An explanation of this symbol from the Cabbalah-
‘The serpent in the Garden of Eden shows that other creatures already existed before Adam and Eve were created. These creatures belonged to the Angelic Hierarchies that had been sent to earth with a particular mission. Once they had completed the work they had been sent to do, some of them refused to return to God.
The Angels became demons, but retained all their powers
They had done their work and they thought that they could get along very well without Him. They were free to choose to stay or to return to where they had come from, and they chose to stay. These rebellious Angels refused to return to the divine Source and decided to cut themselves off from God. And, because of this separation, this estrangement from God, they became demons. They retained all their science, all their knowledge, but they lost contact with divine love and became creatures of evil.
The rebellious Angels, therefore, formed an egregor, the symbol of which is the serpent coiled round the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The Tree itself is also a symbol, a symbol of the two currents of light and darkness, the one flowing from ‘above’, the other rising from ‘below’, and the ‘above’ has always been taken to represent the sun or Heaven, whilst the ‘below’ represents the centre of the earth or Hell.
Eve’s exchanges with the serpent gradually solidified her body of light
Adam’s task in the Garden of Eden was to look after the animals. These were not the animals that we know today, however, for they belonged to the same region as man and their bodies were luminous like that of man. Eve, on the other hand, was entrusted with the care of vegetation and was constantly engaged in studying the specific properties of plants. Her explorations of the plants in the Garden led her to become acquainted with this unknown Tree.
To know, to become acquainted, means to establish a reciprocal relationship of giving and receiving, a relationship of exchange. Instead of continuing to exchange with Heaven, with the Tree of Life which represents the currents from Heaven, Eve began to exchange with the Serpent, with Samaël, the leader of the fallen Angels. This contact with the other side of life constituted a tremendous shock to Eve’s Body of Light, but that does not mean that she was immediately possessed by the corrosive forces that would gradually solidify her body and separate it from the land of light in which she was dwelling.’
Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov
To be continued…
Complete Works Volume 32, The Fruits of the Tree of Life – The Cabbalistic Tradition
Chapter 6, The Fall and Redemption of Man