L: LILITH 

Lilith -A2Z-2013-BADGE-001Small_zps669396f9

According to the Midrash*, Lilith was born at the same time as Adam in the Garden of Eden and thus they were equal. Because of Lilith’s refusal to be submissive to Adam and the ensuing argument in which Adam refused to see Lilith’s side of the story, she was  banished to the depths of the Red Sea to be never seen or heard of again. But she does re-appear, in the guise of the serpent who offered Eve the apple, and hence was instrumental in Adam and Eve’s exile. In psychological terms, this banishment is referred to as the ‘Rise’ of man, and not the ‘Fall’as it is seen as necessary to get out of unconsciousness and to strive for consciousness.

Lilith has a seriously bad reputation. She is viewed inter alia as a whore, responsible for the death of new borns, men’s wet dreams at night (to sap their strength), Bride of Satan… In her demonised form she is indeed frightening and threatening.

She is seen as all we are NOT, she who is the container for the dark and 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 into our psyches to her rightful place within us.

If we can relate to her 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.

What are we to do with that energy? Do we disregard it as too foreign to ourselves, too black? Can we bring this dark Lilith energy out 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 so disregarded, it turns against us to our detriment.

Her energetic force arose as a result of opposition and suppression. Her spirit was broken but not indefinitely. If we bathe her, wash and cleanse her with our tears she will be redeemed and transformed. We need to cleanse her from the socially conditioned and condoned guilt that we have taken it upon ourselves to suffer. Can we reach deep inside ourselves and connect to the core of our sadness, anger and wounding and allow healing to take place allowing the feminine divine to be restored?

It is important to be aware of her divine and demonic powers. She is not to be cast out and banished. She needs to be redeemed through our conscious awareness of her.

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‘. (italics mine)

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’.

 * Midrash: Rabbinic study into the spirit of the scriptures for a larger understanding.

** Oil painting by John Coller, 1887

 

50 Comments on LILITH: Dark Feminine

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  3. Wow, incredible blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your website is great, as well as the content!. Thanks For Your article about LILITH: Dark Feminine | Garden of Eden Blog .

  4. Wow, incredible blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your site is magnificent, let alone the content!. Thanks For Your article about LILITH: Dark Feminine | Garden of Eden Blog .

  5. Yes more power to Lillith the Sacred Slut… nothing dirty, lazy or demonic about her… except maybe the fears projected on to her by unconscious minds… I did a Lillith workshop once, cupping your breast and/or breathing Aah and ooh sounds is enough to physically waken some of the teaching she has for woman…

    • How great to be on a workshop about her! I am studying with a small group The Black Madonna … so so interesting.

      Thank you for your much appreciated comment.

  6. Wow, awesome blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your site is magnificent, let alone the content!. Thanks For Your article about LILITH: Dark Feminine | Garden of Eden Blog .

  7. Maybe Lilith should tell her own story. Perhaps you could help her with the words. We all grew up familiar with the epic story of Beowulf, but until John Gardner wrote “Grendel”, we had no understanding of what was really in the mind of the “other”. If you haven’t read “Grendel”, please do. Then, perhaps with some coaxing, Lilith may find her voice.

    • Van, how terrific to hear from you thank you so much! And thank you for your encouragement re writing about Lilith – I am in fact, in novel form. Just getting through the April A-Z blog challenge plus all the other daily things that need attention and then my intention is to get down and write that book. And thank you for saying about Grendel – I will seek it out.
      Thank you again Van and all best warm wishes to you and family.
      Susan

  8. For starters, thank you for visiting me again. On that note, I would like to add an additional thanks for your thought provoking posts. They are fodder for my mind and soul. This post especially resonated…struck a chord…a nerve..within me. I had to re-read it several times and when I did, I kept on hearing in my mind (obviously) what someone said to me at a particularly dark time in my life. “Cynicism is anger turned inward.” Needless to say, I have from that day forward, tried my hardest not to be cynical nor it’s counterpart sarcastic. It is challenging at times, though:)

    • It’s a pleasure re: visiting you Carinna! Thank you for your comment and yes Lilith does take a lot of contemplation leading us to who knows where. She strikes a ‘chord’ I think in many of us – or, as you say, a ‘nerve’ – funny how those two words seem to have different meanings. Chord is softer, nerve more sharp and painful. The nerve needs to be ‘struck’ … 🙂

  9. I am so glad you left a comment on my blog today, as it brought me here. Not only is this really interesting, as I had never heard of Lilith, the timing of reading about the darkness and emotions around it are perfect for my life. Thanks for this interesting and helpful post.

    Thanks for checking out my AtoZ.
    Rhonda @Laugh-Quotes.com
    AtoZ #41

    • Thanks Rhonda and I am so pleased that a bit of synchronicity was at work in getting to the brief on Lilith! The darkness can be very useful when acknowledged, for creativity – it is the other side of light …

  10. Thank you Tracy!

    That shadow side is so important thing to work with and this is so great that you acknowledge this – and Lilith. And you hit the nail on the head when you say : ‘Given the proper outlet the darkness within us can be quite the opposite…very constructive’. I wish I could highlight your words in BOLD RED!

    I so appreciate your stopping by and commenting – here in South Africa, it is late p.m. just gone 5.15. I hope you have a wonderful Sunday!

  11. Fantastic post Susan! I have always enjoyed the story of Lilith. It has fascinated me since childhood that strong women have been vilified since what seems like the beginning of time. Yes, I realize that she has some very dark recesses within her being (as we all do) but it doesn’t detract from her strengths. It hasn’t been until the last few years that I’ve learned to acknowledge and even work with my shadow side. Not to say that I embrace it to the point of being destructive. Given the proper outlet the darkness within us can be quite the opposite…very constructive. I could go on about this, but won’t. You’ve given me interesting food for thought this morning. Thanks! 🙂

  12. Sue,
    Hi. Have been off line for a while so it was wonderful to be able catch up with your posts. They have all been entertaining (Hair), thought provoking and gifting us with words of wisdom. Thank you so much and well done. I would love to make comments but they deserve more than a quick unthought out response. Just to say I will be responding at more length in due course. Must say though I would love to glean what was once called a fridge phrase from each post. The fridge phrase then gets the equivalent of being put on your fridge to remind you of it and you meditate on that phrase for the next week. At this rate you will supply me with over half a year’s supply. Perhaps also with your permission I may use some of the thoughts/phrases in some future meditations that I will be creating? With acknowledgement of course.
    Anyway look forward to the others and congratulations.
    Julia

    • Hi Julia, thank you so much for commenting!

      Please do use anything you like for your meditations for yourself and others – I would be honoured. Use my name if you like but I don’t mind if you don’t.

  13. Susan, bringing forth these observations on Lilith certainly causes one to become somewhat introspective, especially with regard to repression. For many years I repressed the strong persona that I truly am in order to cope with an overly temperamental and abusive mother and then my first husband who was her male counterpart. When I met and married my second husband, the “other me” came forward not wanting to repeat the 34 years I had lived thus far. That period of repression was detrimental not only to me, but to my son who did not know me for who I truly should have been all his life. And thus she rambles on and on . . . you opened the faucet of streaming words! Loved your post!

    • Hi Sherrey and thank you for your comment.

      It’s such a huge topic … conditioning plays such a large role, as do our parents – the father’s role in relation to his daughter is simply enormous. No parent is ideal (we should be so lucky-as parents ourselves and our own parents)) .. and it is up to us to reflect on all of this as we grow older and see where the wounds are and be prepared to do the hard inner work.

      I so hope that for your dear soul and your son’s that all is more balanced now and that some of the wounds are healed.

      Perhaps have a check on those other books I mentioned to Connie who commented?

      All best,

      Susan.

      • Susan, I didn’t mention my father who was my hero. Not because he protected from my mother but because I had no doubt he loved me. Raised in an orphanage from age 4, he knew little of affection and verbally communicating his love. It was how he shared the things that were important to him — music, reading, faith, the power of silence.

        My son and I are on a different path now. My second husband has graced our lives with an inimitable patience and grace, not to mention his love, that has literally changed my life, and I sense Craig’s as well. In fact, at 18 and for his birthday, Craig asked that Bob adopt him. For years, his natural father and Bob had not been willing to do this for different reasons. However, Craig researched the law and learned that at 18 he could request adoption as an adult. I don’t think there has ever been a prouder moment in my life.

        Through my memoir, a work in progress, I’m finding healing and through w

        • writing letters to my now deceased mother. Take a look at my writing blog for the excerpts from the memoir and my letters to mama, giving the child I once was her voice. Sorry to go on, but you triggered all this! 🙂

          • Happy to be the trigger Sherrey!

            What a wonderful, profound life/love affirming story about Bob and Craig that gives me pleasurable shivers! And your father sounds like a remarkable man too. I will definitely check the excerpts thank you as soon as there is more time ..

            Thank you for sharing this Sherrey – it is profound indeed.

    • Thanks Connie for commenting! Good book the Koltuv one.

      Edward C. Whitmont (Jungian analyst) ‘The Return of the Goddess’ is a truly excellent book as well … as is Marion Woodman (Jungian analyst) & Elinor Dickson (clin psych) : ‘Dancing in the Flames: The Dark Goddess in the Transformation of Consciousness’.

      Hope you’re having a restful Sunday!

    • Thanks Cathrina for stopping by.
      Lilith has a bad reputation unfortunately. Eve too – they are looked at in a one-dimensional way which means that the other side is repressed. Anything that is too fixed at the expense of the other can be very limiting to the individual and may well be the or a cause of depression. So, whether it is the Lilith within us or the more non conforming part within us, or the artist with us, or the writer, gardener, whatever it is that is within that is repressed, needs to be expressed in some way.

  14. Hi,
    Thank you for pointing out some of the hidden recesses of repression within people. I don’t know whether it has anything to do with Lilith but I can say that repression does destroy a person’s soul.

    Have a nice Sunday.
    Shalom,
    Patricia

    • I agree Patricia – repression destroys the soul .. and it may be a/the cause of depression?

      Thank you for your comment, always so much appreciated!

      You too have a lovely Sunday.

      Shalom,

      Susan

  15. Learning to face our dark side is quite an educational experience as it helps me identify what the problem really is. But, THEN it is up to me to change. I sure wish I could do that with a “snap” of my fingers.

    I do enjoy your posts as I do learn so much from them. Thank you.

    • Thanks so much Gwynn! A snap of the fingers? Ha ha … I think again of Wilson our leader up the mountain – if it’s not difficult, it’s not worth it –

      You know in your writing Gwynn as I do, how difficult writing is. Maybe it gets easier with practice etc and re: our dark side, acknowledging it and accepting it is not easy, but the first step has to be taken …

    • Thank you so much Lesley! There is so much to be gained by valuing Lilith as I have learned. I feel more compassionate towards my dark side and towards others.

      Paint her maybe?

    • Thanks Joyce for your comment.
      Then Eve, exiled and ‘woman’ forever blamed for their expulsion from Paradise.
      In modern times in some parts of the world, if the wife or partner is raped, she gets stoned to death by her husband or partner …

  16. Nice history brought forward. Balance – a necessitiy of life to be complete.
    Repression – an unatural course that hurts the vessel. Very good post! Thanks for sharing.

  17. The self destructive behavior that can arise when we repress who we truly our really struck a chord. Thanks for your posts, they always make me look deeper.
    P.S. – I love the picture, hope I can find a print for my home.

    • Thanks so much Vicki. I have that framed print in my study that I bought from a British Museum a year or so ago when I was visiting .. so I imagine they are available.

      • Vicki. I am hitting the same problem again trying to access your site – that phishing story. I will keep on trying as I want to visit your A-Z.

  18. “According to the Midrash*, Lilith was born at the same time as Adam in the Garden of Eden and thus they were equal.”

    That’s as it should be – it must have been a man who banished her…

    Very interesting.

    Thanks, Susan

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