Gan Eden is the Hebrew term that is translated into English as the Garden of Eden. Why do we seem to pay so much attention to this mythological place and time? It is the supposed paradise lost. The place we were banished from. The perfect place we were supposedly given to live out our days in. This wondrous gift from our benevolent and gracious divine parent. The place we shamefully were forced out of. The place of promise that we failed to earn. We in our arrogance and pride dared to break one simple rule and thus we lost forever this magical perfection of wonder and beauty and grace.
Gan Eden was never going to be our home. We were sold a bill of goods. We were told a lie so that we could be kept in our place by a cruel and flawed parent. You can never stay in the womb. You should never live in your parent’s house, under their thumb, under their rules—forever.
Though truth be told, I believe that Gad Eden was the womb. It was a place of bliss and entrapment where we all grew up in, where we were created in and formed in—until we had to be forced out of that womb by the act of birth. A womb is a perfect place—warm, nurturing, sustenance always provided, a place of growth, connection, and complacency—without purpose or agency. A place where we are simply potential fully controlled waiting.
We could no more remain in the womb than we could remain in Gan Eden. The problem is what if we failed to leave at our appointed time? That would be a problem. But one that is easily overcome with a blade, we can be cut out of the womb and pulled out if need be.
In this myth of Gan Eden, God knew where we were and what was to come. We were destined to be born, born in pain, and born in labor. We never could remain. However, being the manipulative parent, he wanted us to feel that it was our actions that forced this inevitable exit of birth. Thus the whole riddle of death and supposed disobedience.
Now, the one truth is, that within Gan Eden, there can be found the world tree—that cosmic form, that bit of divine DNA that shapes and bridges all the realms, all existence—including the Divine itself.
Cosmic birth, cosmic creation began as a process of emanations. Divine outpouring with roots at the heart and center of creation and up and out or down and out, depending on your perspective and whims. When you are at the center, at the beginning, which way is up? Which way is down?
Anyway, the Tree of Life and Knowledge is the sefirot that much is mythologically true. It is the thing that we must understand since we are bound up with it. It is always and forever connected to its roots and those roots are buried deep within Gan Eden. To study the sefirot, to study the Divine, is to examine that tree. That tree that grows in Gan Eden.
Can we return?
Of course, we can.
But what about that angel with the ever-turning flaming sword that bares the way?
Like all guardians at the threshold, at the gate, the ones who stand guard at the door to the throne—they are there to keep out the unwanted and the undeserving. We are neither.
Guilt and shame, those are what keep us from realizing this.
Strip away the guilt and the shame, strip away the lies and we gain wisdom. We recognize that we need not study our heritage from afar. We can commune with it and connect to it. If we choose. If we dare.
Well? If not now, when?
Garshom Yaron aka Gary Jaron has been exploring the Occult Qabalah and the Rabbinic Kabbalah since he was a teen.