Money Dreaming: “Everyone is a Banker”

In my country – Noongar Country in Western Australia – the Whadjuk word for money is the same as the word for rock: Boya. Only with the arrival of Europeans did the word for an externalised monetary system come about (connected to rocks that contained gold).

In Indigenous Australian culture, people are assigned particular totems or dreamings – not arbitrarily, but out of keen spiritual insight and guidance. To have a dreaming is to have a responsibility for that dreaming – to care for it. One is expected to fully know it – to become it.

If one is yongka (kangaroo) dreaming, for example, one is expected to know completely the characteristics, qualities, life cycles, movement patterns, feeding and breeding activity, stories, songs, dances, art and so on of yongka. One is yongka dreaming. Usually, one is expected not to kill or gather one’s own dreaming for one’s-self. One lives, in a way, off the dreamings of others. If, however, other groups are in need of a yongka for food or ceremony and are unable to find any, then, as a last resort, those of the yongka dreaming may be approached to help locate and possibly kill the animal. Such a deed does not go un-thanked nor un-remembered by other groups. As part of this process, an ‘increase’ ceremony may also be requested – where those of yongka dreaming would hold a ceremony at a site sacred to yongka so that more yongkas may appear on the land.

I have also heard it expressed that an individual represents only one part of the physical manifestation of their dreaming – yongka tail, for example. Combined with all others of that dreaming, however, the whole physical manifestation of yongka is represented.[1]

I would now like to put forward the concept of money dreaming. I believe all human beings today are assigned this totem. And I believe they are assigned it at birth, if not earlier, though, again, not arbitrarily.

No matter what culture we live in on Earth, there now exists some form of money – and therefore some form of money dreaming. The question is whether we are awake to it or not. Have we observed the qualities and characteristics of money so well that we can say we truly know it – that we are able to be responsible for it – to care for it, and for others – to not hoard it for ourselves – to live not off our own dreaming and the fruits thereof, but off the dreaming and work of others, as they live off ours? Do we recognise that every other human being holds another part of the puzzle, without which it would be incomplete?

Everyone as money dreaming.

In recalling the words of the famous German post-war artist Joseph Beuys – “Every human being is an artist” – Triodos Bank[2] CEO Peter Blom recently said, “Every human being is a banker.”[3]

We live in a world that reveals the consequences of human beings putting their faith in the financial wizards of the banking world. But we are also living in a world where human beings are waking up to their own responsibilities when it comes to money.

As individuals we have this responsibility; as groups, organisations and institutions we have this responsibility; and because money exists as part of a global economy (even though it belongs, in essence, not to the economic life but to the life of rights[4]) we also have this responsibility on the global level. It is a global dreaming. Its songlines are everywhere.

The degree to which the monetary wizards of Wall Street and elsewhere have so far used their intellects to create financial ‘products’ in order to secure monetary gain for themselves, is the same to which all human beings are now asked to use their imagination and creativity in order to meet the real needs of other human beings, to sing a better country into being, to heal the world; naturally, culturally, politically, economically.


In the north of Western Australia a mining boom is currently taking place, the effects of which ripple through Perth and all across the money-lines of the world. Rock has become money again. Everyone is claiming boya for themselves; but only because boya is not yet fully observed, and not yet fully known. But it will become known. And when it does, it will be clear that it has its own life cycle, its own movement patterns, its own qualities and characteristics, and with this will come its songs, its stories, its dances, its art. With this will come care and responsibility for it, for the world, and for one another as human beings. With this will come a renewed dreamtime based on free and ethical individualism. With this will come a conscious, global money dreaming.

This is part of the challenge that we have now set ourselves, and we are up to it – for it is given to us, not arbitrarily, but out of wise, spiritual guidance.


John Stubley

This article has also been published in the magazines Adbusters, associate!, Das Goetheanum, Trigonal and Scope; Nov, 2012 – Mar, 2013.

[1] For more, see, for example, Robert Lawlor, Voices of the First Day: Awakening in the Aboriginal Dreamtime (Vermont, USA: Inner Traditions, 1991); David Mowaljarlai & Jutta Malnic, Yorro Yorro: Everything Standing Up Alive (Broome, WA: Magabala Books, 2001); Rudolf Steiner, The Esoteric Aspect of the Social Question (Lecture 2) (London: Rudolf Steiner Press, 2001); the oral storytelling of Noongar elder Noel Nannup.

[2] See Voted the world’s most sustainable bank.

[3] He mentioned this at a conference in New Zealand on October 5, 2012.

[4] See, for example, Joseph Beuys, What is Money? (UK: Clairview, 2010).

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3 Responses to Money Dreaming: “Everyone is a Banker”

  1. Jesse says:

    Dear John, thanks for your article on such an interesting and time-relevant topic.

    What does it mean to be a banker? If it means taking responsibility for ones and other peoples circumstances, being financially literate, then I would agree.

    Humanity has the potential for this consciousness now. What was previously only reserved for the “initiated” has become public. Just as reading and writing or arithmetic have moved from being cultivated secretly into the public domain, so now, too, the tools are available for each individual to manage a single global economy, to become a 21st century banker.

    The most powerful tool is understanding money as accounting, as a process that takes place between human beings that gives rise to surplus value. With just a laptop, accounting software and an idea that meets the needs of humanity, anyone can start taking responsibility for money creation and price stability. If humanity began to recognize the inherent logic accounting brings to an understanding of money and then put this into practice (not for the tax authorities or shareholders), there would be no more need for the state to be involved in economic life – one of the largest tragedies of the 20th Century.

    Born out of the economic life itself, an inherent understanding of the economic process could then be understood. Until we can get beyond thinking in archaic, 20th Century terms of National Economies, balance of payments, paying for labor, etc. there is no way to understand the path we are already in fact walking. We live in a world of plenty, of abundance, yet we experience it as a world of scarce resources and want. Why? If we think and therefore behave as if money is some thing rather then a means to exchange, then we introduce false values into the whole economic process and thereby cause inflation or deflation of prices. Its like putting a plastic carrot in with a batch of real carrots.

    On the other side, if we treat capital like money and start buying and selling it, start buying and selling property, buying and selling companies, buying and selling people, we short circuit the whole economic process because it is not in fact possible to buy or sell them. The money that should be used for buying and selling goods like food, clothing, etc. becomes eaten up and transformed into the capital markets and gets stuck there. Through our collective understanding and actions, we create a blockage in what should be a natural flow of money and capital in the world; we create a dam, a store of money/capital that just serves itself rather then the needs of humanity.

    It is easy to blame those currently at the helm for steering humanity in the wrong direction. Yet if the tools are presently there for anyone to become a 21st Century banker, then we are all capable of manning the helm and then who do we have to point the finger at for the worlds ills except ourselves.

  2. Travis Henry says:

    Thanks for this John. I’m glad I’m able to visit with you, in a way, through your periodic social poetry offerings.

  3. Pingback: rock, paper, scissors? | picture pinned

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