LilithPosted: February 13, 2016
I imagine that for many dark pagans and those of us on the Left Hand Path, Lilith is a figure that hovers close to our consciousness, powerful but enigmatic. Hard to know or fully pin down, Lilith demands our attention and respect. But where does she fit into our beliefs. We are Satanists of course; is there a place for Lilith in Satanism?
There is very little archeological evidence for Lilith although there are some Babalonian and Egyptian statues and artefacts which are linked to Lilith or Goddesses of similar names and attributes. References to her in ancient literature are even more rare but they do exist. Perhaps the best known version of her legend is told in the Jewish rabbinical text, The Alphabet of Ben Sira.
According to the Alphabet of Ben Sira, Lilith was Adam’s first wife but the couple had damaging disputes about matters of sex… Adam always wanted to be on top while Lilith also wanted a turn in the dominant sexual position. Eventually Lilith decided to leave Adam. She uttered God’s name (which was deemed to be particularly sinful yet powerful since nobody was supposed to be able to speak Gods name and live)! Then she flew off leaving Adam alone in the Garden of Eden. God sent three angels after her and commanded them to bring her back to her husband by force if she would not come willingly. But when the angels found her by the Red Sea they were unable to convince her to return and could not force her to obey them. She is then said to have vowed to kill all new born babies except those protected by a particular amulet. In the end God kind of admits defeat and plucks out one of Adams ribs to create a new, more subservient wife for him. Even Eve seemed to be more turned on than Adam who, all things considered, seems to have been a rather mindless wimp!
This version of the Lilith story seems to combine various legends of female gods and demons with the idea of the ‘first Eve.’ The result when seen from a neutral perspective is the story of an assertive wife who rebelled against God and husband, was replaced by another woman, and was demonized in Jewish folklore as a dangerous killer of babies.
Later legends also characterize her as a beautiful woman who seduces men or copulates with them in their sleep (a succubus), then spawns demon children. According to some accounts, Lilith is the Queen of Demons.
Lilith is an inviting figure to people of any philosophy or religion which respects and honours the example and influence of deities and demons whose origins are deep in the murky depths of time. I don’t think that anyone could definitively claim to know the exact origin of her legend or the absolute limits of her personality or attributes; but to many she can become a valuable archetype and guide.
Sophie and I see her as a maternal figure or a spiritual sister who has for centuries been breaking down the barriers we are breaking now and who has the power and independence that we ourselves claim. Moreover, as Satanists we see several parallels between her legend and the legend of Satan himself.
In the modern age (and in former times as well) both Satan and Lilith tend to be better known in the prevailing culture for what their enemies describe them as. While we see Satan as a God and symbol of liberation, independence and intellect; mainstream society regards him as a personification of evil, usually grotesquely portrayed in order that the power of The Church and its many affiliated institutions is maintained. (How better to limit criticism than to condemn all serious questioning and criticism as evil and heretical)? In a similar way, Lilith who questioned both man and God, and saw herself as at least equal to both, is portrayed as a witch who might vindictively kill your new born children. Satan and Lilith by whatever names they have been known have always been feared and despised by those who hold power in the Judao-Christian tradition. They stand against the authority and power of the Church and all the political institutions originally set up in the image and likeness of The Church. ( By “The Church” I mean all organisations and institutions that castrate people’s power by making them subjects of a Sovereign God of the type described in Judaism, Christianity and Islam… Sick mind games that have held the human race back for centuries).
I am not sure that we would go quite so far as to say that Lilith is a female form or face of Satan, but she is surely something close to that. Queen of Demons? For the three witches who write this blog she certainly is! And of course we honour and respect her for all the things that the prevailing culture deems unworthy of honour and respect.
Lilith is said to be a seductress, and of course the implication is that seduction is wrong or sinful. I have always rejected that view. If, for argument sake, I seduce a man or woman (which I like to think I am quite capable of if I am motivated to do so) and this causes a problem in the pre-existing relationship of my “victim”; who is the guilty party? Convention would say that as the seductress the guilt is mainly mine. Well fuck that! Unless I rape somebody (which I would never do) the other person has free agency and could walk away from my seduction at any point of their choosing. No matter how I employ my charms, the other person is responsible for their actions, not me. I refuse to take the blame for the weakness of others. Seduction is actually a very tangible example of what we Satanists call lesser magic. It clearly impressed and fascinated Anton LaVey (read the Satanic Witch for example). Sophie and I use this form of magic all the time and encourage our daughter to do likewise. We will feel no guilt for studying and understanding human nature and using our skills and assets to gain advantage where we can. This is at the core of Satanic philosophy and in so far as Lilith can be seen as a shining example of using her wits productively, we say Hail Lilith!
Lilith wanted to be the one on top and had the audacity to stand up to, and confront, both the man in her life and the God of Judao-Christain belief! We give her kudos for that. She may in fact be the first recorded sex-positive feminist. So again we say, Hail Lilith!
Lilith is also seen as a saccubus. We have no problem with that, indeed we have welcomed her into our lives and dreams in that context. However there are some legends and traditions that equate Lilith the Saccubus with the “wasted” emissions of young boys and men during wet dreams. Well, lucky for them if Lilith paid them a visit, but it really is about time the puritans and fundamentalists in the Abrahamic faiths took some biology lessons and realised wet dreams are a perfectly normal and natural part of being human! Just nature’s way of making sure everything is in working order.
I think Lilith stands out as a symbol of sex positive feminism and her legend could be usefully discussed by people who are atheists or have no religious or spiritual leaning or interest. However for those of us who do have a more spiritual view of life and who are open to meeting Lilith in that context, there is much to be gained, enjoyed and understood by welcoming her and making a genuine effort to know her. I think she has a particular appeal to dark pagans and those of a left hand path. I don’t see any discrepancy between being a Satanist and honouring Lilith. She seems to illuminate and exemplify many Satanic principles. She is a valuable archetype and guide.