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