The Garden of Eden Before the Fall
The earliest phase of the outer order (Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn) initiatic process of the first degree is symbolically depicted in a diagram called "The Garden of Eden before the Fall" (shown above). This diagram, which is presented to the initiate in the H.O.G.D. 3=8 grade of Practicus, represents a stage of primordial innocence. At this stage the candidate typically sees the initiator in an unrealistically positive light as a sort of ideal or perfect parent. In this diagram, Eve, the female figure shown at the bottom of the Tree of Life, represents the ideal mother (and the Qabalistic nephesh or instinctual nature); she is depicted supporting the pillars of Jachin and Boaz. Adam, representing the ideal father (and the Qabalistic ruach or the rational aspect) stands above her with his chest at the station of Tiphareth, arms outstretched towards Chesed and Gevurah.
This diagram represents the bliss of innocence: the candidate is living in a state of bliss because of his or her contact with the "ideal parents" as projected onto the initiator. This process is not unlike Jung's portrayal of falling in love. According to Jung, when men fall in love, they project their own feminine side or anima onto the beloved, while women project the inner masculine, which Jung calls the animus.
A further examination of the diagram of "The Garden of Eden before the Fall" reveals the illusory nature of the relationship with the ideal parents. One notices first of all the absence of the Supernal Sephiroth (Kether, Binah, and Chokmah) on this Qabalistic Tree of Life: they are symbolized only in potential by the winged female figure at the top of the Tree. This figure symbolizes the neshamah, or Divine Feminine, of the Qabalists. Furthermore Eve (the female figure at the foot of the Tree) stands upon a coiled seven-headed dragon.
This dragon has a long history. It is to be found as early as the Paleolithic period in the form of the serpent associated with the consort of the Great Mother Goddesses as well as with her Tree of Life. This same serpent appears later in the Egyptian myths of Ra's struggles with the serpent-fiend Apep. In this same negative light it is encountered yet again in the New Testament book of Revelation. Nonetheless the serpent remains an important symbol of resurrection and the renewal of life, since it sheds its skin on a regular basis. When interpreted psychologically, this serpentine dragon represents what Jung calls the complexes of the personal unconscious.
Excerpt from the article Israel Regardie, Initiation, and Psychotherapy
This diagram is described in the Practicus Ritual. It shows in a glyph the teaching proper to the Practicus on entering the Sephirah HOD which he has reached by the Paths of SHIN and RESH from MALKUTH and YESOD respectively.
At the summit are the THREE SUPERNAL SEPHIROTH summed up into ONE—AlMA ELOHIM, the Mother Supernal—The Woman of the Apocalypse (Chap. 12) clothed with the SUN, the MOON under her feet, and on her head the Crown of Twelve Stars.
It is written ‘So the Name JEHOVAH is joined to the Name ELOHIM, for JEHOVAH planted a Garden Eastward in Eden.’
From the Three Supernals follow the other Sephiroth of THE TREE OF UFE. Below the TREE, proceeding from MALKUTH is THE TREE OF KNOWLEDGE of GOOD AND of EVIL which is between the Tree of Life and the World or Assiah or Shells, represented by the Coiled Up DRAGON with Seven Heads and Ten Horns—being the Seven Infernal Palaces and the Ten Averse Sephiroth. (These are described in the text of the Rituals but are not read to the Candidate at his Grade. When studying this diagram, these descriptions should be looked up, but they are not required for the exam.)
The River NAHER flows forth from the Supernal Eden and in DAATH it is divided into Four Heads:—
- PISON: Fire—flowing to GEBURAH where there is Gold.
- GIHON: Water—the Waters of Mercy, flowing into CHESED.
- HIDDIKEL: Air—flowing into TIPHARETH.
- PHRATH (Euphrates): Earth — flowing into MALKUTH.
It is written “In DAATH the Depths are broken up and the Clouds drop down dew.”
The word Naher has the meaning ‘perennial stream’—’never failing waters’ as opposed to other words meaning Torrent or Brook.
The River going out of Eden is the River of the Apocalypse, the Waters of Life, clear as crystal proceeding from the Throne, on either side of the Tree of Life, bearing all manner of Fruit.
Thus the Rivers form a Cross and on it The GREAT ADAM, the SON who is to rule the Nations, was extended from TIPHARETH and his arms stretch out to GEBURAH AND GEDULAH, and in MALKUTH is EVE, supporting with her hands the TWO PILLARS.
(Artwork is copyright © 1995 by Pontus Lindqvist)