The name Lilith is derived from the Assyrian-Babylonian word LILITU, meaning "wind spirit".

In ancient times we find the hypothesis of an invisible earth satellite known as Nephtys, to which Pitagora gave the name "Anti-Earth". This heavenly body, which absorbs and doesn't reflect sunlight, is the one who better represents the archetype of Lilith, the provocative and lustful creature, who rebels against the first man by copulating with demons and forcing Jahvé to create Eve. Since then until today, the image of "negative" feminine is part of every civilization: evil goddesses, pythonesses, necromancers, sorceresses, soothsayers and witches, who generally were ugly and bad, but also satanic charmers, able to push a man to perdition. In this way sexuality became synonymous with sin, dirty thing, loss of reason! That's why the "obscure side" of our erotic charge finds in the Black Moon, known by everybody as Lilith, the reference star and protecting goddess.

/From the article "Lilith: the "first" woman by Clara Negri/

The figure of Lilith, daughter of the goddess Mehitabel, is a very complex one. Her image differs from culture to culture, becoming more and more demoniac as time goes on and patriarchal values begin to gain dominance.

In ancient Sumeria she was regarded as the "left hand" of the Great Goddess Inanna. She assisted her by bringing the men to the goddess' temples, to worship her by participating in "Tantric" rites with the temple-women. As a result of this role, Lilith became known as seducer of men and as harlot.

Among the Semitic speaking peoples of Mesopotamia she was first a figure similar to Lil, a Sumerian goddess of destructive winds and storms. When Hebrew/Semitic morals became dominant in the Near East she was equated and merged with Lamashtu, a demonic female spirit (sometimes witch) known in Syria as a killer of children. Here she acquired her characterization as a winged demon of the night (Talmud), as dangerous vampire and succubus (Zohar), as mother of the incubi and as screeching night-owl (Bible).

I do not feel that any God or Goddess can be divorced from Their mythos. As I have stated elsewhere, a Mythology is the Soul of the God(s) it depicts. Yet, if one were to call upon Great Marduk, He would have full memory of constructing the city. Likewise, we know that Adam and Eve did not exist as the "first humans." Yet, Lilith has full memory of Eden, the Fall, and every other event depicted in Genesis and the various Hebraic Legends. It is thus that Lilith, though She is not the vile and disgusting ArchDemon envisioned by the early Judaic Peoples, is nevertheless affected by these conceptions of Her. Her Dark aspects, even the nastiest ones, are a part of Her, regardless of modern attempts to "liberate" Her. Lilith was not originally a benevolent Goddess who was raped by the Patriarchy.

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The Historical origin of Lilith

The first myth I wish to dispel is that Lilith was originally found in the ancient land of Sumeria. Her roots do certainly extend that far, but Lilith Herself is not to be found among that massive pantheon of Gods and Demons.

In Sumerian, the word "Lil" means "Air." Enlil, for instance, was the Lord (En) of Air (Lil). The oldest known term relating to Lilith would be the Sumerian word "Lili" (plural "Lilitu"), which seems to imply the same definition as our word "spirit." In many ancient cultures, the same word for "air" or "breath" would also be used for "spirit." The very word "spiritus" is one such example. The Hebrew "ruach" is another. Therefore, the Lilitu were either a specific type of demon, or were simply "spirits" in general.

Normally, Lilith is thought to have been a Sumerian Succubus. And, in fact, there was such a creature in Sumer-Babylonia who surely had it's part in the Hebrew conception of Lilith. This being was known as the "Ardat Lili." "Ardatu" was a term that described a young woman of marrying age. Thus, the Ardat Lili was a young female spirit—the Succubus—the demoness credited with "night-hag syndrome." Most of us have experienced this once or twice—where the victim awakens to find that he is being restrained and paralyzed by an unseen force (this is a "chemical malfunction" of the body). She is also said to cause erotic dreams, thus robbing the male of semen and spiritual vitality. Of course, there is also a male version of this—the incubus—but I will not be addressing this creature here.

It is also interesting to note that the Sumerian word for "wantonness" was "Lulu." The word for "luxuriousness" was "Lalu." Also, the very word for "evil" was "Limnu." This has an obvious relation to the word Lili (and Ardat Lili specifically); not just in the similarity of pronunciation and spelling, but also in the very definition of the words. Keep in mind that these ancient languages did not possess the specific definition of our modern words. A single word would indicate any one of a number of related concepts.

This does not exhaust the etymology of Lilith. However, the word-play does not continue until the Hebrew Captivity in Babylon (600 BCE), and I do not wish to jump ahead just yet. Still concerning Sumer, there are two instances that are generally seen as proof of Lilith's existence there.

One is a mythos in which a female demon takes residence within the Goddess Inanna's sacred Tree of Life—thus effectively stunting the Tree's growth and production. This demoness is supposed to be Lilith Herself, whom the hero Gilgamesh finally forces out of the Tree and into the desert. However, it turns out that there is no basis for assuming this creature is Lilith, or even an Ardat Lili. It was Kramer who translated, as "Lilith," the word "ki-sikil-lil-la-ke." Where the word for air is obviously present, there is no indication of a Lilith—anymore than the presence of the word "ki" (Earth) indicates the Earth Goddess Ki. Perhaps Kramer was concentrating on the two syllables "lil-la."

The second instance is the famous plaque which depicts a woman with owl talons and wings, standing upon two lions, with two owls flanking her on either side. It was the above (mis)translation by Kramer that was used to interpret this figure as Lilith. Of course, as the demoness of the Tree is not Lilith, then surely the woman in the sculpture is not either.
There is also a note that I wish to add here. In the Torah, there is said to be one reference to Lilith—Isaiah XXXIV:14. The verse speaks of a Screech Owl, and this is said to indicate Lilith by way of the above-mentioned plaque. This instance is even used to argue that Lilith's Name is derived from the Hebrew term for "to screech." However, nothing could be farther from the truth in either case. Such relations are accepted Qabalistic practices, but they cannot be used in a scholarly/historic sense.

Talmud citations are informed by the translations of I. Epstein. (The Babylonian Talmud. London: Socino Press, 1978) and Raphael Patai, Patai81, pp. 184f.).

Nathan Nata Poira, Tuv haAretz, p 19

Know that there are seventy heavenly patrons, one appointed over each nation, and they all are under the rule of Samael and Rahab. Rahab was given as his share all the borders of Egypt, which measures 400 by 400 parsangs Samael was given four kingdoms, and in each of them he has a concubine. The names of his concubines are: Lilith, whom he took as his consort, and she is the first one; the second is Naamah; the third, Even Maskit; and the fourth, Igrat daughter of Mahalath. and the four kingdoms are: first the kingdom of Damascus, in which is found the house of Rimmon; the second, the kingdom of Tyre, which is opposite the land of Israel; the third, the kingdom of Malta, which formerly was called Rhodos (?); and the fourth, the kingdom called Granata [Granada], and some say that it is the kingdom of Ishmael. And in each of these four kingdoms dwells one of the four aforementioned concubines. (Patai81:460f)

Note in the following passages that there are two different characters that go by the name of Lilith. This is also present in the Kohen Brothers


Moses Cordovero, Pardes Rimmonim 186d

The ancient ones explained that there are two Liliths, one little and one great. The great one is the spouse of Samael, and she is a woman of harlotry, and the little one is the spouse of Ashmodai. And about this Lilith, the bride of Samael, the Geonim explained the she controls 480 legions as is the numerical value of her name. And on the Day of Atonement they go forth into the deserts, they march, and she screeches for she is the princess of screeching And Mahalath daughter of Ishmael, she too is a concubine of Samael, and the two [Lilith and Mahalath] go forth with 478 legions. She goes and sings in the Holy Tongue songs and paens. And when the two meet on the Day of Atonement they quarrel there in the desert.

They strive, the one with the other, until their voices rise up to heaven, and the earth shakes with their clamor. And all this is brought about by the Holy One, blessed be He, so that they should not accuse Israel while they [Israel] pray. And others wrote that that husk [i.e., demoness] is called Meshullahel [Messenger of God], and the reason is that she sends out evil angels, may the Merciful One destroy them! And we found it written that the wicked Samael and the evil Lilith have the likeness of a couple which, with the intermediacy of a groomsman, receives an emanation of evil and insolence, flowing from the one to the other. And about this mystery it is written, And on that day the Lord with His sore and great and strong sword will punish Leviathan the Slant Serpent, and Leviathan the Tortuous Serpent, and He will slay the Dragon that is in the sea (Isa. 27:1). Leviathan is the connection and the coupling between the two who have the likeness of serpents.[2] Therefore it is doubled: the Slant Serpent corresponding to Samael, and the Tortuous Serpent corresponding to Lilith.... (Patai81:464f)

The DragonAbove is the BlindPrince who has the likeness of an intermediary groomsman between Samael and Lilith, and his name is Tanin'iver, BlindDragon. And he is like a blind dragon...and it is he who brings about the adhesion and coupling between Samael and Lilith. Had he been created whole, in the completeness of his emanation, he would have destroyed the world in one minute. (Patai81:458)

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