Goddess Lilith: Reclaiming Women's Sexuality & Ending Rape Culture
The distorted mythology surrounding Lilith, represents the ultimate tale of patriarchy painting women’s sexuality as something dark and demonic. In almost all religious texts, Lilith is depicted as a demon rather than a Goddess. Her archetype has become a warning signal to scare women who wished to continue praying to the sacred feminine and honouring their own bodies as holy.
Her story goes something like this…
The Patriarchal Religious Version:
In the Garden of Eden, before there was Adam and Eve… there was actually Adam and Lilith, who was an ancient Sumerian Goddess. With time, her story became absorbed into Hebrew mythology, where it was said that Lilith was Adam’s first divine partner. However, when she refused to be subservient to Adam, asking to lay on top when they made love… she was cast out of the Garden of Eden and replaced with a more ‘obedient’ wife- being Eve. She was exiled, called the mother of demons, and even accused of killing children. The snake who later comes in and tempts Eve with the apple is often said to be a serpent-form of Lilith herself, coming to lure Eve into the world of ‘sinful sensuality’. With such manipulative and strategic stories created by those promoting patriarchal religions- Lilith became a symbol and a cautionary tale for what happens when women demand equality and disobey their husbands.
This story is so outrageously loaded with patriarchal bull crap, which is hugely and tragically embedded in our culture today. The archetype of Lilith, which initially represented sexual empowerment and liberated sensuality, has been distorted and used as a scapegoat for far too long. It has become common religious practice to point the finger at Lilith whenever men face sexual addiction or temptation. Husbands with porn addictions? Blame Lilith. Lovers with wet dreams? Pray for protection against Lilith’s evil. It intimidates me greatly to write about this story because, the tale of Lilith so brutally reflects the tale of all women today.
Goddess Lilith: Ending Rape Culture
While we have come a long, long way with the women’s rights and anti-sexual violence movements, we can see how such dialogues that run rampant in the Lilith story, still exist within our culture today. The narrative of blaming women for men’s uncontrolled sexual desires is exactly what we see reflected in modern rape culture. Is this not the very language that justifies victim-blaming? We hear this normalized in dialogue like, ‘you were asking for it’, ‘your outfit implied a Yes’, or ‘the way you were dancing made it seem like you wanted it’.
These justifications are so twisted and tragically normalized within rape culture. I say ‘Rape Culture’ by the way, because this term teaches that rape is not an isolated or random act. The act of rape actually exists on a pyramid, which means that first, we normalize a whole host of things like: objectification, denigration, cat calls, and the commodification of women’s bodies. Then, individuals may work their way up the pyramid- escalating form bottom to top- eventually, justifying rape.
These distorted versions of the Lilith story, portray the ‘Garden of Eden’ as ripe grounds for such disturbing normalization. What does it mean to put all responsibility, ownership, and fault into women’s hands and hips? What is stated by implying that a women who is in her sovereign, sexual power will either be victimized or demonized? These stories strategically teach us that- if we embrace our sensual selves, we will either be abused under the ‘asking for it’ narrative or we will be exiled (cast out of the garden, slut-shamed, disowned from our families, judged, rejected, etc.)
Lilith: Claiming Sensual Embodiment
When working with the Goddesses, it’s important to remember that we are focusing on embodiment. We are not worshipping deities outside of ourselves, rather we are seeing how these archetypes our alive Within Each of Us Always. This means that the story of Lilith, her original genius and her distorted oppression, lives somewhere within us all. As my work deepens into the realm of Sexual Justice, I become more aware of Lilith’s rage and her yearning to be remembered. I hear her fierce desperation to be acknowledged for her gifts, her true form, and her genius. I hear her call for us to grieve and transmute the distortion of her sexual expression, which is the distortion of All Women’s Sexual Expression. I hear her fury for how villages have justified rape and denigration, using her name as an excuse upon their tongues.
Lilith comes to us now as a volcano erupting. She was the fiery force behind the #MeTooMovement that called millions of women forward to SPEAK. She breaks silence and casts out that which does not align with her Own Garden of Vision. And while her message is scary, hard, uncomfortable to look at, and plagued with rabbit-hole potential… there is oh-so-much beauty on the other side of this collective pain. Lilith brings us a juicy, apple-red gift of delicious vision, as the garden she empowers us to create, is truly one of wild liberation and unbound love.
Lilith comes now to put an end to such distortions of her story that have been used to normalize such fears and inner dialogue…
Fear around voicing our desires: Will we be punished/exiled for expressing such wants? Will we be cast out of gardens/lover’s beds?
Fear around challenging patriarchal power dynamics: Are we allowed to be on top? Must our positioning in the bedroom reflect what has been normalized in the workplace? What happens if we express desire for anything considered unconventional within our culture?
Fear around our own fiery nature: Will we be accepted if we present ourselves as fierce, strong, dominant, warrior-like, wild? Will we be feared? Will our men run away threatened or turn against us intimated?
Fear around embracing sexuality: Is our sexuality sinful? Does our desire mean that we are distracted and tempted by evil? Does our eroticism oppose our innocence?
Honouring her Struggle & Claiming her Genius
Here is The Goddess Mythology Version of the Lilith Tale, as written by Sage Holloway:
“Unwilling to be subservient to Adam, Lilith not only left him, but used her wiles to trick God into giving her wings, so that she was able to fly far from Eden into the desert. She brought agriculture to the people and is the protector of children and women in childbirth, She flies above the shackles of this world on her wings of freedom. Her taloned feet are her foundation of wildness and power. Her fiery spirit is without compromise, insisting through her very being of nature that women are beings of equality answerable to no one. She is sexual freedom and expression, a leader who empowers others.”
So here you have it.
In this version, Lilith teaches us of our right to leave the garden and to choose a world that is aligned with the magic we so crave and desire. She teaches us that we are worthy of a life that reflects our wildest wants. That we do not have to shrink ourselves or hide in hierarchical holes, in order to be accepted. That we can be: sovereign, sexual, innocent, erotic, wild, sweet, loving, powerful, free, beautiful, furious, joyful, devastated, and ecstatic all at once.
Lilith is the driving force behind Sexual Justice, which recognizes that unconditional love paves the way for safer streets, freer gardens, softer pelvic floors, and infinite sexual healing experiences. She calls for our genitals and hearts to realign in a sacred song of innocence and pleasure. She does not apologize for her wild and she advocates for our right to feel safe in our bodies and in our world… and to see what liberation, play, divinity, sensuality, wildness and love may be naturally expressed, once such safety is established.
F*ck your patriarchal garden,
Let’s plant some real, sensual, sustainable, sexy, soulful, earth-nourishing seeds
And watch them grow wildly with the waters of our liberation
There is much to reclaim and remember here.
With gratitude and infinite heart,
…offering a window into the journey through sexual assault and the messy path of survival.
Including poetry, facilitated discussion questions inspiring individual/societal change, and over 12 beautiful illustrations
“What an incredibly powerful book. This collection hit home for me for so many reasons. I have dealt with sexual assault myself, but this collection goes far beyond just that. It is about opening up your heart and allowing yourself to feel the pain and heal on your own terms. This collection shines the light on the attackers and shifts the blame from victims of sexual assault to the ones doing the assaulting. This collection was heartbreaking, raw, honest, powerful, and extraordinarily inspiring and hopeful. What a beautiful message on the power of pain, the journey of healing, and the resilience of the human soul.” - Kelsey Genesi, GoodReads.com