I’ve been meaning to wind up the Four Treasures series for some time now, and I will, although I did get waylaid by Christmastime. Before I do that, I want to add some more information about the stone.
The stone, represents the Earth element, it represents the body and it represents WEALTH and INHERITANCE of all stripes. Obviously, it is synonymous with the Earth herself and the land that we live on, which was also part of our inheritance, we inherit the locality of where we were from and its culture. In a transient secular society, such as we have in Britain, those regional cultures are less delineated today, but in previous generations they were more clearly defined. Where you were from, not necessarily determined, but indicated strongly what you did, which in turn shaped character. To modern sensibilities, such a path is regarded as oppressive, but I would argue that it was not necessarily like that back then. Certain traditional trades and ways of living (such as fishing, mining or farming for example) had evolved due to a relationship between the land and the people in that locale. Becoming a part of that living tradition by following in the family footsteps, was usually a source of honour and pride for many. Having generation after generation work as a charcoal burner or a shepherd for example, was an expression of this relationship between the community and the land. By working with the land in this way, it provided them with a living, it gave wealth, because they could begin to trade with different communities who lacked what they had, such as wool, fish or timber. Specific work being repeated over the generations created a culture and a way of being, a way of interacting with the land specific to that community or region (such as the culture around coastal fishing communities for example) and contributing to the tapestry of the nation.
People using their inheritances in this way, to the best of their abilities created wealth, as it allowed for trade and commerce. In turn, this paved the way for culture to be created. This is crucial, LOCAL PRODUCE CREATES CULTURE. Being able to produce goods and services using the raw materials from our ancestral lands is very important. The land on its own is not a culture, and neither are the people. It is the interaction, this threefold relationship of people, land and produce/creativity from those raw materials which create culture.
These cultures represented, quite literally, what had been previously built by the ancestors. The task of each current generation is to sustain/improve this for our offspring. Culture is a shelter for the people who belong to it. Each individual culture is like a second womb. It sustains and grows us, over a much longer cycle of time, which is to do with our evolution as peoples of the Earth.
As the Stone represents culture it is also the place where art is created. Art is often an interface between the ancestors and ourselves. When we use our traditions as a touchstone, great art and stories are made. Often, we think of the ancestors as being of our direct lineage only, and there is worth and power in this. However, historical figures from our cultures have great relevance to our lives and are people we should study and emulate. They shaped conditions that our direct ancestors lived in, they helped make our countries what they are, and they are OURS. We should be reclaiming our great historical figures and asking ourselves what they can teach us today. This is not so that we can LARP, or return to the Days of Yore, but so that we can get a feel for who we were then, and what that means today. How can we keep our traditions fresh and vital in a modern world where globalisation puts traditions, cultures and true diversity under threat of extinction?
The stone also represents our old ways and spirituality. It represents everything our ancestors have believed. Across Europe we see standing stone structures dedicated to the long cycles of time. This is just one of the reasons that the Druids were known as People of the Stones. Examining these old beliefs, learning about them, not necessarily to agree with them, but becoming acquainted with the beliefs of our ancestors reminds us of what they were creating for us, and what they wish us to create for our descendants in turn. I will say more about spirituality at some point, but it will take another post. Suffice to say, it is represented here.
Therefore, the stone is literally the bedrock of civilization. The sword that opposes the stone defends what the stone creates and builds upon. The stone signifies the ancestors, the land and the culture that comes about as a subtle exchange between the three (the third being us). It is demonstrated in our architecture and how we build. It is what protects us. Our cultures protect us from harm, they are a clothing, they really are that important.
Metropolitan living has severed many from their spiritual and emotional roots, deriding interest in tradition as backward looking and too exclusive. Eventually, this notion will collapse upon itself, and I believe we are seeing the beginnings of that, but we can begin in our own lives by ensuring the necessary tension for personal sovereignty, which the Four Treasures outline.
The people of the Greater British Isles have always enjoyed commerce and making money. We enjoy luxury and comfort, it is one of the things that has always pushed us forward, trying to improve our material lot for the generations that have come after us. I believe this is an innate trait in Europeans to ensure we survive winter (which Earth rules in this system). Ensuring we have enough to survive is hardwired into us, so, we inevitably feel in control and secure when we accumulate. I think part of the hippie movement in the 60’s which tried to reject this inclination was an acknowledgment that these tendencies to hanker for material wealth had grown out of control. Unfortunately, that movement mainly flat out rejected and disowned this part of the Western psyche, which has only compounded the issue.
It is difficult to pinpoint when this breakdown began, and I suspect there were numerous factors involved (that’s something I need to research further), but by the time the Industrial Revolution was in full swing the beginnings of this rampant greed was becoming apparent. This is not to say that I reject the developments Industrialisation has brought us. I’m not arguing for us to all live in yurts, I like central heating, running hot water and superfast broadband as well as the next man – and I’m grateful for all of this. It is the attitude behind it, the myopic indulgence, that I wish to discuss.
Prior to Industrial Revolution, there was still some balance in how we worked and generated wealth with other areas of life such as familial relationships. Wealth does not just refer to material prosperity, but general wellbeing (as it’s etymology attests). Wealth is a combination of spiritual and emotional factors, such as being in harmony with the land and your community, which in turn generated material wealth. Prosperity is in direct relationship to well-being, and ultimately is a measure of our spiritual health. If our spirituality suffers, the people/culture suffer. If the people/culture suffer the economy suffers too.
So, during the Industrial Revolution, we saw people in effect begin to sell off the stone, or parts of it. To turn it into an analogy, the stone represents an old manor house say, with land attached and resources. It has been tended for generations by one family. However, one generation comes in and finds that they can accumulate a bit of quick cash by selling off some of the farm, just a couple of paddocks, no big deal. Realistically, this may happen from time to time, where you must give up a bit more than you’d like, but endeavour to make up for it in some other way. However, what we have seen is that whilst making a go of the farm, or the orchard, successive generations of tenants have also been selling stuff off as well, because they can make even more. The reason for doing this is irrelevant, as the result of this long-term neglect is the same: we arrive at the point where the house is on the point of being sold off. There is nothing to pass down as all the money and capital has been squandered. This is what we have been doing in Britain, on a macro and micro level for generations now, and with each generation the cumulative impact has grown greater. I’m not trying to apportion blame, there are reasons for this, which I’ve got drafted in another post. The fact remains, it is a travesty to sell off what our ancestors have provided for us so wantonly.
So, the stone covers our INHERITANCE and that is the land of our ancestors, their ways, their stories and what they built. Other inheritances we receive come from our families and these will include not just material wealth – if one is fortunate – but also certain gifts and aptitudes. These gifts are from your ancestors and are there to be used to help you generate wealth. Use them. Understand your personal, familial history, the tendencies that run in your family, the talents. Then research your local history/ies, then national. This will provide a clue for how each of us individually is here to build upon the ancestors’ work, of where each one of us fits into the jigsaw puzzle of the nation. Understanding what was built before us and why is key to understanding who we are today.
All of this is to provide freedom. Once you have these treasures mastered, you can begin, but only begin to become a free person. The ability to provide for yourself (spear), defend yourself (sword), regenerate yourself (cauldron) and build/helping to build a legacy (stone) are what are necessary to be regarded as sovereign being. I’ll discuss that in my next post.