In the timeless library of human myths and legends, perhaps none are more primal and disturbing than the biblical story of the Fall. Responsible for everything from the demonisation of women to the Church’s pious horror for nature, sex and the body, there is scarcely a life-hating ideology or barbaric practice it hasn’t been used to justify.
For all that, this strange and unsettling story has lost none of its melancholy power over the centuries, remaining as enigmatic and haunting as a dimly remembered nightmare – and almost no closer to being understood today than the day it was first told.
If “God” is all-powerful, then why did He need to test Adam and Eve at all? Wouldn’t a real supreme being already know what was going to happen? Why did the serpent seem like the only one who really understood what was going on? And who was God talking to when he fretted that Adam had become “like one of us“? 
Observes libertarian “anti-psychiatrist” Thomas Szasz:
Adam’s apple is so named because a piece of the biblical forbidden fruit is supposed to have stuck in his throat… Perhaps this is why the Forbidden Truth so often appears ‘chewed up’, transformed into metaphor, humour, satire, slang (or dream and myth, of course). 
In this essay I’d like to take the unusual step of examining the Eden myth, not through the lens of traditional theology or atheist reductionism, but instead from the perspective of a few fringe phenomena it isn’t usually associated with: alien abductions and the occult “serpent power” of Eastern mysticism.
As we shall discover, these apparent discrepancies aren’t mistakes at all, but instead represent the sole surviving keys to uncovering its true meaning – for the legend of Adam and Eve originally had nothing to do with human sin or divine punishment. Instead, the story of the “Garden Eden” comes to us as a distorted version of primitive man’s first recorded encounter with uncanny beings from the stars – a botched abduction attempt culminating in the spontaneous illumination of two very confused cavemen.
What this means for religion in general, and monotheism in particular, I shall leave for the reader to divine on their own.
We shall see that at which dogs howl in the dark, and that at which cats prick up their ears after midnight. We shall see these things, and other things which no breathing creature has yet seen. We shall overleap time, space, and dimensions, and without bodily motion peer to the bottom of creation. 
UFOs – A Modern Problem?
Since the dawn of the space age, man’s dreams have been haunted by strange visions of cigar or saucer shaped aircraft bearing vaguely foetal (or insectoid) passengers who kidnap, brainwash and even impregnate their human captives before erasing their memories and vanishing into the ether.
Like “out of body” experiences or spirit possession, the UFO phenomenon stands as one of those baffling “psychic” anomalies which seems to exist for the sole purpose of mocking human reason. Claims one “victim”:
I woke up in the middle of the night and everything looked odd and strangely lit. At the end of my bed was a 4 feet high grey alien. Its spindly, thin body supported a huge head with two enormous, slanted, liquid black eyes. It compelled me, telepathically, to follow and led me into a spaceship… examination room [where]… I was forced to lie down while they… implanted something in my nose. I could see jars containing half-human, half-alien fetuses and a nursery full of silent, sickly children. When I eventually found myself back in bed, several hours had gone by. 
French astrophysicist Jacques Vallee studied the alien abduction phenomenon for decades, wondering continually at the arbitrary and illogical nature of most such reports. Why do these supposed “wise explorers from the stars” behave so bizarrely? If they have the advanced technology necessary for interstellar travel, why would they use it to visit this planet, let alone kidnap housewives, farmers and convenience store clerks for the purpose of anal probing? Observed Vallee’s mentor, J. Allen Hynek:
To me, it seems ridiculous that super intelligences would travel great distances to do relatively stupid things like stop cars, collect soil samples, and frighten people. I think we must begin to re-examine the evidence. We must begin to look closer to home. 
Vallee’s Rejection of the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis of Alien Contact
Researching hundreds of “contactee” testimonials, folkloric narratives and world mythologies, Vallee eventually concluded that UFOs aren’t what they seem to be. They don’t hail from the Zeta Reticula galaxy, they aren’t here to explore or conduct genetic experiments and their presence on this planet isn’t a recent development at all. Instead, notes Vallee:
- Reports of uncanny visitors from the sky have plagued mankind for thousands of years – enough to rule out short-term exploration as a motive.
- Witnesses typically describe the “aliens” as humanoid bipeds able to breathe our atmosphere and see in our light spectrum – but wouldn’t genuine extraterrestrials be adapted to a completely different type of environment?
- The aliens’ supposedly “scientific” experiments are “crude to the point of being grotesque…. often accompanied by sadistic sexual manipulation [and] reminiscent of medieval encounters with demons” – not the sort of behaviour we might expect from an advanced civilisation! 
- Finally, since UFOs seem able to appear and disappear at will, they are probably “not just a bunch of spacecraft” but instead represent “a much more interesting technology that manipulates dimensions. It manipulates space-time. And if it can do that, then [the aliens could] be from anywhere and anytime.” 
Frustrated with the unquestioned assumptions and cultish insularity of contemporary ufology, Vallee instead suggests three alternatives to the “Extraterrestrial Hypothesis” (EH) based on “second level” readings of the UFO phenomenon – speculative scenarios notable less for what they say about UFOs than about the structure of physical reality itself:
The Inter-Dimensional Hypothesis
One possibility is that aliens are not from another planet, but instead represent “evidence for other dimensions beyond spacetime”  – extradimensional entities hailing from an uncanny world which overlaps but only occasionally intrudes upon our own, beings from the future (or a perhaps a ghostly copy of our own earth) using “four-dimensional wormholes for space and even time travel”  through the “multiverse which is all around us.” 
This “multiverse” could consist of parallel worlds existing alongside each other in different dimensions of space, alternate past and future worlds following one another in time, or even computer-generated “virtual worlds” stored in some vast cosmic database (as in the film ‘The Matrix’); if this latter instance is true, hints Vallee, then the seemingly stable and predictable world in which we find ourselves could be a much more magical (or even whimsical) place than we normally realise:
If there is no time dimension as we usually assume there is, [then] the human brain may be traversing events by association… If we live in the associative universe of the software scientists rather than the sequential universe of the spacetime physicist, then miracles are no longer irrational events… [and the] illusion of time and space would be merely a side effect of consciousness as it traverses associations. In such a theory, apparently paranormal phenomena like remote viewing and precognition would be expected, even common, and UFOs would lose much of their bizarre quality… 
The Electromagnetic Connection
Another promising vein of inquiry originates with the work of Dr. Michael Persinger, a cognitive neuroscientist at Laurentian University in Canada whose 1975 “Tectonic Stress Theory” holds that UFOs, out-of-body experiences and mystical visions of saints and angels are the byproducts of electrical microseizures (i.e., epileptic episodes) resulting from exposure to electromagnetic fields generated by shifting plates in the Earth’s crust.
Persinger’s experiments include the construction of the “God helmet,” a specially modified motorcycle helmet which uses weak EM fields to stimulate the parietal and temporal lobes of the brain. Shockingly, almost 80% of the 900 subjects thus tested report altered states of consciousness, visions of God and dead loved ones, and even full-blown alien abductions. 
More radical still is Paul Devereux’s 1989 “Earth Lights” hypothesis, in which UFOs appear as some sort of “previously unrecognised terrestrial phenomenon” (think Will O’ the Wisps) which either rely upon or are attracted to the EM fields generated by seismic stress.
Devereux notes that the strange balls of light which appear and hover near or around earthquake fault lines behave at times almost like “inquisitive animals” and speculates that they may be intelligent “macro-quantal” blobs of plasma energy capable of telepathy, mimicry and hypnosis. 
Both theories in turn anticipate the research of Johnjoe McFadden, an English neuroscientist at the University of Surrey whose Conscious Electromagnetic Field Theory (CEMI) locates human thought outside the wet, grey labyrinth of the brain, identifying it instead with a weak electromagnetic field which surrounds and penetrates the skull. 
If McFadden is correct, then the entire sensory environment we perceive all around us could be nothing more than an extremely sophisticated communications broadcast of some sort – perhaps just one of many “channels” available to the human nervous system.
The Control System Hypothesis
Vallee’s final alternative to the EH is his “Control System” Hypothesis, a fringe view in which aliens (or UFOs) appear as a non-human intelligence closely linked to the Earth, but not bound by it – not little green men from far-flung planets but hallucinatory imps from a dreamlike hyperspace who always seem to appear in just about the form we expect to see them.
Once upon a time these interacted and appeared to us as gods, spirits and angels, accepting sacrifices, sending dreams and inspiring mankind’s great religions; then as fairies, goblins, elves and spirits, spreading fear and wonder in the lives of medieval peasants; and finally as space-faring “greys,” reptilian humanoids and noble “Plaeaidian” scientists, bearing cryptic warnings about the environment and seeding new mythologies for the Information age.
So why have these protean tricksters chosen to visit us? Perhaps Vallee’s most controversial claim is that these mysterious visitors are themselves mere epiphenomena, shadows and reflections of a vast (and very ancient) “control system” which has been operating in the background to manipulate human belief systems since time immemorial, guiding our species towards some unknown purpose. Notes Vallee:
If UFOs are having an action at [the level of myth] it will be almost impossible to detect it by conventional methods… because they are the means by which man’s concepts are being rearranged. All we can do is trace their effect… 
This “control system,” Vallee hypothesises, could represent a projection of the collective unconscious, the activity of an unknown species or even some sort of ecosystemic feedback loop. 
Vallee’s Control System and the Origins of Western Religion
If mankind’s long flirtation with gods, ghosts, goblins and grays is anything to go by, Vallee’s alien “control system” has been with us since the very beginning – and for evidence of its influence, we need look no further than the origins of Abrahamic monotheism.
Take, for example, the story of the Garden of Eden, an eerie tale which – with only a little imagination – can easily be read as a coded account of an alien abduction, an extraterrestrial interlude in which speaking primates are tested for obedience and adaptability:
- Omniscient keeper(s) create a man (or remove him?) from the “earth”;
- Test subject is anesthetised;
- Keepers produce a female specimen supposedly cloned from his “rib”;
- Test subjects are placed in a controlled environment and forbidden from eating a certain type of food;
- A writhing hologram appears (the “shining serpent”) and encourages them to violate the Keepers’ directives;
- Subjects are punished and returned to the wild to digest their encounter.
Now, is this all there is to the story – ancient astronauts tampering with primitive man? Admittedly, that would be incredible if true – but wouldn’t alien scientists have been able to conceal even the most elaborate breeding and colonisation program from a pair of cavemen?
What if the real agenda behind the Eden incident was not creation (or obedience testing) but something else entirely?
If the phenomenon is forcing us through a learning curve, then it has no choice but to mislead us. When Skinner designs a machine that feeds a rat only when the right lever is depressed, this is extremely misleading for the rat. But if the rat doesn’t depress the correct lever, he becomes extremely hungry. Man is hungry for knowledge and power, and if there is an intelligence behind the UFOs it must have taken this fact into account… 
Perhaps instead of looking at the biblical “Fall” as a failed experiment, we should instead think of it as what Vallee calls an “open control system” – a metalogical labyrinth whose participants “graduate” to the next level when the correct sequence of stimuli are triggered – in this case, eating the “forbidden fruit.”
In other words, “Adam” and “Eve” didn’t fail the test when they ate from the “Tree of Knowledge” – they passed it.
Open Control Systems and Mythological Mashups
This alternate reading of the Eden creation myth is reinforced in the scriptures of the ancient Gnostics, an unorthodox (some say “heretical”) movement in early Christianity that competed with the infant Catholic church for several centuries after the birth of Christ.
Often dismissed as a primitive heresy that fell under the weight of its own obscurantist tendencies, Gnosticism was instead a sophisticated system of occult hermeneutics whose acolytes employed special neurolinguistic trance-inducing techniques to engage in a sort of memetic sabotage, splicing, remixing and mutating of biblical stories in a manner seemingly calculated to cause maximum offense and psychological discomfort. But why? Notes one literary critic:
Drugs, sex, and power control the body, but “word and image locks” control the mind, that is, “lock” us into conventional patterns of perceiving, thinking, and speaking that determine our interactions with environment and society. The cutup is a way of exposing word and image controls and thus freeing oneself from them, an alteration of consciousness that occurs in both the writer and the reader of the text. 
For the Gnostics, the biblical creation stories weren’t divine revelations, but the shattered fragments of a monstrous and malevolent spell – the control system. By rearranging and retelling Judeo-Christian myths, the Gnostics sought clues that might allow them to reprogram creation itself, changing the past, seizing control of the heavens, and overthrowing the phony god of the Bible.
The Gnostic Version(s) of the Eden Myth
In the Gnostic view, Eden was not a paradise, but a jungle laboratory where an opportunistic race of alien parasites conducted a series of bizarre experiments in an attempt to produce a compliant strain of biped slaves.
Banished from the stars at the dawn of time, these “archons” (Greek for “rulers”) fled to the Earth where they abducted a caveman named “Adam” and sexually assaulted his mate “Eve,” implanting both with false (or screen) memories:
When they [the archons] saw Eve speaking with [Adam], they said to one another; “Come, let us seize her and let us cast our seed on her, so that; those whom she will beget will serve us. But let us not tell Adam that she is not derived from us, but let us bring a stupor upon him, and teach him in his sleep as though she came into being from his rib.” 
Feared and worshipped as “gods” and “angels,” the Archons depend for their very existence on the energy captured and siphoned from the human nervous system via various control systems – biological and memetic thermostats which allow them to regulate the flow of information and energy through words and images, pleasure and pain:
They say that the soul is the food of the Archons and Powers without which they cannot live, because she is of the dew from above and gives them strength… 
Adam and Eve “fell” when the archons programmed them with prohibitions and commandments, changing them from primates living in the eternal “now” to “soft machines” – biological automata at war with their own instincts, parasitised by selfish replicators and paralysed by double-binds:
….when the Rulers saw [Adam] and the woman who was with him, erring in ignorance… they rejoiced greatly… They came to Adam… [and] said to him, “Every tree which is in Paradise, whose fruit may be eaten, was created for you. But beware! Don’t eat from the Tree of Knowledge…” [T]hey gave them a great fright…. 
Unfortunately for the archons, this strange prohibition seems to have provoked its own violation – for, as the Gnostic scriptures inform us:
…[the archons] do not understand what they have said to [Adam]; rather… they said this in such a way that he might in fact eat… 
Pushed to the brink by a mysterious talking serpent, Adam and Eve partook of the fruit and convulsed with ecstasy as the walls of the Garden fell away to reveal the larger world outside the Garden. Like lab rats suddenly lifted out of a maze, Adam and Eve could now perceive their own situation clearly for the very first time:
Then their mind opened. For when they ate; they saw that they were naked, and they became enamoured of one another. When they saw their makers, they loathed them since they were beastly forms. They understood very much… 
Serpent Power Rising
A few more details complete this curious picture: Adam, we learn, was created with “seven souls” ; the “serpent” was actually a “hidden Mother” goddess named “Sophia” who fought against the archons from her secret location inside Adam’s “intestines”(!) ; and finally, when Eve fled from the archons, she took refuge inside the “Tree of Knowledge”  (in biblical Hebrew, the word for “tree” can also mean “spine.”).
If any of this sounds familiar, it should – for as countless researchers have noted, the entire story seems to be nothing more than an allegorical description of the Kundalini serpent of Buddhist and Hindu yoga:
A Tantric yogi sees the great Mother present within his human body as the Kundalini. She lies hidden by her self-created ignorance, like a snake, coiled and fast asleep… at the bottom of the spinal cord. Through [meditation], the Tantric awakens the Mother and rouses her to go upward… [until he] becomes illumined… 
Theories about the Kundalini Serpent
Frequently misunderstood as an exotic oddity unique to Eastern mysticism, the kundalini instead represents a cross-cultural phenomenon of great antiquity (and plasticity) which (like the UFO phenomenon) has many features in common with OBEs, NDEs, spirit possession and shamanic initiation.
In short, the belief is that the human body possess seven (sometimes more) energy centres called “chakras,” roughly located near or in the anus, genitals, stomach, heart, throat, brow and crest of the skull. Normally clogged with the traumata of everyday life, these “chakras” open when stimulated by a serpentine energy which normally lies sleeping and coiled at the base of the spine.
In dreams, this serpent takes the form of a sleeping goddess who projects the illusion of the world; awakened, she climbs the spine to open the “third eye” at the crown of the head, bringing explosive emotional, psychological and spiritual growth, even ecstasy, enlightenment and the acquisition of occult powers.
Although the scientific study of the kundalini is still in its infancy, there do exist many plausible theories which might some day explain how it works. Here are a few of them:
Wilhelm Reich was a renegade disciple of Freud’s who discovered a type of libidinal energy called orgone which flows throughout the “seven segments”  of the body, resembling nothing so much in its “slow undulation[s]” as “the movement of an intestine or snake.” 
In most of us, social and cultural programming cause this elusive life force to become blocked in early childhood so that it pools up in the muscles and hardens into a rigid “body armour.” Thus diverted from life, the stagnant energy becomes a machine-like parody of itself which stunts and distorts human emotions, turning healthy expressions of love and sexuality into addiction, resentment and fear.
In the long term, the suffocating obstacles imposed by this invisible exoskeleton cause untold misery by exacerbating the mind/body split and creating the conditions necessary for the emergence of cancer (in individuals) and fascism (in societies).
Unimpressed with the slow pace and ineffectiveness of traditional talk therapy, Reich favoured a direct, hands-on approach designed to weaken the body armour itself. Over time, Reich and his followers found that unplanned events of great emotional intensity could trigger the orgone to ascend through the seven body segments spontaneously, purging vast reserves of repressed emotional energy and causing the body to vibrate uncontrollably as the noxious “body armour” crumbled once and for all.
Czech inventor Itzhak Bentov dedicated years to the study of human consciousness, eventually developing what is today known as the “holographic model” of the human brain.
In Bentov’s view, the “kundalini experience” is primarily a mechanical phenomenon which arises when the brain begins to vibrate in sympathetic resonance with the heartbeat (7.5 hz), releasing terrific amounts of stored musculoskeletal stress as the nervous system is temporarily transformed into a polarised loop.
This in turn causes the spinal column to oscillate like a tuning fork, allowing it to receive and transmit information directly from the ionosphere – the same part of the atmosphere responsible for bouncing electromagnetic waves back to Earth. 
The Pineal Gland and the Third Eye
Finally, former New Mexico University psychiatrist Rick Strassman hypothesises that kundalini yoga somehow stimulates the pineal gland to secrete larger than normal amounts of naturally-occurring DMT into the brain – making it the true “third eye.” 
DMT is a powerful hallucinogen, also found in ayahuasca, the “vine of souls” used by Amazonian shamans to induce mystical visions; the pineal gland, meanwhile, has its own surprising analog in the photosensitive”third eye” found in many species of reptiles, a vestigial organ with full lens and retina buried under the skin in the centre of the forehead. 
The connections to biblical myth here are many and obvious, so what does it all mean?
Seeking to understand the roots of human religious experience, Strassman injected over 60 volunteers with high doses of DMT, conducting over 400 such sessions from 1990-1995; perhaps unsurprisingly, just over half his test subjects reported blissful visions of timeless, cosmic unity, communion with benevolent deities and “classic near-death experiences” which included flying through tunnels of “radiant light.” 
The other 47% were not so lucky, reporting nightmarish beings drawn straight from the twilight horror-world of the Gnostic counter-Eden: menacing “clowns, elves [and] robots” who threatened and even attacked their human victims. Strassman finally ended his experiments ahead of schedule when one of his subjects reported being “eaten alive” by giant insects.
Dragons in the Darkness
Strassman’s findings here echo the eerie experiences of Michael Harner, an American anthropologist who penetrated the Amazon rainforest forty years earlier to experiment with the “vine of souls” potion himself.
Harner reported seeing “giant reptilian creatures” dwelling in and around his own brain stem, “dragon-like” beings from deep space who colonised the Earth millennia ago; chillingly, these dark beings claimed to have seeded the Earth with life for the sole purpose of creating various host species they could hide themselves in.
“I learned that the dragon-like creatures were thus inside of all forms of life, including man,” claims Harner. “They were the true masters of humanity and the entire planet, they told me. We humans were but [their] receptacles and servants…” 
True to form, when Harner demanded an explanation from the medicine man who gave him the potion responsible for this ominous vision, the old man just laughed and explained that, “…they’re always saying that. But they are only the Masters of Outer Darkness…” 
Clearly Harner is speaking here of beings very much like the archons of Gnostic myth or the manipulative “greys” of modern Ufology – but are these entities nothing more than symbolic projections of the reptilian brain, as Harner’s narrative seems to imply?
Do aliens and archons hail from outer space or inner space? Why is “contact” with aliens (or archons) so often accompanied by vibrations or tremors, either muscular or tectonic? How should we think about the “serpent” now that we know it is probably a dormant evolutionary mechanism of some sort? And are the “big three” Abrahamic religions of Islam, Judaism and Christianity really nothing more than hallucinatory control mechanisms employed by alien parasites to enslave and manipulate us?
German Historian Klaus Theweleit has written what would seem to be the last possible word on the subject, noting that:
…[T]he ‘fall of man’ depicts a failed revolution from the victor’s standpoint. For attempting to put into practice their slogan ‘Our bodies belong to us,’ the rebels were sentenced to a life of forced labor : ‘Your bodies belong to your Ruler!’ – that was the response. (The ‘paradise’ they were driven out of was the blissful state of being ruled without realising it. Even today, being driven out of ‘paradise’ is the penalty for trying to create a paradise.) 
Whether the Eden story is really about UFOs or the kundalini, and whether such phenomena are electromagnetic or chemical in origin, I can’t say for sure (I’ve never even seen a UFO!), but I do know this:
I have taken mushrooms and seen great, flying black mantas which pursued me across the desert floor, telepathically overwhelming me with thoughts of paranoia and despair. I’ve taken DMT and left my body to enter a crystalline world of euphoric decahedrons and four-dimensional pyramids, spread out beneath a great vaulted membrane which breathed, and knew at that instant that this membrane was the threshold between time and eternity.
I’ve practiced tantric yoga with a dakini and been bruised and battered as I hyperventilated under the tutelage of a Reichian therapist; and I’ve been in dark rooms lit only by flickering candles, watching friends and family members pant as their eyes rolled back in their heads and their limbs shook uncontrollably, “mounted” by the spirits of the dead and personified forces of nature known to witch doctors the world over.
Whatever the origins of these and related “psychic” phenomena ultimately prove to be – genetic memories, autonomous archetypal complexes, glitches in the Matrix or even the intrusive activities of extraterrestrial civilisations – nothing will change for our species until we finally rise to our feet, shake off the chains of superstition and ignorance and claim our inheritance – not as childlike “test subjects” to be ordered about and punished, but as adults striding forth into the cosmos with eyes wide open, ready to take responsibility for our own evolution.
The Eden myth, like all myths, is meant to be lived; not studied but experienced – so let us treat the Bible with its endless commandments and airless authoritarianism not as the final authority on human life, but as a leaping off point for the rediscovery of the human body as a sacred text in its own right, a flesh and blood book with its own sounds, smells and textures and even wisdom too – for in the end, it may be the only thing we can ever really know anyway.
Or, as the Gnostic scriptures put it:
You are the Tree of Knowledge, which is in Paradise, from which the first man ate and which opened his mind, so that he became enamoured of his co-likeness, and condemned other alien likenesses, and loathed them. 
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