THE MODERN INTERPRETATION: FEMINISM

LILIT

The image borrowed from http://www.kurilev.com.ru/images/ugolok/lilit.jpg

Today Lilith has been adopted by the Neo-Pagan community, most specifically by those with a feminist angle. Their main focus is upon Lilith's choice to fly from paradise, and even suffer the death of hundreds of Her children, rather than live under submission to Adam. She is female defiance and strength. Her resulting attack on men in the night is the revenge of the woman on the men who have hurt her.

This, in and of itself, is great (and plays a large part in my own interpretation). However, this is not all there is to it. This interpretation totally ignores a large part of Her mythos—not the least of which being Her attacks on mothers and babies. The groups which put forth this view would also have us believe that Lilith was, in fact, a Great Goddess within Sumeria. The "proof" of this is the above mentioned plaque, and we have already seen how this is simply not so. It is even said that Lilith was a maiden, in service to Inanna, who stood without the Temples and invited men to enter and partake of the Sacred Sex with the Priestesses. For this, not one shred of archeological evidence has been offered of which I am aware.

 

Along with this, the myth in which Gilgamesh drives the demoness out of the Tree of Life is said to be symbolic of the Patriarchal God driving the Goddess away. This is, in my opinion, pure silliness. Anyone who puts the smallest study into Sumeria will find that there was hardly any feminine-bashing going on there. The exact same thing can be said for the Babylonians who followed, and even the earliest Hebrews themselves.

Unfortunately, there is a modern trend in which the "liberation" of any evil feminine mythological character is attempted. According to this view, there were no male Gods in the Ancient world to begin with. And, there were absolutely no evil female characters in any mythology. Once God-Worship had been invented by power-hungry war-mongers, that is when all the myths were re-written to show how evil the Goddesses were.

Examples of this are the Babylonian Tiamat; who does seem to be a version of the Sumerian Nammu; who indeed was a benevolent Mother Goddess. Another example is the Egyptian Seth; who was also primordially a benevolent Goddess (Seth literally translates as "Lady"). These are convincing examples. However, I must also remind the reader that there are also convincing examples of the existence of Atlantis, and of Alien intervention in the creation of humans. Such facts are taken from history, isolated, and held as proof of the silliest concepts imaginable. In my opinion, it is comparable to isolating Bible verses to prove correctness, and superiority, over others.

I want to make something clear here, however. I am not bashing feminism here. I do not ignore the damage done to women over the years—mostly thanks to the Deuteronomic School of the Hebrews, and the Church of the Christians. I am not speaking against interpreting Mythologies in new and different ways (as my own interpretation of the Lilith Mythos will show). That is, after all, what Mythology is all about. What I am speaking against here is shoddy scholarship. And, more than this, the attempt to push off personal opinions, half-truths, and even outright lies as actual history. I will interpret Myth for the modern world, but I will A) acknowledge the original interpretations, and B) make sure that my interpretation takes the older ones into account. Again, I point out that a God and its Mythology are inseparable. If I evoke Lilith, She is not just going to conform to what I wish Her to be. Yes, She will be affected by what I expect Her to be, and what my interpretation of Her is—but this is simply a slight bending of the Current, not a redefinition of it.

And with this I move on to my final goal: an interpretation of Lilith for the modern world. This is based not only on the scholarship above, but also on my own experience of this seductive beauty. And now, let us meet Lilith:


THE LILITH OF TODAY

Adam literally translates as "Mankind." He is all of us—male and female, young and old. He is, basically, civilization. Adam is the Image of the Divine; he, and all physical things, are the final result of Divine Manifestation. On the Qabalistic Tree of Life, Adam is Malkuth (Kingdom), the physical world. In Qabalistic psychology, Malkuth refers to the conscious mind. Thus, Adam is our consciousness. He is our egos, our waking selves. Adam is everything about us that imposes "proper behavior" within society.

Lilith, created along with him, is the Shadow Self. She is our subconscious, that part of us that is most animal like, defiant, uncivilized, passionate, and basically natural. She is sex. She is everything that our (screwed-up) society frowns upon; a society that has been taught for thousands of years to suppress everything within us that is most natural and enjoyable. She is just as described by the Religious interpretation—she is Babylon.

Eve is also our subconscious. However, she is that small part of our inner-selves that our conscious-selves have gotten full control over. She has no free-will of her own—being wholly a part of Adam. She is that part of ourselves that, as a civilized people, we will show to others. Eve is what has been programmed into us as "acceptable." She is the polar opposite of Lilith. She and Lilith together form the whole of the inner self.

(Let me point out that this interpretation of Adam and Eve/Lilith as the conscious and subconscious is a rather old one. The Lovers Card of the Tarot uses this symbolism, with the addition of an Angel who represents the Higher Self.)

Samael is the Archangel of Gevurah (Severity) upon the Tree of Life. He is the embodiment of Divine Severity. He is the Prince of the Seraphim—those Fiery Serpents who, at one point, Yahweh sent to punish the Israelites (see the Exodus). Samael is hardship.

Lilith's demon spawn are our own personal demons. They are neurosis and harmful criminal behavior. They are the imbalances in the mind that can lead to our destruction.
And these are the characters of the Lilith Mythos. The above interpretations of them must be held in mind at all times through the following. If so, certain aspects of the Myth begin to make a certain kind of modern sense.

For instance, Adam's insistence that he mate with Lilith in the missionary position becomes the civilized mind's attempt to reign in and suppress the animal within—to be superior to it. Lilith's flight from Eden, and to the Cave, is the banishment of our natural animal instincts to the dark recesses of our minds. Even when Adam wishes She would come back, it is too late and the damage has been done.

What damage is this? Lilith spawned thousands of demon children. These demons are born within the locked away and forgotten parts of our minds. Even though we attempt, as the Angelic Enforcers, to hunt down and slay as many of them as we can, the tide is too great to be turned; we have suppressed that which can not be suppressed. Lilith, in Her darkness, has grown the Owl Talons. By nature a beautiful creature—as our natural selves are in fact beautiful—Lilith now has the means and motive to rip us to tiny shreds. She attacks us while we sleep; and with our semen—the facts of our very daily lives—she spawns more and more demons. Before she is finished, she will slither her way back into our minds—as the Serpent in the Garden. Our conscious selves will not even see it coming; while we are occupied with our day to day foolishness, Lilith will be sweet-talking Eve into taking the fatal bite. She will attack us below the surface, in that part of ourselves we have long-since thought conquered. One moment we suddenly find ourselves with break-downs, outbursts, causing harm to others, and social and personal ruin. We have experienced the Fall from Grace.

This also applies on a social level, not simply within the mind of the individual. When viewing the myth from the wider angle, we see where Samael comes into play. What happens when the things that are natural and beautiful are suddenly labeled as wrong? They then begin to attract the dregs of society. Once there were Goddess Temples, and Priestesses adept at Sex Magick. Now, we have prostitution, strip-clubs, and brothels which are seed-beds of abuse, harmful drugs, and disease. The people who frequent these places are usually dirty and immature people with little to no social value. Individuality and Self expression is now gang activity, and social outcasts. Children who display this individuality spend their time in the principal's office or the in the corner. They are labeled as bad kids, and so bad kids they believe they are.

This is where the Rabbinical view of Lilith comes into play. The sleazy clubs, the gangs, the criminal behavior are all very seductive on the outside. The glamorous people are the Rebels who break laws and harm people. Bonnie and Clyde, Billy the Kid, Al Capone—these are our heroes. Yet, if we allow Lilith to seduce us with Her beauty, she will finally show us the ugliness that lies under her dressing. That is, when she rips into us with her Talons. The gangster is shot in a drive-by, and thus ends his glory. The prostitute has her throat cut, or dies of an overdose. And the man who frequents the brothel dies of AIDS, or perhaps as a lonely old man because a real relationship was ever beyond him.

This is the Marriage of Lilith to Samael. He is Lilith's Talons. He is the hairy male lower half of her body. These things which are so beautiful and natural actually BECOME dirty and harmful. This, in turn, fuels the view that these things are harmful in and of themselves. Society literally eats itself from the inside out—and this is the Marriage of Lilith to God. As in the Qabalistic interpretation, the flow of Divinity has been tainted; Samael/Lilith is in control, and what is good has twisted into evil. Lilith should be our ally, and yet we are pitted in combat against her. If Adam can not be forced to accept his Lilith, then Lilith will destroy him. But, those in control in society maintain that control through the suppression of Lilith—our defiance and freewill—and they would sooner see us destroyed than to lose that control.

And here enters yet another character in the Mythos: Cain. It is little known that Cain was born—not of Adam and Eve—but of Eve and the Serpent during the Temptation. Thus, Cain is actually the child of the interaction between Eve and Lilith/Samael. The clashing of the acceptable and non-acceptable. In short, Cain—full of hate, jealousy, and anger which finally explodes into murder—is the very corrupt society thus far described. His brother Abel, who was born of Adam and Eve, is the world that we wish could exist. Abel is a hope that will forever be slain by Cain.

Thank the Gods that it is not really quite as bad as all of that. There are respectable brothels and strip-clubs. There are those who display self-expression in childhood who, somehow through all of the abuse, still grow up to become respected artists of all kinds. There are those who understand the sacredness of sex. In short, there are those few who have refused to allow Samael to be wed to Lilith. Instead, they have invited Lilith to return to the Garden—promising Her that She can play mistress just as much as he plays master. They have attempted to join Lilith and Eve together, and to return them both to their rightful place within Adam. They strive to become Adam Kadmon—that Supernal Man(kind) who is greater even than the Angels.

 

Of course, few, if any, of us have attained that success. However, perhaps there is hope. Perhaps there will even return a day when a couple could make love on the street and no one bat an eye. Perhaps a day when a person could be individual and even a little rebellious without turning to crime to do so. Of course, no Utopia will ever exist in full. However, just as the Medieval Qabalist strove to unite God and His Shekinah, so too should we strive to unite Eve and Lilith, and both of them with Adam within ourselves. Only then will we have the power to rebuild the inner Temple, and aid the Shekinah's return to Adonai. Only then does Abel have a chance at survival.

This is my view of Lilith. She is the Mother of the Night, and all the dark beauty that lies within it. Lilith is the Hidden Mysteries which society would rather I not know. Lilith is my Mother, and I am one of Her demons—who wishes to take part in the dismantling of Adam's misguided way of thinking and acting. I am Adam, and I have rejected my foolish concepts of superiority over Lilith.

Lilith has Her dark side, of course. If I let Her rule over me, then She would drain my vitality as the Succubus that She is. She would rule me to the point of being little more than a thoughtless animal, useless to myself or anyone else. Instead, I accept Lilith in equality.

Just as the Wiccan God is to the Goddess, I am both Her son and Her lover.

NOTE: This interpretation of Lilith plays a major role in "The Fall from Eden" and will be elaborated somewhat in that document. http://www.lilitu.com/lilith/khephframes.html

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