Goddess Column: Lilith
The tortuous serpent, the evil woman, the deviant feminine and succubus who submits to no man. So is the iconography of Lilith, one of the most polarizing figures in mythos, who’s dark and divine embrace stretches across Sumerian, Babylonian, Arabic, Assyrian and Hebraic mythology. Lilith is an embodiment of man’s worst fear; the independent, unattainable and ferocious power of the erotic woman. Lilith, as one who belongs to herself, has been personified as the child eater, the seductress, the old hag and the screeching woman who runs off into the desert to copulate with demons and spread terror unto the world.
In the Zohar, the chief text of the Jewish Kabbalah, Lilith is said to have been born of the evil from the husks of moon after the moon’s light was diminished so it could only reflect the sun. The diminishment of this feminine luminary of fire, as the moon was called, was reborn as Lilith. In the Talmud, another ancient Jewish text, it is said that Lilith is Adam’s first wife, created before Eve. She was created not from Adam’s rib, but from dirt and dust, like him. After she refused to be subservient to her husband, who only allowed her missionary sex so she’d be beneath him, Lilith realized she would always have to be submissive to Adam. And in a fit of pure rage and anger, she said the secret name of God, sprouted wings and flew away, exiling to the desert. Lilith is said to have escaped to the Red Sea, finding pleasure in the chaos, copulating with hoards of demons and giving birth to thousands and thousands of demon children. Both Lilith and these children were highly feared, especially Lilith who is said to have gotten revenge on Adam by having sex with him and other sleeping men, causing nocturnal emissions, and the birth of even more demon children.
In Sumeria, Lilith is associated with the Bird Goddess and wind spirit, and she’s associated with Nilil, Lady of the Air and goddess of Grain, who is also the granddaughter of the Goddess of Love, Inanna. Lilith is said to be a handmaiden to Inanna, and she would bring men from the street into the inner temple of the Goddess, where ceremonial rituals of sex would take place. Later on, this mediary position between the sacred and profane cause Lilith to be seen as an embodiment of the evils and dangers of sexuality. Lilith is later seen as a Bird Goddess, who’s both beautiful with clawed feet, seen with lions flanking her and multiple sets of horns. Associated with the screech owl, Lilith is also a Goddess of screeching, which can be seen as a woman who isn’t afraid to be vocal about her feelings.
Lilith is even found in Hellenistic relief sculptures, where she’s associated with the cult of Dionysus and the mysteries of initiation. A Goddess of the Dark Moon, Lilith has become a golem for patriarchies worst fears realized; Lilith is revengeful and untamable. She has been taken from a handmaiden of the Goddess of love, and a woman complete to herself and has been rearranged as everything man fears in an erotic woman. Lilith has been banished to the shadows, as the deviant hag who only wants to fornicate, cause evil and live alongside demons. Lilith has been subjected to the gaze of the patriarchy. But even through this lens, Lilith is still described as a beautiful woman adorned in layers of red; she wears a seductive glamour that could drive one mad. She is covered in jewels that act as talismans to stop others from seeing her “true” self; in some stories it’s said that Lilith has the legs of an owl, and in others it is said that the lower half of this dark Goddess is just flames.
When we work with and embrace this archetype of the Dark Goddess, we are accepting all the parts of ourselves that we are told to reject. Lilith is the untamable and ferocious sexuality that lives in all of us. She is part of our shadow that is hellbent on revenge, and who wants justice and payback. Lilith represents the polarizing part of the feminine who refuses to submit for the sake of it.
Sacred Symbols and Offerings
A beautiful way to start forming a relationship with a Goddess is by dedicating an altar to her. This is a magical focal point of a space, where you can return to connect with Lilith, practice magick, perform divination and leave offerings. Lilith is a Dark Goddess, connected with the shadows and the outcast. When we give space to her and the archetype of the malevolent or evil woman, we are healing our own shadows. We are giving space to all our dimensions. Your altar to Lilith may contain black or red candles that you light every day to connect with her, it may contain a vial of menstrual blood, or you may have sex toys or poetry, crystals, lingerie and letters placed here. What does it mean for you to be defiant and to belong to yourself? Think of the symbolism that speaks to you of this and place it on your altar. You may also place art and icons of Lilith herself here as well.
Ritual is the language of the Goddess, and returning to your altar for a simple ceremony you perform regularly is a potent way of establishing a connection with the divine. Whether you’re anointing yourself with oil, lighting a candle, or saying a prayer, this practice of devotion is a really powerful step in creating a relationship with Lilith.
Crystals: Red and orange stones the color of fire, to activate the root and sacral chakra: Carnelian, garnet, citrine, red jasper, also pyrite.
Colors: The colors of fire; Scarlet red, cherry red, rose red, blood red, maroon, bright orange, yellow, deep ultraviolet blue. Black like the void, deep gray like ash.
Scents: Cinnamon, the smell of fire burning, apples, the smell of the desert
Sacred Associations: The screech owl, the snake, lions, birds, the knife, the ring and rod (symbols of ancient power), the dark moon
Offerings: Menstrual blood, red wine, talismans of glamour
I am whole unto myself
I accept all rejected parts of myself
I embrace my shadow
I embrace my deviance
I embrace my dark and erotic nature
I embrace my fullest power and only share it with those I deem worthy
This meditation can be done at any time, though during the Dark or New Moon it will be especially potent. In this meditation you’ll be traveling to the desert to connect with Lilith to release what you no longer need.
You may wish to record yourself reading this to use as a guided meditation.
Finding a comfortable seat, close your eyes and start to come back to the present. Begin to find an even inhale and exhale, and with each exhale start to feel any stress, worries, or anxieties melt away. As you begin to settle into the present, start to visualize yourself in the desert. It’s desolate and there’s nothing around you, except for a cave in front of you. You begin to walk towards it, noticing sensations like the sun on your back and a fire growing more intensely in your belly as you get closer and closer to the cave. As you approach the cave, you notice a glowing inside of it. You have to crouch down to crawl into the cave but once you get inside, it opens up so you can stand. Inside is a cauldron burning with a fire, and you instantly feel an intense passion erupting in you as you gaze at the orange, blue and violet flame. You feel a presence near you and as you turn to your side you see Lilith; she is draped in layers of red fabric and plenty of jewels and her hair looks like it’s made of fire. She looks at you with a glint in her eye and you instantly feel a pull back to the flame in front of you. Lilith begins to tell you her story, what it means for her to belong to herself, to be defiant and vengeful. She shares with you how her sacred flame lets her release and destroy what she no longer needs. How this represents her sexuality, her power, and her strength. She asks you to connect with the aspects of yourself that you’ve been afraid of; the powers you’ve been ignoring. Lilith asks you to stop playing small, and she urges you to throw anything you no longer need into the fire. Lilith takes off one of her pieces of jewelry and hands you this talisman and you take it in your hand, noting its color, shape, weight and energy. She instructs you to infuse this with what you want to let go of, asking you to hold it in your hand and send it your intention. When you’re ready, Lilith instructs you to throw this into the fire. As you do so, the talisman starts to spark and the flame turns a deep blue; you feel a deep sense of release like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders. The flame keeps dancing and transforming and you hear a howl come out of Lilith as she starts to sway and dance. She grabs your hands and you start dancing around the fire ecstatically. You allow yourself to continue releasing whatever it is you need to let go of, dancing with the wild and feral Goddess as you let yourself into your own raw power more and more. You dance until you feel the cycle complete, at which point Lilith takes off another amulet, this time a beautiful red stone on a gold chain, and places it around your neck. She whispers something in your ear and then she disappears into the darkness of the cave. At this point, the fire has begun to die down and you know it’s your time to leave. You thank the Goddess and the wild woman in you. You put the necklace on and feel its weight on your neck, and know this is a connection to her, to this place and yourself. As you crouch under the mouth of the cave to leave, you utter another thank you and walk into the desert. You continue walking and walking and you start to feel back into your body. You begin to return to the present, starting to feel back the room you’re in. As you wake up, you feel Lilith’s gift, and you remember you can always return to the desert and the cave whenever you need.
A Ritual for Revenge and Release
We are taught that revenge is evil, that if we seek revenge on those who hurt or rejected us, then we are simply vengeful and unacceptable by societal standards. But Lilith teaches us that embracing this desire for revenge can help us release its hold on us.
This ritual combines meditation and banishing with fire to help us let go of what’s keeping us small, what’s keeping us “respectable” and what’s keeping us from embracing our dark, deviant and divine feminine. Lilith asks us to be whole unto ourselves, to honor our darkness, our “sin”, our sexuality. This ritual is designed to help you embrace these virtues while also releasing what is holding you back from accepting your fullest sensual power and worth.
This ritual is best performed on a New or Dark Moon, or during the Waning Moon.
You’ll need: Any crystals you want to work with, any herbs you want to burn (mullein would be a great choice), a paper and pen, a lighter or matches and a fire safe cauldron/ bowl or a pot of water, an offering for Lilith (menstrual or venous blood, liquor, black salt, red wine, black or red crystals, or a talisman)
Before you begin: As always, set up your space and get yourself in the proper mindset for a ritual. Dim the lights, light some candles and incense, turn your phone on silent, make sure any roomies know not to disturb you. Gather your supplies, noting that you’ll have to burn something, so plan to do this outside or over the stove with a pot of water. You may also start thinking about what it is you’re looking to release in this ritual; it can be a relationship, a person, a memory, a pattern, an outdated belief, or whatever else resonates with you.
You may wish to cleanse yourself and your space with sacred smoke, and you may wish to cast a circle and invite in the elements in your practice. If you choose to cast a circle, just know that you may have to move to burn your letter.
Step 1: Meditate and Confront Where You’ve Been Rejected
Find a comfortable position, either seated or laying down, and start to come back to the present moment. Find an even inhale and exhale, taking the time to really connect to your breath. Start to ground, feeling roots moving from the base of your spine deep into the crystal core of the earth beneath you. These roots feed you white healing light that moves all the way up your spine and through your body.
As you’re ready, you will call on Lilith for guidance. You may wish to see yourself in the desert once again, like in the meditation above, going into the cave of this dark Goddess where you will invoke her and invite her into this ritual. You may also wish to remain in your meditative and present state, and call her energy and power into your body. Either way, talk to her with confidence, purpose and honesty. Tell her you want her blessing in revenge and release. Tell her you want a safe space to visualize the “what if” to embrace your inner Alien and Serpent Woman who sheds and transforms as she wishes.
As you feel Lilith’s presence and blessing, start to meditate on where you’ve been rejected, and what wound this has left on your heart. Go deep into this, being decisively honest in this, and follow yourself into this pain; allow it to vibrate through your whole body. Ask Lilith to guide you deeper into this rejection until you can no longer take it.
Step 2: Take Your Revenge
In the second piece of Lilith’s story, after confronting where she’s been rejected by Adam, she flees and gets revenge by copulating with demons at the Red Sea. Now, after being led into our despair in meditation, our shadow will get revenge. Think of what this would look like and visualize, as specifically as you can, what it would mean for you to take revenge. You are safe to seek revenge in your mind in any way you wish, for whatever it is you want revenge for. Allow yourself to unleash your inner wild woman, your inner demon and succubus, and feel into what this experience would be like. Invite Lilith to come along and see what she teaches you or guides you into to. Stay here as long as you want, but when you feel complete with this visualization, you will open your eyes and gather your supplies to write and burn your letter.
Step 3: Banish What No Longer Serves You
In the last piece of Lilith’s mythology, she cuts away anything that’s stopping her from embracing her true nature; this is when she is released from the grasp of another and redeemed by her own choosing. We will be working in this same vein.
Take the time to write down what taking revenge felt like, how it transformed you if at all, or any feelings or downloads that came up in the process. If you felt uncomfortable or guilty with your justice, you may wish to write this down too. You also may wish to ask Lilith questions out loud or have a conversation with her for more guidance.
Continue spending time writing down what it is you want to release, what it is that you want the fire to burn up and take away. Ask yourself what your true nature is, OUTSIDE of what others and society expect this to look like. Take the time to examine your shadows, your darkness, your erotic energy.
When you’re ready, offer this up to Lilith. Let her know you’re ready to release this veil, this illusion of who you are. Tear up this paper and burn it over your fireproof dish, cauldron or pot of water. Invite Lilith to help you release this as you gaze at the flames and proclaim who you are. You may wish to say something like the following (always writing your own declaration to resonate with you if necessary)
I am a daughter of Lilith.
A daughter of the dark, deviant, divine feminine.
I release those who have stopped me from claiming my erotic nature.
I release that which has stopped me from claiming my fullest expression and power.
As this flame burns away what no longer serves me, I will now and forever refuse to play small.
Guided by the Dark Goddess, my true nature, no matter how subversive, shall always live on.
You may wish to add herbs like Mullein (which is associated with the element of fire and helps to protect and bring a sense of inner light and courage), black pepper or rue (to banish and protect) to the fire. Gaze at the flame as you feel Lilith supporting and dancing around you, you may wish to move and dance as your paper burns as well. Let your paper burn all the way down, relighting it if necessary.
Step 4: Close and Ground
Once the ritual is complete, find a comfortable position, either seated or lying down. Close your eyes and come back to your breath, to your body, to the present. As you settle back in, take the time to thank Lilith for her blessing. Thank yourself as well, and notice any difference from how you felt at the beginning of the ritual. Visualize the roots from your spine moving into the earth, and as you’re ready, start to feel these roots move back into your body, or visualize them dissolving into the earth. Practice whatever other grounding visualization you need and as you’re ready open your eyes. If you cast a circle or invited the elements, now is the time to dismiss them and close.
After the working is complete, leave an offering for Lilith on your altar. Either scatter the ashes from your letter into the wind, bury them, or flush them down the toilet. Drink some water, eat some food and know that you don’t have to enact your revenge to feel the effects of justice. Trust in this working, and trust in your fullest expression, in your darkness, and in Lilith. It is done. And so it is!
Chakrub to work with: The Viper
To explore the shadows, one must be willing to enter the darkness. To explore the teachings of Lilith, one must be willing to explore their own erogenous nature. The Viper is made of black obsidian, which can assist in grounding, and releasing any blocks that are stopping you from embracing your sexual essence. With its curved and ridged body, the viper can open you up to new experiences and sensation, which can in turn help you channel your inner Lilith. Perfect for sex magick and tantric rituals, the Viper can help stimulate the root chakra, allowing you to find power in your deep seated sensual magick.