Mythological Lilith – Symbolism and Descriptions
The following excerpts on Lilith have been gleaned from various writers and web pages. There is a new section below on the psychological Lilth or Demon Sub Personality. I have also updated my various blogs about Lilith here. This page is always being updated and you will find it at the top of my blog “Lilith Edits”
Lillith is found in the Inanna (Sumerian goddess) story “The Hallupu Tree” found in the book “Inanna, Queen of heaven and Earth: Her Stories and Hymns from Sumer” By Diane Wolkstein, and Samuel Noah Kraemer, published by Harper and Row Publishers 1983. Here Lillith is seen as “the dark maid” who “built her home in the trunk& of Inanna’s Hallupu tree. When Inanna’s brother, Gilgamesh (according to this story) drove Lillith out of the tree she “fled to the wild, uninhabited places.”
The word “lillith” means demon-wind, which could either be a dust devil, or an all-out hurricane at the time the clay tablet was written, around 2000 BC if not earlier.
Lilith being called unfaithful, a “whore” etc. comes from the traditional Jewish legend writing Haggadah (2nd cent bc) that says that the first wife of Adam was made of the same earth he was taken from, because of this she demanded equal rights, Adam did not agree, she fled, having her own children (in what manner we are not told) , upon this Adam approached God saying that the woman he had made him had fled.
God sent 7 angels to bring her back, she refused, upon which a curse came over her where she would loose some of her children to death every day, upon this, we are told, she returns to civilisation to have her revenge, where she kills the one-day old girl babies and three-day old boy babies bore from a human woman.
Because of this, the reader are instructed to use 7 medallions with the Hebrew names of these 7 angels (they are not mentioned in the Haggadah excerpts i have read, perhaps for obvious reasons so to not condone primitive magic).
1) Lilith was not a woman, but a hermaphrodite; as was Adam before Eve’s creation. Admittedly, this is the Kabbalistic understanding of things, but Lilith is generally considered an aspect of the Kabbalah (among Jews).
2) She was made from air and fire, and Adam from earth and divine breath. Some legends indicate that she was made from sterile soil and night wind.
3) According to about half of the tellings of the story, Lilith insisted on exclusive dominance, and when this was refused she lost her temper and
4) The succubus aspects of Lilith are fairly downplayed in Jewish/Hebrew culture as far as we can tell. She primarily was the smotherer of newborns, secondarily the killer of wives, and tertiarily (?) the wasting seducer of young men. This is supported by the proliferation of amulets protecting children and women from Lilith, few if any have been found to protect adult males. It is the children of Lilith who sometimes are succubi and incubi, not usually Lilith herself.
5) Depictions of Lilth on these amulets, when they appear at all, show an insect headed creature covered with hair or spines, a flipper for a tail, and a pair of tentacles for arms. It’s hard to be sure, these were carved crudely onto cheap silver with a heated knife.
6) The three angels were not sent to entrap Lilith, but to inform her of God’s command.
According to a number of sources, among them _The Women’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets_,
Lilith means “screech owl” in Hebrew. She was the goddess of rage, alienation, stillbirths, abortions; and her devotees gave us fingernail/toenail polish. She was Adam’s first wife, and left him rather than suffer the indignity of being on the bottom during intercourse. She flew to an island where she copulated with demons, and gave birth to 100 children a day.
Lilith does appear in the Bible once (Isaiah 34:14). This hebrew word _lilith_ is translated in most English Bibles as”owl”. She is seen in this passage in the negative light, in line with the usual patriarchal/rabbinical attitude.
(Taken from “Fallen Angels and Spirits of the Dark, by Robert Masello.”
Lilith searched for men who were sleeping alone, then seduced them and sucked their blood. She was also a great danger to . . . any boy under the age of eight, or any girl less than 20 days old. To protect them,parents were advised to draw a charcoal circle on the wall of the room, and write inside of it “Adam and Eve, barring Lilith.” On the door they were supposed to write three names ï “Sanvi, Sansanvi, Semangelaf”.
Lilith was originally a Sumerian storm demon, part of a group of vampires, but was adapted to the Hebrew mythology as Adam’s first wife. They had disagreements (of sexual nature), and she gave birth to the demon subclass of the succubi and incubi (sing. succubus & incubus).——-
Identified in post biblical Judaism as a female demon who seduces men and kills unsuspecting children. Lilith (Heb., Lilit) also became identified as Adam’s first wife, created from dust to be her husband’s equal. As the name of a demon, _Lilit_ is etymologically related to the Sumerian _lil_ (“wind”) and not, as some once supposed, to the Hebrew laylah (“night”).
Yet like the Sumerian wind demon and her later Babylonian counterpart, Lilitu, a succuba who seduces men in their sleep, Lilith is active at night seizing men and forcing them to copulate with her. Although as child slayer Lilith bears greatest resemblance to the Babylonian demon Lamashtu, Lamashtu eventually became confused in the popular imagination with the succuba Lilitu.
Actually, when she fled the Garden, God sent three angels to bring her back. She did not want to go back, so the Angels KILLED 100 of her children per day. This accounts for the fact that she kill/steals children in their sleep.
During the first weeks of their birth, children could be killed by Lilith. (Explanation for cradle death). Only an amulet with the names of the three angels, adam, and eve, combined with a spell, could keep her away. These amulets are still on display in some museums.
She also seduced men in their sleep, forcing them into sex. She needed the semen to give birth to more demons. This is how they explained the male wet dream. In the bible, she is referred to as Night Demon or Night Rider in Isaiah 37. ( I am not exactly sure, don’t have my reference on me) In later myths, she became the wife of Lucifer. She also has ties with the Greek Lamia.
Cavendish, Richard Man, Myth, and Magic: The Illustrated Encyclopedia
of Mythology, Religion and the Unknown Vol. 6 New York, Marshall Cavendish, 1983.
Edwards, Carolyn McVickar The Storyteller’s Goddess: Tales of the Goddess and Her Wisdom from Around the World San Francisco, California, Harper, 1991.
Hurwitz, Siegmund Lilith: The First Eve Historical and Pyschological Aspects of the Dark Feminine trans. by Gela Jacobson, Einsiedeln, Switzerland, Daimon Verlag 1992.
Koltuv, Barbara Black, Ph.D. The Book of Lilith York Beach, Maine, Nicolas-Hays, Inc. 1986. Leach, Mark, Ed. Funk and Wagnalls Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology, and Legend. New York. Funk and Wagnalls, 1950.
Mircea, Eliade, ed, The Encyclopedia of Religion Vol 8, New York, Macmillan Publishing, 1987.
Schwartz, Howard Lilith’s Cave Jewish Tales of the Supernatural New York, Oxford University Press, 1988.
Starck, Marcia and Stern, Gynne The Dark Goddess: Dancing with the Shadow Freedom, California The Crossing Press, 1992.
Wolkstein, Diane and Kramer, Samuel Noah Inanna Queen of Heaven and Earth: Her Stories and Hymns from Sumer New York, Harper and Row, 1983.
Psychological parallels Lilith
“The Demon Sub Personality” paper in Tony White’s Treatment of Character 1986 (Psychologist – Psychotherapist). Omega Distributors 136 Loftus St Leederville 6007 Perth Western Australia.
To see the whole article go to
Click on the first page of the article then press “full screen” and then hit the F11 key and you should be able to read and toggle through the pages ok.
The Demon Sub Personality is a paper exploring some of Eric Berne’s early work. Tony White further investigates the Demon Ego state with very good case studies, analysis and information regarding the treatment of the Demon part in personality.
Eric Berne states:
Tony White Writes on the Demon:
Lilith the Asteroid, Dark Moon Lilith and Black Moon Lilith all have the underlying Lilith qualities however they are different aspects of the same thing. Some interesting and reputable websites on Astrological Lilith’s are;
http://www.horusset.com/RIKB/Lillith.pdf (Black Moon Lilith)
http://www.angelfire.com/az/zodiacenterprises/LILART.html Dark Moon Lilith
Black Moon Lilith Blogs by Kingsley