Path, Patience, Process: Lilith
Isaac Asimov: In life, unlike chess, the game continues after checkmating –
Lilith’s path was arduous, tricky, fraught with peril. I’ve written before about her polarities. Her courageous act of rebellion against the patriarchal status quo set in motion far reaching consequences, of which we are only newly aware. She also represents the negative aspects of the feminine. Erich Neumann* lists Lilith among the ‘alluring and seductive figures of fatal enchantment’. Further on he writes: ‘She is an enchanting, seducing, orgiastic, and nightmarish form of the feminine’. To this day in traditional orthodox Jewish marriages, the bride wears an amulet to protect her marriage and babies from her awesome powers.
It is as well to be aware of her demonic powers. I’m aware of those who’ve crossed my path who possess that demon-like quality about them. I invoke the powers that be for protection – seductive they are, charming on the surface – it took me a long long while to figure this out and to wonder what the hook was – ie what was my certain own role in this –
Paradoxically, she was also a woman of courage and depth, powerful energy and patience. Even though she was in deep pain at her plight in the Red Sea, through patience and processing all that had happened to her, she was able to transform, and arise again. She shows that striving for consciousness is a worthwhile task, even if it meant living in exile. Her energy was not a polite energy; it was the sort that was used by women in order to get the vote, to ban passbooks and to demand justice for rape victims. And today, those who stand against pipe-lines, march for better gun-control, better education, against corrupt policies, against pollution –
Do some of us mask the inner pain we may feel? At events, psychological, physical, emotional pain? Do we disallow it? Although it can be paralysing, they are messages that need our conscious attention.
The Lilith myth of pain, peril and pilgrimage is alive in us today even if as a phantom lurking in the shadows. We are on a path. It has twists and turns, each day, each moment we select this one and not that. We are limited and expanded at the same time. One moment we are private, passive, personal and protected and then at another, public and seen. One enhances the other. The path alters, we prefer one over the other. The path defines us as much as we do it. In a way it is a relief to narrow the choices and be a specialist.
The photos below show me on my path on Robberg yesterday. We took the ‘no entrance’ way. The road less taken. Backwards. To avoid the tides. The first one is all good and pleasant, we’d reached about a quarter of the way, going downhill. The last two, well it was downhill symbolically all the way, while creeping upwards. My scarf is wrapped around my head. I thought it would never end. I like the last photo of my husband’s extended hand. I’m still processing our taking the wrong ‘path’ yesterday –
* Erich Neumann: the Great Mother (Princeton University Press, Bollingen Series, 1972).
Thank you for reading!