Even as late as the s, all major currencies of economically significant countries were reinforced by reserves of pre- cious metals. Gold and silver reserves especially were stored for this purpose.
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Storage of these metals directly affected nation states having prerogative of coinage. Private citizens, on the other hand, usually defined and asserted their wealth in a more sophisticated man- ner. Although the ownership of precious metals, jewels, and similar rare goods still played a significant role, the accumulation of real estate took over the leading position.
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Property, leasehold rights, and money earned through the cultivation of farmland, pastures, and woodland was understood as true wealth up into the twentieth century, while the possession of money, com- pany shares in the form of stocks, trademarks, patents, and the like was generally granted a mere secondary status.
In our study of money magic, however, we need to focus our attention on the concept of shortage occur- ring both naturally and artificially as mentioned above, since this is the key factor that causes the obstacles and difficulties that we encounter in practical money magic, as we will soon see. Modern Attitudes With the spread of Christianity, a new philosophy of life entered the picture — one that is fundamentally hostile to everything material and worldly. Of course, the upper echelons of society in every era have always mastered the art of sugar-coating the conditions of poverty and depri- vation that prevailed among those they ruled, while at the same time they used their status and influence to snatch up every last tidbit for themselves that they could squeeze out of the community.
After all, there was good reason for the dissident voices in the Christi- anity of the Middle Ages, which was still in its infancy. Indeed a large part of both the lower clergy and laymen alike were quick to point out the fundamental contra- diction between the poverty, modesty, and the virtue of owning no possessions that was preached, and the actual living standards of the higher clergy and nobility.
Countless reforms and heretical movements resulted from this wide gap between the ideal and actual situa- tion for many centuries. Even Protestantism had its puritan and ascetic movements, some but not all of which declared mate- rial possessions and the despicable pursuit of money to be a devilish faux pas of humanity that needed to be controlled at all costs in the interest of salvation Thus, Western civilization has been plagued by a fundamental contradiction since the domination of Christianity.
On the one hand, religion focuses exclu- sively on the fate of the soul after the death of the physical body. On the other hand, business, society, and politics in both Christian and non-Christian cultures pursue their usual worldly ways. Striving for material possessions with the goal of becoming wealthy and affluent, usu- ally at the expense of the less fortunate classes of soci- ety; the unfolding of an ideology that results because of this — one that preaches mercantilism and capitalism with a focus on profit and incessant expansion that is known today as "economic growth" a term that still dominates every economic conversation ; all of this runs quite contrary to the spiritual condemnation of life on earth and its materialistic temptations.
This results in a conflict for the collective psy- chological makeup of Western man — a conflict still clearly present today, despite religions at least in Western countries supposed movement further into the background. Money and profit are still condemned with persistent regularity or are at least viewed with great suspicion , but our consumer-oriented society ranks money among man s most important needs — it s viewed as a guarantee for safeguarding one's physi- cal life. This results in the development of a situation where everything becomes centered around money.
Of course, the biography of each individual always gives a unique touch to this collective conflict, which is in essence quite maddening. Just as with statistics, however, its not our intention to analyze individual Part I: Money in Its True Element 21 cases here. Instead we're concerned with trends that affect society as a whole, ones that the individual could at best only avoid or escape here and there, but never entirely.
Modern Magic Such trends naturally affect the magician as well. And although consideration of this fact is often purposely avoided in the magic scene, each and every magician is first and foremost a product of the society in which he lives. Whether we like it or not, we've all internalized our share of collective consciousness.
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Psychologically speaking, we could also say that prevailing values and taboos influence the magician just as they influence non-magical individuals. Although the degree of this influence varies naturally from case to case, it nonethe- less forms the overall backdrop for every magical act. Mitigating factors such as our mores and taboos can always be clearly seen wherever society or human relations are concerned.
In particular, three core areas of the magical tradition are affected by such influences: healing, sex magic, and — as already mentioned — money magic. In all three areas of concern, no prac- titioner works in a vacuum; the magician has to relate with other people and is therefore affected by their social reflexes as well as the magician's own. Accord- ingly, the magician should be aware of this and not try to avoid critical analysis by escaping into vague, insig- nificant, metaphysical explanations. Unfortunately, traditional magical literature tends to ignore this problem entirely.
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Instead it s content with the simple assertion of various "higher laws of nature" while resorting to adopting ancient recipes and for- mulas — or even developing new ones — with which it thinks the world can be controlled, usually without even making an effort to comprehend and understand some of the more basic structures. I'd like to tread a different path here and not fol- low one based more or less on unquestioned and ill- considered theorems and techniques that have been passed down through tradition. Instead we will travel along a road that's been proven through year-long practice and experience under the most diverse cir- cumstances.
Obviously, some of what will be said in this book will seem to have little to do with what some readers might imagine traditional magic to be.
After closer examination, however, one will soon see that this apparent contradiction is actually nothing but a simple misunderstanding. After all, magic takes pride in being a discipline that's in touch with reality and oriented toward experience and success, characterized above all by technical flexibility and the willingness to integrate unconventional methods. Tradition as a Hindrance The traditionalism that often prevails in magic tends to push this fact into the background, a fact that applies to all human activities, not just magic. The human brain works in this manner, since it is continually occu- pied with developing routines or fixed procedures in order to free up some of its limited processing capacity.
Whether were learning to walk, swim, ride a bicycle, or drive a car, with more and more practice, a considerable part of these activities eventually becomes unconscious automatisms. The techniques of traditional magic are unfortunately no exception. Maybe I should explain what I mean when I say "unfortunately. If a per- son driving a car were to concentrate on every single motion of the hand like a student driver during the first driving lesson, thinking about whether the motion is correct or incorrect, the person probably wouldn't make it too far.
Others along the way might be endangered in the process, not to mention the driver personally. But we shouldn't forget that magic is a simple, everyday activity that can be smoothly integrated into our usual routines.
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As magicians are out to accomplish the impossi- ble, they rebel by definition against the sum of every- thing possible that we describe with the generic term "the world. As I've mentioned in another work, magic can be defined as "doing the impossible.
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It should be no wonder that traditional magic gen- erally doesn't take much interest in this outlook. Instead it takes a more enlightened approach by believing that nature and the entire world itself hold many secrets that man has yet to uncover — which science certainly doesn t dispute. But as opposed to science, it claims to be able to discover some of these hidden or undiscov- ered natural laws, though with generally unconven- tional methods e.
A first glance might give the impression that ratio- 1. Frater U. But if you take a closer look, they share the same world view. After all, conventional magic works within the principle of what is possible too, regardless of the fact that the definition of what is possible is a bit more fl exible and liberal than rational scientists might see it.
However, both agree on the fact that there's only one world out there, and that it can be explored in a wide variety of ways. I don't want to start a debate about ideologies here, so let's just remember one pragmatic remark from everything said above: If you can view magic as being the act of doing the impossible, it just may result in higher success rates when applied to the field of money magic than with more conventional approaches. In the end, each person should make a personal judgment about that. The True Element of Money If we view money in consideration of the above, it would seem quite logical to allocate it to the element of Earth.
When money is associated with concepts such as value, security, making a living, and protection from need, it is imperative to view it as the embodiment of earthly qualities. This is especially true when money only — or even just primarily — is understood as a means for purchasing land, property, or mineral resources gemstones, precious metals, ore. His ommitance was reason enough for me to look into the matter after reading his works for the first time. Lets begin by establishing some of the characteris- tics and features of modern-day money that will enable us to understand the French master s categorization of it to the element of Air.
First of all, money is generally quite mobile, a term that doesn't only mean that it con- solidates the high exchange value of other goods that are much more voluminous, bulky, and less transport- able. Money s nature is more in the way of exchange, since only through exchange can money reveal its true value. This holds true for even the rarest coins made of precious metals. In other words, money can only fulfill its desig- nated purpose when it changes hands.
The new owner, for his or her part, must have a guarantee that the moneys transferred value can be exchanged further — thus the acquisition of the monetary value cannot stop at a dead end.
http://lastsurestart.co.uk/libraries/messages/3062-galaxy-m40.php This is the flow of money as we know it today — the never-ending circulation and exchange of an item of value which has no relation to the goods and services it has been exchanged for, which cannot be used until the transaction is made. One could view this lack of reference as an extreme form of abstraction. Humans are the only living creature known to have developed this specific form of social interaction.
However, it could also be said that people often expect way too much from this logical process. Even in the age of the Internet and global networking, of com- puterized workstations and communication that relies increasingly on the exchange of digital data, most peo- ple still have trouble making the connection from this abstraction back to everyday, tangible Earth element life.
For example, the charging of outrageous interest rates was considered to be abominable even in bibli- cal times, and the entire Islamic world was always tied up in various intellectual and financial acrobatics try- ing to avoid the ban on charging interest as defined by the Koran in an attempt to devoutly follow the com- mandments of their religion.
In the same sense, a con- siderable part of Western society has always had little understanding of the fact that fi nancial speculations — a relatively unproductive activity — are generally much more lucrative than the production of tangible goods. The more capacity for abstract thinking an activ- ity requires, the better that activity is generally paid. When viewed from this perspective, one can clearly notice the fundamental paradigm shift that has been taking place for quite some time now from a pre- dominately earthy concept of value to one that is more closely tied to the element of Air.
After all, "money is a metaphor," as Canadian media researcher Mar- shall McLuhan once said. All of this, however, fulfills the criteria of the principle of Air: the lightness and extreme agility of money; its brief stay with each owner; its tireless journey around the world; the abstraction of the exchange process that it embodies; and its funda- mental nature, free from emotion and subjectivity, that allows it to penetrate nearly every aspect of human life without any type of actual participation.
Let me emphasize once again: In our classifica- tion of the elements, there is no objective true or objec- tive false in a materialistic sense. Because as our earlier beach example shows, the main advantage of elemental symbolism and the language it speaks is that it allows us to incorporate its diversity and flexibility without automatically dooming us to failure from any contra- dictions that inevitably result. Let the statements about each element and its various manifestations really sink in before proceeding to the next step.
Categorize the scene as a whole to one single element and give reasons for your decision. Write down the element you chose and make note of the reasons for your choice. Now select another basic element excluding Ether for now and develop convincing arguments for why the whole scene could belong to the symbolism of that element. Why can the scene described be primarily categorized as belonging to the element of Water, or Earthy for example?