Eve is the Hero of the Garden of Eden, Part 1 by Janet Maika’i Rudolph

She is a tree of life to those who embrace her

and those who lay hold of her are blessed.

Proverbs 3:18 (Berean Study Bible)

Eve’s story, as it has been passed onto us from the Bible, makes Her responsible for manki . . .ahem . . .humankind’s being cursed for all time. The story as our culture sets it up is that the serpent is an evil tempter with Eve as a weakling co-conspirator. Both Eve and the serpent are considered guilty parties, responsible for their own drawing down of the curse.

At the risk of being rude: BULLSHIT!

In truth, Eve’s story is a powerful tale complete with a magical talking serpent. And it only communicates directly with Eve, and never with Adam. Why?


There are many mythic themes packed into the short tale of Eve’s garden. Among the most powerful, yet the most hidden, is the relationship of Eve to both the serpent and the tree. Part 1 will address Eve and her relationship to the Grand Tree of Life. Part 2 will look more closely at Eve and the magical serpent.

The Great Mythical Tree of Life shows up in all cultures from Yggdrasil in Norse mythology to the Bodhi tree where Buddha found enlightenment to numerous others throughout the world. The Bible popularized two trees in Eden, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and the Tree of Life.

Biblical/Mythical Trees have another appellation: Goddess Trees. In the Levantine Biblical lands, Goddesses commonly lived in trees. In the Sumerian creation story, the Epic of Gilgamesh, an ancient Great Goddess named Lilith took up residence in a huluppu tree. The writing and/or translations were designed to de-goddess-ify Her. Lilith was called the “maid of desolation” and Gilgamesh cut Her tree down, forcing her to flee. Lilith also appears in the Bible. In Isaiah 34:14, the prophet called down a curse partially because Lilith, usually translated as screech owl or night creature, was reposing in a tree.

Besides Lilith, the Bible also contains stories of two more Tree Goddesses. One is Asherah. Her name may be more familiar as Asheroth (2Chronicles 19:3) literally meaning “grove of trees.” She was also de-goddess-ified by the Biblical demands that her “poles” or trees be cut down.

The second Tree Goddess is Eve. Although Eve was named the “the mother of all living,” most people still associate Her with being cursed by some vague claims of having sinned.

And Adam called his wife’s name Eve;

because she was the mother of all living.

Genesis 3:20 (KJV)

In contrast to Sumeria and Israel, Ancient Egyptian mythology honored its Tree Goddesses. Isis and Hathor are commonly depicted emerging from tree branches to dispense food and drink. Below is an Egyptian painting from circa 1500 BCE of a breast protruding from the tree to nurse a young Pharaoh.

Depending on how Eve’s name is transliterated into English, it is Hawah or Chavah meaning LIFE. Notice there is a tree in The Garden that bears Her name – the Tree of LIFE. Rather than forbidden fruit, this Tree of Life/Eve is named after Her. It is HER tree.

Eve doesn’t need the permission of a deity or anyone else to eat from Her own tree. It is Her right. More than Her right, it is an expression of Her essence. The Tree of Life in Hebrew is phonetically ets ha-hay-him, using the plural form of Eve’s name. As I blogged in my previous post, the plural in Hebrew can mean more than one as it does in English. And it can also mean a single something that is grander and bigger than others of its type. This is the Tree of GRAND EXPANSIVE LIFE, the great mystery of life’s creation.

The two TREES are Eve’s gift to humanity. There is no curse unless some religious entities name it so, or if people believe it to be true. This is, instead, our greatest blessing – LIFE here on Earth. Thank you, Eve.


Janet Rudolph is a twice ordained shaman, the latest as an alaka’i which is a Hawaiian spiritual guide.  Rudolph has walked this path for over 20 years traveling around the world to learn and experience original teachings from differing cultures.  Using a technique she calls “spiritual forensics” which includes cross-cultural explorations and ancient Hebrew translations, she has delved into the Bible’s pagan roots to uncover its hidden magic.  Rudolph has written two books on the subject of ancient Biblical teachings. One Gods: The Mystic Pagan’s Guide to the Bible and When Eve Was a Goddess: A Shamanic Look at the Bible.  A third book, When Moses Was a Shaman will be out in 2019.

(References Barbara Walker, Samuel Noah Kramer, Ariel Golan, Fabre d’Olivet, Mircea Eliade, image from Wiki Media Commons)

Categories: Ancestors, Art, Female Saints, Feminism, Feminism and Religion, Foremothers, Gender, General

Tags: , , , , , ,

18 replies

  1. In When God Was a Woman Merlin Stone argued that the story of Eve was a “tale with a point of view,” the purpose of which was to denigrate the stories of sacred connection between women, snakes, and trees. I believe that any apology for the story focuses on language but does not consider the meanings of the images in surrounding cultures misses “the point.”

    I am not sure what your point of view is: are you arguing that the story in the Bible is itself being told to celebrate Eve as a or the Goddess; or are you arguing that the Biblical story can be seen to derive from earlier stories that did so but in the Bible have been shaped to serve patriarchal interests?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Carol, Really did you think that my writing constitutes an apology? Ouch. I have several beliefs that underpin this article. The first is that all really good spiritual stories can be read, understood, loved and appreciated on many layers. The second is perhaps more pertinent. Destructive paradigms from the Bible have become foundational beliefs of our society. What ever our belief system is, Biblical stories affect us on an unconscious level. How hard have women (and others) fought to decouple the concept of who or what god is with an image of an angry white male on a mountain? We are also affected by Biblical stories because other people around us believe them, sometimes as factual. So yes, I am in complete agreement with Merlin Stone. I did read that book many years ago. She is one of the many writers who influenced me on my life journey.

      One of my favorite quotes comes from Theodore Reik. He quoted Freud (I know – discredited on many fronts but I think this one is a gem). “Freud once asserted that mortals are not meant to keep secrets; what they would like to conceal oozes from all their pores.”

      I believe that if we can uncover our roots, the secrets of what has been hidden from, what has been taken from our birthright knowledge, we can begin to change the damaging paradigms that underlie our society and the values therein.

      I would hope that my writing is a step in the direction of peeling back the layers of the stories to find the kernels of treasure beneath.

      Liked by 2 people

      • No, I did not think you were an apologist in the sense that I meant–I was thinking of Christian Biblical scholars in the lineage of Phyllis Trible–Trible does not deal with the images in the context of the ANE but rather retranslates/reinterprets the meaning of the Hebrew text.

        What I wasn’t sure about was whether you are saying that Eve is the heroine of the Biblical story or whether you are saying that reading between the lines we can see that Eve is the hero of the earlier stories on which the Biblical story is based. I think your answer is the second.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I am not familiar with Trible and her work. My two part piece was originally one part. I split it into 2 sections for clarity. Perhaps the point about Eve as a hero of earlier stories comes through better in part 2. Perhaps, also, I need to tighten up my writing!


  2. Thank you for this. Interesting information on Lilith I never knew! What they did to Eve, created the patriarchy and as all of her daughters- we’re trying to redeem Her. You might enjoy what our project did to give Her a voice and an actual face: https://plus.google.com/107287050579003737566/posts/TNtnzpeT6mY

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am currently rereading The Mythology of Eden and learning more about the various authors of the stories and so-called history in the Bible. Your take on trees is very interesting. I agree that if we uncover our roots–I’d say dig them out of the patriarchal dirt and mud–we can find the old secrets and change those damaging paradigms that got planted among the sacred roots.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Love your phrasing of “patriarchal dirt and mud.” I have long thought that we need new/old stories. After reading some of the blogs on this site, I feel it ever more strongly. There are so many good and poignant posts about how damaging our cultural patterns are.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yes, exactly – and this is what I did in my retelling of the Garden of Eden story (posted on this blog awhile back) – because there is indeed wisdom and truth and precious value in these stories, and when we can find those pearls and give them new settings, so we can really see – access the wisdom and beauty – we can find great healing and wellness. Lovely post, Janet, interesting and inspiring.


      • Thank you Trelawney, I would love to read your retelling. I am heading out of town for a quick two day trip but when I get back I will look up your post. Do you have a link for it?


  4. In the original story Eve may have been the mother of Adam. It makes more sense than Eve being made out of Adam’s rib.


  5. Yes! I love it. BULLSHIT! Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person


  1. Eve is the Hero of the Garden of Eden, Part 1 by Janet Rudolph — | Dances with Tricksters

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