This work would not have been possible if I had not met a group of wonderful women who participate in an Art-burlesque workshop and form an artistic group that calls itself “True Ladies”.
During the show that they organize once a year coinciding with the beginning of summer, they perform the character of Lilith; a woman who stood up to God himself for her dignity and freedom. The first of many other women who throughout history have paid dearly for their defiance of the order established by the patriarchy and for what they have been branded as witches, vampires, mad women or whores.
The True Ladies taught me that Lilith, the first woman created by God, was created as an equal. Her discontent with Adam's treatment of her led her to face God, pronouncing her name in vain from her to her on 3 occasions before leaving paradise alone.
In the Alphabet of Ben Sira, a medieval text dated around the 10th century, it is said that Lilith and Adam often fought when they had sex, as she refused to always lie face down and demanded that Adam change his position and also get on. Above, it reminded him that both had been created at the same time and that he was not inferior in anything. Faced with Adam's continuous refusal, Lilith confronted God and left paradise, leaving behind the only thing known to her, to enter the desert on the way to the Red Sea, where she finally settled.
After overcoming the hard journey that she must have involved crossing the desert, she met on the shores of the Red Sea, another man with whom she started a family.
According to Ben Sira's writings, the story continues tragically for Lilith as, besieged by 3 angels that God, pressured by Adam's insistence, sent in search of her, she was severely punished and cursed for her refusal to return. to Paradise.
Meanwhile in Eden, Adam just made himself feel lonely and asked God for a new companion to ease his loneliness. This second woman did not like her and she demanded that God be granted a new one. God, then, took out a rib and created Eva.
In this way he made sure that Adam's new companion was so similar to him that she was to her liking.
In Genesis there are two different versions of the creation of woman: Genesis 1: 27-God creates male and female simultaneously in his image and likeness. In the second story - Genesis 2: 21,23 - the woman is created from a man's rib.
Continuing with the story that the True Ladies taught me, time passed and Eve was unhappy and bored next to Adam, and he missed Lilith that, she finally answered her call and went again to the gates of Eden . There he meets Eva on the edge of the garden and Eva discovers that Lilith is not the demon responsible for the death of the newborns –as Adam had told her–, but a creature just like her. They became friends and Lilith with the intention of freeing Eva from the insufferable company of Adam gave him to eat the well-known forbidden fruit that, in addition to the expulsion from that paradise, symbolizes the power of knowledge and freedom.
Lilith's decision could not go unpunished and throughout history she has been accused of being a nympho, a demon, a vampire and a murderer.
The origin can be found from the second millennium BC, in which there is a clear trend towards patriarchy embodied in the Code of Hammurabi and the laws of Assyria, which will have many consequences on the status of women and their representation in art. , culture and religion.
In Judaism, which largely includes the sciences of Mesopotamia, the patriarchal and often misogynistic conception, will significantly modify the image of Lilith. The negative image of women in monotheistic religions will also start from there.
In the Babylonian Talmud-5th century AD she is described as a being with an insatiable carnal appetite that leads men to destruction and death. In the Cabala, Lilith manifests herself as an evil being that provokes nocturnal onanism in men with the intention of stealing their semen and having children that she kills as soon as they are born.
In one of the Dead Sea Scrolls "The Songs of the Sage of Qumran" dated at the end of the 1st century BC. Lilith is named along with other demons. In the Zahar or Book of Splendor, the base text of Kabbalistic doctrine, Lilith is confirmed as Adam's first wife, but it is stated that she was created from impure clay, which is why he rejected her.
Other more modern writings and as the True Ladies themselves taught me, do another reading on the origin of Lilith; She was indeed created with the same clay that she created Adam, but a series of herbs were added to the mud mixture that made it special and intuitive.
Long before the recovery of her by Judaism, Lilith was a Mesopotamian divinity that we find in Sumer, Babylon, Assyria and also Greece. In Sumer she was a holy prostitute who guarded the temple.
of the goddess Isthar before she became a demon. In ancient Greece she appears as Lania, queen of Libya and lover of Zeus who after being discovered by the goddess Hera was turned into a being with the body of a snake and the head of a woman.
Until that moment I had never questioned that Adam's first wife was Eve. Nor had he ever heard the name Lilith and less associated with the Bible. (This appears explicitly up to 3 times- Isaiah (34:14) in Job (18:15) and in Psalms (91: 5) -)
So everything they taught me could not be true? Could the pillars of our beliefs, the history of the beginning of our civilization be based on a manipulation of such consequences? If it were in the public domain, what would happen to the relationship between men and women and the established roles?
At first glance, it seems that the myth of Lilith is an invention, something that should not be taken seriously, a feminist game without major consequences. Nothing is further from it. Jewish tradition recognizes the possibility of retelling the stories of the holy books from a contemporary perspective. It is customary for rabbis to write a midrash - a study based on new research - when they find an omission, or when one fragment contradicts another. Best still, "each generation has the duty to contribute to the evolution of the text."
Judith Plaskow, the first self-appointed Jewish feminist theologian, together with a group of rabbis reinterpreted the story of Lilith from the original by Ben Sira in 1970, giving a more flattering vision to this character. Her essay "The Coming of Lilith" was instrumental in reimagining Lilith as a positive figure rather than a dangerous demon.
The portrait that this work makes of Lilith is that of the brave, free and independent woman. Lilith is all the women who throughout history have fought opposing an unequal, oppressive and unjust circumstance and who through one or a thousand deserts have managed to bring us to where we are.
This work is dedicated to them and to the women who helped me carry it out.
For further information and pictures about this work, please contact me.