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Money Grows on the Tree of Knowledge Paperback – Large Print, April 4, 2011
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Twyman begins by writing "The symbol for the dollar is familiar throughout the world... There are several different theories about the origin of this symbol, although I don't believe that they are mutually exclusive." Most people have probably heard that the dollar symbol came from the Spanish Milled Dollar which showed banners wrapped around two pillars - the Pillars of Hercules. The image on the Spanish coin has a much older history Twyman writes, "shekel coins made on the ancient Phoenician island of Tyre, which feature both the Pillars of Hercules, and a serpent coiled around a tree, ala the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden."The symbol of the snake on the tree also hints at the caduceus (magical wand) of Hermes (known to the Romans as Mercury) and even the crucified serpent from the Biblical book of Genesis. A variant of this symbol was used in astrology (as a symbol of the planet mercury) and in alchemy to denote the substance of mercury also called quicksilver. This is only the beginning of the connection between money and religion, mythology & alchemy.
The first coins were created, not as a means of trade or exchange in the marketplace, but as a way to make an offering at the temple of your preferred deity. Historians consider the origin of coin money to be from around 3000 B.C, in the Temples of Ishtar (the Mesopotamian fertility goddess) for use in a religious rite known as "sacred prostitution." It was thought that if the men simulated intercourse with the goddess (with priestesses serving as a substitute), this would stimulate fertility in the land. In order to get a coin and thus the services of a prostitute, male worshipers made offerings in the form of wheat receiving one "shekel" for each bushel of wheat - "shekel" translates to "bushel of wheat." Interestingly "bread" (or words that translate as "bread") is still a slang term for money throughout the world. Several other words such as "money", "monetary", and "mint"derive from the Roman use of coins in the temples of Juno Moneta.
During the middle-ages the modern concept of banking was born - again with origins related to religion. The Knights Templar officially the official guardians of pilgrims en route to/from the Holy Land established a system of "banks" allowing pilgrims to deposit some money in the form of gold or silver at the Templar preceptory nearest to their point of departure and withdraw it along their trip - for a fee, of course. The Templars also created fractional-reserve banking and the use of "cheques." At this point, the history of money gets very complex - the Templars were accused of humiliating and blasphemous initiation rituals, they were also accused of homosexual orgies, baby sacrifices, and of treasonous dealings with the Muslim enemy. Twyman goes on to explain how these rituals are connected not only to modern occult practices but also to ancient religious rituals, mythology and also works in alchemy. All of which comes full circle to our modern money.
In the past, some alchemist were said to have bathed in the "fountain of youth" - which is believed by some to be the blood of child sacrifices. In a similar metaphoric sense, the elite bankers have been bathing in the fountain of youth since the early 1900's when the Federal Reserve was created & a national income tax instituted. Not long after the creation of the Fed, the currency was no longer backed by any thing of value, instead being backed by the "full faith and credit" of the United States government. Twyman writes, "In order to enjoy the imagined benefits of the central bank's alchemical magic, each American would need to become a wage slave" to the the banking system.