Here it is. My sample chapter (edited slightly for use on the blog) from my recently-rejected proposal for The Mythology of Supernatural, Vol. 2: The Road Since Then. This chapter examines the character of Eve in detail, similarly to how I did an entire chapter on Lilith in the first book. Once again, I am sorry that this project didn't pan out. I know a lot of you were really looking forward to it.
But, like I mentioned in my last post... you never know. The answer might be "no" today, but I have come to understand that a "no" at first can end up being a "yes" later on. Only time will tell.
Please forgive me if you see any typos in the below sample... it hasn't had a proper editing run, obviously (Also, I'm sorry about the weird line spacing. The text didn't transfer over from the word document quite right... and trying to fix it in blogger only made it worse).
Anyway... for now, I have to start writing a new proposal for a different project.
As always, thank you all so much for reading what I write and for your amazing support! I will do my best not to let this blog gather so much dust... and I will keep everyone posted once I find out what my next book project will be.
Until then.... enjoy this little snippet of what I'd hoped would be my next book--The Mythology of Supernatural, Volume 2: The Road Since Then.
All my best! Please help me tell the others where to find this!
The below material is copyright Nathan Robert Brown (c) 2015 and any unauthorized duplication or distribution (outside of links to this blog post) is prohibited.
CHAPTER 4 (SAMPLE)
Eve is One Scary Mother
“They call her ‘mother.’ She was here about ten thousand years ago. Every freak that walks the face of the earth can be traced back to her. And she’s back.”
-Samuel, “And Then There Were None” (6-16)
The Hunter’s Dictionary
Canonical: as it is used here, this refers to a set list of sacred texts that are considered authentic or authorized by a religion (in this case, the Christian religion).
Apocryphal: as it is used here, this term refers to texts with questionable authenticity, or that are not accepted or authorized by a religion.
The writers of Supernatural (as they seem fond of doing) did not use any of the more well-known canonical myths to create the character of Eve. Instead, they went with something for more obscure (but way more interesting). I had to comb through a large amount of the Judeo-Christian lore I have on my shelf, both canonical and apocryphal, before I finally found an account of Eve that fit with her version on the show. I did, however, find one. The writers of Supernatural, almost without question, forged the character of Eve from the pages of an apocryphal, Gnostic essay that’s commonly known as “On the Origin of the World.” This essay is actually but one small piece of a much larger body of work called the Nag Hammadi Scriptures (or Nag Hammadi Library).
The Hunter’s Dictionary
Gnostic: as it is used here, this refers to an adherent of Gnosticism, an esoteric school of religious thought and mysticism that reveres knowledge. In fact, it come from the Greek root word gnosis, meaning “knowledge” (or, more specifically, knowledge of spiritual mysteries).
“On the Origin of the World” proposes a very different version of the events written in Genesis, especially when it comes to the nature of God and the creation of humankind. For example, whereas Eve is depicted as the source of original sin in Genesis, she is credited as the mother of all in “On the Origin of the World.” Not just the mother of all monsters, mind you… the mother of all living beings (humans included). But we’re getting a bit ahead of ourselves. You’ll need a bit of background on this essay before we can start our investigation on the origins of Eve in Supernatural.
FYI… you might want to brace your mind.
It is likely about to be blown by some of what you read in this chapter.
The Nag Hammadi Scriptures
“Who is she, this Eve bitch?”
-Dean Winchester, “Mommy Dearest” (6-19)
The “Nag Hammadi” part of the title actually has nothing to do with the contents of the stories and essays in this collection of texts. Nag Hammadi is just the name of the city near where these texts were discovered (though it is likely also the place in which they were transcribed, but we’ll get to that soon enough). Let me break it down for you with a short history lesson:
Back in December of 1945, in Egypt, a small group of Fellahin (an Egyptian term that means something like “peasant worker” or “farmer”) traveled by camel to the base of Jabar al-Tarif, a prominent cliff near the banks of the Nile River and a roughly a few miles outside the city of Nag Hammadi. They stopped at this spot to dig, hoping to collect sabakh (a naturally occurring fertilizer in the Nile region). As they dug, the men unexpectedly uncovered a large earthen storage jar. It had been well sealed and appeared to be very old. At first they were hesitant to disturb it any further, fearing it might contain the wrathful spirits of Jinn (and we all know how troublesome those things can be). Then someone brought up the possibility that it might contain gold. Egypt was once the land of the famously-bling-obsessed pharaohs, after all, and more than a few people had come into wealth with such discoveries over the years. Like many humans, their lust for riches turned out to be stronger than their fear of old superstitions. They busted the jar open (sadly, damaging some of the contents in the process).
No gold (and, perhaps more importantly… no Jinn).
Instead, the storage jar contained a rather large collection of very old books, written on papyrus and bound in leather. Its words were in Coptic (one of the last ancient Egyptian dialects, which is now used only by the Coptic Church), so the men couldn’t read it and did not know what they’d found. Over time, the texts were luckily brought to the attention of collectors and scholars, and they have been the subject of much analysis, commentary, and controversy ever since.
The Hunter’s Dictionary
Coptic Church: formally known as the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, this is the largest Christian church in Egypt and various parts of the Middle East.
Pinpointing an exact date for when the Nag Hammadi Scriptures were written down is difficult. However, it is generally agreed that this must have occurred sometime before 367 CE (this is the year they were likely buried, for reasons we will discuss later). Those who transcribed these texts were likely Coptic monks from one of the early Christian monasteries that existed in Nag Hammadi at the time. And these monks, based on the contents of the books, may have been members of the Gnostic tradition of Christian mysticism, a sect of religious thought that the main body of Christianity would eventually do its best to eradicate. It is doubtful, however, that the Nag Hammadi monks were the authors of most of these texts (preexisting versions of many of these books have been found, though written in Greek). If anything, they were likely the translators of most of them. The one striking exception to this is “On the Origin of the World,” which contains a number of hints at an Egyptian author (as will become apparent as we go through the actual text).
Many are also of the opinion that the texts in the Nag Hammadi Scriptures were considered important, even sacred, by at least some of the Coptic monks who transcribed, translated, and/or maintained them. They obviously took measures to preserve them. People don’t use sealed storage jars for things unless they want them to endure the passage of time, after all. If history tells us anything, it’s that people often burn books when they want to get rid of them… they don’t bury them in sealed containers. Which brings us to the question of why they were buried.
You see, around Easter of 367 CE, Athanius the Archbishop of Alexandria (a very high ranking official of the early Coptic Church) had a letter circulated among the Christian churches and monasteries of Egypt. In this letter was a list of twenty-seven books that he decreed would be, from that day forward, the only acceptable Christian religious texts (interestingly enough, these same books now make up the canonical New Testament).
Believe it or not, only certain books made it into what Christians now call “The Holy Bible.” When the canon was set down, a lot of things got cut. For example, have you ever wondered why Jesus goes from being 8 years old to 30 with no mention of what happened in between? Well, there are apocryphal books that tell more about his childhood. They just didn’t make the final cut.
Athanius’s letter also ordered the monks and other clergy to denounce, discard, and/or destroy any of these, as he put it, “illegitimate or secret books”—by which he meant any that were not on his list. The Gnostic adherents among the Coptic monks, however, would have prized knowledge above nearly all things. The written word, in their view, was both the product and the cause of knowledge, and therefore sacred.
This decree from Athanius likely put the monks of Nag Hammadi between a rock and a hard place. They were no longer allowed to house these books in any monastery library. At the same time, they were unwilling to destroy them. So, it is assumed at least one monk (or a group of Gnostic/Coptic monks) must have sealed these “unauthorized” books in a storage jar and buried it at the base of Jabar al-Tarif. Whether the monks intended to come back for them, no one can say for certain. We can assume they did not come back for them, of course, since they stayed buried for the next 1600 years or so. Centuries passed, and those who knew of the jar’s secret location must’ve died (or were killed) without passing the knowledge along. And there the jar remained until its accidental discovery in 1945. While the Nag Hammadi Scriptures contain roughly 50 unique texts, only one of them needs to be examined in our discussion of Eve—“On the Origin of the World.”
Technically speaking, this essay on creation was never given a title by its author. For this reason, some have referred to it as “The Untitled Work” (which, one must admit, is about as vague as it gets). The more specific “On the Origin” title was applied to it later on, and is preferred by most scholars (probably because it makes more sense than just calling it the equivalent of “That Thing That Unknown Person Wrote Without Giving It a Title”).
A few things before we move on—the following sections are going to cover some material that is EXTREMELY different from the version of creation you may know from the canonical bible. What follows is not meant to offend anyone’s belief systems. I’m only the messenger of information, here (pretty please don’t lynch me). Also, this next section is not going to cover everything that happens in “On the Origin of the World.” This chapter is about Eve, after all, and some things had to be omitted or condensed for the sake of staying on point. However, if you’re interested in learning more about “On the Origin of the World” or the Nag Hammadi Scriptures, here is a link to at least one translation (however, please keep in mind this is not the version I used when I wrote this chapter): http://khazarzar.skeptik.net/books/nhl.pdf.
Lastly, you should know that there are multiple versions, translations, and interpretations of this text. This means that you may find some sources that don’t match up perfectly with what you read here. Unfortunately, I don’t have enough room in this book to cover all of them. So, as Dean might tell you, “Suck it up, buttercup.” I can’t spend the entire book going through every possible interesting nook and noteworthy cranny of one Gnostic essay. This book isn’t the Men of Letters bunker… no matter how much any of us want it to be.
A (VERY) Different Version of Eve
“I’m building the perfect beast.”
-Eve, “Mommy Dearest” (6-19)
As already mentioned, “On the Origin of the World” depicts the events of Genesis in a very different light. One of its most notable differences has to do with sexual roles and gender types. The “one God” that exists before existence, for example, has neither sex nor gender in this text. This supreme divine being has no need to be male or female. However, this “one God” does create powerful, god-like beings who do have genders. It creates scores of heavenly beings—gods, angels, and the like—not with “the Word,” as it says in the Judeo-Christian texts, but instead with thought alone. Of the many heavenly beings the “one God” creates, there are two of particular importance when it comes to Eve: a male (and rather douchebag-ish) demiurge, called Yaldabaoth; and a feminine being endowed with the divine light of creation, called Sophia Pistis.
The Hunter’s Dictionary
Demiurge: in Gnostic thought, this term refers to a powerful god-like being that controls the physical realm and believes it is supreme. Such a being is the enemy of true spirituality and divine knowledge.
Yaldabaoth: This name’s most common translation is “Come here, child” or “Child, come hither.” However, some translations associate it with a similar ancient Hebrew title that means “Son of Chaos.” As it often is with such things, this could be argued either way.
Sophia Pistis: This name means “Wisdom” (Sophia) and “Faith” (Pistis).
Sophia Pistis, in her wisdom, becomes aware and immediately understands that there is a being in the cosmos greater than even she, and which has existed always. Yaldabaoth, on the other hand, comes into existence like a frat boy who just chugged an entire pint of beer without coming up for air. He hastily decides there is nothing greater than him, and that nothing could have existed before him. He declares himself god and demands to be worshipped by all the heavenly beings (including Sophia Pistis, but she will not be ruled and rebels against his ignorance).
Sophia Pistis is named so for a reason, though, and she remains faithful to the “one God” and uses her wisdom. She takes one look at Yaldabaoth and, like a girl at a club who meets a guy with a face tattoo, immediately knows he’s going to be trouble. So she takes a number of steps to counteract the damage he is going to cause in the near future, and to fulfill the ultimate will of the “one God.”
She begins by using her powers of creation to bring a heavenly daughter into being—Sophia Zoe (Sophia = “Wisdom”; Zoe = “Life”). As this daughter’s name suggests, she is endowed with her mother’s wisdom, as well as with the very same divine light of creation with which she was brought into existence. Shortly thereafter, Sophia Zoe (we’ll just call her Zoe from now on) produces a physical female form that, eventually, will serve as her vessel and come to be the one called “Eve.” In fact, Zoe and Eve are (in all the ways that matter) one and the same being (I know it sounds confusing, but I promise it will make more sense later). The story of the creation of this form is written of in “On the Origin of the World” as follows [brackets added for clarity]:
When Sophia [Zoe] let fall a droplet of light, it flowed into the water, and immediately a human being appeared, being androgynous. [Then she] after, using the body … molded it into the likeness of the mother … whom the Hebrews called “Eve of Life” [Life = Zoe], namely, the female instructor of all life.
Shortly after creating a physical vessel for herself, Zoe creates another being, a creature called “The Instructor” (sometimes, “The Teacher”)—knowing in her wisdom that such a being will be needed to serve as an aid to her later on. You might be surprised to find out that this creature is known in the canonical bible as the Serpent of Eden. In multiple Gnostic texts, this being is often depicted as a benevolent and wise teacher, as opposed to a troublesome and sinful tempter of ruin. This is made obvious in the following excerpt from “On the Origin of the World”:
Her [Zoe’s] offspring [The Instructor] is the creature that is lord. Afterwards, the powers [meaning Yaldabaoth and his evil angelic servants, such as the “seven rulers of chaos” that will come into play later in the story] called it “The Beast,” so as to lead astray their modeled creatures. The [true] interpretation of “The Beast” is “The Instructor.” For it was found to be wisest of all creatures.
The Song of Eve
“She died to protect you, didn’t she? See? You understand a mother’s love. I’m no different.”
-Eve, “Mommy Dearest” (6-19)
At this point, Zoe’s done about all she can to preemptively counteract the future actions of Yaldabaoth. So she enters her vessel and is thereby transformed into a new being—called “Eve.” From this point forward, in fact, Zoe is referred to in the text as “Zoe, who is called Eve.” The author of “On the Origin of the World” tells of this transformation in the following segment of the story, which many have come to call “The Song of Eve”:
Now Eve is the first virgin, the one who without a husband bore her offspring. She served as her own midwife. For this reason, she is held to have said:
I am part of the mother, and I am mother
I am the wife; I am the virgin.
I am pregnant; I am the midwife.
I am the comforter of birth pains.
I am becoming,
But I have given birth to a lordly person.
So there you have it. Eve is the first virgin… and the first human… and her own mother. Everything is all unicorns and roses, at this point. So now, of course, all that’s left is for some ignorant male gods and jerk angels to come along and mess the whole thing up. And here they come.
The Molding of Adam
“Call it ‘Beta testing.’”
-Eve, “Mommy Dearest” (6-19)
Around the same time that Zoe comes into being as Eve, Yaldabaoth begins to consider (much like the repentant Cass) that he’d been wrong when he assumed he was the one supreme god. Now you’d think this would make him change his dick-ish ways… and you’d be wrong. Blinded by his own arrogance, and unwilling to give up the power he enjoys over the others, he decides to keep up his charade (even after his own son, Saboath, denounces him and goes to serve Sophia Pistis). Yaldabaoth starts to view the “one God” and Sophia Pistis (along with Zoe and all others created by and/or associated with her) as his enemies. Because of this, the “one God” gives Yaldabaoth a new title—Samael (“Blind God”)—branding him with a moniker that shows how his arrogance and ignorance have blinded him to the truth, even when it is right in front of his face.
Hoping to prove to the other heavenly beings that he is, indeed, the supreme god of all, Yaldabaoth/Samael orders his most powerful followers—a group of archangels called “the seven rulers of chaos”—to mold a physical form for him as well. This form, called Adam, is put together a piece at a time by the seven rulers, as written in “On the Origin of the World”:
The modeled body came into being, part by part, from each of the rulers, and the leader of the rulers created the brain and marrow. … He became like a person with a soul, and he was called Adam, which means “father,” after the one who was before him.
While fully formed, Adam is imperfect. He is but a lifeless form. Not having been endowed with the divine light of creation (which Yaldabaoth/Samael and the seven rulers, unlike Sophia Pistis and Zoe, do not possess), the form of Adam is nothing but an inanimate “meat-suit.” Yaldabaoth/Samael is supposed to breathe life into Adam at this point. However, the Blind God is powerless to do so, and so he abandons Adam in frustration:
After Adam was made, he [Yaldabaoth/Samael] abandoned him as a lifeless vessel, since Adam was formed like an aborted fetus, with no soul (or spirit). … So he left his modeled form forty days without a soul, and withdrew and left him.
On the fortieth day, Zoe/Eve comes down from her home in the First Heaven and approaches the form of Adam. She breathes life into the form and Adam starts to move for the first time. However, he is still like an infant and cannot stand up or walk. The seven rulers of chaos, who’ve been keeping watch over him (please do not ask why they felt they needed to do this, because I have no idea), see that he is moving and… well… they freak the hell out. As the seven rulers swoop down they see Zoe/Eve for but an instant, but she disappears in a flash of light and returns to the First Heaven. The rulers don’t even chase her, they are so weirded out by the sight of Adam:
They [the seven rulers of chaos] approached him and grabbed him, and the chief ruler said to the breath [of Zoe/Eve] within him, “Who are you? Where have you come from?” He answered [with the breath of Zoe/Eve in him] and said, “I have come through the power of the human for the destruction your work…”
What happens next is sort of… confusing. For some reason, the seven rulers of chaos turn out to be relieved when they hear him say this. Some scholars believe this must be due to a fragmentation of the original text. Others have interpreted it as an indication that these beings were living under the thumb of a dictatorial jerk of a god and were glad to see that someone had come to knock him down a peg or two. Either explanation could account for the seemingly unusual tone of their reaction. In any case, here’s what “On the Origin of the World” has to say about it (brackets added for clarity):
When they [the seven rulers of chaos] heard this, they glorified him, because he gave them rest from their fear and concern. They called that day the Day of Rest, because they rested themselves from their troubles.
The seven rulers of chaos (perhaps not sure what to do with him) decide to take Adam to a place called Paradise, which had been created before them by the will of the “one God” for this exact purpose and was full of fruitful trees. Adam, however, is still like an infant, lacking any knowledge and unable to stand. Once the rulers leave Adam in Paradise and return to their respective heavenly abodes, Zoe/Eve returns to him and completes his creation. As it is written in “On the Origin of the World” (brackets added):
Sophia [Pistis] sent her daughter Zoe, who is called Eve, as an instructor to raise Adam, in whom there was no spirit, so that the children he would engender might be vessels of light. When Eve saw her male partner on the ground, she felt sorry for him and said, “Adam, live! Get up from the ground!” At once, her word became an accomplished deed. When Adam got up, at once he opened his eyes, and he saw her and said, “You will be called the Mother [Eve] of All Living, because you have given me life.”
Soooo… Eve is actually the one who created Adam, in this version of the story, which also would make her the mother of all humanity. I’ll give you a moment to process that.
The Rape of Eve
“I’m older than you, Castiel. I know what makes angels tick. Long as I’m around, you’re unplugged.”
-Eve, “Mommy Dearest” (6-19)
Just fair warning… as the title of this section suggests, things are about to get a little… “rapey.” Samael, having been informed by the rulers that Adam is up and moving about, and completely boggled by how this can be possible, wants to know what the hell is going on. In fact, the more he thinks about it, the more it starts to worry him. So he sends the seven rulers of chaos back to Paradise to investigate. They arrive to discover Adam is now standing, and see him talking to Eve. So they hide themselves and watch. Realizing she must be the one responsible for giving Adam his miraculous spark of life, they hatch a cruel (and pretty disgusting) plan:
…when they saw Eve speaking with him [Adam], they said to each other, “Who is this enlightened woman? She looks like what appeared to us in the light. Come, let us seize her and ejaculate our semen into her, so that she may be unclean and unable to ascend to her light, and her children will serve us. But let us not tell Adam, because he is not one of us. Instead, let us put him to sleep and suggest to him in his sleep [dreams, in some translations] the Eve comes from his rib, so that the woman may serve and he may rule over her.”
I’ll give you a moment to let that last part sink in.
Just come back when you’ve recovered from the shock.
That’s right, boys and girls! According to “On the Origin of the World,” that whole “rib thing” in Genesis is a total fabrication, nothing more than a lie cooked up by a group of evil, misogynistic, rapist archangels who serve a lying, sadistic demiurge that fancies himself a god. Speaking of which, this is the moment when the seven rulers of chaos come out from their hiding spot to rape Zoe/Eve.
Luckily, Zoe/Eve sees this coming. In her wisdom, she knows exactly what they’re planning to do to her. To prevent herself from being completely defiled (which would have prevented her from being able to “return to her light” in the First Heaven), she separates the divine part of herself (Sophia Zoe) from her physical self (Eve) and places her divine part into a tree in Paradise—The Tree of Knowledge. Yep… that Tree of Knowledge. And the seven rulers of chaos see her do it. However, this doesn’t stop them from attacking the “likeness of her” (Eve) that she (Zoe) leaves behind.
The Winchester boys have their final showdown with Eve at a roadside diner in the town of Grant’s Pass, Oregon. There is an “Eden Drive” in Grant’s Pass, and one must wonder if this was the location of the diner (though the show never tells us). Then again, there’s also an entire town called Eden, Oregon… but maybe the writers of Supernatural thought that’d be too obvious.
The female human being left behind by Zoe is captured and raped repeatedly by the seven rulers of chaos. I don’t really want to go into all the gross details, except to tell you that the story claims “They defiled her in ways both natural and obscene.” You can use your imagination as to what is meant by that. The act of rape so utterly defiles and traumatizes Eve that she enters a kind of stupor. She grows pregnant and births seven children, one for each rape she endured. Among these children is Abel, (of Genesis) who is said in this text to be the offspring of the chief ruler’s rape. These evil angels then inflict Adam with the same kind of mental stupor, thus robbing both he and Eve of the wisdom they’d been given as children of Zoe.
As mentioned earlier, however, the seven rulers of chaos saw Zoe place her divine wisdom and light into the Tree of Knowledge. They report this to Yaldabaoth/Samael, who fears what might happen if either of these humans were to eat its fruit. Hoping to prevent this from happening, he sends the rulers back to Paradise to tell the children of Zoe a new lie; as written in “On the Origin of the World” (brackets added):
They approached Adam and Eve carefully and said to him, “You may eat the fruit of every tree created for you in Paradise, but be careful not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge. If you eat [from that tree] you will die.
Little do Yaldabaoth/Samael and his rulers know, however, that Zoe has already created a creature, the wisest of all creatures, in fact, for the very purpose of revealing the truth to her children.
The Return of the Beast-Instructor
“So I dusted off some of the old classics. I needed help.”
-Eve, “Mommy Dearest” (6-19)
As already mentioned, after creating the form of Eve as her vessel, Sophia Zoe created another being, a wise creature that she called “The Instructor,” and whom Yaldabaoth /Samael and his rulers would come to call “The Beast.” She created this being for a specific purpose—to guide her children back to her once Samael and his rulers had finished with their dirty work. The Instructor/Beast comes to Paradise and discovers poor Eve and Adam in their ignorant stupors. Fulfilling its purpose, the creature springs into action. “On the Origin of the World” tells what happens next as follows:
The Beast, the wisest of all creatures, came by. When it saw the likeness of their mother, Eve, it said to her, “What did that god [Yaldabaoth/Samael] say to you? [Did he say] Do not eat from the Tree of Knowledge?”
Eve explains that yes, they were told not to eat from tree. And that they were told if they did, they would die from it. The Instructor/Beast lays the truth on her, and in doing so rescues the children of Zoe (brackets added):
The Beast said to her, “Do not be afraid. You will certainly not die. He [Yaldabaoth/Samael] knows that when you eat from it your minds will become sober and you will be like the gods, knowing the difference between evil and good people. He said this to you because he is jealous, so that you would not eat from it.”
Eve eats from the Tree of Knowledge and regains the wisdom from Zoe, shattering the stupor caused by the rulers’ defilement. She then convinces Adam to do the same, and the wisdom of Zoe returns to him as well. They both then realize they are naked and cover their bodies. They also see the seven rulers of chaos for the ugly creatures they truly are, and are disgusted by them.
When news of this gets back to Samael, he is pissed beyond measure. No longer able to keep Eve and Adam as a pair of stupid pets in Paradise, he tosses them out and places his cherubim servants around it to keep them out. He and the rulers then curse the humans and the earth (in fact, this part pretty much goes the same way as in Genesis). When the Blind God and his rulers attempt to harm the Instructor/Beast, however, they are unable to do so. The brilliant light of Sophia Zoe within this creature blinds them as they approach and they can’t do a damn thing (no serpents losing legs in this version, though, unlike in Genesis).
Just because Yaldabaoth/Samael and his cronies don’t get everything they want doesn’t mean Zoe/Eve is just going to let dead dogs lie. She’s not done… not by a longshot.
“After all… a mother defends her children.”
-Eve, “Mommy Dearest” (6-19)
Now that her work is done, Sophia Zoe, “who is called Eve,” leaves the Tree of Knowledge and returns to the First Heaven. However, when she looks down and sees how her children have been treated by Samael and his followers, she goes from zero to wrathful faster than Cass makes a visit to Israel. Much like the Eve of Supernatural, she gets scary when folks mess with her children. Zoe/Eve goes on the warpath, and now puts her creative light to a new use:
When Sophia Zoe saw that the archons of darkness cursed her friends who were like her, she was angry [understatement of the year, but okay]. She came from the First Heaven with all her power and chased the rulers from their heavens, and she cast them down into the sinful world so that they might dwell there as evil demons upon the earth.
She sent a bird that was in Paradise so that, until the end of the age, it might spend a thousand years in the rulers’ world. The bird, a living creature endowed with soul, is called “Phoenix,” and it kills itself and revives itself as an image of judgment against the rulers, because they dealt unjustly with Adam and his generation, until the end of the age.
And she doesn’t stop with cursing the rulers and unleashing the Phoenix. For every wrong, it seems, she unleashes a new monster upon the earth that Samael and his minions so arrogantly and unjustly cursed:
As the image of the Phoenix appears with reference to the angels, so do the water serpents of Egypt indicate those who go down for the baptism of a true human being.
The two bulls of Egypt indicate a mystery, the sun and moon … because Sophia … has been exalted above the sun and moon from the time she created them and sealed her heaven until the end of the age.
The worm that is born from the Phoenix also represents humanity.
“Phoenix ash. I’m impressed. I bet you had to go a long way for that.”
-Eve, “Mommy Dearest” (6-19)
Now that we’ve looked at Eve in “On the Origin of the World,” let’s compare her to the Eve of Supernatural. To be honest, I suspect that most readers have probably already figured out at least some of the things we are going to discuss in this chapter. However, let’s take a look at them anyway… just to be thorough. We’ve covered Eve’s beginnings. So let’s look at where she ends up in Supernatural.
The first point of comparison would be how “On the Origin of the World” refers to Eve as “the first virgin.” This would seem to explain why Supernatural’s Eve required a very specific vessel in order for her to escape from Purgatory—a virgin. After all, if the virgin form of Eve was Zoe’s first vessel in transition to the physical world, then it would stand to reason that she would need a virgin vessel to enter the physical realm from Purgatory.
Speaking of Eve’s escape from Purgatory, it is interesting to note that the creatures who busted her out were dragons—or serpents, one could say. It’s possible this is a reference to The Instructor/Beast in “On the Origin of the World.” After all, it is written that she created such a being to come to her aid back in the day. Perhaps the Instructor/Beast was the “alpha” of all dragons, which would explain why his offspring came to the aid of the original mother. By this rationale, a dragon would have been the first monster created by Zoe/Eve.
Then again, it’s possible that perhaps the “Khan Worm” is meant to be the Supernatural version of the Instructor/Beast. After all, when Dean mentions this creature to Eve, she says, “So I dusted off some of the old classics. I needed help.” On the other hand, the “Khan Worm” might be a reference to the Phoenix worm that, according to “On the Origin of the World,” is “born from the Phoenix” and “represents humanity.” This makes sense, in a matter of speaking, considering how the “Khan Worm” is able to move from one human to another, taking over their bodies as well as acquiring their memories and knowledge.
Which brings us to the most obvious, and perhaps most important, element of comparison—the Phoenix (I imagine most readers who know the show noticed that one right away). As you’ve read in “On the Origin of the World,” the Phoenix was created to be “an image of judgment … until the end of the age.” Well… the “end of the age” part refers to the apocalypse. This may explain why Eve is so impressed when she realizes Dean possesses Phoenix ashes. Since the apocalypse has already come and gone, it is likely Eve assumed there’d be no more Phoenixes left on the planet. And there weren’t, not at that time… but back in the 1800s, on the other hand. This could explain why Dean had to travel back in time in order to get the ashes (not that he minded, since it also gave him a chance to live out his own personal “Frontierland” fantasy). Even if a few Phoenixes had been around when the apocalypse went down in season 5, they would have (based on what’s written in “On the Origin of the World”) been wiped out then, since the apocalypse marks the “end of the age.” However… this still leaves us with one question—why are Phoenix ashes Eve’s kryptonite?
There are a number of possible explanations for this. The simplest reason would be that the Supernatural writers just figured it sounded cool and sort of made sense with their “On the Origin of the World” source text. Of course, since when have the Supernatural writers been known to go with simple? Another (far more complicated) theory would be that the Phoenix represents all of the different types of human beings in creation… of which, according to “On the Origin of the World,” there are three—spiritual, physical, and earthly. Eve became the mother of all three types, in her time. She birthed herself and Adam and other being in the spiritual realm, and the descendants of her original form would be spiritual humans. She was raped by the seven rulers, and thus gave birth to a brood of physical humans. Lastly, there are the offspring of the children her human likeness birthed with Adam. These last are the earthly humans. The Phoenix, in its cycle of life, death, and rebirth, encompasses the essence of all three of these. In fact, “On the Origin of the World” even comments that Eve’s rape (as sad and gross as this may seem) was part of a larger plan, as was the will of the “one God”:
All this happened in accordance with the chief creator’s forethought, so that the first mother might bear within herself every seed, every one mixed and joined with the fate of the world and its configurations, and justice.
Well… as an “image of justice,” the Phoenix would be the one creature in all of existence that matches Eve’s essence at this level. It is an icon of justice, and is endowed with the creative spirit of all three types of humans in creation. The ashes of a Phoenix that does not rise, one could assume, would be like kryptonite to a being like the Eve of Supernatural, who is the embodiment of unbridled and unchecked life. Whereas as Eve represents life without boundaries, a Phoenix represents death without end.
The hard part, of course, was getting the ashes into Eve. Luckily, Dean found a way around that by drinking them and going guinea pig on his own ass to become a Trojan horse of phoenix-ashy goodness.
“Bite me,” he said (and a collective squeal was heard ‘round the world)… and that was all she wrote.
In closing, I think it’s important to mention a few things. Like the Lilith of myth, examined in the first volume of The Mythology of Supernatural, Eve has experienced a similar fall. The power of the feminine, it seems, is often undermined by those who feel they must possess and control it. The Christian church did its best to wipe texts like “On the Origin of the World” from the library of human knowledge, just as many ancient male-dominated cultures tried to destroy any record of Lilith. One has to wonder how different the world might be if Christianity had gone with this version of creation, with Eve as our mother and the “one God” as her divine creator… and outing the jerky, wrathful, wannabe god of the Old Testament as really just a lying ass-butt throwing a temper tantrum.
I’m not trying to tell you that “On the Origin of the World” should be viewed as literal fact (any more than I would of any myth).
As I told you from the beginning… I’m just the messenger. Only you can choose what you believe.