"Shy David" is my festival name: it was aquired from a Dianic Wiccan in 1986 during a women's health clinic defense. There were two Davids, so I was known as the "shy" one. This name no longer applies (a person changes, hopefully for the better, in 12 years), but it kind of stuck. My future festival name will probably include the word "grey" for obvious reasons. (Hopefully it will not also include the word "fat" but that's another issue.... Goddess, how I love them chili rellenos!)
As of 8/29/98 I am 38 years old. My religion is Neo-Pagan: it is not Pagan, nor is it Wiccan. My reverence for Goddess is applied by the veneration of and association with Lilith and her daughters, and expressed archetypically via the Lamashtû aspect of lilith.
I've not found ANY historical literary work that shows Lilith with any positive aspects or attributes. I am therefore somewhat distressed to find that some Pagans / Wiccans are "using" Lilith, even as far as to wish to invoke Her. One must be careful of what one invokes. I would no more invoke Lilith casually than I would invoke Kali. This is the historical view of Lilith: there is the contemporary "reclaimation" of Lilith, finely expressed by Cascade:
... I would expect that someone who want to invoke Lillith wants to invoke her independence and power and sexiness, her willingness to defy god and be her own person.As Gwenny the Pooh summed up the issue:
Yep, pagans are really good a creating their own stuff and then expecting the rest of the world to accept it and know it.I do NOT consider this a bad thing, of itself. A community must work with what they find "works" and is useful. However, one is not obliged to accept the results of someone else's "reclaimation" attempts.
Psychodynamically I link Lilith with melancholy and dysthemia in her Lamashtû aspect; I believe this is expressed by profound procrastination. The sons and daughters of Lilith, expressing the Lamashtû aspect, do not procrastinate out of laziness, but out of poor self-esteem. The sense of "I cannot do this!" or "I do not deserve this!" is how I attribute Lilith. The sons and daughters of Lilith strangle their "children" (goals, hopes, wishes, even their happiness). There is Zoharic support for this (Zohar III 227b). In the mind of a child of Lilith, positive emotions are crushed with pessimism.
Lilith's Ishtar aspect is just as destructive.
This month (August: happy birthday to myself!) I gave a workshop at Dragonfest '98 (held in Colorado) about the Dark Goddess Lilith. While my scholarship was, I think, excellent, many women took offense at what I had to say about Lilith. It seems that the Wiccan / neo-Pagan consideration of Lilith appears to be vastly different than the historical one, and some hostility is generated when scholarship clashes with the desire to "reclaim" Lilith with positive attributes that I find she never posessed. Lilith has been "my" Goddess / Patroness for over 15 years, and my great fondness for Lilith precludes my denegrating her---- and yet many women believed I was doing just that.
I am all for making historical spiritality contemporaniously meaningful, but not to the extent that revisionism occurs. There is great wealth in historical contemplations of aspects of the Goddess such as Lilith, and I feel that even if an aspect is dark and unpleasant, it is to a persons credit to acknowledge these attributes of the Great Mother / Father. All "bunnies and light" does not do the Wiccan / Pagan / Neo-Pagan community a service. Indeed, to "reclaim" the Dark Mother into something sweet and positive does a disservice to the community, in my opinion.
I am writing a magazine article on the subject of "reclaimation" vs. "revisionism." While I have a certain angst at revisionist attemps (as compared to valid "reclaimation"), I wish to see some sort of reconciliation, and NOT instigate or fuel controversy. The issue is, to me, one of:
It is entirely possible (and is a "known fact" for other Goddesses) that Lilith was demonized by the Deuteronomists (since She appears to have been part of the Shedim of the Canaanites). However, some of the literature about Lilith PREDATES the Deuteronomists by some 900 years: and that literature is also negative.
Three years ago during Dragonfest I had a vivid dream where I was visiting a village somewhere where there was little food and drinkable water, but a large population. While I was standing among the huts, Goddess and God appeared. Goddess took upon Her the aspect of Lilith, while I became the God. We walked slowly through the village; while Lilith randomly gestured at infants ("You: death by dehydration due to diarrhea. You: death by exposure. You: death by starvation") I cried a thousand tears for each infant that died. Lilith went about Her work dispassionately. It was Her job to do so, just as it was my job, as God, to lament over each life She took. When Her work was finished, I droped the aspect of God and She vanished. While I was dreaming about burrying the bodies I woke up.
The acknowledgement of death makes life all that more precious. I wonder if some Pagans need to be reminded of this. Lilith in Her Lamashtû aspect is not malicious: She is like a mechanism performing a necessary function, dispassionately. I do not see why this requires "reclaiming." Is this so bad that it must be "reclaimed?"