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 When Eve Was a Goddess 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 When Eve Was a Goddess): 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.
When the world is created at the beginning of Genesis, God begins by separating out apparent opposites. Heaven/Earth Light/Dark Day/Night Male/Female. The word used is the Hebrew word BEDEL. The root letter for this word are the three letters examined in the previous three blogs: B-D-L.
B or Beit, Beis or Beyt is all that is quintessentially earth, manifest, humanity. L or Lam or Lamed is all that is quintessentially divinity. What is between the two letters? The D which is Dal or Dalet and means door as in a door that swings in either direction.
Traditionally people have come to think of the separation of creation as an iron clad barrier which allows no further contact or communication. But this is not what the word indicates. As a word rebus, it is easy to see that between earth (B) and heaven (L) there is a door which is freely swinging allowing continued movement in both directions.
How does this paradigm shift change our thinking? What repercussions can it have for how we live our lives?
Jerusalem, focal point of the world’s three major patriarchal religions was named for a Goddess. It is a city dedicated to Venus in Her aspect as the evening star.
As viewed from Earth, the planet Venus is special in the heavens because she exists in her twin aspects – morning star and evening star. Deities related to Venus are significant gatekeepers of thresholds. Because Venus appears in the sky at dawn and dusk when the light and dark are visibly blending.
In the land to the north of Israel, Canaan, there is a mythological traditions of divine twins who represent dawn (morning star) and dusk (evening star). Their names were Sahar and Salim. Their three letter roots are Šĥr and Šlm. (Š is pronounced “sh.”)
The modern-day equivalent of Salim, is the Hebrew shalom or Arabic salam meaning “peace.”
Genesis 14:18 has the first extant reference of Salem, a city that is to become vital to each of the three major patriarchal religions on Earth today.And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God
In this passage Melchizedek is meeting with Abram in the city that is to become Jerusalem.
Historian, John Day confirms the name derivation; “It is generally accepted that in origin this denoted ‘the foundation of [the god] Shalem,’ Shalem being the god of dusk. . .” (John Day, Yahweh and the Gods and Goddesses of Canaan; pg 180.)
Note: I used this image which is from Machu Picchu because it is a cave below the mountainous temple. It was common for ancient temples that soared above the earth to be coupled with caves beneath them for ceremonial work. It seemed appropriate in the vein of Jacob’s ladder (see below) as the two aspects of the temple could be seen as a gateway for communication and interplay between underworld and overworld realms.
There is no Biblical record of Jacob going to Egypt, at least before his “initiation” as there is for his ancestor Abraham. Nevertheless he had experiences that were akin to mystery school training and experience. Did he have these experiences because he was a mystic and prophet deeply in tune with nature and the divine energies inherent within? Or was he exposed to formal training? It is impossible to know but what we do know is that his experiences and finally the bestowal of a new name does follow the template of the mystery school.
When Jacob first sets out into the world he has a vision of divinity. This vision is commonly referred to as Jacob’s ladder. In this dream/vision, Jacob drams of a ladder or staircase spanning heaven and earth with angelic energies moving between the realms. This clues us in that something sacred is afoot. After this experience he goes off to find his family. He marries first Leah and then Rachel. Twenty years later comes home again with his wives and children.
Twenty years is a traditionally important time in esoteric studies. It is generally accepted that a student will study the outer mysteries for 10 years, and then the inner mysteries for 10 years. At the end of this 20-year period, the initiate is recognized as a master.[i]
Before entering his homeland, Jacob goes off by himself. In modern day parlance, we would say that he went on a vision quest. To those who witnessed, it appeared that he was wrestling with a stranger.Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the break of dawn. Genesis 32:2
The “he” in the following passage is the mysterious stranger:When he saw that he had not prevailed against him, he wrenched Jacob’s hip at its socket, so that the socket of his hip was strained. . . . Then he said, “Let me go, for dawn is breaking.” But he answered, “I will not go unless you bless me.” Said he, “Your name shall no longer be Jacob but Israel. . .” Genesis 32: 26, 27 and 29
Here is my own rewritten shamanic version of this tale:
As the MorningStar rose in the sky (dawn), Jacob was initiated and like all new initiates, like his ancestors Abram and Sarai before him, he was granted a new name, a spirit name. The name he was given was a blend of the gods of Egypt and Canaan. He took the name of the moon goddess of the Egyptians (Isis) and the Egyptian sun god (Ra), along with the Great Bull God of the Canaanites (El). Henceforth his name would be known as Is-Ra-El.
I go into greater detail about Jacob’s experience and discuss who the mysterious stranger was in Chapter 6 of ONE GODS. You can pre-order the book (and help support my work) by clicking on my crowdfunding link at the side of the page.
(Note: Check out the photo carefully. The cave is formed in the image of an eagle. The head is on the ground [roped off so one one steps on it] and the wings can be seen soaring from the rocks above it)
[i] Although these are the traditional times it takes for each of the studies, an individual student’s time may vary given their own spiritual path.
As pointed out by David Tame who has written extensively about music; “Life and matter was created through a sacred word or words spoken by the first god or gods in the myths of the Hebrews, the Celts, the Chinese, the Egyptians, the American Indians and the Quechua Maya.”[i]
In Genesis:the LORD God formed man from the dust of the earth.
He blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being. Genesis 2:7-8
In the Rig Veda:“The One [tad ekam] breathed windlessly and self-sustaining. There was one then, and there was no other.”[ii]
In Egypt:“Ra emerged from the Watery Abyss and then all things came into being out of the words of his mouth.”[iii]
In Norse mythology, Ymir is a primordial giant, born when Mist World and Fire World come together. Ymir is known as the “roarer.” In other words, he is one who breathes (and so speaks) really loudly.
In Hawaiian mythos, the world is “chanted into being.” Breath, as the essence of life, is so important to Hawaiian culture that power sounds are incorporated into everyday speech; most prominently in their word of greeting, Aloha. “Alo” means “in the presence of” and “Ha” is the breath of life, that sacred breath we all share.
[i] Tame, David, The Secret Power of Music, Destiny Books, 1984; 206.
[ii] Eliade, Primitives; 110. The translation is by A.L. Basham. Tad ekam is noted as ‘That One’ who ‘breathes without air.
[iii] Bierlein, JF, Parallel Myths, NY: Ballantine Books, 1994; 51.
What are the essentials one needs to live? Most people would answer food, shelter and clothing. All true, but a person can go for a long time without shelter or clothing (depending on the environment), weeks without food, less without water. But the time one can go without breath is measured in minutes. The element needed to create sentient life is breath which is the vibratory animating essence. Breath is equated with the wind and with speech. In order to speak, our breath needs to vibrate the air across our vocal chords. Indeed breath and words are inexorably connected. Unless we draw a breath, we cannot speak.
In the act of creation, god sends a great wind or in the King James Bible, “the Spirit of God moved.” Other translations speak about God’s spirit as hovering or fluttering and then god speaks:
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. God said, Let there be light: and there was light. Genesis 1:2-3
The wind is “elohim’s breath” or more familiarly “god’s spoken word” that stirs the waters. My favorite way to think about it is that “god is singing” life into being. Breath and sacred word come together as song (or chant) and vibration.
Job and nature teaches us, “Ask the fowls and they shall tell thee.”