H Heart: Lilith

Where there is sorrow, there is holy ground – Oscar Wilde*

What and who is at the heart of Lilith? 

What does she mean to me? Why my fascination with her?

Lilith is one of the great goddesses of ancient times – (those would have been great ‘g’ words for yesterday’s post!). She has traversed many lands – of the inner and outer kind. She has both descended and ascended. She belongs firmly in the long line of historical and mythological figures whose stories alternately scare us, jolt us, make us wonder anew –

I love the metaphor of her, the meaning of her. I feel for her rejection, my heart is pierced. I feel for her that she could not resolve this issue with Adam, that he did not listen, and that dominance was important to him. I feel for her patience in the Red Sea, the salty waters mingling with her tears, biding her time, wondering how her broken heart could be healed. I feel for her deep deep sorrow – and the holiness of that –

I feel for our world and its history from aeons back, the stories told of dismemberment and re-member-ment inter alia. I remember the earlier matriarchal myths such as Sophia, the consort of God; the Indian myth of Kali; or the Greek myths of the goddesses, Artemis, Aphrodite, Demeter and Persephone; all had Mother Nature as their Supreme Goddess. They were replaced by the worship of the monotheistic Sun God Apollo who assumed ascendency as the matriarchal goddesses began their descent and subsequent repression.

Does Lilith have any place in our social discourse? Can we relate to Lilith on a personal level?

I remember Lilith initiating change. I remember Eve and her disobedience and being blamed for the expulsion. It is fitting that we, as women and men, question ourselves as to the psychological, sociological, political and cultural ramifications of this myth that is a patriarchal one and one deeply embedded in our psyches – even if we give scant regard to the tale – 

For me, getting out of my head into my heart by having an ongoing dialogue with a myth such as Lilith, puts me back in touch with the deeper layers of my psyche, inner forces that play themselves out on the world stage –

I sense a deeper awareness of bringing the feminine back into our individual and collective consciousness for the betterment of all. Its aim is NOT the destruction of the masculine ‘principle’ but to bring those energies into play, together. They are not at war with each other; at least that is not the original or ontological intent. They are meant to blend and merge with other, each offering to the other their highest best. The denial of ‘the feminine’ has ongoing severe repercussions. Denial of it can stunt our growth on all levels – individually and collectively. We don’t have to look far to see the world for how it really is. We are thankful that there appears to be a hunger for renewal on all levels, bringing what has been denied out into the open. We are thankful to those who have and do speak out in our current times on issues that impact us all. We are thankful for those among us who honour all that is Life and Death and are heart-deepened by all that it is. We are thankful for all who toil the soil and tend to the ground of our being, past present and future – 

*Oscar Wilde: ‘De Profundis’

Thank you for reading!

 

 

 

 

 

 

45 comments on “Heart of Lilith”

  1. And I am thankful to you for keeping Lilith alive in our minds and spirits. We need to see the sacred transforming power of sorrow and grief and rebellion. We need to be reminded that we, ourselves, are sacred beloved souls, loved for exactly who and what we are and were born to be, fully deserving of respect and kindness.

    • Jeanie ~ While I agree with you in theory, too often we mistake our cultural conditioning and collective projections (fueled and emboldened by group-think) for more authentic and informed forms of rebellion, which always begin within.

      Here in the US, we frequently encounter those who would exploit our pain in order to promote the Democratic establishment and Democrats in their support of imperialism, corporatism, suppression, oppression and endless war (none of which are respectful or kind) ~ while protesting the actions of a Republican leader who does the same, only in full view, using inconsistent, obvious, and offensive language.

      Having a group of trusted friends who think as we do, and knowing ourselves to be kind and compassionate individuals, can sometimes work against us, making it more difficult to recognize and break free of our conditioning. I understand because it’s something I’ve struggled to overcome as well. None of us are immune to these temptations.

      • Susan, there was no place for me to reply to your question about using my quote: I’ll put my answer here before I reply to LB. Yes, of course. You may use my quote any way you wish. 🙂

        LB: And I agree with you in theory. But it’s a far more complex matter than it appears on the surface. We go through many levels of understanding on our way to consciousness, each a necessary stage to maturity. This can be applied to every issue in our lives, including our sense of self-esteem, worthiness, and self-love. At each stage we are buffeted by inner as well as outer forces: our soul wants to become its true self and be one with Love, while our ego wants affirmation from the outer world at whatever the cost.

        As long as our ego is in the earlier stages of psychological growth and its basic motive is to be safe and affirmed by others, we are easily deluded and misguided into believing that “Avoiding punishment and gaining Mama and Daddy’s approval means I’m loved and worthy.” “Bad” to the ego at this stage is getting punished and not being validated by one’s family of origin. Thus, we are capable of tolerating toxic situations simply to get the “love” we need (which may not be love at all, of course) because we are unaware that our essential essence is Love. In this state we see our rebelliousness as healthy without realizing nothing much has changed because we still don’t realize we have the right and personal authority to be who we really are and say what we really think. And we don’t know we’re not being real.

        Growth from each phase to the next will not happen without some sort of suffering, crisis, and yes, rebellion. One has no incentive to keep growing without suffering. Only in the latter stages of evolving consciousness are we capable of glimpsing the truth of our fundamental worthiness without delusion or inflation. Then self love is neither reactionary, selfish, rebellious, nor narcissistic, but simply a felt sense of being lovable and loved, combined with a deep trust in, and openness toward, the fundamental goodness of humanity and the miracle of life and whatever it may bring. We are no longer vulnerable to manipulation, and life is no longer a battle to be won or a hurdle to be overcome with willpower. Rather, it is an exciting adventure to be taken, step by step, toward wholeness and love, with no attachment to outcomes.

        • Thanks for your response, Jeanie, though it sounds as if we’re talking about two different things. The larger point I was *hoping* to make was that our preoccupation with and glorification of self (our individualism and pursuit of happiness, the ‘idea’ of love and our superficial understanding of it) frequently blinds us to the very real suffering of others, either caused by and/or perpetuated by the choices we make.

          Maybe (sometimes) our focus on the “fundamental goodness of humanity” is a way of denying the darker, less-noble aspects of our psyches, and of rationalizing our turning a blind-eye to those who witness and experience terrible acts of inhumanity on a daily basis, within our communities and throughout the world.

          We may never see or read about them, but they’re there just the same. Someone who’s being bombed or shot or tortured or beaten or starved or shut out might see things differently; under these conditions, and when forced to endure the indifference of evil, it takes great courage to remember what it is to love. In the US, our imperialist system commits terrible acts of inhumanity and evil every day, bringing undeserved and unnecessary suffering to millions. Yet many of us continue to support it.

          Hannah Arendt, the Jewish philosopher who escaped Nazi Germany, in her book “The Banality of Evil”, observed the ‘banal’ quality of evil, how it becomes normalized and accepted by reasonably ‘good’ and intelligent people who fail to question or think deeply or critically about what it is they’re a part of.and supporting. In this failure, they remain disconnected from the reality of its horrors. In one of her letters, she wrote:

          “It is indeed my opinion now that evil is never “radical,” that it is only extreme, and that it possesses neither depth nor any demonic dimension. It can overgrow and lay waste the whole world precisely because it spreads like a fungus on the surface. It is “thought-defying,” as I said, because thought tries to reach some depth, to go to the roots, and the moment it concerns itself with evil, it is frustrated because there is nothing. That is its “banality.” Only the good has depth that can be radical.”

          Of course, without radical depth and radical love, the wisest of words can be twisted to rationalize more empire, oppression and war. That was my point.

  2. I love exploring the Dark Goddesses, but know more about Mesopotamian Inanna than Lilith. I’m enjoying your posts. It’s curious that the Burney Relief is sometimes called Lilith and sometimes Inanna. Because of a recent synchronistic owl experience, I’m thinking of the relief and it’s large owls as Inanna, but I don’t think we know. I’m also interested that in one of the Inanna stories (1800 BCE), Lilith was considered fearful and associated with the snake. In the original texts, some think Lilith is associated with Inanna’s sister Erishkegal or the Death Goddess who is another banished and defiled goddess who becomes a gift giver when she’s shown compassion for her suffering. So much to learn.

    • Lilith is mentioned as a screech owl living in barren places somewhere in Isiaah; I’d have to look it up for the actual source. It was rather pejorative. I like that idea of the Death Goddess becoming a gift giver when she is shown compassion for her suffering. We all would be gift givers if shown compassion for our suffering. All would benefit. .. When I get to S I’ll be looking at Lilith as serpent .. shedding skins and the gift of transformation … Thank you for coming by Elaine…

  3. Hi Susan – I am going to enjoy going through these again and reading them as a whole … but the heart-warming and heart-minding are so important to our beings … yet being aware of others and so being tender-hearted as per LB’s comment above … re Martin Luther King – wise man:

    “After I left my initial comment, I remembered something Martin Luther King once said about our collective tendency to “soft-mindedness”, and of the need to cultivate a tough minded, tenderhearted approach in facing our collective challenges. So often when we speak about matters of the heart, the message gets misinterpreted as promoting *love* in a sentimental, feel-good, passive (or tuned-out) way ~ one lacking in critical thought and discernment.”

    Excellent – cheers Hilary

    • It is a lovely comment isn’t it Hilary, thank you for highlighting it. I too will be coming and going back to the comments on the posts – they really do widen the lens … Susan

  4. Languid is the flow of this post Susan. And yet, it touches upon such deep rooted ideas (planted in our psyches to boost the masculine.) And as you said:”They are meant to blend and merge with other, each offering to the other their highest best. ” Only a balanced dance between the two energies will yield the peace, the clarity, the balance we aim for ourselves as individuals and as a collective species.
    The journey is from the head to the heart, says my yoga guru.
    Your post illustrates this so well.
    Thank you.
    I is for Ishq

    • Your comment is beautiful Arti thank you. May the desired outcome of peace and clarity, balance and healing from the wound of patriarchy come sooner rather than later. Head to heart and to the top, to the highest chakra and back down again in a never ending cycle ..

  5. The world requires both the masculine and feminine energies for wholeness- some how things have gone out of balance, and control… it will take many more years to merge and blend as you state offering to the other the best…..thank you susan for sharing:)

  6. Dear Susan, As a strong feeling (INFP) type, I love it when you write with the heart’s blood and move into your beautiful, poetical heart space! It look as if “The Garden of Eden” story is your own personal myth and so your rich desire to have an inspired, and ongoing dialogue with Lilith (Wild Feminine) herself, makes so much sense. With each telling and recitation of this amazing creation story, you unearth more and more glittering jewels, bringing them up to consciousness. I love your constant hunger for this renewal, and how you ask all the big, beautiful questions. Warm and wild blessings, Deborah.

    • Thank you dear Deborah! I’m so pleased you see the glittering jewels in this wild woman … even her grief glitters –

      I wonder how I can use Jewels for J tomorrow …am very much on the fly here … thank you for your always generous responses, I sooo appreciate them and they encourage me to expand on this story as much as possible ..

  7. Hi, Susan – I greatly appreciate how you have been unraveling the Lilith story with us, leaving us with thought-provoking questions along the way and sharing your personal perspective on what fascinates you most about her. You have given us much to think about — and I always look forward to coming back for more!

  8. A conscious Lilith moves through and past her rage, into the wild, untamed spaces of the heart, longing for connection, broken and open to God and spirit. With mind and heart surrendered and opened, she begins to remember.

    • Remembering Lilith – I may use or include that for the R post, thanks LB. Thank you for your lovely words, capturing Lilith so beautifully .. ‘capturing’ isn’t the right word – but ‘holding’ her as you do in your words.

    • Susan ~ After I left my initial comment, I remembered something Martin Luther King once said about our collective tendency to “soft-mindedness”, and of the need to cultivate a tough minded, tenderhearted approach in facing our collective challenges. So often when we speak about matters of the heart, the message gets misinterpreted as promoting *love* in a sentimental, feel-good, passive (or tuned-out) way ~ one lacking in critical thought and discernment.

      When conscious, Lilith’s openhearted way of loving combines both mind and heart. The story of Adam rejecting Lilith’s request symbolizes the need to value both masculine and feminine aspects within the human psyche, without rejecting either, or elevating one over the other ~ something most of us seem to agree on, at least in the abstract.

      I wish I saw more evidence of a growing awareness which combines the toughmindedness and tenderheartedness Dr. King spoke of, but I don’t.

      • That is precisely what is needed LB – a tough minded yet gentle and tender hearted approach – MLK put the abstract into real heartfelt words …

        I hope I made it clear enough when I said about masculine and feminine energies, or aspects, and the one not being over-valued over the other – you express this much more clearly!

        I do see women making inroads into the world in meaningful ways. I also see the opposite happening – eg women’s leagues here in our country not being forceful enough in condemning barbaric practices such as rape or genital mutilation, or abuse within the home. A sense of complacency from those who could and don’t speak loudly enough …

  9. I like the idea of Lilith initiating change, as long as it’s for the better. The image of Lilith as impersonating the feminine spirit is intriguing. Even as a plain girl, I imagined myself as a woman of mystery and intrigue. Ha!

    • She’s one of many who are personifications of the feminine spirit Marian! With all her mystery and intrigue reflected in us! You may be a plain girl but you are also a fancy girl! I so enjoy your plain and fancy girl blog! Thank you for coming by!

    • O dear, Beth! Life is discouraging much of the time when we see what we’ve got ourselves into. Resolving it all requires a different way – a different approach .. Thank you for coming by –

  10. Love the perspective you have shared. The masculine energy and feminine energy are very much out of balance in the current scenario. We must gain awareness of each energy and harness them together for collective growth.

    • Thanks Shilpa .. you hit the nail on the head! We can each (man and woman) find our inner masculine and feminine, anima and animus in Jungian parlance and find the animating spark that fires us individually as well as collectively ..

  11. I think the real gift of the Lilith story is that it IS a heart story – holding it entirely in the head isn’t helpful. At least for me. But then again, I think that’s the entire point of the Divine Feminine. Relationship with (which I think of on the horizontal plane) as opposed to the vertical Divine Masculine. And when Divine Masculine got misqualified as power over, we were lost for a long, long time.

    • That’s it Deborah, the heart IS the heart of the matter with regard to the Divine Feminine. I love the graphic you present with the horizontal and vertical and the ideal relationship between the two, thank you so much! I’m learning to get out of the head and into the heart …

  12. You rightly name the importance of the both/and with the masculine and feminine energies needing to conspire, within and between us. I’ve lived out some of Lilith’s energy in my life in an unconscious way, rebelliously challenging the status quo, but this did not give me access to the depths of her wisdom and authentic power. There are so many forgotten, banished layers to her Being that it takes great courage and kindly persistence to reclaim and embody. Lilith is never satisfied with just a conceptual nod or shallow understanding. She demands a complete surrender to the realms she calls ‘home’ and an embodiment that utterly displaces ego, aspiration, and arrogance. Thank you again, Susan, for boldly and fully outlining her qualities of character and her role and responsibilities (are those ‘R’ words?) in our world at this pivotal time. I look forward to more…

    • Thank you so much Andrea for your thoughtful and wonderful response. Her wholeness is largely forgotten – we too forget our wholeness and/or forget to embody all the layers. I will no doubt use the 3 R’s .. Reclaiming, Role and Responsibility! Re-member-ing – putting the pieces back together again. Her different Realms ..

      A post or two back I responded to your comment – when you gave us the link to The Great Mother – such a beautiful piece of writing that I have read and digested a few times over these last few days – and also requested in a further response that with your permission I excerpt some of it, acknowledging you of course ..

      I agree, it is a pivotal time ..

  13. Good thoughts from an open heart. Cooperation and appreciation of differences is what balances the world. Sadly there are those people who prefer imbalance, as long as it benefits them, of course. Same as it ever was.

    • Thanks Ally Bean for your thoughtful comment … some imbalance I guess may be necessary as a motivating factor, but to the extreme that we see it is another story, although maybe it’s an old old story …

  14. My heart truly goes out to Lilith. To me it is sad that God created man with an ego where he would not listen or compromise with Lilith. Sadly, I think this mindset has controlled the dynamics of this world. I truly hope that now that the feminine voice is growing stronger that more people will listen and it will help change the dynamics in the world. Lovely Post, Susan. Thanks!

    • Thanks Gwynn – I’m glad your heart goes out to Lilith. But, like all of us we can be healed though who knows how long it may take. But those underlying dynamics and wounds are still there – the not listening, not hearing – but we’re opening up, men and women …

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