|A Story of Lilith
||[Jun. 16th, 2008|09:06 pm]
They find themselves in a Garden, the two of them. Yes, that Garden. But this story is different from the stories you have heard before, as every story is different, every teller, every listener.
Adam means Earth. Lilith means Night, or Wind. How do they come together in the Garden, the man of earth and the queen of air and darkness? Ask that elsewhere: this story does not say. Perhaps the Gods, the Elohim, create Garden, woman and man. Perhaps among the Elohim is Lilith, or Adam, or both. All we know is that this is the dawn time, early in the world's life, when every act is holy, for good or for ill.
They are happy, there. (Ever since, new lovers share happiness, fierce and bright, when love is new.)
They are happy there. And then they are not. (Ever since, lovers quarrel, shout, cry bitter tears, make bitter peace, keep silent until words burn from the belly up through the throat, scalding, acid.)
Maybe, as other stories tell us, they quarrel about sex. Maybe Adam insists that he should be on top. Certainly they fight about power, who makes decisions, which decisions each shall make. Finally there is only bitterness left. Love has ended. (Ever since, love is chancy. Dangerous. Hard.)
Lilith broods. She must go, or Adam must. She kicks the dirt. Bah! Adam is Earth. Let him stay, then, living here in the dirt with the plants. Lilith is Air. She has wings. (Wings! When did she get wings?) No matter, she has them. She flies. She finds she cannot escape the dirt, but finally she comes to a place without plants, where the dirt is almost clean, like tiny rocks. The desert.
And in the scalding heat she thinks back. This she might have done differently. If only he had not said that! She is so lonely. She is so frightened. She is so angry. She is so thirsty!
And messengers come to her, three messengers, come to her smiling, offering the peace of surrender. If she will deny her anger and her fear, if she will take back her words, go back to the Garden, pretend to be someone she is not, why then loneliness, at least, can be avoided. And thirst.
Lilith thinks for a night, or an hour, or a year. Finally she says: No.
And from the force of that No a sea breaks forth in the desert; or from the force of that No Lilith is blown from the desert to the sea; or from the force of that No Lilith enters the sea of darkness within her. For she is Night as well as Air. And from the darkness she gives birth to herself in all her parts, to fear and anger, to loneliness and despair. She believes, she must believe, that sometime somehow she will give birth to the shining woman with bright wings she hopes herself to be. But now she is giving birth to monsters. How can she love her fear? How can she face the world, having given birth to such anger? Still, at each birth, to each ugly, painful, pitiful creature, she says “You are my child. You are my heart. You are my strength.” Having said No to pretense she will not unsay it. (Ever since, choice is possible, always, for all of us.)
And the sea holds her. Comforts her. Heals her. Finally she can see her wings again, feel herself strong, gather in her children, emerge again into the world. She is changed. She is strong. She can forgive. Even dirt and plants seem beautiful in this new light. (Ever since, healing is possible, always, for all of us.)
Maybe Adam has changed too? Maybe they can ... ? But no. He too has grieved, but he's repeating the old patterns, with someone named Eve. He is right, and Eve is wrong. Or she is right, and he wrong. If only he knew! If only Eve knew!
Such knowledge is not to be forced on the unwilling. Still, it can be offered. Adam loves plants. And so must Eve, Lilith thinks: “Eve” means Breath of Life. Eve would like a tree. A Tree of Knowledge then for them, a Tree to open eyes, a Tree of remembrance, a Tree to remind them that they are as Gods. And amulets; she will give them amulets to protect the children of their flesh and the children of their hearts, the ugly and the beautiful, the wanted and the scorned. All their children, all their parts.
She will give them amulets and a Tree. If they choose.
(Ever since, love is possible, always, for all of us.)