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Lilith: disturbing femininity and the power of women

Lilith as negative anima (by John Collier, detail, source: Wikepdia)

By on 23 September 2022

Lilith by John Collier (source: Wikipedia)

Lilith by John Collier (1892; source: Wikipedia)

Lilith: disturbing femininity and the power of women

An archetype of female essence and energy

Lilith is an archetype of primordial female power that moves existence, a dazzling, fascinating, but also frightening figure. She radiates the power of woman through seduction, eroticism and spiritual forces.
Her magic, however, is rooted in the shadow of human existence and is related to the drama that is a theme even in the earliest traditions: power and abuse.

Here you can go directly to a free text, which raises the whole range of this dazzling figure:
"I am Lilith".

Lilith - the dark daughter of the wind

As a dark virgin, Lilith represents the shadow side of the feminine, which lives power. This as an antipole to the goddess of love as a virgin who gives herself. Thus, figuratively speaking, she is the dark side of the moon, because the moon is considered a feminine symbol. Her energy is symbolized in traditions by the whore or witch, who lives spiritual power through eroticism, seduction and delusion.

Meaning of the name

The name Lilith already says a lot about the meaning of this goddess. Sumerian LIL-ITU is translated as "night wind" (from LIL= air and ITU= dark, literally "dark air").

Lilith, the Great Feminine and the Unconscious

As one of the strongest and also most painful forces of existence, Lilith is strongly linked to humanity, not least because the human collective as living matter itself also belongs to the great feminine.

The feminine includes: the woman, the people, the earth ...

Receiving and living reality giving birth to matter

The great feminine includes:

  • The woman, all women: They can take up seed and give birth to new life.
  • The human body: It receives impulses from the consciousness ("male") and translates them into words, deeds and new reality.
  • The collective (group, people, the whole of humanity): It reacts to impulses (for example in the form of information such as news) with moods and actions. It also takes up the instructions of the ruler and shapes new reality according to them (carries out instructions, such as building roads).
  • The earth: It can take up seeds and give growth. In addition, it also reacts to various impulses ("spirit"), for example from the cosmos (such as solar activity) or to human behavior with global phenomena such as climate warming or volcanism and cooling. (Thereby the "cosmos" means in the traditions more than the universe. To it the element of the fire is ascribed and therefore also divine-spiritual and initiating strength, see. The four elements, meaning.)
  • Thewhole of creation: it is given over to transience and thus in the "underworld".
  • The unconscious, symbolized by the underworld (s. The Great Feminine in the Underworld).

 [S. Female wholeness, living matter - potential, reality and destiny..]

The female as living matter can absorb impulses of consciousness ("seed") and give birth to new reality and therefore belongs by definition to the unconscious (see. Consciousness and the Unconscious and Male and female, the two primordial forces of creation).

Thus, tradition tells how the feminine has come to the dark side of existence.

From the goddess of the air to the mistress of the underworld

Nin-Lil, Goddess of Heaven

Once the goddess NIN-LIL was in heaven (NIN = goddess, LIL = air). Born from the pure love of the father, she still stands as a virgin for the ether, the invisible spiritual element, which connects everything (see. The virgin as potential).

En-Lil, God of Air

Thus AIR symbolizes on the one hand the spirit, is on the other hand also the element of the male soul. The youthful-stormy and power-oriented god of the air is therefore called EN-LIL(The god of the air). Since Babylon he has taken the area of the spirit for himself and has risen to the highest god (see Marduk and the creation of the world from the murdered mother).

Nin-Gal, goddess of the underworld

Positive strong femininity, on the other hand, was banished from human myths and thus also from the heaven of the gods and also demonized. Thus NIN-LIL was displaced and got instead into the underworld (negativity and unconsciousness).
The myths tell accordingly that the gods thereupon awarded her this realm of the shadows as a domain. Since then Nin-Gal (= "goddess of the underworld") or Eresh-Ki-Gal (= "ruler of the land under the earth") stands for the hidden life in the matter (which is a secret), and is with it mistress over life and death, queen of the night and fate deity (see free text to ERESH-KI-GAL "I am the mistress of the underworld").

Burney relief (the queen of the night, edited)

The Queen of the Night(Burney Relief, ca. 1800 BC)

Lilith as anima and goddess

Power through seduction and delusion

With her seductive power, Lilith represents the dark side of the VIRGIN and is represented as a negative anima by the ARCHETYPEEN of the WHORE or SNAKE. She is a spiritual primal image that influences and captivates both women and men.

[S. The negative anima as whore or serpent.]

Lilith's power over men: the inner woman as whore or serpent

The spirit of Lilith manipulates men through seduction, awakening their inner female image of the whore and their drive so that they lose control over their actions. This is done with the aim of asserting their own interests and taking what they want without any intention of fulfilling the aroused desires.
In addition, as a snake, she helps men to cunning strategy to pursue their interests.

Lilith's power in women: the erotic body and the female pain body

In identification with Lilith as the inner woman of the man as a whore, women can exercise power over men and rise to be their "goddess".

But the power and fascination of Lilith come from the dark side of existence, where the light of loving consciousness is weak and instead the urges and the female body of pain rule.

The element of air for divine-spiritual power: Lilith and EnLil


EnLil and Lilith: the abused daughter of the god of air

The first myths already thematize what is still topical: youthful stormy and invasive masculinity (symbolized by the The God of Air) takes hold of the innocent "daughter" so that she falls into the minus or, in other words, into "debt".

The lost body and the death drive
Living in negativity (non-being, non-life)

This minus means nothing else than that the daughter has lost the positive access to her body due to abuse and is no longer grounded in it. Thus she has also lost her anchoring in matter and living reality, is "as if dead", namely in unconsciousness, thus at the mercy of pain and drive. And here - if at all - the guilt aspect comes into play: the (unconscious!) negativity is followed by anger and feelings of revenge with corresponding deeds.

(Abuse - the stolen life and The woman, 3-in-1).

Lilith: Anchoring in the mind instead of the body
Power through eroticism and delusion

Thus caught in lack and negativity, she has something to compensate for. Separated from her body, she "tilts" into the mind and strives for power to remedy her sense of lack. To this end, she uses her charms ("WHORE") and subtlety ("SNAKE") to achieve her goal through seduction and delusion ("White magic"; see illustration). Thus she represents the opposite side of pure love ("VIRGIN"), which surrenders itself.

EnLil and the mature angry woman as macho
The woman in the grip of EnLil, the god of air

Thus the daughter of the wind has become the archetype for that woman who lives power in the spirit instead of love through physical devotion. The more mature she becomes, the angrier she becomes, indeed she can rage like The Celestial Bull in the Gilgamesh Epic.

The reason is that she no longer wants to be just a "sweet female", but is on the way to integrating drive with her masculine side. Before this matures, however, it initially still floods the woman with uncouth, youthful and aggressive "macho masculinity", so that she quickly sees "red".

In other words, it is now the woman who is in the grip of this "red" energy (the God of the air), before she in her turn is positive masculinity ("CHRIST", "FATHER") is integrated and thus attains wholeness.

[S. The three colors and The way of the woman.]

Pain body, curse, death and the devil
A collective body of pain and curse

Where young women have had painful experiences, a collective body of pain has been created that destructively affects both women and men. If it is not worked through, it is passed on from generation to generation and has the effect of a curse that pulls life and relationships in a destructive direction (power instead of love).

In the god of air or storm, also called Seth, Satan or the devil, this energy is personified as a negative spiritual drive in matter.

[S. The negative animus as devil or pain body.]

Healing and resurrection of love
The path through the underworld and the resurrection of love

Woman, and also the whole of human existence, attains wholeness by overcoming negativity in the power of love and finding reconciliation.

[S. Healing by the Light.]

Thereby the way of man leads in the power of his loving consciousness (CHRIST) through the underworld. This is an image of facing his shadow and loving and forgiving himself in his weakness. It is the encounter with unselfish and unconditional love that reawakens the love that has died (s. The Integration of the Shadow and The Integration of the Animus).

Summary: destroyed and disturbing femininity

Through abuse and negativity, the woman's love can die. Then she falls into the dark side of existence, into unconsciousness, into the underworld, the realm of shadows and death. If she has lost the anchorage in her body, she "tilts" instead into the realm of the spirit, from where she lives power to compensate for the feeling of lack.

This energy is represented by the archetype of Lilith.

Medusa with the head of Perseus (Luciano Garbati)

With her angry and power-oriented energy, Lilith is not only the daughter of the god of air, but also his adequate female counterpart as the feminine side (Figure: Medusa of Garbati with the head of Perseus).

[S. The second creation: the woman as "male"].

Lilith and the curse in lore

The death and resurrection of love

The theme of dying and the resurrection of love occupies a significant space already in the earliest human traditions. It appears again and again in the traditions, from Babylon over Judaism, to the Bible, and further in many fairy tales and legends (like Parzival and the Grail or Sleeping Beauty, but also in the confrontation with the dragon).

Snow White

In the fairy tale Snow White, Lilith's energy appears in the form of the wicked witch with the poisoned apple, which represents the collective dimension of power and abuse.

Abuse as a collective problem: the poisoned apple
Abuse by women and the great feminine (humanity / destiny)

The dark side of the goddess of love is literally the poisoned apple that women pass down from generation to generation. (Because the apple has always been considered the fruit of the goddess of love).

With this, for the sake of completeness, it should be mentioned that women can also abuse daughters and poison their pure, innocent love. (For example, by instigating them to live power through seduction, with statements such as, "All men are pigs, you must take what you can from them!").

[S. The poisoned apple: abuse as a collective reality as in Snow White.]

Sleeping Beauty and the Dark Fairy, the 13 (Maleficent)

The same theme is also taken up by the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty. Here Lilith appears in the guise of the 13th fairy, who was not invited to the feast and curses the princess.

Lilith as the 13th fairy - the good fairy! (Disney's Maleficent)
Maleficent as Sleeping Beauty Interpretation

The modern Disney interpretation with Angelina Jolie in the role of the thirteenth fairy describes the Lilith theme in a way that leads to reappraisal and reconciliation. In it, the dark fairy is portrayed as the guardian and savior of virginity and pure love who fights for justice. (S. Maleficent as Sleeping Beauty Interpretation. Although Maleficent is strictly speaking the fourth fairy here, four represents the checksum of 13 and is considered the unlucky number in China, for example.)

[pp. The great original sin; Dark secrets in families and collectives as a curse and Power and abuse: curse and redemption in traditions.]

Inanna's or Lilith's tree

Lilith in the first traditions

Sumer: Lilith, the dark maiden and the felling of the tree of life
The death and resurrection of love

The Sumerian tradition tells that the tree of life of the goddess of love is occupied by Lilith, the dark maiden and the serpent that cannot be tamed (s. Inanna, Lilith and the tree). Shortly thereafter, she brings the still young hero Gilgamesh into her garden, who unceremoniously cuts down the tree and smashes the head of the snake. From the context it becomes clear that this is an image for around the deflowering of the goddess of love by Gilgamesh, which at the same time signifies the initiation of both of them by making him their hero-king (s. Inanna and the felling of the tree).

The path through the underworld and the resurrection of love

Later, the goddess sets off on her way through the underworldwhere she is killed. The Sumerian creation account formulates it in this way: Love has "died" ("carried away to heaven") and the great feminine, life itself, has fallen into negativity, unconsciousness and thus into the underworld. In that the Sumerian goddess of love courageously faces her shadow, i.e. her own death, and overcomes it in the power of the Father's love, she rises again and also heals her relationship.

Babylon: the goddess of love as a whore
From evil to good king

The Babylonian Gilgamesh Epic tells the way of the ruler from the bad to the good king. Thus, the young Gilgamesh is described as a tyrant and rapist who worships the god of air. The epic describes in code that he cut down the one tall cedar tree (symbolizing the highest virgin in the land) as well as countless other "trees." His personal justification for this is that he considers the goddess of love a whore. This corresponds to the truth insofar as his inner ideal image of the woman - and thus his anima or even "goddess" - is actually the whore first.

[S. The negative anima as whore or snake.]

In the further course of the epic, however, Gilgamesh is led on the true hero's path and thus through an inner dying. In the process, he also meets the man who survived the flood, recognizes his failure and is given a new chance to prove himself as a good king.

Judaism: Lilith as Adam's first wife

Finally, Jewish tradition tells us that Lilith was a spirit being and Adam's first wife.  

We continue with a free text that raises the whole range of this dazzling figure:

"I am Lilith"

Water to wine (the Red Sea)

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