The Lower Garden of Eden
and the Tree of Life
A River Went Out of Eden...Genesis 2:10-14.
"Now the garden was watered by One River which ran round about the whole earth, and was parted into Four parts. And Phison, which denotes a multitude, running into India, makes its exit into the sea, and is by the Greeks called GANGES.
EUPHRATES also, as well as TIGRIS, goes down into the Red Sea, (where the Great Dragon, Leviathan, lives). Now the name Euphrates, or Prath, denotes either a dispersion or a Flower, (as in the mysteries of the Far East, and eventually, as in Florida). By Tigris, or Diglath, is signified what is swift with narrowness, (as these mysteries being swept from the West in ancient times, through the center of the mysteries of the Tree of Life, to the East)...
And Geon runs through Egypt, and denotes what arises from the East, which the Greeks call NILE." Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews I.I.3.
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 the Knowledge of Good and Evil...(Genesis 2:9).
There is a Fig Tree in ancient story, the Giant Aswatha, the everlasting, rooted in heaven, its branches earthward:
Each of its leaves is a song of the Vedas, and he who knows it knows all the Vedas.
Downward and upward its branches bending are fed by the Gunas (the constant interplay of the Three worlds). The buds it puts forth are the things of the senses. Roots it also has reaching downward into this world: the roots of man's actions.
What its form is, its end and beginning, its very nature, can never be known here (in India)." Bhagavad Gita XV.
"The Rig Veda is a collection of more than a thousand hymns composed in northwest India about 1500 B.C., in an archaic form of Sanskrit...In addition to this canon numerous myths appear...composed a few centuries later, known as The Brahmanas. These texts were not committed to writing for many centuries, but an oral tradition preserved them and later Hindu religious literature draws heavily upon their character and events.
The central myth in the Rig Veda is the myth of creation. This is described in several different ways. Often the universe is said to have come into being out of chaos, when a God--Indra, king of the gods, and God of rain, or Vishnu, a Solar deity--separated Heaven and Earth (East and West). Then the Sun rose and from that spot, the Navel of the Earth, a Great Pillar was erected to prop apart Heaven and Earth. The Pillar is the axis of the world.
There were now Three worlds: Heaven (the East), Earth, (the West), and an intervening world, (the Sea, where the Great Dragon lived)...which Vishnu measured out in Three great strides." Mythology, edited by Richard Cavendish, pp.15,16.
Varuna, King, of hallowed might, sustaineth erect the Tree's stem in the baseless region.
Its rays, whose root is high above, stream downward. Deep may they sink within us and be hidden...(Rig Veda, Book I. Hymn XXIV.7).
The other Fires are, verily, thy branches; the Immortals, all rejoice in Thee O Agni. (See Leviticus 1:7; 23:8). Centre art Thou, Vaisvanara (Agni), of the people, sustaining men like a deep-founded pillar.
The Forehead of the Sky, Earth's Centre, Agni became the messenger of earth and heaven...(Rig Veda, Book I, Hymn LIX).
Whither by Day depart the constellations that shine at night, set high in heaven above us? Varuna's Holy Laws remain unweakened, (see Exodus 24:10-18), and through the night the Moon moves on in splendour...
Bound to Three Pillars captured Sunahsepa thus to Aditya (Varuna) made his supplications...
Loosen the bonds, O Varuna, that hold me, loosen the bonds above, between, and under. So in thy Holy Law may we made sinless belong to Aditi, O thou Aditya...(Rig Veda, Book I, Hymn XXIV.13-15).
And Moses Was (also, of course) Learned in All the Wisdom of the Egyptians...(Acts 7:22).
"At each end of the Tuat was a space which was neither wholly darkness nor wholly light, the Western end being partially lighted by the Setting Sun, and the Eastern end by the Rising Sun (continued)...
Unto the place from whence the Rivers come, thither they return again...(Ecclesiastes 1:7).
"From the pictures in the book Am-Tuat and the Book of Gates we learned that a river flowed through the Tuat, (the Underworld), much as the Nile flowed through Egypt, and we see that there were inhabitants on each of its banks, just as there were human beings on each side of the Nile. At one place the river of the Tuat joined the Great Celestial Waters which were supposed to form the source of the earthly Nile.
How, or when, or where the belief arose it is impossible to say, but it seems that at a very early period the inhabitants of Egypt thought that the souls of the dead when they departed from this world made their way into the Tuat, and took up their abode there; and long before the Dynastic Period the Tuat was regarded throughout Egypt as the kingdom of the dead...
Of the gods the only one about whose successful passage of the Tuat there was no doubt was Ra, or according to the priests of Amen, Amen-Ra, for he arose each morning in the East, (see Malachi 4:1,2), and it was manifest to all that he had overcome whatsoever dangers had threatened him in the Tuat during the past night. This being so, it became the object of every man to obtain permission to travel in the boat of Ra through the Tuat." The Egyptian Heaven and Hell, by E.A. Wallis Budge, pp.88-91.
"It would be a mistake to suppose that the writers of the Scrolls...were inspired only by recollections of things past or that they chose their way of life simply because they were unsettled by political turbulence or disgusted by the venality of the Jerusalemitan priests. They were swept by other winds. One of these was the widespread and well-attested contemporary belief that the Great Cycle of the ages was about to complete its revolution. This belief was based on a conception, which can be traced to remote Indian antiquity, that existence consists not in linear progressive development--that is, in history, (which it does)--but in a constant cyclic repetition of primordial and archetypal events. When major upheavals occurred, it was promptly supposed that the cycle was nearing its end, that the Great Year was at hand, and that cosmos was about to revert to chaos. The primal elements, restrained and regulated at the beginning of the world, would again be unleashed; all things would dissolve in an overwhelming deluge (war) or be burned in that everlasting fire which rages in the depths of the earth. Then the cycle would begin again; a new world would be brought to birth." The Dead Sea Scriptures, by Theodor H. Gaster, p.8.
"And now listen to me, all who have entered the covenant, and I will open your ears to the fate which attends the wicked. God loves knowledge. Wisdom and sound sense has He posted before Him. Prudence and knowledge minister to Him. Patience attends on Him and abundant forgiveness, so that He may (deliver) the repentant. But also with Him are might and power and great wrath, along with flames of fire and all the angels of destruction--appointed for them that turn aside from His way and treat His ordanances as a thing to be shunned, to the end that they shall be left without remnant or survival.
Never, from the very beginning of the world, has God approved of such men. He has always known what their actions would be, even before the foundations of them were laid. He has anathematized whole generations on account of bloodshed, hiding His face from the land. Their end has always been pre-determined. He has always known how long they would endure, and the exact and precise extent of their continuance...all that has happened in their several epochs throughout history, and likewise all that was to befall them.
Nevertheless, in all their generations He has ever raised up for Himself duly designated souls, so that He might provide survival for the earth and fill the face of the world with their seed. And to these He has ever revealed His holy spirit at the hands of His anointed and has ever disclosed the truth; and He has clearly specified who they were..." Ibid, The Zadokite Document, pp.67,68.
For these hast Thou planted a Tree which blooms with flowers unfading, whose boughs put forth thick leaves, which stands firm-planted for ever, and gives shade to all; whose branches tower to heaven, whose roots sink down to the abyss.
All the rivers of Eden water its boughs, it thrives beyond all bounds, burgeons beyond all measure. Its branches stretch endless across the world, and its roots go down to the nethermost depths...Ibid, The Book of Hymns, p.168.
All those other trees--those trees that stand beside water--keep railing against it, because they grow entangled in their plantations, and cannot send their roots to the stream. While this one, which puts forth the shoot of Holiness upon the stock of Truth, keeps its secret hidden, unknown, sealed and unsuspected...p.176.
Enoch's Ascent To The Third Heaven
"And in the midst of the trees that of Life, in that place where the Lord rests, when He goes up into Paradise; and this Tree is of ineffable goodness and fragrance, and adorned more than any existing thing; and on all sides it is in form gold-like and vermillion and fire-like and covers all, and it has produce from fruits (of the Spirit).
Its roots are in the garden at earth's end. And Paradise is between corruptibility and incorruptibility, (see 1 Corinthians 15:53-58, and 2 Corinthians 12:1-4).
And two springs come out which send forth honey and milk, and their springs send forth oil and wine, and they separate into Four parts, and go round with quiet course, and go dwn into Paradise of Eden between corruptibility and incorruptibility." Secrets of Enoch 8:3-6.
And though the garden of Eden has always been situated here in the West, and though men have for milennia risen up in the East, in all directions searching for it, the most sublime Mystery of all, concealed from both East and West, is the realization of the great Leviathan and the City of DVD hidden between them:
God is the Light of the heavens and the earth. His light may be likened to a Lamp within a niche. The Lamp is in a glass and the glass is like a Shining Star.
The Lamp is lit from a Blessed Tree, an Olive neither from the East nor from the West, whose oil would almost shine of itself, even if no Fire touched it.
Light upon light, God guides to His Light those whom He will...(Sura 24.35).
THE SACRED TREE
"It is not surprising that the question of the Menorah's origin should have become an object of research only in more recent times, whereas attempts at interpretation have occurred at practically all periods.
In general it may be said that most scholars now seem to suppose that the Menorah originated from a Sacred Tree, more specifically the Tree of Life of mythology--a primal image which can be glimpsed as early as the third millennium B.C. in the epic of Gilgamesh and the Land of the Living, and which played a decisive role in the Tree cult of the ancient world.
Closely akin to this image and at times identical with it was the presumably older myth of a cosmic tree or World Tree, usually conceived at the center of the earth--sometimes on a Cosmic Mountain of the Gods--with its roots in the Underworld (the realm of the Dead) and its crown in Heaven (realm of the Gods). In short, a sort of imaginary axis mundi or World Pillar whose boughs, as Carlyle said of Yggdrasil, are 'Histories of Nations,' its every leaf 'a biography,' every fiber 'an act or word.'...
In Mesoptamia this was elaborated with the notion that the Divine Tree grew in the mythical Paradise at the source of the Water of Life, where it was guarded and tended for the chief deity by the primordial Man-King. In the ritual, the temple came to represent the deity's 'heavenly dwelling,' the temple grove with the Sacred Tree the legendary Paradise, and the sacral King as the deity's representative its Gardener. (continued)...
According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle...so shall ye make it...(Exodus 25:9; Hebrews 8:5).
"No less interesting is the parallel between the Temple as an image of the 'heavenly dwelling' and the sanctuary which God on Mount Sinai commands Moses to build. 'And let them make me a sanctuary,' the children of Israel are told, 'that I may dwell in their midst. According to all that I show you concerning the pattern of the tabernacle, and of all its furniture, so shall ye make it,' a reference to heavenly 'patterns' also repeated, as we have seen, in the separate command concerning the menorah...
"Last but not least, Aaron's or rather Moses' magical rod--as will appear later likewise a branch of a Sacred Tree--is said by the rabbinic legend to have been 'in the hand of every king of Israel until the temple was destroyed, when it was hidden away...destined to be in the hand of King Messiah.
It may be added that Christian royal sceptres have largely the same derivation, and the cross on the orb (also the earth's astronomical sign) symbolizes nothing other than a Tree of Life growing at the Center of the Earth. This identification of the cross with the Tree of Life or Christ himself--the shoot from the stump of Jesse--becomes especially popular in medieval literature. It presumably also lies behind the Christmas tree of later tradition...Its decoration of candles...is a feature which, as we shall see, it shares with both the Tree of Life and the Menorah." The Sacred Tree, A Study of the Menorah, The Seven-Branched Lampstand, by L. Yarden, pp.35-37.
THE QUEST FOR PARADISE
The genesis of this book was a series of lectures in American literature at Middlebury College during the year 1950-1951...(which were summerized) in an essay called The Garden in America...Since then, I have felt the need to penetrate more deeply into the origins and meaning of my subject and, above all, to show its broader application to such other aspects of our civilization as art, industry, politics, and foreign policy...The Edenic myth, it seems to me, has been the most powerful and comprehensive organizing force in American culture...
Because the center of creation was believed to exist at the summit of a sacred mountain where heaven and earth meet...
WEST...(Earth below)...and the Hidden Sacred Mountain in between...(Heaven above)...EAST
every sacred city of actual history became by extension, as Eliade says, a 'Sacred Mountain.' Thus when American colonists said that they were going to establish in the New World 'A City on a Hill,' they meant to found a sacred city and a new paradise...
The Jerusalem Above preserved in the legend of Shambalah
Babylon was originally so settled. An ancient map shows it at the center of a vast circular countryside bordered by a river, 'precisely as the Sumerians envisioned Paradise.' Indeed the sacred city takes on the character of the country surrounding it. Hebrew and Christian writers frequently used the terms 'Jerusalem' and 'Paradise' interchangeably. Thus Baruch, in the Syriac Apocalypse, has God complain of worldly Jerusalem. 'This building now built in your midst is not that which is revealed with Me, that which was prepared beforehand here from the time I took counsel to make Paradise, and showed it to Adam before he sinned.' (See Hebrews 13:14; Galatians 4:21-26)...
Since the earthly, temporal city is always corrupt, progress is thought of in terms of an ideal city. But the ideal city lies at the center of creation. Therefore, the idea of progress partakes of a spiritual, sociological, or geographical search for the 'center.' The many journey patterns of antiquity and modern times represent...a search for paradise, which is in part regressive. But the vision of paradise is determined and preceded by a state of intense suffering symbolized by the passage through hell, a night journey, or descent into the sea...
The sad experience in Egypt produced...the passage across the Red Sea, whose waters opened a gateway to the promised land. The Babylonian exile produced the jeremiads of the prophets and their promise of a messiah; it also produced Daniel's descent into the lion's den and his eschatological vision of the Last Days...
The passion play was a product of Roman domination heaped upon a heritage of oppression. The passage of Jesus through the streets of Jerusalem carrying the burdens of the cross to Calvary symbolically re-enacts the suffering of His people. His resurrection, their hope of deliverance...The legalism and exclusiveness of Mosaic teaching was transcended (fulfilled) on a higher plane. In Christ, the earlier geographical searches for the center had become a spiritual quest--and so remained for some thousand years afterward."...
"This happened during the Renaissance when a significant social transformation in Europe coincided with the opening of new lands beyond the seas... The new experience which the seafaring adventurers sought had a great deal to do also with the myth of El Dorado, (and the Seventh city of Cibola), believed to exist in the interior of the newly discovered Eden..." The Quest For Paradise, Europe and the American Moral Imagination, by Charles L. Stanford.
The Mysteries of America...The Garden of Eden, (Isaiah 40:21-31); The Feet of Christ, (Isaiah 52:7, Nahum 11:15; Luke 1:76-79; John 13:1-18; Hebrews 12:14-17; Ephesians 6:15; Romans 10:13-16; Hebrews 1:13; Deuteronomy 32: 35); and The Tent of the Congregation, (Hebrews 12:14-29).
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth His handiwork.
Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.
THERE IS NO SPEECH NOR LANGUAGE WHERE THEIR VOICE IS NOT HEARD.
Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. IN THEM HATH HE SET A TABERNACLE FOR THE SUN.
Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.
HIS GOING FORTH IS FROM THE END OF THE HEAVEN, AND HIS CIRCUIT UNTO THE ENDS OF IT: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof...(Psalm 19:1-6).
Who is that faithful and wise steward whom the Lord shall make ruler over His household? to give them their portion of meat in due season?
Blessed is that servant when his Lord cometh shall find him so doing...of a truth I tell you he shall make him ruler over all that He hath...(Luke 12:42,43).
THE SACRED TREE
Dedicated to the countless clans, tribes and nation of indigenous peoples throughout Mother Earth whose sacred visions, dreams, prayers, songs, wisdom, experience and kind guidance form the Foundation and living reality of the Sacred Tree.
For all the people of the earth, the Creator has planted a Sacred Tree under which they may gather, and there find healing, power, wisdom and security. The roots of this Tree spread deep into the body of Mother Earth. Its branches reach upward like hands praying to Father Sky. The fruits of this Tree are the good things the Creator has given to His people: teachings that show the path to love, compassion, generosity, patience, wisdom, justice, courage, respect, humility and many other gifts.
The ancient ones taught us that the life of the Tree is the life of the people. If the people wander far away from the protective shadow of the Tree, if they forget to seek the nourishment of its fruit, or if they should turn against the Tree and attempt to destroy it, great sorrow will fall upon the people. Many will become sick at heart. The people will lose their power. They will cease to dream dreams and see visions. They will begin to quarrel among themselves over worthless trifles. They will become unable to tell the truth and to deal with each other honestly. They will forget how to survive in their own land. Their lives will become filled with anger and gloom. Little by little they will poison themselves and all they touch.
It was foretold that these things would come to pass, but that the Tree would never die. And as long as the Tree lives, the people live. It was also foretold that the day would come when the people would awaken, as if from a long drugged sleep; that they would begin, timidly at first but then with great urgency, to search again for the Sacred Tree.
The knowledge of its whereabouts, and of the fruits that adorn its branches have always been carefully guarded and preserved within the minds and hearts of our wise elders and leaders. These humble, loving and dedicated souls will guide anyone who is honestly and sincerely seeking along the path leading to the protecting shadow of the Sacred Tree.
The Symbol of the Sacred Tree
The Sacred Tree as a symbol of life-giving meaning is of vital importance to the indigenous peoples of the earth. For countless generations it has provided meaning and inspiration for many tribes and nations. The Sacred Tree is a symbol around which lives, religions, beliefs and nations have been organized. It is a symbol of profound depth, capable of providing enough meaning for a lifetime of reflection.
The Sacred Tree represents life, cycles of time, the earth, and the universe. The meaning of the Sacred Tree reflects the teachings of the Medicine Wheel. The center of the Medicine Wheel is the symbolic center of creation and of the tribe. This meaning is reflected in a song which is sung on behalf of the Sacred Tree chosen for the Sun Dance.
I am standing
In a sacred way
At the earth's center
Beheld by the people,
Seeing the tribe
Gathered around me.
Symbolically, the Sacred Tree represents a gathering place for the many different tribes and peoples of the world. The Sacred Tree provides a place of protection in the world, a place of peace, contemplation, and centering. Like our mother's womb which provided nourishment and protection during the earliest days of our life, the Sacred Tree may be thought of as a womb of protection which gives birth to our values and potentialities as unique human beings.
The process of developing our uniqueness through the teachings of the Sacred Tree gives rise to a vision, not of what we are, but of what we can become. That vision becomes the path toward our wholeness. Thus we see in the symbolic protection of the Sacred Tree the beginning of our wholeness and the emergance of the seed of our potential."
And to the Woman were given Two Wings of a Great Eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and a half time from the face of the serpent.
And the serpent, (the spirit of Antichrist) cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the Woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood (of the wars that God is bringing upon the earth, against the great serpent).
And the Earth helped the Woman, and the Earth opened up Her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.
And the dragon (the collective lower nature of the American state of mind) was wroth with the Woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of...
THE GREAT MYSTERIOUS
"You can call Wakan-Tanka by any name you like. In English I call him God or the Great Spirit. He's the Great Mystery, (see 1 Timothy 3:16; 2 Tim. 2:14-21), the Great Mysterious. That's what Wakan-Tanka really means--the Great Mysterious. You can't define Him. He's not actually a 'He' or a 'She," a 'Him' or 'Her.' We have to use those kinds of words because we can't just say 'It.' God's never an 'It.'
So call Wakan-Tanka whatever you like. Just be sure to call him. He wants to talk to you...
Visions, Dreams, and Miracles
"We live by visions. We live by dreams. We live by miracles. Miracles come to us in our everyday lives, in our ceremomies, in our prayers. Every day is a miracle to us.
Many times I have seen the eagle