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!

33 Comments on K Keys to Knowledge Lilith

  1. Thank you for reminding us of the quote from Elaine Pagels and your new reflections on Lilith. In your examples of damaging the earth without regard to the future of the planet or of our own species, this doesn’t seem much different from taking suckling newborns from their mother’s breast. We blame Lilith for what we will not own and bring to consciousness. Add the war machines, the plastic, the greed for fossil fuels as they destroy us and the planet. All logic seems lost. Perhaps we’ve denied and demonized the Dark Feminine for too long. She’s charmed us into betraying the planet and ourselves.

    • We’re all guilty of demonising her. Is there a way to re-find her and bring her life-affirming qualities to the fore? We’ve lost contact with myth, the old stories, the dynamics that underwrite them .. logic is lost, yes. The pattern keeps repeating itself. Do we mend the cloth on which history is woven or do we seek a new myth? Thank you Elaine, your comment is powerful..

  2. Another thought-provoking post, Susan. So much of my baggage I can directly attribute to ancestral baggage that just keeps getting passed down because no one thinks to take the trash out! I do think about it though, as did my mother and am trying to self-correct and move forward so these problems won’t become my kids problems, but genetically modified thought — if I can name it as such — what I see as “the sins of the father” isn’t just a quaint concept. Not only do we pass down our DNA, we pass along our thoughts and feelings and prejudices. If the world is ever to change, it needs to start with each one of us. Looking to the future and our children is all well and good but it would go so much faster if we all just got on board. :0)

    • Thanks Pam for coming by. I agree wholeheartedly that we have to as much as possible ensure that we don’t pass on unresolved baggage. Great way of putting it – someone forgot to put out the trash – or empty it out! The sins of the fathers – 4 generations of them … much stuff to unpack but how freeing if we can lighten the load and not put it onto our children! Much easier to sweep it all under the carpet and march forward .. a task to lift the carpet and sweeeeep …

  3. There’s a knotted feeling in my heart as I read your post Susan. The wounds of humans and those of Mother Earth are plain to see.
    For now, focusing on bringing forth what is within me. (like your opening quote says)
    Thank you for your wise words.
    L is for Laitlum Canyon

    • I hope that knot is loosened somewhat Arti by focusing on bringing forth what is within you … which you very artfully do in your posts! Thank you for coming by!

  4. yes the wounds we carry and the wounding of great mother nature in turn – it seems to be that within the wounds lie the key and if we can but turn it and turn it some more and one day a door will open …. great to become acquainted with lilith

    • Thanks Sandra for coming by – the wounds we carry and those of the great mother in turn – you put that so well. From the micro to the macro?

  5. Your photo and post reminded me of Emily Dickinson’s lines which entwine time and space: Not knowing when the dawn will come, I open every door.”

    I like doors and will risk opening them; I suspect the same with you.

    By the way, I heard on NPR this morning a report on the Nelson Mandela celebrations. I wonder if there were any where you live.

    • I love that quote of Emily Dickinson’s Marian … I can imagine it resonating with you..

      The celebrations you heard about are on Winnie Madikizela’s ongoing funeral – 12 days (12 or 14) of celebrating Mama Winnie’s life as a struggle stalwart. She was married to Nelson Mandela though they divorced soon after he was released from prison. She died on 2nd April in hospital aged 81. She was an icon to thousands – and a very beautiful woman who was treated very badly while Mr. Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years … they are ongoing mainly in Soweto which stands for South West Township which is south in the city where I live ie Johannesburg, though right now I’m about 1400 kms away in Plettenberg Bay 🙂

      Thanks for coming by 🙂 and have a lovely weekend!

  6. Hi Susan – you stretch my knowledge and my wish to explore more … I’ll be given those keys … but for now I learn as I go along – absorbing pieces of this human puzzle – that’s so often disappointing … yet helps the soul along … cheers Hilary

    • Your soul is always stretching Hilary from what I know about you .. in the best possible way. Thank you for your comment 🙂 Susan

  7. I’ve always liked keys. They can look alike, but unlock such different things. They can look entirely different, but unlock like things. Intrigued with them I am. That being said if the past influences the present, and I think that it does, then do the keys that worked before still work now? Or do we need new ones? Answers to work out in my own life, with memories of Lilith to guide me.

    • Got back after walk into town and of course I have my cell ph on me so when it pinged I read your comment on my cell. It’s an interesting question – will the keys from before work for the now? Maybe if a bit of grease is applied to the old ones? mmmm … thanks Ally Bean … my brain cells are in overdrive –

    • Thank you Susan – some keys are very clumsy indeed, although maybe my handling of them is clumsy as I think of this….an opportunity to pay more attention on using them –

  8. Metaphorical keys and doors — scary thoughts, necessary steps. Baggage burdens souls, of course it’s scary — another step in unknown territory. Only way to know is go for it, yet too often we pull back, afraid. Our beautiful world demands we push ahead, help fix her scars, look to the past to remedy the future.
    Beautifully written, Susan. thank you.

    • Your comment is beautifully written Silvia thank you and is encouraging to me in your recognition. “Our beautiful world demands we push ahead, help fix her scars, look to the past to remedy the future”. We can go for it …for Mother Nature, our children, ourselves …

  9. Yes, I truly believe the past holds the key to the future, provided we realize the impact on us. I see a dead whale recently washed ashore with 64 pounds of plastic and garbage in its system. Why do we not look at what we are doing to the world? Your posts are very thought-provoking. Thank you!

    • My stomach churns and my heart twists to read of that poor poor whale Gwynn … We HAVE to do our best and be part of no plastic and our throwaway society .. we’re *&&%^$#* if we continue in our old ways …

  10. “The yearning for positivism that pervades our corporate culture ignores human nature and human history. But to challenge it, to state the obvious fact that things are getting worse, and may soon get much worse, is to be tossed out of the circle of magical thinking that defines American and much of Western culture.” ~ Chris Hedges

    My long-held perspectives, former life and comfortable illusions, gradually unraveled when, in my grief, I began (sincerely) asking God to open my eyes and heart and to show me where I’d been mistaken about myself and the world. I prayed that God open doors no human could open and close doors no human could close.

    It started with little discoveries and shocks ~mostly about the world and many of the pleasures and comforts I’d taken for granted~ and was soon followed by a series of even bigger discoveries and shocks . . . about my country, world, family (“their unlived lives”) and self. For years I’d dream of demons hiding in the dark behind half-open doors, or of being engulfed by waves and rain, struck by lightening ~and more recently (when I was ill), of lightening bolts emanating from my body.

    Though I wouldn’t want to go back to not knowing, this new view of self and world has alienated me and comes at a price. Along with the grief, I still feel joy, but no longer chase happiness. Former friends (with shiny lives and illusions intact), can no longer relate to me, so I’ve let go of them too. My life is quieter now. Many of the things that used to frighten me no longer do. I’ve learned to love the freedom that comes with solitude and surrender.

    Thanks for another great post and accompanying quote, Susan. I’ve shared all this to help illustrate your message.

    • Interesting how I misspelled lightning as *lightening*. Didn’t catch it until I posted my comment. Kind of ties in with your comment on yesterday’s post, about Leonard Cohen’s song lyrics: ‘There’s a crack, a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in ..’

      Leonard Cohen was (is) one of my favorites.

      • I hope those bolts as you were ill, lightened the load LB. I was aware that it was a typo. I noticed in one of my posts I used *swings* and arrows instead of *slings* and arrows .. maybe I wanted to avoid the slings ..

    • Thank you for your generous sharing LB.

      Chris Hedge’s words ring true. I find it hard to live in a world of illusions and ‘know’ that we are not willing to strip ourselves of them .. there is value in being dis-illusioned, stripped of all that is untrue, and being illumined, to see things as they really are.

      Isn’t it in the US constitution the ‘right to pursue happiness’? What a crock .. one we all believe in! That word ‘pursue’ is itself suspect. (I may be wrong here re the wording of the US constitution – but the message of be happy at all *costs* in the western world has done us a grave disservice).

      Your experience of the dark night of the soul – thank you for sharing this. It’s the hardest road – and one in which one has to endure and resist the temptation to jump out of the fire. There’s always a price – and you are right to warn of it. Alienation is a grief of itself. Illness following on is doubly hard – All my good wishes are with you in your recovery.

      Have you read Anthony Storr’s: Solitude? It’s a book I read many years ago and it was comforting to me as I was journeying into my life ..

      ‘..shiny lives and illusions intact’! I had to smile though it was a jolting smile! Thank you again!

      • Thanks for your kind words, Susan. And I’m okay, didn’t mean to leave you with the wrong impression. I was sick (and feverish) with the flu, which apparently hit me a lot harder than I thought.

        My perspective began to (seriously) change about 6 years ago, so the process and alienation I described aren’t new to me.

        Thanks for the book recommendation. I’ll definitely check it out.

        • Bad flu can knock a person down badly LB … and can take ages to recover. Hope you’re well and truly over it. It can force us to take it slow …

  11. Dear Susan, Keys are fascinating! “What lies behind the locked door of Eden I ponder? And why we are barred entry by angels with fiery swords? This place that we’ve been deliberately shut out of, was it really Paradise or was it in fact some kind of dark Mordor (think J.R.R. Tolkien!) where the Wild Feminine was undeniably not welcome? Lilith (and most, if not all feminists) certainly thought so!

    On your balcony I’m sure you’ll agree “Heaven is a place called Earth,” or so the song goes! Back to keys and knowledge, what lies within? What lies behind? Deep knowledge that’s what! Keys hold such magic, holding the opposites within their form … not so very different from us and how we choose to either “open” or “close,” be seen or hide away. Thank you so much for setting my imagination on fire today! Warm and wild blessings, Deborah.

    • Thank you dear Deborah! Fiery swords indeed! Again, I’m on my balcony this Friday morning, only now coming to comments. Was it really Paradise indeed? No, it couldn’t have been. Maybe on the outside but surely not in the inside unless we find the golden key. Warm and wild blessings to you – especially on this Friday 13th! (which adds up to 4) .. Susan

  12. Hi, Susan – That is such a powerful opening quote….followed by another thought-provoking post. You have certainly been given my brain a (much appreciated) work out!

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