The Tree of Life and The Divine Restoration: Part III
by A. C. George
The Divine in its pure, original state- according to mystical understanding the world over- is the very essence of Love/Bliss. Seeds created in its image and likeness are exposed to choices inherent in fields of creation defined by polarity and multiplicity…and then meaningful shit happens. Ultimately, the path that takes the Divine through the transcendence of Its own perfection for the incomprehensible further horizon is paved with the precarious denial of its very essence.
That dynamic of existential self-denial is what the fall is all about. It is the denial of the original divine essence at odds with the status of created beings or offspring. The Tree of the Orchard of Delight, known in the Torah as Gan Eden is a multidimensional entity representing the blueprint of human incarnation. From the mystical standpoint, rather than being a “pleasure garden” as the name would imply, the enclosure of Eden is a contained state of being. It expresses and represents the existential mode underlying human creation and its first stages of growth. The state is accordingly one of mystical bliss, the natural condition for the human beings of such a formation.
There is ambiguity regarding the nature and number of trees in the center of the sacred enclosure- the contained bliss state. Suffice it to say that consuming the fruit of the Tree of Life (ToL) did not compromise the state of divine grace the primordial human couple of the story experienced. Partaking of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge (ToK), on the other hand, was an act that was said to result in death, preceded by the notorious fall from grace that ushered it.
Rather than buy into the idea that humanity suffers because they were disobedient, and its overtones of capitulation to tyranny (even if Divine), the mythical rendition and its variety of nuances challenges the seeker of esoteric wisdom. Therein the story calls us to penetratingly discern beneath its surface veneer, or fall victim to the seductive prejudices that come whenever mysteries are superficially approached. I would suggest, therefore, that we forget the names of the players in this drama; set aside the blame and the usual suspects. Then perhaps we can focus on the process of unfolding patterns of symbolism embedded therein.
As already mentioned, our story unfolds in the heart of a divine enclosure, an existential state of bliss depicted as an actual place not necessarily on the material plane of existence. We can view the enclosure in terms of a kind of paradoxical chrysalis; not even a living womb, for that might suggest the presence of a temptation to slide back into its warm embrace. The dynamic that sustains the integrity of the chrysalis as well as its function (among the many possibilities of its operation) is the ToL. The dynamic of its end is the ToK.
It is said, however, that the enclosure remains intact even after expulsion, and is guarded by a being of power in its eastern gate. The space itself is a westward dynamic, the direction often symbolic of the realm of the grateful dead, the abode of ancestors and the mythic Isles of the Blessed. The west in the esoteric sense is, in fact, where paradise the enclosed garden of bliss resides. It is not in the future where the sun rises, but in the past where the day is left behind.
It is as if the presence of the guardian forces us to refrain from trying to relive the past, however graceful it my have been. Instead we are forced to walk the earth until we come full circle. We may then perhaps enter throw the back door into a new state of grace. But I get ahead of myself. That train of thought is reserved for the concluding installment…next time.
Be that as it may, the above supposition is compatible in meaning with the following: In spite of appearances to the contrary it is quite possible the guardian is not protecting the enclosure from the humans exiled from it. It is guarding the secret that the enclosure itself is nothing more than discarded shards (Kelipot– QLIPVTh- in Hebrew), the discarded shards of a former stage of divine evolution that may still have a role to play when the “time” is right.
The former presumption, however, is not easily convincing. Is the being from the family of entities known as Kerubim really guarding a secret, or is it actually issuing a challenge for humanity- if not isolated initiates- to earn and embody a profound mystery? After all a similar being was said in another part of the Old Testament to have descended and battled the patriarch Jacob in order for the latter to earn its blessing and gain then title of Israel.
The mystery in this case lies at the heart of the divine enclosure and depends on the understanding of the tale of the two trees growing there. As is the case for mysteries of the occult, paradox lies at their point of comprehension. That the two trees are one tree is a paradox, but it is not inconceivable. The tree, furthermore, as an esoteric mystery lies not in the midst of an abandoned pleasure garden, but in the beings around which the enclosure was manifested in the first place.
As mentioned in the beginning of this four-part work, the two trees are really one. Each description of a distinct tree is really a formalization of an evolutionary phase of a singular entity or potentiality at the very core of human nature. The thing to consider, and hopefully remember, is that you can take Adam and Eve out of the Garden, but you can’t take the Garden (or rather its core dendritic mystery) out of Adam and Eve. Therein, within a rather crude cliché lies profound meaning and the possibility of unfathomable revelation regarding our very human/divine evolutionary potential.
The forbidden version of the tree, whose fruit transformed the first humans into its likeness, expressed the contradiction necessary to seed the path of self-transcendence and ultimate divine purpose. Thus humanity entered the world of suffering- or rather the principle of suffering entered humanity…and so did the consequence of death.
The Tree of Knowledge (of “Good” and “Evil”- as it is commonly and perhaps erroneously translated), corresponds to a deep existential intimacy with the experiences of being broken, fragmented and in a state of existential denial. It is the knowledge of what sets a self aware being apart from its divine origin and center, and the intimate connection with all that is nourishing and all that is existentially toxic (aka “evil”). As it is more akin to the sensual intimacies of carnal knowledge rather than anything held by intellect, the knowing depicted in QBLH wisdom as daath is not just a theoretical contrivance. It is a brutishly raw experience of the extremes it covers.
Sages have harnessed the revelatory potentials of the Eden mythos and established a mapping and description of the esoteric potentials it inspired. The view was known in various cultures of the ancient Mediterranean as Hermetic Wisdom. Its basis is the understanding that the human microcosm and the universal macrocosm are reflections of each other, while both express/represent a Divine reality.
The greatest revelations in the world, however, are nothing more than a play of intellect when one is not conscious of the sacred state of being their embodiment. When this is the case, those embodied revelations of both macrocosm and microcosm complement and support the fulfillment of the nature and purpose of each; I call this fulfillment “Restoration”.
The Tree of Life in its original purity sustains grace. The Tree of the Fallen, known biblically as the tree of the knowledge of “good and evil”, ends the state of grace dependency to initiate and empower evolution through the crucible of fragmented existence.
Suffering, in this author’s view, is a collateral experience and not something with inherent purpose other than its transcendence without compromising the attainment of the third phase of the tree: The restoration as the tree of Living Meaning where grace is now revived as the core of one’s being in unconditional and unbounded relationship with one’s world.
In the next and concluding installment in this series, the nature of the Restoration and its kinship with the Fall itself will be explored at length. The key to be examined is the understanding of the deeper meaning of the words translated as “good” and “evil” in the Genesis story. The suspect conventional translation tends to act in a way similar to a guardian of the entrance to the deeper mysteries of the Eden mythos. These are nothing less than the mysteries of Divine Restoration.