Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Drunken Serpent in the Garden of Eden

By Jon Towers
The identity of The Serpent in the Garden of Eden is commonly assumed to be  The Satan, The Devil or Lucifer in any of these cases he is probably seen as some sort of a fallen angel who is working to corrupt mankind. However the serpent has an ancient role in Gnostic text as an avatar for the god above God. This is a role that is later filled in some Gnostic stories by Jesus who teaches on behalf of Sophia and you can see great old art work of a snake coiled around a cross, you know like the Rod of Asclepius you see flashed all over the place in medical logos and symbols. It is interesting to note that Asclepius was a Greek god of healing  and medicine who figured out how to live forever and was eventually murdered by Zeus so he couldn’t teach the secret of immortality to the humans. (this is a great  older version of the cursing and marking of Cain by the way and I will point this out in my blog about Ophiuchus, the 13th Zodiac).

Instead of working to corrupt humans, The Serpent is a heroic figure working to enlighten mankind. To get these prisoners, these slaves, these people to eat the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, to make them like God, to attempt to level the playing field.    
This fruit is commonly depicted as an apple and usually tied to some hogwash about Adam’s Adam Apple. However there are numerous theories about what kind of fruit it actually is. Rabbi Meir contends that the fruit in question is surely Grapes made into wine. This is sort of a theme in the sacred text that these Gnostic figures use wine as a connection with God or more accurately the god above God. (It is interesting to note that The Caduceus or the staff of the divine messenger Hermes is a winged staff with two snakes coiled around it, I feel like this Serpent imagery is linked to divine communication).  Here Gnostic Eve is connected to wine, the secrets of wine survive the flood with Noah who planted a vineyard and drank the wine and got drunk, all the way up to the Dionysusian Jesus Christ famously transmuting water into wine.  
Yeah we all know that wine is used as a sacrament in the church, and in the New Testament it represents friendliness and love of your neighbor. But there is another sacred use for wine. For a Gnostic who doesn’t need a physical church to attend, a confessor for absolution or even clergy to preach, wine could have a shamanic effect. One might use the booze to alter his mental state to help sludge through this mundane reality to peer into the Pleroma.   

The audio version of this post is packed full of extra content! Check it out here!

The Drunken Serpent is featured heavily in the THE AGES: Gemini.
Stigmata Studio is an indie comic studios that has been producing comics featuring the heroic Nonstandard Assembly and its quirky members for over  ten years. Our stories usually feature history, the occult, politics, myth, whiskey and violence with an edgy point of view. The Nonstandard is the name of the Stigmata Studios monthly newsletter, it is where we offer exclusive audio / art and comics content and sneak previews of upcoming projects, links to free "how to" content, funny cat picture and the occasional recipe.

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