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 When Eve Was a Goddess). 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 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.
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 When Eve Was a Goddess, 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.
Last week the Supreme Court legalized marriage for gay couples with all the rights of hetero couples. HOO-RAH! It is well past time. In some “religious” strongholds people are resisting saying that the tradition of marriage between one man and one woman goes back to the Bible. Adam and Eve, they say, created the template which makes only hetero marriage acceptable. Actually, this is not the case. The name Adam means “red earth” and the name Eve mean “life.” So the template of marriage is actually between the earth and life itself. In other words creation.
In ancient times there was the teaching of hieros gamos which meant sacred marriage. These teachings often occurred within the ancient mystery schools. This was not an external marriage but an internal one that each human – each human with a divine spirit – needed to experience to live a complete life. It is the marriage of opposites within ourselves. The marriage of the aspects of ourselves which we identify as feminine with the aspects of ourselves which we identify as masculine. The marriage of the light and dark WITHIN ourselves. The marriage of heaven and earth WITHIN ourselves. The marriage of spirit and matter WITHIN ourselves.
The secret sacred lesson is that all things which may appear to be opposites are in truth, different aspects of ONENESS.
The serpent is an excellent symbol of oneness because it can be seen as both earthly and heavenly, as well as male and female.
Notice that in the sacred marriage there is not the dysfunctional focus that we stress in our own culture of the shape of one’s genitals and the performance of the sexual act. True, sex is the foundation of human creation, the coming together of opposites. But the true lessons is that the coming together of opposites has many forms and functions and that is part of the Great Mystery of our lives.
Bet the Supreme Court didn’t take any of that into consideration in their decision!