She of One Name.
“Lilith said, ‘I will not lie below,’ and he said, ‘I will not lie beneath you, but only on top. For you are fit only to be in the bottom position, while I am to be the superior one.’ Lilith responded, ‘We are equal to each other inasmuch as we were both created from the earth.’
But they would not listen to one another. When Lilith saw this, she pronounced the Ineffable Name and flew away into the air.”
While every other Goddess carries many “facades” and many different names; there is one who never lost her identity NOR her home. Of all the rest, her name continues to reside as the one true name, that represents knowledge and strength in regards to the gender known as female.
Some say she IS the Dark Mother. She is the one, who gave birth to all things evil that roam this earth; Vampire, Demon, Lycanthropes or any other version of the Undead. She is rumored to be one who feeds on those who are too weak to resist her touch.
…but then, there are others – other people, who regard Lilith as above all that commonplace crap. I am one of those others.
I don’t intend to re-write myths or legends here. I only intend to spread the fact of what’s been written and retold, and relay in turn what I’ve come to believe. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t presume to say I know this particular Goddess anymore now than I did before. She terrified me, to be perfectly honest with you. But she terrifies me in that good way.
On a side note, let’s not forget a sprinkling of quotes from songs, movies and prose; some of my favourite writers and singers of my youth and adulthood. These people said it like it was in their minds, regardless of who it would offend. These ‘lines’ of praise are my very smallest bit of thanks to Her for aid received as I tentatively walked through her lore the past two weeks.
It’s my wish that I hopefully do not offend anyone out there; if I do offend I’m sorry but truthfully can’t concern myself beyond that statement. That’s how this particular Goddess, this Monster of Knowledge and the Pursuit of Truth, makes me feel!
As usual, I digress – Let’s go back to the beginning and never ending theories regarding Mother Lilith.
She’s most commonly known as the betrayer of Adam, the first man; the first and most scorned of Heaven, per the Christians and some ‘paths’ of Ancient and Orthodox Judaism. She’s also been called the “Bringer of Pestilence and Disease;” killer of newborn babies and children. She’s been known as a maker of the infamous ‘nocturnal emission’ that all men (and some women!) claim to suffer from – THE Succubus, mate to the Incubus. Or was that her daughters, the ‘lilim’ that some Jews still wear amulets to protect against today? And of course, let’s not forget that her aforementioned title, as a creator of all Fallen or Fabled demonic creatures that walk the earth today.
Then, there are some softer versions of her myth. Lilith, twin to Adam and joined together with him at the back!? Another fabled myth sees her as the Great Mother figure, who was worshipped by the settled agricultural tribes, who resisted the invasions of the nomadic herdsmen represented by Adam. It is felt the early Hebrews disliked the Great Mother who drank the blood of Abel the herdsman, after being slain by the elder god of Agriculture and Smithcraft Cain. (Genesis, 4:11). Lilith’s Red Sea is but another version of Kali Ma’s Ocean of Blood, “which gave birth to all things – but needed periodical sacrificial replenishment.”
I could continue on quoting myths, legends, and folklore galore, but I will not. There’s no point in saying what’s already been said. So let’s get right to what I feel…and what Lilith makes me FEEL, starting with a passage from the epic song by The Doors – “The End”:
“Ride the snake…ride the snake…to the Lake…the Ancient Lake, baby. The snake is long; 7 miles…ride the snake…he’s Old! And his skin is cold!” –Jim Morrison, The Doors.
At first, when reading all of these myths and remembrances; seeing these ancient scriptures and statues I felt nothing but cold representation of something that could’ve never been real. Granite, bronze and marble faces that stared back at me – representations of what the artist felt but not necessarily what those who may have once worshipped her saw. She wasn’t really real to me. After all, every other Goddess had some sort of purpose, or reason for existence. The only reason ever truly accredited to Lilith was to plague and make misery on mankind. But reading the Christian and Judaic orthodoxies on Lilith, I’ve come to see the truth hidden between the layers and lines of time.
“I love my baby ‘an I
Tell the world I do!’
‘What made me love her,
you will come ‘an love her, too!”
(“When Your Way Gets Dark” – by Charley Patton)
Lilith was, and is the Snake. The Snake; unchanged after thousands of years because it never had to evolve. She came into this world knowing; it didn’t take a bite of an apple like it did for poor, dumbed-down Eve to open her eyes.
Lilith’s only crime, if you really consider it that, was that she refused to subjugate to her mate. I’m not saying she was smarter than Adam – quite the opposite, I believe they were evenly matched in most ways. And that became the problem. Lilith refused to “lie beneath” her ancient husband, not just physically but mentally as well. If someone can’t see that logic between the lines of every religious genres tomes’ that have written about her, then they are blind as a bat.
“C’mon man, let’s plan a murder, let’s start a religion! More More More!” – Jim Morrison; Lead Singer of The Doors.
I’ve always been a firm believer that religious texts are heavily built on Metaphor. Metaphor brings the signs, subjects, and dramas that telling the truth cannot. Lakes of fire, blood-filled oceans, talking snakes, hooved-or-heeled Gods…the truth still stands, that within all of this metaphor a true believer can see the honest truth. It’s the nonbeliever, that person which fears that there really isn’t anything at the inevitable end that becomes the hardcore atheist or the book-burning zealot – no matter the religion, practice or path.
That said, there is much more to Lilith than being some sort of ancient-day feminist. I am completely against the idea that she disliked men to the point that she spent the rest of her existence torturing them in dreams, or tormenting and killing their children for pleasure. I’m completely against the idea that she spawned demons, just to pollute the world. It’s just the opposite; I believe that she simply wanted a mate who could share – share knowledge, share in the chores of life and share in the act of physical love. She didn’t want to just be a conduit for reproduction and sexual pleasure; the knowledge that she came into the world with and the strength of character she owned where what led her to stand next to her convictions fearlessly. Regardless of the punishment meted by karma or the hand of any creator god or good ‘ol fashioned Darwinism, she took a chance. So what did she win, if anything?
She won her freedom, to be whatever she wanted. Whether she took the dive to the darkest of places, or simply ran off into existence never to be seen again – the moral of the story here, in my humble opinion, is free will.
It’s something a lot of us, Pagan or otherwise have seemed to forgotten that we have. We hide bits and pieces of ourselves in order to just get along – with our environments and those in them. What I admire most about the story of Lilith (once dusted off and set upright, of course!) is that she made her own choices, right or wrong. And that’s a lesson that most of us in this life need to relearn – males and females alike!
As always, Brightest Blessings and Thanks for Reading!
I plan on riding this wave out until it expires like a burnt down candle wick, folks. Next on my list? The Triple Goddess – from Maiden to Crone, what does she represent for Pagan men and women, regardless of her flavor? Until we meet again…
“King of the Delta Blues: The Life and Music of Charlie Patton” by Stephen Calt and Gayle Wardlow. (pg. 83)