This week’s blog is a little different to my usual, but I really wanted to stop for a second and introduce you to a lady I’ve become pretty friendly with lately. She’s someone who’s had a bad press over the last few… well, centuries, but actually she’s a woman I think we could all do with getting to know a little better.
Her name? Lilith.
You might’ve heard it before. Because Lilith was the first wife of Adam – the one who went rogue and apparently turned into the Queen of the Demons and some sort of evil woman whose name must not be spoken.
She was a baby stealer, the maker of all vampires and the kind of terrifying seductress we should all cower from and do our damnedest to avoid. Apparently.
I say apparently because really, that description couldn’t be further from the figure I’ve come to know over the last few months.
Who is Lilith?
Lilith’s story starts at the very beginning of the world when she was created as the original woman; a wife for Adam. There they were in Eden and things were going pretty well; until one day they were doing the deed and practicing at creating the human race when Lilith decided she’d like to change things up a little and asked if she could go on top.
I know what you’re thinking: fair enough - after all there’s nothing wrong with mixing things up in the bedroom!
Except that Adam didn’t agree. He was horrified. Because what sort of woman wants to go on top?! Didn’t she realise she was made to be submissive and take her place underneath him, figuratively and literally? (Note: Let’s all remember that this wasn’t the woman who was allegedly created from his rib… but more on that lady another day).
So he called out to God who was pretty narked too, and the pair gave her an ultimatum – either she lay back and thought of Eden or she could leave paradise and never return.
Some of us might be scared of that idea… may well nod our heads and do as we were told. But Lilith? Hell no. The story goes that she sprouted wings and flew out of the garden with the Archangel of Death by her side.
Only she didn’t die. She simply tucked herself away and regathered her strength, made her plans and found a way to live outside of that beautiful world she’d thought would be her home.
My Lilith story so far
A few years ago during a healing session I was told that I had Lilith with me; that she was drawing very close and there were important things to come when that happened. Except that the lady who gave me that message was actually more scared than encouraging – it turned out she’d believed the very first description of Lilith in this post. Me? I knew nothing about her back then so didn’t try to venture any closer at the time, but remembered the message.
Then at the start of this year during Lisa Lister’s She Power Coven her name popped up again. And this time, I was ready. In fact this time I was so ready that I knew Lisa was going to mention Lilith before she was even officially introduced to the group, and so I leaned into that knowing to see what came through for me.
What came through was an energy that totally wowed me – a lady who had been banished from the only home she’d ever known and the place she’d thought she would grow old and raise a family; who’d had any chance of fulfilling what she’d believed to be her sole purpose in the world – to carry on the human race – and instead thrown out into the darkness with no hope, and no plan.
Yet she’d gotten through that… taken herself into that darkness to lick her wounds, work through her anger and pain and then present herself back to the world stronger, more powerful and ready to live a life on her terms.
In short, she rocked.
The more I learned about Lilith, the more I loved her, and the more signs I would get that she was around too… first of all with the meditation Lisa suggested to us; then with the magpies that seemed to be pretty much stalking me and that, when I tuned in and asked, I was told were a sign from Lilith; and then with Meggan Watterson’s Divine Feminine oracle cards, which I opened to find that one particularly card made me randomly burst into bone deep sobs – guess whose face was on that one…
Along the way I started incorporating Lilith as one of the Goddesses I’d call to in my nightly meditation practice. And more and more I started to visualise her within those meditations.
First of all she’d just appear as a tall, powerful looking pale skinned and dark haired lady in a long black dress standing outside a deep set cave; with a smile on her face that told me she was wiser, stronger and way braver than anyone ever expected her to be. But over time I saw more and more.
A little word of warning – the next few paragraphs of this post are going to get a little brutal – there’ll be blood and also a hefty mention of abortion. If that’s likely to trigger you or make you uncomfortable then by all means skip forwards to the heading that reads “what can we learn from Lilith?”
A meeting with the Lady Herself
A couple of days before Summer Solstice I was meditating as usual when I saw the cave again, but Lilith herself was nowhere in sight... until I recognised a figure emerging slowly and awkwardly from the darkness.
She was wearing the same black dress as I'd seen before, this time pulled up around her waist, with blood all over her thighs and her hands. As she looked at me in shock, she gazed down at her hands and then brought them to her face, covering her cheeks with the deep red too. In that moment, I felt her hit rock bottom - driven to the brink of madness with the pain and grief of having to abort the baby she'd carried with her from Eden.
Did she want that child? More than she wanted her paradisical happy ever after; more than she wanted life itself. But she knew that it would take everything she had just to keep herself alive in the cold and the darkness - it would be impossible to bring a child into those conditions too.
It was huge, it was powerful and I came back from the meditation totally overawed by what I'd seen.
Two days later I was driving across the country to celebrate Solstice in a stone circle. As we crossed the hills I realised my mooncup was overflowing - something that never happens - and that if I didn't pull over and find a toilet soon, my driver's seat would be a mess.
We drove on and on through the middle of nowhere before we eventually saw the sign for a cafe right on the top of the hills - the highest cafe in England actually with views into Scotland and Yorkshire and over to each coast - and pulled in... only to find that the cafe had been burned out earlier that year.
It didn't matter - at that point I just couldn't wait any more, and sometimes needs must. So I snuck around the back of the building and did what I needed to do, pouring my blood onto the Earth (FYI, since menstrual blood is jam-packed with nutrients that's a really beneficial thing to do with the contents of your cup, but I digress). It was such a relief - until I stood up and realised I was a mess; my hands and legs were covered and the friend I was with actually had to help re-dress me before I could clean my hands with babywipes and sanitiser.
It was a pretty weird experience all round, but one I thought nothing of until the journey home, when I mentioned the recent vision of Lilith to my friend and saw her turn to me wide-eyed. "But Ceryn," she said, "What you've just described... it's exactly how you looked when you came out from that cafe."
Err, wow. OK.
That night I meditated as usual, but this time I went in with a question: What in the hell was that all about?
The answer I got was that it was Lilith's way of drawing close; of reminding me that woman and Goddess aren't that far removed from one another and have a lot more in common than we realise. Of encouraging me to not only work with her but to get a little more in touch with my own inner Lilith...
What can we learn from Lilith?
So what does my - and your - inner Lilith look like? And what can we learn from this very first woman who flew off into the darkest night and came back stronger, wiser and more confident in her own self?
For starters, our own inner Lilith is the strongest and most courageous part of us.
She is the one who has been hurt, betrayed, maybe even completely broken and who wasn't afraid to feel the pain of those experiences. But who worked her way through that pain certain that she could make it out of the other side, and determined to learn the lessons that could be found in those dark times so that not only would she never experience them so deeply again, but that she could also help others along the way.
She is the figure who gave patriarchy the middle finger and refused to accept what was expected of her but instead stood up for her place in the world, spoke her truth and then carved out the new path that was necessary as a result - even when it meant starting something from scratch.
I've heard Lilith called the original feminist, and I can understand why - she was the original empowered woman. But let's remember that feminism wasn't what she set out to do.
Lilith's empowerment? It was about her standing in her own truth. Sitting in the darkness, looking within herself and then choosing not to simply follow the life that had been laid out but to do precisely what she knew was right for her and maybe, just maybe, change the world in the process.
And isn't that something we could all do with embracing a little more? That drive to stand tall and say what we need to for us for our own sakes first and foremost; knowing as we do that we can get through even the toughest of times.
So my advice today? Get in touch with that part of yourself. And with Her. Be more Lilith.