The story of Adam and Eve and the Serpent
The story of Adam and Eve should not be trivialized or taken lightly. I believe it has profound implications for all of us.
Unfortunately, I think many of the conclusions which are usually drawn from it are almost the complete reverse of what it was really saying, and what we can hear it saying when we start to listen to it speaking in the language of celestial metaphor.
Genesis Chapter 3
1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
5 For God doth known that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her: and he did eat.
There is much more to the story, including parts about making "aprons" or "things to gird about" out of fig leaves (the choice of the fig being extremely significant, as the Buddha is described as achieving enlightenment while meditating under a sacred fig tree, and Jesus in the New Testament calling Nathanael, whom he saw when he was sitting under a fig tree, in John 1: 46 - 51, and the "Golden Age" under Solomon being described in the text of 1 Kings 4:25 and elsewhere as being the time when every one sat under his own vine and his own fig tree), but I would like to focus here in this introductory discussion on the celestial identities of Adam, Eve and the serpent mentioned in the above six verses.
So far, an important clue is that the serpent came to the woman -- regardless of the conclusions that have been drawn from this aspect of the story, I would like to here point it out as a clue regarding the celestial identities of the figure playing the woman and the figure playing the serpent (their arrangement in the sky means that it makes sense for the serpent to have come to the woman).
Another important clue is that the woman is the one who reaches out to take the fruit of the tree, and the woman is the one who also offers it to her husband -- again, regardless of the way that this has been interpreted over the centuries, I would like to here point it out as a celestial clue regarding the heavenly figures we should be looking for in our examination of the possible identities of those involved.
Continuing on in Genesis 3, after the LORD God discovers Adam and Eve hiding, he casts them out of the garden, while pronouncing consequences for each of the three figures. I believe that the order in which they are addressed when these consequences are pronounced (the order in which they are cast from the garden, in other words) is also significant for the celestial interpretation.
The serpent is addressed first (in Genesis 3:14) in which it is told it will go upon its belly and eat dust all the days of its life, and that there will be enmity between the serpent and the seed of the woman (there are more celestial aspects to the part about the "bruising the head / bruising the heel" but to prevent the discussion from getting very long we will not address those in this particular analysis).
Then the woman is addressed second (in Genesis 3:16), in which the judgment pronounced involves greatly multiplying sorrow in conception and in bringing forth children, as well as other parts about "ruling over" which also probably come from the celestial arrangement (we'll get into interpretations and what I believe are misinterpretations of this in the "third part" of this discussion).
Finally, Adam is cast out, and told that the ground will be cursed with thorns and thistles and he will eat bread "in the sweat of thy face" until he returns to the ground -- "for out of it [the ground] wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return."
Again, the order in which they are cast out of Eden may be a clue in the text regarding the celestial interpretation.
The final clue we'll examine is the part about the angel with a flaming sword, placed at the east of Eden: "[. . .] and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life" (Genesis 3:24).
Is there any figure which is rising in the east of Eden when the serpent, the man and the woman are cast out? A figure which could play the role of the powerful angel and the flaming sword which turns "every way"?
Below are some videos and star charts which I believe relate to the story of Adam and Eve and the serpent.
Here is a brief explanation of my celestial interpretation of the Adam and Eve story from Genesis 3.
This interpretation is in fact the one suggested by Robert Taylor in the nineteenth century (you can find his books online in their entirety, and order reprints from various publishers -- the main collections of his lectures on this subject include those collected and published in two different volumes entitled Devil's Pulpit and Astronomico-Theological Lectures).
I don't always agree with every aspect of Robert Taylor's explanations, nor with all of his conclusions as to the significance of this information (he generally seems to have argued that these stories came from primitive awe at the stars from the days of "early humans" -- an explanation which is often offered but which has several important drawbacks which we can discuss in later threads). That said, Robert Taylor's analysis is invaluable on this subject for those interested in pursuing it.
There are a few constellations in the night sky which are traditionally envisioned as playing a serpent -- chief among them being Scorpio, which can and does appear quite regularly as a Worm, a Dragon, and a Serpent (in addition to as a Scorpion and many other roles), and the long snake known as the constellation Hydra. The constellation Hydra is located in the sky immediately adjacent to the zodiac constellation of Virgo the Virgin -- and I believe it is almost a certainty that this constellation (Hydra) is the primary celestial analog to the serpent in the Adam and Eve story (as we continue with the explanation you can decide whether or not you agree).
Below is a screen shot of the night sky as portrayed in the excellent, free, open-source, online planetarium app, Stellarium. I have added the outlines for Hydra (in green), Virgo (in yellow), and the Herdsman named Bootes (in maroon). In this image, we are looking towards the south, from the perspective of an observer situated in the northern hemisphere:
From their organization in the night sky, you can see why the serpent is described as approaching the woman (and not her husband, Adam). In other words, it has nothing to do with any "inherent" aspect of women versus men: this aspect of the story is reflecting a reality that is found in the night sky (yes, there may be plenty of esoteric messages which can be derived from this incredible ancient myth, as with all the other myths which form the precious inheritance of the ancient wisdom imparted to humanity, but to conclude that the story teaches any sort of inferiority of women versus men -- which unfortunately has been part of the history of the interpretation of this myth -- is severely undermined by the observation that the myth is almost certainly built upon the actual layout of the constellations as we see them in the night sky).
Notice the "extended arm" of the constellation Virgo: this is one of the most characteristic features of this extremely important (we might even say, "crucial" or "pivotal") constellation. This extended arm plays a role in a great number of Star Myths from around the world (you can see Virgo featured in ancient art in a couple of the images on the "front page" of my new website, here: [www.starmythworld.com]
This extended arm is formed by the star Vindemiatrix in the constellation Virgo -- a star whose name literally means "vine harvester" or "fruit plucker" or "grape gatherer" (the ending -trix in Latin is actually a feminine-gendered ending, and turns into the ending -tress in English, so the actual literal translation of Vindemiatrix might be most accurately rendered as "vine harvestress").
This "fruit gathering" hand is the one which the story envisions when Eve reaches out to take of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
If you look at the image, you can also see why the story describes Eve as giving the fruit to her husband -- again, I believe it has to do with the outstretched hand of the constellation Virgo, marked by the bright star of Vindemiatrix. The story is based on the stars -- not upon any aspect inherent to women as the "root of all evil" (an unfortunate conclusion some have drawn from this myth, by taking it as a story intended to relate literal history rather than celestial metaphor).
The "casting out" order-of-march, in which these three constellations depart the starry sky when the rotation of the earth causes them to sink below the horizon also provides confirmatory evidence that we are on the right track with this interpretation. The earth turns on its axis towards the direction we call "east" (this is why the sun rises in New York before it rises in California, and why 9:30 am in New York is only 6:30 am in California, for example). This causes objects in the sky to appear to move from east to west (just as billboards or street signs on the highway appear to move toward the rear of your car or truck or train when you are moving forward -- the same process causes objects in the sky to seem to move west when you are rotating towards the east). This is why the sun rises in the east and sets in the west (due to the spinning of the ball on which the observer is standing), and why the constellations do the same thing at night, rising in the east and setting in the west.
This motion causes Hydra (the serpent in the story), Virgo (the woman in the story), and Bootes (the man in the story) to sink into the west due to earth's daily rotation. As they do so, they exit the heavenly "garden" (the "paradise" of the celestial realms) in the order in which God pronounces judgment upon them in the Genesis account: first the serpent, then the woman, and then the man.
First, the serpent is cast out. He is told that he will "crawl upon his belly" and "eat dust all the days of his life." As you can see in the image below, the angle of the "head" of the constellation Hydra almost certainly provides this aspect of the story -- here is Hydra being "cast out" of the garden of stars, to crawl upon his belly and eat of the dust (the dust of the western horizon):
Next, the rotation of the earth will bring Virgo down to the western horizon, and finally Bootes. When Adam is cast out of the garden in Genesis 3:19, God says to him, "return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken." This is literally true: the constellation rose out of the ground (the eastern horizon) and now is sinking back down into the ground again (the western horizon). "Dust thou art," the passage says, "and unto dust shalt thou return."
Finally, in the final verse of the third chapter of the book of Genesis, we read that the LORD God places at the east of Eden an angel (or plural angels, "Cherubims"), with a flaming sword which "turns every way," to guard the way to the tree of life.
When the figures of Hydra, Virgo and Bootes are disappearing into the dust in the west, the rotation of the earth is also bringing about the rising of other constellations in the east. At just the moment that Adam and Eve are departing, the constellation Perseus (who is also shown in the H. A. Rey discussion posted earlier, here), is rising above the horizon in the east.
This, Robert Taylor suggests, provides the figure of the Cherubim in the Genesis account (if you study enough Star Myths, you will see that a single constellation will sometimes play the role of "plural" figures of whatever it represents, such as the Gorgons in the story of Perseus himself, and many other examples). The figure of Perseus in the sky is a brilliant and "rampant" constellation, with arms flung wide and often envisioned as carrying a sword in one or the other of his hands.
In the Genesis account, the "flaming sword" of the angel is described as turning every way -- and if you look closely at the outline of Perseus in the sky, you will see that one of his hands seems to curve around in almost a complete "hook" or near-circle. This, I would offer, is the basis for the "turning every direction" sword of the guardian figure in the Genesis account. The same constellational characteristic is drawn as a sharply-hooked sword in many ancient images of Perseus in the Greek myth, ancient images in which he holds the hooked sword with which he slays Medusa.
The fact that the angel is described in the text as being stationed at the east of Eden is another important clue given to us in the ancient texts to help us determine the celestial identity of the figures in the story.
In other words, the texts themselves are asking us to listen to them in the celestial language in which they are speaking. In order to hear the deeper messages which they want to convey to us, we have to be attentive to this aspect of the ancient stories. The celestial element is undoubtedly present (if the analysis above does not convince you that it is operating in the Genesis account, there are literally hundreds if not thousands more examples which are equally full of celestial clues) -- if we do not pay attention to this celestial aspect of the stories, it is very likely that we will miss the message that they want to tell us (or misinterpret the message).
If Adam and Eve are in fact heavenly, celestial figures -- if Adam is Bootes and Eve is Virgo -- then it stands to reason that the story in Genesis cannot possibly be telling us that we are to understand Adam and Eve as our literal, terrestrial "first parents." We are not literally descended from the group of stars which we see (from our vantage point on earth) as making up the constellation Bootes, getting together with the group of stars which we see (from our vantage point on earth) as making up the constellation Virgo.
Thus the story must be telling us that they are our parents in a different sense than a purely physical sense.
And this is actually a profound point. It is a point that we could dwell on for pages and pages of discussion.
The myths are telling us that we are descended from the celestial realms -- but the celestial realms as representative of the Infinite Realm (the un-bounded realm which is the source and fountain of everything which comes to manifest in the bounded, material, physical, visible realm).
The "Fall" which is described in the Genesis account is the "Fall" into the material realm -- the plunge into incarnation -- which each of us undergoes when we come into this life.
But the story is reminding us that we are not purely -- or even primarily -- physical beings. We are descendants of "first parents" who can be seen in the celestial realms: the Infinite Realm.
We are reminded not to forget that our invisible aspect, the part of us that belongs to the infinite side of reality, is actually the most important part of who we are: that's why the story is telling us that Eve is the "mother of all living" (in Genesis 3:20). She is "responsible" for our "Fall" in that Virgo is stationed at the point of the year where the sun "crosses down" into the "lower half" of the zodiac cycle (at the Fall equinox, the autumnal equinox), representative of the "plunge" into this incarnate "lower" realm. But the story is telling us that, in fact, the "physical" and "bounded" side of who we seem to be (down here) -- our finite bodies, our physical side -- is not our real lineage and parentage: we are in fact spiritual in origin and in nature, we and everyone else we meet.
And so, to "label" people or limit people or bind people or objectify people by their physical characteristics, their physicalnature, is to miss the entire message of this ancient text. The Adam and Eve story may be telling us many things, but one thing it is telling us is that we are descended from the spiritual realm, the Infinite Realm, and we are in fact Infinite in some very real sense (not in a visible sense, but yet in a very real sense).
And so to use the story to put down women as an entire half of humanity because they are supposedly the "sex that brought sin into the world" or the spiritually "weaker sex" is to completely invert the story -- and yet that is how this story has sometimes (often) been interpreted, when it has been interpreted primarily literally rather than celestially or allegorically (there is plenty of historical evidence to prove this). In other words, a story which is telling us that our outward physical form is not the real indicator of who we are has been used to say that our outward physical form is the primary indicator of who we are.
And there are many other examples from other Star Myths (particularly in the scriptures of the Bible) which have been used to invert the original intended message (or what I myself, at least, understand to be the original intended message, based on my analysis of what these celestial metaphors are intended to convey -- I could be wrong, but based on the evidence I have been investigating, this is what I believe they are saying, among other uplifting things).
In other words, the myths are saying to you: "You are actually Infinite."
Unfortunately, they have sometimes been turned on their heads to say "you are anything but Infinite, and let me draw a bunch of boundaries around you to make you feel even more finite and limited than when you started reading this text."
Much of this understanding of what the myths are trying to say to us has been informed by my reading of some of the voluminous works of Alvin Boyd Kuhn (1880 -1963), who saw their use of the great stations on the year (the two solstices and the two equinoxes, as well as the further annual subdivisions within that great cross) as part of their powerful spiritual metaphor, but who did not (to my knowledge) see the ways that the myths allegorize specific constellations as an additional aspect of this great esoteric system. In a little treatise (of exceptional insightfulness and perspicacity) entitled The Esoteric Structure of the Alphabet, Kuhn declares:
The Bibles of antiquity have but one theme: the incarnation. The vast body of ancient Scripture discoursed on but one subject, -- the descent of souls, units of deific Mind, sons of God, into fleshly bodies [ . . .] their main message in the imagery of units of fiery spiritual nature plunging down into water, the descending souls being described as sparks of a divine cosmic fire, and the bodies they were to ensoul being constituted almost wholly of water. 20.
I actually believe that the ancient myths can be seen to "discourse" on more than that single theme, but in general I agree with Kuhn's thesis -- the other themes upon which they discourse all have to do with our situation as sparks from the Infinite Realm plunged down into the "bounded" world of material incarnation, and how we can and should be raising our awareness of and integration with the spiritual and Infinite Realm which in fact is always available to us: doing so ourselves and to whatever degree possible in the world around us. It is the opposite of "beating people down" or trying to deny their Infinite and divine nature, trying to limit them or falsely define them by their physical and outward and material characteristics.
There is much, much more that could be said about just the tiny little portion of the Adam and Eve story we've looked at thus far (I've deliberately left much of it out, simply for the sake of space and brevity and scope). But, we did touch on the part about the "judgement pronouncements" in which it is said to Eve that her "desire will be" to her husband, and he shall rule over her -- words which I believe again describe the celestial situation (see how Virgo is reaching out towards Bootes, as if her desire is "to" or "towards" him, and see how Bootes is seated in the heavens "over her"). These are not intended to be interpreted in the way that they have been interpreted (at least, not according to my analysis of the Star Myths).
I hope that as you examine these myths in light of their celestial interpretations, you will begin to see that the understanding of the language of the stars will greatly enhance our ability to hear what they are really trying to tell us.