Tuesday, April 13, 2010


There were two trees in the Garden of Eden. Eve, created to replace Lilith, took the fruit from the other one, the Tree of Knowledge. She has been blamed by the Church, along with all women, for the sins of the world. Decoding the symbolic significance of the serpent, ancient and pervasive symbol of feminine wisdom, is central to understanding the deepest levels of humanity’s story. In Qabalah, the mystical tradition of Judaism, the serpent climbs the Tree of Life to return to the source.

Lilith’s fragmented and confusing nature in myth and astrology may reflect the ways our choices have fractured the human psyche, and she may hold a key which could unlock healing insights. Piercing the veil of Lilith’s enigmatic persona may offer modern men and women empowering energy that is much needed in today’s world. Some symbolists have suggested that the Age of Aquarius will be symbolized by gardens and the greening of the Earth. As human consciousness expands I believe we would all benefit from redeeming our separated natures. Integrating all the parts of femininity, including sexuality and the mysteries of old age and death, could make us stronger and wiser as we face current environmental challenges.

The word myth comes from the root word for “mouth,” as story telling was originally an oral tradition. Myths are sacred stories, and have been the way people transmitted their holiest truths, their understanding of our relationship to the divine, for thousands of years. Myths, legends and fairy tales, which contain principles and morals, are structured in the symbolic language of archetypes. Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung observed that archetypes, the intrinsic patterns of human consciousness such as Maiden, Mother, Crone, Queen and Princess, do not cease to exist if we ignore or devalue them. Rather, they become submerged in what Jung termed the Collective Unconscious, hiding underground and becoming strong forces which emerge in dreams, complexes or even psychoses.

Western culture has devalued, even demonized, aspects of the feminine for nearly 4,000 years, effectively pushing these archetypes beneath our conscious awareness. Serious scholars of myth have noticed that the tenor of the stories began to change nearly four thousand years ago. Symptoms of this shift in Greek myths included an increasing glorification of war, accompanied by a deteriorating value of agriculture and cyclical time.

Psychologically, in all her aspects, Lilith seems to represent facets of the feminine which have been suppressed. Her nature acts like a Multiple Personality Disorder where aspects of the feminine have been splintered, and some of the parts are now labeled good and others evil. How this shows up, individually or collectively, depends on the context. Lilith can be a righteous, avenging angel or a wrathful demon. Sometimes she is angry and vengeful, and sometimes she is empowered to regain her rightful status as an equal partner. Astrologers who use Lilith, in any of her forms, believe she reveals wounds related to feminine power in both men and women. Recognizing what has been disenfranchised is a first step toward restoring balance. One wonders what the fate of humanity might have been if Adam and Lilith had worked things out.

Lilith left the garden and subsequently her nature and uncontrolled power became feared and was declared evil. Lilith’s story embodies what occurred in myths over time as earlier goddess worshiping cultures were eclipsed by the emerging patriarchy. Once the Tree of Life, Lilith is an example of how many powerful feminine deities became demonized. In modern times, as the pendulum swings back, Lilith has become an icon of feminine strength.

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