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11 August 2010

A New Twist on the Tree of Life

Or Eden Revisited

Phyllis Tribble writes about the garden in the Song of Songs as the redemption of the brokenness in the garden of Eden.
Ilona Rashkow asks where is the mother goddess in the garden of Eden? Her parable points to the Tree of Life herself as the Mother of All.
In all of their readings, like the primary biblical text God is an incorporeal actor.
And the serpent is, well tricky, or perhaps tricksy.
The serpent has gotten such a bad rap through the ages that it's hard for even a die-hard feminist to redeem (him? her? it?).
I'm imagining another story altogether, one in which the serpent and tree are lovers entwined in an eternal sinuous embrace. Snakes are after all warm to the touch, the side effect of being cold-blooded. The snake would protect the tree from invasive pests and the tree would share her fruit.
So what would these ancient and eternal lovers think about the new born-of-clay partners with whom they now share their garden?
Perhaps the Divine instruction - if there was one - was for the new lovers to learn from the old lovers how to live at peace with one another and their environment.
Perhaps the human-man coveted the sweet fruit of the tree-goddess. Perhaps he blamed her lover for tempting his lover. Perhaps he imagined an invisible all-powerful God who denied him his deepest desire.
Something dies in that garden. Not the humans - not yet, not the Tree - she is there waiting, not the serpent - he has been transformed into something nearly unrecognizable.

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