You've probably heard of "Lilith Fair", the festival that celebrates women in music. Or maybe you've heard whisperings of a demon named Lilith, even the first Vampire according to some Nosferatu enthusiasts. But what about the historical evidence that portrays Lilith as a benevolent Mother Goddess, (albeit with her dark qualities, as is the case with most Goddesses) who dates back to antiquity?
According to some myths Lilith was Adam's first wife who was banished from Eden for believing she was equal to her mate. Lilith basically wanted to "be on top" but Adam found this emasculating so she was forced to leave the garden and it is said she was forever cursed to give birth to tons of demon babies a day. That seems a little silly to me since I don't understand why "God" would want there to be tons of demons in the world. But I will suspend belief in this instance based on the fact that that's not the silliest thing I've ever read in mythology.
Yet other myths say nothing of Adam, but speak of Lilith's creative, protective, and sustaining nature. She is forever Maiden, free and of herself, yet she is also a Mother to her people; feeding them and protecting them from harm. She weeps when they are hurt and for the destruction she herself must cause as part of nature. Lilith seems in all ways to be a complete image of Goddess; Maiden, Mother, and Crone.
Lilith has also been linked with the Goddess Inanna. It is possible that glimpses of Lilith's oldest images may be found in Inanna's myths as well.During my research I saw many references to Lilith as a demon and not as a Goddess. Could she perhaps be another demonized version of the Great Goddess that was made out to be evil by the influx of new religions who wanted to gain control over the people? Check out some of the links in this post and decide for yourself.
One of my earliest memories is of my mother teaching me to succeed. When I would say "I can't do it." after failing at a task, my mother would say very succinctly, "There is no such word as can't." I was too little at the time to rebut by informing her that I could simply say "can not" (or is it cannot?) and I would indeed be using real words instead of a conjunction. But that's not really the point. The lesson she was teaching me was that I can do anything I set my mind to and by saying "I can't" I am just making an excuse to fail.
While my mother was never one to hold back a swear word or two, she never let me say things like "I hate such and such" or "I'm gonna kill whatshisface". In fact the word hate was probably the biggest swear word in my house. I was not allowed to hate anything or anyone. Instead I had to get creative and expand my vocabulary at an early age in order to express my disgust of something. If I did accidently let a curse word drop I only really got in big trouble if I said it out of anger towards someone else. Even so, I didn't know the really bad swear words until I was an adult because my mother wasn't one for obligatory vulgarity.
When I was growing up hearing my mother correct my words was a giant nuisance. As an adult I find that I am teaching my daughter the same things; teaching her that she can do anything, teaching her not to hate - to be tolerant and accepting, teaching her not to express her emotions violently (even if we never really mean we're going to kill someone when we say we want to).
The more I thought about all of this it seemed to be about intent and the meanings behind our words, as we think of it metaphysical terms. The things we say can have a profound effect on our own energy, not to mention someone else's. Learning to express ourselves in less negative ways can only be beneficial to ourselves and everyone around us.
So, without even knowing it, my mother was teaching me a very important, magic(k)al lesson. I'm glad that, now that I am all grown up, I can appreciate the subtle lessons of my mother and pass them on to my own daughter.
By Lisa on Monday, August 04, 2008
|Above: The Gundestrup Cauldron|
What follows is my interpretation of Cernunnos based on the image on the Gundestrup Cauldron - which I have looked at many times seeking answers about this God.
As was said, Cernunnos is often pictured seated. Because of this, and the way he seems to be sitting in a lotus position, I tend to think of him as a kind of Buddha figure and a symbol for the human journey towards enlightenment.
Because of his antlers I have come to see him as a bridge between humanity and nature/the Divine and nature, and also the immanent force of Divinity in all life. He is a symbol for everything wild or untamed in us - a direct connection to the natural world.
He holds a torque in one hand and a serpent in the other. Both of these symbols have multiple interpretations. I see the torque as representing cycles, eternity, and the Goddess. Interesting how he is already wearing a torque of his own. I wonder if he might be offering the other torque in his hand to us. Could he be saying you too could "wear the torque" and reach enlightenment?
The snake is also a Goddess symbol. I have often wondered if he is choking the snake or simply holding it. Could the snake represent wisdom and thus be something to possess? Or maybe it's phallic? I'm not sure.
The way each item is held equidistant in each hand might show Cernunnos as a balancing force. This might further be illustrated by the animals surrounding him. Most of the prey animals are on his right while the predators, much more violent in appearance, are on his left.
Also within the Gundestrup image are representations of plants - perhaps seedlings of some kind. Most, but not all, of the plants appear to have the same shape as a womb, with fallopian tubes and a uterus clearly outlined. This could have obvious fertility connotations, with Cernunnos personifying the male aspect with the female aspect illustrated by the plants and symbolizing Nature, Mother Earth, Goddess.
By Lisa on Friday, August 01, 2008