Over the years I have read all of the Christian Bible, some passages many times. As far as serious study and analysis, I have not yet progressed beyond Genesis 4. Yes, I am still seeking the deeper layers of meaning in the first four chapters of Genesis. It has been an intriguing journey, and each time I return, I bring back more insights. The story of Adam and Eve is particularly beguiling and has charmed me for over sixty years. Certainly, my present viewpoint has been influenced by all the esoteric studies I have completed and continue to explore, and so what follows are some recent musings about this mystical couple.
Some of the stories in the early part of the Bible originated in cultures that preceded and influenced the ancient Hebrews. A prime example, of course, is the story of the flood; its origin dates back at least to the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh, if not earlier. Perhaps the Adam-Eve story also derives from an earlier culture. So a natural question arises: has the story been reshaped to fit the demands of a patriarchal god religion? Another way to pose the enquiry is to compare the traditional patriarchal interpretation with one looking at the story from a goddess religion perspective.
The Garden of Eden story poses several puzzling questions: why did God plant a forbidden tree in the garden where he placed Adam (humans)? Why create a taboo? What truth is hidden in the story? Why is our attention misdirected from the truth? Who is the real deceiver: God or the serpent? Is disobedience a sin? I will not attempt to respond to all those questions at this time but will only express several ideas, leaving a fuller discussion until later.
A focal issue centers on the tree of knowledge of good and evil. In the Genesis story Eve becomes the source or at least the bringer of evil into the world. The serpent, traditionally linked to the goddess, deceives Eve into tasting the fruit. Here is the misdirection, the lie, because the serpent goddess would have told Eve to taste the fruit of the tree of life first! The serpent does speak truth, though, when it says that they, Eve and Adam, will not die. This is the goddess’ truth: only the worn-out physical body dies, but the soul and spirit do not. The patriarchal god, however, is angry because they choose the goddess, and he forces them out of the garden before they have eaten of the tree of life. Why does god command them to remain in ignorance of the knowledge of good and evil? Or does he force their choice by telling them not to eat of that tree?
Underlying the story is the idea that humans as souls choose to incarnate into this physical world and the only way to leave is when the physical body dies. A second idea is that the metaphor of the soul reuniting with the god or goddess is a return to Eden. The animal skin covering is the physical body. The serpent symbolizes birth, death, and rejuvenation. The Genesis story shifts the life-giving attribute of the goddess to one of death, that is, changes the focus; however, the goddess has always signified life and death and then rejuvenation. The serpent’s remark “You won’t die” implies rejuvenation. The patriarchal god is actually the one who forces death upon Adam and Eve by kicking them out of the garden. In fact, the god is the first to mention the possibility of death. Was this god originally derived from the god consort of the goddess? The god consort went through seasonal cycles of death and rebirth, like Adonis, the corn god, and others, and so this god would know and have experienced death. But did the god of Genesis have any personal experience of death?
The idea of death is first mentioned in Genesis 2:17 where it is connected to the knowledge of good and evil. In the very next verse God realizes that Adam is alone and that he should have “an help meet” or counterpart. Then God creates the animals, but none was “an help meet for him,” and so Eve is made from a part of Adam’s body.
An interesting aside is that in Genesis 2 God breathes life and spirit into Adam after making him from adamah, the red soil. This is an example of the separation between spirit and nature in god religion. From a goddess perspective, for example in ancient Sumerian religion, Aruru, goddess of creation, makes humans by conceiving an image in her mind, dipping her hands in water, pinching off a piece of clay, and placing it on the earth. There is no need to breathe life into the human creature because it is alive and contains the spiritual in its nature.
One area of my studies has involved the ancient code hidden in the Genesis story. Carlo Suarés’ book The Cipher of Genesis has opened the portal. I have also been assisted by James Strong’s concordance of the bible. Hebrew letters originally signified ideas, as did Egyptian hieroglyphics, Chinese ideograms, and Mesoamerican hieroglyphics. Analyzing Hebrew words through letter-ideas is a powerful conceptual tool that unlocks secret meanings. The allegorical veil of the Genesis story now becomes more transparent.
Strong’s concordance gives the Hebrew word for woman in Genesis 2-3 as ishshah, which is related to eshshah meaning fire; the latter is the feminine form of cosmic fire, which is esh. Suarés uses esha for woman. The Hebrew letters composing esha are aleph-sheen-hay, and esh is aleph-sheen while eesh (man) is aleph-yod-sheen.
This is the first level of my interpretation of the hidden secret in the Adam-Eve story: what is in Adam and taken out by God is the cosmic fire in feminine form. The cosmic fire is the universal agent or the guardian spirit and knows, of course, that we cannot die; this spirit knows the truth about death and is the human’s help meet or counterpart. Even in this world our guardian spirit stays with us—a profound truth that gives immense comfort when faced with trials and tribulations of worldly affairs. So Esha, mother of all living, is called Eve or in Hebrew chavvah, which is derived from the word “to live” and contains the letters hay-vav-hayt.
In Genesis 1-3 the Hebrew word for man is adam, except for 2:23-24 where the Hebrew word is eesh. Although the primary meaning of adam is ruddy, as in a ruddy complexion, it usually signifies a human being, as in Genesis 1:27: “So God created man [adam] in his own image . . . male and female . . . .” [King James version of the Bible is used here and in the following quotation.] So why is eesh used for man in 2:23? Adam says, “She shall be called Woman [ishshah], because she was taken out of Man [eesh].”
Esha-woman is the feminine of fire while Esh is cosmic fire. The fire in its feminine form is taken from Eesh-man, not from Adam. The code of Eesh-man is aleph-yod-sheen. Esh-cosmic fire is aleph-sheen while Esha-feminine fire is aleph-sheen-hay. So aleph-sheen designates the cosmic fire inherent in man, a cosmic fire manifesting in the physical world since yod refers to existence. For a help meet God takes the fire in its feminine form from man (aleph-yod-sheen).
Moving to another level of interpretation, we find that sheen is the divine spirit or breath of God. Aleph is the pulsating life-death power. Yod is the realm of existence where aleph is projected or manifested, where aleph plays its cosmic game. In Hebrew yod means hand. The code can be read as that aleph is manifested as divine spirit in existence, that is, Man, both male and female.
Aleph-sheen (Esh-cosmic fire) plus hay is woman, Esha. We can read this code as that the divine spirit is or in the form of universal life (hay). No wonder woman understands the serpent and realizes it is speaking the truth. She is universal life. She is the goddess (universal life) while man is the god (existential life): a basic premise of the goddess tradition. Within physical existence, however, life-death comes and goes in the cycle of manifesting-unmanifesting, so death occurs in physical existence as an exiting or becoming unmanifested, which is represented in so many cultures as the journey image.
The serpent, a primeval sign of renewal because it sheds its skin, signifies that life is eternal. Death deals with physical structures that change their form: decay, dissolve, decompose and so forth—a process of transformation. Life is the universal, eternal power that sustains the world in its spatial and temporal dimensions.
Although both theological and popular discussions of the Garden of Eden story involve Adam and Eve, the word Eve (chavvah) is only used twice in the Old Testament. The Garden of Eden, so important to Christian thought, is the “protected pleasure.” In Hebrew Eden is ay-den, meaning pleasure or delight while Garden is gan, meaning a garden as a fenced or protected area. The garden contains two trees at its center—life and knowledge. Life is unity and knowledge involves duality until we reach a higher level through paradoxical thinking.
In Genesis the Hebrew word for serpent is naw-khawsh from a primitive root meaning “to hiss,” that is, “to whisper a magic spell.” The tree of life connects heaven, earth, and the underworld. The serpent is the animating spirit and also guardian of the treasure. The Hebrew word for tree (ates) comes from the same root (aw-tsaw) as the Hebrew word for spine (aw-tseh). This tree is the word used for the tree of knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life.
Inspecting Adam and its code aleph-dallet-mem, I find that dallet refers to physical resistance, primarily of structures, while mem is the source for dallet’s resistance. The code can now be read as that the name Adam designates the physical resistance (dallet) deeply rooted in its source (mem) that plays against and with the cosmic life-death pulsation (aleph). So Adam designates the physical response to the fire or man that exists within. The help meet or counterpart is fire also but in the feminine form, which was originally part of man but now has been separated from man. The masculine fire in the physical container is used to energize the feminine fire (soul) and assist in developing its astral container. When ready, the soul weds with the universal agent or divine life force.
Hermes, patron of alchemy, reveals that the cosmic purpose is to incarnate the divine constantly and perpetually; this process is the alchemical marriage: the body with the psyche-soul and the soul with the spirit. The physical body, Adam, is the container for the soul, which must make its own astral vessel. Then the reborn soul is bonded with the spiritual energy, the universal agent. The soul’s body is made from the same substance as the physical body, that is, matter. But the soul’s body must be refined and transformed into astral matter. The refinement process includes dissolving and eliminating the accidentals and other impurities. The Kundalini fire is used to refine the material.
The two fires, Esh and Esha, must mate and unite in the bridal chamber. They have the same mother and substance. First, the impurities must be removed, and then the two fires must be placed together for fusion.
In paintings of the Garden of Eden origin story sometimes the serpent is shown coiled around the tree with Adam on one side and Eve on the other. Often Eve is helping by picking or holding the fruit and is usually on Adam’s left. Some artists have even given the serpent a human head. The possible interpretations are nectar for our minds, inciting an awakening and an exalting of the vital energy. Michelangelo’s painting of the temptation and expulsion on the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling dramatizes a rendering of hidden meaning and secret knowledge.
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Having been a Humanities and English college teacher for thirty-six years, I now manage Ye Olde Consciousness Shoppe which presents ideas about transforming consciousness and reaching a higher level of reality. The website has information about my three books: Hermes Beckons, a tale of alchemy and magic; Foundation for a New Consciousness; and Reality Inspector, a novel of chess and computer-hacking.