The idea of some past catastrophic event for humanity is nearly ubiquitous in myth and religion. We will compare the various renditions of the theme and attempt to draw conclusions pertinent to the present esoteric call.
We could speak of a 'fall complex' in the sense of a set of relatively fixed themes occurring together. This fall archetype or complex is found at different levels and scales. The general elements are losing some ideal state of being as a result of some mistake or naivety. On one hand, this makes post-fall life harder, on the other it offers opportunities for learning.
Edgar Cayce speaks of spirits getting progressively trapped in material forms because of getting addicted to sensation. This is not limited to the human form and would also apply to '2nd density' species souls.
Rudolf Steiner presents a long esoteric history of humanity which essentially consists of increasingly disconnected and material forms of incarnation as the world ages follow each other. In the Atlantean epoch of Steiner, there was for example no barrier between the conscious and subconscious parts of mind, the between lives state and the incarnate states could freely communicate and the human body was not as solid In a sense, the whole cosmology is in large part a fall into matter. This is necessary because the pure spirit state would not offer adequate learning possibilities. However the school of matter does not continue endlessly and there in fact exist many groups of beings that already have graduated from human-like material existence.
The Biblical fall of Lucifer from heaven or the splitting of the Demiurge from the benevolent god of the Gnostics also fits this general pattern.
Other occurrences of the fall complex in myth and esoterica depict this as a specific, sudden event quite apart from the generic idea of spirit experiencing matter for learning. Indeed, we are probably talking of two different processes, although they share a common theme. First comes the apparition of material lifeforms, then much later the loss of some Edenic state specific to the human experience.
The Biblical account of the fall from Eden is the best known one but most likely represents political spin put by the 'control system' on a far more ancient idea.
The Cassiopaean take on the fall is that there first was a group soul in 'union with the One,' which collectively decided to experience physicality for faster learning. Then there was a sort of human form living in contact with 4th density service to others beings. This latter group was tempted to experiencing 3rd density service to self by 4th density service to self entities. We probably speak of two distinct events here. The fall to 3D STS took place at the previous passage of the Wave, some 309000 years ago and was accompanied by cataclysmic cometary impacts. This had several consequences, including deactivation and scrambling of the greatest part of DNA, radical loss of psychic faculties, acquiring a basically predatorial and control-oriented mindset, experience of more intense physical sensations. Sexuality is also related to this, probably in the sense of becoming more central to life with greater differentiation of genders.
The fruit of the tree of knowledge represents, according to the Cassiopaeans, the idea of accepting a single source of knowledge as an authority above all others.
Gurdjieff's story is somewhat different, involving an error not on behalf of humanity but on behalf the architects of life and cosmos. The moon got split from the Earth and correcting the situation required mankind to produce new types of vibrations, At this point, a special organ called kundabuffer was installed into man, to the effect of making man see the universe subjectively, perceiving most thing as pleasure. This anesthesia of senses and reason was needed so that man would not on principle refuse to perform the required cosmic task and decline to reproduce.
Castaneda also writes about a great loss in the mists of history. The predator come from the depths of space took over and gave man the predator's own mind, to better keep man under control, exploited like cattle for providing psychic food.
Mouravieff speaks of the fall in largely Christian terms, although he is more specific than the genesis account. The fall concerns only so-called Adamic man. There are two kinds of humanity, biologically and psychologically indistinguishable. The preadamic man is a result of biological evolution, possessing a group soul, a bit like species are said to have souls in the animal kingdom. The Adamic man on the other hand knew a sort of Edenic state maybe comparable to the pre-fall state discussed by the Cassiopaeans. The fall stripped Adamic man of the connection to his higher centers, leaving him with an individuated soul disconnected from the body and mind. The Work may then aim at reconnecting these and thereby redeeming the fall.
Sumerian legends speak of man being created to be a slave race for otherworldly masters. There is no fall per se or decision by man, there is just the event of being made.
In Nordic and other mythologies the metaphor of the mill appears to be used for the heavens which rotate around the peg of the mill, the pole star. Due to precession, the pole star position shifts slowly. In the legend, the mill first ground plenty and abundance, then salt, then rocks and sand, as it became unhinged and fell into the sea. We could interpret this as referring to the Earth's rotation axis no longer being perpendicular to the plane of the orbit, the ecliptic. Incidentally, according the the Cassiopaeans, the axis was in ages past perpendicular to the ecliptic and will return to this state in the future.
The Hindu yugas are also a representation of a sort of winding down of the universe. In the Hindu golden age of krita yuga, people were created as twins, each pair at the end of their lives bringing forth an identical pair of twins. Their needs were naturally met and there was no discord between right action and intent.
From this short summary we can extract multiple themes:
The more ancient accounts imply a cyclic model of the cosmos. The Old Testament Genesis is the epitomy of departure from this idea.
Natural cataclysms occur in conjunction with the fall theme. There are references to the inclination of the Earth rotation axis but interpretations vary greatly.
Some change pertaining to sex or reproduction is often related to the fall. The painful giving birth of Genesis, the parthenogenetic reproduction of the Hindu golden age, Mouravieff's mention of bondage to the duty of reproduction, the Cassiopaeans' allusions to reproduction having been different pre-fall all point in this direction. Blaming the fall on woman seems to be an insertion made later, jointly with the imposition of a male monotheistic dominator god and the doctrine of linear time and final judgement.
The Platonic idea of the originally spherical beings later split into man and woman, the Hindu idea of the twins, Mouravieff's concept of the polar couple and of Adam and Eve being of one flesh all contain echoes of some lost state of implicit harmony between genders.
The fall archetype occurs at many scales, from the cosmic to planetary to national and personal. Still, tradition and more recent esoteric sources all point to some ancient marker event specific to mankind.