Back to Home Page or Contents Page or Judaism or Index
Rape of Eve, The
To fully understand the rape of Eve one must be familiar with the legends of Lilith and the Fall of Man. Briefly according to Hebrew rabbinic writings Lilith was the first wife of Adam, created by God as twins joined together. Lilith demanded equality with Adam, especially during sexual intercourse not always being beneath. When Adam refused to her demands Lilith hastily left him fleeing to the Red Sea where, according to other legends, she copulated with Satan begetting the demonic Djinn or one hundred babies a day. God sent three angles to fetch her, but Lilith refused to return. Thus God gave Adam the docile Eve. But when Lilith saw Adam with Eve she remembered the Holy Beautiful One and rushed back to take her place, only it was too late, God had locked her out by the cherubim.
In the legend of the Fall of Man one sees Eve being tempted by the serpent. According to Christian belief the serpent was Satan in disguise; another name for Satan is Samael, Lilith's demonic lover. The Kabbalists carried this lore further by saying that menstrual blood was a curse upon women descending from Eve's sexual union with Lilith in the guise of Samael. When Lilith had seen Samael in his serpentine form seducing Eve she became envious and entered the act herself. The Eve's menstrual blood became the actual 'filth and the impure seed' of Samael. This follows the rabbinic lore that Lilith in Serpent form was able to seduce Eve because of the inherent lustfulness and weakness of women. In turn Eve seduced Adam during her menses. Once Adam defiled himself through this forbidden act, Lilith became strong 'in her husks' and was able to come to him against his will to steal his seed to engender many demons, spirits, and Lilin.
The importance of the above Kabbalistic myth is that it shows the
Kabbalists not only accepted the Hebrew prohibition that men should not
have sexual relationship with a woman during her menses but also not
during her purification period lasting seven days afterwards as written in
the Old Testament (Lev. 18:19) and the Midrash, but they presented a
reason for the prohibition. They went further than the Bible which just
states God's prohibition which simply states that man should not let
menstrual blood touch him with no explanation. There was no explanation
needed for most Jews since God had stated it. The Kabbalists not only
presented an explanation for the prohibition but also described the occult
power thought to be in menstrual blood of menstruation.
It is recognized that for many modern readers the above prohibition seems absurd and foolish. But let this author assure you that it was just a few years ago, if not currently, that Christian mothers were advising their sons and daughters not to have sexual intercourse during the wife's menstruation, the prohibition rooted deep and well. Furthermore, such lore should not be openly rejected as meaningless but studied for its deeper occult meaning. The Kabbalists believed that Eve's menstrual blood was the seed of Samael in his serpentine form indicates a strong link between menstrual blood and Kundalini energy, which is always characterized as serpentine. The belief is carried further: the authority which Eve exerted over Adam indicates the belief in the power of her blood, and shows her (women's) immense potency, thus women can compel men to act against their will. Therefore, it might be said, this persuasive ability or gift was given by Lilith through Samael to Eve. It is no wonder that the ancient rabbis called this gift a curse. The curse or gift to all mankind also was the birth of Cain, Cain of gnosis.
As it would be expected the rabbis would consider this a curse. Their attitude was certainly carried over into the Christian religion and continued for centuries. It has just been in recent years that women have made any headway within the Christian Church, mainly in Protestant denominations. Of course, this was the main goal of Christianity, destroy the Goddess religion. Many believe this goal was partially interrupted by Lilith, the sexual love aspect of the Great Mother who exerts so much power.
Such power is of both a magical and sexual nature. It has always been present in alchemy as the term menstruum, meaning menstrual blood. Its use in alchemy is associated with its occult meanings, both life and death. The occult virtues for menstrual blood have completely different sets of associations in Western occultism from the blood within the body. Menstrual blood while in the body nourished and empowered, but once it flowed out it was almost universally believed to sterilize, destroy, and kill. According to some these characteristics naturally made it the blood of Lilith. Throughout history menstrual blood has been described as having magical properties rendering it serviceable for many uses which range from deadly to useful purposes. Two noted authors were the Roman Pliny the Elder and Agrippa.
Pliny the Elder devoted two chapters of his Natural History describing the dreadful powers of menstrual blood. Agrippa mentioned many in his treatment of sorceries. Agrippa's comments are curious as he gives several examples as to how menstrual blood is harmful to agriculture: it sours new wine, and if it touches the vine it spoils it; by it very touch it makes all plants and trees barren; and it burns herbs and makes fruit fall from trees. He continues giving other examples of the ill effects of menstrual blood but by contrast medieval peasants thought it could nourish and fertilize. Some believed a woman during menstruation could protect fields by walking through it or exposing her genitals. Other women carried seeds to fields in rags stained by menstrual blood, a continuation of the custom of Eleusinian fertility.
One has to wonder who is right, Pliny the Elder and Agrippa or the peasant woman? From a brief observation one would tend to answer the women. Both Pliny the Elder and Agrippa were men of letters, although no doubt both had observed nature and Agrippa, although he practiced occultism, had connections to the Roman Catholic Church and its anti-natural views. However, the peasant women had lived the natural experience; they knew what it was to plant and sow. Most probably they had planted menstrual-blood drenched seeds many times thinking they produced better and knowing they caused no ill effects. The women most liking saw female animals menstruate and knew it caused no harm. To them, menstruation was a natural feminine process as it had been to ancient pagan women observing the Eleusinian Mysteries, perhaps some of this belief still lived.
Some call menstrual blood the blood of Lilith because they believed it had power of both life and death, life within the body to nourish the fetus and death when it flows out; therefore Lilith is mistress of childbirth. This blood is also link to the Moon as the menstrual cycle closely corresponds to the lunar cycle, therefore associated with Lilith, Hecate, Kali, and other lunar goddesses of destruction.
The rape of Eve and the story of Lilith coincide when describing the derogation of women among past Judeo-Christian clergy. Both were degraded by God and his all-male clergy followed his example. But both reinstated themselves becoming a feminine force to be reckoned with: Lilith by going to the Red Sea, taking her demon lover Samael, begetting demons, and participating in the rape of Eve; and Eve when she tempted Adam to have sexual intercourse with her during her menses. All such activity interrupted God's plan for his 'perfect man' and 'obedient woman,' and gave women equality with men. By Adam defiling himself women gained the opportunity of being able to make men do things against their will. In this sense Lilith and Eve are comparable to the Persian sea-goddess Tiamat who was to be a dutiful deity after her husband Apsu was killed. But unlike chaotic Tiamat neither Lilith nor Eve were killed and continue ravaging chaos on the world when fighting for justice.
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. A.G.H.
Koltuv, Barbara Black, Ph. D. The Book of Lilith.ake
FL. Nicolas-Hays 1986. p. 26
Tyson, Donald. Sexual Alchemy: Magical Intercourse with Spirits. St. Paul, MN. Llewellyn Publications. 2000. pp. 98-102
Walker, Barbara G., The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, New York, HarperCollins, 1983, p. 644