“Before I began my study of Zen,
mountains were just mountains,
and trees were just trees.
During my study of Zen,
mountains were no longer mountains,
and trees no longer trees.
When I became Enlightened,
mountains were once again mountains,
and trees once again trees.”
Earlier today, a member posted a comment, expressing her idea
that the traditional religions were only concerned with increasing
their wealth and “status”.
As puerile as that might be, it brings up something quite interesting thoughabout the history of coinage and money.
On many occasions, I’ve pointed out that absolutely every aspect of
life, in a traditional civilization, was connected with the Sacred,
and could serve as a “support” toward realization. Traditional
coinage was no different.
In traditional Rome for example, coinage was not minted by the
secular rulers (if they can truly have been called secular in the
modern sense), but by the religious authorities.
It was the goddess Juno Moneta who governed minting and currency,
and her temple WAS the mint. Currency thus existed, only by the Will of Heaven, and the true “value” of things, was not in terms of “price”, and “cost”, but to the extent that they (or the results they produced),
mirrored or reflected the Will of Heaven that sanctioned the very
existence of the currency.
The name “Moneta” incidentally, is where the contemporary term
“money” is derived.
The goddess Moneta had roles other than just overseeing coinage.
She also provided “warnings” about “instability”. That is to say,
instability in the form of “economics”, and related governmental
and social events. Her message was that the way to economic and
social stability was following the Will of Heaven.
Lastly, Juno Moneta promised Rome, that as long as they restricted
themselves to just wars, Rome would not suffer monetary lack.
One could likewise investigate the history of coinage among the
Celts, Hindus, and many other civilizations up through Medieval
Europe, and find similar situations.
It is also important to stress, that the more ancient the coinage,
the more likely it is that one will find symbols of a traditional,
or more specifically, esoteric character.
It isn’t too far fetched to say that the most traditional coinage,
minted under the authority of the priestly castes, and only
according to certain rites, was “more than money”–instead, this
coinage possessed a talismanic nature.
The very basic shape and form of coinage, which originated with the
ancient priesthoods, itself contains a doctrinal lesson.
Why are coins (generally) circular, when they could just as well
easily be square, triangular, or any other geometric shape?
Why do they two faces, when they might have been made as cubes, or spheres?
Actually, to help distinguish denomination, minting coins in a variety
of shapes and facets, would have been the best way to go.
In modern parlance, there is the saying that “there are two sides to
every story”…this saying comes from the two faces of a coin.
I’ve written that a tradition is properly comprised of exotericism,
and an esotericism. If one examines coinage from a number of traditional civilizations, they will note that one side usually represents the ruler or government at the time the coin was minted, thus the “outward” face. While the opposite side usually depicts a symbol or symbols of a sacred character, the “inward” face. The more ancient the coins, the less this can be seen, as the most ancient depict the Sacred on both sides–but, we are far from that period.
Nonetheless, what we have are two “faces” of the same thing,
existing inseparably, within the parameters of a circumference–
which of course, represents the macrocosm, or “Heaven”.
An even more interesting study of all this, involves the
traditional Chinese coinage, in which a cut-out square exists in the
center of the circular coin (like the familiar I Ching divination coins).
In this case, we end up with, in addition to the foregoing, the
specific addition of “Earth” (the square) as an added feature.
This type of coin, also conveys several other inclusive meanings by
its particular shape, and the “void” involved.
Usually (but there are exceptions), true coins are of a
metallic substance. At least what we can say is that coins that
are *minted* are of metals.
Now, traditionally, and this especially applies to Rosicrucianism,
the metals are each ruled by a planet, and moreover, each planet
has a benefic and malefic aspect. Obviously then, a metal in a raw
state, consists of a mixture of both–although for practical use, only the benefic is desired.
The medicinal aspect of practical Hermeticism (Alchemy) is the path
that attempts to separate the toxins from the viable (benefic)
properties of a metal.
As concerns traditional coinage, the ritualized minting is employed
to separate the malefic effects of a planet, from the coins’ use
It is curious that at about the time in Europe when the sacred aspects of minting vanished, there appeared a great number of grimoires, describing how to
manufacture the “pantacles” of the various planets, in their various metals, always in the form of “coins”. Essentially, the so-called “grimoiric tradition” is a type of “memory” of the traditional methods and purposes of coinage!
That each type of metal has a particular planetary ruler ship,
or influence, is also seen in several different types of
Initiation. According to my memory, the Initiates of the
Mithraic Mysteries were to have no metal objects when entering their
chamber…in some of the contemporary forms, that inherited something from the Rites of Mithra, candidates are also required to leave outside the chamber, anything metal or mineral–so as not to attract any imbalanced influences from a given planet.
This should make people think.
Why HAS gold had the value attributed to it, and silver a different
value? Or, why has lead always had the least value?
Despite the fact that in antiquity, when these relative values
among metals, were not based on how they can be used “scientifically”, or even the frequency of how often found in the earth’s crust!
–Br Ma Rose
“The Creator has no body, physical stature, image, or form at all…..The glory is an appearance of the resplendent light, which is called Shechinah , and the will of the Creator shows and images that very light to the prophets according to the hour, to this one as that [form] and to the other as that…..From the resplendent light He created His glory…..the appearance of the vision is in the heart of the one who sees…..The Creator is one and makes the glory appear according to His will…..The appearance of His splendor, which is His glory, is like a consuming fire, and they called it Shechinah …..According to the will of the Creator is the appearance of His glory. Moses saw the splendor of the glory, the great resplendence, more than all the prophets. Within the vision are images, [as it is written] ‘and through the prophets I was imaged’ (Hosea 12:11 )…..The appearance of the images is according to the desire of His decrees, sometimes in the image of an anthropos and sometimes in another image, in accordance with His will He shows His glory in the place that He wills.”
– Eleazar of Worms (Sha’arei ha-Sod ha-Yichud v’ha-Emunah )