The Sky People
“The story of The Garden of Eden is a greater allegory than man has ever guessed…Time and darkness, knowledge of good and evil have walked with him ever since.
Eisely is not necessarily (if even) referring to a religious construct. He is suggesting that if we are not genetically controlled automatons, our “personal biology” will be strongly influenced by the ethical and moral decisions that we make. This is both a wonderful and terrifying predicament. The awareness of this can be found in some cultures that predate Christianity (and other organized religions) sometimes by a thousand years.
The Sky People
A southwest Indian tribe eked out a simple life living by hunting, fishing, farming and herding sheep and or goats. One day the milkmaids reported to the chief that there was a sudden 50% drop in the goat milk production. The chief investigated the problem and found no cause. He decided that he would have to observe the herd until the problem was corrected. That night, he wrapped himself in a wool blanket and hid behind a bush near the herd. Shortly after midnight, three cowled milkmaids, descended on the beams of a full moon and began to milk the goats. The chief approached from behind one of them and asked her why she was stealing the milk. Without facing him, the maiden responded that the Sky Children were hungry and needed milk. The chief responded that in that case he was willing to share. She stood up and as she turned to thank him he was presented with the most beautiful face he had ever seen. He was bewildered, but haltingly told her that he wanted her to become his wife and bear his children. The request did not seem to surprise her and she agreed, however she had two pre-nuptial requirements that he must agree to. Firstly, she had to return to the Sky People and obtain permission from her father; then when she returned she would bring only one possession, a small woven basket with a matching lid. He must agree to never look into the vessel. He quickly assented to both requests.
The next evening the chief anxiously waited for the moon to rise. As she descended the moonbeams, she looked absolutely beautiful and as promised, was carrying a small woven basket.
They were soon married and settled in to a loving relationship that produced two beautiful children. Seven years later, the chief’s sister-in-law, who lived in a distant village, sent word that she was due to deliver a baby and would the chief send his wife to help in the birthing. The chief and his wife quickly agreed and she left immediately for a two-week visit.
The first week of her absence was filled with all the tasks the chief was expected to do. The second week, however, he began to look at the basket with a bit of curiosity. Each day the curiosity grew and grew until there was a raging battle going on within his mind. One voice claimed that, surely after seven years of marriage, his wife would approve a peek. The other voice protested that a promise is a promise and should never be broken. The battle intensified until the last night before his wife’s return.
The following day his wife arrived home. After a warm hug was exchanged, she looked deeply into his eyes and said, “It grieves me deeply that you looked into the basket. When the moon rises tonight, I will gather our children and return to the Sky People.