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Sunday, 23 December 2012


The word ‘eve’ in English indicates two things alike: the name of first woman in the world and the vigil of some important day. In Poland both these meanings meet on 24th December, as it’s Christmas Eve rich in traditions (f. ex. non-meat dinner consisting of 12 dishes and ‘shepherds’ mass service at midnight), among them also ‘name day’ of all people’s parents, Adam and Eve.

This custom of celebrating ‘name day’ as particular saint patron’s feast day comes from Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox calendars of saints. ‘Saint’ is the key word here but Adam with Eve aren’t saints! Hardly could they be, considering their disobedience to God’s injunction... He forbade them to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil but our furthest ancestors broke the Creator’s command and as a result were expelled from the paradisiac Garden of Eden...

There were other consequences of ‘the first fall’ too: Adam, Eve and all their descendants became mortal, born in original sin, in need of baptism to erase it, guilty of actual trespasses, hardworking to stay alive. Moreover the entire natural world was corrupted as animals divided into prey or predators with all the effects of pain and death... What a crude punisment for eating one small apple!

When I heard this story as a child I felt fury: how could the first human couple be so careless and reckless? Then I read for numerous times it was only Eve’s guilt and that’s why all women should be duteous and obedient to men – as it has been (and still is) in patriarchal societies. That made me even more furious, cause in my opinion if Adam hadn’t wanted the prohibited fruit, he wouldn’t have taken it and males shifting whole responsibility to females on that basis are simply immature. Until now this narration from Book of Genesis constantly gives me food for thoughts.

Today I agree more with psychological explanation: paradise is our childhood, blissful and serene under parental supervision, while expulsion from this heavenly garden begins with small naughtinesses against them. In teenage years it continues with bigger insubordinations and – I believe – finishes with first sexual intercourse (forbidden fruit!) as a symbol of total disconnection from ones’ mother and father cause it means possibility of conceiving a new human being. In ideal world it should be an act of the biggest maturity...

In this context ‘first sin’ understood as becoming independent and fully grown is just the evidence of adolescence and should be perceived as a positive phenomenom! Without rebellion against authorities there’s no psychical progress! According to psychology each natural crisis in human life is the occasion to development. Life is a series of lessons and challenges which help us to grow (Erikson); In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity (Einstein).

So... let’s not blame Eva or Adam for evil’s existence in universe especially on their name day... I personally choose to accept my human nature with tendency to making mistakes but also ability to improve. I believe we are all light’n’shadow, black’n’white, angel’n’serpent...

1 comment:

  1. My second name's Ewa so first mother somehow is my non-saint patron:) I cannot help pasting here a great poem of Anatol Stern in my translation:

    First Fall

    Eva stood naked
    Eva stood mute
    her hand was speaking
    her leg was speaking –
    there was something but there is nothing.

    Eva stood white –
    serpent sparkled close.
    Eva stood white –
    cloud sparkled golden.

    Eva stood naked,
    Eva stood mute,
    lips – red placard,
    she spoke with both hands.

    Eva stood naked –
    serpent of cellulose sparkled close,
    spotted snake.
    Eva stood mute
    blue wings of veins vibrated.

    Eva stood white
    lens of the eye sparkled under lid’s diaphragm.
    Eva ate the fruit,
    Eva ate the word fruit,
    which her sense of ecstasy desired.
    This sense,
    this sense –
    that was ecstasy lust,
    desire to deepen ecstasy,
    desire to define ecstasy –
    voracious sense,
    voracious desire,
    tormenting sense,
    which as serpent its children
    is eating all the five senses –
    it cleaned us of this mute language.

    This sense –
    this sense of thought,
    evasive as quicksilver,
    this sense,
    stronger than
    all the five senses.

    Eva – that’s name, mother’s name we know –
    while Eva herself we never know enough.
    Sexus – that’s father, who demands change –
    thought is a form of ecstasy.

    Eva stood white,
    Eva ate the fruit.

    And that was the beginning of everything
    - she remembers -
    and that was the beginning,