Lilith’s Compost Pile

In the Midrash story of Lilith, she is the first woman, and refuses to have sex lying beneath Adam; in a fury she speaks the holy name of God, sprouts wings, and flies into the wilderness. She is pursued by three angels who are supposed to collar her and haul her back. They do not succeed, but kill her children; in retribution she is said to kill human children. In Christian lore of the Middle Ages, she returns to the Garden as the Serpent who tempts Eve to eat of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge.

As I said just yesterday to someone who was trying to evangelize me, “What’s so bad about that?”

In any case, Lilith is older than all that. She first appears in Sumerian and Babylonian myth as Lilitu. Her relationship with Inanna/Ishtar is ambiguous…sometimes she is an antagonist, getting in the way of what Inanna wants, and sometimes she is an ally, described as “the hand of Inanna” or “the hand of Ishtar.” I think it’s possible that there may be some connection between Lilitu and Ninshubur, Inanna’s trusty sukkal and defender, described as the Queen of the East, ie the queen of spirits.

I am a devotee of Ishtar, and I know something about her habits. She is wrongly described narrowly as a “goddess of love” and/or a “goddess of war,” but she is actually a Goddess of civilization, the arts of civilization, and everything which weaves the social fabric and keeps it from rending.

Lilitu is a divinity of wilderness, outcasts, decay, waste, decomposition, and animal lust. She’s also a Goddess of freedom at all costs, one who would leave Paradise rather than submit. She will not be trammeled by anything, least of all social niceties or social rules.

Continued —>

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About Sara Amis

Sara Amis writes fiction, poetry, non-fiction, and rants. She is a Faery initiate who kicks it old-school, a member of Hellbender Coven, and has many opinions. Her work has appeared in Datura, Jabberwocky, Lilith Queen of the Desert, Witches and Pagans, Moon Milk Review, A Mantle of Stars, and her blog, the Consequence of Chance. Her poem series The Sophia Leaves Text Messages was published as an artist's book by Papaveria Press. She teaches Tarot and magic sometimes.

  • Galina

    This has absolutely nothing to do with Lilith, but I am so envious that you have a toad. :) I have been trying to draw them into my garden all spring and summer, even set up little toad houses but so far, no luck.

  • Sara A.

    The toad is wee! and cute. I think it’s a Southern toad, as they are the right red-brick color. One of my witchy friends and I have both had visitations from red toads; she found one in the middle of her kitchen after making a momentous decision. We have decided to declare them good omens :)

  • Galina Krasskova

    The Toad actually is a symbol of good luck in many traditions. :) I like them a lot. i’m still hoping that one turns up in my own garden at some point!

  • lilypaddy

    Great article Sara! I also have a red toad, he has taken up residence in one the fairy houses in Danu’s fairy village. There are other toads living there as well, but this little guy really stands out with his red color. He makes me smile when he sticks his head out to say “Hello”!

  • FMJemena

    Dear SaraL

    Ms. Lily Kunning (WitchMom) shared with her readers your link. I asked her about Lilith, you see. (“Tangible Witchcraft: Devotional Mask-making, Part 1 )

    Thank you for this article. As I told Ms. Lily, I couldn’t help smiling and laughing inside as I read about your Lilith.