EVE: REDISCOVERING FEMININE WISDOME AND SELF-ESTEEM
Eve was framed.
—POPULAR T-SHIRT SLOGAN
I'M NO BIBLICAL SCHOLAR, BUT I think Eve got a bum rap. Although she should be exalted and honored for her role as the first woman on earth, the Mother of us all, she has been vilified and held out as an example of all that women should not be.
The stern interpretation of Genesis that has been eve's legacy tells us that women who are curious and disobey male authority and ideology bring bad karma to their families: they wreak havoc on marriage, turn out dysfunctional children and are, in general, seductresses who cannot be trusted around men! And as if messing up her own life weren't bad enough, Eve is credited with making the planet a living hell for the rest of us.
Oy vey. Is it any wonder that women in our culture have self-esteem issues? If we came from her and she did all that, how could we possibly be any good?
Eve is the first daughter and therefore our first link to the Divine Feminine in human form, and yet her tale is riddled with fear-based messages that have long made women cringe at their own curiosity, power, and self-expression. Could it be that the Mother of us all was such a bad girl? Or has she just been victim of some of the worst negative spin doctoring in human history?
I vote for the latter.
The mystical Islamic school of Sufism and the Kabbalah of Judaism both take a view of Adam and Eve that is useful for us all: The story is really a metaphor for something we all must go through. It was time for the children to leave the father's house and go out into the real world. The human world had to expand, evolve, and grow. Eve initiated the beginning of history. Had she not dared to taste that apple, had she not prompted her man to share the discovery…none of us would be here.
What was eve's sin, really? She tried to seize a little knowledge beyond what was handed down to her as law by her father and she "initiated" her husband. Bucking authority is part of evolution. We grow when we step out of the box that people try to contain us in. We find our power by pressing up against resistance and people who try to control us. For women, turning our men on to the new things we discover is part of being in a relationship. What Eve did was a natural part of human development.
But we have had that nasty notion of the "original sin" droned into our brains since childhood. That blame, shame, and underlying fear of retribution is, unfortunately, an insidious hallmark of the female experience, ingrained in us even if we rarely, if ever, give it a conscious thought. Whether we know it or not, women come into the world fulfilling an ancient, unconscious agreement that we are not as good as men, not as worthy, and certainly not as divine. It affects us all in some way, on some level.
As the daughters of eve, we carry on her legacy.
So many of us, consciously and unconsciously, suffer from the "Eve Problem." We have bought into the belief that our foremother was weak and unworthy—and thus, so are we. For generations, women in general have been plagued by a small voice, an imaginary serpent that hisses in our ear: "Who are you to be powerful, strong, capable, prosperous, and successful?" Time to put that hiss in its proper perspective, make the serpent recoil, and transform its tune from negative self-talk to inspiration for success, spiritual development, and personal evolution.
Time to redefine and reclaim eve from a woman-friendly point of view. We have the opportunity to reinterpret our personal history and feel more connected to our Divine Mother. We can help shape destiny, rather than be dragged along by it.
"RECLAIMING EVE” MEDITATION
The story of Adam and Eve, in many ways, is a very romantic tale about soul mates. The idea of eve being created from Adam's rib, being of one flesh with him, is the stuff of romantic fairy tales. She was given the chance every woman dreams of-to live in a heaven on earth with her honey. Instead of believing that she blew it, we can consider her a pioneer, a courageous woman who was strong enough to establish the human race. Tasting from the Tree of Knowledge was the fulfillment of her life purpose-opening the gates of wisdom to the rest of us for all time!
To fulfill our destinies as powerful women, we have to go back to the Garden of Eden to reclaim eve. When we look at the pleasant and unpleasant sides of her story-both the dark and the light-and come to a more empowering interpretation, we give ourselves a fresh start. We also embrace, and perhaps say goodbye to, the little serpent who lives on our shoulder and hisses: "You are not good enough, smart enough, powerful enough…who are you to be doing this, anyway?"
Journey to Eden
In this reflective exercise, you'll reinvent your relationship with Eve. Read it through first and set aside the time you'll need.
1. Go back to the garden. Make plans to visit a beautiful garden, a park, your backyard—any place that puts you in touch with nature in an environment that at least evokes the sense of Eden. Do you live near an apple orchard? In a pick-your-own orchard, you can pay a few dollars during the autumn and take your own fruit home after enjoying the beauty of the groves.
For this meditation, a fruit orchard is ideal—but any outdoor setting will do. If you can't get out into nature, simply stay inside and use your imagination to place yourself, energetically, in the Garden. Either way, you'll be beginning to contemplate eve in a powerful way.
2. Connect to the Tree of Knowledge. Find a comfortable spot where you can spend an undisturbed fifteen or twenty minutes in quiet reflection and meditation. Sitting with your back against an apple tree, or any tree, would be ideal so that you can feel the energy of Mother Earth coming into you, connecting you with the energy of the Tree of Knowledge. Prepare yourself to enjoy a few moments with eve. Set your intention to come away with a more positive image of Eve and to feel proud of her as your ancient foremother.
3. Imagine the Garden of Eden. You are observing one of the most powerful moments in time, the moment that is said to have altered human history, when Adam and Eve tasted of the Tree of Knowledge. See this Garden as you believe it must have looked, replete with splendor and beauty, plants and animals—the elements of the story that are familiar to you, and those images that come to you now. Even though this is the Garden of Eden, it is a garden of your own creation. Invent whatever you wish for it.
Follow your creative heart and your imagination to see eve, along with Adam. Let them come alive in your mind's eye—happy, playful, fulfilled, in love, safe. Observe the moment when the serpent invites eve to taste of the fruit, and see that she is not motivated by darkness or evil, nor is her behavior bad. She is innocent, exploring and tasting of a new fruit that is part of their life's evolution…and our evolution. Allow yourself to be there with her, watching, knowing, and seeing who she really is. Feel her fear at trying something new, and her fear of angering her father, but sense her moment of power as she responds to the call of her own soul.
Without judgment, observe the moment when Adam and Eve eat the apple…and God discovers them. Tune in to the crisis-and how Adam and Eve handle it. Rather than seeing an angry God raining wrath down upon them, see him gently saying to his children: "I tried to protect you from the darker side of this world that I have brought you into. But now it is your time to leave, explore, discover your life's mission, and find your way to your own personal wisdom."
Then hear the voice of the Divine Mother speaking, too: "The apple is sweet, and it is tart, as is life outside the garden walls. Now that your consciousness is open to All That Is, life will bring you a wide range of experience, dark and light, pain and joy. I cannot shield you from all, but I will come with you, out of this garden, so that you always carry a little part of it with you and you can find your way back home to the source of who you are."
Now see if you receive an additional message from the Mother or the father, or Eve and Adam. Just listen…listen for any thoughts or ideas or small still voices that whisper in your ear. Keep your eyes closed. Stay still for a while until you feel your time in the garden is complete.
Now say goodbye to the garden and any messengers you met along the way. Thank Adam and Eve; God and Goddess; All That Is.
4. Redefining Eve. Combining the elements you love about the story of the Garden of Eden, the vision you had of Adam and Eve in your meditation, and any new thoughts about this ancient tale that are beginning to emerge from you, redefine eve. Write a brief statement about how you see her now—such as Eve was bold and she never got credit for her chutzpah. Write down whatever is a true belief for you now, personally. If you have not arrived at a new belief yet, write down the one you would most like to adopt.
When we redefine Eve, we inspire a new role model: a first woman who knows she has permission to evolve and express her power. Step into your power with the renewed energy of Eve…and the Goddess as your guide. Take this opportunity for a fresh start at reinventing your own life and reclaiming your power.
A CELEBRATION OF EVE…AND HER APPLE
Was the Tree of Knowledge actually an apple tree? There is still a debate on this subject. Some say the forbidden fruit could have been a fig, especially since Adam and Eve quickly ended up with fig leaves on their privates—remember, after they bit into the fruit of knowledge, they realized for the first time that they were naked!
But let us honor Eve and her apple, long a symbol of her downfall, so that we can reclaim the power of the feminine that lies within its sweet fruit. The apple has been used as a symbol of evil—recall the wicked queen who fed Snow White the poison apple, for example—and has been linked with death and deceitfulness. But it is largely considered a fruit that is delicious, nutritious, and symbolically sacred.
The apple symbolizes fertility, love, joy, knowledge, and wisdom in many of the world's religions and mythologies. Offering an apple is often seen as a symbol of love. The Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite, and her roman counterpart, Venus, were both known to woo with golden apples that evoked love and desire. Apple blossoms are associated with the bridal day and are Chinese symbols of peace and beauty. As a fruit found in the garden of Norse goddess Freya, the apple symbolized immortality. The apple tree has mythically been associated with health. In addition, scientific research from the university of California-Davis has showed that in fact "an apple a day keeps the doctor away," because the fruit is loaded with healthy substances. On Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, it is a special blessing to eat apples dipped in honey, meaning, "May you be inscribed for a good, sweet year." The apple is also a sacred symbol of the Divine feminine. Cutting open an apple, we see at the core that it is shaped somewhat like a woman's vulva; we also see the natural design of the five-pointed star that is linked with earth religions that honor the Goddess. In addition to all this, they taste yummy and sweet. And even if you bite into an apple that has a bitter edge, it still gives a sweet taste—a symbol of life, in a way.
Apple Juice and Apple Ceremony
With this celebration, you'll join together with friends to reclaim eve as sisters.
1. Invite a few girlfriends over for a celebration of "Eve Night."
2. Prepare a tray of juice and delicious apples. Slice one apple in half laterally and rest it on the tray as a centerpiece, with its star-shaped core turned up. Pick a facilitator for the evening, a friend who is good at leading group activities, or let everyone share the task.
3. Gather everyone in a circle. You can open with this prayer:
Mother, Father, God, Goddess, All That Is…
Please fill this place with your sacred presence…
Please open us to your love, light, and wisdom…
Please reunite us with our divine selves
and prepare us to reunite with our first human mother, Eve.
Empower us to heal her…that we may heal ourselves.
Amen. And so it is.
4. Speak the intention for the ceremony.
We now celebrate and affirm our communion and positive connection to the Divine Feminine and to the human mother of us all, Eve, through the sharing of apple juice and apples. The apple represents the feminine, as it held the key that opened the door to knowledge and wisdom; wisdom, in most traditions, is referenced as feminine in nature.
5. Ask everyone to wave a hand over the food in the gesture of offering a blessing, and bless the apple together.
We bless this apple juice, and these apples.
We ask Goddess to instill them with her divine energies,
We ask God to instill them with balancing qualities of the divine male.
6. Offer participants the tray and let them take a juice and an apple.
7. Offer this prayer as they partake of the sweet fruits:
May this apple symbolize wisdom, courage and living our personal truth. And may it symbolize our permission to bite into life-with passion. Take a bite!
May this apple juice symbolize the nectar of feminine power, and may it connect us more fully to the Goddess, and especially, to the Goddess within. Take a sip!
8. Afterward, sit in quiet communion. Play a soft, stirring piece of instrumental music.
9. Then bring the sacred ceremony to a close with this blessing:
May the light of God, Goddess, All That Is, please guide us to reconciliation with the story of Eve that has wounded woman. May our hearts replace untruth with truth. May our experiences and opportunities in life empower us to grow. May we all be the powerful and empowered women Eve was not allowed to become.
"May the light of God, Goddess, All That Is,
sustain and empower us…and
lead us to personal truth and evolution.
Amen. And so it is."