At the turning point of time
The cosmic spirit-light stepped
Into earthly evolution;
Had ended its reign;
The bright light of day
Streamed into human souls;
The poor shepherd hearts
The wise kings’ heads.
Sun of Christ,
Our hearts —
So that good results
Our hearts beget,
Forcefully will to do.
Foundation Stone Meditation, Rudolf Steiner
Adam and Eve are not just two people. They are a metaphor for the primordial Vessel whose existence preceded creation. Just as all the colours of the spectrum exist within a single beam of sunlight, the Vessel encompassed all matter, space, time and consciousness. And all the souls of humankind were also present in the Vessel.
The Vessel shattered because of a contradiction in its nature. It had been created only to receive, but, in being filled with the Creator’s Light, it had also received and taken on a degree of the Creator’s own nature: the desire to share. All of our existence now is predicated on the goal of transforming this duality into a single desire, the desire to receive for the sake of sharing, in order to be able to finally reconnect with the Creator and receive the fullness of His Light.
This can happen in only one way. The shards of the shattered Vessel – you and I – must choose to make it happen. We must choose of our own free will to transform ourselves into ‘beings of sharing,’ as the kabbalists say, first on an individual level, and ultimately as a collective transformation of all humankind. Not even God can do this for us. Transformation is the supreme expression and the only expression of free will. It is the choice we make in every thought, feeling and action. Adam and Eve faced this choice in the Garden. They chose wrongly, but, their intentions were good.
The allure of evil makes that choice more difficult, and therefore more worthy. Evil, in its way, therefore serves the Creator. Indeed, by understanding this we can free ourselves from its temptations. A parable in the Zohar dramtises this teaching: A king forbade his son to consort with harlots, but the he hired a harlot to test the strength of his son’s character. The son was tempted – until he realised that the harlot was acting in the service of his father. She then lost all power over him.
The serpent in the Garden (acting in the service of our Father) is essential to our final transformation, but he certainly doesn’t make it any easier! At the time of his fateful encounter with Adam and Eve at the Tree of Knowledge, their state of being was fundamentally different from what ours is now. They embodied the pure energy of desire, and Kabbalah teaches that desire is inherently a positive force.
While the conventional view of our first ancestors portrays them as transgressors, the kabbalists point out that their motivation was to serve God. The serpent understood this also. In fact, he used their positive intentions to manipulate them for his own ends. He fostered the transformation of their pure, undifferentiated desire into desire to receive for themselves alone.
And the serpent said to the woman, ‘You are not going to die, but God knows that as soon as you eat of [the tree] your eyes will be opened and you will be like divine beings who know good and bad’. (Genesis 3:4)
Because Adam and Eve were not fully constituted to receive the Light – because the Vessel had not yet earned an unmediated connection – they were overwhelmed by the moment in the same way that a weak electrical circuit will flash brightly and then burn out at the sudden infusion of a powerful current. The kabbalists literalise this principle through a startling addition to the narrative:
Adam and Even took a second bite!
In the interval, a fundamental transformation had taken place, but not the positive one that had been envisoned. Rather, their desire had lost its sharing intention and had become self-serving. They were farther than ever away from unity with the nature of God, and this is exactly what the serpent had intended. It is essential to understand, however, that the impasse is also an opportunity. By traversing it, we can truly prepare the Vessel. We can earn the Light. We can receive it and take fulfillment in it. Most important, we can share it.
We have spoken of Adam and Eve as a couple, but until that second bite of the fruit they were not separate at the spiritual level. This detachment took place at the same instant that the divide widened between the Vessel and the Light. Where there had been unity and equilibrium, there was no dissimilarity and fragmentation. Where there had been eternal existence in Paradise, there was now mortal life in the physical world.
After the Fall, immortality consciousness was gone, replaced by a consciousness – a knowledge – of death and evil that instantly expressed itself in the physical dimension of life. But despite all this, the plain fact of immortality remained untouched, but in the same way that the signal that carries a TV programme remains in the air even after the set has been turned off.
With the Fall of Adam, the bad news is that we stopped receiving the programme. But we also began the process of repairing the receiving mechanism and getting it tuned in again. This correction, this tikkun, is our task for however many years it requires and however many lifetimes. When an individual human being truly completes this process, immortality is restored.
The Essential Zohar, Rav P. S. Berg
And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; Saying, blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.
And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.
And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.
Not only are there seven planets, but these must have had their representations on Earth in the seven holy ‘fortresses’ of the seven ‘white’ Kings of Atlantis. In the Secret of the West, Merezhkovsky says:
‘Atlantis perished, but its gods were saved. There are seven of them: The Cretan Adonis-Adonai, the Egyptian Osiris, the Babylonian Tammuz, the Hittite Attis, the Iranian Mithra, the Hellenic Dionysus, and the ancient Mexican Quetzalcoatl. They all show one face, like brother-twins. The swastika is on their brow: it is possible to say that these are the ‘baptised’ gods.
‘There are seven of them like the seven colours of the post-Deluge rainbow: “I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a token of a covenant between me and the Earth.”
‘They are more than twins, they are each others’ doubles, so that if you know one you know them all; they mix in one another, like the colours of the rainbow, behind which is one sun.’
So, if the poem, the Spoils of Annwn refers also to post-diluvian history (as an experience of initiation) it is still correct to say that ‘only seven’ return; because, in Atlantis, only the seven god-accepted sanctuaries and their Mystery-wisdom survived, and those under the ‘Lords of the Dark Face’, the black magical Kings, perished. The offspring of these seven Mystery schools, devoted to planetary wisdom, are to be found – historically – scattered all over the world of the ‘second humanity’.
Eleanor C Merry, The Flaming Door
There it prophesised day and night until Apollo, finding that his oracles at Delphi, Gryneium and Clarus where deserted, came and stood over the head crying: ‘Cease from interference in my business; I have borne long enough with you and your singing!’ Thereupon the head fell silent.
Orpheus’ lyre had likewise drifted to Lesbos and been laid up in a temple of Apollo, at whose intercession, and that of the Muses, the Lyre was placed in Heaven as a constellation.
Some gave a wholly different account of how Orpheus died: they say that Zeus killed him with a thunderbolt for divulging divine secrets. He had, indeed, instituted the Mysteries of Apollo in Thrace; those of Hecate in Aegina; and those of Subterrene Demeter at Sparta.
Orpheus’ singing head recalls that of the decapitated Alder-god Bran which, according to the Mabinogion, sang sweetly on the rock at Harlech in North Wales; a fable, perhaps, of the funerary pipes made from alder-bark. Thus the name Orpheus, if it stands for ophruoeis, ‘on the river bank’, may be a title of Bran’s Greek counterpart, Phoroneus, or Cronus, and refer to the alders ‘growing on the banks of’ the Peneius and other rivers.
The name of Orpheus’ father, Oeagrus (‘of the wold sorb’ apple’), points to the same cult, since the sorb-apple (French = alisier) and the alder (Spanish = aliso) both bear the name of the pre-Hellenic River-goddess Halys, or Alys, or Elis, Queen of the Elysian Islands, where Phoroneus, Cronus and Orpheus went after death. Aornum is Avernus, an Italic variant of the Celtic Avalon (‘apple-tree island’)
Orpheus is said by Diodorus of Siculus to have used the old thirteen-consonant alphabet; and the legend is that he made the trees move and charmed wild beasts apparently refers to its sequence of seasonal trees and symbolic animals. As sacred king he was struck by a thunderbolt – that is, killed with a double-axe – in an oak grove at the summer solstice, and then dismembered by the Maenads of the bull cult, like Zagreus’ or of the stag cult, like Actaeon; the Maenads, in fact, represented the Muses.
In Classical Greece the practice of tattooing was confined to Thracians, and in a vase-painting of Orpheus’ murder a Maenad has a small stag tattooed on her forearm. This Orpheus did not come in conflict with the cult of Dionysus; he was Dionysus, and he played the rude alderpipe, not the civilised lyre. Thus Proclus writes: ‘Orpheus, because he was the principal in the Dionysian rites, is said to have suffered the same fate as the god’ and Apollodorus credits him with having invented the Mysteries of Dionysus.
The Greek Myths, Robert Graves
Christian Hermeticism itself can only be knowledge of the universal which is revealed in the particular. For Hermeticism there are no ‘principles’, ‘laws’ and ‘ideas’ which exist outside of individual beings, not as structural traits of their nature, but as entities separated and independent from it.
For Hermeticism there is neither a ‘law of gravitation’ nor a ‘law of reincarnation’, there is only the attraction and repulsion of beings (atoms are beings also) in so far as gravitation is concerned, and only the attraction of beings to earthly life, with its joys and sorrows, in so far as reincarnation is concerned.
Laws are immanent in beings, as logic is immanent in thought, being part of the very nature of thought. And true progress, true evolution, is the advance of beings from life under one law to life under another law….it is thus that the law ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’ is in the process of gradually being replaced by the law of forgiveness. It is thus again that the law ‘the weak serve the strong, the people serve the king, the disciple serves the master’ will one day give way to the law shown by the Master through the act of the Washing of the Feet.
According to this higher law, it is the strong who serve the weak, the king who serves the people, the master who serves the disciple – just as in heaven, where Angels serve human beings, Archangels serve Angels and men, Principalities serve Archangels, Angels and human beings, and so on. And God? He serves all beings without exception.
Thus the ‘law’ of the struggle for existence that Darwin observed in the domain of biology will one day cede its place to the law of cooperation for existence which exists already in the cooperation of flowering plants and bees, in the cooperation of different cells in an organism, and in cooperation in the human social organism. The end of the ‘law’ of the struggle for existence and the future triumph of the law of cooperation for life has been foretold by the prophet Isaiah:
The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
And the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
And the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
And a little child shall lead them.
This will be, because the new ‘law’ – ie, a profound change in the psychic and physical structure of beings – will replace the old ‘law’, firstly in consciousness, then in desires and affections, then lastly in the organic structure of beings.
‘Law’ succeed one another and change. They are not immutable metaphysical entities. It is the same wiht respect to ‘principles’ and ‘ideas’. The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath; so the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath (Mark ii, 27028) – here is the relationship between beings, on the one side, and laws, principles and ideas, on the other.
Meditations on the Tarot, Letter IX, The Hermit
Because of the savour of thy good ointments thy name is as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love thee.
Draw me, we will run after thee: the king hath brought me into his chambers: we will be glad and rejoice in thee, we will remember thy love more than wine: the upright love thee.
Song of Songs
You would know the secret of death. But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?
The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.
If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life. For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.
In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond; and like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.
Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity. Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour.
Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king? yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?
For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and melt into the sun? And what is it to cease breathing but free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?
Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing. And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin the climb. And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.
Endless though it was her endless waiting,
Faith eternal, hope and love defeated
Time. And now her knight reveals a true king,
Witness of the virtue oft entreated.
As the faerie queen revised all history,
Every female spirit was encompassed,
Eve from Adam, then the rest, her sisters
Fell as one into Earth’s fiery suntrap.
Mary – stellar priestess, light of heaven –
Body, mind and soul, the one uplifted,
Holds within her hand a starry seven,
All who see her light above are gifted.
Just as Jacob found his soul in Rachel,
So the dove with she at last is rising,
As Sophia stands beside Saint Michael,
Angels all surrounding, deep are sighing.
So the miracle that’s even greater –
More than even Moses made in Egypt –
Over and above the Red Sea parted,
More than manna dew-lit in the desert.
More than all the plagues that conquered Pharaoh,
More than Aaron’s staff that blossomed newly,
Just as Isaac came from out of Sarah,
So the soul-mates knew themselves and truly.