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The Legend of Lilith: She’s more than a character on True Blood

Season 5 Episode 2 (“The Authority Always Wins”.)
Roman, the founder of The Authority places a drop of his blood on the tongues of each vampire on the council while reciting a prayer that the show translates as: The blood of Lilith. The first, the last, the Eternal. We are born of Lilith, who was created in God’s image. The first, the last, the Eternal. We swear fealty to the blood and to the Progenitor. The first, the last, the Eternal. Lord and Lilith, Father and Mother, protect as was we protect you. From this day until the hour of the true death. And in the Lord and Lilith’s name we say: Vampyr.” The prayer talks of Lilith who is believed to be mother of all vampires.

Lilith (1892) by John Collier

The legend of Lilith began when rabbis first noticed there were 2 accounts of the creation of woman in the book of Genesis that contradict each other.  Genesis 1 says God created man and woman at the same time, whereas Genesis 2 says he created woman from man. Although she is not mentioned directly in the bible Lilith is referenced as a screech owl, a night creature. However, she is talked about in some Jewish text and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Jewish mythology states that Lilith was Adam’s first wife. She was created at the same time and from the same earth as Adam. This caused problems in their relationship. Lilith refused to take a subservient position to Adam, since she came from the same place he did. She left Adam and did not return to the Garden of Eden.  God sent three angles to retrieve her but she refused to go back. God then created Eve who was subservient to Adam.  As stated in Genesis 2:21-22 Eve was made of Adam’s rib. “So the Lord God caused man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, the Lord God took out one of the man’s ribs and closed the opening. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to man.”

Angered by her mistreatment, Lilith vowed to weaken and kill all little children, babies and newborns. She was believed to have powers that can only be warded off by the mystical means of an amulet. Over the centuries Lilith has become known as a succubus demon. She was said to have sex with men while they slept, stealing their semen and giving birth to demon offspring. Rabbis warned men never to sleep alone so they won’t fall victim to Lilith. Some interpretations of Lilith say that she flies around at night howling her hatred of mankind and vowing vengeance.

It’s not a far stretch to see how this story can be interpreted as Lilith being the first vampire. She has essentially been called a flying demon that kills the innocent and has it out for all mankind. A woman so powerful, she could only be warded off with an amulet. These amulets would be made of gold or silver. Could this be the link between silver and its ability to keep humans safe from vampires?

When Cain was cast out by God, it is thought that he encountered Lilith among the wastelands where she had made her home. In their coupling, she taught him the power of consuming blood. This myth certainly indicates that Lilith and Cain had traits of what are thought to be vampires. Since Lilith did not consume of the forbidden fruit from the Tree of Life, as Eve did, many believe she isn’t subject to death. Legends of the first vampires and their blood lust with the possibility of immortality could have come from these early myths.

I was excited to learn that we will be meeting Lilith this season on True Blood. It is rumored that this is the casting call for Lilith

[LIL] Female, early to late 20s, Caucasian. She’s supermodel beautiful. Strong and ethereal. No lines in the first episode. Recurring. FULL FRONTAL NUDITY REQUIRED. For episode 5.07.

In an interview by TVguide.com Valentina Cervi was asked about Lilith’s appearance on True Blood and if she was everything her character Salome imagined she’d be. “She is the mother of everybody and people will see that in a different way. Vampires will perceive her in a different way. When Lilith appears, she’s everything that we all think she is. She’s this beautiful, seducing, motherly goddess, and then a lot of things are going to happen. I can’t reveal too much, but it’s not what it seems, and even we will be very surprised. You believe in something and then suddenly things change, then you find yourself in a crisis, but it’s great fun.” Vampires believe she is a goddess and mother of their kind. The Authority trusts, follows and believes what is written in the Vampire bible. Will she be everything they believe her to be? I can’t wait to see how her character will affect the show.

True Blood isn’t Lilith’s first appearance in pop culture. She has been a character on TV shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Supernatural. Lilith appeared in a well know film “30 Days of Night: Dark Days” as the leading antagonist. She can also be found in comic books and music. Probably the most notable appearance of Lilith is a music festival that bears her name. Founded by Sarah McLachlan in 1997, Lilith Fair featured some of the largest women in music during it’s time.

 

Kelly Valentine discovered True Blood during S4, but quickly caught up on seasons 1-3 and her favorite sups are the vampires. She works with special needs children in an elementary school in Maryland. Her passions are photography and writing.

Sources:

http://judaism.about.com/od/jewishculture/a/Lilith-In-The-Torah-Talmud-And-Midrash.htm

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/blogpost/23

http://judaism.about.com/b/2012/06/18/was-lilith-a-vampire-jewish-mythology-on-hbos-true-blood.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lilith

http://www.trueghosttales.com/who-was-lilith.php

http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1513/whats-the-story-on-lilith-adams-first-wife

http://www.tvguide.com/News/True-Blood-Valentina-Cervi-1049079.aspx

http://adamssecret.wordpress.com/lilith-in-pop-culture/

 

20 comments
Misty Russell
Misty Russell

After the comment you made about in Genisis 1 and then Genisis 2 curiosity set in and I had too see for myself. And it does say in Genisis1 God created man and woman. In Genisis 2 he mentioned about all the land he had made and seen man had no helper so he had put man in deep sleep and made woman from his ribs. Now it so makes you wonder. Please feel free to send me any emails. I love reading your writings (even tho I'm new) ty

Fred
Fred

No one ate from the Tree of Life, Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of knowledge of Good and Evil, learning about the existence of wrong and right, if they HAD eaten of the Tree of Life, they would have lived forever, thus becoming like God. Eating of the Tree of Life wasn't what made Adam and Eve mortal, they always were, but if God hadn't cast them out of the Garden and they had eaten of The Tree of Life they then would have lived forever. I'm not sure exactly the story of Lilith, but her immorality was not from NOT eating of the Tree of Life, it would mean she actually ate from it.

callonmebill
callonmebill

Thank you Kelly for your most informative article, I do have to say when Lilith was first mention I snickered and thought are we going to the "Lilith Fair" for some feminist music and naked ladies chanting? LOL Ok shoot me. Thanks for setting me straight and I'm waiting to see who will be this Venus de Milo of Vampires. Succubus - Demon - Vampire - its always the woman's fault!

Brigette
Brigette

"Lilith refused to take a subservient position to Adam, since she came from the same place he did. She left Adam and did not return to the Garden of Eden. God sent three angels to retrieve her but she refused to go back." Smart lady, sounds like she got out of dodge just in time. :) "Rabbis warned men never to sleep alone so they won’t fall victim to Lilith." I howled when I read this. Was there ever -- created by men, for men -- a better excuse to cheat and call it holy?

Susanna
Susanna

kelly, thank you for this infomation.. very interesting..

tyt
tyt

waw , mind saying SPOILER ALERT before sreaming out loud about lilith ?

laylaravenscroft
laylaravenscroft

Great introduction to this mysterious character. I kind of like that True Blood is delving deeper into the world of religion and politics. It's a big risk but I think the shock value is worth loosing a couple audience members. I just hope the biblical creatures aren't as crazy as Ms Marianne the mythological creature...

LisaEden10
LisaEden10

Great research Kelly! I had no idea about Lilith but now I do! I hope we get to meet her this season!! Definately exciting stuff this season!!

Marcia via Facebook
Marcia via Facebook

...when do we get a closeup of that amulet the authority members are wearing...looks like a double-sided battle axe, but what else?

Rowena
Rowena

Well researched, Kelly. That's an extensive bibliography. Thank you for the information on Lilith, which traces her history and the mythology surrounding her. Will we truly meet her this season? I hope so.

Da vinci
Da vinci

Very smart... I'm sure nobody thought about that part!

Kelly
Kelly

I'm glad you liked my article. I thought the same thing about Lilith until I researched her.

Shadaliza
Shadaliza

Religion and culture have the tendencies to blame the female for everything male does wrong.

Shadaliza
Shadaliza

Yes that not sleeping alone is a good one!

Kelly
Kelly

Susanna, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Shadaliza
Shadaliza

We don't consider the information mentioned in this article spoilers, since it's or thousands years old, or already mentioned in previous episodes. The Valentina Cervi interview doesn't reveal anything spoilery.

Kelly
Kelly

Lisa, I'm glad you liked it. I learned so much. Love the new characters and exciting plot this season!

Kelly
Kelly

Rowena, I'm glad you enjoyed the article. I learned so much while researching Lilith. I really can't wait until we get to meet her.

Cristen Stimple
Cristen Stimple

Hi True Blood Fans, I did some research on bing website about lilith and she is not real, just a myth and folklore stories that people wrote thousands of years ago, that's what people then knew and it all baloney about this lilith story or any other mythology stories from Greece, Italy,etc, so this all really silly and it would be interesting what's going to happen when this lilith makes her appearance and to see what all the vampires find out if she is all they hoped to be or not. It's going to be a crazy season.

Shadaliza
Shadaliza

Of course she is not real, it's a myth like Adam and Eve.