When Lilith first arrived in my life, a quick bit of research revealed a fairly well-trodden path. Created at the same time as Adam. Refused to be submissive. Self-imposed exile. Would not return when God bade her (so He created Eve for poor old lonely Adam, and we all know how that worked out). Cursed to have a hundred of her children die every day. Rebranded as a demon who killed newborn humans and fornicated with gents in their sleep without their consent, spawning thousands of demons a day. Sigh. The usual.
Lilith has been variously feared and revered over thousands of years. Early literary references to her are actually few and far between, with a number of medieval satirical and mystical works inflating her stories on the basis of popular culture and spiritual practice. As a result, her name is synonymous with rebellion, promiscuity and wild fury.
All of which, made me wonder why Lilith chose me right now. Was it really all about reclaiming my power from the patriarchal culture in which I live? Or about exploring sacred sexuality at a time in my life when my hormonal profile shows signs of change? Or was it a call to invoke the fiery flames of the tiger mother and strike out against those who threaten my family’s physical and emotional wellbeing?
Maybe. But to be honest, none of these things felt completely right.
I stumbled across this article, which helped me reframe some of the initial stuff I’d read. Then I consulted these sources, which filled some of the gaps in Lilith’s narrative and shed light on how she shows up in the zeitgeist:
- A psychotherapist: Siegmund Hurwitz, a member of Jung’s inner circle and protégée of Marie Von-Franz among others [Lilith: The First Eve, Historical and Psychological Aspects of the Dark Feminine (Daimon Verlag: 2009, 1980)]
- An anthropologist: Raphael Patai, a biblical scholar and expert of Judaism [The Hebrew Goddess (Wayne State University Press: 1990, 1967)]
- An astrologer: Tom Jacobs, who has written extensively about patriarchy and the sacred feminine [Lilith: Healing the Wild (2012)
- And something completely different, an anthology compiled by the Temple of the Ascending Flame comprising essays, rituals and artwork dedicated to the “Queen of the Night” [Lilith: Dark Feminine Archetype (2017)]
True to form, I also purchased a sigil of Lilith from an Etsy vendor in the Russian Federation, which I attached to my purse and would see several times a day when I reached in for my keys. However, this, and the last book on the list above, have not remained with me. I was sufficiently intrigued to learn more about the Left Hand Path – the opening chapter of the Dark Feminine Archetype book was extensively researched and beautifully written – but it became clear to me very quickly that this was an approach that did not resonate with my own. I did not want to disrespect something that I did not understand so I took both book and sigil to the wonderful women at Muses of Mystery, who were more than happy to find them a loving new home.
[Since divesting myself of the abovementioned accoutrements, I’ll confess I have felt a lot less defensive and aggressive in general. Coincidence much?]
But I digress. Have you ever looked at The Burney Relief? It’s absolutely breathtaking. And I think it tells us much of what we need to know about Lilith (whether it is actually her or not).
Lilith is beautiful. She’s sovereign. She’s fully at home within herself. She is fully at home in the wild. She has knowledge and experience to share for those who are ready to step up and receive it. And, frankly, she doesn’t give a shit what anyone else thinks about any of these things.
I was lucky enough to exchange emails with one of my favourite astrologers, Rebecca M. Farrar aka Wild Witch of the West, about this very topic. She reminded me that Lilith sits in the sixth house of my natal chart: the house of work, daily routine, corporeal health, habits and relationships. She agreed that Lilith’s wildness had been so flagrantly misunderstood and proposed that wildness can be seen as an opportunity to be mindful of our whole and complex selves: “I think of it more as inviting all of you to be present”.
Tom Jacobs, the astrology whose Lilith tome I mention above, expanded on this. Lilith in one’s sixth house usually entails to experiences of being “the black sheep” in terms of daily lifestyle choices and work habits. He also points to an imbalanced sense of duty and power when it comes to being of service each day and the necessity to heal survival mentalities.
Amen to all that.
Right now, I am sinking in to the nuance of wildness. I am beginning to suspect that it lies in the exact opposite of what I have assumed it to be (e.g. material excess, outspoken flamboyance, decadent luxury, sensory hedonism). I am also starting to see how these assumptions have conveniently justified a lot of my baser impulses — the ones that all come under the rubric Filling The God-Shaped Hole — all of which have prevented me from, let’s face it, growing the fuck up.
Frankly, the call from Lilith is becoming stronger. She’s one tough-lovin’ mama. And she’s pushing me to walk my talk, without single consideration for anyone else but in a way that no one could consider selfish. She’s requiring me to step up, stop bullshitting myself and finally set myself free.
That sounds pretty wild to me.