Beginning to unravel the mystery of the serpent in the Bible: It must be remembered that the serpent is responsible for Adam and Eve leaving the garden. According to the Bible it is the “fault” of the serpent that Adam and Eve ate the fruit which causes their expulsion. But think about this? The tree is Eve’s tree. The tree is named after her. It is the tree of life. The name Eve means life, making it in actuality the tree of Eve. She doesn’t need the permission of the serpent, a deity or anyone to eat from her own tree. It is her right. It is more than her right, it is an expression of her essence. In fact, if she doesn’t eat from the tree, she would never leave the garden of Eden bringing herself/ her life essence to fruition here on Earth. If it is the serpent who midwifed this process, then the serpent as well is responsible for bringing/birthing life here on Earth as we know it today. This is not a curse at all, but a precious blessing.
The way that the serpent is best known in the Bible is as the cunning traitor who convinces Eve to eat the “forbidden fruit.” But there are other representations that are less well known. There are serpent priests, a feathered serpent, a healing serpent and a wise serpent. (Chapter 13 in 21 Secrets of the Bible). The serpent priests are the Levites, the feathered serpent is a seraph (Isaiah 30:6), the healing serpent is the fiery serpent that Moses carries on a pole (Numbers 21:8) and the wise serpent appears in Matthew 10:16 “Be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” Why, then, is the serpent so reviled? Could the image of the serpent be a Biblical reversal of even more ancient teachings?
The name Eve, in Hebrew means “life.” There is a tree in the Garden of Eden also named “life.” In fact, its name is the “Tree of Life.” Rather than forbidden fruit, this tree is the Tree of Eve. It was only later in translation that humankind in general and Eve specifically was forbidden access to Her Tree. (Discussed in 21 Secrets chapter 14, and in more depth in ONE GODS, chapters 10 and 11).
Eve is the Hero of the Garden of Eden (chapter 3 from 21 Secrets of the Bible): The Hebrew name of Eve is Hawwah. This word means both life and breath. Without Eve there would not be any life (with its precious breath) here on our Earth.
Miriam Robbins Dexter, PhD in linguistics, author of the book Whence the Goddess graciously took the time to read my book and offer notes on the etymologies I used. Her knowledge is not only vast (she found mistakes that only a true expert would have noticed) but she was extremely generous in her sharing of that knowledge. Thank you Miriam. (Whence the Goddess, as well as her other books, can be found on the links page above.) Below are a list of her corrections and clarifications.
pg 86: Clarification: The original city of Ugarit may date to 3000, but the texts themselves date to about 1400 BCE.
Pg 87: Clarification: Ashroterth and Astarte are the same goddess. Ashtoreth is the plural. Miriam Robbins Dexter notes “that the Indo-European words for star — including modern English “star” — seems to have the same root.”
Pg 110. The brother who killed Osiris was Set.
Footnote pg 114: Golan’s actual quote is: “The Sanskrit name for the twins is Asvinau which means ‘possessing horses’ or ‘originating from a horse.’” In other words, Asvinau doesn’t mean “twins,” it is the name of the twins.
Pg. 162. Lilith does not come from the water words but rather they derive from her name. Golan’s quote: “The name of Lilith presumably does not originate from the words for ‘water, pour, rain,’ but conversely, these words derive from the goddess’ name ‘l+t the feminine form of the god’s name ‘l.”
I used the following two etymologies in ONE GODS. Miriam Dexter Robbins noted that they are not correct as far as their etymological connection. It is an interesting conundrum. Are their similarities a co-incidence or something else entirely?
148: In the best-accepted etymology, the Germanic word Hel (hell) is not related to the Greek word Helios; Hel (Hell) means “the hidden place.”
p. 149: Labyrinth is not related to labia; labyrinth was borrowed into Greek from an Old European language spoken on Crete. There would be an unexplained -r- if one tried to explain the two words. Labia (sg. labium) is a Latin word meaning “lip(s)”.
Janet Rudolph, One Gods, The Mystic Pagan’s Guide to the Bible
Janet Rudolph’s insightful interpretation of the Tanakh, the Bible also known as the Old Testament, draws on comparative linguistics, comparative religion, cross-cultural myths, and archaeology, as well as a wholesome world view perceived in the course of her religious training, life experience, travels, and observation of nature. This world view is one of “functional harmony,” or “inter-arching oneness,” uncovered in literal translations of passages from Genesis, presented in Chapter 1. The theme of “inter-arching oneness” influences discussions of ancient Hebrew letters as well as sounds and syllables of the names of God; the life of the prophet Moses, founder of Judaism; the burning bush, symbolic of the interpenetration of spirit and matter; the many-named Venus, morning and evening star; and mythological twins, one mortal and one immortal, for example, Jacob and Esau. Chapter 7 clarifies the concept of “oneness” in terms of related and opposite (dualistic) perspectives, in the process of consolidating the theme with references to poetry and physics. This chapter abounds in summary passages, for instance,
Although the Bible speaks of a “one god”, it is my belief that
Moses’ primary message was the oneness of all creation. Divinities such
as Isis, Venus, and Quetzalcóatl are actually depictions of creation’s one-
ness, appearing as we are able to see them–in the full glory of diversity,
a mystical tapestry with its various threads come to life (p. 117).
Such bridging prepares readers for ensuing adventure: exploration of the divine origin of alphabets; the labyrinth, pilgrimage, and quest; the world tree, with birds in its branches and serpent at its root, pertaining to the feathered serpent shown on the cover of the book; marvelous myths of goddesses inhabiting the tree, and more. The book offers “to Do’s”—activities such as breathing, chanting, and visualization—for those who opt for palpable experiences of oneness.
As Rudolph states at the outset, her theme of inter-arching oneness is both radically old and radically new. Why so? The concept of “oneness” is old, for it is based on ancient spiritual knowledge, for example, the dictate of Hermes Tablet, “as above, so below,” and it is implicit in the Bible, as Rudolph demonstrates. The concept is new because dualistic philosophy and traditional readings of the Bible have obscured “oneness” over the centuries, and scholars are presently referring to the notion “as above, so below” as they attempt to explain dark matter or “nothingness,” which is invisible yet certainly related to human experience.” For example, at a recent conference at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Carpinteria, California, titled “Climates of Change and the Therapy of Ideas” (April 2016), one lecture recurrently referred to the dictum “as above, so below”; another presented research on dark matter while relating macrocosm to microcosm in various ways. Thus, in reading Janet Rudolph’s One Gods, we not only gain better understanding of the Bible and a spectrum of related topics, but also acquire important background for notions explored in depth psychology (as well as biology, physics, cosmology, et al.) today.
Ph.D., Comparative Literature
The Bible as we know it today is actually a mishmash of translations, from ancient Hebrew into Greek and Latin and, from there, into English and a host of other languages. What began as oral lore became written verse, which in turn became holy text.
Much has been lost over the course of these translations—sometimes unintentionally, sometimes deliberately by religious authorities pursuing their own agendas. The earliest earth-based spiritual teachings found in the Bible were actually driven underground, their messages hidden and virtually inaccessible.
In 21 Secrets of the Bible, shamanic practitioner and author Janet Rudolph applies spiritual forensics to scripture and Hebrew hieroglyphics, working backward to their original intent. Join her on a quest to explore long-obscured wisdom and mysteries buried for millennia.
From the mystery that is the story of Adam and Eve, to the breathtaking journey that is Exodus, Rudolph reminds us of the Bible’s multi-layered nature, one that allows for a variety of interpretations —and offers a treasure map to passages between heaven and earth.
Spiritual seekers, shamanic journeyers, and those with an interest in cross-cultural mythology will find Rudolph’s work invaluable as readers look back in order to look forward.
Rachel Pollack wrote the following about ONE GODS
A fascinating book. Janet Rudolph has done some strong research, much deeper than the usual deconstruction of patriarchal myths and Bible passages. I really like the respect and awareness she brings to the Hebrew scriptures, along with a strong cross-cultural approach.
Rachel Pollock is a maven-extraordinaire of the Tarot, creator of The Shining Tribe Tarot and author of many books including The Child Eater and Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom: A Book of Tarot.
The inspiration of Susan Tapia Leon’s cover art for 21 Secrets of the Bible:
Intention for The Creation
The Breath . . . at the beginning of time
Animus and Anima, God and Goddess blowing inside the spiral.
One breath goes in . . .the other is directed at the center of life
Beginning of Life
Under the old waters, many forms of life on Earth.
The tale of the whale representing a unique pattern; fish, serpent . . .under the sea.
Above the sky, the moon and the stars.