Retelling the story of Eve
This story seeks to rewire our concept of the Eve: recasting this mythical first woman from wicked and weak to the breaker of chains and mother of all life. It draws on wider, more ancient mythology around snakes and serpents as the wisdom keepers of nature, who only relay their messages to those capable of receiving them, in order to inspire a greater freedom. And it links Eve’s story to the stories of Tara, the earth goddess, connecting humans as part of the ecological natural world. With deep thanks to @MidnightMoonVisuals for the artwork on this piece.
When she woke for the first time, it were as if the cells in her being, once dormant, began a long forgotten salsa: sitting low, grinding hips, enticing life energy to find a new flow from the earth, through root, sliding up her spine. Until it found her eyes, which snapped open in unison with a first, gasping breath. Alive.
It was the green she noticed first. Blurring giant leaves from tropical forest vines into a single amorphous canvas, defined shapes and ribbed knots, deep moss and bright limes, illuminated by sun rays pouring down from a royal blue sky. She lay there, taking in breath and then blowing it back into the forest’s veins, before they released breath back into the void for her to inhale once again.
It was weeks, months, like that. Breathing each other. Feeling herself growing stronger as sun, water, air and earth filled her from the nails on her toes to the oil in her hair. Stretching her cells and lacing through muscle. Months, maybe years, before she noticed she wasn’t the only one. That there, in the swaying hum, lying to her right side, a body not dissimilar to her own.
He was like her. Larger at the shoulders. Smaller at the waist. Wider feet; angled jaw. But familiar in arms and legs, eyes and skull. She recognised herself in him (for it was a ‘him’), and a realisation that flashed in her being: someone put me here for him. No, not just for him, but from him. Made of his ribs. Grown to fulfil his need. And with that realisation, the forest moved from foreground to background, redefining our Eve in relation to this man. And so I am not an extension of vines; my hair is not a new ivy. I breath the forest, but I cannot be the forest. For I am like him. And so, I am not quite my own.
He knew it already, and was delighted. For endless days they slept and woke in that perfect Garden of Eden; expanding their hearts in love and safety. She looked to him for heroism, he looked to her for beauty. He watched her gather wild flowers while he ran marathons, reaching for each other’s embrace as sun fell and stars arrived to welcome their nights. Bliss came naturally then, always. And through that endless Springtime they knew nothing but satisfaction.
Or at least, he did. For when sleep came and he rested soundly on cool soft ground, she noticed a whisper in the invisible line between day and night. But there’s more, it said. It slithered from the forest and into her roots. It tugged at her longing, blowing softly on a flames at the promise of her once free will. There’s more to you than this.
For a while, days, years, she pocketed those whispers as the stuff of dreams, forgetting them as quickly as they came. He climbed mountains. She made headdresses out of peacock feathers. This is paradise, he would say. She would smile, saying nothing. Until one day she replied: the words that fell out of her mouth like pollen; “but what if there’s more.”
The forest hushed into silence. Winds fell, birds froze. Flowers ceased their opening dance. The only movement in the garden of Eden, the snaking rise of feminine intuition, sliding up Eve’s spine, connecting her body to the earth below, the sky above. And for a moment, she was no longer his. She was everything.
And so, on that fateful day that the offer came, it would have been madness to say no. When she ate the apple they had been warned hard against, she knew she would destroy paradise. But she sensed she would win something more important: sovereignty. Not just hers, but nature’s too.
As she bite hard into its flesh, the natural world broke its own chains in awe, throwing the surrounding temperatures into freezing ice and molten lava. The moon, amazed by the gaul of the world’s only woman, locked into her orbit, pulling the earth’s once still serene waters into ferocious tides that battered the land until it broke into pieces, forging islands and continents from the force of its wonder. The forests, once pitted with gentle glades shading cool gardens, exploded into overgrown thickets, teaming with arachnids and multi-legged insects, arched with thorns that would rip a man’s flesh and fill the wound with maggots.
No longer was this garden a haven of tranquility. No longer was the world made to cater to the needs of man. Nature broke free, Eve — it’s goddess — unleashing it’s cycle. Birth, death, growth and suffering. Summer, winter — no longer just endless Spring. Hibernation, life. Death again. The full catastrophe. The deep, wild harmony. The universe in bounteous, unpredictable circular motion, no longer fixed still in its best light. Day and night. Dark and light. The full nature of being.
He could barely look at her at first. Knowing all they had guaranteed was now ashes and dust. But as grey streaked her hair and the first child filled her belly, he found himself awe-struck by this woman by his side. No longer his plaything, his consort, his completion. But a partner, a giant. With eyes in every part of her being, living in cycles, feeling into senses he could barely understand. Foreseeing danger, noticing opportunity, so they could more confidently step forward into unknown lands. So his eyes too might awaken to discover the true, wild nature of being.
And so this is the other story of Eve: not of sin and shame, but of intuition and freedom. A threat to a version of man, no doubt. But then, man was not made to be centre of the cosmos.
So what will you do, daughter of Eve, when the whisper comes in that gap between night and day. When you feel a serpent stirring at your roots, infusing your cells with longing, and knowing. Would you be so brave as to break paradise, to follow the calling of your wilder, deeper nature. For even the most beautiful cage is still a cage. And for those who dare bite, a bigger life awaits on the other side of Eden.
With thanks to @MidnightMoonVisuals for the artwork on this piece.
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