by Bette U. Kiernan, MFT
The behavioral patterns of family relationship are passed on through generations. The seeds of trauma lie in wait to generate their unique yield: stories that tell of what happened to those who went before. Families hand their legacy of misery from one generation to the next. It began in the Garden of Eden when the original children, Adam and Eve, were initially wounded by a divine father’s anger. From this primordial clay, the dominant myths of western civilization sprouted the weeds of discord. Yet from that same mud perhaps will flower something that heals, something that is stronger than this discord for having been cross-pollinated with the Jewish, Moslem, and Christian traditions that have developed since those early moments in the Garden.
The Biblical tale of the origins of the Jewish people, and the forerunner of the Islamic Religions, has parallels in creation mythology from around the world. Stories of a great flood, like the one in the story of Noah’s Ark, are told in Australia, the Indian Archipelago, Eastern Asia, Mexico, Central America, and Polynesia. Explanations for the recurrence of this flood motif range from reminiscences of events to scientific studies of geological data that prove the existence of an actual great flood. The narrative of the orphaned Moses and his subsequent journey towards greatness has parallels in the story of the abandonment of Romulus and Remus, the mythical founders of Rome, as well as in the tale of Trakhan, the King of Gilgit, a city in the Himalayas, who survived his childhood abandonment to become a leader.