Ialdabaoth

Forbidden Fruit in the Midst of the Garden (Part 2)

{Forgive the lateness of this article as my life has given me a few curve-balls as of late. But, the show must go on…}

In the previous article, I illuminated the Gnostic interpretation of the Genesis creation account which downgraded the Hebrew God and identifying it with the malicious Demiurge while upgrading the pariah figure of the serpent into a hero and champion of knowledge. I will be focusing on not only the serpent but also the symbols of the Tree of Knowledge and Life and the Fruit, in Part 3.

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The Serpent Revisted. 

One of many bothersome issues that have puzzled many, including scholars and Christian apologists appear right in the first chapters of Genesis, which posit two separate portrayals of the creation of Adam and Eve. In Chapter 1, verses 26-31, where on the sixth day of creation, after God created the heavens and the earth, he proclaims:

Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiple, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

Note the use of the plural possessive pronoun through the supposedly singular “God”, which indicates that there was more than one creative being involved—which tends to corroborate the Gnostic creation accounts in many different texts.

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. 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.

It is at this point Adam is charged with tending of the garden and told not to touch the fruit of a particular tree:

And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

In the first creation account, man and woman are created in the same way, being from the dust of the Earth. In the second version, woman was fashioned from Adam’s rib:

And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. … And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

The first creation account, man and woman are created in “God’s image”. In the second creation account, God breathes into Adam the “breath of life”, not mentioned in the first account.  There is no mention of a garden, and no mention of forbidden fruit. Rather mankind is specifically told to eat whatever they want because it was all “good” in the Lord’s eyes. Perhaps most importantly, since only the creatures of the second creation are given rules to follow, only they can transgress those rules. The first mankind is blessed and told to “be fruitful and multiply.” Interestingly, it is only the second mankind that experiences the fall from grace after eating from the Tree of Knowledge, and gain sexual experience as a result of it.

As mentioned Part 1, the “knowledge” that serpent promised to Adam and Eve was also sexual in nature, according to some sources. Not only did Eve and her husband Adam gain an awareness that was previously forbidden to them, but also gained the power of generation or the power to create life “in their image” just like God. Through the Serpent’s gift, Adam and Eve had also gained the power of generation and through their “transgression” death entered into the world as a result.

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The deuterocanonical text, Baruch claims that the Serpent had sexual relations with both Adam and Eve:

For going to Eve he deceived her and committed adultery with her, which is contrary to the law; and he went also to Adam and used him as a boy, which is also against the law. Hence arose adultery and pederasty.

The Gospel of Philip suggests something rather similar:

First adultery came into being, afterward murder. And he was begotten in adultery, for he [Cain] was the child of the serpent.

The 13th century Spanish Kabbalist, Rabbi R Isaac Hacohen, the author of A Treatise on the Left Emanation, claimed that the disaster caused by the sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden was a sexual awakening among the two pairs of “twins,” an awakening in which the snake, called “Nahasiel” or Gamliel  took part. The result was that the snakes became “biting snakes,” that is, Evil came into its own, and began to express itself.

Certain Gnostic schools (Saturnilus specifically per Irenaeus’ testimony) regarded sexual intercourse as an abomination because it involved the expenditure of man’s precious seed, used to propagate other human beings, multiplying suffering and perpetuating the kingdom of the Demiurge. They quoted St. Paul’s support for celibacy from 1 Corinthians 7. The pleasure and lust that comes with sexual union and climax were seen as the contrivances of Satan. (Also note that the spermatozoon itself is shaped like a serpent or snake). The whiplash of sexual desire was wrought as a wonderful weapon to be brought under the domain of Saklas (‘fool’), the archon of fornication because man is reduced to a state of imbecility by his wiles and seduction into lusting, adultery and continual fornication. This strong element of sexophobia was also attributed to misogyny because intercourse with seductive women resulted in further flesh with a terrible stench that imprisoned the lost light sparks. A better alternative to physical, sexual union was a spiritual union which implied a return to a state of androgyny symbolized as the bridal chamber. (More on this later.) 

The serpent itself has a vast array of symbolism. It is associated with immortality and the conquest of death. It is also regarded as a phallic symbol and deity of sexual pleasure as noted above. Philo of Alexandria in Allegorical Interpretation of Genesis allegorized the serpent of Genesis 3 as pleasure or sexual lust. He also equated the bronze serpent of Numbers 21 as being opposed to the serpent of Genesis 3, as being a symbol of self-mastery and purity.

Glycon was considered to also be a snake god in satirical form as mentioned by the satirist Lucian, and was said to be the incarnation of Asklepios in the mysteries of Alexander of Abonutichus, a pagan philosopher of the 2nd century.

Glycon

In paganism, the bacchoi held their sacred orgies as well as eating raw flesh from their butchered victims in honor of the frenzied Dionysus and the consecrated serpent was symbolic of this. Zagreus being the “first-born Dionysos,” was a god of the Orphic Mysteries. He was a son of Zeus and Persephone, who would seduce others in the guise of a serpent. Being a chthonian creature by finding its home underneath the ground, it is also associated with darkness.

Orphic Egg

In Orphic mythology, the serpent was sometimes linked with the primordial egg from which all things emerged and is shown entwined around the egg. Epiphanius in The Panarion discusses the doctrines of the Epicureans who believed that the universe was formed by chance rather than providence:

Originally the entire universe was like an egg and the spirit was then coiled snakewise round the egg, and bound nature tightly like a wreath or girdle. (3) At one time it wanted to squeeze the entire matter, or nature, of all things more forcibly, and so divided all that existed into the two hemispheres and then, as the result of this, the atoms were separated. (4) For the light, finer parts of all nature—light, aether and the finest parts of the spirit—floated up on top. But the parts which were heaviest and like dregs have sunk downwards. This means earth—that is, anything dry—and the moist substance of the waters. (5) The whole moves of itself and by its own momentum with the revolution of the pole and stars, as though all things were still being driven by the snake like spirit.

In the Pistis Sophia, the serpent was linked to the cosmos, whose ruler is the earth-circling dragon called Satan:

The outer darkness is a great dragon, whose tail is in his mouth, outside the whole world and surrounding the whole world. And there are many regions of chastisement within it.

The circular symbol of the serpent eating its own tail is known as the Ouroboros, the primal being who said,

I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last (Rev. 22:13).

The serpent is also seen in the Syriac Hymn of the Pearl as it depicts the soul’s descent into the world, forgetting his mission but eventually roused by the call on high to remind him of his original nature and duty, his glorious rising again into the Kingdom of the Father. The Pearl, the Prince seeks in Egypt, represents the Gnosis, and the terrible Serpent that guards it, is depicted as the passion of egotism.

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Typical to Jewish and Christian tradition, another negative portrayal of serpent imagery was used by the Church Father Epiphanius in his closing comments in the Panarion to high-light the “evil nature” of Simon Magus as being like a snake, asp and a viper.

In the Targum Psuedo-Jonathan, it equates the Serpent with the fallen angel Samael, the “Blind One” who was a originally a great prince in heaven, descended to earth and rode upon the serpent to deceive Eve and seduce her. The fruit of his seduction, as the same text claims (like the Gospel of Philip) was Cain, being the son of the Devil.

And the woman saw Sammael, the angel of death, and she was afraid, and she knew that the tree was good for food.

Rabbi Isaac in The Treatise of the Left Emanation, also compared Samael and Lilith as husband and wife, much like Adam and Eve—an inverted, “Satanic” power, a concept which is featured later in the Zohar and Jewish myth concerning evil. Samael acts as an evil doppelganger of the first man that came into being with the first human transgression:

The first prince and accuser, the commander of Jealousy and Enmity…he is called ‘evil’ not because of his nature but because he desires to unite and intimately mingle with an emanation not of his nature… it is made clear that Samael and Lilith were born as one, similar to the form of Adam and Eve who were also born as one, reflecting what is above. This is the account of Lilith which was received by the Sages in the Secret Knowledge of the Palaces. The Matron Lilith is the mate of Samael. Both of them were born at the same hour in the image of Adam and Eve, intertwined in each other.

As this passage suggests, Jewish mysticism contains a dialectic notion of “evil”; all things emanate from God, so Samael is one of God’s “severe agents,” yet he grows beyond the attenuated form God intended because he feeds upon the evils of the world. The Zohar builds upon the image of Samael found in Rabbi Isaac’s text as the demon king and consort of Lilith; together they are the evil counterparts of Adam and Eve. Samael is the tempting angel from who “copulates” with Lilith as the male and female principles of the “left side emanation”, united and achieve their full potential by spawning demons. Samael is in effect the evil left-side counterpart of Tiferet in the Sefirotic system of the Tree of Life. In the Apocryphon of John, Samael also happens to be one of the alternative names for Ialdabaoth, the Satanic creator god.

In later Kabbalistic thought, Samael is increasingly de-personalized, becoming the organizing force of the Qliphoth, the garments of evil that enshroud the divine sparks contained in the material universe, similar to the Gnostic idea of matter blinding the souls of their divine origins in a miasma of forgetfulness.

The underlying philosophy of most Gnostic schools was one of androgyny (Andros, ‘man’, gyne, ‘woman’). This relates to the condition that the two sexes are present in the same person. Androgony was symbolic of wholeness and unity in spiritual power. In several Gnostic systems, the Supreme being or Monad is regarded as almost always androgynous despite being called the “Unknowable Father”. In Hermetic writings such as Asclepius and Poimandres, there are several references to the bisexual nature of God.

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In Plato’s Symposium, he relates that there was originally a race of hermaphrodites who were split in two by Zeus for their lofty ambitions. The perfected person is one who unites both the male and female aspects into one. The virgin is also considered to be a type of androgyne. The Gnostic idea of the Anthropos or Primal Man, like the other aeons, was a hermaphrodite (‘Hermes’ being male, “Aphrodite” being female). The figure of the Primal Man has a close relationship with the idea of the “Son of Man”, the pre-existent heavily being—something lower than God and something higher than the angels. According to Enoch 42:8, the Son of Man is to be “the staff of the righteous whereon to stay themselves and not fall”.  The rabbinical school known as the Pharisees believed that the Adam Kadmon, the perfect Primordial Man was a mirror image of the divine Logos (“the Word”), and a hermaphroditic being.

The Gospel of Philip says of the:

Son of Man [emphasis mine] came forth from Imperishability being alien to defilement. He came to the world by the Jordan river, and immediately the Jordan turned back. And John bore witness to the descent of Jesus. For he is the one who saw the power which came down the Jordan river; for he knew that the dominion of carnal procreation had come to and end. The Jordan river is the power of the body, that is, the senses of pleasures. The water of the Jordan river is the desire for sexual intercourse. John is the archon of the womb.

The River Jordan who flows south to the Sea of Galilee and further into the Dead Sea, came to symbolize lust and its name implies descent into the natural direction of sexual pleasure and desire for carnal cohabitation. However, the river can be made to ascend by damming the upward flow of the stream which represents the conservation of semen during intercourse, and the generation of divinity instead of seminal emission and expenditure of male energy, much like how we see in certain Tantric practices. The Valentinian Gospel of Philip regarded the separation of the sexes as the cause of death:

When Eve was in Adam there was no death. But when she was separated from him, death came into being.

The Gospel of Thomas presents the child as an exemplar of the androgynous state:

Children are like those who enter the kingdom. When like little children you take off your clothes without shame, when you make the two become one, when you make the male and female into a single unity, then you shall enter the kingdom.

According to the 19th century Catholic mystic, Franz Von Baader, he writes:

The higher meaning of sexual love, which should not be identified with the instinct for reproduction, is nothing other than to help both man and woman to become integrated inwardly (in soul and in spirit) in the complete human or original divine image.

This notion of the divine hermaphrodite reoccurs over and over again in ancient mystical traditions such as the Qabalah and alchemy to modern practices involving sex magic.

As noted in Part 1, many Gnostic sects had strong Ophite leanings—most notably the Naasseenes, who are mentioned by Hippolytus. Hippolytus claims that the Nassenes were the founders of the Gnostic heresy; but he is alone in making this claim (Refutation., 6:1). All of the other Fathers claim that the Gnostic heresy was founded by Simon Magus, starting with Irenaeus. And then there is Origen, who in contrast with Hippolytus says that the Naassenes were an “insignificant sect” (Against Celsus, 6:24). Hence the Church Fathers do not agree on the Naassenes in terms of their role in history and their significance.

The Ophites connected the eternal principle, Nous, “mind”, with Naas, the Greek word for serpent—stating that the serpent in the Garden of Eden was actually Nous in serpent form. Accordingly, the Demiurge tried to prevent Adam and Eve from acquiring knowledge, and it was the serpent who persuade them to disobey the Demiurge and taste of the fruit. This was the origin of gnosis. Because the serpent frustrated Jehovah’s designs, the serpent was cursed (Gen. 3:14). The Naasenes also agreed with the sentiments expressed in the Gospel of Philip, in that the separation of sexes marked the beginning of death and evil when they claimed that sex was “…man’s fatal effort to become one without recognizing that the only real unity was spiritual.”

According to the Church Fathers, the Ophites had a peculiar ritual meal involving a snake. The Ophites made a distinction between Christ the Savior, and Jesus, the man. Christ equated the serpent with the Son of Man (John 3:14), whereas Jesus equated serpents with scorpions, and spoke of the serpent as the “enemy” (Luke 10:19). For this reason some Ophite sects vilified Jesus. Origen in Contra Celsum records that the Ophites cursed Jesus, and wanted converts to do the same. St. Paul’s reference to those who curse Jesus (1 Cor. 12:3) may point to these snake-worshipers. The Ophites also happened to believe that Adam and Eve were originally beings of light, according to Irenaeus in Against Heresies, I, 30.9:

Adam and Eve previously had light, and clear, and as it were spiritual bodies, such as they were at their creation; but when they came to this world, these changed into bodies more opaque, and gross, and sluggish.

The Epicurean Celsus and the Church Father Origen described different diagrams of the Ophites that described their cosmology, which are similar to the account described in the Apocryphon of John. The drawing depicted the seven cosmic spheres ruled by the archons, each symbolizing an aspect of the demiurge enclosed within a large outer circle called the Leviathan or Ouroborous. The innermost circle lay the netherworlds of evil—Hades, Tartarus, Gehenna and Behemoth. The Church Father Origen writes in Contra Celsum that the seven heavens controlled by angelic powers in animal shapes take on the forms of either predatory or aggressive beasts such as a lion, bull, scorpion, eagle, bear, ape, etc. Origen also claimed that the Ophite Demiurge had the head of a lion and was connected with Saturn, and this has led some scholars to conclude that Ialdabaoth was a combination of Baal and Kronos. Others have noted Ialdaboath’s similarities with the Greek monstrous Typhon. These are the same angelic rulers which the Christian Gnostic Saturninus of Antioch describes as the “seven angels who made the world”.

Cherubim by William Blake

Interestingly, the Alexandrian Gnostic teacher, Basilides called the demiurge “the Seven” which could have been a reference to the seventh planet, Saturn, which rules the rest. The Hebrew name of the planet Saturn is Shabbathai, clearly transcribed in the form “Sabbataios” in Gnostic verbal play on the term “Lord of Hosts” as a reference to YHWH. Tacitus in Histories 5,4 associates the Jewish God with Saturn. Saturn is naturally also honored on the same day by the Pagans that the Jews did with Jehovah on Sabbath. Since the Jews worshiped on Saturday, the Graeco-Roman world in which Basilides lived in tended to identify Jehovah with Saturn. Saturn is the Graeco-Roman sky-god so consumed with fear of being overthrown that he devours all his children, missing only Jupiter (Zeus), who does later overthrow him. In Rome the overthrow of the old year by the new, the hunched-up old man by the babe, was celebrated in the Saturnalia. Similarly, for Gnostics, the Christ child replaced the tribal god Jehovah.

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As Irenaeus relates in his Against Heresies, Ialdabaoth is the eldest of seven rulers born of Lower Wisdom (See the Secret Book of John for this story). Ialdabaoth is depicted as a grotesque mutant—a lion-headed serpent which fits with Plato’s distinction of the “rational soul” part from the lion and the many headed beast portions of the soul in the Republic along with the Orphic Phanes or Eros.

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Using a stolen spiritual power from his Mother, Yaldabaoth creates a material world in imitation of the divine Pleroma. To complete this task, he spawns a group of entities known collectively as Archons, “petty rulers” and craftsmen of the physical world. Like him, they are commonly depicted as having the heads of animals. At this point the events of the Sethian narrative begin to cohere with the events of Genesis, with the demiurge and his archontic cohorts fulfilling the role of the creator. As in Genesis, the demiurge declares himself to be the only god, and that none exist superior to him; however, the audience’s knowledge of what has gone before casts this statement, and the nature of the creator itself, in a radically different light.

They make a human being being Adam, during the process unwittingly transferring the portion of power stolen from Sophia into the first physical human body. He then creates Eve from Adam’s rib, in an attempt to isolate and regain the power he has lost. By way of this he attempts to rape Eve who now contains Sophia’s divine power; several texts depict him as failing when Sophia’s spirit transplants itself into the Tree of Life; thereafter, the pair are ‘tempted’ by the serpent, and eat of the forbidden fruit, thereby once more regaining the power that the demiurge had stolen. Irenaeus continues:

But their mother, Sophia, planned to seduce Adam and Eve through a serpent, so that they would transgress the commandment of Ialdabaoth. Eve, hearing this word as if it came directly from the Son of God, readily believed it and persuaded Adam to eat from the tree from which Ialdabaoth had said not to eat. When they ate, they knew the power which is above all, and they departed from those who had made them.

This paraphrase is a good example of how Irenaeus colors his reportage with his own prejudices. Several Coptic texts have been found recounting the story of Sophia’s intervention in the garden, but none talks Sophia “seducing” Adam and Eve, or the advice coming “as if” from the Son of God. In one text, the Origin of the World, Christ actually does appear in the tree to speak to Eve. But Irenaeus does paraphrase correctly when he says that in these texts what Adam and Eve get from following the serpent’s advice is Gnosis of the Most High, a knowledge that even their own creators, Ialdabaoth and his crew, lack. Another group of Gnostics makes the connection to Sophia even clearer. Irenaeus says,

Some assert that the serpent was Sophia herself; for this reason it was opposed to the maker of Adam and gave knowledge to men, and therefore is called the wisest of all.

The text in front of him is probably the Hypostasis of the Archons, which we will see below:

Then the authorities came up to their Adam. And when they saw his female counterpart speaking with him, they became agitated with great agitation; and they became enamored of her. They said to one another, “Come, let us sow our seed in her,” and they pursued her. And she laughed at them for their witlessness and their blindness; and in their clutches she became a tree, and left before them her shadowy reflection resembling herself; and they defiled it foully. – And they defiled the stamp of her voice, so that by the form they had modeled, together with their (own) image, they made themselves liable to condemnation.

Later on in the the Hypostasis of the Archons, the Feminine Spiritual Principal entered a serpent, who instructed Adam and Eve to eat of the tree of knowledge, that they might know their divine origins.  Accordingly, eating the forbidden fruit was not the first sin, but the first act of redemption and liberation! The Gnostics emphasized a crisis of the Divine Fullness as it encounters the ignorance of matter, as depicted in stories about Sophia. Adam and Eve’s removal from the Archon’s paradise is seen as a step towards freedom from the Archons, and the serpent in the Garden of Eden becomes a heroic, salvic figure.

Calling the snake “the wisest of all” is a reference to Jesus’s saying, “Be ye wise as serpents and harmless as doves” (Matt. 10:16). The implication is that the serpent, far from being evil, was honored by Jesus himself, just as the dove was honored as the symbol of the Holy Spirit. (Anyone wondering what orthodoxy made of that implication may consult the “Church Father” Epiphanius [1987, 247] for a rebuttal. According to him, Jesus obviously meant only that the serpent is wise because in coiling it protects its head, just as the faithful should protect their faith in Christ when preaching to unbelievers. What an image of Christian preachers! With refutations like this one, it is no wonder the Church Fathers decided just to burn such commentaries on scripture, rather than debate them.

Accordingly, the rulers wanted to confine Adam in the lowest plane of existence (being matter), so they created and imprisoned Adam in the earthly paradise (the Garden of Eden), and bound Adam in sleep and placed the bond of forgetfulness upon him. But this material body was lifeless and without a soul. According to Saturnilus, Adam was initially created as a spine-less, golem-like creature who writhed on his stomach:

The (first) human being was a creation of angels [but was] unable to stand erect because of the angels’ impotence, and rather writhed on the ground like a worm….

The Second Treatise of the Great Seth refers to Adam as a:

laughingstock, since he was made a counterfeit type of man by the Rulers.

As briefly discussed earlier, to regain the creative power that Ialdaboath stole from Sophia (his mother), she secretly counseled Ialdabaoth to blow the spirit into the face, so that the body would waken. Ialdabaoth ignorantly blew on Adam’s face, so that the spirit and the power of his mother (Sophia) left Ialdabaoth’s own body and entered into the body he had created: Adam became alive. The purpose was to put the image (soul) of God into physical body so that they can capture it. The theme of “stealing light” is also only understood in the context of an energy based universe, where the archon’s need the Light to maintain their very existence if not their powers over a beautiful but nonetheless bungled prison, that is the cosmos.

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According to On the Origin of the World, Ialdaboath immediately became jealous, because his creation was more powerful and intelligent than him and the other archons. Eve, being an avatar of Sophia, is the one who awakens Adam from his forgetfulness while helping him escape the wrath of the authorities.

Then the authorities were informed that their modelled form was alive and had arisen, and they were greatly troubled. They sent seven archangels to see what had happened. They came to Adam. When they saw Eve talking to him, they said to one another, “What sort of thing is this luminous woman? For she resembles that likeness which appeared to us in the light. Now come, let us lay hold of her and cast her seed into her, so that when she becomes soiled she may not be able to ascend into her light. Rather, those whom she bears will be under our charge. But let us not tell Adam, for he is not one of us. Rather let us bring a deep sleep over him. And let us instruct him in his sleep to the effect that she came from his rib, in order that his wife may obey, and he may be lord over her.”

Then Eve, being a force, laughed at their decision. She put mist into their eyes and secretly left her likeness with Adam. She entered the tree of knowledge and remained there. And they pursued her, and she revealed to them that she had gone into the tree and become a tree. Then, entering a great state of fear, the blind creatures fled.

The Hypostasis of the Archons is somewhat different in detail, and can be supplemented with the longer text of On the Origin of the World. In the Hypostasis of the Archons, Ialdabaoth is infuriated with Adam and Eve’s disobedience and pursues Eve in order to rape her and implant sexual desire into the human race, so that he would have more people to have his counterfeit spirit, who were susceptible to his blandishment and fall into sins and wickedness. Through this mechanism, he was able to ensnare them because desire is part of the dominion of death and ignorance.

The Gnostic authors of these texts instead saw the creator god as the one who implanted sexual desire instead of the serpent. Eve, the woman and “mother of the living”, no longer is the reason behind the fall from grace occurs, but instead becomes a beacon of illumination and salvation for man. True to form, the lustful archons become enamored with Eve and pursue her, foreshadowing their future, disastrous actions when they would return to intermingle with the human race once more and breed a race of terrible, blood-thirsty giants being born of the “fire of the angels and the blood of women.”

As quoted earlier, the Hypostasis of the Archons relate how the brigade of lustful archons literally gang-rape a mere shadowy image or projection of Eve, while the Spiritual Eve escaped their clutches by shape-shifting into a tree through docetic means.

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The Pompeii mosiac of “Pan and Hamadryad” found in Museum of Antiquities in Nola, Italy, seems to repeat the theme of the Spiritual woman escaping her satyr-like pursuers when the horny pagan god Pan attempts to reach out to the nude woman, consumed with lust; but the attempt to have sex with her is in vain because she is changing into a tree! The woman in essence reveals her true nature as a tree-nymph. The tree was often associated with life, knowledge and enlightenment. Just as the Hamadryad is ultimately inaccessible to Pan, so also are Life and Knowledge from inaccessible to the worldly “Authorities.”

In modern occultism, the Serpent is considered to be symbol of sexual liberty and hedonism as the infamous occultist Aleister Crowley writes in his book, Liber Al vel Legis (The Book of the Law):

I am the Snake that giveth Knowledge & Delight and bright glory, and stir the hearts of men with drunkenness. To worship me take wine and strange drugs whereof I will tell my prophet, & be drunk thereof! They shall not harm ye at all. It is a lie, this folly against self. The exposure of innocence is a lie. Be strong, o man! lust, enjoy all things of sense and rapture: fear not that any God shall deny thee for this. I am alone: there is no God where I am.

In Part 3, the archetypal symbols of the Tree and Fruit will be explored and discussed in-depth in relation to the helper and instructor figure of the serpent and how the Orthodox version of events in the Garden became the Archon of Christian theology.