Revised: October 2019
Genesis 2:8 ויטע יהוה אלהים גן בעדן מקדם וישם שם את האדם אשר יצר׃
English: “Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed.”
Commentary: In the Hebrew sentence above, Eden is highlighted in red. With vowel points it appears in the Old Testament thus, עְדֶן (ee-den) as in ‘beet’. However, there is another word along side Eden in standard Hebrew dictionaries with differing vowel points. It is spelled out with the same letters, but appears as עִדָן (ah-den) and it means 'time'. “And there he put the man he had formed.” Keep in mind that when the verse was originally scripted there were no spaces between words and no vowel points to articulate their sounds. So which did the original author(s) imply, some physical place-name? Or was he suggesting another dimension where time is irrelevant, as in eternity?
I am suggesting that ‘eternity’ was not in the minds of early religious or secular translators. They likely concluded, I surmise, that a physical location must be the only alternative, while the original scribe implied otherwise, albeit secretly. Subsequently, the interpreters and translators set up the notion that Eden had to be a physical location somewhere. This declaration, repeated often by religious authorities through the centuries, became the popular opinion which remains to this day.
The Lord God translated from the Hebrew above is actually spelled Jehovah Elohim, יהוה אלהים, IHVH ALHIM, in the verse. This is the plural form, but is usually translated in the singular ‘He’, ‘God’ or ‘Lord God’. But, this is intricate Qabalah unknown to those interpreters and translators, I believe. Jehovah is one of the Hebrew God names assigned the second sphere, Wisdom, on the Qabalistic Tree of Life.1 The Tree of Life is an ancient schematic indispensable for the study on all levels of Qabalah. Elohim is another name of the same One God for the third sphere, Understanding. Elohim are the Creator’s creative powers of specialization. Many Old Testament translators wanted to preserve the idea of the 'singleness' of God. However, the two names Jehovah Elohim, combined in verse 8, spell out a plural 'creators' of which the ancient Qabalists who scribed all this were well aware.
The different spellings for God had puzzled the early Scripture analysts back then as they do today. Unbeknownst to Christian interpreters, however, the altered forms had specific intent, the nature of which is hinted within the numbers behind the names. 'Wisdom', that second sphere, symbolically represents the masculine, creative aspect of The One God, while 'Understanding' is indicative of the feminine, formative mode of the same One God. These two ideas, or modes of the All Consciousness, worked in tandem here and as recorded in Genesis 1:26: “Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, in our likeness’.” So much more esoteric information is sequestered within these two names for ‘God’ appointed to the Tree of Life.
Yet here is another puzzle. In the above verse, 2:8, the Hebrew Jehovah Elohim is simply translated ‘Lord God’. And גן בעדן above is literally ‘garden in Eden’. Elsewhere, in Genesis 3:24, גן עדן is ‘garden of Eden’; while in Genesis 13:10, גן יהוה is literally ‘garden of Jehovah’ (but translated as ‘Lord’). These three chapters of Genesis were supposed to have been scribed by the same Moses. Then, in Ezekiel 28:13 we find גן אלהים, literally ‘garden of Elohim’ (translated as ‘God’).
So, in the Hebrew original we end up with a ‘garden in Eden’, then a ‘garden of Eden’, with a ‘garden of Jehovah’, and a ‘garden of Elohim’. Splitting hairs here, you think? However, the Hebrew of all these variations were specific because each implied a different subtlety due to the hidden numeration behind the letters. To point out each subtlety here would take pages explaining very intricate Qabalah and overwhelm the reader. But none of the phrases had anything to do with an actual physical garden. All this was missed, or dismissed, by early interpreters because, I believe, they were totally unaware or prejudiced against Qabalah and its hidden mysteries. Or, just maybe, western consciousness was not yet suited or able with erudition for such arcana back then.
Put in 'time' or ‘eternity’ (the substitution for Eden here) in the above verse is 'the man', האדם, ha-adam, singular. The supposition is that the 'one man' is the Qabalistic, Archetypal Adam Qadmon, the Grand One Ego and True Son of God within all humanity, of which each of us is a part. And, as recorded in Genesis 2:7 s/he was created prior the garden. Adam Qadmon is a different dimension of consciousness. S/he is not humanoid in a physical world. To create a physical world, however, or any other imagined illusion, these Genesis verses begin to outline how it is done. This can be discovered by unraveling the secrets behind the cryptic writings. The ability to find and to apply the sequestered secrets in our daily lives with the ultimate objective of Union with His Consciousness within, is a major portion of the Magnum Opus. Incidentally, Magnum Opus by Latin Cabala Simplex sums to 124, as does עדן, Eden.
It is here that another, little known Qabalistic tool must be introduced for a thorough explanation of “a garden in the east, in Eden.” Some modern authors, in defense of the idea of an actual physical location for the garden, proclaim that the early books of the Bible must have been written in Jerusalem. And since the Tigris and Euphrates rivers are within the present country of Iraq, it was concluded, perhaps, that the early authors were writing about a location east of that ancient Jerusalem settlement and far beyond the Dead Sea. Truth be told it is not known for certain when or where exactly the first scrolls that were to become the Bible were written. The supposition here is that the ancient sages had a different 'east' in mind, not of this physical world, regarding the creation saga.
The Qabalistic construct is briefly described in the New Testament as the New Jerusalem:
“The plan of the city is perfectly square, its length the same as its breadth. He measured the city with his rod and it was twelve thousand furlongs in length and in breadth, and equal in height.” - Revelation 21:16.
A perfect cube. This most arcane tool was introduced even earlier than Biblical writings in the Sepher Yetzirah (Book of Formation), allegedly attributed to the patriarch Abraham from an oral tradition. However, the source, dates, and authorship of the early written manuscript, like the Bible scrolls, has been subjected to rancorous debate. Regardless its source and authors the ancient erudite scholars knew then as they know now of the intricacies of the Qabalistic 'Cube of Space'. The various assignations to the Cube (Hebrew letters to the faces and edges, directions, astrological planets, zodiacal signs, months of the year) are all attributed to the Sepher Yetzirah. If you are a beginner with all this you might want to spend some time to familiarize yourself with this Cube of Space. It will be referenced frequently. Two views of the Cube of Space can be found on this site in Appendix B (Go to the bottom of this page and click 'Back to Index', then click on Appendix B). Various views of the Cube of Space can be found on the Internet. In the course of your studies make the effort to eventually memorize all the attributions to the Cube, if you are serious.
“Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden,” we are instructed. The Hebrew word 'garden' in Genesis 2:8 above is גן, gan. By gematria its letters sum to 53, that of אבן, eben, meaning 'stone'. And this little bit of gematria, for the Literal Qabalist at least, at once offers a very auspicious beginning hint toward one core element in this supposition. However, to jump in at this point gathering associated ideas behind the words 'garden' and 'stone' would require a leap in faith that later will be found unnecessary after the assumption is fully explained in detail with the analysis of 'stone'. Bear with me a bit. The suggestion here is merely to keep in mind that, because of its equal numeration, it is a Qabalistic hidden hint that the ‘garden’ and the ‘stone’ are one; and a certain 'foundation stone' lay dormant in the center of our 'garden'.
Moreover, at the center of the word עדן, Eden, is the Hebrew letter ד, Daleth. Letter Daleth is assigned the 14th Path on the Tree of Life. All letters of the Hebrew alphabet are assigned a path on this Qabalistic Tree. In the Sepher Yetzirah the 14th path is named שכל מזהיר, Saykel Mazhiyr, the 'Luminous Intelligence'.2 The path begins in Chokmah (Sphere 2, Wisdom), named שכל מאיר, Saykel Mair, the 'Illuminating Intelligence,' and terminates in sphere Binah (Sphere 3, Understanding). These are the same two spheres with the God names Jehovah and Elohim again.. A subtlety, the difference between 'luminous' and 'illuminating', but an important one. Chokmah is the root source of Light, and given the active verb form, while Daleth is the vehicle, an instrument of passive luminosity, and therefore the adjective. These two modes, as with all ten spheres and twenty-two connecting paths on the Tree, are the myriad differing aspects of only One Identity, One Deity. There is but one Creator-God in the entire Universe. This does not matter the thousands of names given The One God throughout the world over millennia.
On the Cube of Space diagrams in Appendix B, the Hebrew letter Daleth is assigned to the East face, from the view at the Center Point of the Cube. One method (there are many) by which a Qabalist uses the Cube of Space in meditation is by imagining it positioned around the head. The face of the cube in front of one's eyes is dedicated West. This places letter Daleth at the back of one's head, or East on the cube.
There are numerous other assignations to the faces and edges of the Qabalistic Cube. Among these are: Tarot Keys, alchemical elements, astrological signs and planets (these are other disciplines intimately related to Qabalah), and the Twelve Tribes of Israel. Besides Hebrew letter Daleth, assigned to the East face there is the Empress Tarot Key, planet Venus and alchemical copper. The ancient sages equated Venus with imagination, creativity, fecundity, and desire among other attributes. Pictured in the Empress Tarot Key is a woman, i.e. subconsciousness.3 The Tarot design is an expansion of the woman described in Revelation 12:1 (a pregnant woman, the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars). The Empress sits in an effulgent garden in front of ten trees and a waterfall. The psychological sciences do not yet understand either exactly how human imagination works or exactly from where in the human brain it is sourced. Greek and Roman mythology teaches us that Venus was born out from the foam of the eastern sea shore of Cyprus. Qabalah and similar arcane teachings suggest imagination begins at the lower back of the brain, the east portion, in the medulla oblongata. This organ is considered the root of the sight center and also serves several other automatic functions of the subconscious. Anterior to the cerebellum, it is located in the brain stem, which is the oldest part of the brain. As we evolved through the primitive stages the brain expanded outward from that organ.
Stationed East-Below on that Cube of Space is the Chariot Tarot Key. Its design illustrates the Christ Consciousness, Adam Qadmon, permeated within a Cube where “he put the man he had formed.” This edge of the Cube, East-Below, conjoins the powers of subconsciousness, the High Priestess (Below, the bottom of the Cube), with that of desirous imagination, the Empress (assigned the East face or side). It is interesting to note that the number of the Chariot Tarot Key is 7, that of the seventh sphere, Netzach, the Sphere of Venus. Netzach is considered the Seat of the Desire Nature, according to Qabalists. Now if we begin to assemble all the imagery suggested from the above hints up to this point a larger tapestry might appear, coming into focus. Yet there are even more hints and imagery to be mined from investigating letter Daleth, Venus, the Cube and Eden.
Gematria and Temurah:
Some gematria might now be introduced. Within Eden, עדן, resides the number 124 [and 774, if the letter Nun (נ) is used in its 'final form' (ן) with value 700]. This I will rarely do with any final forms, however, in that there are fewer related associations available with the higher numbers. But a persevering Qabalist could and would use both if the intent were sober scholarship. Two phrases come to mind with the number value of Eden: Magnum Opus, the 'Great Work', introduced earlier with creating illusion; and liquor amnii, 'flowing rivers'. These each sum to 124 by Latin Cabala Simplex. With the exchange of letters in Eden using temurah as a tool, letters ז ק ט surface, summing to 116. The Hebrew יונים, yonim, 'doves', and the Latin, commutatio, 'transformation'. Each sums to 116.
At the heart of the word Eden, עדן, is letter Daleth (ד). In itself it means 'door,' and its letter value is 4. If letter Daleth is spelled out 'in fullness' as דלת, D L Th, the new number 434 appears on the radar. This calls up two phrases of equal value: טל השמים, tel ha-shmaim, 'Dew of Heaven,' from Genesis 27:28 (very similar to the metaphorical “foam of the sea”), and את אביך, eth abik, 'Thy Father,' from Genesis 50:5. Finally with the temurah of D L Th, after exchanging letters to Q, K and A, the additional number 121 surfaces. Three new phrases in the Latin Cabala Simplex come into relevance: fumus albus, 'white smoke'; elixir vitae, 'elixir of life'; and Montem Sion, 'Mount Zion' round out some of the secret Qabalistic mysteries within Genesis 2:8.
This is a lot of gematria to be thrown out to you all at once. I understand. Maybe an aspiring Qabalist would perhaps have at his disposal sufficient ideas and imagery to formulate an hypothesis as to where this might be leading. To many of us 'green apples', however, more detail needs flushing out as to what all this portends. Agreed. This is exactly what is coming, a whole lot more detail. Additional foundation work is required upon which a firm structure would stand. The relevancy of the gematria and temurah suggested above will be fully explained further on within verse 2:10 of Genesis where I hope it all will become more logical. I must thank you for your patience thus far.
It took all this entire section of type in an attempt to explain just a few words and letters in verse 2:8 of Genesis. However, a determined Literal Qabalist would explore each and every letter in detail, and each separate word formed by those letters. This supposition also proposes to demonstrate how Literal Qabalah is executed while creating a tapestry of practical import of the fruits gained by such practice.
If you are a bit familiar with all the elements pointed out through the above descriptions, you might get a grasp. It might even excite you. If you are yet a beginning novice to Qabalah, this might seem a handful; even too much to bother. Do you actually want Light in your life? Do you actually want to learn what you are, and exactly who you are? Then you must study and work at it. Or, do you want to be great at something else in this world? An Engineer, a Chemist, a Surgeon, Computer Wiz? Then you must also study and work for that. The hidden science of Qabalah is not a hobby, not something to do for casual amusement on the side. It is not a computer game. It is for the ardent soul searching its roots, and a desire to return to that root; a desire far, far greater than squandering our lives under the dictates of a separative ego.
1 In Qabalistic Cosmogony there are four worlds represented by four Trees of Life. The innermost, the World of Atziluth, is assigned the God names. Jehovah (IHVH) assigned to the 2nd Sphere, Wisdom (Chokmah). The God name Elohim (ALHIM) is assigned to the 3rd Sphere in Atziluth, Understanding (Binah). All the Spheres on all four Trees have hierarchical Celestial Intelligences assigned to them by varying degrees. For one list see Mathers, S.L. MacGregor - The Kabbalah Unveiled. New York: Samuel Weiser, 1974 ed.
2 The names given to the paths on the Tree of Life are not actually within Sepher Yetzirah, but commonly attached to that book under a separate manuscript titled, The 32 Paths of Wisdom. The style of this treatise is considered later than Sepher Yetzirah, and its author is unknown. And some points differ between several versions extant.
3 Female goddesses personified aspects of today's psychological definition of 'automatic consciousness' or the subconscious, while the male gods personified aspects of modern self-consciousness. Winged and androgynous entities and such were various modes personifying the super-conscious within us.