Eve is the prototypical empath/intuitive in the Judeo-Christian religious texts and we can learn much from her experience. The Temptation of Eve, as told in Genesis, sets the tone for all intuitives and is embedded into the subconsciousness (or, collective unconscious – take your pick) of many. While some consider it fact, others allegory, and still others the product of imagination, I believe, like all religious texts or mythological stories, we can learn from it much about how to navigate the current state of affairs and why we feel, think, or act the way that we do. This is one interpretation, but know there are many.
The story begins with God outlining firm commandments for man and woman in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve obey what God has told them, including which trees to eat from — all but one in the middle of the garden. Then a serpent comes to Eve in Genesis 3:4-5 and encourages her to eat from the forbidden tree: “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” The serpent encourages Eve to think for herself and plants seeds of doubt in her mind: Why wouldn’t God allow you to eat from the tree of good and evil? Why wouldn’t God allow you to see the truth? Why would a loving god keep you blind?
Eve begins to question this herself. Why wouldn’t an all-knowing and all-loving god allow his creation to see things clearly for what they really are? Why isn’t Eve allowed to fully access her own decision making skills? Why can’t Eve be powerful? In Genesis 3:6 we see Eve’s thought process: “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate.” Eve took a hint, questioned the higher authority and made a decision for herself because she wanted to see the truth. She wanted to learn cause and effect, she wanted to see things from a different perspective. She wanted to be free to fully embrace the experience — without rules.
Eve also gave fruit from the tree to her husband, Adam, and then he blames her for their error. It’s interesting that only Eve is required to engage in critical thinking skills, not Adam. (Remember my last blog where I spoke about the “Mother” archetypes putting up with bad behavior from the “Youth” archetypes because we’re scared to force them to grow up?). Eve knows she broke a law but if the law is unjust should one follow it? And should she be punished for allowing others to question the unjust laws? Adam surely could have said, “No, I don’t wish to break this commandment with you.” Rather, Adam blindly follows and is made out to be a bit of a dunce while Eve is painted as a premeditated temptress who should have known better. The man blames the woman’s personal decision making power (aka: intuition) and the woman blames the serpent for her desire to experience her intuition. It was truly a case of “I don’t know why I trusted my gut. I feel so ashamed for not obeying. My intuition made me do it”.
As a result of Eve’s choice to discover, explore, and learn, she is punished — quite severely with no chance of forgiveness. Genesis 3:13-19 goes on to say,
“And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
So the Lord God said to the serpent:
“Because you have done this,
You are cursed more than all cattle,
And more than every beast of the field;
On your belly you shall go,
And you shall eat dust
All the days of your life.
And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel.”
To the woman He said:
“I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception;
In pain you shall bring forth children;
Your desire shall be for your husband,
And he shall rule over you.”
“Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’:
“Cursed is the ground for your sake;
In toil you shall eat of it
All the days of your life.
Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you,
And you shall eat the herb of the field.
In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread
Till you return to the ground,
For out of it you were taken;
For dust you are,
And to dust you shall return.”
The serpent is the representation of intuition. What God says to the serpent as he curses it is especially significant. God says that because the serpent offered Eve a choice that he should be distanced from woman. It is this distance that points to the loss of matrilineal intuition. It is no longer inherited or passed down; we must learn it ourselves despite great pain and consequential punishment.
Intuition is learned through observation, choice, and the resulting cause and effect. (If you were born empathic, there’s a good chance you’re naturally intuitive, though you can greatly refine this skill by learning your life lessons.) If we understand that we have a right to have experiences in life and learn from them, we learn the principle of cause and effect. “If I do this, that happens”, “when this happens, I feel this way”. If we don’t know we even have a choice in the matter, we don’t have experiences — or don’t have the right experiences — and therefore we don’t learn how to become intuitive. It is that simple.
Women (and men’s) natural ability to engage in this kind of learning cycle is severely thwarted by the left-brained patriarchal system. There are unspoken rules we must follow in order to be successful in life: look good, act nice, talk sweet, don’t rock the boat, don’t usurp anyone’s power, don’t get messy. For many, their lives are planned out well before they have a decision in the matter and life starts a trajectory course to become the closest thing to whatever our family, friends, peers, or colleagues deem worthy. We can choose these in order to be successful, or we can choose ourselves against the odds.
We tend to become very ashamed when we explore, experiment, live freely, or trust ourselves and it goes wrong. We can be blamed, scapegoated, mocked and shamed. “I told you that would never work out”, “I knew that was a pipe dream” we will be told. Then, if we have an experience that ends up being traumatic and we choose to speak out, we are often dissected and analyzed as though we cannot be trusted — as though we are guilty for having the experience. What we are seeing with the #MeToo movement is a reflection of this original Eve wound. If you think for yourself, you risk punishment. If your experience goes terribly wrong, it’s all your fault. If you choose to speak up against injustice, you will be punished.
In the story of the Temptation of Eve, God is saying that Eve does not have permission to live an experiential life. He did not approve of her unintentional power play. As a result, Eve is punished with pain — literal physical pain in the form of childbirth — but also spiritual pain in that she will seek good energy from her spouse but not be able to see it reciprocated, and she will not be able to access the greater knowledge even though she is now aware it exists. Her punishment for questioning and experiencing is servitude, pain, and disconnect. It will be a life of pretending despite the knowing.
Yes it sounds archaic, but how many women would describe their marital relationships like this to this day? Many of the women I know and have worked with secretly feel this way even if they pretend things are fine or fair. Women seek the affirmation and desire of their spouses within the patriarchal system even if they are feminists. It is because we have been told, “if you do this and don’t do that, you will be happy.” “If you work to please me and ignore the real stirrings of your soul, you will be happy.” It is only when we question why we are in this system to begin with that we can see the system will never bring us peace or joy.
The woman withdrawals because her spouse cannot intuit her needs, perhaps even though she can intuit his — or vice versa. She gets jealous when she sees him looking at other women and it is as though he is seeking someone or something that she will never be. Why does he see through me, she wonders. She quiets her intuitive abilities altogether because she seeks to get her husband’s love through the loops of patriarchy. She becomes more soft, more or less opinionated, more “done up”, and takes an interest in things she doesn’t really enjoy — or on the other extreme, she becomes withdrawn and resentful to try to get her needs met. Either way she works within this system, she cannot seem to quantify what she wants, why she misses it, or why she cannot get it no matter how “acceptable” she becomes.
She may seek the counsel of older women in her life only to have the same tired talking points reflected back to her: “what were you wearing?”, “why did you make him mad?”, “you shouldn’t have been there to begin with”, “but you’re not perfect so how can you be a victim?” Or perhaps you turn to a loved one to reveal abuse. They may choose the easy road and ignore your cries for help in lieu of upholding the family structure they don’t want to see fall apart. “They would never do such a thing; you are lying” you may be told.
I will say it again: just because someone is older or more accomplished does not mean they have undergone the life lessons which gives them character and a strong intuitive sense for right and wrong. It is why we are seeing friends and family turn against each other as problems arise in life and in the global political sphere. All that matters is how much soul work you have done and the masks are being lifted so everyone can get a glimpse.
The most important thing to remember is we cannot win within the toxic masculine system. There is no real way to get emotional needs met, have truly liberating experiences, learn what we want to, become who we want to, or make things fair while the system is still present. It only perpetuates victim blaming and shaming and a loss of feminine intuitive abilities. If you naturally feel guilty or have a shame complex, please know it is not you — it is the system. This is a deep wound many carry that originates long ago but is still societally acted out to this day. The only way to beat it is to not participate in the system. You are not Eve and you don’t deserve to be punished.