At last I understand: the Eden story in Genesis is about a drug bust and its aftermath. It begins by discussing the prohibition of a potent psychedelic substance: a plant or a fruit that grants those who ingest it personal access to divine capacities. Most damningly to those who wrote the story (with the goal, I suppose, of consolidating their hold on law-giving and other 'holy' prerogatives), this prohibited substance sensitizes the mind to the presence of 'good' and 'evil, essentially making priests of those who take it. (And making other, conventional priests redundant.)
Then the people take the stuff. As it happens, the creature who assists them dwells as close to nature, to the soil, and as far from hierarchies and sky gods as it is possible to get. The serpent, by virtue of living on its belly, is a most earthy, egalitarian animal.
The rest of the story concerns the people's punishment for unlocking their latent godliness through commerce with the psychoactive plant. Banishment and hard labor are some of their punishments. And shame, of course, which is the fiercest lashing of all because the people give it to themselves.
How weird, how unexpected and how weird, that the establishing myth or narrative of Jewish and Christian morality deals not with murder, deceit, or theft but with altered consciousness, with tripping. How strange to learn that our Original Sin -- at least in the minds of those who wrote the Bible -- was closer to taking mushrooms than taking a life.