The Lilith Within

My friends, this is the last open Thursday discussion post before Thursdays go subscriber-only next week. (Mondays will stay free to everyone on the email list, as always.) If you dig these bonus-text-and-discussion-and-community threads, please do subscribe and stick around—and, of course, nobody will ever be kept out because of lack of resources. More at the bottom of the post.

On Monday, we saw a couple of incredible texts about the mythological figure of Lilith. It’s clear how these texts and traditions reflected misogyny and gave explanations for horrible tragedies that felt like they defied explanation.  But I also wonder if we might be able to think about the ways in which these texts externalize the complex feelings that we all have inside of us, and how that functions.  

So let’s unpack, shall we?

  • How is finding an external form for darkness—for fear, for grief, for anger, for refusing to be treated badly—useful? 

  • What are its limits?

  • How do we see that happening in our society today? 

In the worst, most monstrous ways, people have found external scapegoats—the history of white supremacy and colonialism offers many horrific examples of this, as does the history of misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, fatphobia, and the intersections of so many of these things.

But I think we all do this to some degree—on individual or cultural levels. Like, Halloween is an easy example—we dress as monsters to prove that the monsters don’t have a hold on us, that the monsters in our head can’t scare us anymore, whatever it may be. (Yes, Halloween has a whole history, but I’m thinking of the way it functions in the US today.)

But I’d love to think about some of the more day-to-day ways in which the desire to find a culprit out there for some of the things that might be happening inside us manifests.

  • What does that look like?

  • When do we see it? 

  • And how can we get better at naming it when it happens, and making choices about when it makes sense to actually see what’s been inside of us all along?

So, this is some of how we do Thursday—discussion space, jamming perhaps in a more collective version of hevruta, as we call it in my tradition—iron sharpens iron, no fire ignites by itself. Usually it’s paired study and discussion. Here it’s something more organic. Reply here, join the conversation, share what you think about all, or any of this.

And starting next week, this more open, fluid, discussion-focused space will be subscriber-only. Please know that nobody will ever be kept out due to lack of funds; just email for a hookup. If you’d like to underwrite one of these donated subscriptions, you can do so here.

Please join us! We would love to have you here next week!