The story of Lilith dates back to the ancient Sumerian literature and has appeared in epics as old as
Gilgamesh. The artist, Lilian Broca writes: “I went to primary sources for the story of Lilith - i.e. post-biblical literature, the Talmud, the Apocrypha and
Pseudopigrapha.” These striking images were the result of her long time interest in this subject.
According to the myth, God’s first attempt at creating humanity resulted in an androgynous
being that was both male and female, joined as one. Could this be a symbol of the integrated personality of Jung, where the male Animus and the female Anima are joined in full
cooperation? In the story, however, God thought twice about this model and eventually split the two halves, creating one in the shape of a man, (Adam) and another as a woman
(Lilith). Both were said to have been formed from the dust of the earth, and should have been considered equals, but Adam chose to deny the equality of Lilith and strove instead
to dominate her. It is here that the rift begins that has wounded both men and women through the ages.
As Jeffrey Smith analyzes it: “In psychological terms, he (Adam) identified with his own
ego, and not with his full self; confronted with his Shadow/Deeper Self, he rejected it, or at least tried to subject it to the demands of his ego. Lilith's response was to
fly away…(Adam, after all, lost one half of his own self.)”
When Lilith refuses Adam’s domination, she calls on the ineffable name of God and leaves him.
One should note that the inverse was also true, for in leaving Adam Lilith also loses one half of her self. To my thinking, this separation is wonderfully reflected in Carl
Jung’s psychology, where the personality has several aspects: The male side or Animus, the female side or Anima and the dark repressed side or Shadow. The work of
“integration” according to Jung is to heal the separation between these aspects of the self and become a fully actuated person where each aspect is accorded
equality. The story of Lilith is a perfect illustration of Jung’s “archetypal symbols” reflecting this basic human truth.
To continue with the myth, when Lilith flees Adam, the Hebrew version of the story casts her in
a dark light and shows her fleeing to a cave to mate with serpents and spawn a hundred demons each day. In Jungian terms I see this as the rejected Anima consorting instead with
the Shadow, the repository of repressed, negative and undesired traits in the psyche. When God then fashions Eve from Adam’s rib, Lilith, in her agony, returns to prey upon
the children of their union. Smith continues to assert: “If we return to our image of Adam as the ego and Lilith as the Deeper Self, then we find that the ego
represses and drives into the Deeper Self what it cannot accept, and what it deems as illegitimate. And what is repressed rebounds on the ego in the form of the demonic,
destroying what is acceptable and "legitimate" (symbolized by the offspring of Eve).” -- Jeffrey Smith: www.lilitu.com/lilith/lilit.htm
To my mind the myth of Lilith appears to be an amalgam of the Anima and Shadow, and may be a powerful
archetype for a man who has failed, by other means, to re-integrate his Anima into the self. It is as if the Anima then flees him, as in the traditional telling of the tale, and
consorts instead with the Shadow. The resulting union creates a powerful figure that returns to force itself upon him in his sleep, charged with the power and psychic energy of a
sexually dominant being. This being, in its alliance with the Shadow, is now fully capable of subduing his Animus, or male egocentric self, rendering it powerless and paralyzed,
while the union is forced upon him.
The Artist Lilian Broca sees Lilith in another light. She writes:
“Lilith was a powerful female, probably the world’s first feminist. She radiated strength and assertiveness. She refused to cooperate in her own
victimization. The ancient Rabbis who acted as the ultimate decision makers as to what stories were to be set in the canon and what was to be omitted, realized that this
Lilith could be easily regarded as a role model by women, a condition which provoked too much anxiety in the men to allow such behavior to be encouraged. Hence, the
elimination of the Lilith story from the canon. However, the legend had been altered; in time, Lilith was accused of seducing men with her unimaginable beauty, and men’s
nocturnal emissions caused by erotic dreams were attributed to Lilith’s nocturnal visitations.”