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Lilith: The First Woman or the Mother of Demons?

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She is an unshakable optimistic with a passion for writing and an undying love for mythology, hence resulting in creation of these articles.

When looking at demonology and various figures that appear in all throughout religions, there is one female figure, one name that is more prominent than any other, The one name that's transcended across numerous cultures in the ancient and mediaeval period but even to this day still appears to be as a character in all sorts of modern culture and that one name is Lilith.

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The First Woman.

Today, many think of Lilith as the first wife of Adam, who rebelled and was later replaced by Eve; this idea stems from the Book of Genesis. The very first book in both the Hebrew Bible and the Old Testament, Genesis one details the creation of the universe as well as everything inside of it. It says that God created heaven, the earth, vegetation, animals, and lastly mankind in his own images to rule over what he had earlier created. What's important to note is that genesis one State that he created both man and woman at the same time.

Genesis two though being very similar in discussing the creation of the universe, differs in regards to the creation of man and woman, here the man was created first and not wanting his creation to stay alone god sent the man into a deep slumber and took from him a rib, which he would then use to create the first woman, i.e Eve. So essentially we have two contradicting accounts of our creation, one after the other.

To many the word of god is sacred and hence cannot be contradicting, this led to scholars explaining the events of genesis one and genesis two as describing two separate events rather than two accounts of the same happening. The explanation here is that God needed to create the woman twice, once with the man and then again from the man.

The woman in the first story isn't identified in the genesis, but would eventually be known as Lilith, the woman in the second story is who we know from the bible as Eve.

Lilith is a name that first appeared as an early example of a Succubus. The most common description of her is. However, as a demon of the night, seductive and sexual in nature, but also deadly and if that isn't enough she also waits until the cover of darkness to steal babies and young children. In the Mesopotamian religion, the figure of Lilith was seen as an evil deity or when associated with the moon, She was regarded as a Goddess with different phases, and therefore different moods, that way she could be seen as a fertility goddess but also as a devilish figure.

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The Evil Goddess Lamashtu.

This concept can be traced all the way back to ancient Mesopotamian culture, where once existed a figure called Lamashtu, the daughter of the sky god Anu (sumer an), who to some was an evil goddess but to others was simply a demon, a monster that plagued women during childbirth. One that would steal their children, suck out their blood and marrow only to gnaw at the bones that remained. The mothers themselves weren't safe from Lamashtu and neither were their unborn children as she could make women miscarry, being one of the most terrifying demons in Mesopotamian myth, Her actions were not just limited to pregnant women.

She would drink the blood and eat flesh of men, she would infect one's dreams until there only nightmares were left, Wherever she went, sickness, disease and death followed her like her own shadow.

In these stories of Lamashtu, we can definitely see a parallel of her with creatures such as vampires, succubus and even Lilith herself.

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The Legend of Lilith.

The Talmud speaks of Lilith as a demon with wings and a face of a woman, she's then also associated with several demons in the same, one of these being The Grethe, who is primarily known as the demon of the night, one who preys on children and vulnerable, so far we can see two distinct images of Lilith, one as the demon and the other as the first woman ever created but what happened in the middle ground from when she was created and all the way until she became a demon.

Unlike Eve who emerged from Adam's rib, Lilith was created alongside Adam from the same clay, hence she never submitted to Adam's command because she thought of herself as an equal to him. Both of them wanted the dominance in the relationship, as neither of them were willing to compromise.

Lilith and Adam, both inhabited the garden of Eden but Lilith's rebellion put her in a situation where she was forced to choose between submitting to her husband or leaving the garden of Eden, Lilith who was not willing to give up her independence chose to leave behind the garden and even Adam. She fled away from the garden of Eden, and in order to defy the almighty, out loud she then pronounced god's real name and in doing so, she instantly became a winged demon.

The first woman ever created was exiled and settled herself near the Red Sea. When the angels pursued her in the hopes of bringing her back, she told them she had no intention of returning to the garden of Eden. As a punishment for her disobedience, the three angels who found her promised to kill one hundred of her demon children every day.

Her purpose now became only to cause illness and sickness to the infants of others. Whenever a child was born she would claim dominion over that child for eight days if it was a boy and twenty if it was a girl. To save the children from her wrath, there came only one compromise, any child who wore a medallion or an amulet with the name of any of those three angles, would be left alone.

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The serpent.

Depictions of Lilith varied from a beautiful woman to a more sinister demon and some stories even affirmed that Lilith was jealous of the happy life that Adam and Eve led in paradise, and as an act of final revenge, she assumed the shape of a serpent and tricked Eve, forcing her and Adam to taste the forbidden fruit which caused the couple to be expelled from the garden of Eden. The stories of Lilith are quite well known, yet this version is not present in the Christian Bible and is rejected by both Catholics and Protestants.

The Queen of Demons.

As time went on there were folk tales that saw Lilith as the demon queen and thus related her to Asmodeus who many considered to be the King of demons. Asmodeus being mentioned in the book of Tobit, the Talmud and numerous other scriptures means that it is not really a huge surprise that lilith, and he were paired together as the mother and father of demons, together they had thousands of demon children and travelled from village to village causing chaos and destruction.

In some stories she's closely related to Samuel who himself is a rather odd character. Some teachings in the kabbalah goes as far to saying that Lilith was his consort, and that was not god who created her but instead Samuel who made himself a demon wife who filled the role later intended for eve. he also gave her a host of demonic children, one of them being Asmodeus.

There are a lot of characters in Greek mythology who resemble Lilith as well, the example of the same being, harpies and the sirens, who also have a more seductive nature, however the character that has the closest resemblance and embodies these three signs of Lilith is lamia. As these three stages are almost mirrored in her story.

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Popular Culture And Modern times.

The stories of Lilith are still flourishing and quite popular in modern times, Fans of the chronicles of Narnia may or may not know the white witch is actually the descendant of the first wife of Adam, which in this case is of course Lilith.

The figure of Lilith as an independent and strong woman went against the patriarchal structure that was one of the corner stones of the Judeo- Christian culture and for this very reason Lilith was embraced by the feminist movement. She is often regarded as the first feminist, the moment claims that Lilith was unfairly demonized like most women in our history who have attempted to defy the patriarchy, regardless of how confusing and stitched together the original references may be, whether you see her story as a fall from the grace or a rebellious uprising, whether you see her as a demonic figure or a symbol of women struggles, Lilith's story is still a subject of much interest and I personally find her very intriguing.

Thank you for reading.

What do you consider Lilith to be?

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Natasha