Monday, December 22, 2008

Don't Bank On It

While out strolling a little while ago, a bank caught my eye & set in motion a train of thoughts that has chugged down an interesting track - so all aboard the Financial eXPress for a journey through our monetarily rail-roaded existence.

I got to wondering about the effects of banks - those sanitised & intimidating buildings (all too often filled with sanitised & intimidating employees). In particular, I wondered, what emotional energy is generated when we gaze upon them?

I achieved full visual recognition of banks many years ago, well I had to, they had all my money - I can spot my bank at 30 paces or should that be 30 pieces (of silver). I've avoided them (where possible), queued in them, grovelled for money in them, but never 'thought' about them until now.

I'm presuming most people will have, during their valuable lives, cast, as I had done, many a glazed eye over the frontages of these institutions. I'm presuming that you will have given little, if any, thought to the effect that glance may have cost you.

On this particular day I wondered if the actual building could be a kind of emotional catchment area - the bank that caught my eye had a kind of a steeple-come-obelisk, reminding me of a church.

Banks I think, are regarded with same discomfort that we hold for police stations & churches. An apparently greater power than us resides within those walls & we'd best keep our noses clean if we want to avoid their wrath. Something akin to our life blood, flows within the walls. It is perhaps not surprising that blood storage facilities are called 'blood banks'.

The Story, sorry I mean History tells us that banks were invented by the Italians in the 15th century & the word bank goes back to the Germanic 'bank' meaning 'bench' "referring to the bench on which one sat while discussing loan arrangements and cashpoint charges." The author of the last sentence made an additional comment - "Interesting to see the word bank disappear and reappear centuries later in another country."

This four letter word, also refers to " A steep natural incline... An artificial embankment...To pile up; amass: banked earth along the wall".

Lets see what a river bank creates -

River banks contain & channel water - that wet stuff that falls out of the sky all over the world, but gets collected & concentrated within land banks.

Fresh water (like money), is not spread evenly across the world, but concentrated & channelled - naturally or artificially.

Human beings collect around banks whether filled with water or money - the flow of one is essential, the other has been made essential to the continuation of life as we know it.

Our words for water & money are interchangeable - as well as banks, we have current accounts, currency, deposits (money or silt), cash flow.

The word affluent flows back in time to "1432, "flowing," from L. affluentem (nom. affluens), prp. of affluere "flow toward," from ad- "to" + fluere "to flow". Notion of "a plentiful flow" (of the gifts of fortune) led to affluence in the sense of "wealth," first recorded 1603."

In the system of Feng Shui (translates as "wind-water"), the Chinese believe that "Chi" or the naturally occurring life force energy within the environment is able to be harnessed to bring good fortune and create healthy, beneficial conditions.

"Qi (Chi) rides the wind and scatters, but is retained when encountering water" - so interest-ing that money is dealt in watery terms. Perhaps a Reserve Bank be called a "reservoir"? And then of course there's the word dam(n) as used when one is swept away by a deluge of bank charges.

If we look with our ears we find a familiar & esoteric sound in these syphonic institutions - Bank... Bank... B ank...B ank(h) or 'Ankh'

"YIN YANG - The two primal energies"
I'd copied this line of text from among the Feng Shui info I pruned from the internet -I very much liked the feel of both energies being equally powerful & when I found it sitting under this image, it seemed to want to stay - so here it lies.

The following excerpts are gleaned from a number of sites;

"The Ankh is considered by many as a symbol of fertility and often used to represent enduring life in generations to come. It is also know as the
Key of the Nile, representing the holy union of Isis and Osiris. This mystic union is said to start the annual flooding of the river Nile, and thus providing the peoples of Egypt with the many fundamentals of life in that time."

"The symbol is also a hieroglyph which represents the sound ´nh (ankh) and the word "
life" or "breath of life"."

"Many depictions of the gods and pharaohs of ancient Egypt are depicted holding the ankh by the loop, or to bear one in each hand crossed over the breast.
Egytian gods such as Ptah, Osiris, Isis, Anubis, Bastet, Khnum, Set, Horus, and many others are often drawn holding the holy symbol. Many Pharaohs were often depicted in the same manner and buried with an Ankh in front of his face to symbolize the breath of life"

"The Ankh was often linked with the
Djed (representing stability) or the Was (representing strength) to form a powerful amulet thought to invoke the god's protection over the bearer."

djed is an Egyptian symbol that is depicted as a column with a broad base and capital. At the top of the column the capital is divided by four parallel bars. The image has been interpreted in several ways"

Whilst reading Catastrophobia recently I was most interested to read the notion that the Djed column symbolises the axis of the world & when displayed being held at the angle shown above it depicts the current tilt of our world - 23 degrees (lets not fight about the other half a degree).

"The Ankh was, for the ancient Egyptians, the symbol of life but it is an enduring icon that remains with us even today as a Christian cross. It is one of the most potent symbols represented in Egyptian art ..."

"It is at least interesting that the ankh word was used for mirrors... many mirrors were shaped in the form of an ankh sign. Life and death mirror each other, and in any number of ancient religions, mirrors were used for purposes of divination." "... since death was considered the mirror of life, the glyph also symbolized the underworld."

"In Astrology the Ankh is used to represent the planet Venus. In Alchemy the Ankh represent the element of
copper. And in biology this same symbol is used to identify the female sex."

"The ankh may represent the life-giving elements of air and water. It was often shown being offered to the king's lips as a symbol of the "breath of life."

So what about that symbol that buzzed in & bedded down with Venus to create the institution of bondage known as a B-Ank(h) ? That'll bee the letter 'B'

"Bet, Beth, or Vet is the second letter of many Semitic Abjads, including Phoenician, Aramic, Hebrew Syriac and Arabic alphabet. This letter's name means "house" in various Semitic languages...The Phoenician letter gave rise to the Greek Beta, Latin B & Cyrillic Б, В "

So a bank is a house/building with a cross on it - hmmm where have I seen that before?

The message associated with this next little chap is that he should have listened to his other brothers & stayed home from the market to prevent the temptation of spending - also reducing the risk of having ones house huffed & puffed by loitering wolves.

"Usually, in Buddhist iconography, the pig represents desire in all its forms. This ranges from identification with one's body, through a general love of material possessions, as well as the lust for food or sexual satisfaction. Therefore, the pig is 1 of 3 animals depicted at hub of the Buddhist Wheel of Rebirth -- in both a figurative and a literal sense. That is, they symbolize the impediments to our release from the round of rebirth, and they are: desire/attachment (the pig,) anger/aversion (the snake), and ignorance/confusion (the rooster.)"
All in all a canny subliminal choice for the financially railroaded populace.

Moving right along...well actually getting back to where I started - on my walk that day, even before I started playing with the similarities of water with banking, I wondered if invisible energy swirled & was caught & dam(n)ed around B-Ankhs - you know just like in the way that Van Gogh could see.

Are the feelings & emotions created & felt in B-Ankhs held within their walls, in the same way our time is (once it has been alchemically transformed into coppers). Could those ornate bits of paper we call dollars, pounds & whatnots, with their little magical sigils be couriers of energy, returning it time & time again to B-Ankhs, just as the bee returns to it's home laden with 'gold dust'.

There was something else that kept me ruminating upon these institutions - the fact that so many were to be found on street corners - time & time again I spied B-Ankhs straddling street corners. Lets return to Feng Shui;

"CUTTING CHI If chi energy passes a sharp corner it begins to spin and swirl, forming eddies and whirlpools like a fast-flowing stream passing a sharp bend. This is called cutting chi and can occur inside or outside buildings. It can make you own chi energy swirl, leading to disorientation and confusion and, in time, ill-health."

...hello, hello, hello what 'ave we 'ere then? Perhaps B-Ankhs simply want prime position, but I'm not quite sure why. After all, they're 'a necessity' - we're going there whether we like it or not, plus their logo's are soooo tattooed into our psyche that they really need not worry about being seen - we're always gonna find them. However... as an ever present reminder of our place in the hive, they do a fine job. So I ask you, how & what do you feel when you spy a bank?

This corner thingy got my attention over a number of weeks. I went out with my camera to snap some corner B-Ankhs just to show I wasn't being overly imaginative, when I had an intriguing find.

Here sitteth the National Bank ( something to do with Lloyds, England - has the same black horse in a circle logo - my short-sighted gaze fell unsuspectingly on it the other week & turned it into a swastika!!- very interesting). So I snapped happily, when lo I realised there was another bank beside it & then f**k me, there's a new one across the road, nestled into yet another corner.

Then you could have knocked me down with a feather, two more banks completing the 'block' - which of course meant ending with yet another B-Ankh on another corner. Following on with our energy theme we spy a recruitment agency nestled in the bosom of these banks called Kinetic - I guess it has heaps of potential.

Now perhaps an embankment of B-Ankhs is the norm where you come from, but I remember when this parade had shops & even an arcade on it - somewhere along the way a financial tidal wave flowed through & left a whole lot flotsam. Lets return to Feng Shui;

"FAST – FLOWING CHI Chi energy moving quickly in a straight line can destabilize the flow through a entire building, so long corridors, straight paths or several features in a straight line should be avoided. Fast-moving chi energy directed towards you could push away some of your own chi energy, making you feel insecure and under attack."

What makes this particular set of B-Ankhing quins so interesting is the large erection that towers over them. I use the word 'erection' quite deliberately, for I am far from the only female to make the comparison - I travelled far & wide (well ok not that far & wide - but it was tricky trying to find a place to take these blurred shots without getting squished on the motorway) - it seems to me that this building is designed to be viewed in all it's phallic glory as one descends the Auckland Harbour Bridge. The design is actually very neatly done & if I was an architect I'd probably be very impressed.

Below is the view from what I would term the back - all five B-Ankhs lie at the base at this side.

The arrival of all five banks at this location & the completion of this building seem to have happened in the last couple of years. The erection has a very fitting name, it is called The Sentinel - it's views are imposing.

A little wordplay with Sentinel led to the etymology of 'sentry' - 1611, originally "watchtower;" perhaps a shortened variant of sentinel - which brought to mind the 'Watchtowers' in The Hidden Agendas 'Enochian Magic' posts.

"If the house is in alignment or in rhythm with the landscape, a good healthy life force is created..."The landscape of our surroundings has become concrete buildings and the rivers are now represented by roads... Some businesses begin to collapse soon after a road, a bridge or another building is built because a change of traffic or landscape of buildings could transform an area from good to bad or from bad to good ...Originally the Chinese Emperors made used of Feng Shui skills to win wars. The formulae were later disguised and the secrets hidden inside the formulae."

OK we need to take a couple more corners before we hit the home straight (which would really be better off with a bend in it).

Some other corners;

- a temporary monopoly on a kind of commercial trade: "a corner on the silver market"

- a predicament from which a skillful or graceful escape is impossible; "his lying got him into a tight corner"

- gain control over; "corner the gold market"

- force a person or an animal into a position from which he cannot escape

- "The cornerstone (or foundation stone) concept is derived from the first stone set in the construction of a masonry foundation, important since all other stones will be set in reference to this stone, thus determining the position of the entire structure...Over time a cornerstone became a
ceremonial masonry stone" ...This in turn derived from the practice in still more ancient times of making an animal or human sacrifice that was laid in the foundations.

"A cornerstone (Greek: Άκρογωνιεîς, Latin: Primarii Lapidis) will sometimes be referred to as a "foundation-stone", and is symbolic of
Christ, whom the Apostle Paul referred to as the "head of the corner" and is the "Chief Cornerstone of the Church" (Ephesians 2:20)."

You will undoubtedly have been asked in your splendid & wondrous life "what bank you belong to" - rephrasing that question we get closer to the truth "What bank are you the property of?"

I was in 'my' B-Ankh today - I put my senors on full alert to see what I could feel - the funny thing is I couldn't feel anything - I noticed the dividing line of the cashiers embankment, yet got the strangest feeling that there was nothing happening - people on either side appeared to do business & yet for the life of me it felt like I was watching a strange version of the Emperors New Clothes - a grand game of pretending that something valuable was being exchanged.

The etymology of the word afford is rather precious - it simply & grandly means - "to accomplish, to further" - I hope you can afford many great & wonderful things in the days & weeks ahead.

A congregation of Bank managers

"Seed of course, is not like money. You can't just put it in a bank. Seeds have to be grown out and saved again and again"