet as it is and there is just no way we can afford it right now. even if we are emotionally prepared, it saddens me some times.

  • July 15, 2009, 6:36 pm Jen

    I'm a coal miner's daughter. I grew up in a log cabin in the woods. We didn't have much, but neither did anyone else.

    I learned to fear money–I saw it as some mysterious and dangerous power that came from "outside". So I ignored it. And still do. My husband handles all our finances. I couldn't tell you how much we have or where or if we've invested in the stock market. I think I have an IRA but I'm not sure how much is in it. I just do NOT want any part of money. I know it's irresponsible, but I don't.

    Being a stay-at-home mom, my contribution to the family is not financial. So I'm not depending on my writing to generate income. But one thing that my father said to me has stuck with me all my life and is a major block for me. "If you're good at something, never do it for free."

    This leaves me in quite a pickle. I'm either not good at writing or I shouldn't do it because I'm not making money at it. It's a frustrating block to overcome.

  • July 16, 2009, 9:49 am Beth Owl's Daughter

    Oh, my dear friends.. How incredibly painful and challenging this makes life for you. I really understand how deeply the wounds of poverty and struggle can go; I see it all the time in my practice, and I, too, had loved ones whose entire world view was devastated and warped forever by the Great Depression.

    Those wounds are often a legacy that affects us our whole lives, even if WE are not the ones it actually happened to. Even more so if it was.

    We'll be working with this at some length, because I truly believe it is the only way forward for us.

    If on some level our Inner Child has absorbed a lesson like "you can never get ahead," or "the most you can hope for is a slow slide towards ultimate ruin," we can end up creating reinforcing scenarios our whole lives.

    Just like our elders did.
    – Beth