Bindi

The Garden of Eden

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In the biblical story of the garden of Eden, at first the tree of knowledge was the only tree from which Adam and Eve could not eat. So I assume that at that stage they could eat freely from the tree of life (immortality)?

They were sent out from the garden after eating fruit from the tree of knowledge to prevent them from then eating from the tree of life.

So in understanding this story, I gather the snake is understood to be kundalini.

And knowledge - is this believed to be gained when kundalini reaches and opens the crown? 聽

But according to this story, people would not become like the God鈥檚 without the other piece of the puzzle, fruit from the tree of life.

So if this story speaks of some deep esoteric truth, what then is the tree of life?

And who were the God's that were already god-like, having knowledge and immortality?

Or should this story simply be dismissed as an old and irrelevant myth?聽

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A myth is a story which can be real or a fiction, that alone is not relevant. The important part of the myth is the mystery it contains, that is a message, hidden by its author, which can be interpreted by a meditation on the symbols, puns or sometimes by the etymology of the words used in the text.


Of course, a text being often re-used (and re-written) across different traditions using different symbolism, or different views of the world, would lead to different interpretation of the myth.


It is always a bit dangerous to mix symbolisms, like identifying the serpent with kundalini. Maybe it is still adequate due to cultural exchanges which happened in mid-eastern part of the word during antiquity, I really do not know.


The Tree of Life as it is often represented (that is the schema containing 10 spheres which are the 10 sephiroth) was invented by the rabbi Isaac Luria, who lived in the 16th century. Therefore it might not be reasonable to assume the tree of life spoken in the Genesis is the same tree.


Something which is closer to a way of divine ascend, which appears in the Bible, is the Ladder of Jacob. By meditating on the symbols, anatomical images, and puns in a famous passage of this book, we can link it to the staff of Moses, to the choosing of Aaron as High Priest, and even to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.


Now there are common things among creation myths, like the divine origin of Mankind. In the Genesis (or Bereshit), Elohim is creating the Universe by speaking, then is creating Adam in its own image, and later, in this story Adam names the animals. There is more or less a consensus among mystics that this insistence on spoken words is about the ability of humans to take part in the creation of the world. (And that this is the Word spoken by John.)


I do not know the opinions of other mystics about the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, but I interpret eating its fruit as entering in the world of duality (hence my emphasis on Good and Evil).

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Hi Bindi,

In the biblical story of the garden of Eden, at first the tree of knowledge was the only tree from which Adam and Eve could not eat. So I assume that at that stage they could eat freely from the tree of life (immortality)?

They were sent out from the garden after eating fruit from the tree of knowledge to prevent them from then eating from the tree of life.

So in understanding this story, I gather the snake is understood to be kundalini.

The snake represents something else. Kundalini is an Eastern concept.

But according to this story, people would not become like the God鈥檚 without the other piece of the puzzle, fruit from the tree of life.

So if this story speaks of some deep esoteric truth, what then is the tree of life?

The Tree of Life is a symbol of human consciousness.

And who were the God's that were already god-like, having knowledge and immortality?

That is subject to much speculation. I personally believe that these "gods" were beings who had not descended into matter.

Or should this story simply be dismissed as an old and irrelevant myth?聽

You may find the Golden Dawn 3=8 and 4=7 altar diagrams to be useful.

Best,

UFA

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An alternate perspective:

There was no Eden, there was no garden, there was no apple tree, but there may have been a snake.

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of course there was a snake, I'm everywhere聽 :P

i dunno what the snake in that story may have represented, but snakes are important symbols in many cultures. To me the first association is always the way they can be 'dead' and then alive ( well, at least in countries where it's regularly pretty cold) plus that they shed their skins. beautiful symbolism of rebirth. But there's much more. nungali could probably tell more.

In this story the association with Kundalini seems farfetched to me

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"What intelligent person can imagine that there was a first 'day,' then a second and a third 'day'鈥攅vening and morning鈥攚ithout the sun, the moon, and the stars?聽 And that the first 'day'鈥攊f it makes sense to call it such鈥攅xisted even without a sky?聽 Who is foolish enough to believe that, like a human gardener, God planted a garden in Eden in the East and placed in it a tree of life, visible and physical, so that by biting into its fruit one would obtain life? And that by eating from another tree, one would come to know good and evil? And when it is said that God walked in the garden in the evening and that Adam hid himself behind a tree, I cannot imagine that anyone will doubt that these details point symbolically to spiritual meanings, by using an historical narrative which did not literally happen." ~ Origen (c. 184-285 CE), De Principiis

In a similar way, Augustine (354-430 CE) didn't think of the creation story in Genesis as a literal six day creation (if you think Richard Dawkins sounds harsh, read what Augustine had to say about Christians who believed in a literal six day creation!).聽 Such 'creationist' thinking really didn't predominate Christian thought until the 19th century when it felt threatened by what the empirical sciences were discovering (fundamentalism always thrives in periods of fear and perceived unrest).聽 Prior to all that, the creation story was thought more like Aesop's fables -- the stories aren't true insofar as lions, tortoises, hares, and crows don't talk -- yet they do contain truths.聽 But the truth isn't that animals can talk!聽 The bottom line is rather pathetic: Religious fundamentalists simply have poor reading comprehension skillz.聽 Add to that the foisting of all kinds of anachronisms on the Bible, and it all turns to a muddled mess.聽

There's a long history of metaphysical truths and empirical truths splitting from one another and then entering into conflict with one another in the intellectual hsitory of the west.聽 The Reformation only complicated matters, as well as the politics involved.聽 It didn't have to be that way, but Christianity ironically lost faith in itself, carrying the seeds of its own decline.聽

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...

Julian Jaynes thesis, if I recall correctly, is that the eating of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil represents the origin of the discriminating ("bicameral") mind in mythical proto-historical terms.

http://www.julianjaynes.org/bicameralmind.php

https://choboji.org/literature/discriminating-mind/

It's an appealing and plausible hypothesis.

...

Edited by Captain Mar-Vell
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"What intelligent person can imagine that there was a first 'day,' then a second and a third 'day'鈥攅vening and morning鈥攚ithout the sun, the moon, and the stars?聽 And that the first 'day'鈥攊f it makes sense to call it such鈥攅xisted even without a sky?聽 Who is foolish enough to believe that, like a human gardener, God planted a garden in Eden in the East and placed in it a tree of life, visible and physical, so that by biting into its fruit one would obtain life? And that by eating from another tree, one would come to know good and evil? And when it is said that God walked in the garden in the evening and that Adam hid himself behind a tree, I cannot imagine that anyone will doubt that these details point symbolically to spiritual meanings, by using an historical narrative which did not literally happen." ~ Origen (c. 184-285 CE), De Principiis

In a similar way, Augustine (354-430 CE) didn't think of the creation story in Genesis as a literal six day creation (if you think Richard Dawkins sounds harsh, read what Augustine had to say about Christians who believed in a literal six day creation!).聽 Such 'creationist' thinking really didn't predominate Christian thought until the 19th century when it felt threatened by what the empirical sciences were discovering (fundamentalism always thrives in periods of fear and perceived unrest).聽 Prior to all that, the creation story was thought more like Aesop's fables -- the stories aren't true insofar as lions, tortoises, hares, and crows don't talk -- yet they do contain truths.聽 But the truth isn't that animals can talk!聽 The bottom line is rather pathetic: Religious fundamentalists simply have poor reading comprehension skillz.聽 Add to that the foisting of all kinds of anachronisms on the Bible, and it all turns to a muddled mess.聽

There's a long history of metaphysical truths and empirical truths splitting from one another and then entering into conflict with one another in the intellectual hsitory of the west.聽 The Reformation only complicated matters, as well as the politics involved.聽 It didn't have to be that way, but Christianity ironically lost faith in itself, carrying the seeds of its own decline.聽

All the Church Fathers are basically indebted to Philo of Alexandria, also known as Philo the Jew for his own thoroughgoing Platonization of the Old Testament.聽 This gave Jewish mythology a respectability that it would otherwise not have had, and as I noted Here:

He created a whole interpretation of the Pentateuch, the Five Books of Moses', which are the core of the old testament and constitute the Torah, in Platonic terms, which completely precluded the type of Biblical literalism which is the basis of modern Christian fundamentalism:

Philo used philosophical allegory to attempt to fuse and harmonize Greek philosophy with Jewish philosophy. His method followed the practices of both Jewish exegesis and Stoic philosophy. His allegorical exegesis was important for several Christian Church Fathers, but he has barely any reception history within Judaism. He believed that literal interpretations of the Hebrew Bible would stifle humanity's view and perception of a God too complex and marvelous to be understood in literal human terms. (Wikipedia on Philo of Alexandria,聽 Emphasis mine, ZYD)

Edit: Spelling

Edited by Zhongyongdaoist
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"Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths."

I always found it fascinating the first effect of this 'fruit' was an awareness and shame of their naughty bits.聽

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You may find the Golden Dawn 3=8 and 4=7 altar diagrams to be useful.

Yes, because we all know what Biblical authorities Westcott and Mathers were.聽 ^_^

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I always found it fascinating the first effect of this 'fruit' was an awareness and shame of their naughty bits.聽

I found it silly because what we are saying is that something was created with the intention of causing shame.聽 Childish, actually.

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in the evolution of the earth and her soul聽a new Eden so to speak聽is on and in the Way...and in that day no evil will be able to manifest on earth because of the higher and purified state of Her vibration...

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I found it silly because what we are saying is that something was created with the intention of causing shame.聽 Childish, actually.

Hi Marblehead,聽

I had a conversation with an ardent fundamentalist about this very issue, my points with her, were that - if she believes the story as a literal-historical truth, that means,聽

1) Team YHVH Elohim wants us to be unashamed of our bodies, it's actually the Devil that wants you to cover up and feel ashamed at your natural state of things, to feel separate and self-conscious, and

2) What of the indigenous tribes who ran around naked or next to naked that the white man 'discovered' - they felt no shame, they were innocent, no disease, little to no 'crime' - what of them, how is it they were not affected by this 'Fall' of man?

She had no answers.聽

:D

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Exactly.聽 Our natural state - born naked.聽 If you are ashamed of something you were born with then yes, cover it up.

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Exactly.聽 Our natural state - born naked.聽 If you are ashamed of something you were born with then yes, cover it up.

Edited by noonespecial
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You may find the Golden Dawn 3=8 and 4=7 altar diagrams to be useful.

Yes, because we all know what Biblical authorities Westcott and Mathers were.聽 ^_^

I hope that you don't mean to imply ironical disdain to Mathers' and Westcott's Biblical expertise, because aside from the fact that in the late Nineteenth Century they would have learned more of the Bible in Grammer school then most undergraduates in modern theological seminary, the diagrams in question deal with Qabalah and pictorial illustrations of ideas from the Zohar, in particular the Sifra diTzni`uta/Book of the Hidden (住驻专讗 讚爪谞讬注讜转讗), which Mathers had very conveniently published a translation of just a year before the Golden Dawn started taking members.聽 This was a translation of the Latin of Knorr von Rosenroth, but collated with the original Hebrew, of which Mathers knew quite a bit.聽 Was his study and scholarship as rigorous as a modern academic's would be?聽 No, it was not, but it was certainly good enough.

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I hope that you don't mean to imply ironical disdain to Mathers' and Westcott's Biblical expertise, because aside from the fact that in the late Nineteenth Century they would have learned more of the Bible in Grammer school then most undergraduates in modern theological seminary, the diagrams in question deal with Qabalah and pictorial illustrations of ideas from the Zohar, in particular the Sifra diTzni`uta/Book of the Hidden (住驻专讗 讚爪谞讬注讜转讗), which Mathers had very conveniently published a translation of just a year before the Golden Dawn started taking members.聽 This was a translation of the Latin of Knorr von Rosenroth, but collated with the original Hebrew, of which Mathers knew quite a bit.聽 Was his study and scholarship as rigorous as a modern academic's would be?聽 No, it was not, but it was certainly good enough.

And I would add that these diagrams openly depict alchemical keys... but so very few suspect that, much less appreciate it.

UFA

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I hope that you don't mean to imply ironical disdain to Mathers' and Westcott's Biblical expertise, because aside from the fact that in the late Nineteenth Century they would have learned more of the Bible in Grammer school then most undergraduates in modern theological seminary, the diagrams in question deal with Qabalah and pictorial illustrations of ideas from the Zohar, in particular the Sifra diTzni`uta/Book of the Hidden (住驻专讗 讚爪谞讬注讜转讗), which Mathers had very conveniently published a translation of just a year before the Golden Dawn started taking members.聽 This was a translation of the Latin of Knorr von Rosenroth, but collated with the original Hebrew, of which Mathers knew quite a bit.聽 Was his study and scholarship as rigorous as a modern academic's would be?聽 No, it was not, but it was certainly good enough.

Of course not.聽 :)

When the world knows beauty as beauty, ugliness arises

When it knows good as good, evil arises

~TTC

Edited by noonespecial

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When the world knows beauty as beauty, ugliness arises

When it knows good as good, evil arises

~TTC

Yep.聽 The conceptual creation of good/evil, god/devil, etc.

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Of course not.聽 :)

When the world knows beauty as beauty, ugliness arises

When it knows good as good, evil arises

~TTC

Thanks for the clarification.聽 I thought your statement a little ambiguous, even the聽 "smiley".

"When the world knows beauty as beauty, ugliness arises

When it knows good as good, evil arises"

The problem with statements like this, no matter who has said them, is that some cheeky lad or lass in the audience is going to as ask "So, does that mean its good not to recognize good and evil?"聽 Which opens a very wriggly can of worms indeed.聽 Though if you have enough patience they can be sorted out.聽 I certainly don't have time now.

As for such esoteric interpretations of "Old Testament" texts, I spent a lot of time with Mathers' Zohar translation in the early 70s and after a few years came to the conclusion that while the author or authors had gone to a lot of trouble to justify the doctrines they were espousing through copious Biblical citations and "rationalizations" of great ingenuity, that they were basically reading things into the text that were not intended by the original author or authors, though I suppose a "sensus plenior" interpretation could be used to answer that, but I find sensus plenior a rather egregious case of begging the question.聽 However, the conclusion that the source of the doctrines was not in the Bible itself, but elsewhere, did lead to an interesting line of research, which by the way leads us back to Philo of Alexandria and what was going on in the centuries around the middle of the Hellenistic Era.聽 Which opens up a can of worms of a different type, and I don't have time for that now either.

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The problem with statements like this, no matter who has said them, is that some cheeky lad or lass in the audience is going to as ask "So, does that mean its good not to recognize good and evil?"聽 Which opens a very wriggly can of worms indeed.聽 Though if you have enough patience they can be sorted out.聽 I certainly don't have time now.

But that is actually a concept well worth discussion periodically.

Reality is what it is; it's not just the labels we place upon things and concepts.

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Thanks for the clarification.聽 I thought your statement a little ambiguous, even the聽 "smiley".

"When the world knows beauty as beauty, ugliness arises

When it knows good as good, evil arises"

The problem with statements like this, no matter who has said them, is that some cheeky lad or lass in the audience is going to as ask "So, does that mean its good not to recognize good and evil?"聽 Which opens a very wriggly can of worms indeed.聽 Though if you have enough patience they can be sorted out.聽 I certainly don't have time now.

As for such esoteric interpretations of "Old Testament" texts, I spent a lot of time with Mathers' Zohar translation in the early 70s and after a few years came to the conclusion that while the author or authors had gone to a lot of trouble to justify the doctrines they were espousing through copious Biblical citations and "rationalizations" of great ingenuity, that they were basically reading things into the text that were not intended by the original author or authors, though I suppose a "sensus plenior" interpretation could be used to answer that, but I find sensus plenior a rather egregious case of begging the question.聽 However, the conclusion that the source of the doctrines was not in the Bible itself, but elsewhere, did lead to an interesting line of research, which by the way leads us back to Philo of Alexandria and what was going on in the centuries around the middle of the Hellenistic Era.聽 Which opens up a can of worms of a different type, and I don't have time for that now either.

Hi Zhongyongdaoist,

Last year I was privy to sit in on a couple of meetings of a little Kabbalah get together with a group of artists who spend time between Tzfat, Israel and California and one of the things I learned is just how far removed these Israeli, Lurianic lineages are from 'Hermetic' Qabalah, and not in a religious sense, the concepts discussed were very advanced, beyond anything I've seen discussed in books and most interestingly their 'work' in the initiate was measurable.

Is there still value in the GD and their offshoots? Maybe? But it always seems to bottleneck at a certain point 聽(as with my experience in BOTA)聽and this is why we see the general disarray of mainstream western occult groups, there is no meat and potatoes under that gravy. So then, if Mathers, Westcott or whoever were not initiated into a true hebraic esoteric lineage how can we expect them to produce 'correct' diagrams explaining the meaning of Genesis?聽

And the reason for the included quote from TTC, is that it sums up succinctly (for me at least) the esoteric meaning of Genesis1.聽 :huh:

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Hi Zhongyongdaoist,

Last year I was privy to sit in on a couple of meetings of a little Kabbalah get together with a group of artists who spend time between Tzfat, Israel and California and one of the things I learned is just how far removed these Israeli, Lurianic lineages are from 'Hermetic' Qabalah, and not in a religious sense, the concepts discussed were very advanced, beyond anything I've seen discussed in books and most interestingly their 'work' in the initiate was measurable.

Is there still value in the GD and their offshoots? Maybe? But it always seems to bottleneck at a certain point (as with my experience in BOTA) and this is why we see the general disarray of mainstream western occult groups, there is no meat and potatoes under that gravy. So then, if Mathers, Westcott or whoever were not initiated into a true hebraic esoteric lineage how can we expect them to produce 'correct' diagrams explaining the meaning of Genesis?

And the reason for the included quote from TTC, is that it sums up succinctly (for me at least) the esoteric meaning of Genesis1. :huh: (Emphasis mine, ZYD)

just how far removed these Israeli, Lurianic lineages are from 'Hermetic' Qabalah: I learned it when I read Herbert Weiner's Nine and Half Mystics back in the early 70s. The difference between his work and 鈥淗ermetic Qabalah鈥 was so significant that I coined the categories 鈥淜osher鈥 and 鈥淲asp鈥 Qabalah for them. Don Kraig, whom I met in 1980, later used those terms in Modern Magick, he also 鈥渂orrowed鈥 a few other jokes from me, not that he wasn't a very funny guy in his own right, as anyone who knew him knows.

I studied the differences for some time reading a lot of Kosher Qabalah, but at a certain point I lost interest because I saw that the Tree of Life as a formal system was not dependent on Judaism, other than originating there, but rather, as I have pointed out in other posts on the Dao Bums, could be interpreted within a Platonic context, where it seemed, to my judgment at least, a better adaptation of Platonic ideas than Proclus, not that one shouldn't study Proclus. I came to these conclusions in the late 70s and stopped following Kosher Qabalah by the mid 80s.

Is there still value in the GD: Yes, in my opinion based on my study and experience, there definitely is value to the Golden Dawn tradition, but as I have pointed out in many of my posts on the Dao Bums, but mostly recently in the thread on Eliphas Levi, the theory of magic as it existed in the late Nineteenth Century was severely flawed and it is only when the Golden Dawn system is practiced within the wider theoretical structure of Agrippa's Three Books on Occult Philosophy that it is really planted, one might say, in fertile ground. This in turn requires a fully formed Platonic ontology and metaphysics, without these the source withers and dies. I don't want to get into the issue of its offshoots, but I could enter into detailed criticism of Crowley and to a certain extent of Case, though of the two, Crowley was the more damaging to the theory and practice of magic.

The issues related to Mathers and Westcott are too complex to enter into here, but based on what I have gotten from digging rather deeply into their system, I would have to say that somehow or other they plugged into something. Now, what I value most in the Golden Dawn system is what most people study the least, the structure of the initiatory rituals, and the reason that I do is the so called 鈥淶 Documents鈥, which, from the time I first read them in late 1970, to the present, I have thought were some of the most suggestive and profound works on magic that I have read, beginning with the idea of using the formal structure of the rituals as a pattern for the magical rituals which one performs, a development of an idea which I later discovered is to be found in Agrippa's work, and continuing into the details of the construction and form of the initiatory rituals themselves.聽 Obviously I cannot go into more details of this here, if for no more reason then space.

And the reason for the included quote from TTC: Yes, I saw its relevance, but wished to take advantage of it to point out the logical conundrum involved in such statements, especially when taken out of the context of the complete DDJ, as they often are.

Edit: Spelling

Edited by Zhongyongdaoist

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Exactly.聽 Our natural state - born naked.聽 If you are ashamed of something you were born with then yes, cover it up.

yeah but 聽...... I was born with it 聽.... 聽but 聽it dont look like that no more 聽 :( 聽 聽

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