Revised: October 2019
Genesis 2:10 ונהר יצא מעדן להשקות את הגו ומשם יפרד והיה לארבעה ראשים׃
English: “A river watering the garden flowed from Eden, and from there it divided; it had four headstreams (sic).
– The Interlinear NIV
“Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden and from there it parted and became four headwaters.” – Interlinear Bible (Bible Hub, Internet)
Commentary: This is another awkward point and bit of contention among followers of Bibles in literal English or other modern language translations. First, a nameless water course originates from Eden and flows into the Garden, then separates from there to source four other rivers simultaneously. Secondly, the author specifically names those four rivers in verse 2:11, fleshes them out with some detail, yet never bothers to name the principal source river. Curious. But, intent upon proving the whereabouts of this physical garden, explorers and archaeologists continue seeking the “headstreams” (sic) of these four subsequent rivers. Some religious and secular archaeologists claim they have discovered two ancient, dried up river beds here and there, but have failed to make them meet at the point where they were supposed to have divided, in the Garden. Other explorers argue that nowhere on Earth is there one river that separates itself four ways from one point, now or in the past; delta regions being exceptions. Most admit, however, that a ‘delta’ explanation just doesn't fit the Biblical saga. That being dismissed, others speculate further with reversing the course of all the rivers from that described in the Bible verse. Then, these four rivers would come to a converging 'head' point, somewhere, to continue flowing through the garden, back into Eden! There seems to be no end with attempts to prove that ‘the Garden’ must have been an actual physical place. It is like watching a child attempting to bang several square pegs into a round hole.
The first word, tinted red, in the above verse is ונהר, ve-nahar, ‘and a river’; no name, just ‘river’ or ‘stream’. To lend possible credence to this ‘river’ being actual, some translators have given it a name, River Nahar. But the word ‘nahar’ in any Hebrew dictionary you can find just defines it as ‘river or stream’. In English it would be equivalent to naming it River River, as opposed for example River Nile or River Jordan. As a verb, however, nahar means ‘to flow, to sparkle, to shine’. This would wake up a Literal Qabalist because, Qabalistically speaking, a ‘sparkling, shining, flowing river’ would bring to mind the Limitless Light, Ain Suph Aur. The next two words יצא מעדן, yose me eden, literally means ‘out from (or ‘flows out from’) Eden’, and so the two English translations above are not too far off the mark per se. The Literal Qabalist, however, ‘sees’ behind the transliterated words, and what he perceives is: “A river (shining Ain Suph Aur) out from Eternity...” The difference being that the original author was describing the formation of a Garden in Yetzirah, while transliterations from religious and secular sources were/are attempting to describe a Garden in Assiah, the physical world.
This is followed by להשקות את- הגו, le hasqowt et- ha gan, ‘to water (or, watering) the garden’. In philosophical arcane or occult literature ‘garden, valley, meadow’ and such related terms were metaphors for today’s psychological definition of the subconscious. Qabalistically speaking, “to water the garden” in Genesis, Chapter 10, is to fertilize the Universal Subconscious (Binah on the Tree) with the Life-force from Chokmah, creating AIMA (the formative fertile Mother) out of AMA (the Dark, Sterile Chaos). The universe is mental. The Universal Subconscious Mind substance is THE ‘formative’ power of creation, as your and my subconscious mind is the formative power of our self-conscious personality life. Qabalistically this ‘formative’ power is called Yetzirah. Indeed, Sepher Yetzirah, the Book of Formation, is actually an arcane text on the formative archetype of physical creation. Sepher Yetzirah is the root reference for what the Book of Genesis is actually describing in parallel here with the Garden of Eden allegory.
Described next is that ‘the water (Ain Suph Aur) parted there (at some point in the Infinite Universal Subconscious Mind space) and became לארבעה ראשים, le-ar-ba-ah ra-sim, ‘four heads’. This is NOT ‘four headwaters’ or ‘head-streams’; just 'four heads'. There is no water reference in ראשים, ra sim, ‘heads’ or ‘countenances, intelligences’. Since the translators initially assumed all this was an actual description of events in a physical world, it would naturally follow that this ‘water’ simply parted as actual head-waters of four new rivers.
The ‘water’ is NOT physical H2O, and these “four heads” are out from Ain Suph Aur. They are symbolically expressed as ‘elements’ or sub-modes of the Prima Materia; fire, water, air and earth. In this phrase of the verse, לארבעה ראשים, le ar-ba-ah ra-sim, ‘to (or into) four heads’ sums to 858 by gematria. This equals נשמת חיים, Neshamoth Chaim, ‘Breath of Life’ as translated in Genesis 2:7, but literally as ‘Breaths of Lives’. This gematria hints that the Living Life-force and Life-breath from Ain Suph Aur was poured into Its Own elements prior any manifestation whatsoever.
Throughout Southeast Asia and India we come across ancient stone-carved ‘heads’ with four faces. They are ubiquitous within the temple complexes of Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom and Bayon in Cambodia, and others have even been excavated from ancient Greece. Like with the Garden of Eden explanations of these four-faced heads from mainstream and religious sources are all over the board; no agreement from any two sources. The Qabalistic explanation makes the most sense.
In the previous verses it was promised that here, under the analysis of verse 2:10, much of the gematria and temurah used in those verses would be expanded upon. For this to be effective for you the image of the Cube of Space must be recalled. At the 'back' of the Cube remember, in the East, is posited letter Daleth, the Empress Tarot Key, and planet Venus, all from time immemorial have been equated in one form or another with imagination, creativity, fecundity, desire, and of course Love. The detailed symbolism within the Tarot design bears this out. Relevant to this verse above (2:10) is the waterfall behind the Empress. This river 'water' is not the physical H2O. It is symbolic of the eternal, unfathomable ocean of liquid Light Substance Qabalists recognize as אין סוף אור, Ain Suph Aur, simply translated as 'Limitless Light' and most commonly by ‘water’ in alchemical literature.
With the discussion of gematria and Daleth (דלת) at 434 in the previous verses, the phrases 'Dew of Heaven' and 'Essence of Thy Father' were mentioned and are partly descriptive of the Universal Mind matter in that it appears like billowing clouds of a moist type substance that “does not wet the hands,” as one sage alchemist put it. And, as a “dew, but not like the dew we see, but like a heavenly thing,” says another. Truly is it the “Essence of Thy Father,” the very metaphysical stuff of the Universal Mind, the Mind of Our Creator, Our Father. “The Universe is mental,” we read and hear often, but do not imagine It as a mind working in any way like our feeble cognition. “White smoke,” and “the elixir of life,” also introduced previously, are other attempts to convey its roiling, liquid vitality, and sparkling-like whiteness from within its own scintillating super intelligence. This is truly the Mental Matter of a Supreme Consciousness. Many alchemists have simply named it 'our water,' and 'our Venus'. This is a real 'stuff'. To those who have witnessed it not one is deceived by others' attempts at description. To those who have not, it is an absurd, child-like dream thing, the stuff of wild imagination or drug-induced flashbacks; in no way convincing. Yet we humans unknowingly control the very substance by which our reality is fabricated, even if the dreamer is insane.
One profound secret surrounding this elusive divine essence is that it is intrinsically magnetized to matrices created by sub-conscious imagination. This is key. Images coming from, that is through the sub-conscious, are of super-conscious origin. This was and is done by the Creator Itself, perpetually. The same Blessed, Magical, Universal Sub-conscious Mind Matter, by universal law, must adhere to any matrix formed by the free will imagery of the Christ Consciousness, the Son of God. And we do this now even from our level in our own lives as Sons of God, albeit extremely immaturely, and unfortunately, usually devoid any love.
The fact that our imagery does not manifest itself in accordance with our original ideal intent, or creates results as the blow-back hellishness we find ourselves in, is due to our degree of separation from the Higher Self, the Christ Consciousness within us. Our “personal” level of the sub-conscious is fraught with dross. It is filled with ignorant habit patterns, delusions, and misconceptions surrounding our position and purpose in the universe. The more adamantly we identify our separate, bloated egos with the idiot named, numbered, and photographed on our passports and various IDs, the farther are we from that Christ Center. And, subsequently, the more do we suffer the repercussions spawned from our selfish stupidity. The errors are automatically built into our deluded and selfish imagery. This sub-conscious, deductive level of our personality complex must be cleansed and purified of these gross errors. The study of Qabalah, Spiritual Alchemy, or any other genuine spiritual discipline from East or West slowly yet eventually effects the cleansing. This brings us back out of 'time' and forward into that Central Garden of Eden and reunion with the King within us, our divine heritage, our birthright.
Between spheres #2, Chokmah (Wisdom) and #3, Binah (Understanding) on the Qabalistic Tree of Life is the connecting 14th path attributed to the Empress and letter Daleth (Imagination). This 'Luminous' mode, Daleth, of the Supreme Intelligence in the World of Atziluth summons and monitors the Limitless Ocean of Living Light, Ain Suph Aur, by the activity of the 'Illuminating' mode of Itself within Chokmah. The 'Sanctifying' mode of Itself within Binah is where the Light Substance is coalesced and condensed in conformance with the Divine Imagery formed by Its own connecting mode symbolized by Daleth. It manifests a physical universe. This was presented above with AMA being changed into AIMA. Everywhere, truly, is Holy Ground made of One Light Substance. Genesis 2:8 through 2:14 describes by means of symbolism, allegory, numbers and letters, how this is done. But to describe it accurately with typed words on paper is well nigh impossible.
However, this is merely another one of such attempts. An initial point is chosen within unlimited space by the Universal Mind. Then, a vast whirling motion of invisible, Spiritual Liquid Light (dark sentience, dark energy, dark matter, in an amalgam of One Substance) slowly gathers about a Divine Image at that central and pivotal point in boundless space. Symbolism within the Cube of Space illustrates three coordinates: Aleph (sentience), Shin (energy), and Mem (matter) about a Central Point, symbolized by Hebrew letter Tav (ת). Out of Eden, the eternal source from 'nowhere' (the second veil of the Absolute, Ain Suph), a river of Prima Materia flows 'westward' from the East of Eden (behind Venus in the Empress Tarot Key by picture symbol) toward the Center. At the Center Point of the Cube the 'source river' divides itself into ‘four heads’, symbolically illustrated by the Four Heads in the corners of the World Tarot Key.
Now, continuing forward, 'outward' and away from that Center is the symbolic West, Jupiter, and letter Kaph (כ) (the Wheel of Fortune Tarot Key by picture symbol). Here again the ‘four heads’ are illustrated as Taurus, fixed earth and cohesion; Leo, fixed fire and expansion; Scorpio, fixed water and contraction; and Aquarius, fixed air and locomotion. The whirling Divine Amalgam coalesces conically into tighter and tighter compaction forming a funnel, tornado-like, and almost tubular for a time, creating all the chemical elements known by the hard sciences through permutations of twenty-five symbolic tattvas.1 The Matter then bursts outward into our physical space from virtually nowhere, from the point of a black hole, a symbolic door of sorts, to form the center of a physical galaxy.
Some astrophysicists speculate that, theoretically, at the center of a galaxy resides a black hole. These 'holes' at the center of galaxies push outward from nowhere rather than pull inward, as magnetic black holes do. Galaxies are formed from that center, birthing stars outward rather than pulling them inward and absorbing and destroying them. It would seem logical in a sense that if there are magnetic 'black holes' absorbing and destroying matter on an intake, that the substance so absorbed would of necessity go somewhere and 'pop out' some elsewhere, perhaps as a new galaxy. The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that matter can neither be created nor destroyed, merely changed. Many individuals who have experienced a protracted NDE narrate upon their return of passing through a 'tunnel' and seeing an inexpressible light at its end. Between this world and the invisible ocean of Ain Suph Aur is the whirling, rotating and compacting stage of its own physical manifestation. The undifferentiated fourth dimensional Liquid Light is the essence of all physical matter, while the actual physical universe, composed of that Light, is the body of God incarnate.
Then consider this quotation that Paul F. Case received from a correspondent in 1918: "The door, Daleth, is the vehicle of the tetrad, for it is the Great Womb also."2 The 'tetrad' in this case being the 'four heads' of the four elements.
By the same method, the Lord of the Universe, through us, creates all we see in our physical world, Malkuth of Assiah. Genesis 2:10 again shows us how it may be done. At the back of the Cube and at the back of our brain is the 'door', 'our Venus'. Behind her is the Universal Liquid Light at its Source, in Eden. We monitor that source-flow through our perfected imagery. The First Matter, Ain Soph Aur, begins to gather about the matrix. An Adept, Master, or a Christ Incarnate in any other form may manifest imagery instantaneously by virtue of his/her alignment with the Central Christ Consciousness. We, however, due to our estrangement from that source manifest our imagery over years and decades; or never, maybe, due to our complete ignorance. To be a Qabalist is to be receptive. Keep in mind that the word Qabalah, קבלה, QBLH, begins with the letter Qoph (ק) meaning “back of the head,” the root source of imagery. Among the attributes assigned to letter Daleth, Venus and the Luminous Intelligence is “Wisdom and Folly.” Depending upon the degree of our personal cognizance of universal laws and Love, and reception, our images eventually manifest as either/or.
1 Tattva is from the Sanskrit, Tat tvam asi, literally ‘that thou art.’ It is a sacred formula of the Vedas denoting the identity of the individual self and the Supreme Self. The 5 Tattvas: Akasha, Vayu, Tejas, Apas, and Prithivi form 25 permutations with each other as: Spirit of Spirit, Spirit of Air, Spirit of Fire, Spirit of Water, Spirit of Earth; Air of Spirit, Air of Air, Air of Fire, Air of Water, Air of Earth, etc. through the rest of the elements.
2 Dr. Paul Foster Case, The Tarot, A Key to the Wisdom of the Ages. New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher, Penguin, 2006 ed., pg. 136