The Astrologist Tom Jacobs in his book, “Lilith: Healing the Wild” explores how a modern person can respond to the Lilith myth. (Note 1.) The title of book implies that Lilith represents that part of modern people which needs to be healed. By accepting Lilith back into their lives, they can experience their wildness more fully. Jacob’s goal in writing his book is to “transmute anger into proactive, constructive, activity to become willing to introduce the natural, wild, feminine into our daily lives.”
The story of Lilith is briefly as follows. God creates Adam and Lilith to keep each other company. Later Adam decides that Lilith should be subordinate to him. She refuses, and tells him that they are equals. However, neither of the two will relent in their stated positions. Frustrated, Lilith pronounces the Name of God, and flies off to the Red Sea beyond God’s domain. (Note 2.)
Enraged Adam tells God that Lilith has run off. God sends three angels to bring her back to Eden. When they find her, the angels tell Lilith that she must return or else. If she does not, each day, one hundred of her children will die. (Note 3.)
Shocked, Lilith tells the angels that God has appointed her to watch over children. Neither God nor Lilith will budge in their demands. Seeking revenge, Lilith tells the angels that she will kill Adam’s children and exploit men. Finally, the angels agree that any child who is wearing a talisman will not be killed by Lilith. Meanwhile, she becomes a demon who kills babies.
Jacobs breaks the myth into points to ponder for a modern person:
- Asserting equality. Lilith tells Adam that they are equal, since she has the right to exist just as she is.
- Meeting attempts to dominate. Lilith remains steadfast against Adam. She acknowledges the reality that she faces with Adam’s attempts to change her.
- Flight. Lilith uses her power to leave by pronouncing God’s Name. She goes beyond God’s jurisdiction into the unknown. For Lilith, leaving is an act of health.
- Separation. By leaving the only the home that she has ever known, Lilith becomes traumatized. (Jacobs says that this part of the myth is rarely explained.)
- Rage. Lilith feels betrayed by God for forcing her to choose between returning or having her children be killed. She meets God’s violence with her own.
Jacobs decided resolve Lilith’s rage and restore her to wholeness. He continues the original myth from the “rage” point. By rewriting the original myth, Jacobs encourages modern people to accept their “natural wildness.”
- Grieving and mourning. The loss of her home and her children bring unimaginable grief to Lilith. Coupled with the pain of God’s betrayal, her process of mourning is overwhelming.
- Accepting responsibility. Lilith has to take responsibility for her part of what occurred. She chose to kill children. If Lilith does not accept responsibility, she will remain disempowered.
- Recommitting to what is important. Lilith needs to be clear to what is truly important to her.
Using compassion, she allows her wildness to flourish constructively.
I present Jacobs’ ideas as how modern people approach a difficult myth. Rewriting is one way of delving into the myth. It does allow the person into the mythic landscape. However, myths in general tend to be rewritten to reflect modern sensibilities. This is why Jacobs felt the need to continue the Lilith myth to a satisfying end for his readers.
Note 1. Jacobs believes that he channeled a being who is said to be a child of Lilith.
Note 2. A version can be found here. Lilith – History, Stories & Interpretations of The First Woman | Mythology.net https://mythology.net/demons/lilith/
Note 3. These are the children that she had with the beings who lived around the Red Sea.
Lady Haight Ashton, “Pagan Portals: The First Sisters: Lilith and Eve.”
Tom Jacobs, “Lilith: Healing the Wild.”