Primeval Garden

Yesterday I spent some time after work planting in my garden. Transplanting, to be true. It was a good time. Ostara saw fit to blow in some thick, fat clouds well and ready to give birth to thunder and rain, rain, rain. It was a quick and savage shower, with rain coming so fast it hurt a dite on unchecked skin. The violence of the rain pummeled a few of the lemon balm saplings I’d been hardening off. Hardening off, for non-gardners, is when you take an indoor starter (seedling grown inside) or a transplant from out of zone (temperate growing area) and expose them in controlled windows to their future growing environment. Plants grown wholly indoors often become ‘leggy,’ that is lanky and weak due to lack of external pressure. The soy latte drinking femboy of the plant world, if you will permit a crude metaphor.

At that same time, Seaxling was startled out of a nap and put into a terror. Seaxwife of course was on the case, although I maintain a different approach and advocate letting him explore certain fears. Won’t we all spend the rest of our lives navigating emotional climes anyway? Best to harden off the young while they’re little, so they don’t become emotionally leggy and snap when the real storm arrives or be broken in anticipation for a break that never comes.

Still it got me to thinking. There’s so much of our adult lives divorced from primal drives. Whether they’re Terror and Panic, or other more arguably obviously beneficial ones like Eros and Storge or Philia.

Buried in the inner child is a memory adulthood fogs. Genetic memory, perhaps. Memories of the Primeval Garden. You might call it Eden, or Vainamoinen’s Grove. But common to our ancestors is the Primeval Garden. We men are merely the crop sewn there, despite out failure to recall.

Embedded there in what some Germans call Urglaub is a knowledge that sudden storms can kill. Shelter was once sacred because it is precisely a shield of life. We forget this too. We can gleefully bathe in our tubs beneath the studious lightning rod and laugh at Thor if we so choose. Our ancestors could not. Unlike us they could not sanitise death. For maybe countless æons we took to the caves, the fruitful womb of Mother Earth in all her glorious abundance. Our earliest conceptions of what our religions become revolved around the safety and sanctity of that womb, the wonder and magnificence.

One wonders if there is a lost thread – umbilical cord if you like- tieing the religious connection of womb and Earth to the Primeval Garden. Isn’t the Garden the living symbol of the Great Goddess’ fecundity? Wasn’t this relationship symbolised by the Green Man tending the immobile Earth weighed down by the blessings of Her own Glory? The manifest Animus to Her cosmic Anima? In a way, we emerge from the Mother’s Womb into the Forest of Life – the metaphor works macro and microcosmically.

It’s clear I do believe. No use in beating around the bush. In the myth of Inanna we see elements that become much more, later. Inanna plants a tree, which becomes enchanted by a snake who cannot be wooed and a bird that will not leave. In Teutonic lore the Tree Yggdrasil-Irminsul was set upon by an eagle who directed the winds, and risen up from a coiling serpent who disposed of the dirty dead. In Inanna’s tree came Lilith to live, whom we’re told much later seduced Adam before the jew-god “gave” him Eve. If you have read my last and most concentrated thing on the Goddess you will know my feelings of Eve. That Eve was an avatar of Sophia, who was neither wicked nor vile, but by gratuitously feeding herself on the apples (themselves variously symbols of; healing, knowledge and life) forbidden by the jew-god, at the behest of the Serpent who was always Sophia’s consort, Eve initiated herself into what may be lost and forgotten mysteries. She was a heroine, defying the evil demiurge by reclaiming the Goddess’ wisdom. Perhaps she is a successor to Inanna, who also led to Lilith’s banishment. Vainamoinen, among his first acts was to plant a garden after escaping the Womb of the Virgin of the Air who was impregnated by Water – the spirit hovered over the face of the deep. Like Inanna, Vainamoinen’s tree had to be sacrificed to reap the blessings of life. Yggdrasil-Irminsul is constantly endangered, but forever regenerative- a perpetual sacrifice. Were these all the same tale, or felicitously similar ones? I’d imagine some wellspring is involved, an ancient root from which our many trees of life since sprung. Of course, I would believe that.

There are too many interesting facets and parallels to list. But it is something to keep in mind. There is a part of the primitive man that remembers the Primeval Garden. Every planter archetypes the Green Man, and every plot is the throne of the Goddess. It’s a sacred spiral which has unfolded for ages.

It’s a roundabout way to say I love permaculture and worship Nature. But there it is. My Garden is the truest Altar to the Great Goddess. Truer than my statuary with its replicas of Venus Willendorf or Laussel and Çatalhöyük presumed ancestress of Cybele – Vast Mother reigning from Persia til Rome, the Lady of Malta to the Capitoline Venus.

Tending the roots, planting herbs that help create nutrient tunnels back and forth from the fruit trees. What a wondrous gift it is, to try and move with nature – in whatever small ways that I can. The more I learn of permaculture and horticulture, the closer I feel to the Primeval Garden. What grows, what heals. In every myth man becomes a steward of the Earth. Our life is a garden. Our destiny is inextricable from Earth’s, why she is at once our foremost Goddess and most neglected saint.

So much for a thought. The thunders lasted a half an hour. And as I imagine, like Jehovah’s cloud over Eden, they were gone and the Golden Sun resumed her course. Did Eve feel relief, in the absence of the demiurge? Her sense of freedom regained? I suppose I’ll never know, given how the Hebrew patriarchs cast her as a punished thing crawling after the serpent. Banished from the garden, the garden which was then protected by a flaming sword.

But there we have it. Today I’ll leave the garden for something more barren. After I leave my cavernous basement gym for bench press day, Seaxwife and I will have a date at the range. It’s high time she learns to handle a revolver, among other things perhaps. I think we’ll call it a picnic. Not green, but there’ll be time for that later.

Wæs thū hāl, glædelig wucunende.


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