Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Eve and Her Serpent
I have always been fascinated by Eve in the story of Adam and Eve in the book of Genesis of the Old Testament. The story focused on Adam up until Eve forced him to eat an apple that caused them to be thrown out of Paradise. Adam was the first created human; Adam was given the honor of naming everything in the Garden and the responsibility of taking care of the Garden. But Adam gets bored with all this honor and responsibility and asks God for a "help mate." That being the definition of "woman".
And so Adam goes to sleep and low and behold the next morning there beside him is Woman; taken from his own rib. Yep, Adam gives birth to woman! It's the last time males will give birth! All is great in The Garden; Adam and Eve (whom he also named) running around naked playing and doing whatever the very first two humans would be doing in Paradise. Until that fateful day when a slithering serpent arrives when Eve was alone and entices her to go pick an apple from the Tree of Knowledge; that one tree in all the Garden that God told Adam and Eve not to touch; nor eat from it. She was then to give a bite to Adam so they could both know everything God knows.
We all know the end of the story! Eve does that very thing, eats the apple and talks poor defenseless Adam into partaking too and then they realize they are naked and go and find fig leaves to cover up their "private parts." Oh and they hide from God too (now this part always made me laugh! Like the Creator of the Universe didn't know where to find them? Good grief) Well, anyway, God gets pissed and throws them out of the Garden with the curse of Adam having to actually work and Eve would have painful childbirth. Done and Done! One strike and they were out into the Dark World!
A great patriarchal story about creation, don't you think? Funny how this story is held up as the absolute Truth of how we all came to be. But alas, once again, parts were stolen from the pagan religions and the purpose was to rid Woman of any role that smelled of Goddess religion. And the poor serpent! Forever the hated animal of the kingdom! Slithering, sneaky, solitude snake; ready to lash out and poison whatever gets in it's way! Woman and Serpent get the bad rap in this story and poor, poor Adam has to go to work!
But if you study the meaning of Serpent/Snake you will find that it has a very powerful healing, teaching, spiritual meaning. Native American Shamans are usually born with this Totem. From the Celtic perspective, the snake was a symbol of secret knowledge, cunning and transformation.Wisdom and transformation are key to symbolism of the serpent!
Serpent brought these gifts to the Woman Eve. She and Adam had played long enough in the Garden and it was time for them to begin their place in the wider world! Eve was chosen to bring this knowledge, this Wisdom, this Transformation, this Cunning and Secret Knowledge into the newly created world. It was Woman who was there to invite Adam to shed his old skin as she did hers. Physical evidence of leaving its form behind (casting off the old self), and emerging a sleeker, newer version made the snake a powerful symbol of rebirth and renewal. And that was the secret knowledge that this patriarchal God did not want them to know. This patriarchal God was selfish and jealous as we find out through out the reset of the Old and New Testament of the Bible.
Woman with her animal totem, Serpent, were the ones to bring new life, new wisdom and ultimate Transformation to those residing in the Garden. What better way to take Woman down then to put her in the Evil position with an animal people see as evil. And poor poor Adam! He had to go to work!
I love this new statue that now resides in my sanctuary. She reminds me that as Woman I am the bearer of Ancient Wisdom! As Woman, I am the bearer of that Knowledge of the Goddess that was never meant to be secret. If we want to buy the story of the Old Testament; Goddess was waiting for one of her humans to eat of the Tree of Knowledge so She could be fully revealed to all of Her Creation!
I often wonder how our lives would be if this story had been told with Goddess being the Creatress! If instead of throwing the couple out of the Garden, She had embraced them and showed them all there was to know about the Turning of the Wheel!
I often wonder!