A Sirens Journey (The Daughters of Lilith Tales)
Somewhere along the line, Lilith started to seduce women.
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So much of history, art, and religion are created by and for men; so many of our stories force us into such small spaces. But our monsters refuse. In the s, Lilith became known as a feminist icon with the help of feminist Jewish women , even lending her name to one of the most well known Jewish feminist magazines in In , Ms. Magazine published an article by Lily Rivlin on Lilith as spirit, goddess, and heroine.
Sirens in Ancient Literature
Eve escapes Eden to find this other woman who welcomed her as a peer:. They talked for many hours, not once, but many times. They taught each other many things, and told each other stories, and laughed together, and cried, over and over, till the bond of sisterhood grew between them. It was fairly difficult for me to find images of Lilith as a child. I grew up in the early days of the internet and my family were late adapters. Seeing Lilith not as a demon, but as a feminist icon gave me the images and language to think of mythological femininity in new ways.
Lilith as she appears now — shaped by centuries of cross-cultural folktales, jokes, and artistry — won her freedom, but in doing so she lost her home and everything she knew. While one assumes her relationship with Adam was less than perfect, she was still one of two people in paradise. Her world was so small, so soft; with every need met there was no reason to wonder about what lay beyond the garden walls and even less reason to wander.
You know, like the spare room you just ignore and in which you let all sorts of weirdness pile up. Eden is ordered, perfect, and deliberate. But beyond the garden are deserts, winds, and wilderness. I imagined this world as a forgotten place, inhospitable and desolate. So what would drive someone to leave? Around the same time that I first became aware of Lilith, I also began to realize that I might not exactly be heterosexual.
As far as families go I was, and am, pretty fortunate. My family, my city, and my friends almost all reacted well when I came out. But of course I still think about where we are before I kiss my girlfriend, or even hold her hand. I consider how I refer to her amongst strangers. I am a skilled player at Hide-The-Pronoun. And there are still branches of my family with whom I am closeted. I become that child again, hiding myself away in order to maintain a peaceful illusion.
There was a time in my life where I thought it would be better if I never felt attraction, let alone love.
As a poly bi woman, I thought of my sexuality as an embarrassment. It would be so much easier, I reasoned, if I could just ignore those parts of myself altogether. A closeted life is far from Eden but it can feel safer. I sometimes think that is the greatest and most insidious aspect of heterosexism, the idea that hiding can protect you.
Suffocation is no less deadly than exposure. Eventually claustrophobia will win out and you need to escape, or die.
As far as Samael Aun Weor was concerned, Lilith governs deviant sexualities, amongst them homosexuality, naturally. After all, Lilith has become a sign of every socially unacceptable aspect of women, including and especially our sexuality. I wonder now if on some level I understood and was drawn to that, even as a youth.
She gives up paradise, gives up everything and everyone she knows, for her liberty. This is no simple thing, not merely as escape from external forces, but from the parts of herself that would see her small and safe and at home. How many of us have had to make the same choice?
I suspect that this sacrifice, this escape, is a common experience for a lot of us. I suspect this shared experience is what draws so many of us to Lilith, and to each other. She knows what it is to choose liberty over home, family, and God.
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She knows what it is to choose exile. After all, there are plenty of lady-monsters, but only one who knew, and fled, Paradise.
Born and raised in Washington DC Aliza Cohen spends her time selling books, walking dogs, reading tarot, and writing all sorts of nonsense. You need to login in order to like this post: click here. In my Lilith phase I wrote a metal song about her and maybe read it as a poem in English class of my Catholic high school.
Wonder how many girls in the class had themselves a little moment of realization right then?
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Thank you, Aliza! These two bits, especially, feel personal to me:. I felt these things so much when coming into my queerness. I could have kept living a small, safe life, but that life was squeezing me down, not letting me grow. I survived. And to now have the space for all of me to flourish! This is great because as a queer Jew I always wanted to learn more about Lilith, more so from Feminist Jewish perspectives. If I remember correctly a few years back I remember reading somewhere that Lilith was described as androgynous, and some have interpreted her as being intersex based on the description given to her.
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