Notes from Peter Lamborn Wilson (Hakim Bey)’s Recent Talk on Money

hakim bey peter lamborn wilson

Clay tablets existed in ancient Mesopotamia. Specie, that is coinage, did not. This is an invention of the ancient peoples of Asia Minor and the Greek Islands. Here we see money gaining a more explicit religious and magickal quality. Gold was plentiful in this area, and is also a malleable metal easy to imprint with both words and images. When temple sacrifices of the local bull cults became so popular that not everyone could get a piece of bull, an ingenius method was reached to give every pilgrim a symbol of involvement in the ritual- the temple token. Rather than a piece of bull, pilgrims were given a small piece of gold with a bull impressed on one face. The two sided coin comes later with an image on one side and a caption on the other. Money becomes qualitatively more magickal with this step, uniting the image and the word into a talismatic object which has a value unrelated to its real value as commodity. It is no longer simply a magickal document recording debt and / or wealth. It is a magickal object whose value comes from belief. As Peter points out: All money is fiat money. Gold has no inherent value. It’s shiny, and makes cool jewelry and all that, but it is not what the anarcho-capitalist types will have you believe, a universal medium of exchange. Sure, it holds value over millenia (particlarly with regard to silver), but there is not reason to use gold more than say, diamonds or uranium or coal or any other commodity in limited supply. Quoth Mr. Wilson: “Money is proof that magick works, it is perhaps the only proof.”

Black Sun Gazette: A Redux Request: Hakim Bey on Money


  1. There’s a very interesting anonymous pamphlet (probably Bey) about about this from Autonomedia:

  2. In Islam, there is no icongraphy, because if God has a face, by now it’ll probably look haggard.

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