Eve-0-lution: The birth of humankind
Studying midrash is a traditional method of studying biblical text. I offer a non-traditional midrash about Eve. Her name means the mother of the living. As women, how do we regard her and how does that affect the way we feel about ourselves? Eve, in Hebrew, Hava, can be understood in an entirely different light once we realize that the original story of our origins is told as poetry rather than prose. Poetry speaks in metaphor and when read literally, robs the reader of the grandeur of the images. The most dramatic result of such reading results in a negative, patriarchal assumption about the about the “mother of living”. Not the disobedient, temptress she has been maligned to represent, Eve is, in fact, the quintessential heroine. She represents the bold and courageous intuitive aspect each human being possesses that moves the human story forward.
Eve stood beneath the branches of the Tree at the center of the Garden. They surrounded her, protectively like the wings of those who sang so sweetly from the tree. She loved being here, at home, in the Garden. The glowing fruit was in her hand, warm, soft and inviting. She knew that the juice would be sweet to taste. Although time did not yet exist, here she was able to gaze into what would become the past and future of earth’s history. Once again she thought about her alternatives. She had been given the choice before, and she knew she would be given the chance again. Not eating would ensure that innocence would remain in the Garden. Innocence, she knew, was incomplete, inexperienced and inert. She looked at the warm, living fruit in her hand. The rosy blush of the sacred fruit was as pleasing to her eyes as its feel was to her hand. Eating of this gift of creation would open for them the gates of the Garden. They could step out into a material beginning. She looked at her beloved Adam. As the separated beings they would agree to become, they would experience loneliness. They would not be able to merge, as they could now, in this Garden of Oneness. Sexual fulfillment would be the closest they would come to knowing the ecstasy of merging.
Separation would be necessary because the material world on Earth would operate under the law of duality. The challenge for their children would be to find a place of balance between the apparent opposites they would experience, to find the Oneness from which they came. This would be the first exodus of many for the children of humanity, whose mission would be incomplete until Oneness was attained. Physicality would bring the wonder of physical experience and emotion, as well as loneliness and even forgetfulness: to be totally present in their material world, their energies and attention would have to focus on the physical realm. She and Adam, her soul-mate and help-meet, would be the agents of consciousness that bring the God-force into yet another level of existence. Adam comfortably deferred to her intuitive sense in matters of discussions with Wholly-One, just as Eve, he knew, would willingly follow his plan once the course of action was decided. Balance and happiness, you see, really did reign in that Garden!
Eve knew how she would be vilified by humanity in its childhood. For a time, many of her sons would consider her the most evil of beings because of her decision to start this journey. She knew that her wondrous intuitive sense, with which she communed with Wholly-One would come to be detested and feared. Intuition would be symbolized by the awesome snake— icon of wisdom and knowledge— which, like Eve, would become feared and demonized. Wholly-One assured her that although this early stage would seem like an eternity when they were in physical garments of skin, it would really be as a momentary. Time and space, after all, would be but illusions they would devise in trying to understand and to remember. Each would claim their Divinity when ready. Ultimately they would bless her and gratefully acknowledge her as their mother, the spark of the start of physical experience.
For much of its childhood, humanity would take literally all the allegories their priests and storytellers would invent regarding their beginnings, until the time for maturity drew closer and understanding of symbol and myth would softly creep into their consciousness. It would take these children time to understand that this journey was a choice she and Adam were given by Wholly-One, who wanted them to undertake it— but only when they were ready. It had to be a choice of free will, which was the natural law in the Garden, as duality would be on Earth.
Previously, she had hesitated. Compassion for generations of her future children stayed her hand. She could see the road ahead, the blindness, the misunderstandings, the hatred, the pain and tears caused by their ignorance. Out of those painful lessons would come understanding and remembrance. She would be blessed always by Wholly-One as she was now. She knew what Wholly-One wanted from her when she was ready and now, finally, she was.
In joy and thankfulness, she put the sweet fruit to her lips, and savored its fragrance and flavor. This was the key to the Gates. She reached out and took another fruit from the sacred branch and giving it to Adam, encouraged him to eat with her. They once again discussed the odyssey they were to undertake. He was not sure he was ready for separation and the loneliness, for himself or for their children. He grieved for the time in the story in which his sons would forget the “wholiness” of his daughters. Eve understood and lovingly encouraged him, knowing that everything would turn out just the way it should. She knew it was time.
Hesitating, he came to a decision. If Eve was ready, he would follow her intuition. He ate of the fruit she had brought to him. It was delicious. Savoring the wonder of it, he walked to the tree and took a second peach. Eve knew that his eating twice from the tree would make memory more difficult for him but she would be there, at his side, to help him remember. In sleep and story they would have the opportunity to cast off their human forms and revert to all they really were. She, Daughter of Wholly-One gave thanks, honored and joyful to be doing what had been desired, but never asked, of her. She lay down next to him and merged with him once more, for the last time, the two becoming one— inner and outer, active and receptive, male and female, intuitive and intellectual, thinking and feeling, wisdom and understanding, compassion and discernment — all at-one-ment in the garden.
“Tomorrow” the adventure would begin. Eventually, they would return to the Garden, mature, whole and fulfilled, having completed the task lovingly offered them. The wholly-one slept peacefully beneath the Tree of The Wholly One.