Before we left Colorado, we received word that Elisha Celeste was up in Boulder, so we changed course to meet her. We caught up with her just as she finished work, where she has a healing practice in Rossiter Therapy. We knew that she had worked on a project with her father, Eliah Rael, developing a book on the history of money called Money Unveiled, and were interested in hearing her thoughts on money and where her own research meets Threefold.
Elisha grew up with parents who study anthroposophy, and she attended a Waldorf school through sixth grade. She did not take any interest in anthroposophy herself until she was 24 and read Edward Reaugh Smith’s The Burning Bush. Through that book, she was inspired to explore Steiner’s work more closely. Following some recommendations from her dad, she dove into anthroposophy, studying Steiner exclusively for about six years. Elisha had the sense that there was a truth to be known in the world, but that it was not readily apparent. The conviction that one can break through to a deeper understanding of truth is what captivated her in Steiner’s work.
A tremendous shift came for Elisha during the time that she was working on Money Unveiled. She had started a Kickstarter campaign with hopes of funding the project. The funding did not come together, and her father was supporting her with her rent. Around that time, Jonah Evans, who is now a Christian Community priest, suggested to her father that if he continued to pay her rent, there was no room for the angels to enter. Eliah took heed and set Elisha free to make her way in the world with 30 days to find a job.
Elisha found a new job, which she had to leave after only a few days. She had no financial security and, at times, only ten dollars to her name. She worked with prayer that her needs would be met, and they were. Her experiences were her own modern initiation process.
Elisha’s father is a coin dealer, so she grew up around collections of coins from many civilizations and eras. When she was a child, her father would throw coins from his collection to the bottom of the pool, and she would have to dive down to find them. These were gold coins with goddesses or other elements of the time periods. While she comes by her interest in money naturally, she has certainly made the work her own. She finds a correlation between the history of money and the evolution of human consciousness. “Money is our karma right now,” she said. She wants to take a consideration of money out of the intellectual sphere and into the personal level of responsibility.
We asked Elisha for some of her considerations of righting our relationship to money. How can we make a beginning? She had several suggestions ready at hand. For starters, she recommends that individuals take money out of the large banks and move them to smaller, more local banks. When we put our money into banks, we know that it does not just sit there. We are responsible for how it is used, even when we are not aware of it. Can we raise our accountability and invest in ethical banking? Elisha envisions new banks coming into being that work with new models of circulating money. Considering moving our resources into the smaller banks, Elisha said, “Imagine if hundreds of thousands of people did that!” Yes! We are imagining!
Another suggestion Elisha brought was to consider where we are spending our money. She doesn’t think that we need to be rigid about it, but that there should be a thoughtfulness about the kinds of business we support. Third, she suggested that we find opportunities to contribute to others in need. On the other hand, we need to also be able to receive. Elisha cautioned against what can be considered a “selfish selflessness.”
Looking at business, Elisha expressed that we can work toward a healthy model in which for-profit companies are able to contribute to the health of our communities by giving out of their surplus profit. When money is kept in circulation in this way, we avoid stagnation. Very important is that each is left free to offer what is right according to his own needs and karma. If we were to work out of true community and see that one has more and another less, and if one feels called to lend to the wellbeing of the other, good, and if not, that is also ok. It must be a free deed; karma lives here.
Elisha shared an idea about community accounting. Each would open his or her financial bookkeeping to the others within the community. This gesture would create transparency individually and collectively. The community would strive toward a new, healthy relationship to the economic sphere.
One aspect of anthroposophy that holds great meaning to Elisha is the insight that everyone has his own path and karma. Some individuals sacrifice their own path for a greater good to come for others. This perspective lends a new understanding and compassion for all of humanity, even for those whose deeds seem unfathomable.
We asked Elisha what she loves about anthroposophy, what it is to her. She said that through it, one can follow the thread of truth through history into the present. She noted the importance of being so open that one does not blind herself into thinking that she knows it all. We should remain curious and interested. Steiner’s work on Materialism and the Task of Anthroposophy has been an important series for Elisha.
A question that Elisha holds is how people relate to money in their lives. People often have the feeling that money is evil. Looking at the history of humanity, we can see that materialism has been necessary for our evolution. It is important to be conscious of how we work with money. We can ask ourselves: “Are you in relationship with money, or do you not even think about it?”
Elisha suggested that a lot of people have studied threefolding or associative economics, but that not many people have really studied the history of money. “How can we move forward if we don’t know where we’ve been?” It is time to move from an unconscious to a conscious relationship to money. If we consider the history of money moving alongside and informing the evolution of human consciousness, we can see that working out of the age of the Consciousness Soul, we have a responsibility now to work toward the transformation of how we work with money.
We found Elisha to be quite thoughtful and articulate. We asked her to consider what she might be able to offer in conversation with others as we strive for right relationship within the economic sphere. Would she consider sharing her research and thoughts on a new economy with other Steiner students striving out of a threefold impulse? She said, “Yes, I feel invited!”