Excerpt from a new article on The Media Desk:
Whitherist Thou Lilith
From the Desk’s Mystery Series.
©2012 The Media Desk
As usual, for this Mystery Series Article we’ll look at damned near everything else in the world, in this case almost literally, before finally get around to answering the central question.
If we ever do.
And so to begin, we’ll start with:
… and while we’re at it, who were Adam and Eve – really?
First come first served…. “Lilith, this is your… errr, well, myth!”
The first use of what resembles the lady’s name goes back to the story about our old friend Gilgamesh and an adventure with a female demon named Lillake who lived in a willow tree. There was also the Assyrian words “Lilitu” and or “Lilit” which were female wind spirits. Both predate the word’s occurrence in Jewish mythology by a couple of thousand years. See below for a link to Gilgamesh’s Epic.
Some base the existence of Lilith in the statement from Genesis one that there was another woman around before Eve as- “male and female He created them” comes before Chapter 2 verse 21 to be exact, where we find the ‘rib story’ of the creation of Eve. For the rest of the text, see below for the hotlink to BibleGateway.com where you can read it at your leisure.
It is in the Zohar (see link to Internet Sacred Texts Archive below) and especially chapter 16 where we run smack into what the original post above was talking about in the words of one of the Rabbis in the discussion:
“…In a very ancient occult book we have found it stated that what God took from the side of Adam was not a rib but Lilith, who had cohabited with him and given birth to offspring. She was however an unsuitable helpmeet for Adam and therefore Scripture states, ‘But for Adam there was not found a helpmeet for him’ (Gen. ii. 20). After the disappearance of Lilith and Adam’s descent into the world plane of existence, then it was, as stated, ‘The Lord God said, It is not good that man should be alone, I will make him a helpmeet for him.’ ”
– Zohar page 168 (link to source below)
But thereby comes the rub, or at least the first one. When Lilith arrived on the scene it wasn’t in the Garden, but in a higher plane of existence, supposedly in the realm of angles and whatnot, not down here in the mud with the rest of us. While her replacement was always a creature of this lower world.
Before we head downstairs let’s go looking for the Rabbi’s ‘very ancient occult book’ and see if we can find it.
From the best sources the Desk can find without learning to read Aramaic, the discussion in the Zohar was referencing a couple of passages in the Talmud which depict Lilith as a night stalker who does various mischievous deeds in the night on par with a succubus. And at one point, she is mentioned to have wings. Another source which may have been what they were talking about, is mainly a retelling of stories from the older Talmud and various oral traditions, the “Alphabet of ben Sirach” which is at best, from the Middle Ages. As for other texts of a more Biblical vein, we’ll come back to that, so hang on for now.
The infamous Haggada, compiled and translated in 1909 by Louis Ginzberg as “The Legends of the Jews” (link also below) simply states that even though she had first rejected him, when Lilith and Adam got together later all they produced were demons that were later dispatched by Methuselah, and appears to just be a re-re-telling of the stories from the older sources.
Of course there are a lot of comparatively ‘brand new’ legends and myths and stories about the Old Lady, most of which are literally ‘brand new’ when compared to the foundation of the Zohar.
WARNING: Tangent Ahead
Many things can be said about the Zohar, but most of them won’t be true.
Yes, it is a core book for that endless, almost impenetrable fog of Jewish Mysticism and Kabalistic traditions. The book itself is a book of other books (like the Bible), taking sections from the Torah, oral instructions, Jewish traditions, and other topics and expanding on them sometimes to their logical extreme.
Now to say that the Zohar is ‘the’ core book is to misrepresent things slightly. There are several versions of what may or may not have been one original book compiled from sources that were even then very old and already muddled.
Is it a book of “Jewish Magic”? The Key to the Universe? Proof that Christ was something else? Evidence of a worldwide Jewish Conspiracy to bring back the Dumont Television Network as a mind control device in a brilliant but twisted attempt to take over Canada?
Well, if you want to find any of that in the book, you can. You may use the link below to the full text of one version of the book on the ISTA and take a look yourself.
One of the newest takes on Lilith is found in the world of Wicca and other goddess religions who put a nicer face on one who probably isn’t used to being treated that way. Most of these works simply take some of the much older stories and respin them in a way positive to Lilith. Which means they mainly leave out the part about killing newborns in their sleep.
In any case. Lilith is never mentioned in any favorable light by any ancient source the Desk could find. A fact which is now written off as bias on the part of the male dominated world of the Middle East where the history was written. In those countries seeing a woman as an equal or even, gulp, a Superior, was well documented as being a known cause of a possibly fatal case of the Fantods. So Lilith has been adopted by those that invoke the Mother Goddess as their poster child. Keep her in mind as we’ll come back to her several times. Both ‘hers’ in that sentence.
Well… OK, that works as far as it goes, but we also have a thread that links Ms. Lilith to Kali Ma to the East. Kali shares several of Lilith’s attributes, including a somewhat shaky relationship with her husband, in this case Shiva, and she often depicted standing over his mutilated body. And thereby comes Lilith’s trait of being both Creator and Destroyer of life. And the source for any number of ‘things that go bump in the night’ as well as both Kali and Lilith are said to have bore a number of offspring that could be listed under the general heading of ‘demons’. If you look at the way Lilith left Adam, mutilation was definitely part of the picture as they are often mentioned sharing one androgynous body instead of Lilith being ‘made from a rib’.
You can read the rest of this article at The Media Desk.