My mom, a robustly optimistic Sun in Taurus person, was fond of saying that it’s the bad times in life that make us appreciate the good ones. That’s a fine theory; but a certain amount of Moon/Pluto, Neptune in Scorpio skepticism persuaded me early on that bad times can, in fact, taint the good ones – by making us distrustful, jaded, and regretful.
Consider Adam and Eve.
They are naked and happy in the Garden of Eden. All is beautiful and serene. Laissez les bon temps roulez!
Enter a serpent – a nasty snake in the grass – that tempts them with forbidden fruit. Adam and Eve succumb to temptation, leading to their expulsion from the Garden, awareness of their nakedness, and introducing humanity to the concepts of sin and death (and inevitably, “Project Runway”).
Relatively speaking, the rest of their lives were probably something of a let-down.
Who is your serpent?
We’re born Adam or Eve, naked and usually pretty happy, I imagine, though my memory of the event is sketchy. There is that unpleasant business of getting through the birth canal, but quickly enough you’re snuggled up to some soft, friendly person and given something to drink. You’re in Eden.
And, being Eden, life will introduce you at some point to a snake in the grass. Something that tempts you with a luscious and forbidden treasure. Something that leads you to realize you’re naked, possibly sinful, and that the garden of beauty and love and innocence that you’ve called home is lost to you forever.
For young women, this serpent often takes the form of a young man who is charming, crafty, and clever. He knows just how to lead you into temptation and engineer your downfall.
For instance, according to evolutionary biologist and Harvard professor Steven Pinker,
“The most desirable man of all, in many woman’s eyes, is ‘tough-tender’ – nice to her, aggressive with everyone else.”
It’s a pretty irresistible apple when a good-looking, venomous serpent shows you his sweet side. You feel incredibly special. You will do anything to ensure a steady supply of these apples!
Before you know what hit you, your family is threatening to disinherit you, your friends won’t return your calls, and there are fang marks all over your body.
That’s a nasty serpent. Some of us are still pretty young when he arrives on the scene and leaves with our innocence.
There are nastier serpents, though, and sometimes they arrive when we’re even younger. Serpents who tempt us, boys and girls alike, with toys or candy or games, and then handle us in a way that makes us feel dirty. Serpents who rustle through the grass, hardly detectable until they suddenly leap from a bush and bite you.
And the next thing you know, you’ve been expelled from the Garden. The world isn’t so pretty or benign anymore, not so safe or secure. Your eyes have been opened to your nakedness and vulnerability. You’ve been tricked and made to feel foolish. You’ve been told your natural state is an abomination, and told it in such a convincing way that you kind of believe it. (more…)