Lilith as the Serpent
by Margi B.
Lilith’s link to the garden of Eden is symbolized in Christian
iconography that may have been inspired by the Zohar. Also, Lilith
as Serpent is not limited by her functions in Eden, but also as
other important figures such as Blind Dragon and Leviathan.
There are many passages that define Lilith as Serpent. The most
obvious passage, says Lilith as the Serpent had an affair with Eve
before she had intercourse with Adam. This is the most expressive
passage relating to Lilith that contains a description of being both
a Serpent and using temptation.
Quoting Bacharach, ’Emeq haMelekh 23c-d -
"And the Serpent, the
Woman of Harlotry, incited and seduced Eve through the husks of
Light which in itself is holiness. And the Serpent seduced Holy Eve,
and enough said for him who understands. An all this ruination came
about because Adam the first man coupled with Eve while she was in
her menstrual impurity -- this is the filth and the impure seed of
the Serpent who mounted Eve before Adam mounted her.
Behold, here it
is before you: because of the sins of Adam the first man all the
things mentioned came into being. For Evil Lilith, when she saw the
greatness of his corruption, became strong in her husks, and came to
Adam against his will, and became hot from him and bore him many
demons and spirits and Lilin."
However, Lilith being described with male qualities capable of
intercourse with other women is also explained as Lilith being
joined with Sammael as one being and both being a part of the
temptation in the Garden of Eden:
Quoting Moses b. Solomon of Burgos - "Both Samael, king of the
demons, and Lilith were born in a spiritual birth androgynously. The
Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil is an epithet for both Samael and
Grandmother Lilith (e.g. the Northerner). As a result of Adam’s sin,
both of them came and confused the whole world, both the Upper one
and the Nether one."
Another quote that describes Lilith and
Sammael as androgynous:
Quoting Zohar Sitrei Torah 1:147b-148b, Jacob’s Journey -
"The secret of secrets:
Out of the scorching noon of Isaac,
out of the dregs of wine,
a fungus emerged, a cluster,
male and female together,
red as a rose,
expanding in many directions and paths.
The male is called Sama’el,
his female is always included within him.
Just as it is on the side of holiness,
so it is on the other side:
male and female embracing one another.
The female of Sama’el is called Serpent,
Woman of Whoredom,
End of All Flesh, End of Days.
Two evil spirits joined together:
the spirit of the male is subtle;
the spirit of the female is diffused in many ways and paths
but joined to the spirit of the male."
Lilith and Sammael also have intercourse through a "snake" like
Quoting Treatise on the Left Emanation
"You already know that evil Samael and wicked
Lilith are like a sexual pair who, by means of an
intermediary, receive an evil and wicked emanation from one and
emanate to the other. [...] The heavenly serpent is a blind prince,
the image of an intermediary between Samael and Lilith. Its name is
Tanin’iver The masters of tradition said that just as this
serpent slithers without eyes, so the supernal serpent has the image
of a spiritual form without color--these are "the eyes." The
tradiationists call it an eyeless creature, therefore its name is
Tanin’iver. He is the bond, the accompaniment, and the union between
Samael and Lilith. If he were created whole in the fullness of his
emanation he would have destroyed the world in an instant."
The Treatise goes on to describe Lilith as
the Blind Dragon itself:
Quoting Treatise on the Left Emanation
" I found written in the
name of an ancient traditionist and in the name of the perfect Hasid
of blessed memory that Lilith is also Taninsam. They said that this
name is based on the serpent who is in the image of an intermediary
between Lilith and her mate."
Not only is Lilith Blind Dragon, but is also
Quoting Treatise on the Left Emanation
"I shall explain this
relying on the esoteric meaning in the verse "In that day the Lord
will punish with His great, cruel, mighty sword Leviathan the
twisted serpent and Leviathan the tortuous serpent"--this is
Lilith--"and He will slay the dragon of the sea" (Isaiah 27:1). As
there is a pure Leviathan in the sea and it is called a serpent, so
there is a great defiled serpent in the sea in the literal sense.
The same holds true above in a hidden way."
Lilith and Sammael are also described as serpents of two qualities;
the Slant Serpent and the Torturous Serpent.
Quoting Moses Cordovero, Pardes Rimmonim 186d
"And about this
mystery it is written, And on that day the Lord with His sore and
great and strong sword will punish Leviathan the Slant Serpent, and
Leviathan the Tortuous Serpent, and He will slay the Dragon that is
in the sea (Isa. 27:1). Leviathan is the connection and the coupling
between the two who have the likeness of serpents. Therefore it is
doubled: the Slant Serpent corresponding to Samael, and the Tortuous
Serpent corresponding to Lilith...."
Although this page only outlines Lilith’s Serpentine attributes, the
reader is faced with the challenge of interpreting it about how it
affects Lilith’s image and lesson to devotees. I personally
interpret Lilith as governing the aspect of consciousness of the
Sammael/Lilith androgyny. The intermediary, Blind Dragon, may be
seen as symbolic of the Kundalini serpent energy that is connected
to our unseen abilities and everyday consciousness. Lilith is Blind
Dragon, and is both Serpent energy and consciousness to control that
energy in the use of witchcraft and magick.
Sammael may be seen as
the physical serpent, Lilith’s connection to the air can also be
seen as breath used to form words to speak to Eve to convey the
importance of partaking in Knowledge and understanding what
existence is like when living without dignity with Adam.
all, Lilith is the guardian of the Tree of Knowledge, her
self symbolic of the Tree of Knowledge energy, the Tree’s own Kundalini that flows up through it’s branches like a wellspring of
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Kabbala: Lilith, Samael and Blindragon
Lilith’s husband, Samael, has been castrated. In order to have
sexual union with him, they must use a third character, BlindDragon.
I’m not sure I want to know how this works.
Bacharach, ’Emeq haMelekh, 84b, 84c, 84d
Lilith is a harlot who fornicates with men. She has no mating with
her husband, for He [God] castrated the male and cooled the female.
And she becomes hot from the fornication of men, through spontaneous
emission. And enough of this.... (Patai81:463)
This Lilith -- the
Merciful One save us!-- has dominion over children who issue from a
man who has intercourse at candlelight, or with his wife naked, or
at times when he is forbidden to have intercourse. All those
children who issue from these mentioned, Lilith can kill them any
time she wants to , because they are delivered into her hand. And
this is the secret of the children laughing in their sleep when they
are small: it is from Lilith who plays with them.
And I heard that
when a small child laughs during the Sabbath night or the night of
the New Moon, it is because Lilith is playing with him, and it is
well that his father or mother or anyone who sees him laugh should
tap his nose with his finger and say: "Go from here, you accursed
one, for you have no resting place here!" Let him say this three
times, and each time he recites this incantation let him tap the
child’s nose. And this is very good, for it is in the power of
Lilith to kill them when she wants to. And since she has permission
to kill these infants, these souls are called Oppressed Souls.
Blind Dragon rides Lilith the Sinful -- may she be
extirpated quickly in our days, Amen!-- And this Blind Dragon brings
about the union between Samael and Lilith. And just as the Dragon
that is in the sea (Isa. 27:1) has no eyes, likewise Blind Dragon
that is above, in the likeness of a spiritual form, is without eyes,
that is to say, without colors.... (Patai81:458)
Samael is called
the Slant Serpent, and Lilith is called the Tortuous Serpent (Isa
27:1). She seduces men to go in tortuous ways.... And know that
Lilith too will be killed. For the groomsman [BlindDragon] who was
between her and her husband [Samael] will swallow a lethal potion at
a future time, from the hands of the Prince of Power. For then, when
he rises up, Gabriel and Michael will join forces to subdue and
bring low the government of evil which will be in heaven and earth.
Bacharach, ’Emeq haMelekh, 121b
And he [Blind Dragon] is castrated so that he cannot beget, lest
[his offspring] annihilate the world. (Patai81:458)
Bacharach, ’Emeq haMelekh, 140b
The Blind Dragon is between Samael and the Evil Lilith. And he
brings about a union between them only in the hour of pestilence,
the Merciful One save us! And he is castrated so that the eggs of
the viper should not dome forth into the world. For were it not so,
they would annihilate the world. And that kind which is called Lilin
are full of hair from their heads down to their feet, but on their
heads they have no hair and all their body and face is full of hair.
And this Lilith has fourteen evil times and evil names and evil
factions. And all are ordained to kill the children -- may we be
saved!-- and especially through the witches who are called Kinder
Benimmerins in the language of the Ashkenaz [German]. (Patai81:458f)
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Kabbala: Lilith as God’s Consort
In this striking passage we see Lilith becoming the consort of God!
This resulting from God’s regular consort, the Matronit, being in
exile. While they are apart, the Matronit is abused by the left
emanations (bad guys) while Lilith takes her place at God’s
side. Keep in mind here that ’God ’ in this context refers to one of the
emanations of God, not the absolute (Ein Sof).
Of course, it would
be tempting to combine this with the ’Adam’s first wife’ streams of
the tradition, leaving us with a story in which Lilith is at first
rejected by Adam only to be elevated to be the mate of God himself.
I suspect, however, that these stories come from different places
and cannot be justifiably combined.
One day the companions were walking with Rabbi Shim’on bar Yohai.
Rabbi Shim’on said:
"We see that all these nations have risen, and
Israel is lower than all of them. Why is this? Because the King
[God] sent away the Matronit from Him, and took the slave woman
[Lilith] in her place. Who is this slave woman? The Alien Crown,
whose firstborn the Holy One, blessed be He, killed in Egypt. At
first she sat behind the handmill, and now this slave woman
inherited the place of her mistress."
And Rabbi Shim’on wept and
"The King without the Matronit is not called king. The King
who adhered to the slave woman, to the handmaid of the Matronit,
where is his honor? He lost the Matronit and attached Himself to the
place which is called slave woman. This slave woman was destined to
rule over the Holy Land of below, as the Matronit formerly ruled
over it. But the Holy One, blessed be He, will ultimately bring back
the Matronit to her place as before. And then, what will be the
rejoicing? Say, the rejoicing of the King and the rejoicing of the
Matronit. The rejoicing of the King because He will return to her
and separate from the slave woman, and the rejoicing of the
Matronit, because she will return to couple with the King.
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The Angelic Influence
by Margi B.
Most materials I have found relevant to Lilith focus solely on the
demonized aspects of her character. Lilith, however, has less than
obvious origins in angelic mythology. While there is not a specific
"angel named Lilith" there are clues that point to her origins
sharing angelic traits and similar functions as the Cherubim.
The paradox of the demonic and the angelic contained in Lilith seems
rather conflicting until I came across an explanation in the Zohar.
Quoting Zohar 3:76b-77a
"Therefore, all the spirits and demons
have one half from man below, and the other half from the angels of
the supernal realm."
It appears that after uttering the
Ineffable Name of God that Lilith
then became half angel and half human, flying away on heavenly wings
and by default becoming a "demonic" entity. However, Lilith’s
specific "Cherubim" qualities seem to appear after she left Eden,
and offering the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge to Eve.
While looking through Alan Humm’s Lilith pages, I studied the
pictures of Lilith that relate to the Serpent in the Garden of Eden
that tempted Adam and Eve. Most intriguing was the Cherub depiction
of the Serpent, while all the rest are clearly feminine in form.
found another picture of Lilith as the Serpent from the same time
period for comparison:
Above left - Detail from "The Fall of Man" c. 1570. (Titian c. c.
Above Right - Detail from Bosch’s Paradise. c. 1510.
How is Lilith connected or related to
the Cherubim? I searched
through Alan Humm’s older sources from the Zohar to discover that
Lilith appears to originate from an energy, or quality of the
Cherubim’s flaming swords:
Quoting from Zohar 1:119b
"She approached the gates of Paradise on
earth, and saw the Cherubim guarding the gates of Paradise, and sat
down facing the Flaming Sword, for she originated from that flame.
When that flame revolved, she fled."
Lilith’s earliest connection to the Cherubim has roots in
Mesopotamia. Various definitions of "Cherub" are proposed to be "to
be blessed" (to be propitious or blessed - a name applied to spirits
who served the Gods as advisors and intermediaries" [De Vaux,
1961]) and "to be near" (near ones, familiars, personal servants,
bodyguards, courtiers) . The earliest representations of
were protective spirits, and guardians of the Gods in temples where
they were carved.
Nimrud, Assyria 900 B.C.E.
That would designate Lilith as
guardian of the Tree of Knowledge.
Cherubim were also associated with great wisdom and keepers of
knowledge and records - could this be why Lilith as the Serpent had
the power to offer the symbolic source of knowledge?
Also intriguing is that the Cherubim guard the fixed stars, and the
fixed constellations. In a previous essay, I explained how Lilith governs Algol, a fixed star in the constellation of Taurus. This
definitely solidifies the link between Lilith and the Cherubim.
Arabic name, Ras al-Ghul, or the "Demon's
Head." or, "The Demon," can be seen between
the constellations Perseus and Pegasus.
Today it is classified as the beta star in
The Hebrews identified this star in two
ways: Rosh ha Satan or, "Satan's Head," or,
Lilith. Lilith is referenced in Isaiah 34:14
who describes the destruction wrought by an
angry Jehovah which leaves the land so
desolate that Lilith translated as "the
screech owl," " shall also settle there and
find a place for herself." The Interlinear
The Greeks referred to the star as the "Eye
of the Medusa." The star appears in
Ptolemy's Catalogue as "the bright one in
the Gorgon's Head."
La Hire, Phillipe, Planispehere Celeste,
From the Earth , Algol appears to blink
every 68 hours 48 mins 55 secs. An observer
over a period of two to three days will see
the the star blink.
The blinking is caused by mutual eclipse of
a pair of stars (binary) which we see as one
The ancients, by general agreement, depicted
Algol as a malevolent star which was thought
to be the cause of sudden death.
Perhaps Lilith is an anti-Cherub - instead of protecting, she preys.
Instead of protecting knowledge, she gives it out freely. Also,
Ancient Fragment of the Key of Solomon has some particularly
interesting information concerning Lilith, Cherubim, and the bull
(Algol is in the constellation of Taurus):
"The ninth Number is nine. The ninth Sephira is Yesod, or the
"The Spirits of Yesod are the Cherubim or Angels, those powers which
fecundate the earth, and which are represented in Hebrew symbolism
under the form of bulls. Their empire is that of fecundity. They
correspond to true ideas.
"They have for adversaries the Gamaliel or obscene, whose Queen is
Lilith, the Demon of debaucheries."
 Cherub - Wikipedia
 Cherub - Jewish Encyclopedia
 Cherubim - Catholic Encyclopedia
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Lilith in Astrology
by Margi B.
Any enthusiast of Lilith will eventually stumble upon the fact that
Lilith is also used in some special parts of astrology. Although her
myths are a recent addition to astrology, many professionals use
Lilith and her three aspects in interpreting client’s charts.
I will do my best attempt to explain, as there is much conflicting
information about the Three Liliths in astrology. Some sites point
out that there is merely one Lilith, but I will include them all for
the purposes of this essay.
First, there is asteroid Lilith. Like Lilith herself, the Three Liliths only have one real "physical" incarnation, Asteroid Lilith
would be the only actual physical body in the sky. The two others
are hypothetical points in the sky. Asteroid Lilith’s number is
1181. There are different ways people interpret Asteroid Lilith, but
I would interpret this body as being in tune with Lilith’s earthly
life in Eden. I see it as governing aspects of independence, sexual
aggressiveness and manipulation, and one’s intelligence and ability
to obtain and use information to personal benefit.
Secondly is the Dark Moon Lilith. Most people have heard of this,
and confused it with Black Moon Lilith instead. Actually, the Dark
Moon is supposedly a non-reflective body orbiting the earth. So far,
nobody has been able to pinpoint this "orbiting cluster of spacedust" in the sky, leading many to believe that it doesn’t exist
at all. However, it still doesn’t account for the accurate
astrological calculations and it could reasonably be used as yet
another hypothetical point in the sky. Dark Moon Lilith is seen as
governing illness, emotionally charged issues related to motherhood,
and an individual’s darker aspects, sexual abnormalities, and
Third and last but not least, there is
Black Moon Lilith. Black Moon
Lilith is different from Dark Moon Lilith, as it is not proposed to
be an actual body as Dark Moon Lilith is supposed to be. Black Moon
Lilith is a hypothetical point in the sky, midway between the Earth
and the Lunar apogee. Some astrologists just use the apogee instead,
but I thought I’d mention both.
To explain a little further, the perigee of the Moon is the full
moon, round and bright. The apogee of the Moon is the actual New
Moon, our favorite orb in a dark and non-reflective state. A fitting
place for Lilith, especially since the New Moon is on the threshold
between the "death" of a previous Moon, and the "birth" of a new
one. I could see how this might be a new way to view the terminology
of "between the worlds" in witchcraft, but I digress.
Okay, back to Lilith in the Moon. Lilith is already associated with
the Moon long before astrologers decided to in the Zohar. To quote:
And she goes and roams the world at night, and makes sport with men
and causes them to emit seed. And wherever men are found sleeping
alone in a house, they [these spirits] descend upon them and get
hold of them and adhere to them and take desire from them and bear
from them. And they also afflict them with disease, and the men do
not know it. And all this is because of the diminishing of the moon.
And when Lilith comes and sees that child, she knows what happened,
and she ties herself to him and brings him up like all those other
sons of Naamah. And she is with him many times, but does not kill
him. This is the man who becomes blemished on every New Moon, for
she never gives him up. For month after month, when the moon becomes
renewed in the world Lilith comes forth and visits all those whom
she brings up, and makes sport with them, and therefore that person
is blemished at that time.
And on every New Moon that spirit of evil appearance becomes stirred
up by Lilith, and at time that man suffers harm from the spirit, and
falls to the ground and cannot get up, or even dies.
Clearly, Lilith is mostly associated with
the New Moon, the
anti-heroine of Moon lore that seems to get the "death and
But just like Lilith isn’t all death and
sex and destruction, neither Black Moon or Dark Moon are all doom
and gloom. In fact, I speculate that the Dark Moon and Black Moon
might be indicators of where our psychic talents might come from in
our inner self, or how they manifest themselves in our life. There
are also many more occult phenomena in our lives besides our psychic
ability, Lilith may also govern those as well.
Lilith’s powers are not limited to the Moon, however. Algol, in
Hebrew legends is Lilith’s star and is also the eye of Medusa that Perseus used to turn his enemies into stone. It is also known as the
"Demon Eye" star, and as "the blinking Demon" (due to it’s being a
binary star, causing it to "look" like it’s blinking) some interpret
Algol as "The Ghoul" star, associated with all kinds of murder and
However, it is ironic to note that Henry Cornelius Agrippa
says that you can make an Algol talisman for "good success to
petitions, and make him go carried it bold and magnanimous, and
preserved the members of the body sound; also it helped against
witchcraft, and reflected evil endeavors, and wicked incantations
upon our adversaries." Good health, success, and protection against
malefic magick? It seems almost ludicrous that Algol is being
labeled or being compared to death spirits, but that’s not so
unfamiliar to Lilith at all.
After all, Lilith and Medusa could be considered sisters of a
similar paradigm, the paradigm being demonized female after sexual
oppression. Comparing the Hebrew myth of Lilith and Medusa, it is
clear why they are associated with each other. Lilith, after
escaping Adam’s sexual oppression by uttering the Ineffable Name of
God, went to go live in a cave by the Red Sea. Medusa, after being
defiled by Poseidon in Athena’s temple, was cursed and banished to
the depths of a cave in a faraway land.
There are other interesting
correspondences between Medusa and Lilith, which are too numerous
and require a separate exploration of the myths.
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Lilith and the Moon
by Margi B.
Lilith’s connection with the Moon is found mostly in the
which contributed much to expand her myths. Further references to
Lilith being associated with heavenly bodies can be found in my
other essay concerning astrology.
It is no surprise that Lilith is associated with the Moon, as the
Moon seems to be a universal representation of the Feminine in
spirituality. Lilith, though, seems more associated with a specific
phases of the moon; which expresses mythical quality about the
influence of the Lunar cycle.
Lilith’s specific influence seems to
govern the waxing and waning phases.
Quoting Zohar 1:19b -
"And she roams in the world, and finds
children liable to punishment, and caresses them, and kills them.
And all this is because of the diminishing of the moon which reduced
its light.... When Cain was born, she could not attach herself to
him. But later she approached him and bore spirits and winged
demons. For 130 years Adam had intercourse with female spirits,
until Naamah came. Because of her beauty the sons of God went astray
after her, ’Ussa and ’Azael, and she bore from them, and from her
spread evil. spirits and demons in the world....
she goes and roams the world at night, and makes sport with men and
causes them to emit seed. And wherever men are found sleeping alone
in a house, they [these spirits] descend upon them and get hold of
them and adhere to them and take desire from them and bear from
them. And they also afflict them with disease, and the men do not
know it. And all this is because of the diminishing of the moon.
Lilith’s more sexual and predatory aspects seem to be associated
with the waxing phase of the Moon:
Quoting Zohar 3:76b-77a -
"At times it happens that Naamah goes
forth into the world to become hot from the sons of man, and a man
finds himself in a connection of lust with her, and he awakens from
his sleep and takes hold of his wife and lies with her. And this
desire comes from that lust which he had in his dream.
child that she begets comes from the side of Naamah, for the man was
driven by his lust for her. And when Lilith comes and sees that
child, she knows what happened, and she ties herself to him and
brings him up like all those other sons of Naamah. And she is with
him many times, but does not kill him.
This is the man who becomes
blemished on every New Moon, for she never gives him up. For month
after month, when the moon becomes renewed in the world Lilith comes
forth and visits all those whom she brings up, and makes sport with
them, and therefore that person is blemished at that time.
Quoting Zohar 2:267b -
"And that spirit which is called Asirta
becomes stirred up...and goes to the female who is beneath all
females. And she is Lilith the mother of demons. And a man may
become stirred up by that evil spirit called Asirta, which attaches
himself to that man and ties himself to him permanently. And on
every New Moon that spirit of evil appearance becomes stirred up by
Lilith, and at time that man suffers harm from the spirit, and falls
to the ground and cannot get up, or even dies.
Quoting Bacharach, ’Emeq haMelekh, 84b, 84c, 84d -
"And this is the
secret of the children laughing in their sleep when they are small:
it is from Lilith who plays with them. And I heard that when a small
child laughs during the Sabbath night or the night of the New Moon,
it is because Lilith is playing with him, and it is well that his
father or mother or anyone who sees him laugh should tap his nose
with his finger and say: "Go from here, you accursed one, for you
have no resting place here!" Let him say this three times, and each
time he recites this incantation let him tap the child’s nose. "
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