Between Jewish Folklore and Mesopotamian mythology to even Christianity, the name Lilith is one that has made an appearance more than once — but who exactly is this mysterious female figure, and where did she come from? We’ll tell you.
In this article, we’re turning back the hands of time to uncover the story behind Lilith — aka the Queen of Hell. So if you’ve ever been interested in learning about this mysterious raven-haired demon, keep reading.
What Is the Definition of Lilith?
According to the Britannica Dictionary, Lilith refers to a female demonic figure of Jewish Folklore. In rabbinic legend, Lilith is Adam’s first wife but is later “banished” from the Garden of Eden and replaced by Eve, causing her to become an evil spirit. That said, this isn’t the only definition behind our word of the day — here are a few other meanings behind Lilith:
- According to the Old Testament, Lilith is an evil female spirit in Semitic legend, alleged to haunt deserted places and attack children.
- In European myth and legend, Lilith is a witch notorious in medieval demonology.
- According to some pagans, Lilith is a dark deity or feminine goddess.
- In ancient Semitic Folklore, Lilith is a female demon — or vampire — that lives in desolate places.
- Lilith is a female given name from Hebrew.
What Is the Origin of Lilith?
The history behind Lilith is a bit unclear, but her name and personality are believed to come from the class of Mesopotamian demons called lilû — feminine: lilītu — and the name is usually translated from the Akkadian word lilitu to “night monster,” “night bird,” “night demon,” “storm goddess,” or “female demon.”
Described as a raven-haired demon who preys on helpless infants and seduces unsuspecting men, Lilith’s name only appears once in the Hebrew bible. Over the years, however, Lilith has been cast as Adam’s rebellious first wife, the true love of Samael, the demon king, and more recently as a feminist icon.
That said, long before Lilith made her way in Judaism folklore and midrash, demons were haunting the nightmares of ancient Assyrians, Babylonians, and Sumerians.
Male and female demons appeared in the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh, and the Mesopotamian goddess Lamashtu was a winged demon that tormented pregnant women, caused miscarriages, and stole nursing infants.
Despite her past, Lilith is commonly used today as a symbol of female power. Many feminists see the demonic goddess as not only the first woman but the first independent woman created.
What Is the Creation Story?
In Genesis 1, the first woman created alongside Adam wasn’t Eve but Lilith. Yup, it’s true — Lilith is believed to be the first wife of Adam.
According to some variants, Lilith was created on equal footing to Adam and wanted to have sex on top, insisting on her right to do so. Adam refused this and sent her away; however, in other versions of the story, Lilith was the one who abandoned Adam.
Lilith pronounced the name of God, flew up to Paradise, and went off to the Red Sea. God sent angels to bring her back to Adam and threatened that if she didn’t come along, she would lose a hundred of her children daily — but she preferred even that over returning to Adam.
In Genesis 2, however, God made Adam “from the dust of the earth” and then removed one of Adam’s ribs to create Eve. As for which version is actually true — the world may never know.
What Is the Black Moon Lilith?
According to astrology, the Black Moon Lilith — aka the dark moon — is the point along the moon’s orbit when it’s farthest from Earth. Unlike the planets in your birth chart, Lilith isn’t actually a material thing — it’s a point in space.
Connected to your inner shadow, Lilith is thought to represent the darkest parts of ourselves that we tend to repress or deny. On the other hand, Lilith can help us with the power and strength we need to embrace the worse sides of our character.
At its core, Lilith represents our unconscious desires and primal urges — it’s connected to our primordial instincts and basic sexual nature.
Is Lilith a Popular Baby Name?
In the United States, Lilith is not a very popular girl’s name, likely due to its Hebrew translation to “night monster.” Although considered rare, the name Lilith has been used occasionally among English speakers, but often as an elaboration of the ever-popular name Lily.
In addition to Lily, other names that are similar to Lilith include:
Note: In Babylonian, the girl’s name Lilith means “belonging to the night.”
In short, Lilith is a controversial figure within Jewish Folklore. Her name isn’t included in the creation story of the Torah, but she appears in a number of midrashic texts. Today, her symbolism, history, and literature are debated among Jewish scholars, feminists, and many other intellectuals.
In terms of astrology, on the other hand, Lilith refers to the “dark moon,” which is the point along the moon’s orbit when it’s farthest from Earth. She relates to your inner authority, sensuality, and sexuality.
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Lilith – definition of Lilith | The Free Dictionary
Lilith | Definition & Mythology | Britannica
Lilith definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary