The Tree of Life / Tree of Knowledge
The Two Trees comprises two systems, The Tree of Life (ToL) and the Tree of Knowledge (ToK) within the ‘universe’ of the Garden of Eden – One system is useless without the other – Knowledge cannot be brought to bear onto a problem, unless there is a biological system present to utilise that knowledge.
Also, the process of ‘solving’ problems in the ToL produces new knowledge, which must be passed back to the ToK to update and refine the knowledge database. This process is a balanced, continuously iterative one, which can be summed up in a classic Eastern symbol:
Imagine the Yin-Yang symbol to be continuously rotating – it’s never static – the ToK and the ToL cannot be stilled.
Also, notice that there is a small piece of the opposite within each system – That is also very important, it binds and forms a link between the two systems.
Knowledge is timeless – from the Ancient Greek Philosophers musings about the nature of matter, to today’s Atom-smashers to find new sub-atomic particles, the knowledge used is still valid, even though Philosophers such as Democritus are long gone. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atomism
Which contrasts to the ToL, within which time operates – ‘for everything that lives must die’ and the concept of death has an excellent way of focussing the mind onto important problems ( such as survival, etc.)
The notion of Problem-solving → knowledge → Survival advantage → better prospects for Species/ Tribe looks great, but there is a price to pay – as succinctly portrayed in the most visually spectacular but baffling Science-Fiction film ever made – Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 – A Space Odyssey.
In the “Dawn of Man’ segment, our Australopithecine ancestors get a bit of knowledge from a mysterious monolith – and this is what happens:
They go from grazing on berries and plants, (not very nutritious) to a high -protein meat diet, and their tool use comes in handy when fighting over resources such as water. ( Congratulations! you’ve just murdered one of your own species, but not for food.)
Better nutrition leads to healthier, larger ancestors, with resultant increase in brain size, leading to language, writing, farming, and …
In the film there is the famous jump-cut from the ‘Dawn of Man’ spinning bone to the Earth-orbiting Satellites of 2001, skipping well over 2000 years of human civilisation. What has not been made clear is that in the screenplay, the satellites orbiting the earth are equipped with nuclear bombs, targeting countries on earth. So we have gone from bones to bombs in our technological ‘Arms-Race’
But we get ahead of ourselves – who is to blame for this God-Almighty cock-up?
That Pessssky Serpent?
“OK, Pop Quiz! – Who was the Serpent in the Garden of Eden?”
“Ooo, I know! I know!”
“OK, kid at the back, – Johnny, who was the serpent?”
“Wrong answer! – Satan is never mentioned in the book of Genesis – It’s an assumption we make – The earliest mention of Satan is in the Book of Chronicles, written after the Babylonian Exile.”
– So there! But what is it about the snake?
Here’s a comment from a comic hero of mine:
In this depiction by Michangelo, in the Sistine Chapel, the serpent is depicted as half-serpent, half-female:
And here, on the Notre Dame in Paris:
So what (or Who) is this mysterious figure?
During the Middle Ages, in the post-Biblical period, some ancient Jewish scholars tackled an obvious discrepancy in the text of Genesis. In Genesis 1 living things appear in a specific order; plants, then animals, then finally man and woman are both made on the sixth day: “Male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27). In this version of human origins, man and woman are created together and appear to be equal.
But a little further on, in Genesis 2, man is created first, followed by plants, then animals and finally woman. She comes last because in the array of wild beasts and birds that God had created, “no fitting helper was found” (Genesis 2:20). The Lord therefore casts a deep sleep upon Adam and goes to work, forming woman from Adam’s rib. God presents woman to Adam, who approves of her and names her Eve.
Considering every word of the Bible to be accurate and sacred, (of course!) commentators needed a midrash or story to explain the disparity in the Creation narratives of Genesis 1 and 2. God creates woman twice—once with man, then later on from man’s rib—so there must have been two women. The Bible names the second woman Eve, so, who is the first one?
One can imagine the reasoning that follows:
“Right, Eve turned out sort-of all right, so the first one must ‘ave been a bad un’ – ‘Ere, Cohen, ‘ave a look and see if you can find me a real nasty piece o’ work!”
“Right! I’ll need to check the oldest scrolls – might take a while”
(2 days later…)
-Pant, Puff, Cough! – “Bingo! Found this old scroll about this nasty demoness in Mesopotamia – she lives in the wilderness , she flies around at night, visits pregnant women and babies and kills ’em, -”
“An’ not only that, she visits sleeping young men, ‘does the business’ wiv’ em’ drains their precious bodily fluids – Know what I mean – gets pregnant and breeds demons from ’em!”
“Bloody ‘Ell! – was’ ‘er name then?”
” Right, ‘ang on a sec – errr.. here it is, -Lillin… Lilitu…. Lilith!”
“Lilith eh? right! we’re gonna have one ‘ell of a story!”
And so it was!!
Be honest – I wonder how many of you have even heard of Lilith – Adam’s first wife – Of all the Gods and Goddesses in the Pagan Pantheon, she has had the really shitty end of the stick – virtually forgotten about save amongst most hard-core demonologists and unusually, feminists – (she is seen as the first ever feminist! )
So, before reading on, take some time to get acquainted with the Lady!
And on this website, give special attention to the page ‘the Angelic influence’ where the author gives evidence showing Lilith to be amongst the Cherubim, (Albeit an Anti-Cherubim!)
(Spot the Cherub!)
in which the author states:
‘The earliest representations of Cherubs were protective spirits, and guardians of the gods in temples where they were carved. [Therefore,] that would designate Lilith as guardian of the Tree of Knowledge.
In the Wikipedia entry on Cherubs: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherub
in the ‘Origins and Etymology’ section, we read that : ‘The origin of the symbolic cherub antedates history, and points to the time when man began to shape his ideas of supernatural powers by mystic forms.
That name Lamassu – I’ve heard it before! Guess what? It’s one of Lilith’s other names!
Look at the second list, name No. 18!
Not only that, but there is an interesting parallel with the ancient Egyptian legend of Isis (No, not that ISIS!) and the Secret Name of Ra!
Previously, the fact that she knew the ‘ineffable name of God’ was a striking aspect of her legend that was never explained, but is obvious if she is from the Cherubic family!
Another site with lots of info and a modern interpretation is this:
She has also been invoked as an archetype by the Jungian Therapist
Yet in all classical representations of her, she is portrayed as a demoness:
For quite some time this plaque in the British Museum was attributed as her;
(It is now seen as a representation of the Goddess Inanna)
We have the patriarchal backlash in response to such a strong-willed, independent, female character, or because in the early formative period of the ‘new’ Judaeo-Christian religion, they had to suppress the old pagan deities.
In the words of Dion Fortune, “The Gods of the old are the Demons of the new”
Or is it because we as humans are afraid of ‘the other’ – anyone that is seen as being ‘different’ and not of our tribe or even our own species.
Or all of the above – so that is how we ‘see’ her – but looking at it another way –
How does she see us?
You hear stories of teenagers finding out about Occult stuff, and Grimoires, wanting to ‘conjure up’ entities like the Devil and such-like. I have a saying –
“If you want to see the Devil, go look in a mirror”
Look at human history through the centuries, what individuals, groups, nations have done in the name of ‘Progress’ ‘Freedom’ ‘Religion’ to our fellow human. And to this planet.
I could get on my soapbox, but this scene from ‘The Fifth Element’ says it all – Leeloo is the fifth element, a perfect being brought to earth to save it from an evil cataclysm – She is finding out about humanity, and is working her way through our database.
From her point of view, we’re the worst – Humans cheat, steal, lie and don’t even honour their promises – How can any higher being trust them?
One Occultist has said that ‘Angels hate us, because God gave us ‘free will’ which was in their eyes, totally wasted on us.’ So, all you ‘angel workers’ out there, forget it, they’re not our allies !
So, viewed from this side of the mirror, to us, we see the demoness, but on her own side?
Maybe on the Tree of Knowledge (ToK) she looks more like this?
Though I shudder to think how we look like through her eyes – After her treatment by God, Adam and men, she has a lot of hate towards us – One author says this:
“You have no idea how dangerous Lilith is when she’s pissed off.”
This impasse, caused by the breaking of trust ( and the resultant distrust ) has allowed the natural process of the Two Trees to stagnate and fail.
The pathways and channels are blocked, and the twin system is broken – Look at our world – the Industrial Revolution, the creation of Cities, people have turned their back on Nature and our covenant with the land – World Wars and weapons of destruction – Chemical weapons and pesticides – Nuclear bombs and Nuclear disasters – It seems as if, because of our lack of balance and lust for ‘power’ and ‘wealth’ we on the Tree of Life have now become ‘Anti-Life’.
Maybe Agent Smith was right about our species:
have we gone too far?
Is there a way back?
One of the forgotten periods in history is the influence of Islamic thought and mysticism on the West, and Idries Shah puts forward his case authoritatively in his book, ‘The Sufis’
One of the Centres of both Islamic and Jewish mystical thought was in Spain, and there, the 13th century Spanish Kabbalist R Isaac Hacohen said that Lilith is “a ladder on which one can ascend to rungs of prophecy.”
Maybe we need to see how the connections between the ToK and ToL work, and as Guardian of the ToK, how Lilith controls the flow between the two systems.
In the ‘Trees in Mythology and Culture’ Page, I mentioned that the Tree of Life in Hebrew is ‘Etz Chaim’ – which also is the name of the Jewish Kabbalah, a mystical symbol used to understand the nature of God and the manner in which He created the world.
We began our quest in the Garden of Eden, and now the clues point to the Kabbalah – we need to investigate further in order to unravel the workings of the Two Trees.