Seeing the wood for the trees

The Forest of Dean certainly makes you wonder what the Garden of Eden looked like before Adam set about tending it. What elements would it have possessed? And once Adam got to work, I wonder what he would have done to keep the Garden of Eden the way God wanted it to be?

Did the Garden of Eden have animals within it? Perhaps Adam was vegetarian? Was Eve, as Adam’s helpmate, also a keen gardener? In 2004 the Tate gallery explored some of the themes and artistic representations of Eden through the history of art to contemporary times. The Glue Society using google earth produced their version of Eden in 2007. Of course, Adam and Eve need not live in a garden anymore – as they can stay in a luxury hotel in Turkey….

10 thoughts on “Seeing the wood for the trees

  1. Tom Turner

    I love bluebells and the photograph captures the ‘magic moment’when every aspect of the forest is light and beautiful. But the concept of the Garden of Eden was, I suspect, more to do with the transition from a hunter-gatherer society to an agricultural society than with a pleasure garden in any modern sense. I always feel bad about placing socio-economic interpretations on the Bible but Darwin rules and one can’t get away from the fact that the text of the Bible was inscribed at a specific place at a specific point in time. ‘Is nothing sacred?’ one has to ask oneself.

  2. Tom Turner

    The Law of Manu (the Manusmṛti – which could have been written any time between 200 BCE and 200 CE) advises that says ‘When a man sees wrinkles on his skin and his hairs turn grey, and looks at the son of his son, he should retire into the forest… entrusting his wife to his son, or taking her with him’. When seeing woods like this, I am tempted to live in the woods. But it would be more practical in India (with a shelter or cave for the monsoon season) than in the winter woods of northern Europe – which may be an environmental explanation for the hermit lifestyle having developed in the east and migrated north and west.

  3. Tom Turner

    Buddhism took the idea of re-incarnation from Hinduism but gave it a new twist with the bodhisattva idea that individuals can reach nirvana and then decide to return to earth to help others. And Buddhism was always associated with forests.

  4. Tom Turner

    Not sure either but Buddhism has many sects, as do other religions, and Tibetan Buddhism is a variety of Mahayana Buddhism. Wiki says ‘The institution of the Dalai Lama has become, over the centuries, a central focus of Tibetan cultural identity; “a symbolic embodiment of the Tibetan national character.” Today, the Dalai Lama and the office of the Dalai Lama have become focal points in their struggle towards independence and, more urgently, cultural survival. The Dalai Lama is regarded as the principal incarnation of Chenrezig (referred to as Avalokiteshvara in India), the bodhisattva of compassion and patron deity of Tibet. In that role the Dalai Lama has chosen to use peace and compassion in his treatment of his own people and his oppressors. In this sense the Dalai Lama is the embodiment of an ideal of Tibetan values and a cornerstone of Tibetan identity and culture’.
    Tibet is not a great place for forests but it certainly had sacred trees.

  5. Tom Turner

    Sorry, I don’t know.
    PS I recently read and enjoyed a novel about Nepal (and Buddhism) by an English lady now living in Kathmandu : A Place Beneath the Pipal Tree by Greta Rana.


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