Back to Home Page or Contents Page or Judaism or Index
Lilith, Lillith or Lilit is a female demon of the night who supposedly flies around searching for newborn children either to kidnap or strangle them. Also, she sleeps with men to seduce them into propagating demon sons. She is related to lust. Legends that told about Lilith are ancient. She is considered the first vampire.
The rabbinical myths of Lilith being Adam's first wife (then she became a succubus) seem to relate to the Sumero-Babylonian Goddess Belit-ili, or Belili. To the Canaanites, Lilith was Baalat, the "Divine Lady." On a tablet from Ur, ca. 2000 BC, she was addressed as Lillake.
Lilith abounds in many mythologies which causes difficulty in pinpointing her exact origin. A preeminent mythology is the Jewish folklore, or the Zohar, the book of splendor, a Kabbalistic thirteenth century meditation on the Old Testament. The depiction of Lilith within the Zohar is the one that was prominent during the Middle Ages and current in mythology, Witchcraft, and magic, other words the occult sciences. Rightfully, as will be shown, there is a reason for this; the occult sciences usually oppose formalized religion as Lilith opposes God.
To summarize the Zohar which establishes the Hebraic myth of Lilith, in the beginning God created the Sun and Moon. They both ascended with equal dignity but the Moon did not feel right with the Sun, in fact, each mortified one another. The Moon asked where does thou pasture and the Sun asked the Moon where dose thou make thy flock rest at noon. Then the Sun asked how she as a little candle could so brightly shine in midday. God thus interceded to avoid strife between them and told the Moon to diminish itself. The Moon asked why she should be the one to veil herself, but God insisted, saying, 'Go your way forth in the footsteps of the flock' (Song of Songs 1:7). Although when connected with the Sun, the Moon was equally bright, but when departing she lost her light and assigned charge of her hosts, and shells were created for the covering of the brain, and for the benefit of the brain (Zohar I 20a).
After the primordial light was withdrawn there was created a 'membrane for the marrow,' a k'lifah husk or shell, and this k'lifah expanded and produced who was Lilith (Zohar I 19b).
He (God) summoned to issue from the side of Darkness a sort of a female Moon which rules the night, and is called night, and is associated with Adonai, Lord of the Earth (Zohar I 16b)…the Left, side of Darkness, flamed with its full power, producing at all points a kind of reflection, and from this fiery flame came a Moonlight essence…Just as it is the desire of Darkness to merge itself with Light, so it is the desire of night to merge itself with day (Zohar I 17a-b).
By causing a separation of the Sun and Moon God ended the discord between them. He caused the Moon to diminish herself and go forth in the footsteps of the flock, at the head of the lower ranks. In the Zohar the Sun was rightfully the higher dominion ruling the day, being male; and the Moon was rightfully the higher dominion ruling the night, being female. There are two kinds of luminaries: those descending from above called 'luminaries of light' and those ascending from below called 'luminaries of fire' (Zohar I 20b).
Although both luminaries continued reigning, the Moon felt slighted, her attachment for the Sun was severed and her self-diminishment was not of her choosing but commanded by God. This diminishment caused a k'lifah (or husk of evil) the birth of Lilith. Lilith has a body of a beautiful woman from the head to the navel, but from the navel down she is a flame of fire. This represents Lilith's energy, according to Zoharic myths, from the resentment caused by the diminishment of the Moon as well as the dark and fiery side of night.
These details are just the beginning of the Zohar's description of the shadowy personality known as Lilith that if often met in the night by a sleeping person. An analogy is drawn between Lilith and the husks of evil or the dark feminine side of the Self that appears to men and women at night in dreams. Such meetings are necessary for 'the permanence of the world.' They strengthen the male ego, some say replenish his sexual drive.
The origins of Lilith also form several Kabbalistic myths. The principle one is the quaternion marriage. In such a marriage are two pairs, or couples: God and his indwelling spiritual feminine aspect Shekhina, above, and Samael the Devil containing Lilith, below. From the beginning in all Jewish literature Lilith is described as evil. She evolves evil first as the diminution of the Moon, then cast from heaven, and the neglected and rejected feminine qualities composing the consort of the Devil. Lilith, like Samael, becomes something of a renegade, sent by God, to reign in the lower regions, world, in relation to humanity. Men experience her as the seductive witch, the death dealing succubus, and the strangling mother. For woman she is the dark shadow of the Self married to the Devil.
Most of the above descriptions of Lilith are Hebraic, they were meant to be universally especially interpersonal relations with her. The Jewish portrayal of Lilith as completely evil, a demon, and married to the Devil should be a warning of bias. Many abruptly hesitate to readily accept such a description wanting further explanation. Others see the description as one of the first derogations against women.
The Zohar continues such an explanation with the theme of the quaternion marriage. God and Shekina were above and Samael and Lilith were below. But it is alleged that following the destruction of the temple Shekhina descended to follow in the footsteps of her flock, and Lilith, her handmaiden, ascended becoming God's consort, thus showing her importance.
The Zohar's description of this quaternion marriage is important. First it indicates that the Jews believed their God possessed a female element named Shekina. This might also be referred to as his spirit. In Hebrew the word for spirit was ruah having a feminine gender, only after Greek Biblical writing did the word spirit become pneuma with a neuter gender. This would indicate, according to the Kabbalists, the Hebrew God Jehovah was not believed to be all male.
Second, the name Shekina did not occur randomly; it directly corresponds to Shakti, term for the feminine animation or soul for man or God. The Kabbalists believed God could not be perfect unless he was united with Shekina, for without her all evils came about. In Hebrew Sh'kina meant 'dwelling place,' a hint that God had no home without her. Shekina also meant animation or power, thus his creative ability. In prehistorical times of Hinduism one finds the association of Shakti with Lord Shiva. This period was greatly influenced by the worship of the Mother Goddess and nature. Shekina would appear to be a carry over among the Kabbalists.
Third, when indicating that following the destruction of the temple that Shekina left God and Lilith joined him replacing her would seem to emphasize two things according to the Kabbalists: God cannot be without his female element or spirit, and without it evil comes forth. This is the reason according to Kabbalistic tradition the Qlippoth of Lilith represents worldly pleasures.God also needs his feminine element for creativity. This divine creativity by some is thought to be the fiery lower part of Lilith, the permanence or sexuality without which the physical world could not exist. Just as man requires his Shekina for enlightenment, so God requires his Shekina for wisdom and creativity.
Fourth, Lilith is very important for magical purposes. This is especially true within the Kabbalah sense after establishing two premises: God possesses a female element, first, Shekina and then Lilith after the departure of the former; and without this female element God lacks creative power. The fourth century Gnostic Christians spoke of Sh'kina as a 'spirit of glory' in which Beings of Light lived, as children lived in their mother's body or house. The Kabbalists expressed the essentiality of uniting the cosmic male and female principles, the sun and moon, perhaps achieved through sexual magic, a union of God and Shekina expressed on earth by man and woman, husband and wife. Thus, one has the magic formula of As above so below
It would seem, according to myth that Lilith was with God when he created animals and man. For the Zohar asserts that Lilith, the soul, is both the animating and instinctual forces of every beast of the field: This is the soul of the creature that creeps to the four quarters of the globe, to wit, Lilith (Zohar I 34a). Here, as previously seen, is the Hebraic direct separation of the natural from the spiritual. Lilith, the evil, has sway over the natural. Lilith is associated with the creation of man. God created Adam androgynous. Rabbi Simeon commenting in the Zohar stated he believed this female was none other than the original Lilith who was with him and conceived from him.
The Zohar states this female was in the male, on or at his side, until God breathed a soul into the male then God severed the female from the male. God brought the female to the male, but she fled. After she, or Lilith, fled the myth that God Adam name all the animals. Several myths seem associated here leading to some confusion. But one story is that God had Adam name all the animals, and after doing so he watched them mate which caused him to experience loneliness and desire to also mate. There are several versions of this myth; some say Adam tried mating with the animals, a common Middle-Eastern herdsmen practice, though the Old Testament declared it a sin (Deuteronomy 27:21). At first Adam, which the Zohar says means both male and female, was androgynous but after seeing animals mate he felt loneliness. Having pity on him, God put Adam in a deep sleep and severed the female from his side, then adorned her as a bride, and gave the woman to Adam.
The Zohar's description of Lilith continues with other myths linking her to the primordial beginnings within the divine creation of nature, thus attributing to her the natural and instinctual attributes that were previously attributed to the Goddess. The Zohar could not eliminate nature, but by attributing it to Lilith nature was relegated as evil as opposed to spiritual which was declared superior or good. Also such rhetoric helped diminish the prevailing nature religion.
The primordial beginnings involved God's creation of sea monsters. These are the Leviathan and its female. This nature or soul exists in everything that crawls. This is the soul of the creature that creeps to the four quarters of the globe, to wit, Lilith (Zohar I 34a). The Zohar's linking Lilith to the primordial beginnings with the divine creation of nature, particularly sea monsters has a close resemblance to the myth of the Babylonian sea-dragon Tiamat.
The Zohar continues to explain that the waters nourish Lilith, and the South wind spread her influence giving her sway over all beasts of the field. One can hear them chanting to her at each of the three watches of the night (Zohar I 34a).
Lilith has been with the people, Jewish, Christian, and Pagan, throughout the centuries. As previously stated she is a renegade sent from God to reign on earth in relation to humanity. It should be remembered the Kabbalists held she had sway or powerful influence over all animals. Jews and Christians remember Lilith mostly because of her demonic nature, being wife of Samael, but Pagans, not believing in the Judeo-Christian God, respect Lilith mostly for her independent nature. They respect her determined spirit to be independent, part of this appreciation relates to the Zoharic myth of her defiance of God.
This defiance is emphasized in the myth of Lilith fleeing to the Red Sea after leaving Adam. There she married or copulated with Samael becoming the wife of Satan, begetting one hundred baby demons a day. However after she left him Adam became dissatisfied and complained to God who then sent three angels, Sanvi, Sansanvi and Semangelaf, to bring Lilith back to Eden. Lilith rebuffed the angels by cursing them. The angels said that God would take these demon children away from her unless she returned to Adam. Lilith did not return and each day God killed her one hundred demonic babies. But despite of this Lilith still bore her demons to show her defiance and determination. Then God gave Adam the docile Eve. Some belief this creation of Eve from Adam's rib is the purpose for two creation stories in Genesis.
As described in The Rape of Eve many women possess the Lilith aspect of the feminine personality, Samael in men. This is an personality aspect which represents the witch's knife giving her the determination and strength to depart or cut away from taking the sheltered and traditional path of womanhood, a path usually male and power driven. The nontraditional path leads its feminine traveler on a very different road than the one traveled by the average woman, often at first to isolation. In the feeling of complete aloneness, and sometimes shame, the person asks, "What have I done?" But such isolation and shame when accepted as challenges can issue forth fortitude. After healing oneself from wounds inflicted by ordinary society the woman decides whether she is going to repeatedly accept those wounds or fight back. If her Lilith aspect fully develops, she fights back by deciding the best ways of meeting numerous situations. She uses her knife to destroy injurious situations, and defend herself. Performing her tasks may by slow and arduous but she seeks self-equality and justice. She seeks selfhood as Lilith did when storming heaven's gate.
Others besides women can feel the Lilith aspect within them too, those who have been socially hurt or rejected, namely minorities. Many count Lilith as their friend without knowing it. She is that fighting spirit in them that makes them fight for their own causes and the causes of others. Lilith is the renegade, no status-quo role model. This may be the reason the Kabbalists created her and claimed her to be an evil spirit, she was against their God and therefore against them, the people of that God, but with others they did not consider as holy as themselves.
At the time most that were not Jewish were considered minorities, this definitely included those of the nature religion, or witches. This is partially seen in the Moabites article. The Moabites and Israelites were peaceful neighbors for three hundred years. Even though the Israelites were forbidden to practice what they considered idolatry, a cause was the friendly relationships that the amorous young Moabite women struck up with the Israelites, which led the Israelite men to idolatrous practices and war between the two peoples. Strict Jewish religious practices served to keep the small group, groups during the period of exile, close net and isolated. Anything interfering with these conditions was viewed as evil. Christianity has adopted a similar view. It was believed that that because God killed her demon babies that Lilith launched a reign of terror against women in childbirth and newborn infants, especially boys. However, it also was believed that the three angels who were sent to fetch her by the Red Sea forced her to swear that whenever she saw their names or images on amulets that she would leave the infants and mother alone.
These beliefs continued for centuries. As late as the 18th century, it was a common practice in many cultures to protect new mothers and their infants with amulets against Lilith. Males were most vulnerable during the first week of life, girls during the first three weeks. Sometimes a magic circle was drawn around the lying-in-bed, with a charm inscribed with the names of the three angels, Adam and Eve and the words "barring Lilith" or "protect this newborn child from all harm." Frequently amulets were place in the four corners and throughout the bedchamber. If a child laughed while sleeping, it was taken as a sign that Lilith was present. Tapping the child on the nose, it was believed, made her go away.
According to some Lilith's fecundity and sexual preferences showed she was a Great Mother of settled agricultural tribes, who resisted the invasions of the nomadic herdsmen, represented by Adam. It is felt the early Hebrews disliked the Great Mother who drank the blood of Abel, the herdsman, after being slain by the elder god of agriculture and smithcraft, Cain (Genesis 4:11). Lilith's Red Sea is but another version of Kali Ma's Ocean of Blood, which gave birth to all things but needed periodic sacrificial replenishment.
Speculation is that perhaps there was a connection between Lilith and the Etruscan divinity Lenith, who possessed no face and waited at the gate of the underworld along with Eita and Persipnei (Hecates and Persephone) to receive the souls of the dead. The underworld gate was a yoni, and also a lily, which had "no face." Admission into the underworld was frequently mythologized as a sexual union. (see Tantrism) The lily or lilu (lotus) was the Great Mother's flower-yoni, whose title formed Lilith's name.
Even though the story of Lilith disappeared from the canonical Bible her children the lilim haunted men for over a thousand years. It was well into that Middle Ages that Jews still manufactured amulets to keep away the lilim. Supposedly they were lusty she-demons who copulated with men in all their dreams, causing nocturnal emissions. Some priests including St. Augustine (see Incubus) and magicians believe part of the ejaculate resulting from male nocturnal emissions and masturbation is collected by the lilim to make demons.
Even though Lilith might be viewed as archaic by many, many Christians have not even heard of her because she is only referred to as a screech owl in the Bible also they are unfamiliar with the Zohar, to others she is very important. They readily recognize her association with Samael; the term association" is inadequate because it is believed by some initiated in Luciferian Witchcraft that Samael and Lilith were born as one in a similar fashion as Adam and Eve, again reflecting "As Above, So Below." This resembles the Zoharic quaternion marriage except Samael and Lilith are above instead of God and Shekina. Also, it explains further how Lilith could replace Shekina since they both were spiritual female elements. Lilith was of the same angelic nature as Samael but upon separation Samael stayed with his angels while Lilith was to rein in the world.
Reign she did, while maintaining her spiritual nature she could assume a physical one having metamorphic abilities which enabled her to change her essence. As previously described she is a beautiful woman from waste up, but a burning fire from waste down; Fire is an element she shares with her consort Samael. Anyone choosing her association is choosing copulation, sexual and worldly pleasures, as her nature is that of a renegade. The composite of her nature consists of growing in strength on the draconian desires of men and women, their lusts, hungers, and desires which empower and motivate her. Also her essence is of wild beasts of deserts and forests that are far from humanity.
Those who she helps know the ecstasy of being a man or woman. Aleister Crowley referred to her as "uncleanliness and sorcery," same nature as her mother Az in earlier folklore. To Crowley Lilith symbolized the Biblical Babylon, the Whore which rides the Dragon with seven heads. Crowley was fascinated with the Babylonian Whore which many believed to have been his inspiration for his Scarlet Women.
Crowley was a chief contributor to the idea that demons are produce from men's ejaculate after masturbation. Although warning against such sexual workings to evoke and create demons, he described two such workings in Rex de Arte Regia to produce Belial and Asmodeus through the means of solitary masturbation. It involved controlling and focusing the Will in the essence or goal associated in the specific Demon that one desires to evoke or create. The warning concerning this working is that the spirit can obtain a separate existence and to become an astral vampire of its creator if not bound and focused properly.
The connection between Lilith and magicians such as Crowley is the lilim,
Lilith's children, who collect men's ejaculate. They aid the magician in
his sexual workings. Some think they collect sexual fluids after wet
dreams too, nocturnal emissions. But care should be used here too; such
serving spirits can become masters as they share their mother's diabolical
The beginning of the association between Lilith and magicians according Lucifer Witchcraft was with the begetting of Cain; Cain was the son of Samael and Eve, not Adam, being produced when Samael mounted Eve (see The Rape of Eve). Cain was the creation of a God like person through the magical act, or work, of sexual union and therefore considered the son of Satan. He was produced from the filth which Samael infused into Eve. Mythical Cain also is the son of Lilith, Samael, Lilith and Eve, sharing her nature and the manifestation of the Devil or the antinomian one on earth. Other mythologies hold that when Cain reached Nod the Devil made him the first Witch. Older historical and hereditary branches of the craft hold Cain to be the manifestation of the first sorcerer, created by the Devil, and the basis of the True foundations of the Craft, characteristics separating it from traditions such as Wicca.
Lilith (Hebrew LILITH, "Woman of the Night") in Kabbalistic tradition are the Qlippoth or demonic powers associated with Malkuth, the tenth Sephirah of the Tree of Life. This Qlippoth is the opposite of Malkuth which represents earth into the divine energy flows to work out the divine plan. However, the world in its unbalanced form of Lilith, the seductress representing all of the worldly pleasures, can lead to materialism unbalanced by spirituality from the higher Sephirahs which ultimately leads to carnal or animal consciousness. A.G.H.
Ford, Michael W. Luciferian Witchcraft: The Grimoire
of the Serpent. Houston, TX, Succubus Publishing, 2005. pp. 39-45
Guiley, Rosemary Ellen, The Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft, New York: Facts On File, 1989, p. 203
Koltuv, Barbara Black, Ph. D. The Book of Lilith.ake Worth, FL. Nicolas-Hays 1986. pp. 11-26
Walker, Barbara G., The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, New York, HarperCollins, 1983, pp. 541-542