Lilith and the modern Western world

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Lilith and the modern Western world

by Margi B

Copyright © 2003 by Margi Bailoboginki. All rights reserved.

In the section on Lilith in Infernal names, directional correspondences, etc., Diane Vera wrote:

In the Middle Ages there arose the Jewish folkloric myth of Lilith, the queen of the demons, wife of Satan (or of Samael, depending on your source). The myth of Lilith is almost identical to the Islamic Satan/Iblis myth. Lilith and the Islamic Satan are both said to have defied God in precisely the same way, namely refusing to bow down to Adam. For this and other reasons, Lilith is seen, by some, as a feminine aspect of Satan.

In my standard ritual, the greeting to Lilith is intended to be appropriate regardless of whether you see Lilith as an aspect of Satan or as literally the wife of Satan.

Lilith was traditionally thought of as a destroyer (especially of children -- She was blamed for fatal childhood diseases). She is also associated with sexual lust and other sensual indulgence. She also encourages pride, especially in women. In recent decades, she has come to be associated with feminism, due to her refusal to bow down to Adam. (She has been adopted into the pantheon of quite a few feminist Neo-Pagans who otherwise abhor Satanism, even though she's traditionally the wife of you-know-who.)

It seems to me that Lilith has found an almost perfect embodiment in contemporary (post-mid-20th-century) Western civilization, with its combination of freedom for women, relaxed sexual mores, and great destructive power, both deliberate and unintentional. In the Greetings to the Legions of Hell, I describe Lilith as "Queen of our world" and "Queen of this age." Whereas LaVeyans would say that we live in the "Age of Satan," I would say, more specifically, that we live in the Age of Lilith. Thus, the recent favorable changes in Lilith's image are only to be expected.

Below are my own impressions of what Lilith, as a spiritual entity, has contributed to modern society over the past few hundred years.

However, none of this comes cheaply. On one hand, it's good that she fosters knowledge of sexual predators. On the other, the bad news is that there are a LOT of sexual predators, and picking their brain is no easy task. The paradox of Lilith is both destructive and creative, similar to Shiva/Shakti of Hindu lore. You can split an atom to create energy and use it for peaceful purposes. You can also split an atom to destroy whole cities on enemy turf.


[1] Hebrew Myths: The Book of Genesis by Robert Graves and Raphael Patai (New York: Doubleday, 1964), pp 65-69.

[2] "At this time, the abstruse sciences of Nature begin to be more investigated than for a century past, during which space they have been almost totally neglected; but men becoming more enlightened, they begin to consider the extraordinary effects that were wrought by ancient philosophers, in ages that were called dark." (THE MAGUS, FRANCIS BARRETT, F.R.C.)

[3] "An egregore has the characteristic of having an effectiveness greater than the mere sum of its individual members. It continuously interacts with its members, influencing them and being influenced by them. The interaction works positively by stimulating and assisting its members but only as long as they behave and act in line with its original aim. It will stimulate both individually and collectively all those faculties in the group which will permit the realization of the objectives of its original program. If this process is continued a long time the egregore will take on a kind of life of its own, and can become so strong that even if all its members should die, it would continue to exist on the inner dimensions and can be contacted even centuries later by a group of people prepared to live the lives of the original founders, particularly if they are willing to provide the initial input of energy to get it going again." (Gaetan Delaforgem, The Templar Tradition: Yesterday and Today)

[4] "This book was written because, with very few exceptions, every tract and paper, every ';secret' grimiore, all the "great works" on the subject of magic, are nothing more than sanctimonius fraud – guilt ridden ramblings and esoteric gibberish by chroniclers of magical lore unable or unwilling to present an objective view on the subject." (Anton Lavey, The Satanic Bible, page 21)

[5] "As regards the number of these companion devils and their origin, Tradition is not silent. It is said that there are males and females among the devils, out of whom they procreate; but as to Iblis, God has created. ... (The significance of this passage, which is not fit for translation, is that Iblis is an hermaphrodite) ... there come forth out of him every day ten eggs, out of each of which are born seventy male and female devils." (Ibn Khallikan, quoted in Hayat al-Hawayan, article jinn.)

In another tradition also found in the standard collections it is said that Iblis laid thirty eggs -"ten in the west, ten in the east, and ten in the middle of the earth - and that out of every one of those eggs came forth a species of devils, such as al-Gilan, al-'Akarib, al-Katarib, al-Jann, and others bearing diverse names. They are all enemies of men according to the words of God. 'What! will ye then take him and his seed as patrons, rather than we, when they are foes of yours?' with the exception of the believing ones among them."

Al-Tabari, in his great commentary, vol. 26, p. 104, says the qarin or qarina is each man's shaitan (devil), who was appointed to have charge of him in the world. He then proves his statement by a series of traditions similar to those already quoted: "his qarin is his devil (shaitan)"; or, according to another authority there quoted, "his qarina is his jinn." (The second form of the word is feminine, the first masculine.) According to Moslem Tradition, not only Mohammed but even Jesus the Prophet had a qarin. (The Influence of Animism on Islam, Samuel M. Zwemer, F.R.G.S.)

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