#324 – Now you see it

Yesterday, while taking a long walk in nature after the rains, at a particular moment, in which there was “nothing living in my working mind but a naked intent stretching into God,” I suddenly received a flash of understanding. Some might say, of revelation. I “saw”, that is to say, I understoodor better to say, I saw in my mind’s eye, and simultaneously experienced a deep sense of Knowingthe meaning and significance of a dream I had earlier this year, on the morning of February 1st.

I would hasten to add that I do not write this in expectation of any potential reader finding merit in it. I readily confess that I too, have long tended towards the sceptical bent of mind when it comes to dreams, and especially to the apparent eagerness of so many to attach great importance to many, or worse, all their dreams.

For my part, I would have, typically, dismissed my dream of February 1st, if it were not for the appearance of three, to me, particularly striking features. A disharmony with a known reality. An unusual colour. And, most striking of all, an unusual number.

The setting was inside my garage. I was cleaning the floorsweeping—along the left hand side wall (as one faces into the garage, from the opening doors). Positioned near the front of the garage, with its left hand side against the wall, facing toward the rear of the garage, was a green motorcycle.

This is the disharmony with known reality. My motorcycles are positioned at the right rear of the garage, facing the opposite way.

In order to sweep thoroughlythat is to say, behind the motorcycleI moved it out from the wall (or rather, it moved itself; in the dream, when I experienced the thought that I wanted to sweep behind the left side of the motorcycle, it moved away from the wall of its own volition, as if in response to telepathic command). In doing so, I became increasingly aware of certain details.

This motorcycle was a sports bike, generally similar in form to a Ducati 916 or MV Agusta F4. That is to say, I observed a similarity in the broadly flat upper surface of the fuel tank, closely matched in visual line with the upper surface of the tail section.

It was apparently brand new. While its shape was similar to the aforementioned motorcycles, I observed that its instrument panel was dissimilarmore modern, even futuristicand then, there also appeared to be a small thin transparent screen of some kind, unusually positioned, vertically, on the centre of the fuel tank.

Moving around the motorcycle, I observed that all the surfaces of the left hand side were covered with an opaque film; the maker’s decals underneath were only barely visible. As the right hand side was not similarly covered, in the dream it seemed to me that this motorcycle must be a brand new model, delivered with this film protecting the surfaces, and, that someone must have removed the film from the right hand side so as to display it, while leaving the film on the (hidden, against the wall) left hand side to protect it.

As I examined the left hand side more closely, trying to see the decals hidden under the opaque protective film, I rose up and noticed that a number324was clearly emblazoned on the tail section. And then immediately I awoke.

In the days following, I confided this dream with the two people closest to me. As I felt (most unusually) convicted that there must be some significance to it, I researched the two most obvious features: the number 324, and the colour green. I discovered many, potentially significant meanings and connections in Kabbalist, alchemical, and numerological literature (Chesed/Mercy/Love/expansiveness/increase, the Absolute, God’s “right hand”, our “inner angel”, the “green lion”, Metatron, 182 or “chai” (life) squared, Compass/the “Great Architect of the Universe”, etc). But in all this, I did not feel convinced that I understood what, if any, real-world significance there might be in my having this particular dream.

Yesterday, however, in a flash, I suddenly saw a plausible, and highly relevant meaning.

It appears clear to me now, that the dream of February 1st was a foretelling of The Key that I discovered in my two recent essays, of April 13th and May 9th.

One might call it The Key of The Left Side Deception.

In The Money $hot: Even Banking Is All About Sex, the key insight for all that followed, was that the Left hand side of the Double Triangle of Solomona precise symbolic representation of double-entry bookkeeping, ‘money’ creation ex nihilo, and, the “Sacred Marriage” relationship between Lender and Borrower—is the side that is subject to “magick” transformation; that is to say, it is the Left hand side that is fraudulent, “protected”, and hidden from public understanding.

LOAN-STAR-transformation-IOUs - $- Acct Payable copy


In Dishonourable Debt: Why Borrowers Are Not Legally Bound To Repay Bank Loans, this key insight was taken further, in demonstrating that it is the Left hand sidethe Lender’s IOU, or “promise-to-pay”that is the legal key to unravelling the entire ‘money’-lending fraud, and thus voiding all debts to all banks.



For me, to receive understandingsome four months afterthat my dream appears to have symbolically foretold these later insights, is a most remarkable, and humbling revelation.



Reader Kevin Moore says –

I looked up the gematria of “pentagram” Colin –
Pentagram in Jewish gematria = 324
New York in English gematria = 666


The Green witch dressed in black

“There were only four witches in all the Land of Oz, and two of them, those who live in the North and the South, are good witches. I know this is true, for I am one of them myself, and cannot be mistaken. Those who dwelt in the East and the West were, indeed, wicked witches; but now that you have killed one of them, there is but one Wicked Witch in all the Land of Oz–the one who lives in the West.”

— The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, chapter 2, “The Council with the Munchkins”



The Money $hot: Even Banking Is All About Sex


On Double-Entry Bookkeeping, Money Creation, Sexual Alchemy, and the Magickal Inversion of Values


“In vulgar opinion, transmutations and metamorphoses have always been the very essence of magic. Now, the crowd, being the echo of opinion, which is queen of the world, is never perfectly right nor entirely wrong. Magic really changes the nature of things, or, rather, modifies their appearances at pleasure, according to the strength of the operator’s will … Speech creates its form, and when a person, held infallible, confers a name upon a given thing, he really transforms that thing into the substance signified by the name. The masterpiece of speech and of faith, in this order, is the real transmutation of a substance without change in its appearances.”1

– Eliphas Lévi, Transcendental Magic, 1896


“In case you thought banks lend moneythey take deposits and lend moneyyou’re wrong. Legally, they do not take deposits, they borrow from the public. The expressions in banking are designed to mislead what’s really happening. What does a bank do? Banks purchase securities .. and they don’t pay up.”

– Professor Richard Werner, Address to the Russian Academy of Sciences, 12 Feb 2015


It is often said that “the devil is in the detail”. We commonly understand this to mean that hidden somewhere there is a catch or mysterious element. It serves as a warning to pay close attention in order to avoid error… or entrapment.

When we consider the grand mystical numberland of banking and finance today, with its infinitely labyrinthine mountains of multi-layered financial derivatives—allegedly ‘monetary’ instruments bearing incomprehensible acronyms, innumerable interconnections, and indecipherable obligations—one might be forgiven for believing that the devil and his minions really does now rule the world.

So it is both interesting and ironic that this idiom is itself a derivativeand an inversionof an earlier saying.

“Le bon Dieu est dans le détail” (“the good God is in the detail”)2 means that attention paid to small things has big rewards. It serves as an encouragement to be conscientious in one’s work; that whatever one does, it should be done thoroughly, with an eye to how “the good God” will judge it.

There is one small detail that has been troubling me ever since publishing my June 2015 essay, On Principal And Interest, Hermetic Magick, And The Lords Of Time.

There, we traced the history of el modo vinegia (“the Venetian method”) of double-entry bookkeeping, and unveiled the abundant evidence for its true purpose.

Contrary to popular belief, it was not developed as a dry, moral values-free, coolly rational mathematical tool of accounting and practical commerce. It was, rather, a Hermetic-Kabbalist ‘magick’ method for a very different kind of calculationthe deliberate, willful concealment of the immoral (and at the time, illegal) practice of lending money for gain (usury).

We also demonstrated that the method, both of double-entry bookkeeping, and of bank ‘money’ (credit) creation ex nihilo (“out of nothing”), is precisely represented by the Hermetic-Kabbalist alchemical symbol of the hexagram:



However, in one small detail, the above diagram has never appeared to me to be perfectly consistent with 19th century French occult magus Eliphas Lévi’s “Double Triangle of Solomon”, as referenced in my essay:

Seal of Solomon, front page of Eliphas Lévi's 'Transcendental Magic, its Doctrine and Ritual' (Source: Wikipedia)

Seal of Solomon, front page of Eliphas Lévi’s ‘Transcendental Magic, its Doctrine and Ritual’ (Source: Wikipedia)


Lévi tells us that “(t)he notion of the infinite and the absolute is expressed by this sign … the most simple and complete abridgment of the science of all things”3:

The Double Triangle of Solomon, represented by the two Ancients of the Kabbalah; the Macroprosopus and the Microprosopus; the God of Light and the God of Reflections; mercy and vengeance; the white Jehovah and the black Jehovah.4


Specifically, the detail that has long troubled me is the two little symbols (and their inverses) in Lévi’s sign, representing inter alia the Hermetic-Kabbalist alchemical axiom, “As above, so below”5:

“That which is above equals that which is below,” says Hermes.6

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Comparing with my diagram, the apparent inconsistency is clear:

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As you can see, that which is Above does not appear to be the same as that which is Below – that is to say, in the very particular sense of there not appearing to be two different pairs of opposing (inverse) identities on the Left hand side versus the Right hand side, as depicted in Lévi’s “Great Seal”.

Note carefully that the word values (meanings) do not appear to match – even though their numerical values do, as indeed they must (remember the fundamental rule of double-entry bookkeeping – “For every credit there must be a matching debit”):



The apparent inconsistency is easily resolved, however, by a closer consideration of Lévi’s magnum opus, with particular attention to the importance of languageand especially of speechin ritual magick (italicised and bold emphasis added):

Grammar itself attributes three persons to the verb. The first is that which speaks, the second that which is spoken to, and the third the object. .. The magical dogma is also one in three and three in one. That which is above is like or equal to that which is below. Thus, two things which resemble one another and the word which signifies their resemblance make three.7


What is the word that signifies the “resemblance” of the symbols and their inverses?

What is the word that defines not the form but the substance of the so-called ‘Asset’ and ‘Liability’words that appear to be contradictoryas employed in the process of bank ‘money’ creation?

Interestingly, the correct word is itself a triadic word; one in three and three in one.


Or, to use the correct legal term employed by the ‘money’ creators, a Promissory Note (ie, promise-ory). In layman’s terms, an I-Owe-You (“IOU”).

If you have read my earlier essay, you will recall that we went through the double entry process step by step, demonstrating that it is precisely represented by the Double Triangle of Solomon.

Let us review that process symbolically once again, but this time, with a more precise, and complete word definition included. That is to say, we will now include the triadic word (“IOU”) that signifies the unity of the “two things which resemble one another”the two apparent oppositesthat are being created. We will also include the word that signifies the identity of the person issuing the IOU.

When you go to the bank to borrow money, the first critical step is the forming of an agreement – the loan contract:

The contract says, in essence, that the bank promises-to-pay (IOU) a number of Dollars, Euros, or Pounds (the “principal” of the loan), in exchange for your promise-to-pay (IOU) the bank the same (“principal”) number of Dollars, Euros or Pounds back again …

… plus “interest” (usury):

From your perspective as the borrower, on the one (right) hand your IOU to the bank is your Liability – you are going to have to discharge that liability, by paying the bank in future. On the other (left) hand, the bank’s IOU to you is your Asset – when the bank discharges its liability to you, you will have ‘money’ to spend:



Likewise, from the bank’s perspective, their IOU to you is their Liability, and your IOU to them is their Asset:



When the loan contracta binding legal documentis signed by both parties, the Sacred Marriage or Divine Union between the male (phallic △) principle (the Lender), and the female (vulva ▽) principle (the Borrower) is ready to be consummated.8

LOAN-STAR-transformation-IOUs - $


It behooves one to draw attention to the obvious anthropomorphic metaphor here: the Borrower is about to get ****** by the Lender.

As we can now see, by carefully defining what is the true substance, and not just the magickal form of words used, the Above does indeed match the Below. The legal substance (an IOU) and its numerical value (the principal amount) is identical, as is the identity (person) who “owes” on either side. Only the word form (and thus, the word value, or meaning) is transformed, by inversion:

LOAN-STAR-transformation-IOUs - $-As Above


Now, consider carefully that it is the Lender (male △ identity) IOU that appears in its inverse reflections “As above, so Below” on the Left hand side, while the Borrower (female ▽ identity) IOU appears on the Right hand side.

Eliphas Lévi informs us that (bold and italicised emphasis added):

The primeval sages, when seeking the First of Causes, beheld good and evil in the world; they considered the shadow and the light; they compared winter with spring, age with youth, life with death, and their conclusion was this: The First Cause is beneficent and severe; it gives and takes away life. Then are there two contrary principles, the one good and the other evil, exclaimed the disciples of Manes. No, the two principles of universal equilibrium are not contrary, although contrasted in appearance, for a singular wisdom opposes one to another. Good is on the right, evil on the left, but the supreme excellence is above both, applying evil to the victory of good and good to the amendment of evil.9


It is apparent then, that the Hermetic-Kabbalist creators of the Venetian method of double-entry bookkeeping have also inverted the traditional correspondence of Good with the Right hand side, and Evil with the Left hand side. In double entry, the rule of law (pun meaningfully intended) is reversed – Assets (“in the black“) are shown on the Left, and Liabilities (“in the red“) on the Right:

If the stunned exclamation “Holy ****!” leapt to your lips in the watching of that video, then you might well be forgiven.

Why so?

Because you are more near to right than you know.

This formalised inversion of values can be traced back to the ancient Semitic empires of Mesopotamia, and the cult worship of Inanna-Ishtar, goddess of Love and War, the “Queen of Heaven” (all parentheses in original; bold and italicised emphasis added):

Central to the goddess as paradox is her well-attested psychological and more rarely evidenced physiological androgyny. Inanna-Ishtar is both female and male. Over and over again the texts juxtapose the masculine and feminine traits and behavior of the goddess.10

Her androgyny (also) manifests itself ritually in the transvestism of her cultic personnel. The awesome power of the goddess shows itself in the shattering of the human boundary between the sexes: “She (Ishtar) [changes] the right side (male) into the left side (female), she [changes] the left side into the right side, she [turns] a man into a woman, she [turns] a woman into a man, she ador[ns] a man as a woman, she ador[ns] a woman as a man.”11

Sjöberg… discusses the meaning of the transformation implied here. In his opinion, the passage does not suggest “a changing of the sexes when referring to the Inanna-Ishtar cult. The passages refer only to the changing roles of women and men in the cult ceremonies.” … Note the association in Mesopotamia, as elsewhere, of the left side with the female and the right side with the male. On the “pure right” hand and the “impure left” hand, see M. Civil, “Enlil and Ninlil: The Marriage of Sud”…12

Inanna-Ishtar combines male aggressiveness with the force of superabundance of female sexuality. She encompasses the two forms of potential disorder and violencesex and war.13

The most vivid expressions of the goddess’s innate contradictions appear in the following passage:

To run, to escape, to quiet and to pacify are yours, Inanna….
To destroy, to build up, to tear up and to settle are yours, Inanna….
To turn a man into a woman and a woman into a man are yours, Inanna….
Business, great winning, financial loss, deficit are yours, Inanna….
Neglect, careful preparation, to raise the head and to subdue are yours, Inanna….
Slander, untruthful words, to speak inimical (words) (and) to add hostile words are yours, Inanna….
To initiate a quarrel, to joke, to cause smiling, to be base and to be important are yours, Inanna.14

Inanna-Ishtar’s cultic celebrations and cultic personnel above all reflect her anomalousness and liminality. She is, one might say, externalized into unordered, carnivalesque celebration that demonstrates a reaching beyond the normal order of things and the breakdown of norms. The goddess’s festivals are institutionalized license. They celebrate and tolerate disorder. They are occasions when social rules are in abeyance and deviance from norms is articulated. Through symbolic inversion they attack the basic categorical differences between male and female, human and animal, young and old.15

The chief participants and actors in the goddess’s cult are well known by name … Their transvestism simulated the androgyny of Inanna-Ishtar. It was perhaps the inversion of the male/female binary opposition that thereby neutralized this opposition. By emulating their goddess who was both female and male, they shattered the boundary between the sexes. … The cultic personnel of the goddess in their costumes, words, and acts had but one goal: “to delight Ishtar’s heart, give themselves up to (otherwise) for[bidden] actions.”16


The male prostitutes comb their hair before her….
They decorate the napes of their necks with colored bands….
They gird themselves with the sword belt, the “arm of battle”….
Their right side they decorate with women’s clothing….
Their left side they cover with men’s clothing….
With jump ropes and colored cords they compete before her….

The one who covers the sword with blood, he sprinkles blood….
He pours out blood on the dais of the throne room.16a

Returning then to our account of the monetary Sacred Marriage or Divine Union that is about to be consummated—that is, now that the all-important legal document (the loan contract) has been signedwe are about to discover that another inversion of (word) values is about to take place. This one, far more crucial. And entirely one-sided.

For clarity, and confirmation, we turn to the ground-breaking empirical research of Professor Richard Werner, the Chair in International Banking at Southampton University UK, author of the best-selling book Princes of the Yen, and the must-see documentary of the same name.

From the video lecture at top this essay:

If you go to the bank and you borrow money you sign a loan contractvery crucial. Your signature creates the money supply. Because the banklegallywill consider the loan contract a Promissory Note, and that’s what it’s considered legally, a Promissory Noteand the bank purchases this contract. That’s what they do; they purchase the loan contract. Now, they owe you money. You say ‘I don’t care about the mechanics, give me the money’. The banker will say, ‘We’ll put it in your account. You’ll find it in your bank account’. Well, what is a bank account? It is not a deposit. What is it? It is a record of the bank’s debt to the public; it is a record of the bank’s debt to the new borrower, and they’ll show you the record of how much money they owe you. That’s it. They don’t pay up.17


In other words, the Lenderthe male (phallic △) principledoes not discharge his Sacred Marital (legal) obligation to the Borrower, the female (vulva ▽) principle.

‘Our’ monetary system is really an Un-holy ****”.

It is an anthropomorphic metaphor for the ancient alchemical practice of coitus reservatusan andocentric, misogynist, predatory ritual magick system for the acquisition, manipulation, transformation, and domination of the female power18 principle of fertility or fecundity (i.e., the power to create abundant new life)applied to the realm of ‘money’ creation. The Lender chooses not to discharge his ‘essence’ (substance) or ‘seed’ (the “principal”) that he is obligated to give her, in exchange for her promise to repay him with her “firstborn” (monetary) “child”; the “first fruits” of her “labour”.

Bernard Lietaer and Rivkah Harris (respectively) explain:

Essentially, to pay back interest on a loan requires using someone else’s principal.  In other words, not creating the money to pay interest is the device used to generate the scarcity necessary for a bank-debt monetary system to function.  It forces people to compete with each other for money that was never created19

Play (mēlulu) is an integral part of Inanna-Ishtar’s personality… her playground was the battleground: “Goddess of fights, let the battle proceed like the play of puppets.” .. “Ishtar, whose play is fighting.”20


Now that the Borrower has naïvely signed up for her legal obligation to him, the Lender engages in a willful act of deception; he inverts the meaning of the words used to define his own legal obligation to her.

If you will forgive a little wordplay, well might ‘our’ monetary system be called “Malice in Numberland”.

Professor Werner has demonstrated how this is done in his superb research paper, How do banks create money, and why can other firms not do the same? An explanation for the coexistence of lending and deposit-taking.

For our purposes here I have taken the liberty of excerpting from the Conclusion of the professor’s paper, and inserting the relevant tables (my bold and italicised emphasis added):

The act of signing the loan contract and purchasing it as a promissory note of the borrower without yet making the borrowed funds available to the borrower (Step 1) has the same accounting implications for banks, non-banks and non-financial corporations alike. In all cases, the balance sheets lengthen, as an asset (the loan contract) is acquired and a liability to make money available to the borrower is incurred (accounts payable).21

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In Step 2, the lender makes the funds available to the borrower. The fact that in Step 2 the bank is alone among firms in showing the same total impact on assets and liabilities as everyone else at Step 1, when the money had not yet been made available to the borrower, demonstrates that the bank did not actually make any money available to the borrower. This means that the bank still has an open ‘accounts payable’ liability, as it has not in fact discharged its original liability. What banks do is to simply reclassify their accounts payable items arising from the act of lending as ‘customer deposits’, and the general public, when receiving payment in the form of a transfer of bank deposits, believes that a form of money had been paid into the bank. As a result, the public readily accepts such ‘bank deposits’ and their ‘transfers’ to defray payments. They are also the main component of the official ‘money supply’ as announced by central banks (M1, M2, M3, M4), which is created almost entirely through this act of re-classifying banks’ accounts payable as fictitious ‘customer deposits’.22

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This one-sided inversion of (word) values appears like this when depicted in its Hermetic-Kabbalist symbolic form:

LOAN-STAR-transformation-IOUs - $- Acct Payable copy


As you can see, the ‘money’-Lender sex magiciansfor all practical intents and purposestransform their own Liability (“AC Payable”) into a fictitious “Client Deposit” (that is, as seen by the Borrower), through the power of authoritative opinion, repeated ad infinitum.

It is worth recalling Eliphas Lévi here (bold and italicised emphasis added):

In vulgar opinion, transmutations and metamorphoses have always been the very essence of magic. Now, the crowd, being the echo of opinion, which is queen of the world, is never perfectly right nor entirely wrong. Magic really changes the nature of things, or, rather, modifies their appearances at pleasure, according to the strength of the operator’s will … Speech creates its form, and when a person, held infallible, confers a name upon a given thing, he really transforms that thing into the substance signified by the name. The masterpiece of speech and of faith, in this order, is the real transmutation of a substance without change in its appearances.


This magick power of speech to create form, and to (apparently) transform the substance of a thing simply by conferring a (different) name on it, is only the more pertinent in light of the recent release of the Panama Papers, allegedly containing evidence of tax avoidance (both legal, and illegal) practiced by wealthy individuals and public officials, through their lawyers and accountants, via offshore company entities.

How so?

In yet another inversion of word values (meaning), there is a formal accounting principle called “Substance over form” that enables precisely the kinds of legal obfuscation adopted by these individuals in moving their wealth offshore … and that banks perform in the magickal transformation of their “accounts payable” obligations (bold and italicised emphasis added):

Substance over form is an accounting principle which recognizes that business transactions should be accounted in accordance with their (economic) substance instead of their (legal) form. Economic substance refers to the underlying economic or commercial purpose of a business transaction apart from its legal or tax considerations. Legal form refers to interpretation of a business transaction in accordance with the applicable business laws.

While accounting for business transactions and other events, substance over form principle requires accountants to measure and present the economic impact of an event instead of its legal form. …

Substance over form principle is recognized by all major financial reporting frameworks, namely the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and US GAAP, etc. External auditors are required to attest that companies recognize all business transactions in compliance with the substance over form concept.23


In accounting then, the legal definition of a transaction is not considered its substance; it is now only its form, is open to interpretation, and, most importantly, is to be considered only apart from and secondary to the (claimed) “purpose”. The ‘substance’ will now be whatever the accountant (or banker) claims the purpose of the transaction to be.

Since the economic purpose of a bank’s “accounts payable” item is to provide the customer with ‘money’, then according to this barefaced inversion of logic, reason, and morality, it is standard accounting practice for the bank to re-enter (transform) and record its “accounts payable” item as a “customer deposit”, even though the true substance of that item remains, both legally, and from the bank’s own perspective, a Liability (IOU) of the bank!

LOAN-STAR-transformation-IOUs - $- Acct Payable copy

As we saw in my previous essay, the Venetian method of double-entry bookkeeping was developed as a tool for the deliberate concealment of illegal (and immoral) practices. So perhaps the “substance over form” example of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) should come as no great surprise.

It is important not to lose sight of the fact that it is not only through the speech of an authority “held infallible” that such a transformation becomes ‘real’ – it is also through the ceaseless repetition of those magick words over generations.

Eliphas Lévi explains (italicised emphasis added):

Had Apollonius [of Tyana] offered a cup of wine to his disciples, and said to them: “This is my blood, of which ye shall drink henceforth to perpetuate my life within you;” and had his disciples through centuries believed that they continued the transformation by repeating the same words; had they taken the wine, despite its odour and taste, for the real, human, and living blood of Apollonius, we should have to acknowledge this master in theurgy as the most accomplished of enchanters and most potent of all the magi. It would remain for us then to adore him.24

M. de Montalembert seriously relates, in his legend of St Elizabeth of Hungary, how one day this saintly lady, surprised by her noble husband, from whom she sought to conceal her good works, in the act of carrying bread to the poor in her apron, told him that she was carrying roses, and it proved on investigation that she had spoken truly; the loaves had been changed into roses. This story is a most gracious magical apologue, and signifies that the truly wise man cannot lie, that the word of wisdom determines the form of things, or even their substance independently of their forms. Why, for example, should not the noble spouse of St Elizabeth, a good and firm Christian like herself, and believing implicitly in the real presence of the Saviour in true human body upon an altar where he beheld only a wheaten host, why should he not believe in the real presence of roses in his wife’s apron under the appearances of bread? She exhibited him loaves undoubtedly, but as she had said that they were roses, and as he believed her incapable of the smallest falsehood, he saw and wished to see roses only. This is the secret of the miracle.25


Let us indulge ourselves in a small act of transformation of our own, replacing the forms and identities in the words of Lévi’s tale with those of our present subject:

Why, for example, should not the noble client of St Goldman, a good and firm Christian like himself … why should she not believe in the real presence of money in her bank account under the appearances of a promissory record? He exhibited her a record of the promise undoubtedly, but as he had said that it was money, and as she believed him incapable of the smallest falsehood, she saw and wished to see money only. This is the secret of the miracle.


What all this means of course, is that for several hundreds of years (yes, literally), we have all like sheep been led astray.

That is to say, we have been led to believe a lie.

All of the ‘money’ that we believe ourselves to own, and that we circulate daily among ourselves in payment for goods, services, and investments, is neither ‘money’ in true substance, nor are we the owners of it.

The reality of the system is this. Bankers create IOUs out of nothing. These digital tokens represent our IOU to the bank. Then—by a clever accounting trick—they let us borrow their IOUs as ‘money’.

Begging the question – why don’t we all do the same thing, and just lend to ourselves?*

It also begs the question of how it is that the ‘money’ magicians have been able to perpetuate this colossal deception for so long, without being discovered and called to account.

Eliphas Lévi explains:

To become invisible one of three things is necessary—the interposition of some opaque medium between the light and our body, or between our body and the eyes of the spectators, or the fascination of the eyes of the spectators in such a manner that they cannot make use of their sight. Of these methods, the third only is magical. Have we not all of us observed that under the government of a strong preoccupation we look without seeing and hurt ourselves against objects in front of us?26

The secret of invisibility, therefore, wholly consists in a power which is capable of definition—that of distracting or paralysing attention, so that the light reaches the visual organ without impressing the eye of the soul. To exercise this power we must possess a will accustomed to sudden and energetic actions, great presence of mind, and skill no less great in causing diversions among the crowd. Let a man, for example, who is being pursued by his intending murderers, dart into a side street, return immediately, and advance with perfect calmness towards his pursuers, or let him mix with them and seem to be engaged in the chase, and he will certainly make himself invisible. A priest who was being hunted in ’93, with the intention of hanging him from a lamp-post, fled down a side street, assumed a stooping gait, and leaned against a corner, with an intensely preoccupied expression; the crowd of his enemies swept past; not one saw him, or, rather, it never struck anyone to recognise him; it was so unlikely to be he!27


There are a variety of words and phrases that come to mind as being apropos to describe this phenomenon.

But perhaps the most apropos word of all would be this.



* You may be interested to discover an alternate currency ecosystem concept of my own design, that can enable everyone to do this – to be their own central banker. Visit



I am presently writing a book on the thesis outlined in this, and my earlier essay. As we have seen, the core concepts are traceable right back to the ancient Semitic cult worship of Inanna-Ishtar, the “Queen of Heaven”. Of particular interest is the evidences for widespread regional use of magickal talismans and erotic plaques placed at thresholds (eg, doorways, windows) to sexually attract and “bind” prosperity demons:

Source: Sex, Magic, and the Liminal Body in the Erotic Art and Texts of the Old Babylonian Period, Assante. J, (2002)

Source: Sex, Magic, and the Liminal Body in the Erotic Art and Texts of the Old Babylonian Period, Assante. J, (2002)


Source: Sex, Magic, and the Liminal Body in the Erotic Art and Texts of the Old Babylonian Period, Assante. J, (2002)

Source: Sex, Magic, and the Liminal Body in the Erotic Art and Texts of the Old Babylonian Period, Assante. J, (2002)


If you would be interested in receiving notification upon the book’s completion and publication, please feel free to drop me a line using the contact form at


UPDATE 21/4/2016

Added quotation (footnote 16a) plus video clip “The male prostitutes..decorate the napes of their necks with colored bands”



[1] Eliphas Lévi, Transcendental Magic, Its Doctrine and Ritual (1896), p. 282

[2] John Bartlett, Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations: A Collection of Passages, Phrases, and Proverbs Traced to Their Sources in Ancient and Modern Literature, 17th ed. (2002)

[3] Eliphas Lévi, Transcendental Magic, Its Doctrine and Ritual (1896), p. 44

[4] ibid, p. xxi

[5] “That which is above is from that which is below, and that which is below is from that which is above, working the miracles of one” – Hermes Trismegistus, The Emerald Tablet, translation by Jabir ibn Hayyan, (Holmyard 1923: 562.)

[6] Eliphas Lévi, Transcendental Magic, Its Doctrine and Ritual (1896), p. 38

[7] ibid, p. 44

[8] Julia Assante, Sex, Magic, and the Liminal Body in the Erotic Art and Texts of the Old Babylonian Period (2002)

[9] Eliphas Lévi, Transcendental Magic, Its Doctrine and Ritual (1896), p. 46

[10] Rivkah Harris, Inanna-Ishtar as Paradox and the Coincidence of Opposites, History of Religions, Vol. 30, No. 3 (Feb., 1991), p. 268

[11] ibid., p. 270

[12] ibid., p. 270 n. 48

[13] ibid., p. 270

[14] ibid., p. 265

[15] ibid., p. 273

[16] ibid., p. 276-277

[16a] ibid., p. 276, cf. n. 83 – DD. Reisman, “Iddin-Dagan’s Sacred Marriage Hymn,” Journal of Cuneiform Studies 25 (1973): 187:45-64

[17] Victor and Victoria Trimondi, The Shadow of the Dalai Lama: Sexuality, Magic and Politics in Tibetan Buddhism (2003)

[18] Richard A. Werner, “To a new understanding of the function of the banking sector: the mechanism of productive credit creation and quantitative easing”, presentation to the Russian Academy of Sciences, round table “Anti-crisis fiscal policy of the state in the interests of economic development of Russia” (2015)

[19] Bernard Lietaer and Jacquie Dunne, Rethinking Money, (2013), p. 39

[20] Rivkah Harris, Inanna-Ishtar as Paradox and the Coincidence of Opposites, History of Religions, Vol. 30, No. 3 (Feb., 1991), p. 274

[21] Richard A. Werner, How do banks create money, and why can other firms not do the same? An explanation for the coexistence of lending and deposit-taking (2014)

[22] ibid.

[23], Substance Over Form (11 April, 2016, 8:39pm AEST)

[24] Eliphas Lévi, Transcendental Magic, Its Doctrine and Ritual (1896), p. 282

[25] ibid, pp. 286-287

[26] ibid, p. 284

[27] ibid, pp. 285-286


Once Upon A Time – An Allegory For Usury On Primetime American TV


“All magick comes with a price.”

– Rumplestiltskin / the Dark One / Mr Gold, Once Upon A Time

It premiered in 2011 as the top-rated drama. The pilot episode attracted almost 13 million viewers.

Now in its fifth season—and recently confirmed for a sixth—around 5 million fans in North America alone still tune in on Sunday nights to the ABC’s primetime TV series Once Upon A Time.

Doubtless very few have a clue that it is really a brazen allegory for money-lending. More specifically, for the practice of usury.

Couched in the guise of a modern fairy tale, it is really a story of magick debt “money”, that breeds more money.

For the magician, that is.


By themagick” spell, of the binding contract.

The Promise To Pay. The I Owe You.

All the magician has to do, is tempt you to sign on the dotted line.

What do we owe, in “return” for this magick?

Our “firstborn”. The first “fruit” of our “labour”.

Most of us don’t really understand the “price” of magick. Compound interest is the “small” yet ever growing “price” we must pay, for enjoying the comforts of “magick” debt money.

I have watched only the first series of Once Upon A Time. From the premiere episode (clip below) onwards, it is filled to overflowing with symbolism and thinly-veiled allusions to the system of debt magick that has enslaved us all in a prison of Time.

All the other clips shown here are from episode four—aptly titled “The Price of Gold”—which first aired on November 13, 2011. Yes, that is 11/13/11 for fans of numerology, occultism, and conspiracy.

Please watch attentively the three slightly longer clips below, for a fuller context of that particular episode.

And for a comprehensively footnoted essay on how our modern system of debt money—and its supporting schools of economic theory—arose from the Hermetic-Kabbalist principles of double-entry bookkeeping in the 15th century, please read On Principal And Interest, Hermetic Magick, And The Lords Of Time.

A final thought.

Some—myself included—believe that private, for-profit banking corporations should not have the exclusive, government-backed and -enforced legal privilege of money creation. Especially when the only form of “money” these magicians create, is usury-bearing debt.

So if you have found some value (information, knowledge) in this post, perhaps you might be generous-hearted enough to do me a small favour.

That is, other than sharing this post with others.

Please take a look at the concept website I have created, explaining my idea for an alternative “money” (currency) system –

I think every man (and woman) should be their own central banker.


Should you still hold any doubts that Once Upon A Time is an allegory for usury, here are some snippets from the episode immediately following the one depicted above. Episode five—titled “The Still Small Voice”—also helps us to see that the “money” magicians are without excuse; that they know right from wrong, but choose to ignore the still small voice of God within (Conscience).

Importantly, it also confirms the foundational truths about the debt-money economy, as detailed in my essay.

And again, a slightly longer and more revealing clip, for context:


On Principal And Interest, Hermetic Magick, And The Lords of Time


“I would like to continue with an examination of Time. From the moment we enter this life we are in the flow of it. We measure it and we mark it. But we cannot defy it. We cannot even speed it up or, slow it down. Or can we?”

– Eisenheim, The Illusionist

Time. The Fourth Dimension. The Universal Agent.

Imagine having the power to control Time.  To manipulate Time.  To become its master.  Instead of feeling like a slave to Time, imagine what you might do, if you had the power to make Time work for you?

Men have always dreamed of possessing this power.  In 15th century Italy, the discovery of mysterious ancient documents in Byzantium finally made it possible.

Today, we often speak of the value of “our time”.  We speak of “spending time”, and “buying time”.  But in truth, it is not “our” time at all.

Throughout the world, our Time is controlled, manipulated and directed, by ‘Masters of the Universe’.  Men who are adepts in these ancient secrets, and have the power to make “our” Time work for them.

They are the bookkeepers.  The men who keep score.  And just as it is said of the game of golf that “a good scorer can always beat a good player”, so it is with the mystical, magical art of double-entry bookkeeping.


“For every debit there must be a credit, and for every credit there must be a debit” – Alas!  How few consider that if this must be the case, the rule to go by, nothing is more easy than to make a set of books wear the appearance of correctness, which at the same time is full of errors, or of false entries, made on purpose to deceive!1


When the “Father of the Renaissance”, a humanist scholar, priest, and astrologer by the name of Marsilio Ficino translated the Corpus Hermeticum from Greek into Latin, he could not have known that his labour would, in time, condemn most of humanity to slave labour for the Lords of Time.

Bust of Ficino by Andrea Ferrucci in Florence Cathedral (Source: Wikipedia)

Bust of Ficino by Andrea Ferrucci in Florence Cathedral (Source: Wikipedia)

Ficino’s lifelong patron was Cosimo de Medici, scion of the famous Italian merchant banking dynasty, and ruler of the Florentine Republic.  His circle of friends included the greatest philosophers, mathematicians, and elite movers-and-shakers in the Western world.  They now had in their hands the ancient secrets of Hermes Trismegistus, the “Thrice-Greatest”.

Hermes Trismegistus, floor mosaic in the Cathedral of Siena (Source: Wikipedia)

Hermes Trismegistus, floor mosaic in the Cathedral of Siena (Source: Wikipedia)

Starting at the Medici-sponsored Platonic Academy headed by Ficino, the rediscovered Hermetic secret knowledge would light the imaginative fires of the principal scholars, philosophers, and financiers of the Renaissance — also known as the “Hermetic Reformation”2.  It would influence the mind of a monk, magician, mathematician, the Father of Accounting and the man who wrote the seminal book on double-entry bookkeeping, Fra Luca Bartolomeo de Pacioli, the “constant companion of Leonardo da Vinci”3. And in a grand syncretism with Neo-Platonism and Jewish Kabbalah, conjured up and expounded by fellow Renaissance men such as Pico della Mirandola (900 Theses), Johannes Reuchlin (De Arte Cabbalistica), and Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa (De Occulta Philosophia Libri Tres), it would spread throughout the western world, deeply embedded in commerce and banking, the arts and sciences, social philosophy, ethics and morality.  It would change the course of human history (bold and italicised emphasis added):

Our modern urge to measure everything dates back to the late Middle Ages when a “radical change of perception” took place in which mathematics, Venetian bookkeeping, and Luca Pacioli played a key role.  Historian Alfred W. Crosby explains this “radical change”:

‘In practical terms the new approach was simply this: reduce what you are trying to think about to the minimum required by its definition; visualise it on paper, or at least in your mind … and divide it, either in fact or in imagination, into equal quanta.  Then you can measure it, that is, count the quanta.’

And once you can measure something, then you have a quantitative or numerical representation of your subject which you can manipulate and experiment with, no matter how great its errors or omissions.  Such data can acquire an apparent independence from its human creators and, when fed into a twenty-first century computer model, an authority that appears irrefutable.4

Portrait of Luca Pacioli, traditionally attributed to Jacopo de' Barbari, 1495 (Source: Wikipedia)

Portrait of Luca Pacioli, traditionally attributed to Jacopo de’ Barbari, 1495 (Source: Wikipedia)

Now, it is well worth our time to pause for a moment in our journey through past time, to consider the identity of Hermes Trismegistus.  Today, he is considered to be a syncretism of the Greek god Hermes, and the Egyptian god Thoth.  The Greeks considered Hermes to be the god of boundaries and transitions – in particular, the transition to the after-life.  He was also the god of commerce, travel, the patron of thieves and orators, and a cunning trickster who outwits other gods for his own satisfaction.  The Greeks equated him with the Egyptian god Thoth, who shared similar attributes.  Thoth was seen by the Egyptians as the god who maintained the universe, the mediator in disputes between good and evil.  He was the god of equilibrium, who unified or balanced the opposites.  Importantly, in both of their respective cultures, Hermes and Thoth were the gods of writing, and magic.

The more astute reader, and in particular, the reader who has a grasp of the Duality Principle of double-entry bookkeeping — “for every credit there must be an equal debit” — may already be seeing a little light dawning in a corner of their mind.

Ficino and his influential friends at the Medicean court were to discover in the Corpus Hermeticum and in Kabbalah Ma’asit (“practical Kabbalah”) the secrets to controlling Time, the Universal Agent.  At the heart of Hermetic teachings was the idea that man could influence or even control the forces of nature.  To do so, one needed to master the “Three Parts of the Wisdom of the Whole Universe”.  One of these parts, along with Astrology and Theurgy, was the magical art of Alchemy. Similarly, at the heart of Kabbalistic theurgy was the idea that man could magically invoke the creative or Life force — using esoteric knowledge of divine language and writing — for personal advantage in this world.

As with double-entry bookkeeping — and similarly, the dark art of keeping two sets of books — the magic of Alchemy involves a dual aspect or dual nature.  In its esoteric (inner) doctrine, it is the work of spiritual purification; a transformation of common impure man, into pure and perfect Man.  In its exoteric (outer) doctrine, it is the notion that man can transform common “impure” metals into pure gold, through the discovery and mastery of the “Universal Solvent”.

The magic of Hermeticism, with its emphasis on practical experimentation to discover and control the forces of nature, would have a powerful effect on the greatest scientific minds (such as Isaac Newton) for centuries to come.  At the same time, its intrinsic get-rich-quick appeal would pose a constant attraction for over-indebted kings and princes — and for too-big-to-fail international bankers such as the Medici, whose compound interest-bearing loans the princes of Europe could not repay without borrowing even more.

The Emerald Tablet, a key text of Western Alchemy, in a 17th-century edition (Source: Wikipedia)

The Emerald Tablet, a key text of Western Alchemy, in a 17th-century edition (Source: Wikipedia)

Some four hundred years later, a great revival of spiritualism and the magick arts swept over Europe during the late nineteenth through early twentieth centuries.  It is from this time, in the writings of adepts such as the famous occultists Aleister Crowley and Eliphas Lévi, that we can see clearly stated the most fundamental principles of Hermetic-Kabbalistic magick.

As we will see, they are precisely the same principles that form the basic rules of double-entry bookkeeping. Hermetic-Kabbalistic magick has been carried down from the Hermetic Reformation of the 15th century to our time, deeply embedded at the very core of all economic and social life; in commerce, economic theory, the fundamentals of capitalism, and banking.

The Hermetic-Kabbalistic magick principle of double perception is embedded at the core of the money system itself.  In the very act of ex nihilo (“out of nothing”) creation of “our” money in the form of loans — using nothing more “real” than electronic double-entry bookkeeping — bankers enjoy the power of creator gods, employing “divine” magick principles in writing and language to harness the force of Time, transforming it into wealth for themselves.

“Money” created by bankers is simply the symbolic, written expression of this double perception. Each Dollar, Euro, or Pound created as a new loan magically appears (to the borrower) as both a debt (Liability) that must be repaid plus interest to the bank, and simultaneously, a credit (Asset) that the borrower can spend.


At the same time, to the bank that very same Dollar, Euro, or Pound magically appears as both an Asset (money that must be repaid by the borrower), and, a Liability too, because the bank must make it available to the borrower to spend.


This is the embodiment of the Kabbalistic concept of achdut hashvaah (“Unity of Opposites”) — (bold emphasis added):

The coincidence of opposites that characterizes God, humanity and the world can be approximately understood by the simultaneous adoption of two points of view. As put by the founder of the Chabad movement, Schneur Zalman of Lyadi (1745-1813):

(Looking) upwards from below, as it appears to eyes of flesh, the tangible world seems to be Yesh and a thing, while spirituality, which is above, is an aspect of Ayin (nothingness). (But looking) downwards from above the world is an aspect of Ayin, and everything which is linked downwards and descends lower and lower is more and more Ayin and is considered as naught truly as nothing and null.5


When viewed from this Kabbalistic “higher” logic perspective, the mathematical expression “-1 = +1” is actually true; an object and its exact opposite are seen to be one and the same thing. A single unit of “money” is both credit and debit, liability and asset; it just depends on whose perspective it is seen from. But all things balance themselves out, when viewed from the hidden “All-Seeing Eye” perspective of the divine nothingness or Ein Sof. Each number is created from the same central number (“0”); the space “0” between -1 and +1 is exactly “1” from either side, and so each cancels out the other:

When it arose within Ein-sof (the Infinite) to weave Yesh (Something) from its Ayin (Nothing), Ein-sof performed an act of Tzimtzum, contracting and concealing itself from a point, thereby forming a central, metaphysical void. It is in this void that the Primordial Man, Adam Kadmon, and all the countless Worlds (Olamot) emerge.6


In the cryptic, mystical language of Hermetic-Kabbalistic magick, Aleister Crowley, the man once dubbed “The Most Wicked Man In The World”, explains the fundamentals of Magick In Theory And Practice (bold emphasis added):

…the object of any magick ceremony is to unite the Macrocosm and the Microcosm.

It is as in optics; the angles of incidence and reflection are equal.  You must get your Macrocosm and Microcosm exactly balanced, vertically and horizontally, or the images will not coincide.

This equilibrium is affirmed by the magician in arranging the Temple.  Nothing must be lop-sided.  If you have anything in the North, you must put something equal and opposite to it in the South.  The importance of this is so great, and the truth of it so obvious, that no one with the most mediocre capacity for magick can tolerate any unbalanced object for a moment.  His instinct instantly revolts.

…the arrangement of the weapons of the altar must be such that they “look” balanced

…And however little he move to the right, let him balance it by an equivalent movement to the left; or if forwards, backwards; and let him correct each idea by implying the contradictory contained therein.

let him show the basis of that Stability to be constant change, just as the stability of a molecule is secured by the momentum of the swift atoms contained in it.

In this way let every idea go forth as a triangle on the base of two opposites, making an apex transcending their contradiction in a higher harmony.

It is not safe to use any thought in Magick, unless that thought has been thus equilibrated and destroyed.7


In his magnum opus Transcendental Magic, French occultist Eliphas Lévi explains that:

There exists in Nature a force which is immeasurably more powerful than steam, and a single man, who is able to adapt and direct it, might change thereby the face of the whole world.  This force was known to the ancients; it consists in a Universal Agent having equilibrium for its supreme law, while its direction is concerned immediately with the Great Arcanum of Transcendental Magic. … This agent… is precisely that which the adepts of the Middle Ages denominated the First Matter of the Great Work.8

Now the ancients, observing that equilibrium is the universal law in physics, and is consequent on the apparent opposition of two forces, argued from physical to metaphysical equilibrium, and maintained that in God, that is, in the First Living and Active Cause, there must be recognized two properties which are necessary to each other—stability and motion, necessity and liberty, rational order and volitional autonomy, justice and love, whence also severity and mercy.  And these two attributes were personified, so to speak, by the kabalistic Jews under the names of GEBURAH and CHESED.9


Lévi says that to gain control over the “Great Magical Agent”, one must learn how to use the alchemical formula of opposites, “Solve et Coagula” (SOLVE, to dissolve, to project, to move; and COAGULA, to coagulate, to concentrate, to fix):

The Great Magical Agent, by us termed the Astral Light, …this occult, unique and indubitable force, is the key of all empire, the secret of all power. … To know how to make use of this Agent is to be the trustee of God’s own power; all real, effective Magic, all occult force is there, and its demonstration is the sole end of all genuine books of science.  To have control over the Great Magical Agent there are two operations necessary — to concentrate and project, or, in other words, to fix and to move.10


Who can fail to see here, hidden in plain sight, the distilled essence, the Philosopher’s Stone, the whole alchemical formulation of double-entry bookkeeping?

The adept takes every single “common” transaction, and on entering it into his books, he first dissolves it (SOLVE) into a pair of opposites (debit entry and credit entry).




When it comes time to determine his Profits — and in turn, his total wealth or Capital — he “coagulates” (COAGULA) all of the entries in each of two columns (DR and CR) into a single number.




This then, is the apex of the triangle, the “higher harmony” of the “base of two opposites”, “transcending their contradiction”.


Seal of Solomon, front page of Eliphas Lévi's 'Transcendental Magic, its Doctrine and Ritual' (Source: Wikipedia)

Seal of Solomon; front page of Eliphas Lévi’s ‘Transcendental Magic, its Doctrine and Ritual’ (Source: Wikipedia)


Eliphas Lévi tells us plainly that the purpose of the Great Work is to gain control over one’s future; that is to say, to gain control of Time itself:

The Great Work is, before all things, the creation of man by himself, that is to say, the full and entire conquest of his faculties and his future; it is especially the perfect emancipation of his will, assuring him… full power over the Universal Magical Agent.11

For the man who is greedy for gain, who sees financial wealth as the secret to a long and happy life, the possession of money is the means to attain “the full and entire conquest of his…future”.  He can transform himself from a pauper into a prince — “the creation of man by himself” — and become a “self-made man”.

How so?

Money is the means of controlling Time.  By lending his money at compound interest, the skillful adept increases his wealth, without risking his health through manual labour.  His little pile of wealth (“capital”) grows inexorably, compounding into an ever larger pile over time.  Just as in Eisenheim’s great illusion of the Orange Tree, the “seed” which was taken by dividing a single orange into two equal parts, grows at a speed which defies Time, “producing” even more golden fruit – fruit that the magician assures us is “quite real”.

This wondrous power is all thanks to the magic of what has been called “the greatest mathematical discovery of all time” and “the most powerful force in the universe” — compound interest.

But in a classic example of circular reasoning, the alchemical wizard’s “right” to charge compound interest is all thanks to a cunning rhetorical device (remember, Hermes was the god of oratory) — the so-called “Time value” of money.


Money, wrote [Luca Pacioli’s mentor, Leon Battista] Alberti in the 1430s, is “the root of all things”: “with money one can have a town house or a villa; and all the trades and craftsmen will toil like servants for the man who has money. He who has none goes without everything, and money is required for every purpose.” As historian Fernand Braudel argues, something new enters European consciousness in Alberti’s writing – along with his celebration of money went thriftiness and a concern with the value of time12


This clever sophistry of the “Time value of money” has its origin in one of the greatest moral arguments of all time; whether the charging of interest on money (usury) is right, or wrong.

For over 1,000 years the Christian West officially prohibited the practice of charging interest on money (usury).  But in the 15th century, the advocates for usury found themselves equipped with a new box of rhetorical and symbolic tricks with which to convince their audience.  The syncretism of Neo-Platonic, Kabbalistic, and Hermetic philosophies in the Renaissance (“rebirth” in French) resulted in the resurrection of ancient Greco-Roman paganism.  With it came an individualistic, “Me”-centred rather than “God”-centred worldview, with all-pervading emphasis on rationalism, and numerical calculation.  In particular, the calculation of profit (bold emphasis added):

[German economist Werner Sombart] says that by enabling a numerical, monetary (and hence, in his view, “rational”) calculation of profit, double-entry bookkeeping provided the basis on which commerce could be seen as a process of acquisition: as an unending, systematic pursuit of profit.13

Like Sombart, [Max] Weber argues that double entry is significant because it makes possible an abstract measure of income and expenses – and therefore enables the calculation of profit, the key component of capitalistic business practice.14

The economist Joseph Schumpeter (1883-1950) also traces the development of capitalism back to double-entry bookkeeping. … Schumpeter says that capitalism adds a new edge to rationality by “exalting the monetary unit – not itself a creation of capitalism – into a unit of account.  That is to say, capitalist practice turns the unit of account into a tool of rational cost-profit calculations, of which the towering monument is double-entry bookkeeping.”  In his view, double entry’s “cost-profit calculus” drives capitalist enterprise – and then spreads throughout the whole culture: “And thus defined and quantified for the economic sector, this type of logic or attitude or method then starts upon its conqueror’s career subjugating – rationalizing – man’s tools and philosophies, his medical practice, his picture of the cosmos, his outlook on life, everything in fact including his concepts of beauty and justice and his spiritual ambitions.”  For Schumpeter, capitalism “generates a formal spirit of critique where the good, the true and the beautiful no longer are honoured; only the useful remains – and that is determined solely by the critical spirit of the accountant’s cost-benefit calculation”.15


Double-entry bookkeeping would then, as now, serve the purpose not only of helping the merchant calculate his profits.  It would enable the merchant to “prove” that his profit-making was legitimate; that is to say, in context of the times, that he had not been practicing usury in violation of the Church’s official prohibition (bold emphasis added):

[Luca] Pacioli advises merchants to incorporate explicit signs of Christianity into their books as a way of legitimising their profit-seeking activities.  The use of double entry itself was like the Catholic confession: if a merchant confessed – or accounted for – all his worldly activities before God, then perhaps his sins would be absolved.16

This notion of ‘good’ bookkeeping was soon extended to the point that the use of double entry was seen to confer moral legitimacy on a merchant’s work.  As Pacioli had, Hugh Oldcastle encouraged merchants to use their account books as a space in which to invoke God.  He wrote in 1588: “it behoveth him [the merchant] first in all his workes and business to call to minde the name of God in all such writings, or in any other reckonings, that he shall beginne.”  The first cashbook of the Bank of England, established in 1694, opens with ‘Laus Deo‘ – ‘Praise God’.  As we saw with the merchants of Prato and with Pacioli, such appeals to God were a common feature of the earliest double-entry books and in some parts of Europe continued until the eighteenth century: through the exactitude of their earthly accounting, merchants hoped to gain divine approval in God’s heavenly accounts.17

If you are a businessman concerned with the morality of making a profit, then keeping the fullest possible set of accounts is a bit like confessing your sins.

Even if you are doing something morally suspect, at least you are making a clean breast of it.18

Indeed exactly because accountancy looks like a dry, value-free activity, it can be used as a kind of moral laundry.

When the Nazis stole the personal property of Europe’s Jews, Himmler insisted that all the looted property be meticulously accounted for.

By enforcing stringent accounting, he argued that “in carrying out this most difficult of tasks… we have suffered no harm to our inner being, our soul, our character.” Theft was transformed into book-


For an enormously successful usurer like Cosimo de Medici, who had the rare quality for a banker of suffering from a guilty conscience20, the matter of having one’s sins absolved had a profound importance.  At that time, the only way to be absolved of the mortal sin of usury, and so be assured of a transition to Heaven in the after-life (hello Hermes/Thoth), was by making full restitution of all one’s ill-gotten gains.  This meant, of course, that you could not pass on your wealth to your heirs; if you failed to make restitution before death, then in order to set you free from purgatory, your heirs would have to make restitution of all your usurious gains on your behalf:

Giovanni di Bicci de Medici, founder of the Medici Bank and Cosimo de Medici’s father … died intestate because in making out a will “he would have denounced himself as a usurer and might have caused considerable trouble for his heirs.”  This practice had become a Medici family tradition, which Cosimo, Giovanni’s son would continue.21

Cosimo de Medici, Portrait by Bronzino (Source: Wikipedia)

Cosimo de Medici, Portrait by Bronzino (Source: Wikipedia)

The popularisation of double-entry bookkeeping in the Medici’s time offered another profoundly important benefit.  It gave the merchant a way to “rationally” justify all of his “costs” — including the “costs” he perceives himself to have suffered, in extending (lending) “credit” to customers.

This would prove crucial in context of the historical argument on usury.  Then, as now, those who argued in favour of usury have claimed that a man who lends his money to another has a moral right to be compensated for a wholly imaginary expense — the “opportunity cost” of his not being able to use the money he loaned out, to earn more money in some other way.

The “logic” of this argument for charging interest rests on an arrogant presumption — that the lender is certain of earning a “return” in that “other way”, and therefore, he must certainly be suffering a “cost” of lost “opportunity” to “earn”, if he lends his money out instead.

The unstated notion here, of course, is that, one way or another, the owner of money must always receive even more money.  Gimme gimme gimme, more more moar!

It is on the foundation of this sophistry of an imaginary “opportunity cost” suffered by the money-lender — and “proven” to be real simply by writing it into his double-entry accounting books — that an even greater sophistry is built — that of the Time Value of Money.

In a 1991 paper on accounting and rhetoric, Bruce G. Carruthers and Wendy Nelson Espeland argue that the symbolic language of double-entry bookkeeping is as significant as its technical capabilities … They argue that a double-entry account is not just a piece of neutral information, but also an “account” or story; that accounting is not merely a technical practice, but also a means of framing a set of business transactions with a rhetorical purpose.22

Accounting’s use of numbers gives it an air of scientific rectitude and certitude, and yet fundamental uncertainties lurk at its heart.  Indeed, accounting is as subjective and partial as the art of storytelling, the other meaning of the word “account”.23


The illusion – for that is precisely what it is – that money possesses within itself an innate characteristic called “Time value”, is quite simply the greatest public deception of all time.  When the arcane teachings of Hermes Trismegistus were infused and codified in el modo vinegia (“the Venetian method”) of double-entry bookkeeping in the 15th century, the twin magic arts of writing and sophistry were woven together to form the material of the magician’s cloak, and the curtain behind which the Wizards of Oz have hidden ever since.24


As Jakob Burckhardt, and following him, Frederich Nietzsche, said of the Italian Renaissance, it was a time of sophistic.  The sophistic character of the Renaissance is apparent not simply from its rhetorical perspectives and practices, but in its use of the first sophists as well.25

In an essay published in 1985, the historian James Aho linked double-entry bookkeeping to the ancient art of rhetoric, the rules used to make persuasive arguments perfected by the Roman lawyer and orator Cicero (an art, incidentally, which Aristotle says sprang from a property dispute).  According to this argument, medieval merchants used double-entry bookkeeping as a rhetorical tool of capitalist propaganda, to persuade their ‘audience’ that their business was honest, morally sound and its profit-making justified.

Why would bookkeeping need to persuade?  Because, says Aho, it was used to defend these businesses against the Church’s ban on usury.  The rhetoric of a well-kept ledger argued for the honesty of a business and the legitimacy of its profits, as this advice from 1683 makes clear: “If [the merchant] be fortunate and acquire much, [double entry] directs him the way to Imploy it to the best advantage, if he be unfortunate it satisfies the world of his just dealing, and is the fairest and best Apologie of his Innocence and honesty to the World.”26


Today, we are born into a world where the “logic” that money possesses a Time Value seems self-evident.  The idea is so deeply embedded in our individual and collective consciousness, it has become part of our common language.  Everyone knows that “Time is Money”.

This belief that money has an intrinsic Time Value is, however, nothing more than a spectacularly sly, self-serving example of self-interested swindlers successfully selling a self-referential, “self-creating” sophistry.  For over 500 years, its purpose has been to persuade us all that money will certainly earn more money over time; and therefore, money possesses the innate power to earn more money over time; and therefore, the Lords of Time must have the right to charge interest for the use of money lent out, as compensation for their “lost opportunity” (ie, Time) to “earn” more money from their money’s innate power to earn more money.

This first half of the “Time Value of money” circular flow of illogical reasoning has come to be universally accepted, largely because so few pause to consider the unstated second half of the circle, which goes like this:  and therefore, the Lords of Time must also have the right to pay interest (if they wish) to people who deposit money with them for “safe-keeping” (storage), as compensation for their “lost opportunity” to “earn” more money from money’s innate power to earn more money — err, say what now?! — (and whose deposits the Lords of Time can also lend out and charge interest for); and therefore, since it is now firmly established that money deposited with the Lords of Time will earn interest over time, this proves that money will certainly earn more money over time, and therefore money obviously possesses the innate power to earn more money over Time, etc etc, ad infinitum.

In its definition of the Time Value of Money, Investopedia unwittingly lets the cat out of the bag, highlighting this circular reasoning which lies (pun intended) at the dark heart of the grand mystical numberland of finance (bold and italicised emphasis added):



The idea that money available at the present time is worth more than the same amount in the future due to its potential earning capacity.  This core principle of finance holds that, provided money can earn interest, any amount of money is worth more the sooner it is received.

Everyone knows that money deposited in a savings account will earn interest.  Because of this universal fact, we would prefer to receive money today rather than the same amount in the future.27


Clearly then, the circular logic of the supposed Time Value of Money fails, if ever the “universal fact” that “money deposited in a savings account will earn interest” fails.

Like, err, now.

At this present time, so-called “ZIRP” (Zero Interest Rate Policy) and even “NIRP” (Negative Interest Rate Policy) is spreading all over the moribund economies of the Western world.  We now receive zero interest on money deposited in a savings account.  Not only that, in an increasing number of Western countries, the Lords of Time are now charging interest (ie, paying negative interest) on money deposited in a savings account.  Yes, that’s right … if not now, then very soon, they will charge you interest for “holding” money on deposit in the “safe-keeping” of their bank.

Why are they doing this?  As with so many magician’s tricks, the key to successfully pulling off the illusion, is movement.  In the sideshow hustler’s game of Thimblerig or Three Shells and a Pea28, the faster the hustler moves his hands, the more difficult it is to see that he has moved or even pocketed the pea.


"The Conjurer," painted by Hieronymus Bosch (between 1496 - 1520). The painting accurately displays a performer doing the cups and balls routine, which has been practiced since Egyptian times. The shell game does have some origins in this old trick. The real trick of this painting is the pickpocket who is working for the conjurer. The pickpocket is robbing the spectator who is bent over. (Source: Wikipedia)

“The Conjurer,” painted by Hieronymus Bosch (between 1496 – 1520). The painting accurately displays a performer doing the cups and balls routine, which has been practiced since Egyptian times. The shell game does have some origins in this old trick. The real trick of this painting is the pickpocket who is working for the conjurer. The pickpocket is robbing the spectator who is bent over. (Source: Wikipedia)


In the great alchemical trick of Hermes the Thrice-Greatest and his Latter-Day Saints, this vital movement is called “Flow”, or the “Velocity of the Circulation of Money”.  So long as the flow of money in the economy is fast enough, no one notices that the game is actually rigged.  That is, no one notices that there is insufficient money in the system to pay interest.

This policy of zero (or even negative) interest rates on bank deposits, is all about trying to speed up the flow of money in the economy.  The Lords of Time are hoping that this policy will encourage people to spend (“Flow”), not save (“Stock-pile”) money.

Why?  Because the only way for the Lords of Time to keep on “earning” compound interest on the intergalactic levels of debt that they have lent to the world, is to make the “money” flow fast enough.

The real truth of the Money Illusion is this: If everyone had to settle their debts at the same time, there is always far more money owed, than there is money to pay with.  The game only seems to work fairly and honestly if we only look under one shell at any time, and, if we believe the hustler’s claim that the missing pea really is just hiding under one of the other shells all the time.

In a recent article in Forbes titled “The Principal And Interest On Debt Myth”,29 a modern day mathematician and globally renowned academic economist set out to prove to the now-growing crowd of questioning (and in some cases, hostile) finger-pointers, that we should all just “Move along now, there’s nothing to see here”.

That is to say, he challenged the view that “because banks lend principal, but insist that principal and interest be paid by the debtor, the money supply has to grow continuously to make this possible”.

His proof?

A simple model of a “simplest possible financial system” … based on double-entry bookkeeping:

Screen shot 2015-04-09 at 2.29.53 PM


Alas, the accounting fraud-riddled history of double-entry bookkeeping ever since its Western popularisation by Fra Luca Pacioli (and more importantly, by his powerful patrons in the world of money-lending), strongly suggests that a reliance on the “logic” of double entry to “prove” anything with regard to banking, money, debt, and compounding interest, is tantamount to using the casino’s own roulette wheel in an attempt to “prove” that the game of roulette is not rigged in favour of the house.

Or, to return to our shell game analogy, it is tantamount to relying on a sideshow hustler’s own sleight of hand skills to “prove” that the pea you couldn’t see really was under one of those three shells all the time.

It all works fine (for the hustler), whilst ever the “flow” of the hustler’s hands is fast enough to fool the common man.  But if the flow is slowed – in economic terms, by a growing “loss of confidence” in the game, resulting in too many people saving or “hoarding” money (Stability) rather than spending it (Movement) — suddenly the hustle begins to be exposed.  At a slower rate of “flow”, it becomes much more easy to see that the hustler has been pocketing the pea all along.

Happily, the economist writing in Forbes did admit that the money-lenders’ money-shuffling game only works “so long as those flows are large enough”:

Critical Caveat - the RATE of Flow is critical to supporting Steves thesis, that the Interest can be paid out of flows


He also admitted that his simple model does not reflect the real world, which “is far more complicated”:

Screen shot 2015-04-09 at 3.21.31 PM


He also admitted that it is possible to enter different values for the limited set of parameters he chose for his simple model, that would make his conclusion (that interest can be paid without increasing the money supply) “untenable”:

Screen shot 2015-04-09 at 2.34.30 PM


But arguably his most important admission of all was not included in his Forbes article.  Rather, it is on his Twitter account that we find his admission, that it is mathematically impossible for everyone to pay their debts at the same time:

Screen shot 2015-04-09 at 4.09.44 PM


In his zeal to disprove the claims of a growing crowd of questioning onlookers who are pointing out that the monetary alchemists’ shell game is rigged, the good professor has fallen afoul of the error of oversimplification. A simple double-entry bookkeeping model, of a “simplest possible financial system”, having a limited set of parameters, that obviously does not include all the parameters of the real world’s financial system, but that does include a number of invalid assumptions (eg, the notion that banks are “consumers”, who spend all their earnings back into the “flow” of the national economy); a model that does not reflect the real world “which is far more complicated”, is a model that is quite obviously too simple, and does not prove (or disprove) anything at all.

Jane Gleeson-White, author of Double Entry: How The Merchants of Venice Shaped Modern Finance, relates an interesting and relevant anecdote regarding Fra Luca Pacioli, the acclaimed father of accounting.  On 11 August 1508, Pacioli gave an introductory public lecture at the church of San Bartolomeo near the Rialto Bridge in Venice (bold emphasis added):

Some five hundred people came to hear the celebrated mathematician speak … The famous Venetian printer Aldus Manutius was there and may have brought along Erasmus, who was staying with him near the Rialto while supervising the printing of his translation of Euripedes and a collection of ancient proverbs.

Intriguingly, after leaving Italy in 1509 Erasmus wrote his famous satire, In Praise of Folly, in which he mocks scientists who use maths to bamboozle their audience.  His description of these boffins rather accurately parodies the methods used by Luca Pacioli in his talk on Euclid: “When they especially disdain the vulgar crowd is when they bring out their triangles, quadrangles, circles, and mathematical pictures of the sort, lay one upon the other, intertwine them into a maze, then deploy some letters as if in line of battle, and presently do it over in reverse order – and all to involve the uninitiated in darkness.”  In his book, Erasmus set out to deflate the pretensions of anyone who claimed special knowledge or importance, whether they were philosophers, merchants or clerics.30


In his Praise of Folly .. he calls Mercury the inventor of tricks or of conjuring (“Quos nos ludos exhibet furtis ac praestigiis Hermes?”“What entertainments does Hermes show us, with his tricks and sleight-of-hand?”)31


Bernard Lietaer is a former central banker, fund manager, and co-designer of the European Currency Unit (precursor to the Euro), who was named “the world’s top currency trader” by Businessweek in 1992. Today, Lietaer is a currency system reformer with almost 40 years active experience in the field.  In Rethinking Money, he uses the brilliant analogy of the game of musical chairs, to help explain how “our” alchemical money system really works.

His analogy helps to illuminate this fundamental point – that it is only when the music (money “flow”) slows (“economic slowdown”) or stops (“credit crunch”), and people get nervous (“economic con-fidence”) and start looking for a chair to sit on, that we discover there never was enough chairs (“money”) for everyone:

Essentially, to pay back interest on a loan requires using someone else’s principal.  In other words, not creating the money to pay interest is the device used to generate the scarcity necessary for a bank-debt monetary system to function.  It forces people to compete with each other for money that was never created, and it penalizes them with bankruptcy should they not succeed.  When a bank checks a customer’s creditworthiness, it is really verifying his or her ability to compete successfully against the other players – that is to say, assessing the customer’s ability to extract from others the money that is required to reimburse the interest payment.  One is obliged in the current monetary system to incur debt and compete with others in order to perform exchanges and pay the resulting interest to the banks and lenders.32

Although new loans are being created, the interest on the principal is not.  Nowhere in the system is this additional money created.  This gives rise to scarcity, which, in turn, creates competition to acquire the extra money to cover the loans’ interest.  This magic, where one person’s loan becomes another’s deposit, and whereby when you pay interest you are using someone else’s principal, is really monetary alchemy.  This monetary alchemy is one of the esoteric secrets of the monetary system.33

A key point to keep in mind is that this entire money-creation process hinges on loans.  If all debts were repaid, money would simply disappear, because the entire process of money creation would reverse itself.  Reimbursing all loans would automatically use up all the deposits.34


When a banker  checks a customer’s credit score, it is to assess how successful or aggressive that individual or business will be in contending with others to obtain funds that are not created in sufficiency to pay back the interest on the loan.35

In a manner of speaking, it’s like a game of musical chairs in that there are never enough seats for everyone.  Someone will end up getting squeezed out. There isn’t enough money to pay the interest on all the loans, just like the missing chair.  Both are highly competitive games. In the money game, however, the stakes are elevated, as it means grappling with certain poverty or, worse still, having to declare bankruptcy.36


The real brilliance of Lietaer’s musical chairs analogy is that it helps the “common” man and woman to easily visualise, and understand, the alchemists’ critical need for monetary “motion” as opposed to “stability”, in order to conjure an apparent economic “equilibrium” of “constant change” (ie, constant economic “growth”) moving through time. It is, we now see, an illusory “equilibrium”, built on the ancient magic of sophistry and numbers, and contrived to “produce” compound “yields” for the Wizards of Oz hiding behind the curtain:

let him show the basis of that Stability to be constant change, just as the stability of a molecule is secured by the momentum of the swift atoms contained in it.

In this way let every idea go forth as a triangle on the base of two opposites, making an apex transcending their contradiction in a higher harmony.

It is not safe to use any thought in Magick, unless that thought has been thus equilibrated and destroyed.37


Unlike these present-day Lords of Time and their legions of high priests all preaching the obscure doctrines of Hermetic-Kabbalistic economic theology, Lietaer is speaking an everyday, “common” language — of “common” imagery and symbols — that we can easily understand. Most important to notice though, is that his clear and simple language is a result of his motivation. He seeks not to obfuscate but to elucidate.

In a telling passage of John Maynard Keynes: Vol 2 The Economist As Saviour 1920-1937, Keynes’ biographer Robert Skidelsky informs us that (bold and italicised emphasis added):

In Keynes’s view capitalism’s driving force is a vice which he called “love of money” … in the General Theory “the propensity to hoard” or “liquidity preference” plays a vital part in the mechanics of an economy’s rundown, once something has happened to make investment less attractive. And this links up with Keynes’s sense that, at some level too deep to be captured by mathematics, “love of money” as an end, not a means, is at the root of the world’s economic problem.38


Nearly two thousand years earlier, Jesus of Nazareth pointed to the same thing, in debunking the money-lenders’ illusion (delusion) that “‘Time’ (‘God’) is ‘Money'”:

No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon [money].39



UPDATE 2/2/2016

“To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in them both, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it (…) To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just as long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality.”

— George Orwell, defining “doublethink” in his book 1984


“Today, many nations are revising their moral values and ethical norms, eroding ethnic traditions and differences between peoples and cultures. Society is now required not only to recognise everyone’s right to the freedom of consciousness, political views and privacy, but also to accept without question the equality of good and evil, strange as it seems, concepts that are opposite in meaning. This destruction of traditional values from above not only leads to negative consequences for society, but is also essentially anti-democratic, since it is carried out on the basis of abstract, speculative ideas, contrary to the will of the majority, which does not accept the changes occurring or the proposed revision of values.”

— Vladimir Putin, Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly, December 12, 2013


UPDATE: 10/2/2016

Added Faivre quotation, footnote 31.


UPDATE: 2/3/2016

Corrected first three diagrams consistent with DE balance sheet rule (Assets – left, Liabilities – right).


UPDATE: 3/26/2016

Added video clip “It’s called an economy” – see Once Upon A Time – An Allegory For Usury On Primetime American TV



[1] Edward Thomas Jones, Jones’ English System of Book-Keeping by Single or Double Entry, 1796

[2] James D. Heiser, Prisci Theologi and the Hermetic Reformation in the Fifteenth Century, 2011

[3] Jane Gleeson-White, Double Entry: How The Merchants of Venice Created Modern Finance, 2013

[4] ibid.

[5] Sanford L. Drob, The Doctrine of Coincidentia Oppositorum in Jewish Mysticism, 2000

[6] Sanford L. Drob, The Theosophical Kabbalah, 2001

[7] Aleister Crowley, Magick in Theory and Practice, Book IV, Part III, Chapter VIII; Of Equilibrium: and of the General and Particular Method of Preparation of the Furniture of the Temple and the Instruments of Art

[8] Eliphas Lévi, Transcendental Magic, Its Doctrine and Ritual, 1896

[9] ibid.

[10] ibid.

[11] ibid.

[12] Jane Gleeson-White, Double Entry: How The Merchants of Venice Created Modern Finance, 2013

[13] ibid.

[14] ibid.

[15] ibid.

[16] ibid.

[17] ibid.

[18] Jolyon Jenkins, How Men In Grey Suits Changed The World, 2010 –

[19] ibid.

[20] E. Michael Jones, Barren Metal: A History of Capitalism As The Conflict Between Labor And Usury, 2014

[21] ibid.

[22] Jane Gleeson-White, Double Entry: How The Merchants of Venice Created Modern Finance, 2013

[23] ibid.

[24] Bill Still, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: A Monetary Reformer’s Brief Symbol Glossary

[25] Richard Marback, Plato’s Dream of Sophistry, 1999

[26] Jane Gleeson-White, Double Entry: How The Merchants of Venice Created Modern Finance, 2013

[27] Investopedia, Time Value of Money

[28] Wikipedia, Shell Game –

[29] Steve Keen, The Principal And Interest On Debt Myth, Forbes, 2015 –

[30] Jane Gleeson-White, Double Entry: How The Merchants of Venice Created Modern Finance, 2013

[31] Antoine Faivre, Eternal Hermes: From Greek God to Alchemical Magus, 1995

[32] Bernard Lietaer and Jacquie Dunne, Rethinking Money, 2013

[33] ibid.

[34] ibid.

[35] ibid.

[36] ibid.

[37] Aleister Crowley, Magick in Theory and Practice, Book IV, Part III, Chapter VIII; Of Equilibrium: and of the General and Particular Method of Preparation of the Furniture of the Temple and the Instruments of Art

[38] Robert Skidelsky, John Maynard Keynes: Vol. 2, The Economist As Saviour 1920-1937, 1994

[39] Matthew 6:24, The Sermon on the Mount, New King James Version


Guilty of nothing


The Human Race.

It is my sense that there is right now, at this very moment, more than ever before in history, a greater percentage of the individuals comprising that group whom we have grown accustomed to referring to collectively as The Human Race, who, whenever they may happen to have some “free Time”, or, when they may take an hour, or a day, to simply relax, and be Present, find themselves quickly assaulted with feelings of guilt. Temptations. Nagging doubts. That somehow, by “doing nothing”, they are failing. That there remain many goals to be achieved. Tasks to be performed. Responsibilities to be met. That there is not enough Time. And so it is, that they are assailed both with thoughts and with feelings, that “doing nothing” is a “waste of Time”.

It is not so.

If you suffer from such feelings of guilt, such doubts, such vexing temptations, whenever you pause to rest, to love, to Be, to be still, to meditate, or to quietly contemplate, then the following passage from the 14th century mystical classic ‘The Cloud of Unknowing’ may help you — as it helped me — to see the truth about “doing nothing” with new eyes.

All bold emphasis is mine.

Christ in the House of Martha and Mary;  Johannes Vermeer (1655)

Christ in the House of Martha and Mary; Johannes Vermeer (1655), National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh

In the gospel of Saint Luke it is written, that when our Lord was in the house of Martha her sister, all the time that Martha made her busy about the dighting of His meat, Mary her sister sat at His feet. And in hearing of His word she beheld not to the business of her sister, although her business was full good and full holy, for truly it is the first part of active life; nor yet to the preciousness of His blessed body, nor to the sweet voice and the words of His manhood, although it is better and holier, for it is the second part of active life and the first of contemplative life.

But to the sovereignest wisdom of His Godhead lapped in the dark words of His manhood, thither beheld she with all the love of her heart. For from thence she would not remove, for nothing that she saw nor heard spoken nor done about her; but sat full still in her body, with many a sweet privy and listy* love pressed upon that high cloud of unknowing betwixt her and her God. For one thing I tell thee, that there was never yet pure creature in this life, nor never yet shall be, so high ravished in contemplation and love of the Godhead, that there is not evermore a high and wonderful cloud of unknowing betwixt him and his God. In this cloud it was that Mary was occupied with many a privy love pressed. And why? Because it was the best and the holiest part of contemplation that may be in this life, and from this part her list* not remove for nothing. Insomuch, that when her sister Martha complained to our Lord of her, and bade Him bid her sister rise and help her and let her not so work and travail by herself, she sat full still and answered not with one word, nor shewed not as much as a grumbling gesture against her sister for any plaint that she could make. And no wonder: for why, she had another work to do that Martha wist not of. And therefore she had no leisure to listen to her, nor to answer her at her plaint.

Lo! friend, all these works, these words, and these gestures, that were shewed betwixt our Lord and these two sisters, be set in ensample of all actives and all contemplatives that have been since in Holy Church , and shall be to the day of doom. For by Mary is understood all contemplatives; for they should conform their living after hers. And by Martha, actives on the same manner; and for the same reason in likeness.


And right as Martha complained then on Mary her sister, right so yet unto this day all actives complain of contemplatives. For an there be a man or a woman in any company of this world, what company soever it be, religious or seculars — I out-take none — the which man or woman, whichever that it be, feeleth him stirred through grace and by counsel to forsake all outward business, and for to set him fully for to live contemplative life after their cunning and their conscience, their counsel according; as fast, their own brethren and their sisters, and all their next friends, with many other that know not their stirrings nor that manner of living that they set them to, with a great complaining spirit shall rise upon them, and say sharply unto them that it is nought that they do. And as fast they will reckon up many false tales, and many true also, of falling of men and women that have given them to such life before: and never a good tale of them that stood.

I grant that many fall and have fallen of them that have in likeness forsaken the world. And where they should have become God’s servants and His contemplatives, because that they would not rule them by true ghostly counsel they have become the devil’s servants and his contemplatives; and turned either to hypocrites or to heretics, or fallen into frenzies and many other mischiefs, in slander of Holy Church. Of the which I leave to speak at this time, for troubling of our matter. But nevertheless here after when God vouchsafeth and if need be, men may see some of the conditions and the cause of their failings. And therefore no more of them at this time; but forth of our matter.


Some might think that I do little worship to Martha, that special saint, for I liken her words of complaining of her sister unto these worldly men’s words, or theirs unto hers: and truly I mean no unworship to her nor to them. And God forbid that I should in this work say anything that might be taken in condemnation of any of the servants of God in any degree, and namely of His special saint. For me thinketh that she should be full well had excused of her plaint, taking regard to the time and the manner that she said it in. For that that she said her unknowing was the cause. And no wonder though she knew not at that time how Mary was occupied; for I trow that before she had little heard of such perfection. And also that she said, it was but courteously and in few words: and therefore she should always be had excused.

And so me thinketh that these worldly living men and women of active life should also full well be excused of their complaining words touched before, although they say rudely that they say; having beholding to their ignorance. For why? Right as Martha wist full well little what Mary her sister did when she complained of her to our Lord; right so on the same manner these folk nowadays wot full little, or else nought, what these young disciples of God mean, when they set them from the business of this world, and draw them to be God’s special servants in holiness and rightfulness of spirit. And if they wist truly, I daresay that would neither do nor say as they say. And therefore me thinketh always that they should be had excused: for why, they know no better living than is that they live in themselves. And also when I think on mine innumerable defaults, the which I have made myself before this time in words and deeds for default of knowing, me thinketh then if I would be excused of God for mine ignorant defaults, that I should charitably and piteously have other men’s ignorant words and deeds always excused. And surely else, do I not to others as I would they did to me.


And therefore me thinketh, that they that set them to be contemplatives should not only have active men excused of their complaining words, but also me thinketh that they should be so occupied in spirit that they should take little heed or none what men did or said about them. Thus did Mary, our example of all, when Martha her sister complained to our Lord: and if we will truly do thus our Lord will do now for us as He did then for Mary.

And how was that? Surely thus. Our lovely Lord Jesus Christ, unto whom no privy thing is hid, although He was required of Martha as doomsman for to bid Mary rise and help her to serve Him; nevertheless yet, for He perceived that Mary was fervently occupied in spirit about the love of His Godhead, therefore courteously and as it was seemly for Him to do by the way of reason, He answered for her, that for the excusing of herself list* not leave the love of Him. And how answered He? Surely not only as doomsman, as He was of Martha appealed: but as an advocate lawfully defended her that Him loved, and said, “Martha, Martha!” Twice for speed He named her name; for He would that she heard Him and took heed to His words. “Thou art full busy,” He said, “and troubled about many things”. For they that be actives behove always to be busied and travailed about many diverse things, the which them falleth, first for to have to their own use, and sithen in deeds of mercy to their even-christian, as charity asketh. And this He said unto Martha, for he would let her wit that her business was good and profitable to the health of her soul. But for this, that she should not think that it were the best work of all that man might do, therefore He added and said: “But one thing is necessary”.

And what is that one thing? Surely that God be loved and praised by Himself, above all other business bodily or ghostly that man may do. And for this, that Martha should not think that she might both love God and praise Him above all other business bodily or ghostly, and also thereto to be busy about the necessaries of this life: therefore to deliver her of doubt that she might not both serve God in bodily business and ghostly together perfectly — imperfectly she may, but not perfectly — He added and said, that Mary has chosen the best part; the which should never be taken from her. For why, that perfect stirring of love that beginneth here is even in number with that that shall last without end in the bliss of heaven, for all it is but one.


What meaneth this; Mary hath chosen the best? Wheresoever the best is set or named, it asketh before it these two things — a good, and a better; so that it be the best, and the third in number. But which be these three good things, of the which Mary chose the best? Three lives be they not, for Holy Church maketh remembrance but of two, active life and contemplative life; the which two lives be privily understood in the story of this gospel by these two sisters Martha and Mary — by Martha active, by Mary contemplative. Without one of these two lives may no man be safe, and where no more be but two, may no man choose the best.

But although there be but two lives, nevertheless yet in these two lives be three parts, each one better than other. The which three, each one by itself, be specially set in their places before in this writing. For as it is said before, the first part standeth in good and honest bodily works of mercy and charity; and this is the first degree of active life, as it is said before. The second part of these two lives lieth in good ghostly meditations of a man’s own wretchedness, the Passion of Christ, and of the joys of heaven. The first part is good, and this part is the better; for this is the second degree of active life and the first of contemplative life. In this part is contemplative life and active life coupled together in ghostly kinship, and made sisters at the ensample of Martha and Mary. Thus high may an active come to contemplation; and no higher, but if it be full seldom and by special grace. Thus low may a contemplative come towards active life; and no lower, but if it be full seldom and in great need.

The third part of these two lives hangeth in this dark cloud of unknowing, with many a privy love pressed to God by Himself. The first part is good, the second is better, but the third is best of all. This is the “best part” of Mary. And therefore it is plainly to wit, that our Lord said not, Mary hath chosen the best life,  for there be no more lives but two, and of two may no man choose the best. But of these two lives Mary hath chosen, He said, the best part; the which shall never be taken from her. The first and the second, although they be both good and holy, yet they end with this life. For in the tother life shall be no need as now to use the works of mercy, nor to weep for our wretchedness, nor for the Passion of Christ. For then shall none be able to hunger nor thirst as now, nor die for cold, nor be sick, nor houseless, nor in prison; nor yet need burial, for then shall none be able to die. But the third part that Mary chose, choose who by grace is called to choose: or, if I soothlier shall say, whoso is chosen thereto of God. Let him lustily incline thereto, for that shall never be taken away: for if it begin here, it shall last without end.

And therefore let the voice of our Lord cry on these actives, as if He said thus now for us unto them, as he did then for Mary to Martha, “Martha, Martha!” — “Actives, actives! make you busy as ye can in the first part and in the second, now in the one and now in the tother: and, if you list right well and feel you disposed, in both two bodily. And meddle you not of contemplatives. Ye wot not what them aileth: let them sit in their rest and in their play, with the third and the best part of Mary”.

~ Anonymous, The Cloud of Unknowing, (chapters 17-21)


*list, listy, listily – “‘List’ is best understood by comparison with its opposite, ‘listless’.  It implies a glad and eager activity, or sometimes an energetic desire or craving: the wish and the will to do something. The noun often stands for pleasure or delight, the adverb for the willing and joyous performance of an action: the ‘putting of one’s heart into one’s work’. The modern ‘lust’, from the same root, suggests a violence which was expressly excluded from the Middle English meaning of ‘list’.”

[From the Introduction to the 1922 edition by Evelyn Underhill]


When thou comest by thyself,
think not before what thou shalt do after,
but forsake as well good thoughts as evil thoughts,
and pray not with thy mouth
but list[en] thee right well.


And then if thou aught shalt say,
look not how much nor how little that it be,
nor weigh not what it is nor what it bemeaneth …
and look that nothing live in thy working mind
but a naked intent stretching into God,
not clothed in any special thought of God in Himself … .


This naked intent freely fastened and grounded in very belief
shall be nought else to thy thought and to thy feeling
but a naked thought and a blind feeling of thine own being:
as if thou saidest thus unto God, within in thy meaning,
“That what I am, Lord, I offer unto Thee,
without any looking to any quality of Thy Being,
but only that Thou art as Thou art, without any more.”


That meek darkness be thy mirror, and thy whole remembrance.
Think no further of thyself than I bid thee do of thy God,
so that thou be one with Him in spirit,
as thus without departing and scattering,
for He is thy being, and in Him thou art that thou art;
not only by cause and by being, but also,
He is in thee both thy cause and thy being.

— Anonymous, Epistle of Privy Counsel.


For silence is not God, nor speaking is not God;
fasting is not God, nor eating is not God;
loneliness is not God, nor company is not God;
nor yet any of all the other two such contraries.
He is hid between them, and may not be found
by any work of thy soul,
but all only by love of thine heart.

He may not be known by reason,
He may not be gotten by thought,
nor concluded by understanding;
but He may be loved and chosen
with the true lovely will of thine heart … .

— Anonymous, Epistle of Discretion.


On the art of contemplative prayer; that is, of love meeting love.

Motorcycles, Mysticism

Naked stretching