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?
BECAUSE THIS IS EVE’S STORY.
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)