The Creation According to Eve is a multi-layered mythical journey that integrates aspects of Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Taoist, and Buddhist perspectives on the problems---and potential---of human consciousness. In retelling the ancient story of Adam and Eve from a feminine perspective, author Linda Kohanov also explores some ancient cross-cultural notions on how the universe was created through a massive sound emerging from the silence of the void, a sound that continues to sing the world into being through the continuous symphony of creation, inviting men and women to become creators themselves.
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A BRIEF HISTORY
The Creation According to Eve was written in the early-1990s when Linda, then an internationally recognized music critic, noticed a shift in her writing style that resulted from her interactions with horses. One of her mares, a black Arabian named Tabula Rasa, became lame and was unable to be ridden. Linda began spending large amounts of undirected time with Rasa on the ground, taking long walks through the desert and milling around the pasture.
“Whenever I was with the horses,” she later revealed in her bestselling book The Tao of Equus, “I felt connected to a part of myself that seemed more ancient, more mysterious, and more in tune with the indigenous instruments and rhythms that my husband Steve Roach was weaving into his increasingly primal soundscapes, and I yearned to return to a much older form of human awareness.”
In Rasa’s presence, Linda began writing effortlessly in a mythic style that she called the Voice of Remembering. “The strange places I was traveling in my imagination demanded a deeper understanding of history, religion, mythology, philosophy, psychology, and the workings of the creative process itself. It was as if pages and pages of disconnected insights were digested organically by some unconscious feature of my brain, only to reemerge as an intricate tapestry of ideas woven by the Voice of Remembering.” These creative insights informed her nonfiction books and articles.
“Somehow,” she marvels, “relating to Rasa as a companion and eventually a teacher, rather than as a mode of transportation or a vehicle for winning competitions, opened the veil between my normal waking consciousness, and a timeless otherworldly voice capable of integrating all kinds of insights that the modern logical mind would interpret as hopelessly paradoxical.”
This experience, she later found, coincided with myths from around the world. From Pegasus the winged horse of the ancient Greeks, to Celtic, Eastern European, Oriental, Indian, and Native American stories of courageous deeds and sacred innovations, the horse is presented as a powerful psychopomp and guide that can take people back and forth between the worlds, helping heroes and artists to bring the wisdom of the gods back to earth. As Linda has since learned through leading equine-facilitated human development seminars worldwide, working with horses in “both worlds” allows people to take huge leaps forward in personal development, confidence, empowerment, and healing. “Still,” she emphasizes, “my very first inkling that human beings can and should exercise two forms of consciousness came from The Creation According to Eve.”
LOGOS AND MYTHOS
The ancient Greeks distinguished these two perspectives as logos and mythos. “Logos is directed thinking, controlled consciousness and used to describe reality in its outward, historical, and factual manifestation. Mythos is undirected thinking, which arises from the unconscious and spontaneously forces itself upon inspired writers and storytellers….” (Quote by David Tacey, in How and Why We Still Read Jung.)
Tacey goes on to emphasize: “It is an overdose of logos that has made us unreceptive to the sacred and its symbolic language. Religion and myth perform the vital function of reconnecting consciousness to its source, to a life independent of itself…. To lose our sacred myths and images is to lose our psychological health and well being. Without them, we become rudderless, lacking purpose and direction in the universe. We become strangers to ourselves, and our life and identity suffer from this spiritual alienation.”
Growing up in the 1960s, in a conservative Ohio town where the counterculture movement never really did hit, Linda felt that there was something deeper calling her, something that neither church membership nor a university education was able to help her access, though both were places that encouraged her to seek more from life than a workaday existence. Music filled in some of the gaps, bringing feeling and nonverbal awareness into the mix, but it wasn’t until she began spending large amounts of undirected time with her horses in her mid-30s that the Voice of Remembering took a decidedly recognizable form and spoke to her from the mythos mind.
One day, when she was out walking through the Sonoran desert with Rasa, she suddenly I felt the incredible urge to write. What came out over the next few days was very strange indeed: an unusual re-telling of humanity’s lost connection to paradise called “The Creation According to Eve.”
“To this day,” Linda says, “I really have no memory of how this complex story emerged, but in analyzing it over time, I was fascinated to realize that it somehow integrated aspects of Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Taoist, and Buddhist perspectives on humanity’s fatal flaws and shining potential, along with some ancient cross-cultural notions on the mystical properties of sound and silence.”
What scientists call “The Big Bang” was acknowledged in Greek, Judeo-Christian, Indian (India), and Tibetan spiritual and scientific texts eons ago. The Sanskrit phrase Nada Brahma means “the world is sound.” The creative power of sound---and its relationship to silence (the womb of creation, the space that cradles invisible, nonverbal, as-yet un-manifested innovations)---weaves its way throughout The Creation According to Eve, with one addition: the importance of feminine wisdom. The piece opens with a poetic description of how humanity has “suffered through the silence of women” since the beginning of recorded history, that moment when our ancestors stepped out of “Eden,” separated themselves from God and Nature, and began to write about their tempestuous experiences “in exile,” primarily from a male perspective.
The Voice of Remembering insists that a retelling of the creation story “in a feminine voice” is an essential first step in bringing balance to our troubled world. The narrator outlines an unusual perspective on the trajectory of human social evolution: Biblical accounts already state that Adam was given the power of sound, and encouraged to name what already existed. The Voice of Remembering specifies that Eve, on the other hand, was in touch with creations not yet born through her relationship with the power of silence. This retelling of the classic story emphasizes that the Creator’s original plan called for the first man and woman to “reclaim the knowledge revealed by the other,” so that both could wield the powers of sound and silence (and a host of other opposites) to become creators themselves. Over time, however, a disruptive element kept Adam and Eve, and their descendants, in a state of fitful adolescence.
“It is a historical fact that women were forced to stay silent for eons to prevent them from introducing new ideas and perspectives that did not support male-dominated, hierarchical cultures,” Linda says. “These civilizations maintained supremacy not only through intimidation, but through severely limiting the dissemination of information while suppressing free, creative thought.
“In the last few hundred years, of course, we know that women were finally allowed to speak ‘when they promised to talk of things already named by Adam.’ In other words: women were finally given a voice when they were sufficiently socialized to uphold the status quo, when they were so indoctrinated into an aggressive, conquest-oriented, nature-phobic culture that they couldn’t even imagine another way of being.”
The Creation According to Eve, however, does not reject or blame “the sons of Adam” for this state of imbalance. It presents the problem as a feature of dualistic consciousness in a state of arrested development, and offers a solution to help men and women reach psychological and spiritual maturity.
In 2014, as Linda was recording this Spoken Word version with her husband Steve Roach, she decided to look up a few more mythic references to better understand the multi-cultural symbols her horse-human interactions had unearthed 20 year earlier---when she cavorted through the desert with Rasa in a mythos state of mind.
“First of all,” Linda says, “I had never before realized that the tale of Adam and Eve was the most congenial common ground beneath the Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths, which as we know, tend to diverge from there.”
Still, she was initially surprised, and uncomfortable, with the appearance of Lucifer in The Creation According to Eve. “I wasn’t raised in a fire and brimstone church,” she emphasizes. “When I was growing up, Methodists didn’t talk a whole lot about the devil. But I was always confused at how such a malevolent figure could also be called ‘Lucifer,’ which means ‘bringing light.” The Creation According to Eve solved that dilemma to my satisfaction by presenting the fallen angel as a dangerous feature of intelligence. As an archetype illuminating one of the pitfalls humans face in reaching the age of reason, Lucifer plays a significant---dare I say enlightening---role in The Creation According to Eve.
“It seems that I owe some of these insights to folk tales that ancient Middle Eastern desert tribes told about Lucifer, who was also known as ‘the morning star,’ another name for the planet we now call Venus. Somehow, the Voice of Remembering accessed several of these archaic stories from Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions, integrated them with modern planetary science, and made symbolic sense of them.”
The Voice of Remembering characterizes Lucifer as “light that sacrificed its heart to the glory of its pride.” In other words, this celestial character represents intelligence that separates itself from love through an inflated sense of self-importance---a very ancient yet still potent dilemma. “How many of us know geniuses with a severely compromised ability to empathize with other people and other species,” Linda asks, “who treat living beings as objects and statistics as a result? In the nuclear age, this is more than a personal tragedy. It’s a very dangerous split. As spiritual writer Thomas Moore observed, ‘Logos without Eros becomes sadistic.’ In this regard, we see ‘the devil’s work’ running amok throughout our world any time human intelligence disconnects from love, losing the ability to care about others in the process.”
Also interesting is the scene where Lucifer realizes, all too late, that his brilliance, like the planet Venus, merely reflects light from the sun, suggesting metaphorically that intelligence is not self-generating, but related to a larger, more expansive creative force. “To imagine that we are the smartest creatures in the universe, the be-all, end-all of evolution, is a form of hubris characteristic of humans, of course,” the author emphasizes. “Throughout history, all kinds of political, scientific and religious ‘geniuses’ have asserted that intelligence is what sets ‘man’ apart from ‘women and lower animals.’”
Lucifer’s story mirrors what happens when humanity falls prey to short sighted, egotistical ambition. As he disconnects from the Source of his being, “plunging into darkness for the very first time,” the devil engages a degraded, aggressive, sociopathic form of intelligence to gain control on earth. In this version of the creation story, he achieves his goal by finding an admittedly clever way to keep masculine and feminine consciousness separated---destroying the reputation of the latter, while holding both in a state of arrested development. The story ends with God devising a counterintuitive plan to help men and women recover from this primal split: to develop a balanced, mature consciousness that can “heal the dark star’s toxic legacy” by “placing the knowledge of good and evil in the context of creation.”
The Creation According to Eve is not light listening, or light reading, but people of various faiths and philosophies have found it inspiring. (If you want a copy of the manuscript, feel free to email Linda through firstname.lastname@example.org
“Few of the observations that emerge from this version are new,” Linda emphasizes, “but when they’re integrated through the magic of mythic storytelling, they have the power to move people more intensely than encyclopedic discussions of the philosophies and insights involved. That is the magic of resurrecting mythos and allowing it to inform and transform the knowledge we’ve gained through logos over the last six thousand years or so.”