According to the ancient Roman mythology, there was a period in the history of mankind when nature provided freely and harmony prevailed. This was known as the Golden Age. When man discovered real gold, the era of harmony ended. Mankind deteriorated because of greed and people started killing each other. The Silver, Bronze and Iron Ages (present era) followed. Ironically, the Golden Age was characterised by the absence of gold whilst the discovery of actual gold meant the end of the Golden Age.
Two things come to mind when I consider the symbolism of gold: value and purity. When someone has an intrinsically good character we say that she has a heart of gold. When man discovered gold outside of him, he was so mesmerised by its beauty that he wanted to possess it. This gave rise to corruption. Man’s soul turned black because of his need to be in possession of something that didn’t belong to him.
Before the arrival of greed, the earth was a garden of harmony. Gold was within the earth, which produced all we needed to keep us happy. The test that the discovery of gold posed was whether man could remember that value was within. When we appreciate the beauty of something, it leaves its footprint in our heart. The fact that we can see it and understand its value means that it is inside us also. If we recognise the earth as our paradise then we would not need to take forcefully from her because she is part of us.
The advent of consciousness also introduced the potential vice of cunning. The message of gold is that we should use our intelligence wisely: to heal and not to destroy. If we do, the earth will become our paradise once more and life will be a wonder.
Alchemy is the art of turning lead into gold. If we change all our bad ideas about who we are, we can return to a state of purity, reversing the blackness that came about by our need to possess. On the positive side, our relationship with gold was one of love to start with. If we realise that love is free and natural and we don’t need anything to experience it, we can transform our relationship with money. Then we will live in harmony with each other and the earth once more.