Many Christians have wondered where the Garden of Eden is located, but we should be asking a more important question: what does Eden represent? It certainly shouldn’t be confused as a literal garden. To do so strips it of all its esoteric (inner) meaning and knowledge.
Just as Jesus made it clear that the kingdom of God was within you (a conscious experience), and not something that we can see (Luke 17:20), so it is with Eden. In order to understand this, we’re going to have to look at all the Biblical language and symbols within Eden. Once we break them down, I think you’ll discover that the true meaning of Eden becomes quite clear. I also promised I was going to discuss more about the topic of transmuting sexual energy in light of Adam and Eve. I’ve decided to push that back a post or two as it will make more sense after discussing Eden.
The two trees
Besides Adam and Eve, the two most important symbols in Eden are the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. When we read about these two trees, it’s easy to miss the subtle hints telling us they aren’t really two separate trees. They’re both located in the midst of the garden, indicating two symbols representing different aspects of one totality. That totality is consciousness, that which is both immortal and eternal.
An important aspect that you must realize about consciousness is that when it is manifested it becomes dual in nature. This is why we have two separate symbols (trees, also representing man) that are both located in the midst of Eden.
Consider the scripture below:
“And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis: 2:9).
The tree of life
The tree of life represents the divine ray (logos, self) from the plane of consciousness before the fall of man, and the one to which we shall one day return. Again, this high plane of consciousness is symbolized by Eden. The tree of life then is the divine energy flowing from this higher conscious plane. Eden itself is an inward experience of the soul as opposed to an outward manifestation of it. Currently we experience reality through the ego and personality (outward manifestations of the soul through the lower natures). This outward manifestation of the soul through the mental, emotional, and physical natures leaves no memory of Eden. But this plane of high consciousness (Eden) can become indirectly known through the fruits of the spirit, or the higher emotions and intellect. To experience Eden we must follow Jesus’ example and crucify the lower ego.
Jesus also calls this higher state of consciousness “the tree of life.”
“…To him that overcometh (the lower egoic nature) will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God” (Rev. 2:7).
The tree of knowledge of good and evil
The tree of knowledge of good and evil, which is also in the midst of the garden, represents the evolving moral nature we all develop as the result of our experiences on earth. It represents consciousness manifested through duality, and to eat of the tree of knowledge means to experience through the lower natures (mental, emotional, and physical) so we can raise the spiritual man from the experiences of the natural man. As Paul states, first in the natural and then the spiritual. This is a universal law within the unfolding of consciousness.
Therefore it is easy to see that both symbols are really two separate sides of the same coin, consciousness itself. Whereas one represents a higher conscious experience, the other represents the lower conscious experience through the personality and our physical bodies (the outward expression of consciousness through our thoughts, emotions, and physical senses).
Food on the trees
The food that was good to the eyes spoken of in the scripture above represents the spiritual truths we gain through our experiences within the physical realm. They don’t represent literal apples and oranges, but food for the soul, which are always truths assimilated into the soul. The more of this soul-food we eat, the more the illusion of duality fades, and the more real is incorporated into consciousness. The spiritual man is the real and the abiding nature, whereas the lower man/nature is illusory and dissolves after each reincarnated cycle.
Can we find evidence of such an interpretation in other scriptures? Yes. Acts 14:17 states:
“Nevertheless he (God) left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain (truth) from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food (truth) and gladness.”
As we eat the food of the tree of knowledge of good and evil through the many experiences of life, we eventually work our way up to higher consciousness and Eden again.
Adam and Eve
After discussing what the two trees represent, it should make sense why man (Adam and Eve) ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. This act symbolically represents the “fall of man,” or the fall of the soul into physical manifestation, complete with a human ego and personality. Since the tree of knowledge of good and evil represents the evolving moral nature through experience, logically Adam and Eve would eventually “eat” of it.
The symbolic truths above make sense out of a story that is riddled with problems when viewed literally. For example, why would God place the bad tree (tree of knowledge) in the midst of the garden alongside tree of life to tempt man in the first place?
Wouldn’t you want your children to have knowledge of good and evil anyways? This is all gained through experience in life!
This is also why Adam and Eve must work among thorns and thistles (experience in the physical world) to produce food. It’s all about the spiritual food, the truths needed for the progression and evolution of the soul. Furthermore, this toiling among thorns and thistles can be likened to man’s responsibility to follow Jesus’ example of crucifying the ego and coming to express higher consciousness so that we can return to Eden or Paradise.
It should be obvious that Adam and Eve weren’t literal people. Over a year ago, I wrote an article explaining that Adam and Eve represent the conscious and subconscious. Originally these two aspects of consciousness were one, just as Eve was within Adam. In a sense they still are; the waking conscious and the subconscious are actually ONE consciousness, but it is convenient for us to make this distinction to describe the dual nature of consciousness when it is manifested in the lower planes.
The scripture states that Eve became the mother of all living. Eve, as the subconscious, is the power behind manifesting creation. This is true in our own lives because we perceive reality through the influences of the subconscious. In a sense this creates our reality. But the waking conscious (Adam) is the rudder that is meant to steer the power of the subconscious. Therefore, the waking conscious, must rule over the women (subconscious), to produce the right fruit. This is the power of choice to develop the moral character which eventually leads to higher consciousness and Eden again. As we learn spiritual truths through our experience in the physical realm we begin to reprogram the subconscious, bringing us closer to the mystical and divine marriage where we balance the opposing energies (Adam and Eve) within us.
The serpent in the garden
The serpent mentioned in Eden wasn’t Satan, an evil being that helped mankind fall. In former articles, Anny has given us some deep insight into the meaning of the serpent. She dissects him through symbolism and numerology, and she is absolutely right when she concludes that he is the downward force that begins the process of awakening in us. She also mentions that at its lowest point, this force begins to move upwards as the Christ within.
We could just as easily say that the serpent represents dual forces of a higher and a lower nature. These dual forces are the desire-nature and the wisdom-nature inherit in the totality of consciousness, both of which are at work when the soul is manifested. The wisdom nature comes down to us through the higher planes and the tree of life, whereas the desire-nature is at work through the tree of knowledge of good and evil and the ego on the lower planes. Both are needed to complete our spiritual evolution. Thus the tempting of Eve by the serpent was a logical progression of the story in Genesis, not a turn of events where man disobeyed God. It’s symbolic of the necessity for mankind to evolve spiritually through the physical plane where the soul manifests an ego through the mental, emotional, and physical nature. As the famous Italian poet Dante once stated:
“The path to paradise begins in hell.”
Many of the ancients considered the manifestation of consciousness on the physical plane as the experience of hell. The physical body was the tomb from which the soul must arise. In the Gnostic teachings this is what the resurrection of the dead means. It’s not something that will come to us in the next life, but something we accomplish before we die.
In conclusion it is clear that Eden is synonymous with heaven and paradise. It is a plane of existence above the physical, astral, and mental planes. In some esoteric literature it is known as the Buddhic plane. Whatever we choose to call it, it’s all the same.
Soon I still plan to address the topic of transmuting sexual energy in light of Adam and Eve. I think it’s too important of a topic not to discuss. In the next few posts Anny will explain more about the meaning of the serpent, and other contributors are going to give insight in to developing the Christ within through meditation and other avenues. I am also looking forward to another article from Paul soon. 2014 promises to be an exciting year for Spirit of the Scripture. It seems others with esoteric knowledge are coming forward to share their insight. I hope it’s a trend that will continue.