Hello to you, it’s about 7:17 a.m. as I start to write to you this Tuesday morning. It’s been one of them mornings. It started with Link waking us up by throwing up on the bed, our having to change the sheets, Kyle not being able to go back to sleep and my trying to sleep in the company of my crystals which I was partly able to do despite the crying of our cat Amber to get in the room!
So yesterday I mentioned we binge watched Season 3 of Penny Dreadful and as part of my trying to process what we’d seen, I had to get closure with our character Vanessa Ives. What I perceived her to represent was the first woman of mythology…Lilith….she who came before Eve. Lilith was supposedly a creature of the night, the first vampire and didn’t put out for no man lol.
I decided to seek the wisdom of our digital “God” the internet to make my inquiries……to seek my closure with this story we had eaten in two days. As I’ve mentioned before, I think in terms of “alike” – how things are similar or the same. So it’s only logical for me to find out how Vanessa and Lilith could be the same.
My inquiries started with trying to find a “label” for a symbol I had made in the backyard with my steel poles, a hoe and the circular decaying plastic mat I had outside. When I listen to music and let my mind go, I process the thoughts and images that come and yesterday afternoon, this was one.
This lead me to Cuneiform, the “wedge language” of the ancient Sumerians it’s origins going back to 5000 BCE, and then back to Lilith, wondering if she had a “symbol” , there was the Fleur de Lis (interestingly on the back of Coraline from the show Moonlight we are watching right now too…she was a French courtesan) and then back looking at Cuneiform….Latin.
Anyways….I think I have my closure on Vanessa Ives and on Lilith. How are they the same? They are both the stuff of well-crafted story writing and telling both then and now. It’s what we do as human beings. We tell stories and we like to act them out to entertain and amuse ourselves….to scare ourselves in this case of Lilith and Vanessa Ives. What can be more horrifying than an empowered woman? This would explain the primordial evil that woman always seem to get to represent in just about everything written mostly by men…oh and don’t forget snakes….facepalm!
Stories….as I mentioned to you, I’m revisiting some stories of my childhood….eating the good kind of “Member Berries” as the premiere of South Park calls revisiting the “glory days” of our past. For me it’s revisiting the days of my life that were simple, innocent and made me happy. Much of my happiness as a child came from books and writing stories myself! Sadly, I only have a couple stories I wrote when I was very young! May be I’ll share them some time.
I finished reading The Trumpet of the Swan by EB White last night and Kyle said I should read Stuart Little by him next. I asked him why and he said because it was one of his favorites when he was a little boy. So I went and got it and when I opened it up, there were these two drawings inside! Little mementos, treasures from the past! I believe these were done by my step-cousin Heather Johnson when she was a young girl! The drawing with the mailbox definitely looks like the old farm that I babysat for her and her sisters on many summers ago!! What a great memory most of it was when I wasn’t having to learn really difficult lessons about life and death. While I was there, a school friend Scott was struck by lightning and killed. I learned you shouldn’t become too familiar with the cows because they would eventually be slaughtered. Those types of lessons that most “city folk” never learn first hand.
Finding the drawings was dream key because I can remember a dream about a girl and a orange and white cat underwater last night! Which leads me to the hardest lesson about life and death I faced while on that farm…how fragile the line between life and death and it was a small orange and white kitten that taught me that. The only sad part of my summer babysitting Heather, Brenda and Janelle is we adopted a cat and they even took it to the vet – the first time ever for a farm cat and sadly a few days later it crawled into the wheel well of a Schwan’s Delivery truck and was killed when it was driving off. Everyone wanted me to run and get the quivering body before the girls could see it and I couldn’t do it. So one of the adults grabbed the body, can’t remember if it was Grandpa Warrington or Kathy, and they through it into the burning barrel that was near the swing-set and it was there until the next burning….which wasn’t for days. I’ve always been very sensitive and was pretty traumatized by that who ordeal! I hid and cried for a couple of days about that. I was a city kid after all and had never been faced with these things before!
So I started to read Stuart Little last night and as I did, I started to hear a familiar voice in my head…Ben lol! I so love to hear Benedict Cumberbatch read things to me and there he was without effort reading Stuart Little to me! Silly I know but cool! So I told Kyle about this and since this was once his favorite book, I read a couple of chapters out loud in my best Benedict Cumberbatch voice LOL! Ah the things little old married couples do to amuse themselves!
I hope you are well today….everything seems to be “off” a bit here but we’ll get the ship righted again. Love and hugs to you family.
by Joshua J. Mark published on 28 April 2011
Cuneiform is a system of writing first developed by the ancient Sumerians of Mesopotamia c. 3500-3000 BCE. It is considered the most significant among the many cultural contributions of the Sumerians and the greatest among those of the Sumerian city of Uruk which advanced the writing of cuneiform c. 3200 BCE. The name comes from the Latin word cuneus for ‘wedge’ owing to the wedge-shaped style of writing. In cuneiform, a carefully cut writing implement known as a stylus is pressed into soft clay to produce wedge-like impressions that represent word-signs (pictographs) and, later, phonograms or `word-concepts’ (closer to a modern day understanding of a `word’). All of the great Mesopotamian civilizations used cuneiform (the Sumerians, Akkadians, Babylonians, Elamites, Hatti, Hittites, Assyrians, Hurrians and others) until it was abandoned in favour of the alphabetic script at some point after 100 BCE.
By Ariela Pelaia
Updated July 26, 2016.
According to Jewish folklore, Lilith was Adam’s first wife. Though she is not mentioned in the Torah, over the centuries she became associated with Adam as a way to explain the fact that there are two contradictory versions of Creation in the book of Genesis.
Lilith and the Biblical Story of Creation
The biblical book of Genesis contains two contradictory accounts of humanity’s creation. The first account is known as the Priestly version and appears in Genesis 1:26-27. Here God fashions man and woman simultaneously when the text reads: “So God created mankind in the divine image, male and female God created them.”
The second account of Creation is known as the Yahwistic version and is found in Genesis 2. This is the version of Creation that most people are familiar with. God creates Adam, then places him in the Garden of Eden. Not long afterwards, God decides to make a companion for Adam and creates the animals of the land and sky to see if any of them are suitable partners for the man.
God brings each animal to Adam, who names it before ultimately deciding that it is not a “suitable helper.” God then causes a deep sleep to fall upon Adam and while the man is sleeping God fashions Eve from his side. When Adam awakes he recognizes Eve as part of himself and accepts her as his companion.
Not surprisingly, the ancient rabbis noticed that two contradictory versions of Creation appear in the book of Genesis (which is called Bereisheet in Hebrew). They solved the discrepancy in two ways:
One was to explain that the first version of Creation actually referred to Adam’s first wife, a ‘first Eve.’ But Adam was displeased with her, so God replaced her with a ‘second Eve’ that met Adam’s needs.
Another interpretation is that the Priestly account describes the creation of an androgyne – a creature that was both male and female (Genesis Rabbah 8:1, Leviticus Rabbah 14:1). This creature was then split into a man and a woman in the Yahwistic account. Learn more about this explanation in: What Was the Androgyne?
Although the tradition of two wives – two Eves – appears early on, this interpretation of Creation’s timeline was not associated with the character of Lilith until the medieval period, as we shall see in the next section.
Lilith as Adam’s First Wife
Scholars are not certain where the character of Lilith comes from, though many believe she was inspired by Sumerian myths about female vampires called “Lillu” or Mesopotamian myths about succubae (female night demons) called “lilin.” Lilith is mentioned four times in the Babylonian Talmud, but it is not until the Alphabet of Ben Sira (c. 800s to 900s) that the character of Lilith is associated with the first version of Creation. In this medieval text, Ben Sira names Lilith as Adam’s first wife and presents a full account of her story.
According to the Alphabet of Ben Sira, Lilith was Adam’s first wife but the couple fought all the time. They didn’t see eye-to-eye on matters of sex because Adam always wanted to be on top while Lilith also wanted a turn in the dominant sexual position. When they could not agree, Lilith decided to leave Adam. She uttered God’s name and flew into the air, leaving Adam alone in the Garden of Eden. God sent three angels after her and commanded them to bring her back to her husband by force if she would not come willingly. But when the angels found her by the Red Sea they were unable to convince her to return and could not force her to obey them. Eventually, a strange deal is struck, wherein Lilith promised not to harm newborn children if they are protected by an amulet with the names of the three angels written on it:
“The three angels caught up with her in the [Red] Sea…They seized her and told her: ‘If you agree to come with us, come, and if not, we shall drown you in the sea.’ She answered: ‘Darlings, I know myself that God created me only to afflict babies with fatal disease when they are eight days old; I shall have permission to harm them from their birth to the eighth day and no longer; when it is a male baby; but when it is a female baby, I shall have permission for twelve days.’ The angels would not leave her alone, until she swore by God’s name that wherever she would see them or their names in an amulet, she would not possess the baby [bearing it]. They then left her immediately. This is [the story of] Lilith who afflicts babies with disease.” (Alphabet of Ben Sira, from “Eve & Adam: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Readings on Genesis and Gender” pg. 204.)
The Alphabet of Ben Sira appears to combine legends of female demons with the idea of the ‘first Eve.’ What results is a story about Lilith, an assertive wife who rebelled against God and husband, was replaced by another woman, and was demonized in Jewish folklore as a dangerous killer of babies.
Later legends also characterize her as a beautiful woman who seduces men or copulates with them in their sleep (a succubus), then spawns demon children. According to some accounts, Lilith is the Queen of Demons.
References: Kvam, Krisen E. etal. “Eve & Adam: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Readings on Genesis and Gender.” Indiana University Press: Bloomington, 1999.
In Heraldry and History
|Legend The English translation of “fleur-de-lis” (sometimes spelled “fleur-de-lys”) is “flower of the lily.” This symbol, depicting a stylized lily or lotus flower, has many meanings. Traditionally, it has been used to represent French royalty, and in that sense it is said to signify perfection, light, and life. Legend has it that an angel presented Clovis, the Merovingian king of the Franks, with a golden lily as a symbol of his purification upon his conversion to Christianity. Others claim that Clovis adopted the symbol when waterlilies showed him how to safely cross a river and thus succeed in battle.
Heraldry In the twelfth century, either King Louis VI or King Louis VII (sources disagree) became the first French monarch to use the fleur-de-lis on his shield. English kings later used the symbol on their coats of arms to emphasize their claims to the throne of France. In the 14th century, the fleur-de-lis was often incorporated into the family insignia that was sewn on the knight’s surcoat, which was worn over their coat of mail, thus the term, “coat of arms.” The original purpose of identification in battle developed into a system of social status designations after 1483 when King Edmund IV established the Heralds’ College to supervise the granting of armor insignia.
|Religion and War
Joan of Arc carried a white banner that showed God blessing the French royal emblem, the fleur-de-lis, when she led French troops to victory over the English in support of the Dauphin, Charles VII, in his quest for the French throne.
The Roman Catholic Church ascribed the lily as the special emblem of the Virgin Mary.
Due to its three “petals,” the fleur-de-lis has also been used to represent the Holy Trinity.
Military units, including divisions of the United States Army, have used the symbol’s resemblance to a spearhead to identify martial power and strength.