Eve by Any Other Name… by Janet Rudolph


This title isn’t entirely true. Eve would need an exceptionally well thought out replacement for Her name to be as sweet as it already it. That is because Eve’s name is unique, multi-dimensional and integral to the Bible’s mysteries. The Hebrew word for Eve translated to English means “life.”

And Adam called his wife’s name Eve;
because she was the mother of all living.
Genesis 3:20

Barbara Walker wrote about variations of Eve’s name as they appeared in neighboring cultures. Eve in Hebrew is pronounced variously as hawah or chavah. Walker wrote that in many middle-eastern cultures, Her name was the hallmark of “superior feminine power. To the Hittites, she was Hawwah, Life.’ To the Persians, she was Hvov, ‘the Earth.’ Aramaeans called her Hawah ‘Mother of All Living.” (The Women’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, p 289.) In other words, She was a Great Goddess in Her own right. Her name was and is still is reminiscent of the awesome power that She has held in our lives.

To deep dive into Her name, we need to start by looking at the name of God found most commonly in the Bible; LORD. The Hebrew underlying consists of four letters – YHVH or in Hebrew Yud-Hey-Vav-Hey. This construction is called the Tetragrammaton because of the four (tetra) letters or syllabic sounds. Since Hebrew was written without vowel sounds it is impossible to know definitively how these four syllables were pronounced in biblical times. Some say Jehovah, others say Yahweh, and there are plenty more possibilities. In some circles great effort is made to avoid pronouncing this holy name at all and in that case “Adonai” is usually substituted.

There are many ways to research and understand the Tetragrammaton. In fact, there are so many layers and mysteries underlying the divine name that it, all by itself, can be the subject of a life-time of mystical research. Today I am going to look briefly at one of the ways that I love to look at and appreciating YHVH.

One truly great secret about this name is hidden from us. Eve, herself, is buried in text, sitting there in almost-plain sight within the name of the LORD.  Look, can you see Her?

I will help you find Her. The letters YHVH have been transliterated from Hebrew into English. The second and fourth letter –  hey – becomes the English letter H because they both make similar sounds. But here is another way to transliterate it: Hey is the 5th letter of the Hebrew aleph-beit. E is the 5th letter of the English alphabet. If we make the switch . . . well then . . . YHVH becomes YEVE.

Can you see Her now? I imagine Her just sitting there, peeking out from the letters having a wild good time, all the while hanging out and laughing at us human beings. Every time someone prays to, reads about or references the LORD while imagining a large white man on a mountain, She is there chortling with a knowing nod, “little do they know.” Or to continue with my Shakespearean reference, “Lord what fools these mortals be.”

Eve’s role in the Tetragrammaton has another awesome element that I love to recognize. Let’s take another look at the letters. The first letter of the Tetragrammaton is “Y” or Yud which looks like the top of a candle flame when it is written in Hebrew.


This concept of the divine flame is rooted in Egyptian beliefs about divinity. In Egypt, the divine fire of the sun is brought to Earth as deity. This heavenly flame is connected with the divine supernal male. The next three letters HVH represent Eve as divine supernal female. Combined they represent a male/female deity. This is a divinity that transcends gender. Whenever I translate YHVH, I use the phrase Mother/Father Creator.  For example, here is my translation of Psalm 98:4

Make a joyful noise unto Mother/Father Creator
To all the Earth
Burst forth loudly
with shouts of joy and songs of praise.

Eve knows that our prayers to a Hebrew LORD are prayers which also call to Her and invoke Her even without our knowing. I believe that bringing this knowledge to our conscious awareness is worth making a “joyful noise” for.

 

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 soon.

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Categories: Bible, Feminism and Religion, Feminist Theology, General

Tags: , , ,

9 replies

  1. Hooray for wordplay! Especially when we find Eve sitting inside the name of the patriarchal, jealous, judgmental god that, if he knew she was there, would probably change his name and pull her out and send her to some pagan tribe somewhere far away.

    Thanks for the very interesting post.

    Liked by 2 people

    • LOL Barbara, wordplay is certainly revealing. And isn’t that what “he” has already tried to do, changed “his” name and tried to conceal her presence and send her away. Ah. . . but . then again . . . wordplay . . .

      Like

  2. A beautiful post and a wonderful mystery! Yet another door for Her to emerge into our world!

    Like

  3. Fascinating! Are you a Hebrew scholar?

    Like

    • Hi Linda, I am not sure what you mean exactly. If it is that I have an academic background, the answer is no. I have come to this work through the direction of walking a spirit path.

      Rachel Pollack recently (and in the foreword to my forthcoming book) paid me the nicest compliment. She called me “an outlaw scholar of the best kind.”

      Like

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