Category: Eve

Some words on Lilith, Adam and Eve

Some words on Lilith, Adam and Eve

serpentimages (1)

I did it again – I put up a post earlier that was not fully edited. If you receive it twice I am sorry.

Firstly, thank you all who’ve been with me on these posts over the last several weeks. I’ve so appreciated you stopping by and adding valuable comments. I would love to think that others also stop by and read others’ comments – I know that my learning is enlarged so thank you again.  

I thought I’d add this – maybe it could have been used when I introduced Lilith in the beginning with the following, but whichever way –

Lilith first came to my attention many many years ago when Dr. Susan Schwartz, Jungian analyst from Phoenix, Arizona, gave a talk to the Jung Centre here in Johannesburg on ‘Marriage and Divorce and the Nature of Unresolved Psychological Issues therein’.

She said and I quote from her transcript:

‘The Adam and Lilith story represents a stereotype of the masculine and feminine in relationships we see today. Adam expresses no curiosity about Lilith’s needs. He complains to God the authority to correct Lilith and make her obey him (italics mine). The two never work it out, learn nothing about communication skills and separate in mutual frustration. Later, God gives Adam another wife and we see the same unresolved issues  of the original situation appearing again. Ignored, psychological elements tend to return – Eve also thinks for herself and challenges the masculine status quo by listening to the snake, eating the apple and encouraging Adam to do the same’.

Thus began my research and study and fascination with the biblical story. I was aware that Eve had rebelled by eating the forbidden fruit and the dire consequences of that, felt to this day. But, a wife before Eve? I was intrigued to say the least. I was also much intrigued by the role of the serpent who seemed to be a significant cause in Adam and Eve’s banishment from Paradise.

So, the first two women banished – Lilith to the underworld of the depths of the Red Sea; Eve banished with her partner into another world – all in exile.

I wonder if Adam mourned the loss of Lilith. I think he did in some way. She was after all the feminine side of him – his other half – which he rejected, which even today man tries to find within himself if he wishes to be whole. Women too – He must have felt the loss of her keenly and no doubt felt very alone until God fashioned his second wife. I wonder if he pondered Lilith’s dark chthonic powers and whether that energy that they had between them could have been transformed into something more loving and compassionate. Is it a reasonable hypothesis that he saw Lilith as someone to be tamed, much like mankind has an agenda to tame nature and make her subservient to his demands? –

It is said that Adam and Eve left the Garden bore their expulsion with humility and dignity. Adam had his arm around Eve as if to protect her. As they left the Garden, Eve’s tears fell onto the ground up from which sprung lilies.

I’m concluding this with a recent comment from Deborah Weber on a recent post. 

‘I think of integration, of the light and dark, the divine masculine and divine feminine, as the life-long work we’re here to do – to move ourselves (and our societies) into wholeness. And every time there’s a new reminder of how to look at this, a different avenue to approach this, it feels like a blessing to me. It brings us back front and centre. Wholeness/holiness’.

They are powerful archetypes which can be used as stepping stones and do the work to bring the masculine and feminine into harmony …

with thanks to google images for the caduceus

 

The Art of the Dark Feminine

The Art of the Dark Feminine

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The Dark Feminine is alive and well and living in our psyches in some shape or form or manifestation. Adam’s rejection of Lilith, the female part of him, is indicative of the historically rejected feminine, the female energy within men and women which is still a recurring theme in today’s world to the detriment of us all. The dark and light battle it out on the world stage as well as within individuals. As above, so below. It is necessary it seems to me to reconcile the two. Not necessarily to reach a truce but for each aspect of light and dark (energies) to be acknowledged and fully integrated, male and female, within and without. Let go of attachment of one over the other … they need each other. Marry those energies so that they complement each other and are not in opposition to each other. 

Forever, the feminine has been suppressed. Yes, strides have been made in many spheres in today’s world at least in the western world. Equal rights previously denied are in effect. But I’m not talking about equal rights. We’re aware of man’s inhumanity to man. And woman to woman. Man to woman and vice-versa. Activism is alive and well; the struggle continues. We continue to roar like a lioness for the conjunctio of female and male energies. We want the world to be a less confusing and fearful place in which to live. Can each individual contribute to peace? Can we work through our disillusionment of inter alia governmental, religious, education institutions, systems with which we are so familiar and thus slide into numbness without even realising it? Disillusionment is hard work, yet it serves in getting to the core of who we are. We’re much more than the ideology shoved down our throats. Wars are not representative of the ordinary person, neither is desecration of nature. We can find our own authority in our disillusionment. In bringing the Dark Feminine out from the shadows we can find the Sacred Feminine and the Sacred Masculine – and ultimately freedom from the ties that bind us. What is hidden will be revealed and from the two emerges the third – 

With all the murder and mayhem around the world, from terrorist groups to oil pipelines bursting, sewerage spilling into rivers, drought and deluge, rain forests plundered for palm oil, GMO and pesticides causing havoc in agricultural lands causing declining inter alia butterfly and bee populations, poverty, genocide, rape, corruption, coverups, we have to admit there is darkness all around. I for one am extremely troubled by all of this. I’m almost inclined to stick my head in the sand, get on with my life, and hope for the best. Look for beauty and to hell with darkness – let it take a hike – stay in the comfort of my cocoon –

But –

‘Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people’. (C.G. Jung, in a letter to a student).

What does this mean? It means to me that I acknowledge that I can be very dark indeed when I’m angry, sad, beyond irritated, morose, despairing, murderous, if not in real life then in my dreams, difficult, one-sided in my attitude – the list is long. I can’t just reject and disown the darkness in me – it is alive and well and is possibly in part because of my rage at the suppressed feminine. It is part of my struggle in ‘knowing myself’ and to which I try to be compassionate and thereby compassionate towards others.

And when I reflect on all that is beautiful and comforting, true and real, visible or invisible, whether in Mother Nature, friends, family, I see art in the impressions of the dark feminine and I allow her penetration.

Some sources say Lilith means ‘night’, others say Lilith means ‘light’. She contains both night and light, two lovely opposites belonging together, side-by-side, wonderfully paradoxical.

‘Don’t compromise yourself. You are all you’ve got’: Janis Joplin. 

Tonight Venus (female) and Jupiter (male) will be extremely close, shining brightly in the night sky. I saw them last night – they were so vivid and beautiful. It’s being referred to as a conjunction – I’ll be looking up again tonight

‘The secret is that only that which can destroy itself is truly alive’. C.G. Jung (Psychology & Alchemy)rainbow

with thanks to google images for above images

Eve part 3

Eve Part 3

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Many women writers have defended Eve and her actions, and have wrestled about possible interpretations of Adam and Eve and their ‘fall’ from grace. Their fresh perspectives on Eve and her submission in eating the fruit has allowed womens’ voices to be heard from their own experience and not from that of a patriarchal view. Women throughout the ages have tried to reject the projection of sin put upon them by their male counterparts. Women are able to bear the burden of sin on their own if need be but having to be patriarchy’s scapegoat is not acceptable. Sadly, many women have accepted their ‘inferiority’, and this can be seen for example by the ambivalence with which many women and even young girls view their bodies.

Abbess Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) spent much of her life meditating on Adam and Eve and the meanings to be gleaned from their time both within and outside Paradise in terms of person to person relationship; relationship to God and relationship to Satan. Hildegard was benign to Eve, seeing in her the person who bestows divinity onto humanity and seeing in her also the prefiguration of Mary. Pain in childbirth is not seen as inevitable or a curse. Rather, each time the mother gives birth, the hidden God is revealed. By giving birth, God’s image is revealed in every child who is born.*

Christine de Pizan (1365-1430) became a writer to avoid destitution after the death of her husband and father. She exchanged letters (Querelles des Femmes) with the male humanists of the era, arguing for equal status of women.  She was disillusioned by the male writers of the time in their denigration of women. She rehabilitates Eve (The Book of the City of Ladies), arguing that Eve was made in the image of God and asserting that Adam and Eve’s souls were of equal value. She states that Eve, being fashioned from the rib of Adam shows surely that she should be at his side as companion, not as slave, and that a master craftsman’s hand must have been at work to make Eve out of Adam.

Sarah Joseph Hale (1788-1879) prefaces her book ‘Woman’s Record’ published in 1853, with her understanding and interpretation of the fall. She contends that Adam needed assistance in cultivating his good qualities and, ‘left to himself, his love becomes lust; patriotism (becomes) policy; and religion, idolatry. He is naturally selfish in his affections and selfishness is the sin of depravity’. She also contends that Eve took the apple because of her ‘higher faculties of her mind … (her) desire for knowledge and wisdom …(and that Adam ate with) compliance (typical of a person of a) lower nature … (and motives no higher) than gratifying his sensuous inclinations’.

Richard Lewontin of Harvard University tells us that according to the Haggadic legend, the celestial cloner put a great deal of thought into technique. In deciding what of Adam’s organs to use for Eve, He had the problem of finding tissue, what the biologist calls ‘totipotent’ i.e. not already committed in development to a particular function. So He cloned Eve-

”not from the head, lest she carry her head high in arrogant pride, not from the eye, lest she be wanton-eyed, not from the ear, lest she be an eavesdropper, not from the neck, lest she be insolent, not from the mouth, lest she be a tattler, not from the heart, lest she be inclined to envy, not from the hand, lest she be a meddler, not from the foot, lest she be a gadabout. But from the rib, a ‘chaste portion of the body’. In spite of all the care and knowledge, something went wrong, and we have been earning a living by the sweat of our brows ever since”.

And I read this somewhere – if Adam had not accepted the apple from Eve he would still be waiting for his supper –

* Pamela Norris: The Story of Eve. Picador 1998

Next week I will wrap up with Lilith & Eve

with thanks to google images for above image ..

Eve, Part Two

Eve, part  two.yinyang

We left Eve in the last post, expelled with Adam from the Garden of Eden, into a new world of duality, away from their innocent unity. In that post I posited that going against the status quo and disobeying rules is often necessary for our psychological development. 

Did Eve have an innate urge to move from unconsciousness such as there was in the Garden of Eden?

Imagine if they stayed there for all time. Peace, bliss, harmony. No friction, no energy. It was too tranquil, too quiescent, too stable, too domesticated. No incentive to grow, no incentive to move beyond established boundaries.

God, like a good parent, had to let them go in order to grow emotionally and spiritually, mentally and psychologically. Trust had been developed in the Garden and I surmise that He wanted them to move from there and exercise their God-given free will. We as parents or adults also have to let our children go and grow and flee the nest. This applies as well to making decisions about leaving a stifling relationship or career or community, and moving out into the wider world and all the responsibilities attendant on that.

The story of Eros and Psyche illustrates the necessity of contact with the real world. This is the story where Psyche the beautiful maiden is deeply in love with Eros (son of Aphrodite), although there is a condition to their love. Psyche’s love for Eros is pure and she lives in an idyllic state, but she may not look upon him with open eyes as this will mean death to him and their love. However, Psyche’s two jealous sisters convince her that Eros is actually a serpent in disguise and she must kill him while he is sleeping. Psyche takes their advice and one night with lighted lamp in hand, she approaches Eros to kill him. But a drop of oil from her lamp falls on his shoulders and awakens Eros. He has been betrayed and flees to Psyche’s suicidal despair. Now begins Psyche’s journey to selfhood away from unconsciousness. Like Eve who took the first bite, so too does Psyche break the taboo albeit at her sisters’ jealous encouragement.

*Antony Stevens, British psychiatrist and Jungian analyst in his commentary of this story says, and I quote:

‘In this, the sisters function in a similar manner to the snake in the Garden of Eden which encourages Adam and Eve to break the taboo imposed by Jehovah. Expulsion from Paradise results in contact with the real world and a development in consciousness’ (italics mine).

He also comments on the story of Bluebeard and says: “Disobeying Bluebeard’s command, his errant wife enters the forbidden chamber and discovers his guilty secret. Disobedience is about defying the dominant male, refusing to be subordinate and coming to self-hood. It is a necessary step on the path to individuation, and a realisation in consciousness of one’s full self-potential”.

I suggest that Eve heard the knock on the door as Lilith/Serpent offered the apple, and not only opened the door but entered in and beyond thus setting the scene for their expulsion, needed in order to develop their consciousness and evolvement, a necessary requirement for today’s world and one worthy of deep and ongoing consideration.

Eve lifted the veil from Adam’s eyes – a courageous and intuitive act in her search for the beginning knowledge of opposites – Good and Evil – a knowledge necessary for higher consciousness. She may have had a momentary illusion of power in her desire for knowledge of Good and Evil, but she brought the beginnings of consciousness into the world and this is surely an act to be celebrated.

Yes, Adam and Eve were now alienated from God’s Grace. Perhaps in time they would come to value that which they had lost and thus seek in time to return to God’s Grace but this time in greater awareness, intention and consciousness.

Consciousness means using the gift of free will, choice, consciously, with no hidden agenda.

*Antony Stevens: Ariadne’s Clue. A Guide to the Symbols of Humankind. Allen Lane. Penguin Press, 1998

with thanks to google images for yin yang symbol

Eve, Part One

EVE, Part One
Eveimages (3)

Eveimages (4)In last week’s post, Lilith emerged from the depths of the Red Sea to return to the place of her banishment – The Garden of Eden, Paradise.

Imagine: Eve, free as a bird within the Garden, delighting in its earthly treasures, beauty all about, Adam happily larking about somewhere, she as companion to him, helpmeet,  comfortable, secure, all their needs met, wanting for nothing. Paradise indeed! Who among us does not have such a yearning for such utter bliss of being at At-One-Ment – whether conscious or not of such a yearning –

I imagine Eve languishing against the Tree where she always took her leisure, in reverie. That particular Tree with its bountiful, glossy, red-ripe apples of which G.d had expressly forbidden eating. She herself felt that way sometimes, sensual, ripe, luscious.  There was not any other thing that she could not have – all was hers for the taking, save for the fruits of that one Tree. 

Lilith in disguise as serpent approached Eve when Adam was nowhere to be seen, perhaps sensing a kinship in her.

We’re familiar with the words: ‘Has God indeed said you shall not eat of every tree in the Garden?’

Eve pondered the question awhile and replied: ‘We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the Garden, but not of the fruits of the tree which is in the midst of the Garden, that God said, You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die’.

Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die’.

‘God knows’, said the serpent, ‘that as soon as you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be as God, knowing good and evil’.

Eve heard those words for the first time. Good and Evil. She wondered what this meant. What was this knowledge. Two words holding great energy, each seemingly in opposition to each other and yet somehow belonging together, each spoken with gravitas by the serpent/Lilith as if each word held equivalent weight.

Eve was unable to articulate the sensations coursing through her body but there was a reaction within her, like a jolt of electricity. Doubt, questioning, curiosity, every cell in her being was heightened. She felt touched and caressed, yet also a little frightened at the core of her being. In a trance like state she took the proffered fruit and took it into herself, biting, chewing, swallowing. It was bitter-sweet.

Adam appeared and Eve offered the apple to him which he accepted. God then approached, giving them a little time to hide in the bushes to cover their newly realised nakedness and shame for they knew they had been disobedient.

He spoke directly to Adam for it was to him that He had given the initial prohibition. Adam told God that Eve was to blame and that she had coerced him; Eve told God that the serpent had made her do it.

Both Adam and Eve were guilty of laying the blame elsewhere – in the other. The ‘sin’ as it were, was ‘out there’. Not for one moment did they think or feel that their act of disobedience resided within either of them. Neither was prepared to accept responsibility for their individual action. It was easier for each to deny their role and blame the other. It is a recurring theme in our lives …

So, both exiled from the Garden with shame as their companion and no maps to guide them, into the hurly burly of real life, rough roads to be traversed.

We all need our peace and quiet, but when things are too peaceful and passive, when we are like naive and innocent children, when we live in an ongoing state of unconsciousness there is no room for growth, no room for discernment, differentiation, reflection. We need those opposites, Good and Evil the first ones in the Bible, to be broken into and broken apart in order to permit an emerging consciousness from the unconscious.

Eve, like Lilith, was banished from the security of the known into the unknown. Each of their actions caused their brutal exile, into an unfamiliar world, all now rent in two, a necessary pre-condition for consciousness, away forever from the security of the Garden of Eden, Paradise, where all was once one, unity.

In next week’s post, part 2, I’ll look at the necessity of breaking prohibitions which many times leave us in the status quo and the necessity of breaking them for our psychological developmental health.

with thanks to google images

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