What if the Serpent is God?

Do you have a conversation topic that doesn't seem to fit any of the other conversations? Here is where we discuss ANYTHING about Joseph Campbell, comparative mythology, and more!

Moderators: Clemsy, Martin_Weyers, Cindy B.

User avatar
ALOberhoulser
Associate
Posts: 2952
Joined: Wed Mar 27, 2002 6:00 am
Location: Delphi
Contact:

Post by ALOberhoulser » Sun Oct 17, 2004 6:53 pm

That's the reason I asked if Emil wanted to discuss this further JR. I don't want to read into his take on this if he's willing to let us know. I have a sneaky suspicion that he's using the narrative in his books to illustrate a well founded philosophical approach to an ontological problem (maybe teleological??).

He's definately more like Kierkegaard than St. Anselm, IMO. :wink:
mihelich
Associate
Posts: 151
Joined: Wed Aug 28, 2002 5:00 am

Post by mihelich » Fri Oct 29, 2004 8:40 am

Al,

I don't have too much time right now, but I'm willing to discuss this Gnostic connection as far as anyone wants to take it.
The connection you point out certainly is there, but my sense of conviction comes from the fact that I came to my conclusions regarding the role of the Serpent of Eden before I ever knew the Gnostic Gospels existed. Learning of their existence only strengthened my conviction.

Officially, the Christian Mythology always has been read primarily as a history, therefore deflecting its power of inspiration toward the heavens and not toward the earth where "the Kingdom of the Father is spread" but "men do not see." Men do not see, to a large extent, because, in obedience to the orthodox reading of the Eden story, and the mythology built upon it, they never were permitted to look. If they were to look, they would repeat the sin of pride and thus contribute to the destruction of harmony in the universe.

But now that Christian Historicsm has been rendered obsolete by both authentic experience with life and the discoveries of rational science, we have to look at the earth to find the authentic Kingdom of the Father with the serpent being the Father that knows no gender and thus is open to both the male and the female in their respective costumes. Christ represents the fulfillment of the serpent power that lives with us all -- Amor from the medieval romance which is Gnostic as well -- and it is the serpent, the Father, with whom Christ is One. Christ is an incarnation of this serpent power, and this incarnation can occur over and over in individual human beings. The Gnostic reading of the Chrstian Mythology and Jung's science of individuation reinforce each other, which always has led me to ask: what would have happened to the course of Western civilization in its Christian era if the Gnostics, rarher than the orthodox, had won the day?

As I said at the beginning of this post, I am willing to discuss the connection you mentioned to any length anyone wants to take it. I may have to go back and read Elaine Pagels' "The Gnostic Gospels." I did find allies for my own discovered thought in the Gnostic reading of the Christian Mythology just as I found allies for the same in Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung. I once was identified as a "Jungian thinker" before I ever knew who Carl Jung was. And one day, back in 1982 or 83 someone gave me a copy of "Myths to Live By" and said: "Here. You should read this. This man sounds just like you." At the time I never had heard of Joseph Campbell.

And you're probably right about my use of the narrative in my books. I even mention Kierkegaard in 'Running Clear' who, as an "authorized philosopher," said something to the effect that we have to discover the eternal if we hope to conquer the future. If I am an existential thinker, I am far more of the romantic variety than of the nihilistic variety.

Sartre felt that "everything indeed is permitted if God does not exist." Thus he felt that "man was doomed to be free." I would say, in contrast, that man is destined to be free. We don't have to live in existential despair unless we prefer to do so. And to seek that freedom, to discover the serpent and live the Amor that is our essence in the first place, is to return the Sacrifice of the Cross and do all we can to green up the Waste Land, laid waste by an absence of love, an absence of Amor.

Maybe we can continue with this discussion on Monday. Until then, thanks, everyone, for your interest. I look forward to the continuing dialogue.

Best regards,

Emil
User avatar
ALOberhoulser
Associate
Posts: 2952
Joined: Wed Mar 27, 2002 6:00 am
Location: Delphi
Contact:

Post by ALOberhoulser » Tue Nov 09, 2004 10:26 pm

Here's a great link to Gnostic texts on the internet: http://webcom.com/~gnosis/library.html

It seems you're not alone in your quest Emil! :grin:
User avatar
ALOberhoulser
Associate
Posts: 2952
Joined: Wed Mar 27, 2002 6:00 am
Location: Delphi
Contact:

Post by ALOberhoulser » Sun Nov 21, 2004 12:13 pm

I heard a good one today...

The Buddhist notion of overcoming desire and fear is similar to the Augustinian notion of original sin.

Further investigation required :grin:
mihelich
Associate
Posts: 151
Joined: Wed Aug 28, 2002 5:00 am

Post by mihelich » Fri Dec 03, 2004 2:00 am

Al,

I checked out the link you provided and was fairly amazed at the extent of the Gnostic Library. As I said before, my knowledge of the Gnostic Texts is limited to the information provided by Elaine Pagels in 'The Gnostic Gospels.' I don't know Dr. Pagels personally, of course, but I have found sort of a kindred spirit in her.

I'm not an academic scholar, being more a product of "the streets," but I certainly was impressed by Dr. Pagels' work entitled 'Adam, Eve and the Serpent.'She understands the significance of the Eden story and the pervasive role it has played throughout the Christian era of Western civilization -- all the more reason why we should begin with that foundation if we are to "renconfigure the primal rubble" that, then, will enable us to recognize the mythological promise open to all individuals, male and female without distinction or discrimination.

Hope does not spring eternal in the human breast if life only offers social and economic promise. Among other things, such an exclusive scenario promotes both pride and envy, the great enemies of harmony in the "absurd world" where death has been proven to be natural. The serpent reading of the Christian Mythology shows us that this Sartrean, absurd world is not Godless -- not as long as the individual human being can live as God, as an incarnation of the Word that is Love that, in turn, has to be Amor --the love to which the hero with a thousand faces lives in service.

I think a Gnostic reading of the Christian Mythology, which appears to be more psychological in nature, is far more compatible with the world of literature -- the world of "creative mythology" -- than is the more prevalent orthodox reading. In fact, the individual's inability to reconcile that orthodox reading with experience, and then later with the discoveries of rational science as well, resulted in the creation of "creative mythology" in the first place. With the discovery of the Serpent of Eden as the authentic God of that story, perhaps by returning to the spirit of Gnostic thought, reinforced by 21st century scientific knowledge, we can lay this perennial conflict to rest -- enabling us to concentrate on the revelation to which experiencing this conflict ultimately leads. This conflict of reconciliation no longer is simply private. It is pervasively public, and the subsequent revelation should be given the same public expression. Maybe this revelation is, in a way, the 21st century fulfillment of the second and third century Gnostic thought.

At any rate, thanks for the link. I'll have to explore it in greater detail. In the meantime, I hope that Christ, cast in the role of hero in one of the "thousand faces," can be an inspiration to us all. Maybe we can't change the nature of life, but we certainly can live with honor and humility and courage and dignity and compassion and love within it.

Best regards,

Emil
User avatar
nandu
Associate
Posts: 3395
Joined: Fri May 31, 2002 12:45 am
Location: Kerala, the green country
Contact:

Post by nandu » Tue Dec 14, 2004 3:46 pm

Hi everybody,

This thread was lying dormant for more than two years! Maybe it was shedding its skin!

How could I not be interested in this thread? I am from a mythical tradition which venerates the snake, and creates a garden of eden in each home dedicated exclusively to the serpent. In fact, it is my dream to build one (you'll find it here http://www.jcf.org/new/forum/viewtopic. ... forum=38&4).

This thread is related to the discussion of the serpent as he appears in the story of genesis. Any interest in continuing the same in a wider context, across all religions of the world?

Nandu.

_________________
Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavanthu

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: nandu on 2005-11-11 01:43 ]</font>
User avatar
Gerard
Working Associate
Posts: 398
Joined: Sun Jan 23, 2005 7:26 pm
Location: Amsterdam.

Post by Gerard » Sun Dec 26, 2004 5:33 am

In many many myths the serpent is the earth-mother-god-religion. The God of Wisdom that represents matriarchal religion en society. It is no coincidence that in the same part of the bible the tree of knowledge plays an important role. In the patriarchal view that women-religion is the religion that has to be defeated en destructed. So the male (re)writers of the bible changed the meaning of this wonderful symbol in something bad: a sneaky evil snake with bad intentions. And we all know now: they succeeded. God the FATHER was born.


Sisyphus Laughs
mihelich
Associate
Posts: 151
Joined: Wed Aug 28, 2002 5:00 am

Post by mihelich » Thu Jan 06, 2005 7:20 pm

Well, I think it would be a good idea if the three great monotheistic religions of the world could take a fresh look at their Fall of Man story that, in one way or another, supplies those religions with their foundation. I'm not so sure that we'll ever see any institutionally led fresh look at these monotheistic giants, but that doesn't mean that individuals subject to their influence can't take such a look. Maybe such individual reform ultimately could lead to institutional reform as well. Such a reform "could be."

With regards to Christian monotheism, if it's read from the "serpent perspective," I think it reveals an expansive understanding of "God" that is more appropriate for the expansive era of the 21st century and beyond. And with that expansion, I think the explorer can discover a universal ideal, regarding the creative psychological potential of the individual. This Christian expression of the universal ideal I referred to is, I think, built around the concept of love with that love being that celebrated, repeatedly, through "the hero with a thousand faces" found throughout the world of "creative mythology."

And this world celebrates neither Agape nor Eros as the representing the ultimate expression of the individual's capacity for love. Rather it celebrates Amor as representing that ultimate expression. If one man -- the hero -- among men can live in service to Love, to Amor, all man -- male and female without distinction or discrimination -- can live in that service.
But none of this is possible as long as Christian monotheism, accompanied by its desert counterparts, assigns the role of God to the "God" of Eden and condemns as heresy, or pride, any exploration of the meaning of God that takes the adventurous individual beyond the theological boundaries the monotheistic institution has erected.

Those boundaries served the selective group, or groups, well as long as we lived in a world of "horizons." But there are "no more horizons" in the 21st century and beyond. And as I've mentioned before, we should live -- and teach -- accordingly. Maybe the Word never will be Made Flesh by any more than one eminently special God-Man, but no one can tell me that It can't be Made Flesh by any eminently special, individual God-Man.

Emil

_________________


<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: mihelich on 2005-11-14 12:50 ]</font>
T.J. White
Associate
Posts: 80
Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2005 7:59 pm
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Contact:

Post by T.J. White » Tue Jan 18, 2005 9:06 am

Hi Emil and the others--

I had always compared the Serpent, or more specifically, LUCIFER (the bringer of Light) to Prometheus--long before I ever read Campbell. With your breadth of knowledge, you probably already are aware of this connection, but I thought I'd mention it anyway.

And I, too, just recently finished reading Pagels' "The Gnostic Gospels" (finally), though I had been studying Gnosticism in reverse (sort of) for many years prior to finally picking up her book. So the Gnostic image of the Serpent as "good" and Jehovah as an evil, false God, is one that is fresh in my mind.

Emil, I have thus far only skimmed over your voluminous posts. I promise that I will go back and give them the thorough reading that they appear to deserve.

I do have one quick question for you, however: throughout your postings, I seem to continually notice a definite apologetic tone in your writings. And this leads me to ask: Why apologize for what you sincerely believe? Why not proclaim it with boldness? "Sin Bravely" as Luther said, though in your case, the metaphor may not be very appropriate. But I'm sure you'll see what I mean by it.

And one more question: I read somewhere recently (I could kick myself that I did not record the reference, or even who said it) that "Yah" was originally only another name for Adam, and that "Hevah" is the older form of the name "Eve" (as it still is in Aramaic). And that therefore, YHWH, or "Yahweh", must be accurately read as a DUALITY--"Yah-Hevah", or "Adam/Eve."
In other words, "Male/Female". To this I guess we could add all the other corollaries, such as "Yin/Yang," "Light/Dark", "Good/Evil", etc.

Also interesting is the fact (as Robert Anton Wilson pointed out many years ago) that if one inserts the Hebrew letter Shin (which resembles a candelabrum with dancing tongues of fire) into the Tetragrammaton (YHWH) one arrives at the combination Yod-He-Shin-Vau-He, or Yehoshevah (i.e, Joshua or Jesus, which are really the same name). Wilson says that this represents the descent of the "Holy Spirit" into the man, Jesus. Much can be made of these ideas, I think.

Any thoughts on this?
T.J. White
User avatar
nandu
Associate
Posts: 3395
Joined: Fri May 31, 2002 12:45 am
Location: Kerala, the green country
Contact:

Post by nandu » Sat Jan 29, 2005 10:53 pm

Emil, Gerard, TJ,

The serpent (along with its cousin, the dragon) is a common symbol that spreads across all religions.

In Hinduism, the serpent is a divinity associated very closely with god (Vishnu sleeps on one). They have always been closely linked with fertility. In Kerala, any displeasure of the snake god is expected to make a family barren.

I did a search in "The Encyclopedia Mythica" and came up with 94 references to the serpent, spanning the globe from east to west.

The serpent seems to be inextricably linked with sexuality. Maybe that's why it became an evil symbol in the Bible? It seems that in the pre-Bible Hebrew myths, it was at least semi-divine.

Nandu.
Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavanthu
User avatar
Clemsy
Working Associate
Posts: 10645
Joined: Thu Apr 04, 2002 6:00 am
Location: The forest... somewhere north of Albany
Contact:

Post by Clemsy » Thu Feb 10, 2005 12:40 pm

The Serpent was also intimately connected with the Goddess centered matriarchies of the early Levant. The struggle between these and the Semitic tribes plays out in a kind of dreamscape in Genesis, no?

Michael
Give me stories before I go mad! ~Andreas
mihelich
Associate
Posts: 151
Joined: Wed Aug 28, 2002 5:00 am

Post by mihelich » Tue Feb 22, 2005 2:26 am

T.J. and others,

I think I've been fairly "bold" in expressing what I've discovered in Joseph Campbell's world of "creative mythology." But if I can sound rather apologetic in the process, I think it's because my "colleagues" on "the streets," understandably, haven't spent too much time thinking about the role of the serpent in the Garden of Eden story. And why should they? The "guardians of society," as Mr. Campbell would say, should lead the way in search of what he called "disturbing truths."


Anyway, I don't want to sound superior to the "streets" from which I'm proud to have emerged. I would like to help return mythology to the "streets" from which it came and to the individual to whom it properly belongs. And I'd like to do it without sounding like I'm merely sounding off or showing off.

Emil
Siddha
Associate
Posts: 1310
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2004 5:00 am
Location: Calgary, Canada
Contact:

Post by Siddha » Sat Mar 05, 2005 4:13 pm

And one more question: I read somewhere recently (I could kick myself that I did not record the reference, or even who said it) that "Yah" was originally only another name for Adam, and that "Hevah" is the older form of the name "Eve" (as it still is in Aramaic). And that therefore, YHWH, or "Yahweh", must be accurately read as a DUALITY--"Yah-Hevah", or "Adam/Eve."
In other words, "Male/Female". To this I guess we could add all the other corollaries, such as "Yin/Yang," "Light/Dark", "Good/Evil", etc.
Interesting because if God = Serpent (something I have long believed also) then the integrated being (Adam/Eve = God) asked the dualities (Adam and Eve)to eat from the tree of knowledge, that is become aware of their separateness and thus leave the garden of "Eden/blissful ignorance" to give them a chance to discover their true nature, the non-duality within.
User avatar
nandu
Associate
Posts: 3395
Joined: Fri May 31, 2002 12:45 am
Location: Kerala, the green country
Contact:

Post by nandu » Thu Mar 17, 2005 6:00 am

...if God = Serpent (something I have long believed also) then the integrated being (Adam/Eve = God) asked the dualities (Adam and Eve)to eat from the tree of knowledge, that is become aware of their separateness and thus leave the garden of "Eden/blissful ignorance" to give them a chance to discover their true nature, the non-duality within.
This is a conclusion I have also arrived at. I have mentioned it in these forums also. In the Biblical creation myth, the first describes the creation of the macrocosm and the second, that of the microcosm. Viewed in this way, the eating of the fruit and moving out from the garden are inevitable.

Nandu.
Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavanthu
Candie
Posts: 0
Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2005 2:17 pm

Post by Candie » Mon Mar 28, 2005 7:46 pm

Correct nandu, and according to christianity, the plan of salvation was in order before the dawn of creation. That certainly indicates that this whole ordeal was pre-planned. If they did not eat the fruit, then the pre-planned salvation,would not have properly read the future. YHWH= I AM=CIRLCE, AND MOTHER GENERATIVE FORCE. The akkadian AD=FATHER, DAM=MOTHER, explaning genesis 2 where "male and female created he them, and he called THEM adam.

_________________


<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Candie on 2005-11-18 22:35 ]</font>
Locked