Understanding our elemental selves

Fool’s Gold and a Desert Rose

As a child growing up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, I spent tons of time riding around neighborhood roads next to the Meadia Heights Country Club. The black asphalt road surface of those streets was bordered by fine gravel in which chunks of pyrite or Fool’s Gold could be found.

If there were larger pieces of pyrite I’d often stop to collect them. Apparently the source of gravel for road projects was rich in the stuff. Sometimes it would be stuck in the gooey black tar holding the road edge together. One of our our favorite activities was stopping to burst tar bubbles on hot summer days. You could press your finger into the raised black head of a tar bubble and get a satisfying POP as the gas inside was released.

I read an article once in Harper’s Magazine that described how some kids would pick up that tar and chew on it like gum. We were never that stupid.

Nor were we dumb enough to think that Fool’s Gold was anything but that. It looked pretty and gave the impression of being valuable according to some preconceived notion that gold and shiny things were worth more than others. I just liked the cubic shape of the crystals. The minerals were unique in shape and configuration.

Apparently some people place much greater value on the power of pyrite. Some crystal lovers credit pyrite with the power to bring about wealth.

It’s interesting to read the comments below the video. They remind me of that book The Secret that someone recommended years ago, in which the supposed powers of the universe come to you if you believe enough to become an attraction of sorts. The same goes for believers in the power of rocks and crystals. One person had this to say:

It’s real pirite works fast 💨 even helps with your back pain wow instantly stops and blocks the pain it helps me go forward in things I don’t want too face it blocks evil danger.”

Another person writes:

Pyrite or fools gold has been my favorite since I was a child! Mom got us kids rings or bracelets with our birthstones on it. But mine is Diamond so no tennis bracelet for this 5 year old boy lmao. But since I was born on April 1st “April fools day” mom brilliantly substituted Pyrite fools gold as only for boys born on April 1st! I currently still have a piece from back then and it’s a wondering stone. It disappears and reappears pretty regularly. It always comes back. I’m going to give it a job now that I’m learning all it can do. Thank you!

The gal pitching all the powers of pyrite is attracting wealth alright. The people that buy into her schtick on YouTube count as visitors to her video, which has 127,000 views. So she’s not exactly lying about the power of pyrite to bring attraction and wealth her way.

Among all the rocks and crystals credited with healing powers, energy boosts and wealth delivery, perhaps Fool’s Gold is the best named of them all. People desperate for inspiration and hope will gravitate to anything that promises those qualities.

Rock worship

But this worship of rocks has a deadly history. One Roman emperor made the fatal mistake of trying to replace the prevailing religion of the day with the worship of a black rock.

As described on the website ancient.eu:

Upon his arrival in Rome and despite his youth, Elagabalus was officially recognized by the Senate as emperor – they had hoped for economic and political stability after the chaotic reigns of Caracalla and Macrinus. Controversy, however, would soon rear its ugly head; something that would not only anger the Senate but also shock much of the populace, especially the Christians and Jews. As a high priest Elagabalus made plans to replace the old, traditional religion of Rome with that of his own – the worship of Elagabal. This Syrian god was even to replace the supreme god of Roman mythology – Jupiter.

To cement his intentions Elagabalus had a large, black conical-shaped stone (possibly a meteorite) brought from Syria – a cult symbol of his religion – and installed on the Palatine Hill. A new temple, the Elagabalium, was built to honor Elagabal. In his Roman History Cassius Dio, who called the emperor the “False Antoninus,” wrote,

The offense consisted, not in his introducing a foreign god into Rome or in his exalting in very strange ways, but in his placing him even before Jupiter himself and causing himself to be voted his priest…. Furthermore, he was frequently seen even in public clad in the barbaric dress which the Syrian priests use, and this had as much to do as anything with his receiving the nickname of ‘The Assyrian.’


The Golden Calf

In similar fashion the Israelites living in the wilderness got bored and desperate for a new God and boiled down all their precious metal to build a Golden Calf.

All of this history illustrates that people are too often desperate for secret pathways to success and fortune. It’s true that many of us are susceptible to the promise of shortcuts and get-rich-quick schemes. The people who prey on that populace include those promoting networking marketing and pyramid schemes. Yet the wealthy are just as likely to get tricked by inveterate scammers. The Bernie Madoff scandal proved that.

Diversity is wealth

Despite my skepticism of the miracle powers of pyrite I keep some on my desk because I like the look of it. On a trip to Colorado many years back I was parked high in the mountains at the end of the Durango-to-Silverton railroad line. A young kid was selling rocks and minerals and walked up to me with the largest chunk of pyrite I’d ever seen. I spent $5.00 on it because I liked its heft.

It didn’t bring me wealth, but it does offer a form of satisfaction. I like the idea that the earth offers such diversity. Fossils are another aspect of the earth’s history that makes me stop in wonder. The farm on the hill of a Catskill mountain in Upstate New York where my mother grew up was rich with fossil-bearing slate. The intricate patterns of those dark fossils felt like they held deep knowledge.

Imagine the still-undiscovered wonders that the world holds. In a contrary sense, the truth of the world is not found in what rocks can do for us, but what we can do to better understand the rocks, soil, the water upon which all living things depend on for survival. That is the nature of our dominion.

Appreciating the complexity of a single igneous, metamorphic or sedimentary stone is an invitation to consider how it was formed, it’s age, and what it means when it comes to answering questions about why we are all here. Without these rocks and minerals, the foundation of all being, none of what we see around us would be possible. They are the foundation for all material reality.

Carbon reality

Every human being you encounter in the world is composed elements that are distributed throughout the universe.

“Almost 99% of the mass of the human body is made up of six elements: oxygencarbonhydrogennitrogencalcium, and phosphorus. Only about 0.85% is composed of another five elements: potassiumsulfursodiumchlorine, and magnesium. All 11 are necessary for life. The remaining elements are trace elements, of which more than a dozen are thought on the basis of good evidence to be necessary for life.[1] All of the mass of the trace elements put together (less than 10 grams for a human body) do not add up to the body mass of magnesium, the least common of the 11 non-trace elements.” –Wikipedia

Elements come to life

From the combination of all these elements we somehow come to life. That is the force people are trying to discover and enervate through the power of crystals and the worship of supposedly beneficial and mysterious forces within them.

But if you really want to discover the force of life in this universe, all you have to do is run, ride, or swim. That is how you put those elements and trace elements to use within you. Press that chemistry into action. There is some admitted foolishness to these endeavors, but the feel of moving your elements through this world is what brings the mind alive as well.

Every urge to compete. Every will to win. Every test of self and perseverance comes down to our elemental selves. Knowing that is the secret to life.

That is worth more than all the gold in the world.

About Christopher Cudworth

Christopher Cudworth is a content producer, writer and blogger with more than 25 years’ experience in B2B and B2C marketing, journalism, public relations and social media. Connect with Christopher on Twitter: @genesisfix07 and blogs at werunandride.com, therightkindofpride.com and genesisfix.wordpress.com Online portfolio: http://www.behance.net/christophercudworth
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