by Galina Krasskova
This week saw the publication of a new devotional by author Anya Kless titled “Lilith: Queen of the Desert.” While the past five years have seen the publication of a plethora of Pagan and Heathen devotionals, this book is (to my knowledge) the very first devotional anthology dedicated to the Goddess Lilith. Now Lilith is a controversial figure, even within modern Paganism. Even more controversially, Anya Kless herself doesn’t just honor Lilith, but also Odin and Loki (and those familiar with the Northern Tradition know that most adherents steadfastly refuse to move outside of the Norse pantheon in their devotional and ritual work). For these reasons, I decided to seek this author out in order to find out exactly how she came to write a devotional to Lilith.
What follows is the body of an interview conducted on July 11, 2010 between author Anya Kless and myself, Galina Krasskova.
Galina: Firstly, thank you for consenting to this interview. The publication of your first book is an accomplishment worthy of celebration. Congratulations! Can you tell me a little bit about “Lilith: Queen of the Desert?”
Anya: Yes, thank you for speaking with me. This project came out of my own relationship with Lilith as Her student and later Her priestess. Although I had found scattered accounts of Lilith in various historical, psychological, religious, and folk texts, I had not seen any work that spoke of Lilith as a living, dynamic deity (much less an entire text devoted to working with or honoring Her in the modern age). I felt compelled to write of Her as I knew Her, to talk about the intimate, personal connection that sparks when humans and gods touch. Therefore, besides compiling a basic overview of Lilith in history (from Her reference in The Epic of Gilgamesh to modern vampirism), I wrote a second section called “Meeting Lilith.” In this portion, the personal introduction begins. Drawing on my own experiences and those of others I know who work with Lilith, I give guidelines on approaching Her and working with Her, ending with a short ritual template. The rest of the book is its heart: songs, poems, prayers, and short essays from a variety of people who’ve encountered Lilith and felt Her imprint on their lives. I’m very pleased with the result and hope She is, too.