Lessons from Lilith, the Goddess of Righteous Rage


Lessons from Lilith, the Goddess of Righteous Rage


While often remembered as a demon, Lilith was once an empowered goddess who dared to stand up for herself, and was exiled. Her story has powerful lessons for those of us who need to learn to stand up for ourselves.

Lilith is a goddess with roots in the Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh, dating back to 2100 BC. She was once known as a goddess of fertility and sexuality who aided mothers and their newborns. But she’s also been called a demon, a succubus, a killer of children, a temptress, and even a vampire. She was also the biblical Adam’s first wife.

Lilith’s Origins

Lilith isn’t named in most versions of the Bible. In the first chapter of Genesis, it is written that God created humankind, male and female, equally in his image. Later, we see Adam alone in the garden in need of an appropriate helpmeet, and Eve is born from Adam’s rib. Some believe the serpent that later tempts Eve to eat the forbidden fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil was a version of Lilith herself.

According to Jewish mythology, Adam’s first marriage didn’t go so well. He demanded submission from Lilith, insisting she “sleep” beneath him and follow his rules as well as God’s. Lilith knew well enough that she was as powerful, as worthy and as free as Adam, and rules could not contain her—especially those written by an arbitrary authoritarian patriarchy. She was thus banished from the Garden of Eden and went on to mother hundreds of thousands of “demons.”

The Demonization of Empowered Women

Like so many women throughout history, Lilith was literally demonized for daring to know her own power and worth and to feel her sexual agency was worth protecting and standing up for. This is the story of the thousands of women who were persecuted, tortured, and even murdered throughout the history of the witch trials, which happened all over the world over centuries.

Women who threatened the patriarchal and religious authorities in any way were accused (often on charges of perverse sexual acts), “tested,” and punished as witches. These women were often folk doctors or herbalists who knew how to control or prevent reproduction. Women were also thought to be simpler of mind than men and thus easier to tempt by the devil. (To learn more, see Caliban and the Witch, Witches, Midwives, and Nurses, or the BBC podcast Witch).

A Symbol of Feminine Rebellion

Many modern witches and pagans remember, honor, and worship Lilith as a symbol of feminine rebellion. Lilith knows that she is equal to any man and will not put up with being treated any other way. She is a goddess of righteous rage, which is a form of anger that appears when injustice arises.

Anger has a powerful quality, which is that when we’re really feeling it, we don’t care what anyone else thinks. We don’t care about our reputations, about being good or “nice,” or about following rules. We know in the deepest part of our guts that we (or someone else) is being mistreated, and we don’t care how far we get banished from that world because that world doesn’t understand or respect us.

Righteous Rage Versus Anxious Anger

Righteous rage is very different from anxious anger, which is often what we feel when we’re upset with someone we love. Our anger is likely telling us that a boundary was crossed or that a need is not being met, but we don’t want to break the bond we value so much with the people we love, so we struggle with how and whether to express that anger. So much of the time this anger seethes under the surface as unexpressed resentment and threatens to blow in a Lilith-like explosion of rage.

When we can trust our inner Lilith, we’re trusting in what we know to be true. We don’t need to follow anyone else’s rules because we can make up our own. We know where we might find our power. We don’t care if we’re remembered as a bloodsucking witch or benevolent goddess. We know who we are, we know our own power, and we don’t care who we’ll piss off to be able to live that truth.

Explore lessons from Eve, the goddess of exile.


Yoga and mindfulness can be tools to living a richer, more meaningful life. Explore with Julie...
Read More

Continue your journey

Lessons from Lilith the Goddess of Righteous Rage

Enjoying this content?

Get this article and many more delivered straight to your inbox weekly.