DURING THE NIGHT OF THE SABBATH - MEETING, FEAST AND ASSEMBLY OF WITCHES - WHICH FALLS ON WALPURGIS, GERMANY, ON MAY 1ST, MEPHISTOPHELES CALLS GOETHE'S FAUST TO KNOW THE MYSTERIES AND THE RITES THAT WILL BE CELEBRATED. GUESTS ARE A POSSESSED CROWD, WHICH TERRIFIES THE OWLS AND SHAKES THE BRANCHES, THEIR ECHOING VOICES SOUND AS "A RAGING RIVER OF MAGICAL SONGS". SUDDENLY APPEAR THE ONE WHO’S KNOWN AS THE QUEEN OF THE NIGHT. ADDRESSING THE DEVIL, FAUST SHOWS A FEMALE FIGURE WHO ATTRACTS HIM AND ASKS: "WHO IS SHE?". MEPHISTOPHELES RECOGNIZES THE BIBLICAL WOMAN AND SAYS, "THAT’S LILITH."
Being in an impressive variety of shapes and cults, Lilith, is also known as Black Moon in astrology, with an ancient lineages: we find traces in the Sumerian tradition, in a representation that mixes femininity with animal features. Snakes on the head, wings coming down from the shoulders, claws instead of feet. Large and round breasts, mouth that opens in an apparent sensual smile. The figure of Lilith is full of aggression, is energetic, vibrant and mysterious. Deliberately disturbing. The message is clear: we can’t trust the first woman, Adam first wife, the one who was expelled from Eden, born not from Adam’s rib, but even before, before Eve, form “sediment and dirt instead of pure powder”, during the last hour of the sixth day, in company of reptiles and demons.
Condemned, hunted, dreaded, associated with a terrifying imagery from the Jewish patriarchal culture: “No man can sleep alone in a house; everyone who’ll sleeps alone in a house, will be taken by Lilith “(Shab.1516 – cit. Cohen). The nightmare produced by the psyche rises like a specter, she haunted Europe in the Middle Ages taking the witch’s name. Lilith-witch is the most striking personification of sexual instincts against which man tries to fight, rejecting the erotic component during the Sabbath of satanic and dangerous manifestations. Hence the violent and incredible persecution which put to the stake over nine million women – called witches -, presumed guilty of being unhealthy bearers of a voluptuous, seductive, instinctive and therefore demonic femininity.
Contemporary culture is still haunted by the ghost of repression: the Black Moon is associated with vampirism, the evil, the darkness and acts in astrology of the early twentieth century as a pathological sexual symbol, as a deviance. Some of the classical interpretations of the Lilith positions in the astrological houses are full of negative connotations: from adultery to concubinage for the seventh house; from perversion to orgiastic relationship if Lilith is in the third house. The reference to sexuality dominates the literature associated with Lilith, which eventually breaks away from the terrifying symbol of atonement and repression and become energy connected to the instincts, looking for integration. Here is the road to recovery of Lilith, which becomes a symbol of women’s emancipation, the redemption of a woman’s position is no longer in conflict with the eros of the male. The dark lunar pole is an ancestral force to understand and integrate, even at the expense of traditional behavior, how to end the archetypal conflict between body and spirit, reason and instinct, and recompose the old wound derived from a primordial cleavage of the soul. This reconciliation of male and female is the true magic that Lilith jealously hides.
Text by Marco Gerosa
Source: “Lilith. La Luna Nera” by Roberto Sicuteri