Monday, October 29, 2007
I am constantly amazed about how a chance comment or meeting can result in finding something you've looked for or just a new friendship.
As part of my Monday morning ritual, I read the posts about alternatives religions on About.com and today there was a link to an article about the Kabbalistic symbology in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. The rabbi writing the article pointed to the last part of Indy's journey when he must pass three tests to get to the cup of Christ (holy grail) to save his father's life. The rabbi had it almost right, but he mixed up the first trial with scenes from the first movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark when Indy has to race for his life as darts/arrows fly out of the walls. I emailed the rabbi and explained the first trial in Last Crusade was flashing blades that Indy avoided when he knelt. The rabbi immediately emailed back and we began discussing Joseph Campbell's treatise on the Hero's Journey and how Indiana Jones, and indeed Star Wars, is based on that concept.
That discussion led to Maureen Murdock's The Heroine's Journey and then The Tree of Life in Kabbalistic tradition to Tree of Life in Native American culture to Yggdrasil (the World Tree) of Norse mythology to something I have researched for years -- the serpent as a messenger/go-between man and deity, which is also symbolized in Norse mythology as the Midgard Serpent. That's when he told me about a little known Midrash, or commentary on the Tankh/Torah where the serpent is a messenger from Yahweh to Adam and Eve who urges them to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil that they might leave Eden and "begin the spirit quest that would become humankind." I find that interpretation of what Xians call "Original Sin" more in line with what I've learned from studying other mythologies and religions. Even the Mormons (LDS) believe that Adam and Eve had to disobey in order to become the progenitors of mankind. I may just be closer to writing that book after all. I've been stumped by the Xian interpretation for years and couldn't reconcile that with the premise that all beliefs/religions use the serpent as a symbol of wisdom and a conduit/messenger between man and deity. But I digress...
At any rate, I would not have had the chance to exchange ideas with the rabbi or get another piece to a puzzle I've been working for years had it not been for that one mistake in his article. I'm glad I'm a curious person. They say curiosity killed the cat, but they always forget that satisfaction brought it back. No wonder a cat has nine lives, especially if the cat is as curious about everything as I. Then again, I'd need more than nine lives, maybe that's what reincarnation is all about. Ya think?
That is all. Disperse.