Lilith is the patron goddess representing sexual liberation, empowerment, sex magick, and is one of the core archetypes of the dark goddess. According to the Old Testament, she was the first wife of Adam but demanded equal rights, especially within the sexual act as she refused to be submissive. Therefore she was cast out of the garden and became the first demon, haunting man and newborns. Lilith is also known as Lady of the Beasts, who rules the wilderness and the animal side of human nature.
Lilith History, Mythology, and Lore
Lilith—scorned wife of Adam, spirit of desolate places, mother of demons, the sacred harlot, goddess of hard-won knowledge and erotica— is an old entity. Goddess, demon, archetype and everything between those two poles. She’s survived a long time. She’s been viewed as everything from a model for a liberated and enlightened dark femininity to a font of pure evil, depending on the time period and who is doing the talking.
Lilith’s origins trace back to Mesopotamia—specifically, in the tangled mythology of the hero-king Gilgamesh, an off-hand reference is made to one of his ancestors being “Lilu”. “Lilu” was the male form of a wandering spirit, the female form “Lilitu” though both were associated with desolate places, and at least the females were viewed dangerous to children and pregnant women.
Surprisingly, this minor figure proved popular with other civilizations that became part of or were in the orbit of Mesopotamia—most notably, the Jewish tribes and the people of the Iranian steppe.
In the Jewish traditions (and in the Christian Old Testament), she is associated with desolate places, particularly the desert. This is her only explicit mention in the Bible (though the King James Version replaces ‘Lilith’ with ‘night-monster’) while the Jewish Publication Society leaves the original name intact in their translation:
Seems a shame, too, because this is where Lilith starts getting some characterization. The legend of her being Adam’s first wife, exiled from paradise for refusing to be submissive all the time, dates from this era. Lilith was said to have been created from the same Earth as Adam, unlike Eve who was created from Adam’s rib. After all, the Book of Genesis as it stands now (after more than two millennia of selective editing, translation and omission) still functionally describes two creation myths awkwardly sandwiched together, so it’s not surprising that Lilith largely didn’t survive this process in the text proper available at hotel bedsides the world over.
Lilith is particularly associated with owls from this point onwards—specifically screech owls. The association is apt—like the owls that often accompany/represent her, Lilith can be territorial, bloody-minded, elusive and associated with wisdom. Not to mention nocturnal.
Having ditched Adam, Lilith took up with Samael or possibly Asmodeus—some say by the Red Sea—to the point that three angels (Senoy, Sansenoy, and Semangelof) were sent to bring her in. This they failed to do. She gave birth to the lilin and this is where the Mother of Demons nomenclature originates from. The price for her freedom was the death of 100 of her children a day, to which Lilith just kinda shrugged and kept on with her libidinous activities. What’s a hundred children a day between friends?
There are some branches of this iteration of the creation myth that hold she transformed into a snake, snuck back into the Garden of Eden, and played the role to the hilt—causing Adam and his new wife Eve to fall from grace in a nicely symmetrical bit of payback. On a sidenote, the snake in the Garden of Eden has been accused of being Satan, Lucifer, and Samael as well.
Lilith is as changeable in depiction as she is in character. Some speak of “Maiden Lilith” and “Crone Lilith” as two diametrically opposed forces fighting one another. Experience vs. youth. The Qaballah speak of Lilith having the torso of an attractive woman. Depending on the text, Lilith has the bottom half of a snake or a tornado of flames—to more easily facilitate her conjugal activities with Samael, the Angel of Death, or Asmodeus, or even Lucifer—though these implications come from the medieval Jewish traditions.
In some branches, the pairing with Asmodeus even produces a son “Alefpene’ash”. This is the more remarkable since the flames that Lilith sometimes wears are supposed to symbolize her continuous coitus with Samael/Asmodeus. She’s a busy gal, but durable. She also has a strong association with incubi and succubi—her children, who share her sexual proclivities and make themselves available to the sleeping in a variety of ways. Like Lilith, her children have been portrayed as monsters and terrors and as subjects of erotic fixation. Likewise see Lilith’s (somewhat tenuous) connection with vampirism, which has similar forbidden/alluring sexual appeal. Like dear old Mom I suppose.
Certainly, where a number of other gods vanished into obscurity with the rise of monotheism and dualistic systems (and the increasing power of nation-states), Lilith managed to thrive instead of tumbling into oblivion. Lilith started to make a resurgence during the romantic period in art, poetry, and literature. Her once blighted image started to shift to being more empowered beauty of the goddess and less evil baby-eating demon lady.
She is of course mentioned as being both part of the Qlipothic tree of death ruling over the second Qlipha, Gamaliel: the Dark Side of the Moon—but such contradiction is not unique to gods. Since the medieval periods (where she was mentioned in many a grimoire and demonologist text), Lilith’s popularity has only grown in the occult community.
Lilith is, in short, a goddess/entity for all seasons—she can be whatever you want her to by from an occult perspective. Headstrong, lustful, perceptive, and wise. She is both associated with self-empowerment and all the darkness of the cosmos, the ecstatic rights of sex and the painful costs of knowledge.
In contemporary occult practices, Lilith embodies the archetype of the shadow self and the embodiment of dark femininity embracing that which was suppressed by religion and society for a millennia or two. Like Hecate, she is considered the Dark Goddess of witches and figures prominently within the Left Hand Path, Luciferian, and Satanic practices, but that is not to say others can’t or shouldn’t work with her.
Working with Lilith
Lilith represents sexual liberation, sex magick, Qlippothic magick, and is one of the core archetypes of the dark goddess. Anyone of any magical or other tradition can work with Lilith for their own personal empowerment, for matters of love and sexuality, and in rituals of destruction. She can be worked with along with other dark goddess archetypes such as Astarte, Hecate, Naamah, and others. She also works well in conjunction with Lucifer and Asmodeus.
She can be evoked during rituals, channeled through deep meditation and astral travel, and those with ongoing working relationships with Lilith will find that she is always with them.
I created a Lilith playlist on YouTube of meditation music, meditations, and mantras for Lilith to help you in your journey working with her.
Lilith’s Enn: Renich viasa avage Lilith lirach
Botanical and Aromatic: Amaranth, Belladonna, Blue Lotus, Copal Dragon’s Blood, Hibiscus, Jasmine, Mugwort, Oakmoss, Orchids, Peony, Pomegranates, Poppy flowers, Red Lotus, Saffron, Sandalwood, Vanilla, White Lotus
Crystals and Stones: Red Jasper, Garnet, Moonstone, Ruby, Fire Opal
Animals: Owls, Serpents
Offerings: Blood, Sexual fluids, honey, wine, chocolate, sex magick, any of the listed botanical and mineral correspondences
References & Further Reading
Books & Web Links
Lilith: Dark Feminine Archetype edited by Asenath Mason Ascending Flame Publishers 2017
Lilith from Ancient Lore to Modern Culture E. R. Vernor, Dark Moon Press, 2017
Lilith: Goddess of Sitra Ahra, Black Tower Publishing, 2015
Lilith (King James Bible Explained).” Timeless Myths.
Lilith: A Female Demon of the Night and Succubus, Black Witch Coven, 2016
Lilith Origins & Mythology: Temple of Ascending Flame, 2021
Lilith: The Mother of Demons or The First Woman? (Demonology Explained): Mythology & Fiction Explained, 2020.