The Story of Lilith

Friday, February 01, 2008

In Jewish folklore, Lilith is a female demon that is in some ways similar to a vampire. She was derived from a Babylonian-Assyrian demon named Lilit, or Lilu. It was believed that she had a particular power for evil over children. In the Rabbinical literature, Lilith became the first wife of Adam, but being his equal, objected to lying under him during intercourse. When he tried to force himself on her, she flew away.

The “Maid of Desolation” (ardat lili) of Babylonian tradition was a demon of waste places that originally inhabited in the garden of the Sumerian Inanna. In Assyrian belief, she was a wind spirit, with wild hair and wings. In the Talmud, Lilith is a succubus – an evil spirit of the night whose young, from her fornication with men, became demons. Molesting men while they slept, she was an angel of darkness, becoming a goddess of conception. This belief strengthened in the Middle Ages. It was said that children in their first week of life were most susceptible to Lilith, although some said a girl was in danger for twenty days and a boy for the first eight years of his life.

A talisman of protection against Lilith had to have three names engraved on it: Sanvi, Sansanvi, Semangelaf. These three names could also be written on the door to a child’s room. In medieval Jewish tradition, Lilith was the one who caused men to have nocturnal emissions. Her offsprong were the lilin, or lilim, and were said to have human bodies but with winges and the hindquarters of a donkey, although a terracotta relief from Sumer depicts Lilith herself as a human but with wings and the taloned feet of a bird. Lilith also appears in the folklore of Britain, Greece, Germany, Mexico, and even in Native American legends.

Some Witches consider Lilith a patroness. A Moon goddess, her beauty is more than human. Leland identifies her with Herodias, or Aradia , and quotes ancient Slavonian charms where she is mentioned.

Sources:
Leach, Maria (ed.): Funk & Wagnalls Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology and Legend. 1984
Leland, Charles Godfrey: Etruscan-Roman Remains. 1892



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1 comments:

Anonymous said...

i love lilith she is like my hero i wish i could some day see her. i haD a dream about her.

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