THE opening chapters of Genesis have, in some of their applications, a reference to the Mysteries. The following are some of their manifold meanings.
In the first chapter (and beginning of the second) is related the creation of human nature in its two divisions, intellect and intuition, body and soul, man and woman, each creation occurring by development or evolution out of lower forms, through the successive incarnations of the individual.
In the second chapter (beginning at verse 4) is described humanity (or Adam), male and female, in a state of mere intellectualism or external reason, and before the advent of revelation or religious perception. Here the allegory refers to the race and to the individual alike, and treats of man as sense and soul, priest and prophet, world and church.
The Tree of Life is the Central Will or Divine Life, the God, that is, whether of the universe or of the individual. And the Tree of Knowledge is experience which comes of trespass, or a descent from the region of spirit to that of matter. It is thus Maya, or illusion; and the serpent, or tempter, is the impulse by yielding to which the inward reality of Being is abandoned for the outward appearance, and idolatry is committed through the preference of the symbol to the verity, of the form to the substance. The phrase "coats of skin" implies a deeper descent into materiality, and the consequent need of multiplied penances and transmigrations.
The Tree of Life signifies also the secret of regeneration, or final transmutation into pure spirit, and the consequent attainment of eternal life, which can come only when all the necessary processes have been performed, and the soul-Eve-is once more pure and free, when she becomes "Mary."
In the Mysteries the Adam of the second chapter signifies also the ordinary earth-man, devoid of spiritual perception or consciousness, and unable, therefore, at all to comprehend the mysteries. And Eve signifies the seer and prophet, who, being illuminated in soul and taught of the Spirit, has in his keeping the knowledge of things sacred, but is on no account to divulge that knowledge to the outer world of mankind at large. Springing from the heart of humanity, when its outer sense and reason and passions are laid in sleep, or mystic trance, Eve is the Sibyl, or "Mother," who has the sacred tree in charge, but may not communicate of it. But being tempted by the prospect of sensuous reward, she yields to the serpent of matter--or astral impulses--and communicates the Mysteries to the vulgar, and thereby loses her supremacy over men, and from being their mistress and ruler, becomes their slave, while the prophets, her offspring, are persecuted and slain, so that all her revelations and proper ministrations are made in pain and sorrow and labour. For it is characteristic of the vulgar, that they reverence only what is unfamiliar and mysterious to them.
The Four Rivers springing from one source are the four elements which enter into the composition alike of the whole and the part, the universe, the planet, the individual, and the single (physiological) cell. Together they constitute the fourfold being. Pison, which surrounds and encloses the earth or mineral zone, and contains the materials of wealth and fame, is the body, or material region. Gihon, the river which runs through the land of burning, denotes the Vale of Gehenna or purgatorial region, and is the "fiery body," the magnetic belt between the body and the soul. Hiddekel, the river with the double symbol of Two Languages, is that which leads back to the ancient time and place of the soul's "innocence." For, being representative of the soul, it occupies the soul's place between the material and the spiritual part. The last is called the Euphrates, and implies the innermost and highest, the Spirit, or Will. These four "rivers" go forth into and constitute the whole universe, and all therein that is of a fourfold nature. A portion of each is necessary to constitute a molecule, or monad of the substance of creation, whether a
planet, a man, or a cell. For the cell is the type of the kosmos.
Now the signification of the Rivers of Eden is fourfold, denoting, First, The four generations of the soul's evolution, individually and collectively.
Secondly, The four stages of the soul's initiation and perfectionment.
Thirdly, The four interpretations of Scripture.
Fourthly, The four elemental spheres of nature in which the soul has its generation and education.
15:1 Meaning, "the beginning of he World in the Church: of worldliness or materiality, that is, in the interpretation of things spiritual" (Life of Anna Kingsford, vol. i. p 261). S. H. H.
15:2 Boulogne, August 1880. Received in sleep.