19 Mar Archetype of Lilith
Have you ever studied the Lilith Archetype? It is said that it is she who awakens – she who is our shadow.
[Lilith] is a “Tree of Life,” … [this] of course is a cosmogram—a picture of the universe itself. It’s no wonder that one version of Lilith’s story claims that she was pure, primordial creation of cosmic energy. Lilith is the cosmos! – Kenneth Johnson
Lilith is one of the most misunderstood archetypes of all time; historically she has been villainized for asking that her needs are met and she be valued for who she is, versus who she should be, and ultimately standing up for herself. She has been type cast as many horrible things, as the turn of the wheel went from a Goddess centric mindset to a Patriarchal mindset.
Lilith was to be the first – mother to the world – who was set in the Garden of Eden to bring the world into manifestation. Even though she was not to fulfill this role at this time in the Garden, later stories say it was Lilith herself in the guise of a serpent that helped Eve awaken. Snake’s energy is that of old knowledge and ancient wisdom and matter becoming conscious. It is associated with the dynamic experience of radical awakening and shifts in awareness that push one over a threshold, requiring one to never go back to an old way of being.
Snake appears in the Garden of Eden, aiding humankind in its first shaky steps of awakening by encouraging Eve to eat of the fruit of the tree of All Knowledge. This act awakens Eve abruptly from her naivety and sets human kind on course in the world as we know it now. It is also interesting to note that almost all cultures have a Tree of All Knowledge, and Lilith herself can be understood as this energy.
The first aspect that the archetype of Lilith can help heal or balance involves the energy of believing that you are not whole, capable, and beautiful in your original state.
“Lilith found refuge at the Red Sea. Many suggest that the Red Sea is a symbol of a woman’s menses and “ancient sources spoke of the two flows that come from a woman’s vagina. The clear flow of ovulation was called the River of Life because its procreative nature supported the patriarchal system. The forbidden red flow of menstruation was called the River of Death because a woman’s power and sexuality that arose at this time did not have the end purpose of pregnancy.” – Demetra George
George continues her thought:
[This Red Flow is an] aspect of a woman’s femininity that is self-directed, uncompromising, powerful, and impersonal. She has the audacity to focus inward rather than to relate to others. At the menstrual time the power of a woman’s erotic sexuality can be used for transformation, renewal, divination, healing, and magic rather than procreation. As the patriarchy grew to fear the erotic sexuality of the dark moon, they sought to separate women from the source of their power. Menstrual women were maligned as bitchy hysterical, angry, furious, and irrational while they had the disgusting impure “curse.”
Lilith calls you into the darkness of uncharted territory of the soul, to the truth that you must undo something before you can gain something new. The concept of flat or false enlightenment (blindly doing what is deemed “good” behavior) has deceived us into being afraid of the darkness and running from it in an attempt to avoid strong, unpleasant emotions (personified as the demons in her myth). However, it is necessary to engage in such emotions in order to truly rectify discontent.
The darkness is not frightening if we look at it with owl eyes; rather, it is a sea of nourishment, possibility, and growth. (The owl is one of Lilith’s totems, and she is depicted with owl legs in some myths.) To cut oneself off from the soul is to be cut off from one’s power, strength, and potential. This Dark Goddesses also allow us to tap into our anger and moral outrage.
Mother Nature will orchestrate a forest to burn when it is needed for healthy progression. After the fire, in the charred remains, there is breathing room for new green shoots instead of the under-nourishing brittleness of a dead forest. You, too, may need to use great force to make way for new growth.
The terrain of the soul is uncharted territory that you will not have a map for. Your journey into the soul is about undoing reference points, so there will be feelings of being out of control, afraid, and not knowing, but in this you will find your gifts. In his book Your Night Journeys, Thomas Moore describes the experience as such:
In your dark night, you may have a sensation you could call “oceanic”—being in the sea, or immersed in the waters of the womb. The sea is the vast potential of life, but it is also your dark night, which may force you to surrender some knowledge, thing or way of being you have achieved. You must unravel the self, and the culture you have woven over the years. The night sea journeys back to your primordial self, not the heroic self that burns out and falls to judgment, but to your original self, yourself as the sea of possibility, your greater and deeper being.
Lilith brings you to the brink of greatness of self and will serve as a guide in the darkness. She will give you star eyes to burn in the darkness, the strength to be fierce and firm, and the vision of your own terrible beauty. She will open you to your own inner bravery until you find firm footing in your unique, perfect soul. Anyone who is strong enough to take on in love one of the most difficult but important journeys—understanding one’s true self outside of any context, such as family or culture—is a true heroine!
Remember, her energy is beautiful, seductive, independent, and perhaps frightening for some, as she is not controlled by outside forces – only by the dictates of her own heart. She listens solely to her own counsel and refuses to belong to anyone—mother, father, mate, society, or children. This energy is awesome in its true meaning, as it is pure possibility without restriction.
Lilith, in Sumerian and Babylonian myths, is depicted as the spirit who inhabited a willow tree (the energy of willow involves taking responsibility for one’s life and not allowing oneself to be a victim), with a dragon coiled at her feet (kundalini energy) and a mythical bird in her branches (understanding, enlightenment). This suggests the Tree of Life archetype – pure primordial creation of cosmic energy. A supportive legend from the Kabalic text states that Lilith was not created by Yahweh at all; instead “she arose from chaos as a pure primordial energy, created from the universe alone.” This archetype will not be subjugated in any way and must be treated with respect in all situations. Woe unto those who do not honor this energy!
Lilith originally was an emanation of the great winged Bird Goddess, a wind spirit. Her flower is the lilu or lily. In the Hebrew tradition, her name means screech owl. She birthed the collective unconscious and is a living cosmos unto herself.
– Adapted from Candice Covington: https://divinearchetypes.org/blogs/news/sacred-archetype-vibrational-essence-of-lilith
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