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Dane Rudhyar's Fire Out of the Stone. Image Copyright 2007 by Michael R. Meyer.

A Reformulation of the
Basic Images of the
Judeo-Christian Tradition

by Dane Rudhyar, 1962

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This title was first published by Sevire, 1963.

Cover for the online edition copyright © 2008
by Michael R. Meyer.

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"Thy God is a cosumming fire."
Duet. 4:25

"He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire."
Matthew 3:11

"I am come to send fire on the earth."
Luke 12:49

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7. CRISIS AND SIN - page 3

"Jesus said unto them: If ye were blind, ye should have no sin; but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth."
John 9 : 41

(1) The "Sin" in Eden and the "Fall"

In the second chapter of Genesis (2:7) we are told that "the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." The "living soul" condition is, as we saw in a preceding chapter, the first stage of the evolution of the soul. At this stage the soul is a focal point for the divine power of "life"; and the purpose of life is to integrate within an organic whole the power of God's unity and the multiplicity of material earth-particles — the "dust of the ground."

As a result the "living soul" faces in two opposite directions — Godward and matterward. The consciousness of the soul is likewise twofold — an awareness of God and an awareness of matter. There is, however, a basic difference between these two types of awareness because the soul is essentially God-like and God-attracted; it turns to God as the leaves of a plant turn spontaneously to the source of light, the sun. Yet, as it is the core of the processes and activities of life (the "breath") and as these organic activities deal with the chemicals of the soil (foodstuffs, etc.) which they differentiate and integrate as the substance of cells, the "living soul" must become aware of matter. And if it is not drawn to matter — the polarity of which is opposite to its own — then it must be forced to come in contact with matter.

At first the soul is not aware of matter as an objective reality, but rather of life-activities operating upon something strange, dark, entirely alien. The soul is subjectively moved by the rhythmic activities of life, and the feeling of "body" consists in an awareness that there are definite limits to these activities. Likewise the newborn infant is not at first aware of his body as a whole, but of changes of heat and well-being, of hunger and pain. He comes to sense that he himself can induce certain changes by contracting something, by crying, by relaxing. As he finds that there are limits to the changes he can induce, he seeks to discover how far he can go and what it is which helps or hinders him. He gains thus a shadowy feeling of external presences which he instinctively classifies, then "names", according to their effect upon his well-being.

The "man" God placed in the "Garden" is shown at first to live a purely vegetative existence. In the Garden there are only trees at first; and in the midst of the Garden two trees are singled out for his attention: the tree of life "and" the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:9). That there are two trees in the midst of the Garden is usually ignored. One may well wonder why! God's command to "the man" mentions only the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil" (2 : 17) and makes no reference to the "tree of life"; indeed, what God say later on when he drives Adam and Eve out of the Garden indicates clearly that the tree of life had not been touched:

"Behold, the man is become as one of us to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken." (3 : 22, 23)
Actually the "command" given by God to man, while man is still in the vegetative phase of his existence, need not be constructed as a dictatorial order. God simply tells man, who is without experience or objective knowledge, that he should not eat of the fruit of the tree of good and evil because "in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (2 : 17). This is not a threat or an order, but a statement of fact. In other words, if man were to eat of this fruit he would, as a natural consequence, have to experience death — and that would be a tragedy for man. Presumably it was not God's intention that this should happen; but God was just warning the childlike Adam that the fruit was dangerous and that eating of it would mean death — just as a mother warns her child that fire burns and must not be touched.

However after Adam had eaten of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil the situation (apparently) became more critical; if he should eat "also of the tree of life" then man would live forever. This seemed to God such a dangerous possibility that He sent Adam and Eve out of the Garden and placed the tree of life definitely out of Adam's reach by protecting it with Cherubims with "a flaming sword which turned every way".

What then do the two trees "in the midst" symbolize? The answer is that they refer to the two higher levels of soul-integration above the "living soul". It is only through a knowledge of good and evil, that is, of the constructive and destructive consequences of any self-induced activity, that the soul can become individualized. Man, the individual, is responsible for his acts, for their polarity and their orientation. He can act toward the divine goal of integration, or the evil goal of total disintegration. He must choose. He must choose God or the negation of God. He must relate himself positively toward God's Will and identify his individual will with the divine Will, or he becomes the servant of evil and his relation to God becomes negatively polarized.

Thus eating of the fruit of the tree of good and evil means simply the beginning of the process of development of the "individual soul". On the other hand, eating from the tree of life would have meant partaking of divine immortality; but immortality means the perpetuation of that which one has attained in life as an individual. And if this individual attainment is along the path of evil, immortality would mean immortality in evil — a satanic kind of immortality as God's adversary!

The two trees are in the midst of the Garden because the moment God releases the power of integration, which is life, this release opens the possibility of individualization and of divine immortality. Mind and spirit are implied in life. They are at the core of the experience of the "living soul". The risk of creating such a "living soul" is that the mind-consciousness and the spiritual consciousness of man might develop when man is not yet able to respond to them with safety. It is dangerous to let a child handle matches and burning torches; it is also dangerous to allow modern man the use of the power of the sun! Nevertheless all divine plans seem to include "calculated risk", because no creature can become a creator, or rather a co-creator, without a crisis of fundamental re-polarization and reorientation of his consciousness and his energies.

The crisis begins the very moment the "living soul" ceases to be a purely passive and vegetative reflection of God Who gave it the breath of life; the very moment man begins to "name" the living and moving animals which God created in Eden (2 : 19). The soul then enters the animated stage of its evolution. The reason given in the Biblical narrative for this Edenic creation of animals by God is intriguing. God said: "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help mate for him." And when the animals fail to do the job then God creates Eve out of Adam's rib — or rather, in Hebrew, Isha out of Ish (the English translation says "Woman out of Man").

The Hebrew words, Ish and Isha, tell the story for "Ish" is a root-sound which is found in many languages to symbolize the "I", the Individual self. (In Sanskrit, Ish-svara is the manifestation or tone of the divine Self, the Logos; in German, Ich means "I", etc.). The "help mate for Adam" is a being that polarizes him, as polarization and the interplay of duality are necessary to spark and to warm up the alchemical process of individualization.

As the first un-sexed Adam becomes Adam-Eve, or rather Ish-Isha, the subjective and purely reflective consciousness of the "living soul" begins to be transformed into an objective consciousness of life and of the rhythms of life. Man no longer merely reflects, in unconsciousness, God his Maker. He becomes conscious of life as power and as rhythm. He becomes aware of time and seasons. He becomes positively oriented toward life; and this tends to bring about a change in his relationship toward God. It is a potentially dangerous change for the soul, yet a necessary one. It precipitates a crisis which is inevitable but which involves a very serious task.

The peculiar manner in which Eve-Isha is produced should tell us a great deal; but apparently this has remained largely a mystery to Biblical interpreters. What is a "rib" if not that which defines the process of breathing by limiting it? This is exactly what Isha does to Ish, Woman to Man. Woman objectively defines Man's life-power by focusing and limiting it. Also within the rib-cage is the heart; and the steady pulsation of the heart is even more fundamental to life than the breath. In other words, the ribs enclose the rhythmic systems of the living organism — two systems "in the midst" of the garden of the human body.

From the recognition of rhythm derives the sense of time. And the sense of time leads to the realization of the steady character of seasonal activity, of the rhythm of the seed. Woman's function also stresses this principle of cyclic, seasonal activity. To know that there is seasonal activity is the necessary foundation for agriculture and cattle-breeding. This knowledge alone can give man a positive attitude of control toward nature and life. The Woman (Isha) gives Man this knowledge.

However, seen from the point of view of the realm of unity, which is timeless and without extension or space (as we understand "space"), the descent of a soul — a pure reflection of divine unity — into the world of time and seasons means a tragic "fall". But this fall occurs, at least potentially, the moment Adam becomes Adam-Eve; the moment the one human reflection of the One God becomes twofold. Man then enters upon the path of duality and objectivity — the path of mind-development.

Man had to tread this path in order to develop individuality and a positive free will, and in order to learn discrimination. Discrimination is choice between two alternatives. Only the consciousness which knows duality and has gained an objective approach to life and change can choose between two alternatives. Adam, as the one reflection of the One God, could not know what alternatives mean, and thus could not choose between them; he could not learn the lesson of freedom. Adam had to become Man-Woman and to experience the "fall" from timeless unity to cyclic time. And this was the crisis.

To experience a crisis is not sin! But to give a negative meaning to any crisis — that is sin. And Adam, faced with the realization that he was now in a world of time, of duality and change, was seized with fear and shame. He felt himself "naked", that is, unprotected, ineffectual, diminished and inferior. The experience of duality — the Ish-Isha, Man-Woman experience — gave him a sense of guilt and utter loss. When he remembered the unity of God, it seemed as something that was gone forever, and he became frightened. And this was the original sin: i.e., fear. Fear, when one is confronted by the evolutionary necessity for a crisis which completely changes the quality and the substance of one's consciousness, is the basic negative response to life and the God of life.

When this happens the very relationship of man to God turns negative, and God appears to man as an awesome Power that "curses", that is "angered" and "vengeful". Human fear generates the only Devil there is, and the negative countenance of evil superimposes itself upon the divine Presence in the soul. This is sin and the result of sin. Man, once the passive reflection of God's Image, finds his independence from God in a negative manner, and by so doing begins to experience the process of individualization in the darkness and the tragedy of sin.

Behind the mythological personifications of the serpent talking to Eve, of God's anger and God's "curse" — the latter simply being a prophecy of what the results of man's negative fear and shame would bring upon him — we can see the crucial happenings which bring on a state of more or less accentuated psychological cleavage between the very young child and his parents. The psychologist, Dr. Fritz Kunkel, referred to this crisis in his writings as the breakdown of the "We-feeling" — the feeling in which the child feels himself an integral part of his mother's being and his small family circle. Psychologists stress the fact that around the age of four or five the child normally forgets all that he experienced prior to that time. The first remembered event of childhood usually dates back to this period. A change of psychic polarity occurs.

As Dr. J. L. Moreno states, true memory begins only then, which means that the child acquires a real sense of time. He distinguishes past from present; and the future may well seem to him both exciting and frightening, because of his basic sense of insecurity in this realm of time and seasons — a realm alien to the soul which, by spiritual birthright, belongs to the world of God's timelessness and unity.

This fall into time is the first great crisis of the soul. It is only after it that the soul becomes really aware of matter as such. This awareness is progressive and symbolized in Genesis by the need for some kind of "clothing". When Adam and Eve have eaten of the fruit of the tree of good and evil, they make themselves "aprons" of "fig-leaves" — certainly not out of a Christian kind of modesty, but as an expression of the fact that the experience of duality (the dualism of shape and sex-function being only the outer aspect of it) has brought the soul down to the level of the vegetable awareness of material forces and life-rhythms.

Then, after God has cursed Adam and Eve and the negative process of estrangement from divine unity has reached deeper, God makes for them "coats of skins". Animal consciousness has been forced upon Adam and Eve by God. The purity, but also the static and passive character, of vegetable life has been changed to the dynamic and restless emotionality of the animal world. Motion is required to produce positive, forceful emotions. The "living soul" has to "fall" into animal-like emotionality — into compulsive emotions.

At the root of emotional compulsiveness are fear and insecurity. The child who no longer feels "one with" his parents has lost the security of the true "home" — Eden. The psychological umbilical cord is torn; and the tearing often leaves a bleeding wound which saps the soul's energy, the life-energy, the "libido". This is the "curse", indeed every psychological complex is, symbolically speaking, a "curse" of the God of life-integration. It destroys some aspect of the integrative power of the "living soul" and makes the accomplishment of the soul's task that much harder.

The original sin is therefore the fear that engenders complexes.

This edition copyright © 2008 by Michael R. Meyer
All Rights Reserved.

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