Lilith in Jewish and Early Christian Literature: Adam’s First Wife and Succubus Queen
In astrology, Lilith is a name designating different things: a hypotethical second Moon on Earth, o point on the horoscope calculated by astrologers, an asteroid from the asteroid belt. We showed HERE what is her meaning and signification in astrology and how does it influence our love life. Today, we’ll study the myth of Lilith, according to Jewish and early Christian literature (both canonical and apocryphal).
LILITH IN THE BIBLE: Lilith is mentioned in the Book of Isaiah, 34:14. The word „Liliths“ was translated as „night creatures“, „screech owl“ or even „demon monster named Lilith“. Whatever this Lilith mentioned by Isaia was, it is not given any connection whatsoever to Adam or Creation, as it happends in the Wisdom of the Zohat (see below). This is the text: „And desert creatures will meet with hyenas, and goat-demons will call out to each other. There also Liliths will settle, and find for themselves a resting place“. (Isaiah, 34:14)
LILITH, QUEEN OF SUCCUBI IN THE GNOSTIC GOSPEL OF PHILIP: The Gospel of Philip is one of the Gnostic Gospels, a text of New Testament apocrypha, not accepted as canonical by the Christian church. The Gospel of Philip is dated to around the 3rd century but lost in modern times until an Egyptian man rediscovered it by accident, buried in a cave near Nag Hammadi, in Upper Egypt, in 1945. Here are described the demons called succubae and incubi, whose Queen is Lilith: „As for the unclean spirits, there are males among them and there are females. The males are they which unite with the souls which inhabit a female form, but the females are they which are mingled with those in a male form, through one who was disobedient. And none shall be able to escape them, since they detain him if he does not receive a male power or a female power – the bridegroom and the bride. One receives them from the mirrored bridal chamber. When the wanton women see a male sitting alone, they leap down on him and play with him and defile him. So also the lecherous men, when they see a beautiful woman sitting alone, they persuade her and comple her, wishing to defile her. But if they see the man and his wife sitting beside one another, the female cannot come into the man, nor can the male come into a woman“. (Gospel of Philip, II, 3)
LILITH IN THE ZOHAR AND KABBALAH: The Zohar is the foundational work in the literature of Jewish mystical thought known as Kabbalah. It is a group of books including commentary on the mystical aspects of the Torah or Pentateuch – the five books of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. The Zohar first appeared in Spain, in the 13th century, and was published by a Jewish writer named Moses de Leon, who ascribed the work to Shimon bar Yochai , a rabbi a rabbi of Ancient Israel (2nd century). These are the texts from Zohar reffering to Lilith:
LILITH – AT THE VERY BEGINNING SHE EXISTED WITH ADAM: „Come and see. From the crevice of the great deep, above, there came a certain female, the spirit of all spirits, and we have already explained that her name was Lilith. And at the very beginning she existed with man. When Adam was created, and his body had been completed, a thousand spirits from the left side gathered together around the body, each one wanted to gain entry to it, but they were unable to, and in the end the Holy One, blessed be He, rebuked them. Adam therefore was lying down, a body without a spirit, and he had a green pallor, and all these spirits were hovering round him. At that moment a cloud descended and drove away all these spirits. Concerning this moment it is written «And God said, Let the earth bring forth a living soul» (Genesis 1:24). We have already explained that the female became pregnant by the male in the soul of Adam and produced the spirit that was comprised of two sides, as was proper, so that it could be breathed into Adam. This is the meaning of «and He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and Adam became a living soul» (Genesis 2:7) – a really living soul. Whoever has doubts about this because he does not know whether it refers to the life below or the life called «Israel», or whether it is male or female, should notice that it does not say «the living soul», but «a living soul», without qualification, which signifies everything. When Adam arose his wife was fastened to his side, and the holy soul that was in him spread to this side and to that, and nourished both sides, because it was comprised of both. Subsequently, the Holy One, blessed be He, split Adam, and prepared his female. This is the meaning of «And the Lord God constructed the side . . . » (Gen. 2:20 – «the side» we have explained before, as it is written «the side of the tabernacle» (Exodus 26:20). «And He brought her to Adam» (Gen. 2:22) – attired as a bride for the wedding canopy.
When Lilith saw this she fled, and she is now in the cities of the sea, and she is still intent on injuring mankind. When the Holy One, blessed be He, destroys wicked Rome, and it becomes an eternal desolation, He will bring up Lilith and settle her in the ruins, because it will be desolate forever. This is the meaning of «Lilith shall repose there, and find her place of rest» (Isaiah 34:14)“. (The Wisdom of the Zohar 539-540)
LILITH, AN ABOMINABLE HARLOT WHO SEDUCES MANKIND: „The secret of secrets: From the strength of the noon-flame of Isaac, from the wine lees, a naked shoot came forth, comprising together male and female, red like a lily, and they spread out on several sides, down several paths. The male is called «Samael», and his female is always included with him. Just as on the side of holiness there are male and female, so on ‘the other side’ there are male and female, included one with the other. The female of Samael is called «snake», «a wife of harlotry», «the end of all flesh», «the end of days». Two evil spirits are attached to one another. the male spirit is fine, the female spirit spreads out down several ways and paths, and is attached to the male spirit.
She dresses herself in finery like an abominable harlot and stands at the corners of streets and highways in order to attract men. When a fool approaches her, she embraces him and kisses him, and mixes her wine lees with snake poison for him. Once he has drunk, he turns aside after her. When she sees that he has turned aside after he from the way of truth, she takes off all the finery that she had put on for the sake of this fool.
This is the finery that she uses to seduce mankind: her hair is long, red like a lily; her face is white and pink; six pendants hang at her ears; her bed is made of Egyptian flax; all the ornaments of the East encircle her neck; her mouth is shaped like a tiny door, beautified with cosmetic; her tongue is sharp like a sword; her words smooth as oil; her lips beautiful, red as a lily, sweetened with all the sweetnesses in the world; she is dressed in purple, and attired in thirty-nine items of finery.
This fool turns aside after her, and drinks from the cup of wine, and commits harlotry with her, completely enamored of her. What does she do? She leaves him asleep on the bed and ascends to the realms above, accuses him, obtains authority, and descends. The fool wakes up, thinking to sport with her as before, but she takes off her finery, and turns into a fierce warrior, facing him in a garment of flaming fire, a vision of dread, terrifying both body and soul, full of horrific eyes, a sharpened sword in his hand with drops of poison suspended and dripping from it. He kills the fool, and throws him into Gehinnom“. (The Wisdom of the Zohar, 538-539)
LILITH KILLING INFANTS WHEN THE MOON IS ON THE WANE: „And God said, Let there be lights . . . ” (Genesis 1:14). “Lights” is written defectively, meaning that croup was created for babies. After the illumination of the first light was concealed, a shell was created for the kernal, and this shell spread and produced another shell. When she emerged and ascended and descended, and came to «the tiny countenances», and wished to join herself to them, to take shape within them, and never to leave them. But the Holy One, blessed by He, took her away from there, and brought her down below when He created Adam, in order to regulate this world. When she saw Eve, who was attached to Adam’s back, and whose beauty was like that of the realms above, and when she saw her perfect image, she flew from there and wished, as at first, to join herself to «the tiny countenances». The keepers of the celestial gates did not allow her to approach. The Holy One, blessed be He, upbraided her and dispatched her to the depths of the sea, and she dwelt there until Adam and his wife sinned. Then the Holy One, blessed be He, brought her out of the depths of the sea, and she rules over all infants — «the tiny countenances» of mankind — who deserve to be punished because of the sins of their fathers. She goes to and fro in the world, and comes to the terrestrial Garden of Eden, and sees the Cherubim guarding the gates of the Garden of Eden, and she dwells there by the flaming sword, because she originated from the side of that flame. When the flame turns she flees and goes through the world, finding infants who ought to be punished, and she smiles at them and kills them. This happens when the moon is on the wane, and the light diminishes. And this is the meaning of me’orot (lights)“. (The Wisdom of the Zohar 540-541)
HOW TO PROTECT AGAINST LILITH: SANCTIFY YOURSELVES AND BE HOLY: „After the snake had lain with Eve and cast filth upon her, she bore Cain. From here all the generations, the wicked of the world, draw their origin, and to the generation of the demons and the spirits they owe their being with all their characteristics. Therefore the spirits and the demons are half like human beings below and half like angels above. Similarly, when the other spirits were procreated by Adam, they too were of this nature, half from below and half from above. After they had been procreated by Adam, he produced from these spirits daughters who resembled in beauty both the upper and the lower worlds. Therefore it is written, «the sons of God saw the daughters of man that they were fair . . .» (Genesis 6:2), and they all went astray after them.
There was a certain male, who came into the world from the spirit on the side of Cain, and they called him Tuba-cain. And a certain female emerged with him, and human beings go astray after her, and her name is Naamah. From her other spirits and demons came forth, and they are suspended in the air, giving information to others who are below them. This Tubal-cain brought weapons of war into the world. And Naamah makes a roaring noise and cleaves to her forces, and she still survives. And her dwelling is among the breakers of the great sea, and she goes out to mock at human kind, warming herself on them in dreams with human desire, and cleaving to them. She receives this desire but no more, and she becomes pregnant through this desire and brings other kinds of demons into the world. The sons that she bears to mortal men present themselves to the females among mankind and they become pregnant by them and bear spirits.
They all go to Lilith first and she rears them. She goes out into the world in search of babies, and when she sees human babies she attaches herself to them, seeking to kill them, and to absorb the spirits of these human babies. She goes off with this spirit, but there are three holy spirits who are gathered there. They fly in front of her and take the spirit from her and present it to the Holy One, blessed be He. And there they teach the babies in His presence.
It is for this reason that the Torah warns people: «Sanctify yourselves and be holy» (Leviticus 20:7). And it is true that if a man is holy during intercourse he need not be afraid of her, for then the Holy One, blessed be He, will summon the three holy angels that we have mentioned, and they will protect the child and she cannot harm him. This is the meaning of «No evil shall befall you, and no plague shall come near your tent» (Psalm 91:10). Why? Because «He will give His angels charge over you» (Psalm 91:11). And it is written «Because he has loved me, I will deliver him» (Psalm 91:14). But if man is not holy and draws out a spirit from the side of uncleanness, she will come and mock at the child. And if she kills him she will absorb the spirit and will never be separated from it.
You might object and say that the others whom she kills, but whose spirits are taken by the three holy angels who are assembled before her, cannot have been formed from the side of uncleanness. And, if that is so, by what right did she kill them? In these cases, man has not sanctified himself, but neither did he have the intention of defiling or of becoming defiled. Therefore she has the power to control the body but not the spirit“. (The Wisdom of the Zohar 542-543)
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