Then Who or What is Eve?
Revised: February 2020
At first there was no ‘Eve’. After the archetypal Yetziratic Eden World was formed, we read in Genesis 2:22: “And the Lord God made the rib which He had taken from the man into a woman and brought (her) to him.” A ‘woman’, אשה, ashah. The male and female created in oneness from Genesis 1:27 are now separated in Genesis 2:22. The key Hebrew word in this verse is צלע, tzela, ‘rib’, the number of which is 190 (a very relevant connection with Eve, below). And the entire verse 2.22 is purely allegorical to present very complex and intricate Qabalistic cosmology. They are not yet in a physical world.
First there was only the Creator. One and only One; Kether in another way of seeing. Then, created in His image and likeness (a thought from the Creator of Itself) is the Son, Adam Qadmon; Chokmah in another way of seeing. One becomes Two, forming the Greek Duad. In his Mysteries of Magic Eliphas Levi wrote:
“The triad issues of itself from the duad; the movement which produces two begets three. Three is the key of numbers, for it is the first numeral synthesis; it is the triangle of geometry, the first complete and enclosed figure, the generator of an infinite number of similar or dissimilar triangles.”
What Levi is referring to is the fact that in pondering 2, numberals 0 and 1 are in the background. 2 becomes the third numerical idea. It follows then that the sum of 0 + 1 + 2 becomes 3. The Theosophical Extension of 2 is 3. Qabalists tell us that 3 is illustrated on the Tree of Life as Binah. Binah issues forth from the second Sephirah, Chokmah, which is also called the Father, אב, AB, whose letters sum to 3.
In the allegorical presentation of this, the 'rib' comes out from the man (masculine, father) to form woman (feminine, mother). In other words Understanding (Binah) was within the Wisdom (Chokmah), as the woman was within the man in the Biblical narrative. All this is the exact equivalent of the ancient versions of creation where Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom, art and craft, trade, warfare, poetry, weaving, commerce (in other words, everything), burst forth from the head (mind) of her Father, Jupiter, while in the Greek version it was Athena who came out of the mind of her Father, Zeus.
The number 2, Chokmah, Jupiter, Zeus and ‘the man’ in the Bible all possessed the latent potency within themselves to become 3, Binah, Minerva, Athena and ‘the woman’ in Eden in the World of Yetzirah. So now, Qabalistically speaking, we have Kether, Chokmah and Binah.
The Dictionary of Targumim, Talmud and Midrashic Literature says this about צלע, tzela, the 'rib': “As long as he was Adam, he was one (harmonious in himself), but when the rib was taken from him, he was to know (the conflict between) ‘good and evil.’” Now with ‘Eve’ we have a very interesting round of Qabalistic ideas, none of which reveal ‘Eve’ to be any actual person. She and the narration around her, with ‘the man’, represent the advent of The Fall.
We first read of the woman receiving the name ‘Eve’ in Genesis 3:20, where Eve is spelled חוה, chavah, or havah, in all Hebrew versions of the story. The name holds number value 19. As a noun chavah translates as ‘life-giver’, but also ‘farm, ranch or grange’ (this suggests ‘nature’); and as a verb, cheevah, means ‘to live, to experience, to show forth, to manifest.’
Qabalistically, moreover, the name, the spelling and the numbers associated with חוה, chavah, tell a deliberate but surprisingly different story from the ‘authorized’ versions and involve some very profound gematria. We begin with chavah totaling 19 from its Hebrew letters. A noun summing to 19 is אויב, oyev, and it means ‘adversary, opponent.’ This word, in turn, is from the root אוה, ivah, meaning ‘to desire, to want.’
This suggests that the ‘woman’, out from ‘man’, and named chavah (Eve) by that very ‘man’ is an aspect from within himself that is at once his own ‘adversary’ and ‘opponent’ with inherent ‘desire’ and ‘wanting’.
Number 19 is also especially interesting in this case. Another tool Literal Qabalists use to investigate some words with scant leads is Theosophical Extension. This is done by taking the base number of the word, in this case 19, and adding up all the integer values from 1 to the object number, as 1+2+3+4...etc. The summation of all the numbers from 1 to the object number 19 comes to 190. Number 190 represents the full manifestation of the power behind the name chavah.
This is where it gets interesting. Well, to a Literal Qabalist at least, because 190 is also the number of צלע, tzela, ‘rib,’ from Genesis 2:22. That’s right, the man’s rib. The word comes from the root צל, tzel, ‘shadow, shade,’ similar to the Greek Zoe for ‘spirit’.
Mr. Paul F. Case, quite the accomplished Qabalist, lists chavah, Eve, under number 19 in his personal gematria notebook:
“ChVH Chavah. Eve (Life), “Mother of all Living”. Also: ‘to be, exist, live, to say, relate, make manifest, to bend... a village, one of the names of Quicksilver’... ‘to show or declare’. Mother Eve personifies what Hindus philosophy calls Prakriti, and what the Egyptians worshiped as mother Isis. She is nature, the alchemical woman, and the alchemical moon, or silver.”
An interesting phrase, ‘mother of all living’, and exactly as it appears in all the Hebrew versions of the Old Testament: אם כל חי, am kol chi, ‘mother of all living’. This Hebrew phrase sums to 109 by gematria. It equals a Latin term used by Artephias alluding to the womb or belly of the Divine Feminine with Vas Naturae, the ‘Vase of Nature’.
In the Greek Septuagint (began in the 3rd Century, BC) ‘the man’s’ wife is spelled two ways. In Genesis 3:20 the man names his wife Ζωή, Zoh, or ‘Zoe.’ That word means ‘life, living being, spirit.’ Remember the root of the word rib above? Then in Genesis 4:1 she is spelled out as Ευαν, Euav, ‘Eve.’ No explanation for the two variant spellings. Like in the Hebrew versions the Septuagint corroborates, with: ‘μητερα ολων των ζωντανων’, mitera olon ton zontanon, ‘mother of all living’.
Ευάν, Eve, holds letter value of 456 in Greek. This is significant and sheds light on the first spelling, Ζωή, Zoe. Equal to 456 is פרצוף, par’tzuf, meaning ‘face.’ However, this intricate Qabalah term implies a ‘face’ or ‘spirit’ that is, invisible, like the Greek Zoe. Par’tzuf refers to the various ‘faces’ of the Creator through the evolutionary process. Also at 456 is אני נשמה, ani nashamah, ‘I am, the Soul’. As one ‘face’ the Creator is ‘she’, the World Soul seated in Binah; as another ‘face’ the Creator is ‘she’, the Vital Soul in Yesod, which we all share with the kingdoms below mankind. What both imply is the human collective sub-conscious, the invisible face of each of us, the other, hidden half of us. So what theoretic conclusion can we draw from all these Qabalisms above? The personification of self-consciousness (the man) divides himself to create the personification of his own subconscious self.
We humans are inherently dual by nature; a self-conscious and subconscious creature, from the beginning. The later philosophers who wrote of this condition within us in their alchemical manuscripts called the condition Rebis, ‘two-thing’. I believe the Jewish writers of the Greek Septuagint were well aware of this. Had they the vocabulary of the social sciences we have today, they might have written ‘sub-conscious,’ but they and the other authors of esoterica through those periods had not, so they could only allude to that other half of us by words they did have.
There is another connection between the spelling for Eve in Hebrew and in Greek due to 456 being also the number of the Greek μήτήρ, miter, ‘mother’. The ‘Mother’ in Qabalah is Binah, she is also the Bride and the Kingdom, Malkuth. The Theosophical Extension of any number presupposes the existence of every number (including the philosophical and spiritual meaning behind every number) preceding it. So what we have in Eve, suggested behind the name in Hebrew and in Greek, is the complete creative and evolutionary process of the entire Universe summed up Qabalistically as Kether, Chokmah and Binah.
Now, in Genesis 3:20 of the Latin Vulgate (written in 16th Century) Adam names his wife Hava. By Latin Cabala Simplex Hava sums to 29, the number equal to each, via, ‘way,’ and magia, ‘magic.’ Magia itself is rooted and related to the Sanskrit word Maya, ‘illusion.’ This idea of ‘a road’ and related ideas from all the above suggest that sub-consciousness is the ‘route within’ each of us must travel toward the super-conscious as she is also the progenitor of all that is without.1 And, once again, the Latin Vulgate of Genesis 3:20 reads: “quod mater esset cunctorum viventium”, “...because she was the mother of all the living.”
1 Critics skeptical of Qabalah and all its tenets might argue here by pointing out that Latin, as a spoken and written language, evolved long after those Mid-Eastern dialects when the Pentateuch and similar ancient texts were ascribed. So how can one compare any gematria from early Hebrew with the relatively newer Greek Qabalah and the Latin Cabala Simplex? The answer to this is that the later sages who wrote in Greek, then Latin, were well aware of the coded messages within the earlier Hebrew writings. When explaining ancient messages in modern tongues those same philosophers chose words and expressions with a numerical value to match the earlier alphabets. It was not as if the Hebrew scribes anticipated other, future languages, but just the opposite. The later scribes conformed their writings to carry over the earlier, hidden messages. That is what evolved the Greek Qabalah and the Latin Cabala Simplex. This was done to pass on arcane teachings to those schooled in the discipline. It is perfectly legitimate to compare the hidden alliances by using all that is available to us today, thanks to all those philosophers through the ages.