Why I Honor Eve
Inside much of the new wave of feminism, we see many paying homage to Lilith, to the pagan goddesses, and to the archetypal feminine found in all cultures worldwide. Many of these women were rebels or simply strong women who stood up for themselves, their children, or communities in some way. As you, I feel a connection with all of these women.
What I do not see is anyone outside the realms of feminist theology who is paying homage to Eve. It has taken me some time to come to terms with her, if I am going to be honest. The Eve I grew up with was the weak link in the pair created to tend the garden. She was the one who did not yield to temptation, but succumbed to the serpent’s alluring words.
As I got older, the apologists started having things to say about Eve. They nuanced all kinds of scripture to make her seem less of a weakling, and more of one who knew her purpose. I failed to understand how they could flip-flop like so many gymnasts.
Eve was created out of the earth, just as Adam, if we are going to read the original and first story in the 2nd chapter of Genesis. She lived in the garden with Adam, where Adam walked and talked with God, tended the garden and named the animals. But Eve was not the first woman created.
Lilith-if we are to include her in this-had been formed first. She decided to leave the garden because of the inequality demanded by Adam. She wanted more power than he was allowing her to have. It’s a rather juicy story, actually. But, just like that, she sprouted wings and left the garden and was deemed an evil demoness, rebel, and the first of the followers of Evil.
This is a story. But this story matters because it forms how our society sees women. Do we want to be seen as rebels, demanding more power than we are allotted? Do we want to be alone, without the companionship or completion of partnership? Do we want to leave our homes, our people, become isolated and insular? Do we only want the companionship of other people like us?
The answers to those questions are complicated. But to the first, yes! We do want more power than we are allotted! We are allotted shit for power! But how do we want to accomplish that? Let’s look at Eve…
If we change the perspective just a smidge, Eve is simply more conscious than Adam. Eve is in Adam’s garden. Adam is perfectly happy there. He has everything he needs: his home, his woman, his God. Eve is not unhappy, perhaps, but realizes that his is NOT her world. This is Adam’s world. She knows there is another place to go because Adam’s God has told him about it in detail during the warning verses.
And she asks herself, “If I am to get what I want, what do I have to do? According to the words of God, it seems that if I simply eat the fruit, we will be cast out of the garden.”
And since that is what she wanted in the first place, she did so. If you have read any of my blogs previous, perhaps you came across the ones about the serpents. My encounter with the serpent was much less influential than Eve’s but still led me down a hard and difficult path-my path. The serpent was a representation of her own feminine divine wisdom. This is the same wisdom that we embody-all of us-if we are living in our bodies and according to our intuition.
We don’t know how long Eve was in the garden, but we do know it must have been long enough to trust her gut; to know what she wanted. It was long enough to know that what she wanted was valid and worth the hardship it would create. She likely did not know what that hardship looked like. The consequences looked like farming and having children…not so bad really. But she trusted herself.
I honor Eve because she stuck around. I honor her because she saw past her anger and found a way to get what she wanted that was not destructive, but productive.
She made possible the human world we are a part of through her body. Maybe her call to the “something else” was just a call to inhabit her body in a way that was impossible in the Garden.
She literally became a creatrix.
She found a way to work within the parameters of what was given to create the life she wanted. It was not easy. She was shamed, like so many of us. She bore the brunt of so much of the work and pain, like so many of us. But she did it. As I look around, I see many women like her. I see women who stick around, who stay engaged with their children and their families and do the hard work of relationships. I see some that feel they need to disengage to find their way. I don’t judge any of them. We all have our needs to be met, and our grief speaks in so many languages that I cannot assume I understand them all.
There is a scene from the movie, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” that is the perfect modern-day depiction of Eve. The mother of the main character tells our girl, paraphrased, “The man might be the head of the household, but the woman is the neck that can turn the head.” I loved this because it is truth for so many women. That was not the story in my life. I needed to get out of my marriage. But many good women find a way to influence their husbands so that life is better for all of them…not just for her. When women see the bigger picture and acknowledge that they are so vital in the health and well-being of the whole, they are doing the healing work that needs to be done.
Let’s all find a way to “stay in the game” if we can. Let’s support each other’s growth and integration in these transitional times. We all go through them. Perhaps if we have the desire to stay engaged and we have the community to support us, there will be less collective pain.
And wouldn’t that be a welcome change?