“Whatever suits your Copperocity”…

This was always a charming family folkism, largely occasioned by grins and giggles. As time went by and the old folks began dying out, the phrase was heard far less until at this point it is scarcely heard at all, having become a rather quaint archaism. In these times, the question more often arises: what does it mean? Long story short: the phrase may be translated, “whatever suits your preference”. But how did this come to be?

That is a question that is easily answered if you keep in mind some background context. You see, Colonel John W. Staley was of German extraction (some say Dutch, some say Swiss) and Germans were well versed in minerals via mining activities (in fact, Staehlie, or something of the sort, is a Germanic word for ‘steel’ and the word that the name is derived from). Colonel J. W. Staley’s family owned a soapstone mine (Soapstone Mountain) in Randolph County NC.

Now, many old folkisms were passed down from the Germanic tribes relating to the old mythopoieic mysteries in the form of old sayings, nursery rhymes, jingles, etc. The Germans were pretty much Christianized by around 1100, but uncomfortably. They had accepted a variant known as Arianism, rather than Trinitarianism…blah, blah, blah…. Friedrich Nietzsche …resentful of Judaic morality….some more blah…. Germanic Spirituality revival movements…etc. We don’t need to go into all that. But the fact remains that much of the old ‘Norse’ spiritual knowledge base became embedded into the folkways of the Old Germans. Here’s what I’m getting at…

In mining, the ferrous (Iron based) minerals rust away from the sandy and rain permeated upper soils, leaching down into the subsoils until they reach a level where oxygen cannot penetrate. There they form deposit zones in ‘streaks’. The Cuprous (Copper based) minerals move upward from the underneath until they reach a zone where the rainwaters (containing nitric acid -acid rain) no longer percolate and make streaky deposits just below the Iron streaks. Iron in the human body is associated with oxygen rich blood and the heart and lungs, while copper is associated below the diaphragm.

The Mythical Archetype of the Cosmic Man (see Swedenborg, Steiner, et al) then becomes a metaphor for the Seven Alchemical Planets (and their associated metals), with Iron corresponding to Mars and Copper corresponding to Venus (also Tuesday and Friday, respectively). Therefore, the Hesperian aptics are generally desire related (love, appetites, beauty, etc.) and Copper represents this. ‘Whatever suits your copperocity’ then could mean ‘whatever you desire’. But we must remember, the context of application in general is polite or mixed company, generally in a family or social setting. Therefore we may be assured that it is a more congenial form of expression, most aptly treated as ‘whatever suits your preferences’.