Thursday, August 06, 2009

Garden of Eden

In The Garden of Eden Oil on linen 50 x 94 cm

For a while now, I have been wanting to visually delve into the story of Adam and Eve, a story shared by the three Abrahamaic religions of Islam, Christianity and Judaism. It will not come as a surprise to regular readers of my BLOG that the tree of life and the tree of knowledge are pivotal symbols which have drawn me to the epic tale and all that it might mean. Apart from the details of the story, what intrigues me most are concepts of the sacred feminine, duality and 'The Fall'. The latter may not be a fall from Grace , but a fall to Grace [via a journey through life or maybe lives]. For to know who we are, we also need to know who we are not, hence we need to 'know' good and 'error'. I have previously written about duality on this BLOG

In the painting above Adam and Eve are crowned by the flowing branches of the tree of life representing eternal [divine] life and the tree of knowledge representing the knowledge of good and evil [I prefer error instead of evil]. These trees meet to create a Yoni symbol representing the sacred feminine. Reclaiming the sacredness and equality of the feminine is an age old quest which still persists today in many aspects of contemporary life, culture and religion. The sacred feminine does not exclude the masculine, but encompasses that feminine aspect of the masculine. The masculine can emotionally, physically and spiritually share in the experience. He is reminded of it in mortal life when he physically is one with a woman. The Yoni suggests that the Garden of Eden is to be found within and is not just meant to be some kind of external environment which is subject to the vagaries of mere human care and or manipulation.

In the story Eve is created from Adam's rib. "She was not made out of his head to surpass him, nor from his feet to be trampled on, but from his side to be equal to him, and near his heart to be dear to him." [Jamieson-Fausset Brown Bible Commentary] Eve eternally shares a part of Adam just as Adam also experiences the feminine. The absent part of his rib represents Eve's presence within. Absentia does not mean lack of inclusion. With these thoughts in mind culpability for the Temptation ascribed soley to Eve seems rather lame or perhaps opportunistic.
What also interests me is the conduit to the internal unseen parts of our psyche and spirit this story gifts to us. The imagined [by God] comes to life in Creation. How many unseen elements of our lives need to be explored? This is the potency of all art ie: its ability to bring some kind of perception to the imagined. The distance between what we call reality and the imagined is vast going beyond size, space or time. By this I mean that there can be a vastness within the nano as well as the universal.

I am not a biblical student, but I am intensly interested in stories which gift to us the chance for metaphysical interpretations and thus great insight. I am also interested in stories which are shared by those religions which in many parts of the world sit uncomfortably and often dangerously with each other. A previous post about a painting called 'Forever Connected' discusses this further.

The Garden Of Eden Oil on linen 50 x 95 cm 2009


Ducks Mahal said...

Brillant, majestic, located outside the earth, universal.

The back story has me wondering, becuase I'm not altogether fixed on the idea that man and woman are all that different but for the definition of reproductive organs. Mostly from a man who has indeed connected with his feminine side and very proud of the sweetness of that struggle and to still call myself temperately masculine.

Unknown said...

not a biblical student? Kathryn I think that you are.