Sunday 10 February 2013

Lilith is not a 'benevolent mother goddess of childbirth'

This is going to be incredibly controversial, but here goes:

Lilith is *not* a benevolent mother goddess of any sort. This needs clarifying. She never was, still isn't, and most likely never will be.

I often run into descriptions like this one on several polytheist or pagan websites: "Archetypally, Lilith is the first feminist. A Sumerian, Hebrew, and Muslin Goddess, she is referred to anciently as the hand of Inanna who gathered males into the temple for sacred sexual rites. She was the original wife of Adam, with whom she claimed equality because they were created together in the image of Elohim. A Goddess of childbirth, she holds the rod and ring of Sumerian royal authority, wears a stepped crown and is guarded by the bird of wisdom and the king of beasts."

It needs to be pointed out:

- Lilith is not "the first feminist". She is a malevolent demon who slays children. She is known for being hostile toward men, as a seductress and wicked demon who is responsible for sexual attacks (in the manner of a succubus).

- She is not a Sumerian or a Hebrew goddess, and never has been. She is also not "a Muslin goddess" (I take 'Muslin' to mean 'Muslim'). Lilith has never been worshiped by Muslims.

- According to Jewish legend, her crime wasn't claiming equality. Both Adam and Lilith were made separately (rather than being made from the same components in the manner that Eve was created from Adam's rib), and so they often argued. Lilith was the one out of the two who fled Eden and went to the Red Sea, where she consorted with the Persian demon Aeshma Daeva and gave birth to many demons, vampires, and evil spirits.

- Lilith is not a goddess of childbirth. She is well known for killing children, and will be scared away by amulets or by images of her rival, the demon king Pazuzu.

- She doesn't wear the rod and ring of Sumerian royal authority. That is a mistake made by the fact that people identify images like the one below with Lilith. The image below does *not* represent Lilith, but rather Inanna or Ereshkigal.

So remember, this image is not Lilith- but instead is Ishtar or Ereshkigal:

1 comment:

  1. THANK YOU. You have no idea how tired I get of explaining this to people.

    Though, I would like to make a few "corrections," if I may.

    According to Drs. Anthony Green and Jeremy Black, that image is arguably of Ištar as Queen of Night. It is on display at the British Museum, and dates to 1800-1750 BCE, placing it in the Old Babylonian Period. Therefore, it is too recent a piece to be a depiction of Sumerian Inanna.

    Regarding Lilith and lilitu demons and Pazuzu, I addressed a number of misconceptions in a recent article:

    "Lilith" is a later Jewish Babylonian Aramaic equivalent term for Akkadian "lilitû" (male, lilû), which refers to a class of nasty wind demons. Chief among them, at least by the end of the Bronze Age, is the she-devil Lamaštu, who is also not a Goddess, despite popular (though entirely erroneous) Modern Occultic beliefs.