April AtoZ N Nature Narrative and New Moon Lilith

N – Nature, Narrative and New Moon: Lilith

I’ve yet to see the new moon, maybe later tonight if the skies are clear.

What is it about a new moon? I think of many things, the dark invisible side of the moon, slowly coming to its fullness. Following its natural cycles of ebb and flow, light and dark. From the nigredo to the albedo – not only in the moon cycle but for all men and women, who go through the night of the nigredo (blackness – the dark night of the soul) and who seek wholeness within and peace without.

Is it time to set a new narrative for Lilith and free her from the negative connotations attributed to her? Yes, she does own many of those nasty qualities e.g. overly aggressive, secretiveness, deceit, addictions, flightiness, as do we all, men and women. We have blind spots to those qualities in ourselves, seeing them more readily in others.

How much are we conditioned by the Thou shalt Not commands? By our parents, schools, colleges, religious organisations? What of the natural needs of Lilith, her need to experiment more in the Garden instead of living in a sort of narcissistic langour? There was no room for negotiation or discussion. Her needs, especially those of her bodily and sensual ones, were distrusted and disregarded and just as worse, repressed. Anything that is repressed into the deepest layers of one’s psyche is in danger of erupting at a moment’s notice, like a volcano, spreading poisonous lava and gases in its path. Is it any wonder that an insensitive, thoughtless remark, made by that man or woman, touches a deep nerve within us and we explode in fury, our response seemingly inappropriate to the event?  Also, we are so numbed by political events and their nefarious agendas and the cruelty of our world that we are in danger of turning to stone –

If we can sit awhile with those painful feelings, even if we feel momentarily like wringing our child’s neck for breaking yet another glass, for having a temper tantrum, or we fantasise about setting the breaks to fail on the car of person who stole our partner and wishing ill upon the partner too, these are real feelings and these impulses are a natural expression of the life force. They do not have to be acted upon. It requires a conscious suffering, much like Lilith in the depths of the Red Sea, for a newer more constructive re-orientation.

Mother Nature – we spent a few hours yesterday afternoon at the Plettenberg Bay Nature Reserve a little way away. We were thrilled to see lion, cheetah, buffalo, giraffe, elephants, and much more – below is a brief video clip of those magnificent matriarchs – Nature is never narrow, always enriching …

May the new moon tonight herald new growth and nurturing.

Thank you for reading!

AtoZ Blog Challenge M Lilith as Metaphor

M Lilith as Metaphor 

 Nietzsche called truth “a mobile army of metaphors”.

As I write, I’m aware of the strikes by the UK, US and France into Syria, to mitigate against the use of chemical weapons Syria is believed to have used, such strikes to act as a deterrent. My thoughts and prayers are with us all.

The lotus, whose original home is as a seed in the mud, blossoms when its time is right. It rises to her full expansive flowering, floating upon the waters of the lakes and rivers (hopefully pristine), petals turned up, basking in the sun in the light of day, before she folds herself to rest in the ‘curtain of night’ – to another unfolding the following day – 

I like viewing and experiencing Lilith metaphorically. Like the lotus, Lilith burst forth into the world, from dust and ashes, from the same clay at the same time as Adam. I like to see her a seed, containing all potential, germinating, like the fully fledged tree is contained in the acorn. Its beginnings follow a natural effort – it’s shells to be pierced and shattered and to burst forth to allow its further growth –

Sometimes the soil in which it grows is dry and arid; sometimes fertile and receptive. I see the metaphor in our everyday lives as well. Sometimes the seed grows stunted and withers away or gets struck down midway, earlier or later in its growth, maybe to be revived and renewed when attended to and fertilised with tender loving care …

Like the moon, Lilith waxes and wanes. We also experience those cycles of light and dark, fullness and emptiness, brightness and dimness, visibility and visibility. 

Lilith means both ‘light’ and ‘night’. Her associations with the moon has associations with the feminine. Sometimes soft and diffuse, sometimes reflective, sometimes non-reflective emitting no light, sometimes metaphorically experienced in raging seas and storms –.

Lilith’s emotions were highly charged and they still are. Many times our woundedness is insufficiently differentiated or clarified and we don’t take the time and hard work involved in digging to its source. We experience her in our everyday lives when she acts out her woundedness by eg affairs, spending wildly, ongoing dramas, addictions, being mean and nasty, over-or-under-eating, being stuck in the mud, or a stick in the mud…

The primordial feminine very often appears as a monstrous serpent. She appears in our dreams as a deformed creature, a tidal wave about to envelop us, a car smash, a stranger holding a knife to our throats. She is part of us. 

Yet it is out of that devouring festering darkness that this energy can be transformed. The energy that has been used in blocking emotions and keeping things hidden and avoided, can be released and freed in order to use it constructively, in a life-affirming way. Lilith and the feminine are ‘…open to – and able to integrate – woundedness, pain, and ugliness, as well as joy and beauty’.*

What other force is there greater than the moon that pulls the oceans from shore to shore? Its force is less diffuse, less direct, less definite, yet no less powerful. What a lovely metaphor for Lilith – 

*Edward C. Whitmont, Return of the Goddess Arkana 1982 pg 197

Thank you for reading! I really appreciate your comments. My perspective is widened and I feel engaged.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

L Lilith A to Z blog challenge

L Lilith – 

 Lilith, the bringer of Light – into the darkness. I liken her to the leviathan that dwells in the deep dark sea, unseen, hidden yet there.

What loss Lilith must have felt when she was thrown out of Paradise, of all that was pleasant and good, until a lethargy began to set in her relationship with Adam and which she questioned. What loss we all feel at times when personal tragedy strikes. Earthquakes on the inner level. We feel the aching loss of Mother Nature too, when the natural cycles are disrupted by flooding, drought and fires and too often by those in power’s lust for more and more. Our link to her deep rhythmic cycles are broken – and our natural instincts are greatly lessened. This is true for both men and women …

Do we have a universal longing to return to the containment of love being given and returned? Do we sense a disillusionment with ourselves and our lives and the way of the world? Are we so lethargic because we feel powerless? Do we have to pay a price if peace or balance or harmony is ever be achieved? What is that price? I’ll hopefully elaborate on that in a later post.

Legend tells that when Adam and Eve departed in shame from the Garden of Eden, Adam had his arm around Eve, trying to comfort her in her weeping and loss. Lilies sprang up from the ground where her tears fell. Lilies often adorn the caskets of the dead and can be part of the floral arrangements in places of worship where the dead are laid to rest ..

I wonder sometimes if Adam mourned the loss of Lilith, and whether men and woman currently do too. I wonder if he considered her dark chthonic powers and whether that energy that they had between them could have been turned into something more loving and compassionate. Maybe it’s a reasonable hypothesis that he saw Lilith as someone to be tamed and lulled into how he wanted her to be, much like mankind has an agenda to tame nature and make it subservient to his needs – and how much as women we collude in trying to live up to a false ideal –

The picture above is one I took several months ago at night. It’s from my garden – a little solar lamp standing in the middle of some plants. It really is small, the lamp that is, but I love how it casts its glow – may your inner lamp glow and lessen the shadows..

Thank you for reading!

 

 

K Keys to Knowledge Lilith

     K: Keys, Knots, Knowledge: Lilith

“If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.”
Elaine Pagels, Insights from the Secret Teachings of Jesus: The Gospel of Thomas

Keys are used to close and unlock, to open or close. If, for a door to open, will we step inside to what lies beyond even if we do not know what is there? Or do we lock that door forever? We are keyed up when life does not go the way it is planned, and tie ourselves into knots.

Lilith evokes many reactions, not least dismissing her with disdain as not real, merely a tale from the past that has sweet nothing to do with us. We’ve moved on, it’s gone, old news, old hat, we’re getting on with our lives, no time for this mad, bad and sad woman who took newly born babies from their suckling mothers, robbed men of their powers of logic with her sensuous charms inter alia and blasphemed against G.d.

 The past very much informs the present – and the future. The knots we’ve made, knowingly or unknowingly, are hard to untie when we deny our past. The wounds that women and men have suffered are real. Not only humans but our planet is suffering and is in grave danger. How is it that our seas and river are clogged with plastic and are seriously threatened; as are the rich and beautiful coral homes to fish and other sea creatures, a delight to those who swim close by; to lands that are grabbed, forcing people off them in order to lay pipe lines that break and leak, pumping its toxic effluence into the soil, rivers and sea in search of more affluence for the few. The war machine ever present –

The wounds to Great Mother Nature, are plain to see.

The wounds that Lilith suffered, may not be the same as those we have and conceal today. Our journeys may be quite unlike hers, but suffer them she did, refusing to be a scape-goat.

The wounds we humans suffer and hide are in plain sight. Is depression and anxiety prevalent in the western world? Do we feed the fraternity of pharma, unthinking, uncaring as they appear to be? Like other ‘big brothers’ – Could depression in part be because of baggage we still carry from the past – our parents’ un-lived lives – and we live lives of quiet desperation? Because we are not living a life of our own self-expression? This is not to diminish those who suffer from deep life destroying depression – it is very real and I am witness to it in a family member. Pharmaceuticals would be absolutely necessary. I do not walk in those shoes, so I can only imagine … and empathise … 

What lies behind that door? Will we take the risk of using one or two of available keys to unlock it? And step beyond the boundary?

Thank you for reading!

A – Z J Job and Lilith

J Job & Lilith

CG Jung CW 10, para 310. ‘Even if the whole earth will fall to pieces, the unity of the psyche would never be shattered. And the wider and more numerous the fissures on the surface, the more the unity is strengthened in the depths’.

On our flight down to Plettenberg Bay from Johannesburg this morning, I was wondering about what to say about Lilith and the J headline and words for this post. I had been thinking of jewels, judgment, justice, and some other words that I forget right now. I am missing a talk that Dr. Deon van Zyl is giving this Friday evening to the Jung Centre here in Johannesburg on ‘Job’ from the Old Testament; I would have loved to attend but since I’m not there, this is of course impossible.

I’m in a small study group that meets most Monday evenings. We’ve been meeting for the last 15 years or so. Last year we tackled Job, initially reading straight from the Old Testament in our bibles and thereafter studying C.G. Jung’s “Answer to Job”. We actually read ”Answer to Job” about 10 years ago and I remember feeling very, very disturbed by it. Even ill at ease. I was out of sorts for a long while during and after the reading of it. To me it seemed blasphemous at times. We decided to tackle it again last year and see if and how our perceptions had changed. It took the whole of last year.

So, why Job and Lilith?

Lilith is first put through the fire by a judgmental and vengeful G.d; Job finds himself face to face with the most high and he too goes through the fire losing his livelihood, his family, his health. Like Lilith, Job questions ‘why’? Job dialogues with G.d; Lilith does not.

Both stories or myths belong in the archetypal realm. Lilith and Job had different responses for the suffering imposed upon them. Is there any relevance to these existential issues in understanding or coming to terms with the nature of human lived experience?..

Jung, in his book Answer to Job, presses upon the reader that he writes as ‘.. a modern man with a Christian education and background (who) comes to terms with the divine darkness which is unveiled in the Book of Job, and what effect it has on him” Jung, C.W. 9, par. 561.

Lilith does that too – with the Patience of Job –

In spite of the fissures of earthquake magnitude, the unity of the inner depths is strengthened. The divine darkness is revealed.

Each of us has different ways of experiencing and responding to the slings and arrows that life brings. We are many times required to have the Patience of Job as the amoral cycle of creation & destruction, change & re-creation is iterated.

Thank you for reading!

 

 

 

I Imagining Lilith

I: Imagining Lilith

What insight do I gain by imagining Lilith’s action of returning to her younger sister Eve in the Garden, she who was now wife to Adam? In disguise as a serpent no less? And the repercussions of it all? Maybe the whole drama was a necessary Fate, initiating the break from unconsciousness to consciousness. Have I allowed any insights to mature sufficiently so that I can say that they feel real? Am I inspired by her? 

Are such stories which invade my consciousness an invitation to consider the real impact of patriarchy? What has the rise of consciousness really meant? 

Yes, mythological stories are of value for me. Especially when I see patriarchy’s historical prevalence and one sided view of women alive and ‘well’ in today’s world. This is not to say that women are innocent – often they are not, in their collusion with ego ambitions of conquer and control at all costs. I’m very much in favour of a healthy, well-adapted and necessary ego – but when we identify with an overbearing and fixed one, we are in trouble.

I’ve learned that history shows that the natural, instinctual impulses of women were seen as a threat to the male order’s emerging ego consciousness – and still today we fear the feminine.

Lilith took time to process this event of being an outcast and isolated from the familiar. I imagine her not only in the deep waters of the Red Sea, but also in the fire. I imagine her kindling the fire, wondering about being reduced to ashes, yet feeling akin to the fire’s flames and ashes. I imagine her wondering if she is is being forged and fashioned in some alchemical way by her burning. She felt a relationship with all that was as she was burning and drowning. Passive, struck down one moment, and yet an active, initiating force was building in her –

Many of us are initiated into the darker side of life through lightning strikes and all sorts of outer circumstances eg death, divorce, betrayal, illness, estrangement from family and friends. Do we truly reflect on our sadness and deep felt emotions when this happens? Can we suffer our anguish and agony? Even if it means meeting the Lilith within, with all her terrifying manifestations –

You need chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star. Friedrich Nietzsche

Tell me, what is it that you plan to do with your wild and precious life? Mary Oliver

Thank you for reading! I much appreciate your visiting and your wonderful comments!

(The picture above is a photograph of a very beautiful ‘stone’ which I found somewhere and which I planned to plant under a tree in Botswana when I was there a few years ago, where my brother David is buried. I couldn’t find it in my back pack when the time came. On another later occasion when I was down in Cape Town, I tossed it from the pier jutting out into the sea where the ashes of my mother and father were strewn so many years ago. It was for David too – The stone was hard yet there was a wonderful softness about it also .. it reminded me of Lilith – like velvet, yet iron hard).

Heart of Lilith

 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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

G Grounded Lilith

April A-Z G Grounded – Lilith

LB made a comment last night on my yesterday’s post ‘F – Fear of the Dark Feminine: Lilith’.

LBs comment: ‘We fear her truth because it’s grounded in the beauty of the *real*, and in what’s too terrible for most (men and women) to imagine ~ about themselves, their beliefs, tribes and nations. A conscious and informed Lilith combines critical thought with intuition and visceral knowing, as she constantly challenges the too-narrow doctrine and homogeneous thinking of the group and official narrative’. 

What about the order: you are grounded?

In our once monthly Saturday dream workshop this morning, this theme of groundedness came up in someone’s dream. Again, I thought of it’s opposite, of being grounded, in the negative sense. So, instead of headlining my G post with words such as Growth, Gold, Gnosis, I’m writing about grounded as it pertains to Lilith – in both senses.

What does it mean to feel grounded? Is it to feel that one is on the right track in one’s life, that one is true to one’s self, that there is certainty and predictability in some things and that we can face uncertainty as it comes. That we have a roof over our heads, food on the table, can walk in the neighbourhood, educate our children, bringing them up in stable homes in spite of the normal dysfunction that comes with the territory.

When we are told, you are grounded! – as in: ‘you are not allowed, you may not, you stay where you are, in the corner, do not move, you are not deserving, you are a worthless piece of garbage, do not waste space …’? – what then?

Harsh words … which Lilith faced.

Her descent to the Red Sea, ungrounded from Paradise, gave her time to reflect on her estrangement. I see her in the watery depths, wet also from her tears of rage and frustration, anger and deep sadness at her plight. She sits still and doesn’t move, yet feels movement in the stillness. She feels a sharpening of her wits and a loosening of her bonds. She feels looser yet tighter at the same time. Her perceptions and attitude change – she sees that there is more – out of her grasp for now but worthwhile reaching for and waiting for.

So, she ascends – in the guise of a serpent. To the upper ground. To take matters into her own hands and to ensure that Eve does not suffer the same fate as she, one of sterility, subordination and obedience to the status quo.

 ‘ …A conscious and informed Lilith combines critical thought with intuition and visceral knowing, as she constantly challenges the too-narrow doctrine and homogeneous thinking of the group and official narrative’.

Lilith, both grounded and ungrounded, illustrates that there is a way through the conditioning of mass thinking and way of being. There is light in the darkness. Lilith means among other meanings, the bringer of Light …

Thank you for reading!

 

F Fear of the Dark Feminine Lilith

Fear of the Dark Feminine: Lilith

‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone’ : Old Testament, Psalms 118 vs 22.

Meister Eckhart: The ground of the soul is dark.

Barbara Koltuv, in her book The Book of Lilith says: ‘Experiencing Lilith in her many forms is part of the process of giving birth to the feminine self‘.

Hannelore Traugott, German Lilith expert:  ‘ .. Lilith…is striving to become conscious again. Let’s call it archaic energy, spiritual femininity, something akin to the wisdom of the goddess. As long as we don’t have access to this energy we experience it psychologically as loss, suppression, isolation, emptiness, addiction and above all, power struggles’.

Lilith is seen as all we are NOT, she who is the container for the dark, earthy creative feminine. We have all sought to repress her through our projections. We have put her out there, as not belonging to us and the hard work is bringing her in again, allowing her her rightful place within our psyches.

Both men and women have suffered because of the repression of the feminine principle. Oddly enough, this served for the arising of ego-consciousness as masculine values of perception, behaviour and feeling came to be of supreme value. Bringing the feminine back into our lives will be a bringing back of the cornerstone that was rejected.

 The ego-consciousness of patriarchy devalued the life-death-rebirth, instinctual values of women. Men took a stand against women for fear of falling prey to their wiles and seductive powers. Mary Magdalene was seen as both prophetess and whore, the Black Madonna covered over and unknown …

The feminine principle stands for all that is life giving as well as life destroying, paradoxical though that may seem. It stands for chaos from which order emerges in a new transformative, transcendent form. It is both joyful and grieving. It is dark and fecund, like the soil of the earth. It embraces ALL in life, and in death. Pain and suffering, sorrow, grief, anger, destruction, wildness, non-conformity, death and darkness are all embraced by Lilith. She also embraces compassion, joy, creativity, light, playfulness, mothering, nurturing, birthing, ugliness and beauty. She devours and she transforms. Nothing is meaningless to her. She knows that ALL is part of the whole of life and death (like Kali). Wanting only the light and the good and the heights is an awful denial of the depths and is overly fixed and one-sided which leaves little or no room for manoeuvre.

This is not a call for a re-emergence of the matriarchal archetype over the patriarchal archetype but for an integration of the two. If these two complementary archetypes are brought into play with each other, each recognising the value of the other, we would be on the way to being more psychologically whole as we become more aware and awakened on a personal and collective level.

Is she calling us to our own darkness and depth? Can darkness and depth be the deep unsolvable mystery of all mysteries? Have we been fleeing from the depths in our desperate desire to reach the heights?

How to integrate these energies is our personal and collective challenge.

It is important to be aware of Lilith’s divine and demonic powers. She is not to be cast out and banished. She needs to be redeemed through our conscious awareness of her. Becoming conscious of the conflict is an achievement.

Thank you for reading! (did you notice the man with the moustache in the middle of the women in the top picture?)

 

 

 

 

E Eve Lilith’s sister

E : Eve, Lilith’s sister

In an earlier post in this thread of Lilith, I mentioned Lilith & Eve in the Garden of Eden as being the first trailblazers. Please remember that I am treating this story as a myth for the purpose of extracting some psychological meanings from the acts of Lilith who challenged Adam, and Eve who disobeyed the prohibition of not eating the apple.

Many authors, historians & theologians who have written about the fall from Paradise, view it as the rise from an ouroboric, unconscious, innocent and childlike state; that something had to happen to precipitate Eve & Adam’s departure from the Garden. For Paul Tillich (Western theologian), the Fall represented ‘…a fall from the state of dreaming innocence…’ ‘…and awakening from potentiality into actuality; and that the ‘fall’ was necessary for the development of humankind, a symbol for the human situation, not a story of an event that happened ‘once upon a time’.

I imagine Lilith in the depths of the Red Sea pondering her Fate and that of Eve. She temporarily shed her pain and anguish and returned in disguise as a serpent (I’ll write later of Lilith as serpent and symbol of transformation) and tempted Eve to take the apple. I imagine Eve being presented with a choice – to remain forever dependent in the Garden or to experience the world beyond, even given the very high stakes.

She took the apple, chewed and swallowed it, pips and all. And gave it to Adam to do the same. The digesting came later but the immediate consequence was the Authority admonishing Adam for eating the apple. Adam blamed Eve, and Eve blamed the serpent. This issue of blaming and not being accountable continues today in all spheres of society.  Even worse, denial –

From a world of perfect (unconscious) unity, they were immediately thrust into a new world, that of duality. Thrust into a world of as yet unknown opposites. To experience pain and pleasure, life and death, good and evil, divinity and mortality. Now they were fixed by time and space, fixed by corruptible bodies whose forms would not endure.

Is there meaning in disobeying injunctions and expulsion from Paradise? Are there times in our lives when we go against the taboo? A few myths come to mind – Bluebeard’s wife using the key she was prohibited from using to open a certain door which she did while he was away a’hunting, and discovering his dreadful secret. Psyche going against Eros’ injunction to not look upon him in his aware state. Anthony Stevens writes about breaking the taboo* : ‘Expulsion from Paradise results in contact with the real world and a development in consciousness’. ‘Disobedience is about defying the dominant male, refusing to be subordinate and coming to selfhood. It is a necessary step on the path to individuation, the realisation in consciousness of one’s full Self-potential’. **

“The Garden is a metaphor for the following: our minds, and our thinking in terms of pairs of opposites – man and woman, good and evil -are as holy as that of a god. Joseph Campbell

Thank you for reading!

*Anthony Stevens: Ariadne’s Clue: A Guide to the Symbols of Mankind

** Robert Johnson: She: Understanding Feminine Psychology

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

D Daimon or Daemon

D: Lilith: Daimon or Demon

Daimon is from the Greek diamôn.

Socrates wrote of his daimon somewhat disparagingly when he said that sometimes his daimon played tricks on him and prevented him from the task at hand. Significantly, his daimon did not prompt him to do something else in its place. The daimon left it up to Socrates, in part so that Socrates retained his own authority and also that the daimon bore no blame. The daimon was often a feminine whisper –

Daimon can be seen as the higher part of a human’s spirit or as a gift, that inner voice that guides us if we care to listen well. It can be inspirational and enlightening …

Can the demons we deal with in our everyday lives be transformed? I imagine Lilith sitting in the depths of the Red Sea and plotting her revenge in the most demonic way possible. I feel like that sometimes when I fantasise about gouging out the eyes of the idiot driver who almost ran me over, or slicing off the extremities of women abusers, traffickers, child molesters. The depth of my feeling scares me. I acknowledge succumbing to self-destructive behaviour when I over eat like a demon. It is only afterwards when I reflect and digest my disgust at myself of over-eating completely unconsciously. I give a nod to Lilith when I see her in me, as a personification of the destructive demonic force – my ‘hunger’ for something that was there and which I did not acknowledge it for what it was, unconsciously turning it against myself.

Relating to Lilith in a more compassionate way, we can see in her, some of ourselves. We all get into horribly dark places at times when we feel unloved, unappreciated, unvalued, unfairly treated, exiled even from ourselves and we feel that dark, destructive and dangerous energy rising. Too often we act out our feelings of rage and despair, stuffing ourselves with food, whiskey, drugs, anything, to rid us, numb us, of those uncomfortable feelings and emotions.

 Lilith’s time alone in the depths of Red Sea was a time when all the demons invaded her. She must have felt the whole range of emotions experienced by us. 

What are we to do with that energy? Do we disregard it as too foreign to ourselves? Can we bring this dark Lilith energy out of the shadows and connect to it in a different way, releasing some of its demonic powers by acknowledging her? Any dark energy stored in darkness tends to become distorted and, if disregarded, turns against us to our detriment. 

We are in a sense daughters – and sons – of Lilith. We also experience deep wounding in our lives. Though the rose is a thing of beauty, its thorns prick and make us bleed. That pricking and bleeding can immobilise us. It is meant to …

Can the daimon appear to us in these times of sorrow? Are we open to the deeper messages, even if a whisper, that our soul is in need of receiving?

 

C Catalyst Lilith

 Lilith as Catalyst

Lilith has had many projections made upon her and still does. She is seen as a demon who usurps man’s sperm while he sleeps at night, steals babies, tortures men by their overt sexuality, is wild, undomesticated, ruthless, destroying everything and everyone in her path. A harmful spirit who spreads chaos by casting spells all around her.  She is called ‘Alien Woman’, Impure Female’  – and many other such pejorative adjectives. This is a one dimensional approach though, but sadly, the images remain in the modern psyche.

She challenged the patriarchal authority, and though she was severely punished for this, she knew that her voice was to be honoured and not callously dismissed by those who thought her inferior and of no worth, worth only to be tamed into obedience and submission.

 Counter forces arise naturally when one’s ‘way in life’ is too one-sided, too fixed, too stagnant. Things cannot remain that way forever. I suppose they can if it serves the status quo or entropy. Lilith was such a counter force and thus was a catalyst – for change, for not settling for the status quo. Something in her must have said, no, things cannot always be like this. A real sense of her desire for freedom, not necessarily equality – some desire to stand as her own woman, to be her own ‘authority’ –

This is the energy of Lilith that we can use as a catalyst for our own awakening.

We see this today, strong women who say look at me, listen to me, who courageously write or speak of their pain and anguish in their lives from being oppressed from patriarchy. Their voices are being heard and shared gaining recognition for speaking out, in poignantly expressed lines of poetry, artworks, writings, laying bare and articulating what many times has been impossible to do. We receive a jolt  when we read and remember e.g. the witch hunts from the Middle Ages. We remember the courage of Rosa Parks (1913-2005) refusing to give up her seat to a white man on a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1955, and who helped initiate the civil rights movement in the United States. We remember the Quakers. We remember the Black Sash movement here in South Africa, started in 1955, by women, as a protest against apartheid. We remember the Helen Suzman’s of our world, the Ruth First’s, our past public protector Thuli Madonsela who stood up against our ruling party. We remember Malala Yousafzai who took a bullet to her head by the Taliban and young Emma Gonzàlez who stood in silence for over 6 minutes which is how long it took to mow down 17 students at the Parklands School in Florida. Standing up to the NRA no less –

So many many women past and present who said No! and took action. All catalysts for each of us. Lilith was the first. Eve the 2nd …

picture: Sumerin/Assyrian relief of Lilith – though this is in dispute by scholars ..

 

D: Daimon or daemon

 

 

 

 

B Banishment of Lilith

B: Banishment of Lilith

Lilith was banished – to the depths of the Red Sea in the hopes that she would never arise again. Out of sight, out of mind, never to be seen or thought of again. Under the carpet, under the radar, under everything. Gone, never to return –

Silenced – instigated by her partner when she wanted to experiment in lovemaking positions. Always being in a passive and recumbent position implied male supremacy with which she took great issue. Adam requested the authority to make her obey him. She too appealed for help from the authority to redress this situation. Her plea for recognition was not heard. He too denied her. No! was the resounding answer.

In her rage and bitterness she blasphemed, and for this ultimate outrage, she was banished from Paradise, never to return. Her home, her belonging in Paradise was ripped from her in one fell swoop –

Into Exile …

Have you had the experience of being banished?  Exiled from family, or groups, or country? Or purposefully exiling yourself towards another or group or member of a family, because the relationship was too toxic? Including the situation where one’s country and its rulers are too poisonous? In the 1970’s I left my country because of the apartheid laws and the crushing reality of the majority of our people being so oppressed. I returned though … I remember kissing the tarmac of the airport when I stepped onto solid ground.

History shows that banishment was used to silence those who criticised a ruling party. History is replete with examples of imperial colonialists banishing unwanted people from their land of origin in order to serve imperial ‘ideals’, enabling forced labour and much else.

I reflect of all those who have been displaced through war. Heading for unknown destinations, exile, carrying what little belongings they can. Children strapped on their backs. Fear and confusion their companions, forced to be silent. To the borderlands or even farther afield. Foreign lands. Homesickness. Anguish –

I reflect on those who have had land stolen from them in the historical past and the deep wounds of being forced out of their ancestral lands – history books often banish or distort the truth.

I remember the story of Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt where they had laboured long – and for those of you observing Pesach at this time, Chag Sameach.

We also banish unpleasant thoughts from our mind, not wanting to entertain them because they will make us uncomfortable. We may feel the sort of rage Lilith felt, yet are fearful of expressing it in any way. We may be unconsciously fearful that any displays of anger or rage will result in punishment or rejection and banishment similar to that meted out to Lilith – or Eve. We tame, exile, banish our primal real responses of outrage and collude in some way when we do not speak out. We are exiled from our true authentic selves … 

Thank you for reading!

 

 

 

 

Adam’s first wife Lilith

A: Adam’s first wife, Lilith

In the ongoing April A-Z posts I’ll be writing about Lilith, first wife of Adam, in the Garden of Eden. In my retelling of the biblical story, you’ll gain a broader view of the first two women, Lilith & Eve. Both trailblazers. I’ll focus on Lilith. Hopefully we’ll have a better idea of the value of this myth. While myths and fairy tales may be ancient stories, they are also contemporary ones. The dynamics underpinning them are similar today. The time, place and circumstance may be different but the psychological dynamics and their after-effects are universal.

My posts will not exceed 500 words. It is a stretch and a bit unrealistic to give an overview of Lilith in the A-Z, so my posts will hint at the complexity of this mythological figure and how she is present in our lives, today. 

According to the Midrash*, Lilith was born at the same time as Adam, from the same dust and clay and they were born equal. They were happy in Paradise, until Lilith felt she did not want to always be in the supine position when making love. She wanted to experiment but Adam refused, not wanting to give up his ‘superior’ position. Her pleas to Adam were ignored and he begged G.d to make her obey him. This angered Lilith, and she called upon G.d to intervene in the impasse. G.d also did not listen; this further angered Lilith and she blasphemed against Him. He, in turn, aghast at her blasphemy, ordered her out of Paradise into the Depths of the Red Sea. 

Banished, exiled …

Dr. Susan E. Schwartz, Jungian Analyst resident in Paradise Valley, US., gave a talk many years ago to the Jung Centre here in Johannesburg on ‘Marriage & Divorce & the Nature of Unresolved Psychological Issues therein’. I’m quoting from her transcript –

‘The Adam & Lilith story represents a stereotype of the masculine and feminine in relationships we see today. Adam expresses no curiosity about Lilith’s needs. He complains to G.d the authority to correct Lilith and make her obey him. The two never work it out, learn nothing about communication skills and separate in mutual frustration. Later, G.d gives Adam another wife and we see the same unresolved issues of the original situation appearing again. Ignored, psychological elements tend to return – Eve also thinks for herself and challenges the masculine status quo by listening to the snake, eating the apple and encouraging Adam to do the same’.

‘Unresolved issues‘ – in our everyday lives. Do they remain unresolved only to ourselves or do we carry them forward in our relationships where they impact negatively, and we wonder why. Too often we do not know where to look for the source of ongoing difficulties within our relationships, whether between parent and child, spouse or partnership or friendships that always seem fraught with ongoing unresolved dramas.

*midrash – an ancient commentary on part of the Hebrew scriptures, attached to the biblical text. The earliest Midrashim come from the 2nd century AD, although much of their content is older.

*picture at top – I bought this print many years ago in an art museum in London when visiting. The original painting is by John Collier 1887.

Thank you for reading!

 

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