The Garden of Eden: Our first triangle story

A beloved BC3 member,  Dr Dee Cooper, led us through a “God and the Triangle” evening last week that I found to be provocative and fascinating. (The “Triangle” refers to Stephen Karpman’s 1968 formulation that humans get stuck when we find ourselves somewhere in the zone of Victim, Rescuer, or Persecutor. If you’re interested, you can find a lot more information about it in my book, The Relationship Ride: A Usable, Unusual, Transformative Guide.)

Dee’s point was that our traditional way of relating to God is to see God as our Rescuer (also known as the Hero) or our Persecutor (aka the Villain). God giveth and God takest away; we’re the Victim. Or maybe we’re the ones who are Villains to God, making God suffer through our sins.

I’ve been percolating with these ideas for a few days now. As I was putting in a new blind yesterday (an activity sure to bring out the Victim in me), my mind wandered around with them. It suddenly occurred to me that the most basic creation story I’ve been taught and have relearned countless times, until it’s become cellular for me, is the one of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. I’m actually sketchy on the details (and don’t want to go research it, imbibe it even more), but the story I learned is that God put Adam and Eve in the garden of bliss (starting the cycle of God Heroing His Children). Then He (here, God is a He) got the Villain snake to go tempt poor, innocent, but clearly kind of gullible (probably because she was inherently evil) Victim Eve with the apple. Eve bit, sending her over to the Villain side, especially once she tempted poor Victim Adam with it.

Like any good Triangle story, once we’ve been victimized, we get to RETALIATE. (E.g., the U.S. gets bombed and we lose 3,000 people, so we get to go to Irag and kill 100,000 more. That’s what’s fair in the world of the Triangle.) Adam (and all subsequent holy men in this tradition) gets to blame Eve for the sins of the world. Over and over and over and over. And over. (Notice the quick slide for Adam from Victim to Villain, while now Villain Eve becomes the Victim. Until she tries to Hero her way out of it all through martyrdom; oh, maybe that’s the Victim. Sigh.) God gets to blame and enslave humans to suffering through work and childbirth. And humans get to see ourselves as the Victim of life and God, knowing suffering is our lot.

My big question these days is how to re-write the stories that we live our lives by. Stories solidify; feelings flow. If I want to anchor myself to a high vibration, I want to internalize a creation story that connects me to that vibration. Now that I’ve unearthed this story that seems to elemental to my own sense of being human, I’ll get cracking on that assignment.

2 thoughts on “The Garden of Eden: Our first triangle story”

  1. I love this!

    If drama—from Aeschylus to your typical modern TV soap opera—is based on the triangle, and I suspect it is, then how brilliant to go back to the archetypal “place where it all began,” the first human screwup (No! Eve didn’t screw up, she was framed!).

    Much more interesting to look back through the lens of religion than, say, archaeology. (Would the first homo habilis drama be a fight over kitchen utensils? Or did the first human laugh spontaneously erupt from some precocious proto-man or woman when a clumsy cavemate dropped a rock on his foot?)

    I’d tell the Eden story differently though. I’d say that Eden represented a place (and a state of mind) without the concept of blame, where every action was just what it was and there was nothing right or wrong about it.

    When someone (not naming names here) ate the fruit of the “tree of knowledge of Good and Evil,” it seems to me that this was the beginning of the whole triangle thing. In the story, from the point of view of the humans anyway, right and wrong were invented in that moment. (The question of why there was a forbidden tree in the garden in the first place, who created the serpent to be devious, suggests that the drama was already afoot beforehand, but that’s another topic.)

    All of a sudden A & E are ashamed of (blaming) themselves for being naked, and someone shows up to tell them they’ve done a bad thing. Cue the violins–the poor humans are victims of a cruel joke! And now they must be punished! (Cue the thunder makers!)

    So that’s my thought: the Adam and Eve story allegorically tells of the precise moment humans invented Right and Wrong—and the Triangle! (How fitting that there were three characters in that scene.)

    What I like about this construction is: when we step out of Blame and making others or ourselves wrong, we are back in Eden.

    Maybe Eve’s “apple” was a lot like Snow White’s apple, a poisoned apple that in the fairy tale put the protagonist to sleep, and in the garden of Eden tale put humankind into the trance of drama.

    By the way, my preferred happy ending in both cases, is to wake up from the trance. And in both cases, I hope kissing is involved. 😉

    1. Oh, BRAVO, BRAVO!!! Of course, this is BRILLIANT! (And clearly, you understood Biblical lore better than I–I appreciate your ability to decifer Old Testamentese.) The bite of Good/Evil, that’s the seduction–I’m good, you’re bad, I’m bad, you’re good; ok, they’re bad, WE’RE good.

      Strangely, this story is actually starting to make sense to me…

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