Cal Garrison - 2007-06-06
If the 'DaVinci Code' did anything it raised a lot of questions about the Bible's authenticity. Finding out what we didn't know about Mary Magdalene not only shocked a lot of good Christians it exposed the tip of a huge iceberg. Come to find out, 'The Good Book' is loaded with fairy tales — and the story of Lilith may be stranger than all of them because it never really got told.
If you're unfamiliar with that name it's no wonder. The Old Testament refers to her only twice — once as a 'screech owl' and a second time as a 'Night Demon' — beyond that there's no trace of her and no mention of the fact that she was Adam's first wife. How the biblical authors thought they could get a way with sweeping that little tidbit under the rug is hard to fathom — but whoever they were, I am sure they had very good reasons for leaving that part out.
The original biblical texts were rewritten back in the Fourth-Century. The darker forces who spearheaded that project were shrewd enough to know that the best way to keep the population under control was through the manipulation of their spiritual beliefs. When the Emperor Constantine called 220 bishops together to form the Niocene Council their purpose was to rearrange the story of Christ and slip us a counterfeit version to steer us away from the truth. Christ had been dead for over three hundred years. After three generations they must have figured no one would be the wiser.
The Bishops who rewrote the Bible eliminated the Apocrypha and several other important gospels. Every reference to reincarnation was removed as well. So much important information got sliced out of the Bible, only God knows what the patriarchs who performed the makeover didn't want us to find out about Lilith.
She shows up in the Kabbalistic texts in more detail, but it's safe to assume that the Hebrew patriarchs were no less immune to political pressure than their Christian counterparts were. What the Talmud and the Zohar have to say about Lilith has such a patriarchal slant one can't help but notice that something is amiss — but at least those manuscripts provide clues as to where she came from and explain why it served someone's interests to erase her story from the records.
What remains of the legend tells us that Adam came into being in a state of oneness, as a combination of both the male and the female. One of his first tasks involved naming all the beasts of the field. After he named them he watched them mate and became acutely aware of his aloneness. Some of the stories that survive say that Adam had intercourse with the female of every species and developed a longing for a mate of his own. Sensing this need, God cast Adam into a deep sleep, cut him down the middle, and separated his male aspect from his female aspect.
In dividing the first human in half the Lord created two sexes — and when the female of the species came to life she had as much power as her male counterpart. What most Christians might find harder to believe is that this lady wasn't Eve. Rabbi Simeon states in the Zohar:
'I have found it stated in an old book that this female was none other than the original Lilith who was with him and conceived from him.' (Zohar I 34b)
The story goes that Lilith and Adam did not get along. She saw herself as his equal and refused to lie beneath him in every sense of the word. Her unwillingness to be subservient created so many problems that God had no choice but to intervene. He formed a new and improved, more docile version of the female by wrapping one of Adam's ribs in flesh — and it was then that Eve, 'the mother of all those who live' came into being as wife number two.
If there is any truth to what the Hebrew texts say, Lilith became an outcast at that point. Exiled to the wastelands near the Red Sea she lived in this place of desolation with wild beasts and satyrs for the rest of her life. Without receiving any acknowledgement for who she might have been prior to her exile, Lilith became mythologized as a demon of the night, one who strangled infants in their sleep and stirred unclean sexual longings in otherwise good men during the dream state. She survives now as the Oversexed Vixen, the Conniving Witch, the Other Woman, the Controlling Bitch, the Evil Temptress, and the Bloodthirsty Baby Killer.
THE FEMININE FACE OF GOD
As we attempt to understand the Feminine Face of God, Lilith poses a problem because we know virtually nothing about her. She's a stranger to us. And all the rumors that showed up before she did make it difficult to see her in anything but a negative light. Who is Lilith really, and what purpose did it serve to erase her from the records?
Long before Christianity came along, the Goddess ruled the magical life cycle and all of the forces of sexuality, birth, life, and death. If what the Zoharic and Talmudic manuscripts have to say is true, and Lilith was in fact, 'the original female', it seems safe to assume that it was she who wore the Feminine Face of God. But when humanity's core beliefs got rearranged, and this wild, untamed, feminine spirit came under the jurisdiction of a newly created male God, the powers that be had to find a way to deal with Lilith.
Switching the focus from the female to the male required them to come up with a plan to diminish the power of the Goddess — but because the survival of the human race depended wholly on women, they couldn't 86 her completely. Using a divide and conquer approach, they dethroned the Goddess by splitting her in two. At that point her instinctive/magical/sexual component got retranslated and vilified as 'the root of all evil' and only her Virgin/Mother aspect remained sacred.
The need to abolish the instinctive/magical/sexual aspect of the Goddess made it imperative for every trace of the real Lilith to disappear. What seemed like a simple matter of omitting her story and creating the pretense that she never existed didn't work out the way they thought it would. Thirteen centuries later people all over the world were still worshipping the Goddess. Incensed by this and unwilling to tolerate her presence any longer, the leaders of the church came up with the 'Final Solution', in the form of The Inquisition.
Sixty to two hundred thousand people were murdered during the Burning Times. Because the records of who got burned at the stake were never well kept, some people say those numbers are closer to nine million. The systematic destruction of anyone who bore the slightest connection to the old ways was a last ditch effort on the part of the patriarchs to delete the untamed power of the Lilith archetype from the cellular memory.
If they thought they succeeded they were mistaken. Driven by force, underground, Lilith may have disappeared but she never died. The female traditions, the magic, and all of the rituals that originated with Lilith were kept alive in secret down through the centuries. In the last few decades, and perhaps as far back as the 50's, this dark creature, the one we take to be a stranger, has returned from a long and humiliating exile to reclaim her power and assume her rightful place in the collective consciousness.
If anything her return has shaken us up. All of a sudden there's this wild, female frequency vibrating in the ether. No one knows what to do with it because over time, we've forgotten how to match that frequency. If the Lilith vibe is the force that causes the female to stop diminishing herself, it doesn't take much to see what that aspect of her nature has done to upset the applecart in the last fifty years.
The rebirth of the female refusal to 'lie beneath' the male has wreaked havoc on our relationships. Right up through the fifties we were all pretty much OK with the patriarchal prescription for relating. People stayed married, women stayed home, men ruled the roost and everything was held neatly in place by the perfect pictures so prevalent in that decade. Underneath the beatitude of the fifties Lilith was casting spells that caused us to question whether or not there was any real bliss in it. By the time the sixties rolled around her refusal to be bound in any relationship, her desire for equality and the freedom to move, and change, and be herself put a kink in things that everyone assumed would last forever.
The docile female is now on the verge of extinction. If Lilith killed her it was out of necessity because she prevented us from getting in touch with our true worth. Men are having a hard time with this. They haven't quite figured out that she who appears to them as a Controlling Bitch is really just a woman who knows what she wants and has better things to do than cook dinner. In time the men will get used to it. How do I know? Because when it comes down to a choice between getting dinner on time or getting it on with an Oversexed Vixen, most men prefer the latter — and I am pretty sure that they would choose the Evil Temptress over a home-cooked meal any day of the week.
Men may not know what to do with Lilith, but her sexuality intrigues them enough to over look her domestic handicaps and her willfulness. Beyond that, they're beginning to see that the repressed female in them is screaming for expression — if anyone can help them figure out what to do about that, it's Lilith.
And what about motherhood? The Virgin/Mother isn't quite like she used to be. 'Mom' has always been right up there with God and apple pie. The sanctity of motherhood and all the ideals that we've built up around giving birth and having children have never been questioned. Now that Lilith is back the most well kept secret on the planet is out — and that is; Motherhood Sucks!
What we were never told, and what no 'good' mother dares to breathe a word about is that being pregnant and having kids is a full time pain in the butt. Every 'bundle of joy' comes with a pile of pain and heartache. Up until Lilith reemerged women were too ashamed to admit this but now it's an open secret. When we're not commiserating we can even joke about it.
If the patriarchs sold us the notion that anyone who doesn't light up at the thought of having kids is a Bloodthirsty Baby Killer, they went to that extreme just to make sure we kept pumping them out — and if we bought the idea, we got it wrong. The Lilith in us loves her children, but she's truthful and independent enough to tell it like it is so that her daughters don't get misled into thinking that motherhood is something that it isn't.
Out of all of Lilith's personalities, The Other Woman is probably the most misunderstood. Everything she represents is still so ridden with guilt and shame that even now we have a hard time seeing her for who she is. That aspect of Lilith evolved out of the original creation myth — which is hard to figure because if the Zohar is correct, Eve was the Other Woman. Nonetheless, aside from the apple, it wasn't Eve but Lilith who got blamed for all the acts of love and pleasure that threatened the church's darker agenda — and the institution of marriage served that agenda in more ways than one.
Underneath it all the unfaithful female was, and still is, just a woman who refuses to be tamed by artificial laws and cultural dictates. Her own truth and her sexuality belong to her and she feels no sense of shame responding naturally to either one. Faithfulness is about being faithful to one self. Ironically we only go astray when it becomes more important to abide by laws that override our ability to be true to ourselves. If the Other Woman's crime is committed in the act of being true to herself, someone please tell me; what's wrong with that?
At rock bottom the Other Woman, the Conniving Witch, and all of Lilith's other supposedly evil aspects are not and never were, intrinsically evil. They got painted up that way to serve a purpose that has run its course. As the power of the female gathers momentum we are finding out the truth about those 'Other Women' and learning how to integrate their energies consciously within ourselves. Understanding who Lilith really was, back before she became the patriarchal scapegoat, and allowing that part of our nature to show us who she is now, will inevitably teach us what we don't know about the Feminine Face of God.