In biblical mythos (literal history to Abrahamic fundamentalists), the first human couple was created within a divine enclosure of pure delight. The enclosure was described as a garden (or more properly an orchard) where many trees pleasing to the eye bore the most refreshing and delicious of fruit. The first human couple was tasked to tend this pleasure garden, while the male who was created first was prompted to name everything he encountered therein.
This account is usually touted as a story of two trees and of disobedience to one’s Creator (and hence Master). Adam the man, was treated as a beloved slave or house pet, and Eve his mate was his Master’s gift and apparently secondary in importance. The man disobeyed the Lord, prompted by the woman, who was in turn “seduced” by the villain of the story in the form of a snake, and the rest is His-story as they say.
The tale of betraying one’s Lord makes sense if you take religious texts verbatim, i.e. with no esoteric component; if you gloss over some inconsistencies, and explain a few things away. It is easy in our world to accept that all we need to do is what we are told when the authority lording itself over us is the “right” one and not the villain. After all, we are obliged in this life to not just follow the rules, but to know which rules to follow. Fortunately for the spiritually somnambulant among us, the latter task is most often appropriated by certain religious institutions whose constituents make it their life’s work to keep the rest of us from thinking for ourselves. Those who encourage otherwise, according to the institutions, are nothing more than shills working for the villain.
This analysis, however, represents a different track of understanding. It is one that strives to compare and correlate the trees of the biblical Orchard of Delight with two versions of the cabalistic existential mapping also known as the Tree of Life (ToL). One of these is a symmetric array of ten interconnected domains and the other, the same array with one portion gapped or fallen from the rest. I will leave the details of that form (well known to many interested in occultism and QBLH these days) for another day. Instead, the aim here is to elaborate some basic ideas relating to notions of damnation (the fall) and salvation (the restoration).
In essence the fallen tree in QBLH is defined by a gap that alters the dynamic of every relationship within the fabric of its design. Because of this gap, everything else is “off” and one must constantly adjust and experience the trials and frictions of existential compromise when moving through any domain mapped within the tree. If this gap is restored, on the other hand, the discovery and recovery of the original tree of life are actualized in synthesis with the knowledge gained by its/our fall from grace.
QBLH certainly moves to describe the mechanics of such a fall, elaborating in great detail as to how it happened. The question of “why”, however, is more problematic in a cosmology that is purposeful and revolving around perfect divinity. This is where correlation with the biblical story may provide some insight. The fundamentalist view often takes it for granted that the primordial couple had it good and made bad choices.
Yet there is also the view that suggests the whole thing was a set up. The primordial couple were, in that sense, manipulated to taste the fruit they were ordered to avoid. Thus they would enter the earth plane- the realm beyond the orchard- as an act of defiance to divine authority instead of one ordained by it. The serpent, traditionally a symbol of wisdom and healing, in this drama is working for the “Lord”.
I find that this view makes sense, but it requires some deeper exploration. Much confusion comes from taking spiritual teachings literally. Spiritual understanding is a paradox. It requires us to strip ourselves from conceptual burdens that overcomplicate things, but also cautions us not to oversimplify either. Spirituality, therefore, amounts to walking a razors edge of insight and intuition in a balancing act that can easily falter. If it does, we slip into misconception and misunderstanding leading to all kinds mischief. The real problem there is that we most often don’t realize slippage has occurred until well after we make a mockery out of our most meaningful revelations.
Digressions aside, when grace is based on existential integrity, it is a state that comes from the divine core that defines the very fabric of our experience as self. Such experience unites the individual persona commonly called ego with the environment that appears through the five senses to be the “outside” world. Our fabric is then supported and interwoven with the divine truth of Being, inseparable not just from the sense of individual self, but from our intercourse with the allegedly external environment as well. This state of affairs can also be understood as grace because through it desires are attained via what is easily seen from the mundane- fallen- viewpoint as living miraculously.
The grace of the primordial couple, however, was different because it was grace devoid of initiative, confined and defined by the condition of prohibition. More importantly, it was grace devoid of knowledge. The grace of innocence, in other words, was nothing more than divine dependency. No matter how benign it appears, such “grace” disqualifies the “beneficiaries” of the infinitude of divine possibility for a simple reason: divine dependency is incompatible with the actualization of one’s divine nature.
One need not resort to conjuring Lucifer, Satan- or any antinomian anthropomorphism- to make comprehend and realize the meaning of the above paragraph. One need only be open to the mystical understanding that all that is created by the Divine is as divine as the Divine itself. There is no need to capitalize either because the Divine is all-permeating and nothing “special” as it were, even when transcendent and apart from the “rest” of all that is. The aforementioned mystical observation makes more sense when we consider creation as divine reproduction- as opposed to craftsmanship and artifice- and all that is created as offspring of its parental causation.
A human being, however, cannot grow into healthy adulthood when held in the confines of parental dependency. It cannot realize its potential because it has insufficient liberty toward self-definition and discovery. According to this mystical perspective, the Divine is one essence becoming many in an evolutionary process that transforms any compromise into greater actualization potential.
The process involves the Divine discovering itself within each point of its creation according to the nature of the intrinsic and relativistic limits of those. Such apparently down-sized actualization (or incarnation) may not be under the aegis of the original divine express that begat itself as “them”, at least not in any expressive manner or in a way that does not involve an evolutionary unfolding to a more mature state. But what exactly is the nature of the Divine Aegis? The answer, along with the conclusion to this diatribe, in the next installment.