I chose the name of my blog after our Old Testament avatars, the so-called first man and woman, Adam and Eve. This name “adamevenevenadam” includes a play on words around these names, as I search to make sense of why our societies and cultures around the world so fear and hate the feminine. My quest, as an artist and as a human being, is to make a contribution, however small, to increasing awareness in our hearts and minds about our own natures and how to take responsibility for the masculine and feminine portions of our own souls. Our inner worlds and lives reflect the outer world of culture in which we live, and when we take responsibility for ourselves, we transform the world.
The story of Adam and Eve is an allegory of humankind’s first step into consciousness, in my opinion. Again, I reinforce the point that I am an artist and questioner of life – a seeker of awareness. I am not a theologian, a political scientist, a philosopher, psychologist, or a historian. I do question why Christianity primarily defines the act of Eve eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge and tempting Adam to disobey God’s law as the Original Sin. If you think carefully about the story, it is interesting and complex. Adam and Eve were living in a perfect environment – the Garden of Eden. All of their needs were taken care of – they wanted for nothing. Everything was given to them – they had nothing to create. Sometimes all of us wish we were as little infants, all of our needs provided and nothing asked of us but to obey a few rules. Does this situation not reflect the state of a small child? It might also evoke the state of an animal – living from instinct, repeating inborn knowledge without reinventing its own life. I also ponder the role and meaning of the snake in the garden. I once read that the snake had legs in that time, and that its punishment for disobeying God was to lose that means of locomotion.
In the story, the snake seems to insinuate to Eve that the fruit of the tree of knowledge and partaking thereof would bring her a new and special experience. Eve is tempted; she wants to strike out on her own. Adam is encouraged by his companion to also try the fruit. Instead of blaming Eve for the loss of a perfect life with no responsibilities other than following certain rules, let us try to understand what eating this fruit really might mean. To me, the Tree of Knowledge represents self-awareness, and with self-awareness comes the pain of loss – loss of childhood innocence, and the necessity of responsibility for one’s choices. For with choices come consequences. After they ate the fruit, Adam and Eve felt shame and became aware that they were naked. Before, like babies, they had no such awareness. In my opinion, awareness is necessary, and it always takes a transgression to break away from one’s parents. In this case, the parents of Adam and Eve was God. As our parents are like all-powerful Gods to us when we are small children. It is hard to disobey our parents, yet is is necessary to do so in order to start becoming our own person. As human beings, this is a primal necessity – and something we struggle with throughout our lives. The desire to please God – to please our parents, and the need to obey the God within and fulfill our personal divine destiny are both simultaneously present.
In the case of Adam and Eve, it is confusing because it seems as if the true Self, the God within, is in contradiction with the God without. The Bible says that God created us in His image – as creators, as male and as female. God could not expect us to be perfect, or He would not have created us as he did – with the ability to make choices on our own: Free Will. Did God really punish Adam and Eve by sending them out of the garden into a harsh world where childbirth would be painful for women, where their needs would not automatically be provided for? Are we angry at Adam and Eve for that act of defiance, for the risk they took to become self-aware? Would it have been preferable that they remain innocent and also ignorant of themselves?
I believe that each of us is on this planet for many lifetimes, and that our time spent on Earth is to learn and grow as souls. There are many religions and world views, and all contain wisdom and knowledge to help us to grow. We also contain inner wisdom and our experiences, sufferings, challenges, choices all contribute to our growth. I feel that if Adam and Eve had remained in the garden, they would have lead a charmed and pleasant life, but a life without suffering is a life without growth. It is by making choices and bearing the consequences for these choices that we learn and expand our souls. We hopefully learn to include compassion for others as we observe others suffering as we do.
The serpent in the garden is an interesting character. He seems evil, the charming sociopath who tempts us to see parts of ourselves of which we were not yet aware. He tempts the innocent to stray into experience, to make mistakes, to choose pleasure and end up experiencing pain. We cannot bask in the light of beauty and spirit if there is no contrasting darkness. The balance of the two makes up the flux of life and the continuity of its process and progress. As in life, there is much ambiguity in the story of Adam and Eve. I think it would be a great mistake to continue to blame Eve for the loss of innocence of humanity. Perhaps we should thank her for setting an example – that with risks taken come great pains…the rewards and fruits of which are perhaps not happiness, wealth, peace or joy, but rather wisdom gained through resilience and the pursuit of experience and personal self-knowledge. I believe that in this Universe, we are artists and co-creators with divine forces, those forces that live within each of us. As humans, we are imperfect, and we do make mistakes. We do control how we respond to situations, and it is imperative that we learn to look within ourselves and take responsibility for our choices.
Blaming Eve for the loss of innocence: a story in which darkness is projected onto the feminine. This seems to happen again and again in our world. Please look again, and try to understand. We all have aspects of the masculine and feminine within us. There is no life without either of those forces. We were all created in the image of God, and that image is both masculine and feminine. If we see in the mirror of others something that we don’t understand, something we fear, something we hate because we fear it – those are all signs that we must look within ourselves to learn about and embrace those aspects of life, of energy, of soul that we fear. That the feminine has been persecuted for thousands of years speaks volumes about the direction our societies must now take to learn and grow. We must embrace and incorporate the feminine into our daily lives. We must learn and become aware of the positive and negative aspects of the feminine and teach them to our children. Our world, our survival as a species, and our planet depends upon this awareness.