Welcome to the second, and somewhat overdue,installment of my 30 Days of Devotion to Lilith.
11) Festivals, days, and times sacred to this deity
Lilith, to my knowledge, does not have any specific festival days which I can relate to you although there are life events and special timings which are sacred to her.
In the Jewish religion Lilith’s name and image would be bound and the names of the four angels from the Alphabet of ben Sirach would be involved immediately before and for a number of days after the birth. Invocations and religious verse would be inscribed on pottery along with images in order to protect the household from the influence of Lilith.
In modern practice there are times in the lunar calendar which are appropriate for devotion to Lilith.
Dark Moon – the time of the Shadow-self, the point at which the old moon dies and the new one is reborn. This point of the moon cycle the Moon receives no light from the Sun and it possible to contemplate the hidden mysteries of darkness and of Lilith herself.
Lunar Apogee – if you are up on your astrology you will be aware that there are three astrological Liliths. One is the Asteroid 1181, the second is a theoretical second natural earth satellite (moon) referred to as Lilith, and the third is the event of the lunar apogee, when the moon is at its furthest point away from the sun. If you are really up on your astrology and you know when apogee’s are occurring then honouring Lilith at this time would be quite appropriate.
To work out where Asteroid 1181 Lilith (or any asteroid for that matter) appears in your natal birth chart Astro-Diens has a selection of extended charts which you can include any number of asteroid positions. For a detailed look at astrological Lilith M. Kelley Hunter’s book Living Lilith is an indispensable guide.
12) Places associated with this deity and their worship
I don’t have a particular place where I know or consider sacred to her, I always worshiped her in my home. That said, areas of desolation and decay where little to nothing ‘useful’ can grow are places that I associate with her. This could be the endless desert or abandoned urban areas. Places where life is harsh and fleeting or has fled for good. This to me is where Lilith thrives, carving a place out for herself and her children.
13) What modern cultural issues are closest to this deity’s heart?
Feminism is obviously the first thing that springs to mind, thanks to the biblical portrayal she has become an effective poster girl of the movement to the extent of having a Jewish feminist magazine named after Her. That said I think there is something to be said for her in relation to parenting. She has an interest in children and sometimes it can be in a positive way. Lilith would be my second go to goddess if I wanted to protect either of my children, after Hekate of course. In my opinion, she’s the kind of Goddess that will probably deal some serious damage to the offending danger so we’re talking the big guns here. Wow betide anyone who does harm to my kids with Hekate and Lilith on their sides.
14) Has worship of this deity changed in modern times?
The fact that she is worshiped in any way is a massive change from historical periods. Lilith was something to be feared, something other which wasn’t quite included into ancient mythologies in a wholly positive manner. She is still feared, and often misunderstood, but increasingly there is a movement to explore the shadow side of womanhood and feminine power in which Lilith plays her part.
15) Any mundane practices that are associated with this deity?
Good question, as mentioned the enjoyment of energy, sexual/pleasurable, is something that can be dedicated to Lilith. What that pleasurable act is I suppose is up to you…
16) How do you think this deity represents the values of their pantheon and cultural origins?
If Eve was bad, Lilith (according to the ancient Jewish scholars) is worse. Lilith represents the fear of overt sexuality, and overt references to sex outside of marriage, something of major concern to the early Jewish peoples and Christianity. She also represents the rejection of the patriarchal social order and a darker kind of female empowerment which, again, are against the grain in early Jewish and Christian societies. Ultimately she represents fear of the darkness and of the unknown. She is the creature that haunts the night and draws out all of the shadow side qualities of the human psyche. In her historical setting all of these were considered bad things, things to be warded against and feared. In the modern context there is much more of a willingness to explore these elements of our psyche.
17) How does this deity relate to other gods and other pantheons?
Lilith fits into two sets of mythology, the Jewish and the Babylonian/Sumerian. She is, in relative terms a minority figure but as anyone who encounters her will know this is not as a detriment to her power and presence. Even in these mythologies she is an outsider, just over the edge of what is permissible so it’s probably fair to say that she doesn’t play well with others.
18) How does this deity stand in terms of gender and sexuality? (historical and/or UPG)
Lilith was, and is, the Night Hag. That’s not a description of her but of night time occurrences that she was associated with in history. She was thought to draw out night time emissions, or wet dreams to you and me, of the single males (ie unmarried and living in a house without women) she encountered. Where someone experienced sleep paralysis, which is often accompanied by a sense of malevolent presence if not a human form seen only by the sleeper, they believed that they were being attacked by the Night Hag. Where the ‘victim’ is male it is always Lilith or one of her daughter succubi making the attack. She is a danger to men, and is not only highly sexualised and apparently lustful in her pursuit of unwilling lovers and offspring but is vicious in attack. Small wonder she became the embodiment of all things men should fear in a woman in ancient patriarchal societies.
On the flip side she has become a strong tool for the feminist cause, and often her actions in the Alphabet of ben Sirach are cited as being a strong stance to women’s rights. I think that has a tendency to be overemphasised to the point of exclusion. Certainly she represents the shadow side of femininity, that part of the feminine self which kicks back at authority and embraces all those things society says that we shouldn’t, but that ignores other elements in her mythology where she retreats before greater powers. Personally I see her as embodying a balance between rejecting conformity and patriarchy but also respecting a higher power. For example in the quaternion marriage when the heavenly Shekina leaves the side of God to teach mortals on Earth it is Lilith, her opposite and wife of Samael, that replaces her at God’s side. Whilst she may have rejected God and his works to become partnered with Samael she is neither unable or unwilling to re-join him in order to rule over Heaven and maintain the balance of the quaternion marriage. Above all things she defines her own place within the cosmos on her terms.
19) What quality or qualities of this god do you most admire? What quality or qualities of them do you find the most troubling?
Strength of will cuts both ways. It’s a wonderful trait to have, especially in male dominated societies, however it can be damaging to any cause if used unwisely. In myth Lilith has a strong sense of self-worth and her place in the world, and in both the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Alphabet of ben Sirach She knows when she can use the force of her own will to carve her own destiny and when she must use it to either negotiate or give way with grace. By fleeing before Gilgamesh she shows a sense of self preservation, by turning away from the names of the four archangels in the Alphabet she shows that she knows when to give ground and preserve the power she has gathered to her. She is a feminist but not to the extent that she will risk her own personal kingdom by remaining stubborn and intransigent, damaging her own cause. This is why it is important to balance the strength of ones will and force of personality with thought out action, and this is one of the lessons that I have found in working with Lilith.
20) Art that reminds you of this deity
I’ve been saving this for ages. I love this image as it shows Lilith as not only her most feared form but her maternal side as well. This artwork can be found at Pan Fine Art
I was editing this post a couple of nights ago when my daughter Lilith wandered into my room and announced she’d had a ‘night storm’. For those who don’t know a night storm is slang for a wet dream, although I don’t think my preschoolers was trying to communicate that. She’d had a nightmare about tigers and had chosen that phrase to express it. Synchronosity is a wonderful thing.