The Third Stage of the Fall: Genesis 3: 14–21
14“And the Lord God said unto the serpent,
Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle,
and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go,
and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life.
The serpent exerts a down-pulling influence on consciousness. But by the very movement it initiates, it precipitates itself downwards. Its creative power becomes directed Earth-wards. The functions of the Element Fire, in the service of the lower man, become to a very great extent concerned with material and physical matters. Materially they become responsible for the creations of the natural and mechanical sciences; physically they over-stimulate the sensual life. As regards the last field of manifestation, modern psychology has rightly called the serpent a libido-symbol. In its very lowest form the snake is a symbol of sex. In verse 14 the serpent is condemned to creep on his belly, touching the earth, and to live a materialistic life, eating the dust of the earth.
Because the serpent eclipses Consciousness, it is called the Eclipse-Dragon in mythology, as based on astronomy. This symbolism is established on the natural fact of sun and moon eclipses. For various reasons, which cannot be entered into more fully here, the Eclipse-Dragon is conceived as consisting of two parts, which in astronomy and astrology are called the Dragon’s Tail and the Dragon’s Head. The traditional place given by Hindu astrology to the Dragon’s Tail, is the Sign of Scorpio. The Tail is reflected in the poisonous tail of the scorpion. This aspect of the Serpent or Dragon is dealt with in Genesis 3:1–5. Hindu astrology places the Dragon’s Head in the Sign that lies opposite to Scorpio, namely, Taurus. This is the aspect of the Serpent referred to in Genesis 3:14–15. Taurus is an Earth-Sign, hence the words: “Upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life.” This curse applies to the phase of Taurus, the central Sign in the third stage of the Fall. In astrology Taurus is known for its sensual and materialistic propensities in unfavorable circumstances. Its Ruler is Venus, the Goddess of Love.
The symbolism of the Serpent, Dragon or Eclipse-Demon, which is of wide import and opens up vast psychological perspectives, has been dealt with at length in other books.
15 “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman,
and between thy and her seed; it shall bruise thy head
and thou shalt bruise his heel.”
In the final stages of the Fall there is a very marked opposition between the power of consciousness and the power that applies consciousness for the purposes of the lower man, that is, in other words, between “the woman” and “the serpent”. “Seed” represents Karmic issue or the consequences of actions, embodied in a human being. The “head” is the organ of consciousness, and the head of the serpent is the Dragon’s Head, the traditional place of which is in Taurus.
The symbolism of the heel hangs together with that of the foot. The foot is symbolically connected with Consciousness in its relation to the Earth. As part of the leg it is, moreover, a symbol of walking the path. A strong foot takes the pilgrim along the path of the Spirit, a hurt foot makes him stumble and fall. The Achilles’ heel constitutes the weak spot — the same place where the serpent bites.
16 “Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow
and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children;
and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.”
The third stage of the Fall is the emotional phase. Sorrow is the emotional consequence of desire for “forbidden fruit”. Children very often symbolize “the fruits of actions”, with special reference to the Element Water. In the emotional phase of the Fall many desires are “conceived”. The nearer we approach the end of the Fall, the nearer the symbolic meaning comes to the actual. Verse 16 refers particularly to erotic desire; the woman, symbolizing the dynamic power of consciousness, feels attracted towards the husband. Spiritually the man symbolizes Reality within the depth of the soul, in the world of the lower planes, he represents the center of reality “in the world”, around which the woman’s world moves.
In view of what has been mentioned about “the woman”. It is evident the she becomes the power or factor of Karma.
“He shall rule over thee” has several implications. In the Key to Genesis the dominion of the male function over the female has been dealt with. In the present stage of the Fall the relation of male and female applies to a different level. In the spiritual stage of the path, the man ruling over the woman symbolizes that Divine Reality comes before its Consciousness and Creation, as the primal comes before the secondary, and the “I” originates before the “thou”. During the Fall “reality” shifts from the Reality of the Divine to the seeming “reality” of everyday life in the world. The man, instead of symbolizing the divine Reality, as he does in the spiritual stage and on the spiritual level, represents on the lower level, which is reached in the Fall, the reality of “the world”, because then a woman’s life becomes centered in her husband. In other words, on a high spiritual level, consciousness is centered in Divine Reality, whereas on the lower emotional level, which is reached in the Fall, consciousness is centered in the actualities of life, which seem so real to the soul. Both opposite forms of “reality” are symbolized by “man”. In the lower or final stages of the Fall the “I” takes precedence over the “thou”, because selfishness predominates.
In view of the fact that “the woman” also has begun to represent Karma, the statement that she is ruled by the man means that Karma is determined by the selfish reality of “the world”.
Literalists have explained these wondrously rich and significant teachings to the effect that a man should actually rule over a woman, in marriage. Perhaps the curse in verse 16 also refers to this literalistic interpretation of the Tradition! If Tradition becomes wrongly interpreted by the “blasphemy” of literalism, it forms a curse indeed.
The emancipation of woman from the rulership of man should be symbolical of the emancipation of consciousness from its attachment to the surface-realities of the world. By that emancipation she will be able to qualify for the mystic marriage, in which “I” and “thou” lose each other in a joyful ecstasy of union, both with regards to the relation of the soul with God and the relation of soul and soul.
17 “And unto the man he said, Because thou hast hearkened
unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree,
of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it:
cursed is the ground for thy sake,
in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.”
The “voice” repeats the literalistic Anti-Tradition, which made the Fall possible.
This verse establishes the relation between “the man” and “the realities of the world”, consisting of material and emotional matters. The material world is represented by the soil, and the world of feeling by the vegetable kingdom, which is implied in the last sentence of verse 17 and in verse 18 and 19.
In the tradition of Genesis 1 the Earth-Sign of Taurus, ruled by Love, is the “ground” in which “the seeds” of “culture” are sown. In the Fall the sprouts at this stage pertain to the wilderness:
18 “Thorns also and thistles shall it cause to bud to thee;
and thou shalt eat the herb of the field.”
Thorns and thistles are symbols of the Karma of sin on the material and emotional planes. They form the opposites of the tender grass and the vegetable sprouts which grow in this stage of the path of culture: “And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind”. In spring the soul should delight in flowers and not prick and scratch its hands and feet at thorns and thistles: it should live in the Garden and not in the Wilderness.
19 “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread,
till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken:
for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”
The face is a symbol of consciousness and its sweat symbolizes the intense exertion of consciousness for the solution of materialistic problems. In this verse, which contains a prediction of the fourth stage of the Fall, pertaining to the level of the Element Earth, the symbolical and the actual approach each other very closely. On the lower levels of the Fall the problems of the physical world require all possible conscious activity. But in the domain of the Fall there is no real, that is, lasting, solution for them, for materialistic man is no more than matter. In the first stage of evolution, described in Genesis 2:7, man was formed from the dust of the ground. Therefore in the last stage of the Fall he returns to that beginning-stage, but the dust he returns to is not the virgin dust of Genesis 2:7, but the state of matter analyzed and broken up in endless particles, as the sand of the waste of “earth”, mentioned in Genesis 1:1–2.
There is an old saying: as a man thinks, so he becomes. If consciousness dwells on matters of earth, it will become as materialistic as the consciousness of a stone or of sand. Its reality is that of the surface, and not of the inner Truth. It has lost “the breath of life”, symbolizing inspiration and spiritual expression.
The sweat of the face further suggests tears.
20 “And Adam called his wife’s name Havah;
because she was the mother of all living.”
Consciousness is the power that gives birth to all life, and to all Karma. It is interesting that the name “Havah” — anglicised as “Eve” — is etymologically not the same as the major portion of the word YHVH — anglicised as “Jehovah”. Jehovah means “the living God”, or rather, “the living Yod”, and “Eve” means “Living”. The initial letter of Jehovah is the Yod, which has been mentioned in Chapter 5. We have seen that it is also the first letter of Ish and of Jesus, both aspects of the perfect Man of the Spirit, connected with the stage of Scorpio and Sagittarius, the “sixth day” of Genesis. The Yod is further associated with Capricorn, the tenth Sign of the Zodiac, reckoned from the spring equinox, because the Yod has the numerical value of 10. Thus the Yod is symbolically connected with the final stage of the spiritual path. It is significant that “Adonai”, “the Lord” (in Genesis 2 and 3) has the Yod as its final letter.
If we give attention to the relation between the tradition of “Jehovah” or “Jahveh” and “Havah” (Eve), we come to the conclusion that “Havah” symbolizes Consciousness, both as Life and as the Voice of Life, from which the Yod, symbolizing the Essence, has disappeared. This implies the absence of insight into the meaning or the essence of life and of the Tradition. But this absence is only a matter of appearance, relating to the world of the Fall, and not a matter of reality, for Jesus when he was criticised for the attitude towards the Tradition, spoke: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. In other words, the Yod shall in truth not pass from the Tradition and from human life, till the End is gained. “Heaven and earth “represent the first and last stage, mentioned in Genesis 1:1 and 2:4, and pertaining to Capricorn and Aquarius. While Jesus says that in truth the Yod, symbolizing insight (into the) meaning (of the) quintessence, will not leave the Tradition, in Genesis 3:20 the Yod is not evident. This is the case, because Eve does not represent the Voice of the Tradition, but the Voice of the Anti-Tradition, as is clear from 3:17. In the Anti-Tradition, the Divine and Essential is not apparent in life. In the 20th verse, Adam proclaims that he is married to the anti-Tradition spirit of materialism which recognizes no initial Divinity. Eve, “the woman” of the third stage of the Fall, is mere Havah, and not Jehovah.
This is confirmed by the various later traditions, connected with the Sign of Taurus. It marks a stage of materialism. This word is derived from “material” which itself comes from “mater”, meaning mother. In the traditions of all the world Taurus is the Sign of “the Mothers”. Eve is also called the mother of all living. In terms of Hindu philosophy, Eve symbolizes Maya with reference to the two lowest spheres in which Consciousness becomes veiled in the Fall: the Elements Water and Earth.
Jesus brings back the Divine “Yod” to “Havah” or Eve, and redeems consciousness from materialism. “Eve” is “the woman” in the final stages of the Fall, Jesus is the Savior of God and of the Yod at the end of the Fall, where the spiritual path at the hand of the essence of God’s Tradition begins. Ultimate perfection rests in Jehovah — Havah springing from and united to the Yod. This is easy to understand when we realize that Jehovah is the Lord of the Ether, the “Quintessence” of Life.
21 “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God
make coats of skins, and clothed them.”
It is clear that at this advanced stage of the Fall the coat of leaves, symbolizing the veiling of consciousness in the spiritual stage, is no more sufficient. The coat of skins symbolizes the veil of the animal man.
The Preacher says: “For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no pre-eminence above a beast: for all is vanity. All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again. Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?” In these verses we find the theme of the “dust” of Genesis 3:19 and of the “animal cover” of 3:21, and note the contrast between the upward path of Spirit, leading to Manhood, and the downward path of the Fall, which makes man like a beast. In the Fall man loses his spiritual individuality: he becomes a herd-creature or horde-creature, a mere instrument of mass-psychology: “They have all one breath”, “All go unto one place”, “one thing befalleth them”, and they all die the same death of the Fall. With the theme of “all is vanity” we return to the “voidness” of the final stage of the Fall, in which there is a complete absence of order, culture and light: “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.”