This is the first installment of an open-ended series on Lilith. I’ll write chunks intermittently when I conceive of those chunks till I have nothing left to say. —Notice that I capitalize Her pronouns. That’s because She’s what I call a Benefactor, or rather Benefactress, of mine. She is not my Patroness or Matron Goddess or Demoness. My Patron, Patroness or Matron Goddess is Hekate. If anyone says They are the same Entity, or different aspects or Paths of one Entity, I will beat that person with a pipe, an old one made out of lead. Such a level of ignorance irks me. We are not dealing with two entities who are somehow obviously intimately intertwined here, as is the case for example with the Goddess Astarte and the demon or, better, daimon, Astaroth. At least that’s my opinion on the matter.
Disclaimer. I take no responsibility for stupidity. If you are a misogynist, if you are the type of man who calls women “bitches”, or if you’re a man who has ever physically or emotionally abused a woman, or if you’re motivated out of mere curiosity, then do not attempt to contact Lilith. She is not a mere demon, She is not confined to the triangle of your Circle of Arte (no demon is actually, any of them might appear at any point around your Circle). She is, in my opinion, a vastly greater Power than that.
On the other hand, She can be especially tender towards male-to-female transsexuals, effeminate homosexuals (and heartfelt blessings to you if that describes you!) and of course abused or battered women. She finds some of Her adherents in the BDSM community/communities, some amongst the various vampire groups, both of the psychic variety and the sanguinary.
So who is Lilith? And what is Lilith? —One thing is certain. You won’t find out — not conclusively, not for certain — from Her lore. Unlike many spirits or Gods, there is no single, coherent narrative to be found in the web of lore concerning Her. Her stories, legends and lore are often mutually contradictory, and much of it is of questionable reliability — so anything you think you know might not be true. Then again it might be true. Those statement apply to me also, and to any of Lilith’s devotees. And yet still, from the tangled weave of Lilith’s lore and legendry, I believe much can be pieced together to give one an idea of Her at least, of Her personality, of Her quiddities and qualities, of Who and What She is. Only nothing will be certain except one’s own undeniable, lived experiences of Her presence. —The richest single source, at least in English, concerning Her is The Hebrew Goddess, by Raphael Patai, which contains a chapter solely on Lilith. Much but by no means all of what I have to say here will be derived from that source.
If you only know one thing about Lilith then it’s probably the tale of Her as Adam’s first wife. She was, according to The Alphabet of Ben Sira, created from the same clay as Adam and was thus Adam’s equal, not his subordinate as was Eve, who was later created from Adam’s rib after this first failed attempt of Yahweh’s at wife-making. —But Lilith and Adam did not get along at all because She refused to lie beneath him when they were having sex. Adam strongly preferred the missionary position it would seem, because he was “the superior one”. Lilith would have nothing of that. When Adam insisted and then complained to Yahweh, Lilith uttered the Ineffable Name of God and flew away from Eden (and by the way, She thus forsook Paradise for the sake of Her personal sovereignty and freedom). Yahweh sent three angels to attempt to retrieve Her. If She came back, Lilith would be judged as good after all. If She refused, Yahweh would destroy one hundred of Her children every day. The angels found Her in, or more likely over, the middle of the Red Sea. They threatened to drown Her in the waters — which you will notice was not part of their original mandate — if She would not return. Lilith claimed then to have been created only to kill babies, to have the power to destroy infant boys within the first eight days of birth, infant girls within the first twenty. The angels again tried to force Her to return to Eden. Lilith again swore by the Ineffable Name of God, but this time She swore that if She saw the angels’ names on an amulet placed near or over an infant, that She would have no power over it to destroy it. She also swore to accept Yahweh’s destruction of one hundred of Her children every day. This must have satisfied the angels because they disappear from the story at this point. For your information, the angels’ names are SNVI, SNSVI and SMNGLOF. If you know the Hebrew alef-bet, you can now make your own anti-Lilith amulet, because She will see the amulet and keep Her oath, according to Ben Sira, so called. I actually have no idea if such an amulet works or not, but if you know how to do magic, it probably will reduce the terrible possibility of SIDS. These angels’ names are more familiarly known as Senoy, Sansenoy and Semangelof. —This story was expanded upon — Lilith being named as the mother of all demons (this explains how Yahweh can destroy one hundred of her children per day, and also Lilith’s famous wailing, the eerie croons of the owl, as Her lamenting Her lost children), Lilith being named as the wife of Samael who is called leader of “the Satans” and the Poison of God and the Other God, Lilith as the Qliphotic Ruler of Gamaliel, the dark counterpart to the Sephira Yesod, etc., etc. — in later Jewish rabbinical and Kabbalistic sources and the Hermetic Qabalah.
There are a number of problems with this story. It’s likely not even a myth. It’s probably fiction. According to Patai, The Alphabet of Ben Sira was quite possibly intended as a parody of rabbinical and post-Talmudic writings, and barely made it into the “canon”, so to speak, of Jewish literature. An acquaintance on FaceBook once said she regarded myths about the Gods as fanfic. But a lot can be learned about the Star Trek universe from its fanfic. Does The Alphabet of Ben Sira lack even that authority? Also, SIDS will someday be explained by science and Lilith will be absolved as the direct or final cause of it.
But can Lilith be absolved as the original or first cause of SIDS? Is it not possible that “Ben Sira”, the anonymous author writing under a pseudonym, possessed an Unverified Personal Gnosis (UPG) of his own? As we shall see in follow-ups to this first installment, Lilith was viewed by at least one major rabbinical writer as a “path to the Highest Knowledge”, for those who are wise enough to learn Her lessons without being seduced by Her. And, after all, this is the single most widely known story about Lilith, and as such it has gained much from the corroborating gnosis of Her followers and worshippers.
Although I do not believe that Lilith’s origins are human — I believe She is a Godlike being or at least one with the power of a God and probably coeval with the Multiverse itself — I do believe we have here in Ben Sira’s small book a case of Peer-Corroborated Personal Gnosis. If so then there are lessons to be learned from this mere story.
As asked above, can Lilith be absolved as the first or original cause of SIDS, even though it’s quite impossible that She’s the final cause? I think not. Lilith’s devotees are, when they speak of it, almost, if not quite, unanimous in stating that Lilith has no love for small children or for human procreation. This explains Lilith’s tenderness towards male-to-female transsexuals and to effeminate homosexuals, incapable of procreation or with no desire to procreate. And has Lilith not become a feminist icon of women’s rights and freedom and an object lesson for the same in today’s field of post-Jungian psychology? Also Lilith seems to operate under a strict moral code of Her own devising. She keeps her oath, the story tells us. We humans are not stupid apes (not that apes are really stupid at all). We humans know things. We are Gods or at least demigods clothed with flesh. We each of us possess a spark of the Divine within. “Ben Sira’s” story should be taken seriously, though with a large grain of salt. The fiction has with time become a myth, with all of a myth’s authority, as hard to parse out that may be.
What else can we glean from this story? To my mind, the crux here is the way Lilith refused to submit to either Adam’s or Yahweh’s will and forsake Her own. She preferred to utter the Ineffable Name of God (ineffable — not to be spoken because of its holiness, hence Her utterance of it constitutes blasphemy, but what a powerful blasphemy! — She grew wings!) and thereby to forsake Paradise itself for the sake of absolute freedom.
I imagine the pic at the top of this post as Lilith just having fled the Garden, it’s walls behind Her, in despair for what She has just lost, indecisive as to where she will fly on her not-angel wings.
More to come…