After Jesus’s mystical teachings were appropriated by the church, the luminous presence of the divine in material form (the light in our eyes, the aura of plants, etc.) was relegated to the heavens where its grace could be doled out by the guys in charge. This removal of holiness from the body and the earth left a spiritual vacuum in the European heart. This vacuum is what the colonizers set out across the globe to fill–with gold, the next best thing to the light of God. In churches, in art (mine included), the presence of gold stands in for the absence of God. I use Hobby Lobby glitter instead of gold leaf to make missing God affordable for everyone.
According to the gold fiend himself, Christopher Columbus: “Gold is a wonderful thing! Whoever owns it is lord of all he wants. With gold it is even possible to open for souls the way to paradise!”