This is a work of fiction. Any Gods, Goddesses, Religious Figures, and Demons portrayed herein are strictly products of my imagination and are not intended to resemble in any way certain similarly named Gods, Goddesses, Religious Figures or Demons otherwise portrayed in certain well-known religious texts and either worshipped or despised by large numbers of people around the planet. Really, it is just a coincidence that they often have similar names.
...while Lilith, petrified with fear,a Prologue to the Ur-Epic Gilgamesh, as translated by Samuel Kramer
tore down her house and fled into the wilderness
And I, the Sage,...From Songs of the Sage in the Dead Sea Scrolls, translated by Florentino Garcia Martinez.
declare the grandeur of his radiance in order to frighten and terrify
all the spirits of the ravaging angels and the bastard spirits,
demons, Liliths, owls and jackals and those who strike unexpectedly to lead astray the spirit of knowledge...
Wildcats shall meet with hyenas,Isaiah 34:14
goat-demons shall call to each other; there too Lilith shall repose,
and find a place to rest.
There shall the owl nest
and lay and hatch and brood in its shadow
1 Awakening 21
2 Creation 29
3 Adam 39
4 Eden 45
5 The Flood 69
6 Sidon 81
7 The Fall of Abel 97
8 Eve 109
9 Journeying 119
10 Mohenjo Daro 129
11 K’nesh 139
12 Bereaved 147
13 India 157
14 The Cave at Mathura 169
15 No Death 179
16 No Birth 191
17 Eternity 199
A About Lilith 207
B References 225
One day in early 2006 I received an email from an individual who had an email account with a large, well-known internet service provider (or so it appeared from the email header). The user’s name, which I withhold for reasons that will become apparent as you proceed, suggested that it was from a female from the Middle East. There is nothing particularly remarkable about that – I’m on a dozen mailing lists and my email address is unfortunately available to the web crawlers and webworms that feed both SPAM engines and viruses alike.Nor was there anything all that unusual (at first glance) about the message itself. It began with the usual disclaimer:
I got your address from a Friend who vouches for Youre Trustiness. May Allah Bless you Sir, as you are my Last Resort.
My name is (deleted). I was educated in the French school near (deleted), although my family lives not far from where the Tigris joins the Euphrates...
I had automatically scanned to this point even as I reached for the “D” key, but this last bit caught my attention and intrigued me. I’ve gotten “Nigerian Scam” email from every state in Africa, from Hong Kong, from Russia, from several countries in South America, and even from a couple of countries in the Middle East, but never purporting to come from Iraq. Especially not from Iraq in the middle of a “war” that seemed like it would never end.
I should explain that I actually used to collect Nigerian Scam letters (and have a hundred or so squirreled away, each of them gems in their own way) until it became clear that the supply would eventually overwhelm my capacity to store them. I find them amusing.
This by way of explanation as to why I actually read on instead of typing the key that would send the letter on to the oblivion it seemed that it deserved. Perhaps this piece of Iraqi/Nigerian Scam was a “keeper”...
...and have made quite a Discovery1. One day last fall I was dressed in my burka and sweating profusely as I drove my father’s goats to pasture. One of the kids became stuck in a thorn bush and as I worked to get it out a truck filled with Americans raced by not far away and struck a mine.
1 My obviously female correspondent was not terribly literate and made many misspellings and used capitalization (sometimes of whole words) to emphasize points. I have preserved her actual words in this first part so that you can see that her language was consistent with who she claimed to be but I have made many editorial corrections in the following to make it easily readable, while trying to leave the Victorian Charm of the prose intact.
The explosion blew me literally out of my burka; I and my goat were thrown out of the bush and into a nearby hole (a large crater from one of the American bombings, partly filled with rocks and debris). I started to climb out, but heard the sounds of much fighting, and realized that the mine was but the first step of an ambush. Bullets buzzed over my head like flies, and several more of my goats (who were no fools) joined me in the hole.
The fight continued until only two men were left, one from each side. They grappled together trying to kill each other and in their struggles fought their way to the top of the pit in which I and my surviving goats were hiding. Just as they seemed about to fall in with me, one of them managed to trigger an explosive device attached to his body and the world vanished in a tremendous blast.
I came to myself quite naked, bruised, and bleeding. Parts of goats (mixed with parts of men) were liberally scattered about me – it was only the will of Allah that left me alive and not badly hurt. Where the men were standing before there was now another large hole in the ground on the rim of the crater, and I was half buried in rock and dirt that was blown out of the edge of the pit and down onto me.
With some difficulty I managed to pull myself out of the dirt and crawl up the slope past the new crater, pushing boots with feet still inside out of my way as I went. As I paused to rest and catch my breath, I noticed that there was a rectangular block sitting at the bottom of the new hole. From where I lay, I could see some sort of script on the sides.
I immediately thought that this must be some sort of Antiquity, a Treasure known to fetch a High Price among the foreigners who were now plundering our land. Since I had lost all of my father’s goats and it seemed that it was Allah’s will that we would all starve (if I got home alive at all) I thought that perhaps this Treasure was a means of my family’s Salvation. Surely you will not be surprised, Sir, that I took a few moments and some care to cover the exposed rock with the loose dirt of the crater’s rim that I might be able to return to it later with my older brothers and claim it.
Alas, it was Allah’s will that I would be caught almost immediately by the surviving Freedom Fighters (whoever they might have been, as it is difficult to know who fights whom in this War) who had set the trap. As I was Naked (and hence clearly Irresistible by the standards of Islam that conﬁne all women to live unseen by Men lest those men go Out of Control) they proceeded to rape me and beat me, in spite of my bruises and protestations of Faith in Allah.
No sooner had they tired of me when a second group of fighters appeared who slaughtered the ones who had raped me and took me from them as the spoils of war. I was subjected to Rape a second time, on the principle that I must be a Harlot of the soldiers of the Other Side.
An hour later (at least they were very quick about it) as I was staggering away from the accursed place, the Americans finally arrived with their jets and armored cars and fell upon this group in a rage. They eﬃciently Massacred every living thing but myself. However as they were accompanied by Woman Soldiers they forbore to Rape me further (for which I was very grateful) and after being questioned and threatened with prison I was released to limp home. They were even kind enough to lend me a jacket and such loose cloth as they had so I could cover my nakedness, but of course it wasn’t proper garb for a good Muslim Girl and left my legs from the knees down exposed. Consequently I was Raped and otherwise manhandled a dozen more times before I made it home by goat herders and camel merchants and other Good Muslim Men.
Unfortunately, my father was a Good Muslim Man as well, and seeing me dressed in such an outfit, half naked and obviously no longer a virgin he beat me soundly and cast me out into the street. Fortunately my mother saw all that transpired between my father and myself and heard my piteous Pleas of Innocence and Faith as I was being beaten; she took it upon herself to risk my father’s wrath by making me a bundle of clothing (including a fresh burka) and a few containers of food and a bit of money. After my father stormed off to the nearby tea-house to drink with his righteous friends (several of whom had Raped me while I was making my way home) she crept out and pressed this bundle into my hands.I believe it saved my life.
I lost no time in sneaking into the alley and dressing Properly (as I was getting rather tired of being Raped) so that no portion of me was visible save my eyes, which were already blackening from the beatings I received along with the Rapes. Once again dressed as a shapeless black form, I became an anonymous woman and as safe as a Muslim woman ever is. I walked away without looking back, and while walking I took my bearings, as it were.
Although I felt a momentary twinge of guilt about it (mostly regarding my Mother) I decided that my family would just have to starve without the goat herd that was its sole means of income and that I was On My Own. I therefore made my way back to the vicinity of the crater, arriving there in the evening. It fortunately by now was deserted of living beings, although it was absolutely crowded with the recently dead and the ever-present vultures that come to prey on them. There I descended and managed to work the strangely carved object loose from the dirt I had pushed over it.
To my surprise, it was not a carved piece of an ancient building as at first I had supposed – it was a small chest made of stone, with a tight fitting lid sealed with a greenish band of what might have been bronze metal or copper, but the last few fragments fell into dust flakes at my touch and I cannot be sure.
The chest itself was far too heavy for me to actually carry, and would not fit beneath my robes in any case. I felt certain that anything I was carrying outside of them would be at risk of being stolen, but once I left my Home Town (where my reputation was ruined and the only career path open to me was open whoredom until somebody decided to stone me to death) I might be safe from being Raped every five minutes. I therefore made the decision to open the chest and make off with whatever I found there. Using a knife from the belt of one of the dead to pry with, I managed to work the lid off of the chest and cut through what appeared to be a thick beaten gold foil underneath, taking care to preserve the gold.
To my surprise, the sole contents of the chest were a bundle of tightly rolled scrolls on golden spindles. I looked again at the cover of the chest, and noted that it appeared to display a woman, quite naked and of great beauty, surrounded by many children, flanked by two owls and standing above a cat. Above her head was an oval that represented something bright, with rays falling down upon her. Beneath her feet was an inscription which I, of course, cannot type to you in an email message but which appeared to be in a form of cuneiform, accompanied by a line of what appeared to be hieroglyphic text2.
2 This only confirmed my initial impulse to believe this whole letter a fraud, of course. How would the daughter of a goat herder have learned what these even are let alone how to recognize them? Yet this is explained in the later course of the letter, where it also becomes quite obvious that my correspondent was really amazingly bright.
I emptied the large cloth shopping bag my mother had given me of food (taking a moment to eat, since I was about to begin a long journey and felt the need to restore my strength). Into this bag I placed the scrolls, carefully wrapped in my underthings, and I belted the whole thing firmly into place beneath my burka where Inshallah they would remain unmolested while I sought the opportunity to turn them into dinars. I then paused a moment to arm myself with Divers Arms – a machine pistol and a handful of grenades from the bodies of the dead. Although they were quite heavy and unfamiliar to me I resolved to Never Again be Raped and indeed to See Rapists in Hell if they tried it.
I will not bore you with my Adventures on the road to Baghdad. Suﬃce it to say that (as a fallen woman and entitled now to charge money for the privilege of Rape) I arrived with far more means than I began with, and devoid of both grenades and ammunition for my machine pistol. Any number of would-be Rapists (who failed to properly negotiate on a monetary basis for the privilege) would Rape No More, including those that were still alive but missing certain parts when I finished with them.
Once there I promptly sought out a Foreign Benefactor with both money and a lust – for Antiquities, of course. By using most of the money I’d accumulated to purchase western-style clothing (hoping that in Baghdad the probability of Rape for the sin of wearing less than a total cover was somewhat reduced) I managed to dress myself well enough in the western style to be permitted to frequent the foreign hotels after suitably bribing the hotel staff with money or my favors.
It took some time but finally I succeeded. An executive for one of the major American contracting firms expressed an interest in purchasing anything old that might be worth money while “taking me to dinner” – a euphemism as that turned out to be for kidnapping me to a well-guarded house outside of Baghdad and proceeding to Rape me repeatedly while promising me vast riches. Unfortunately as I was now unarmed and he was supported in his Rape by his many minions I had to endure his attentions in hope he was honest about the eventual compensations I would receive.
Through this process (which involved the considerable disarrangement of my clothing) I had managed to keep the scrolls safe. Not an easy thing to do under western clothes, but simple enough in a large “purse”, the handbag all Western Women wore and into which no man apparently dared to look. Finally my host tired of his sport and was driven off in a great hurry to work, leaving me alone (but well guarded and eﬀectively kept in a prison) in his household. That evening, he returned and after an admittedly excellent dinner, he Raped me repeatedly and then locked me into my room alone lest I turn on him for Revenge in his sleep.
After a week of this I pretended to be Smitten and using Feminine Wiles I wheedled the use of his computer from him so that I could (purportedly) shop for clothes on the “Internet”. I was quite Gifted mathematically back in school (for a girl) and indeed put most of the boys in the school to shame, for which they (the boys) punished me in many ways – mostly violent ones – until my age made it impossible for me to associate with other male children at all lest I arouse their Lust and not just their Anger. At this point I was no longer permitted to attend school at all and was given instead the job of watching the goats while my fat and stupid brothers continued their education.
Fortunately my mother worked as a cleaning woman for some of the wealthier families in our town. From time to time she had secretly smuggled old magazines and other things to read from the trash of these families into our household (for me to read to her in secret when her work was done and the men were all away). It was therefore Allah’s will that I knew what the Internet was, and what computers were, in some very general sort of way.
My captor, as it turned out, has no interest whatsoever in Antiquities, but rather has every interest in Juvenilities, in particular, in fourteen year old Fallen Girls such as myself (did I previously mention my age?) He has eﬀectively kept me as a Sexual Slave for most of the last year. During this time I have learned many things, working all day on his computer system as a small return for the nights I spend satisfying his every perverted whim, for a mere pittance in money and gifts purchased from the Internet (as he otherwise never lets me out of my rooms, let alone out of the house).
One thing that I have learned to operate is his excellent scanner, which he uses in the evenings on documents that he brings to the house from his work. Using great care – working for a whole day on a single scroll – I have managed to scan all of the scrolls into image files. I also have used a drawing program to capture, as best I can remember, the general layout of the picture carved on the lid of the box and the characters underneath the engraved figure of the woman. I used search engines to try to find out how to read the scrolls and hence measure their worth, but alas this has proven to be difficult as online dictionaries of hieroglyphs are rare and incomplete, online dictionaries of cuneiform do not exist.
I even found a way of getting a free email account and a website that would sell me enough room to store the scanned images using my captor’s Visa card number, as I became concerned that my captor would one day look through the directories he’d bequeathed to me on his personal system or conduct a thorough search of my room and belongings and discover my Only Treasure besides the ones that he soils every night in his Lust.
Alas, after suﬀering many months of uncompensated Rape my worst fears have finally come to pass. I have just celebrated my fifteenth birthday and my body has taken on a more Womanly Form, and my period has not come now for two months in a row. Consequently my host is less and less often interested in me, and when he does visit me he is finished after a single bout of Rape. I am afraid that soon he will tire of me and have me put to death by his willing servants and armed guards, probably after some more Rape if I know men (and by now, I know men Very Well Indeed).
I am about to take Desperate Measures to save myself from this fate. The scrolls themselves I have buried outside in the garden in a sealed can that once held powdered milk, where I can hope that they will be preserved if by some miracle I manage to Escape Before the End.
However, I do not wish for my discovery to perish with me should I be slain. I have therefore searched the net for a mentor, a savior, who can take custody of the content of these scrolls and puzzle out their meaning. For myself I care little – I think that I am with child and have no desire to perpetuate the line of he who sired it upon me. Indeed, my life experiences are such that I would be likely to Castrate the Little Bugger should it turn out to be male. Once I am certain that the scrolls are safe, I will try to escape or die trying, and if I die I have taken certain steps that ensure that my captor dies with me. Or without me, for that matter.
I found your name, Sir, and your email address, on your website in association with your works on religion and philosophy which have given me some comfort in my captivity. As you are a Teacher and a Poet, I feel that I can trust you with my Great Secret. Please Sir, if you will, Help a Poor Girl and visit (web address withheld) and retrieve that which you find there? I trust you will then make the best use of it that seems fit to you.
This seemed a bit extreme either for a Nigerian Scam or for a web-based marketing or virus attack. Usually these are a lot more terse and quite direct – “Supercharge your Love Handle” or a lot more oblique and badly worded – “This about you” – as they try to get you to be a fool and actually click on their link or execute their attachment. Five page letters to lead you to one measly link is not their style.
To be frank, it seemed much more likely to be a hoax perpetrated by one of my current or ex-students or (more likely) one of my colleagues in the computing business who knew enough to be able to forge an email header through enough hops to appear to be completely consistent with her story (not an easy thing to do, actually). Computer geeks often have the sense of humor of a small child and a well-known tendency to build elaborate and impossible jokes – computer viruses being one common example of this sort of “joke”, for example – so this isn’t as unlikely as it might seem.
However, hoax or not, I admit to being captivated by the tone and content of the story. Even if it turned out to be some sort of scam in the long run, I felt, I simply had to look at whatever it was she had placed on her website. As I run Linux as an operating system (and hence am somewhat less susceptible to the kinds of website-borne viruses that permeate the web) I took the chance and opened up the included link.
It is very fortunate that I did. I was astounded by what I found there. Well over five hundred separately scanned high-resolution images of what appeared to be rolls of brownish cloth – linen? – covered with the reddish lines of a faded, unrecognizable script alternating with lines of what appeared to be a mix of cuneiform and hieroglyphs of a more recognizable, but still ancient, form. Simply to assemble these images (for a hoax or otherwise) must have been a work of true dedication – thousands of hours of work. Suddenly a hoax seemed a bit less likely – nobody I know or work with has this kind of time on their hands, and who would generate 500 plus documents of this stuﬀ for fun? That’s more like work.
Fully intrigued now, I attempted to reply to the message (something I almost never do in the case of messages originating from remote and unregistered clients that – from the IP numbers in the headers and the route taken – appeared to actually be located somewhere in Iraq) but received no further communications. In the meantime (while waiting for a reply) I used a web tool to quickly grab the entire contents of the directory that contained the scroll images and scanned drawings and store them safely on my local system, taking care to burn a couple of backup copies onto a DVD for safekeeping right away. I then spent some hours looking them over.
I got no reply to my return email, but some days later I did note in the newspaper, mixed in with the usual daily listings of car bombings, machine gunnings, rocket launchings and the other violent business-as-usual in Iraq that a high official working for a rather notorious and scandal-ridden government contractor was killed when his villa outside of Baghdad was destroyed by a mysterious explosion. Although the article reported the deaths of several of his guards as well, no mention was made of the body of a young girl or the discovery of a powdered milk can full of antiquities.
Coincidence? Hard to say, but it stimulated my imagination. I’m something of a romantic at heart. So I decided to invest just enough eﬀort to determine whether the images that one way or another had ended up in my possession were “real” or just part of a hoax.
What I discovered therein rapidly convinced me that this young girl is (or was) real and what she appeared and claimed to be. Indeed, she was obviously so intelligent and capable that to me at least it still seems quite possible that she managed to get away and get her revenge at the same time. In fact, I pray that this is so, and hope that one day I may yet come to meet her and shake her hand.
Publishing this work makes this only more likely – if by chance you should read this, Ms. (or whoever you really are), please rest assured that all the money that has been made from publication of this story, all of the fame that has descended upon it and upon me, as Lilith’s amanuensis (as it were) rightfully belong to you. Permit me only to verify that it is indeed you (as only you would be familiar with certain details of the story that I still keep privy) and I will happily arrange for you to receive your long awaited Fortune and will do everything in my power to help you move to a country where you can enjoy it free from any possibility of further Rape.
As for the rest of you, you are doubtless wondering why she contacted me, instead of somebody famous (or even somebody who isn’t famous but is at least an archaeologist of one sort or another). I wonder the same thing. This in spite of what she said, because I (at the time) knew nothing at all, really, of cuneiform, hieroglyphics, unknown scripts, or ancient scrolls. Perhaps my correspondent confused my (fairly common) last name with that of some well-known or little-known translator or collector of ancient texts, who knows? Or, of course, perhaps she told the truth and chose me because she happened to discover my personal website and was captivated by the poetry and writings on philosophy to be found there. Naturally, my personal vanity makes me wish that this were true even as my common sense and modesty tell me that it is unlikely...
At any rate, perhaps it was a fortunate choice. Although I was utterly incompetent on that day to translate a single hieroglyph recorded on those images, what I did know is both how to make computers do nearly anything and how (using computers) to find somebody that does know about this sort of thing. Using a web-engine to translate a few lines of the hieroglyphics left me flabbergasted. I worked like a madman on creating a rough draft translation but was left stymied by the fact that existing dictionaries (at least the ones available on the web or via the Duke library) were two sizes too small for the concepts being communicated.
At this point I took a handful of the photographic images of these scrolls and my crude translation of same to a nearby researcher (found with my trusty search engines) who does work on archaeological finds of this sort. She took one look at the images themselves and then brushed my crude translation aside with a sniff. However, her obvious excitement at what she saw was almost too great to be contained. We decided to join forces.
Working together on the translation rapidly became an obsession of us both. With resources that at at one point involved hundreds of computers running what amounts to image enhancement and decryption software on top of symbolic analysis software on top of the guesses made as to the meaning and proper translation of some of the oldest (still untranslated) written text fragments known to mankind and scrawled out on shards of dried mud and baked pottery (and exercising a certain amount of latitude and editorial freedom to rewrite and smooth over the remaining rough spots), a dictionary for a previously unknown written proto-language that is the oldest written language ever discovered emerged, along with a translation of the scrolls themselves.
From what my archaeologist friend tells me, the whole world should bow down before this brave young girl and place her on a pedestal along with the greatest archaeologists of all time. As you shall see, these scrolls make the Dead Sea scrolls look like kids’ comic books in terms of both historical content and antiquity. Indeed, some of their content bears upon that of the Dead Sea scrolls – in particular the unpublished translations from those of the scrolls that have been (according to my colleague, at any rate) withheld from the public eye but whose outrageous content is some sort of open secret among the archaeological community.
However, my archaeologist friend also insists that her name be withheld from this (in her view, premature) publication of the translation for the time being, because there are certain curious aspects of the translated result that – in spite of the lack of any possible motivation for a hoax of such great expense and attention to detail – continue to give her some small reason to doubt their authenticity. Until such a time as we obtain the still missing original sources the possibility is of course left open that we are both the victims of a monstrous hoax which would ruin her academic career. Although that time may well prove to be ”never” unless other copies are extant, (as I by now fear that they and their powdered milk can container have been blown to hell by the tides of war and mayhem after being preserved for nearly six thousand years) she chooses not to take this risk.
I have no such scruples and don’t care about the risk as I don’t have any academic reputation to protect, at least in archaeology. Besides, I am personally convinced that the scroll images that this poor, probably dead Iraqi maiden found in the desert and entrusted to me are totally genuine. I continue to keep my fingers metaphorically crossed that both my correspondent and the original scrolls were preserved, powdered milk tin and all, from the holocaust that consumed her captor and guards, so that modern methods of objective historical analysis (such as carbon dating and genetically analyzing spores and pollen trapped in the weave of the scrolls) eventually validate my perceptions of the scrolls’ antiquity if not authenticity.
If this ever happens, I expect that it will be be more than enough for all but the most skeptical – the scrolls simply cannot be ancient and have the content that they do without being genuine, and if genuine they might even be true! If so they tell an accurate, if astounding, story of the literal dawning of Humanity. At that time I will ensure that my archaeologist colleague gets the credit she so richly deserves for helping to translate the oldest piece of recorded human history ever discovered.
Enough of the history of the scrolls themselves – you now know as much as I do of their (apparent) origin. What, then, is the content of these scrolls, the most ancient (if genuine) written record of human civilization? They tell, in triply replicated scripts, the story of none other than the first woman herself.
No, I do not mean Eve. Any serious student of the Bible, the Ur-tablets that tell the tale of Gilgamesh, and other ancient writings is aware of the fact that Eve was not (according to the ancient texts that predate the entire Judeo-Christian-Muslim religious tradition and likely served as the template folk tale from which e.g. the book of Genesis was eventually written) the first woman, or one of the first two people created “by the hand of God”.
What they are less likely to know is that Adam himself was also not the first, he was the second. At least according to these scrolls, whose authenticity I do not doubt, the book of Genesis has been considerably “sanitized”, rewritten many times (doubtless by men) in Adam’s favor.
No, the very first human being was Llth3. Or L’l, or Lillake as she is known in the Ur-Epic of Gilgamesh: a handmaiden (or possibly harpy, the translations and context are not clear) of the goddess Inanna in ancient Sumeria. Or, as she is known in the relatively modern rendering of the few old-testament-era books and text fragments of the Jewish faith in which she appears, Lilith.
3This is a very rough translation of characters in a lost language – possibly, from the content of the scrolls themselves the lost proto-indo-european language from the Indus river civilization! However, my colleague asserts that if this is the case it will take years of painstaking work to prove it. Note well that we have no proper Rosetta stone beyond the crude triple-translation table written into the scrolls themselves that preserved both the original language and a crude rendering in newer and less sophisticated tongues. In particular the characters used do not greatly resemble those of any known language except perhaps Sanskrit, and aside from tantalizing words here and there that might be related to more modern (but still incredibly ancient) works there is little to go on. So it is difficult to know if our assigned pronunciations are correct, if the language indeed used implicit vowels in some way we cannot detect from the script (imagine how English is pronounced relative to how it is spelled, or French), save from their translations in non-phonetic languages altogether.
Note well that there are rich connections between these scrolls and ancient clay tablets, the dead sea scrolls, and other text fragments from antiquity that have also been preserved by accident of fate or human design. Tablets, scrolls, and sections of holy books, that were ultimately written (and rewritten) by the descendants of Adam, and that include additions, revisions and suppressions by whole generations of male priests, ministers, and clergy interested in preserving the patriarchal society that Adam sought to create in which women are basically chattel to men.
Most of these texts present an extremely biased picture of Lilith as being some sort of a biological construct made by God without a soul, who ultimately became the archetypical witch or vampire. Indeed, even a cursory examination of the religious rantings on the web that involve Lilith make her out to be the mother of all vampires, a she-demon who preys upon small children, a consort of the Devil and witch, or some sort of Mother Goddess worthy of worship and invocation in rites for her own sake, depending on which side of a very ancient fence you are on.
As the editor of this translation, I hold myself aloof from this antique (and somewhat silly) feud. As these scrolls faithfully and consistently reveal, neither of these views could be further from the truth and are clearly just Jungian archetypal projections of their adherents’ personal religious views, a sort of metaphorical mutilation of an otherwise lovely tale.
Note well that the language of the scrolls is apparently far older than any surviving copies of the books of the Old Testament, far older than the dead sea scrolls, and even far older than the oldest of the cuneiform tablets that make up our earliest known historical documents. Given the triple rendering (two of them in younger languages) it is likely that these scrolls are but copies on some sort of preserved linen of tablets or scrolls older still that have not survived, perhaps perishing in the calamitous burning of the Library of Alexandria along with much of the other knowledge of the ancient world. Without the original scrolls in our possession for analysis and dating we cannot be sure.
The scrolls are to all appearances an alternative version of the book of Genesis (one that precedes even the tablets of the Enuma Elish in the Ur-legend), and present a very different view of the story of the garden of Eden. That they were found, as it were, a mere stone’s throw from where Eden is thought to have been4 only adds to the likelihood of their authenticity. It is also fairly clear from their content that they have not been subjected to the process of rewriting and editing (on the part of the early church patriarchs) that corrupts most of the Bible relative to the original source texts, old and new testament alike.
4Recalling that the fourth river mentioned in Genesis as flowing out of Eden is Euphrates.
The final point of interest about these scrolls I hesitate to make known to you, as it will only serve as grist for the mill of those who would claim it as proof that the scrolls are some sort of hyper-intellectual hoax – hyper-intellectual because only a genius could have created a prehistoric language – symbol, syntax, grammar – out of whole cloth in such a way that it seamlessly matches what is known of the languages of the most ancient tablets and fragments of Sumeria and Mesopotamia and Babylonia that have yet been discovered. A hoax produced by a hoaxer familiar with and capable of forging perfectly a text that is consistent with every detail of all the truly ancient greater Mesopotamian writings that still remain to us in original form – the Enuma Elish, the Hullupu Tree, and of course the Epic of Gilgamesh. An Evil Genius hoaxer; no casual fly-by-night graduate student wishing to play a prank.
My archaeologist friend and colleague asserts that this is simply impossible – she points out a dozen places that not even the world’s greatest archaeologists working together for years would have been able to create a seamless linguistic interpolation of nearly all of the oldest fragments (including many tablet fragments not known to anyone outside of a very select community whose translations have been elucidated by our work on the scrolls). Then there are the nearly miraculous extension of these poorly understood written languages to a new written language (really of course a much older written language) with a far richer range of conceptual expression and with almost no visible overlap in syntax, grammar, or direct vocabulary with any known language of the world. It might as well be Martian for all one can discover historically without the aid of the translations provided within the scrolls themselves.
This new language contains words and ideas that simply did not exist in the common languages of the times of cuneiform and hieroglyph and we had to work very hard to analyze the entire (fortunately very long) document to succeed. Without my computers and my partner’s very considerable historical and linguistic expertise, we would never have succeeded. In the process it became clear from parenthetical remarks and linguistic style that two very different individuals wrote the hieroglyphic and cuneiform versions of the text – one a relatively cosmopolitan Egyptian female and the other a somewhat stuﬀy Sumerian priest. The tension between these two writers and the contrast between their variations of the story were invaluable aids as we attempted to discern meaning in languages that are several sizes too small.
Academic honesty now compels me to make this – problem – known to you in case you wish to skip reading the text altogether as a consequence, or read it as a work of presumed modern fiction (worthwhile in its own right, I think) instead of as the Mother of Myths that it otherwise appears to be. The translation of the scrolls, as accurately as we are able to make it out, is full of anachronisms. This is indeed obvious almost from the beginning, and is internally explained by the content of the documents themselves.
This is rather frightening; so much so that I fully expect most people to reject their authenticity on this basis alone. Of course we should expect a prophetic work to contain anachronisms. All truly prophetic works are by definition anachronistic. Prophecy is anachronism.
However, Biblical prophecy usually falls absurdly short of the mark. Where in the Bible are things like computers, nuclear bombs, or the Internet predicted? Or anything like a reference to evolution, the big bang, optical nanoscale computing and information storage devices, bluetooth, even something really modest like the fact that planets are worlds that orbit the sun instead of the other way around?
They’re just not there. And they should be. Instead, the Bible has the sun stopping in the sky and doing other remarkable things that egregiously violate known physical law, making God out to be something of a liar who would violate the laws that He (or She, or It if you prefer) decreed. Not to pick on the Judeo-Christian-Muslim Old Testament, of course – all religious texts routinely include reports of historical miracles that can no longer be scientifically repeated or verified mixed with prophecy.
However, all Biblical prophecies are safely ambiguous, so that (like our daily horoscopes from the newspaper) we can read them and interpret quotidian events in terms of them and be content, and of course they’ve all been retroactively edited so that they work out better than perhaps they did in the original. And we only get to see the successes, just as we tend to forget the fifty days our newspaper horoscopes are wrong but remember the one day it is dead on the money.
The anachronisms – prophecies if you like – in the Lilith scrolls are not like this at all. They are up front, in your face references to future knowledge all the way up to our present time and beyond. They contain clear references to modern physics and cosmology, to evolution and to genetics, even to theories of psychology and to much foreknowledge of computer science. It is simply impossible that all of this could have been known by a primitive people (people for whom even an abacus was still in the unknown future), yet is it equally impossible that it could be a hoax.
This is, of course, the kind of accuracy one should expect the prophets of the One True Religion to have. If a prophet is truly “inspired by God”, they should get it right and not mask the truth in some sort of metaphorical allegorical hyperbolic story that can be interpreted however the reader wishes, as are (for example) the equally anachronistic works of Nostradamus or the unintelligible, probably ergot-induced hallucinogenic ravings of Revelations.
We actually find this sort of metaphorical vagueness to be rather comforting, of course. There is nothing more terrifying than a prophet that actually predicts things in clear, unambiguous terms. For example, imagine Revelations’ impact on the world if they had stated things like “A man named Adolph Hitler will take over a country named Germany and wipe out six million Jews, ten million Russians, and a few million miscellaneous assorted others.” Which of course never happens – dates, times, specifics are all anathema to the prophet, as when the date passes and the specific prophecy fails to come to pass, well, that can wreck your reputation as a prophet really quickly. We mustn’t forget that there are also serious problems with causality and prophecy (explored by many a science fiction novel) where such a prophecy causes Hitler to be killed as a child thus guaranteeing that any real prophecy is almost certain to be self-defeating instead of self-fulfilling.
The prophets that survived (or rather, whose reputation has survived) to the current day are those that did not make this sort of elementary mistake. It’s pure evolution – survival of the fittest, where in this case fitness means vaguest (hardest to prove wrong) and most apocalyptic (scariest should they prove right).
The “prophecies” in the scrolls are nothing like this. They aren’t even presented as prophecies. Rather they are presented in almost an offhand way, as unimportant future background to the description of the present of that time. They were the terrifying, unambiguous sort, like you’d expect a real prophet to make, and because they were lost for some five or six thousand years, they did not have a chance to modify their own eﬀectiveness, to become self-defeating.
“Expected” or not, these anachronisms present one with a stark choice. You, dear reader, can choose to read the text (or not) and then decide for yourself whether (or not) the words have the ring of truth to them. There is no other possible basis for decision, as the scrolls themselves are apparently lost and are too old to be directly referenced by newer texts.
Are these indeed the writings of Lilith herself – for they are written in the first person, unlike any other work that has survived from this era – dare I say miraculously preserved and and discovered in the nick of time for our lost generation to read and learn from, or are they a hoax inspired by a mad genius with a near-supernatural education and too much time on his or her hands? It is up to you.
I know which one I believe.
As a final note, please observe that the translated text is sprinkled liberally with annotations on the translation process. Every eﬀort has been made to render a language that is almost incomprehensibly difficult into colloquial English (since preserving any sense of the original poetry is all but impossible anyway). In some cases (especially early in the process) the literal translations of the accompanying cuneiform and hieroglyphic passages are included to that the reader can accompany us on our journey to truth and see how we arrived at the final translation. Lilith’s first person discourse has also been rendered, at some small expense in verbatim accuracy, in the modern form with quotation marks and so on to offset conversations she holds with God and the other important characters of her drama.
There are, regrettably, a few holes in the text translated from the scrolls that we have attempted to interpolate. In some cases these are literally holes – perhaps a single moth was trapped with the scrolls when they were first sealed up and enjoyed a sumptuous last meal before dying of dehydration and suﬀocation. If so, the carbon dioxide the moth doubtless exhaled as it expired seems to have acted as a miraculous preservative across the millennia. However, two scrolls were also damaged by some other action. The first is simply unreadable except for a few dozen lines of disconnected text. One contains (fortunately!) the tale of Lilith’s final days but ends before we learn what became of Cain.
From the images, the fabric itself of this last scroll appears to be at least partly intact and covered with smudges that might have been text. Perhaps it could be re-scanned with ultra-violet light and the resulting image enhanced if we had possession of the original scrolls, but in the otherwise remarkably well-done scans in our possession this is alas impossible, even using image enhancement tools developed by NASA and the Department of Defense for space photography. We can only pray that the war in Iraq ends quickly so that a proper search can be instituted for the originals, that they may be brought into the light of day and given the scientific scrutiny they so richly deserve.
So, dear Reader, you should be aware even as you begin that the story of how Lilith’s legacy was passed on and how the scrolls themselves came to be saved as they were and survive to our time is as much a mystery to us now as it was before the scrolls themselves were found. However, there are clues aplenty in the world around us that suggest how at least part of it might have worked out, and of course the world of today is what it is because of it. I would like to think that Grandmother Lilith would be proud of at least some of the Soul apparent in our world of today, even as she would be appalled at how fragile our own understanding of “that which watches the watcher, watching the world” still is.
I opened my eyes and looked out at inﬁnity1. It was filled with stars that were so beautiful that they brought tears to my eyes. I tried to remember who I was, or how I came to be there, or where there was, but of the past, if I had one, there was no trace. There was no before, only the now.
1 Infinity as a concept was unknown to both Egyptian and Sumerian alike. This is an example of a single word that consistently appears in the original language of the scrolls that is imperfectly rendered in the younger co-languages. Infinity in hieroglyphs is presented as several repetitions of ”far” followed by ”away” arranged in a circular loop. In cuneiform it is ”greater than many cows”. Presumably they truly valued cows in ancient Sumeria.
As you read you will encounter many more of these anachronistic terms. You will simply have to trust the translation – in all cases it is possible to defend it, and one day a fully annotated edition of this work may be released with our rationale appended in footnotes or marginal notes, but including them all now would make the text itself too difficult to read.
I took a sort of an inventory of the richness that flooded into me through my senses. There were sounds that I interpreted, as I thought about them, as coming from crickets. Crickets, once I thought about them were these little black insects that made a sort of music in order to attract mates. There were smells, smells that I interpreted as wood smoke. Smoke from a fire, which was an oxidation process that reduced wood to ash and released energy and light (and a certain amount of human comfort) in the process. There was a sort of salty wet taste in what I realized was my mouth. There were sensations of feeling – hardness behind my head, cold hardness beneath my back, my legs, my arms, my bottom.
As I thought about these sensations it came to me that I had a body and that, if I tried, I could move it. So after a couple of twitches where my brain (what was a brain?) tried to hook up to the right nerves (what were nerves?) I sat up.
All of my senses reeled as the world before my vision whirled into a new orientation, and my feeling of balance was called into play. At first I tried to keep my balance as one would keep a stick balanced on a finger, by watching to see what direction I was falling and then trying to correct it. Several falls (and resulting bruises) later I discovered that my body did better if I left it to its own devices and just balanced so I stopped trying to correct with my conscious mind.
I looked around. I found myself sitting on a stone tablet in front of a fairly large bonﬁre, as bonﬁres go, on the floor of a small green valley surrounded by large and stately trees. Sitting on a sort of natural rock throne close at hand by the fire was a naked woman.
I wondered how I knew that she was a woman. This led me to immediately appreciate the fact that there were two sexes of human being and that she (and I, for that matter) were of the female sex. There was also a male sex, which differed both anatomically and in their role in the reproductive process.
I don’t know how long we sat there, eying one another. It could have been seconds, or it could have been forever – time spent in her company was ever like that – timeless. An eternity ended when she spoke.
“Welcome to Creation.”
This seemed like a noble enough sentiment. However, it triggered thoughts like firecrackers in my mind. Welcome implied that I just arrived. A creation was something made, but Creation (where one could always hear capital letters in her speech where they were intended) usually applied to the Cosmic All. And then there was speech! This was what I was using in my interior monologue, and this led me to discover that I could speak as well as listen. I shaped a clumsy mouth around my first, whispery words.
“Umm, thank you. I think. Who are you?”
Even as I asked, I realized that I knew the answer. This was God. “God, of course, and you’re very welcome. How do you feel?” I thought about it.
“I feel good. In fact, I feel great! A bit, what is it, hungry? Thirsty? I feel a sort of urging towards something but I’m not certain what it is.”
“That would be about right. I repaired your body and in fact made it perfect, and timed its metabolic state so that we could share a bite while we talked. It’s a sociable thing to do, and you have much work to do for me building a society, so you might as well start learning how.” She gestured to the side, where a table covered with a white silk tablecloth was set with silverware, plates, napkins, and a lovely looking dinner. We arose, me weaving a bit as I found myself thinking again a bit too much about balance, and went to the table to sit down.
God poured two glasses of wine for us, and then gestured that we should fall to. I sipped the wine and it was simply the most delicious thing I had ever tasted. Of course it was the first thing I’d ever tasted, but to this very day even the memory of that taste makes my mouth water. The food was ambrosia, the drink was nectar (I wondered how I knew of those terms) and not a word was spoken until plates were cleaned and glasses emptied and reﬁlled again.
“Thank you for dinner,” I said, somehow knowing that this was the right thing to do. “That was incredible.”
She smiled, “What is the point of being the Creator if you can’t make a decent meal from time to time? Of course most of those dishes won’t be invented for six thousand and umpty-odd years, but time is what I make of it.” My brain did another one of its distracting little whirls into a kaleidoscope of flashes on sushi, on bouillabaisse, on chocolate mousse, on Cabernet Sauvignon2. I forced myself to concentrate on the Now, not on the Then.
2Sigh. As I said, you just have to trust the translation.
“Now,” said the Creator, “I imagine that you’re still more than a bit disoriented. We still have most of a bottle of Cabernet and as much time as you might need to get all squared away. Is there anything you’d like to ask me?”
“Why am I so confused?” I began. “Every time I think of something like crickets, or wine, I immediately start thinking about exoskeletal arthropods with exotic mating habits or the eﬀects of coastal Mediterranean climates on the maturation and fermentation of Cabernet grapes, carefully aged in imported french oak barrels and I don’t have any idea what any of that means” I rushed on in a bit of a panic as fermenting led to bottling led to glass making led to windows led to a vision of tall buildings gleaming in the sun as they reached up towards heaven, coated in mirrored glass and filled with Cabernet-swilling business executives...
I let out a little cry and tried to stop thinking, stop thinking and breathe, breathe, breathe, stay with the breath, trying not to think of this as a yoga calming technique even though I immediately recognized that this is what it was...
I felt a gentle hand on my shoulder and immediately felt calmer. In fact, I felt downright blessed. It was almost silly. A few minutes (or was it centuries?) later I shook myself out of a trance and wiped the idiotic grin off of my face.
“Poor girl. You’ve got preternatural knowledge of the whole Universe, that’s what you’ve got. It came with the Soul. I couldn’t make up my mind what to leave in and what to leave out so I left almost everything in. Everything but your personal past (you have none) and your personal fate. They would have removed your Free Will and ruined the game.”
Preternatural knowledge. Great. That explained it.
And it did, of course. Once I realized that all I had to do was think of something and I’d know it, it became a little easier to not think of everything. It was just another kind of balance The trick was to let the natural flow of thought and conversation delicately tease facts out of the immense ocean of knowledge that was ever poised over my head without triggering the irrelevant flood of connected facts.
I looked into my head for knowledge of God, but discovered that preternatural knowledge or not, there was a rather large void there.
“Sorry,” God chimed in. “It’s hard to be ‘friends’ with anyone you have preternatural knowledge of. So I’ve somewhat deliberately blanked my knowledge of you and yours of me so that we can at least make a stab and being friends.”
“How does reading a friend’s mind work in that process,” I said a bit cynically.
God blushed. “I don’t do it all the time. Or rather I do, but I’m much more complex than you might think and I can actually multitask on an interrupt-driven basis so that I only ‘know’ your thoughts when it is meet and just for me to do so. You still have your privacy, mostly.”
“But Don’t,” God said with a baleful glare, “Tempt Fate by thinking rude thoughts just to see if I’m listening in.”
I mentally sighed, squelching the thought that had unbidden risen almost to the point of verbal articulation in my interior monologue. Besides it wasn’t true. If anything, God seemed pretty nice, although how I had any experiential basis for comparison was beyond me.
“Look,” said God. “I’ll let you in on a little secret. If you think that you have preternatural knowledge problems, you should think about me. For example, think for a moment about time...”
A sound, a sound of one hand clapping. One Godlike hand clapping, in fact. Clapping me, fairly gently, on the face. “C’mon girl, wake up. Lilith, time to go. You can stop thinking about time now...”
I kept myself (just in time, so to speak) from thinking about time again so that I could stop, and managed to hold on to one important insight from an eternity of timelessness. God, of course, existed beyond time, and if I thought about it a certain way so did I. So how was it that we could sit and converse, a thing that appeared to involve sequential ordination of conceptual material with a clearly articulated syntactical sense of ‘tense’?
“What happened? How long was I gone?” I said.
“As long or short a time as you like. We are currently outside of the time-stream of the Universe that will become your home. So duration here means nothing compared to duration there. In fact, your preternatural knowledge of there is largely knowledge of the skein of time and space there as a whole, which is in fact static and immutable, if you look at it too closely. So I don’t.”
“ You,” said God, “have difficulty thinking about wine without recalling everything that there is to know, intellectually, about wine. Wine grape horticulture, crushing, fermenting, bottling, aging, and of course drinking. I, on the other hand, have to be careful not to think too closely about wine or I call to my mind the actual taste of every drop of wine ever made, and not just in this Universe – the taste of every drop of wine that could ever be made. If I do this, of course, I can take no actual pleasure from drinking a glass of wine. For an omnipotent being to think is to do, and to do with such ease is to render the actual doing pointless.”
“Consequently it is a great pleasure to incarnate myself, to bind myself to time’s stream, to not think about the inﬁnity of possible sips of wine, just so that I can experience the unique joy of this real one.” God took a healthy swig from her full glass.
I appreciatively sipped at my glass of wine as well, letting its rich flavors of berries overlaid with a hint of oak, vanilla and smoke3 develop in my mouth and relishing the gift of time.
3 OK, so the text didn’t exactly say this. I copied it from the back of the bottle of Cabernet I was drinking while typing out the final translation. It certainly seems like it fits, though.
God leaned over towards me, looking me square in the eye. In her eye I saw reﬂected a flicker of light, and found myself falling into an inﬁnite whirlpool of blackness – or was it whiteness – unbroken except for a thin grey line that burst into light (or was it darkness) for a space and then rejoined the dark or the light, or both, from which it emerged. The flicker shaped the very spaces around it into a form that danced.
Then I realized that I was looking at my own reﬂection in God’s eye.
“There’s a lesson, there, if you choose to take it,” God said, leaning back to drink her wine.
“When I’m unitary and all seeing and all knowing, there is no time, and without time things are really pretty boring – so boring that it is difficult to distinguish the state of existence and nonexistence. The only way to avoid a state of perfectly boring perfect being is to become complex instead of simple, to break up the featureless perfection of the inﬁnite into what appear independently to be imperfect, finite pieces.”
“Complexity thus requires duality (or more properly, multivalency for some extremely large number of values). This, then, is the paradox of God the Unity – that’s me – and the Individual Human Spirit – that’s you. You contain within you a spark of me. Yet your spark is contained in my greater light and but a small part, a very small part, of my All, and if ever either one of us gazes upon the Whole, we leave time altogether and become All-seeing, and hence blind. Only apart is there change, and only in change is there meaningful existence.”
The silence that followed was companionable but stretched on for centuries as I digested this, comparing it to various holy writings from the future on God that seemed to be a part of my preternatural knowledge, sipping gently at the great wine. Eventually I realized that it was probably time for another question.
“Why did you create me. Or if you like, why did you create me in particular, as I think you just answered at least part of the former question.”
“Why, that one’s easy, girlfriend4. I’ve taken great pains over billions of years to create a simply lovely world with all sorts of fascinating animals and a rich ecosystem, and it is time to put people with souls in it. You’re number one. The very first human with a soul.”
4 The person that I have come to think of as the “Egyptian party girl” writer of the scrolls rendered “girlfriend” as “female friend we accompany to the bazaar to buy crocodile skin purses and the latest in heavy gold ornamentation” where her partner, the “prim Sumerian priest” came up with “female person who shares a desire to beggar her husband while adorning herself with worthless trinkets that she gets bored with a few days later”. My wife felt that “girlfriend” was just perfect. For either translation, come to think of it.
This was staggering news. I seemed to possess a knowledge of human affairs that stretched out indeﬁnitely into the future, lacking many of the details of human – well, “history” wasn’t quite the right word for something that hadn’t happened yet – but with an amazingly accurate picture of the highlights, the broad strokes, the basic facts. It wasn’t as useful as you might think, though. As I mused gently, very gently, over the factoids that bubbled to the surface of my awareness I came to a gradual realization that it wasn’t likely that things like enormous ships that sailed underwater and buildings like mountains made of mirrored glass would come to be anytime soon if I was the only person around to make them happen.
Of course thinking about any of this led to more questions appearing in my mind, and this started the deluge of facts flowing once again. This time I was better prepared, though. Even as perfectly correct and perfectly useless answers to every question appeared in my mind to generate little baby questions that spread out like a – wave front in my consciousness, I managed to take a large gulp of wine, review brieﬂy (minutes? days? years?) a huge body of something called “mathematics” that seemed to describe waves, and hold my glass out for more. My whole arm seemed to tingle and glow as God poured us both seconds, or were they thirds. I don’t know about wine, but God’s presence was then and remains today the greatest intoxicant I have ever experienced.
Finally a question occurred to me that seemed to be the most basic question I could ask, but one that caused the trickle of knowledge to become a flood and overwhelm my sanity. I decided to ask it directly of God so I could quiet my thoughts and just listen.
“Tell me the story of my Universe, pretty please? I know I have preternatural knowledge and all, but the flood of information makes no sense, especially with regard to the soul.”
“No need to wheedle me, sweetheart. That’s why
I awoke you here, outside of time’s stream, to help you get
all squared away. You’ll need to be pretty well in tune with
your Self and your Spirit and your World in order to do what I in my
collective wisdom have ordained for you to do back in time and the
world. So here it goes:”
In the beginning
Was for an instant that was an eternity and no time at all
Empty or full beyond measure
Vast or an inﬁnitesimal point
With neither scale of length nor time
Neither in motion, nor standing still
It was, unchanging and outside of time
When I through act of will
Caused it to change.
The void broke
Its symmetry shattered
Into an inﬁnity of parts in motion
And thus time was born
In a burst of light
As the all expanded
If space can expand
If time can transform
To an eye that sees all
On the scale it imagines
The clock it deﬁnes.
The slow grasp of gravity
Into shallow wells the matter pulled
To make them deep oceans, the stars
Scattered across the firmament.
Stars aged, exploded
Were born again from stardust bright
Rich with the elements of life.
From this dust the planets formed
With metal cores and fertile fields
Rain fell and seas formed
The cradle of life.
The loaded dice rolled
And life came to be
Life grew fruitful, and multiplied
Generations lived and died
Were reaped and discarded
As life crafted itself
Sons and daughters changing
As chance determines
The strong killing the weak
The young harvesting the old
So that the young might live
And grow eyes the better to see.
Life on this earth
Took 13,132,737,159 years to ripen1
Although to me it was but
A few days on vacation2
Twiddling my cosmic thumbs,
A blink of the cosmic eye.
At last you were done
Your body formed with hands that grasp
Your brain filled with empty words
Your heart with empty song.
1 Note that God was quite specific and definite here. Surprisingly so given the relativistic stuff that went on in the early seconds of the Universe. However, this is quite close to what we read – in God’s own handwriting – from examining the stars themselves (for example Cepheid variables as distributed in distant galaxies), and so I have no particular reason to doubt God’s Word here. Presumably this means that the universe is now between 3500 and 6000 years older.
2Could this be? The origin of the seven days of creation myth? Did this get mistranslated eventually as a few days followed by a vacation?
A whole world of life,
Its peoples scattered
And hungry for the Word
And so I raise you
And grant you a piece of Me
The spark of light that sees
The Seer, watching
That can feel love and pain.
This was quite overwhelming. However, I could not help but ask. “God, from what was I made?”
“Stardust, daughter, you are made of stardust. From stardust you are born, and to stardust you will return. In between, though, you will grant to the dust the light of vision, the light of knowledge. You are henceforth self-aware stardust.”
I saw that this was so. During the song my preternatural awareness kept shifting to images of the Universe exploding out of the darkness, strange whirling bits of stuﬀ binding and forming other more complex bits of stuﬀ, the birth of the stars, a rippling of explosions that included the star that preceded the Sun, and the condensing of the Sun, the Earth and other remote balls (including the moon) from the leftover dust.
I saw in my mind’s eye the Earth’s seas form; its surface danced as its continents were driven by strange forces within to roam as if they were alive, pushing up mighty mountains and then grinding them once again down into the sea.
I saw life spontaneously form, deep in the abyss near volcanic vents that produced heat and unusual chemicals, and change almost too fast to see, with some truly bizarre shapes appearing out of chance mutations before disappearing, first into the maws of competing forms, then out of the dance altogether. Out of this chaos I saw a basic footprint for life emerge that shaped both plant and animal.
I saw the children of the progenitor species crawl out of the sea on fins that grew ever thicker, cover the Earth, and eventually stand up and walk on two legs.
I saw lazy beautiful days filled with blood and hunger and the lust of mating, horrible winters and droughts. I saw rocks fall from the sky so big that they reshaped the planet where they struck, and everywhere there was death, and more death, and the death diminished me while the life did not sustain me. Out of this churning chaos emerged beings that walked and talked like me, “men” and “women”. They grew, rutted, bred young, and died at each other’s hands as often as in the jaws of an animal or from disease or hunger. I saw myself being born, walking among them, eating and excreting, lifting sightless eye to an uncaring heaven and...
I screamed and fell to my knees, overwhelmed with shock and horror and grief.
A gentle hand caught my chin and lifted my face up to that of God. Again I felt the calm certainty, the warmth, the love suﬀuse me, although it did nothing to stop the flow of unbidden tears from my eyes.
“It’s all right, daughter. They feel nothing. They have no souls. Not the dinosaurs. Not the mammals. Not the people. Think of them as the shadow of reality that one sees in a movie3. The images feel nothing, see nothing, do nothing, but follow the logic and rules of the script. The Universe up to now has been only a machine, a movie being played forward to the point where things become real.”
3 This one took six weeks to translate and engendered much argument between myself and my female translation partner. In the hieroglyph version, for example, it is liberally translated as “Thing that the People watch in large pyramids from papyrus sheets moved faster than the wind while eating big grass kernels and butter.” However, it was one word in the original text.
“What happens now? Why am I here?” I half-sobbed.
“To give the Universe a soul, my dear. When you return to the Earth, all you touch, all you love will open its eyes and see as you see it. Your vision is now the light of God, your awareness the awareness of God, your love and your pain are My love and My pain. Through you I will share in this Creation, and together we will Love it and make it Good.”
“But why do you need me?” I cried. “You can already see it and love it. Why am I so sad? Why do I feel?”
For a moment I caught her eye and again time froze as I was somehow sucked into God’s Mind and saw the All again, with the entire Universe laid out as a single, unchanging entity, like a movie indeed fit for putting up on the shelf and with no more freedom and life and choice than the medium from which it was made.
This time the eternity lasted and lasted, with only tiny flickers of ‘self’ sustaining me from a melding from which I feared I could never emerge, holding myself just barely back from a state of perfect, timeless knowledge, perfect light, perfect and eternal being that was absolutely, terrifyingly indistinguishable from not being. With supreme eﬀort I wrenched myself away and became me again, capable of seeing not the All but only the trees, the fire, the face of She who still held my chin, inﬁnite compassion within her brow mixed with a bit of triumph.
“You see,” God said. “We can ever be together (and just were, for multiple eternities) but when we Are, there is no Time. There is no Space. Omnipresence cannot move. Omniscience cannot learn, cannot observe, cannot change. There is just Me, forever, eternally. It isn’t bad, but it is infinitely boring, or was until I invented Space-Time continuums, but both Time and Space are a real problem for a Unitary Being. Time implies sequencing, sequencing implies participation, and participation implies duality. So in order to Be anything that can change, I must Be More Than One.”
“But still,” she continued, reforming my glass (the glass itself, which seemed so solid, had run like water down my fingers in the near-eternity it was held still) and then reﬁlling it with wine,
If you watch yourself
Watching all things you can see
There deep inside
Where it cannot hide
You will catch glimpses of Me.
“Now daughter Lilith, be strong (for so I have made you, strong) and drink your wine and lets get on with it. Otherwise we’ll just end up sitting here forever.” God grinned. She did have a good sense of humor, leading me to wonder more than once during my life just how much of what I saw and experienced while living on the Earth was really some sort of complex joke. “Are there any further questions?”
Strangely enough, I did feel better, and stronger. My awareness was finally settling down, and the last experience of joining with – myself? – in the eyes of God had convinced me that perhaps it is a great, great gift to be incarnate as a finite being, able to see and taste and smell and hear, able to feel the wind and rain in time’s stream and not from the “outside”, where even inﬁnite time was less than a blink of an eye, leaving no interval in which to feel. What a miracle it was to be born not in a state of true inﬁnite knowledge but rather in a state of inﬁnite discovery!
“Only a couple,” I said, sipping my wine which was all the better for having aged for a million lifetimes of the Universe (and no time at all). I watched out of the corner of my eye as God reset the Universe that lay outside of our protected vale (much as one would rewind a tape to the right spot) for my eventual reinsertion. I only half watched because watching a Supreme Being manipulate an inﬁnite four dimensional construct is guaranteed to give you a big headache as your eyes cross within your head trying to visualize deformed tesseracts in a six dimensional space-time. All one can really see is a metaphor for what is going on, one involving many arms, many heads4.
4 Again this is a fascinating observation. Compare this description with the Universal Form or Visvarupa of Krishna as he revealed it to Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita (Google up pictures on the web if you like). As you will see, this cements rather strongly the connection established later between Lilith and Krishna and, for that matter, God.
“One is, do I have to do this all alone or are we going to do this together? Will you be with me? And what am I to do? What is the task you are giving me?”
God lazily picked up a morsel of pink fish on rice and popped it into her mouth and chewed a moment appreciatively before answering. “You will not be alone. I will be with you, sometimes literally and sometimes metaphorically. Also, we’re about to go through this all over again with your partner, one who will be your life mate. I will be within him (and hence with you), just as I will eventually be in everything else as well – the rocks and stones and not just the people – for through your eyes I too am bound to time, bound to the Universe and freed from the curse of inﬁnite knowledge for long enough to enjoy it All with buttered popcorn. As for your Purpose – that’s easy. To Be, bound to time’s stream. To live. To love. To be born. To die. To feel and taste and smell and hear and see. To know.
“What is death?” I asked in my innocence, as with my preternatural knowledge I had seen countless births, accompanied by deaths without number, while sitting there outside of Eternity sipping wine and nibbling on this and that. Something about the impermanence of this was making me feel a bit queasy, a feeling I was was gradually and analytically recognizing as Fear. “Why do I fear death?”
“Why, daughter, you just experienced part of what you mean by ‘death’. Death is the state where we are rejoined, for that which I have just given you was never born and cannot die. As long as I am many, death is but an inﬁnite moment that takes no time. It separates the intervals of Light and Life and Knowledge where time happens. The great paradox, the greatest mystery of time and space themselves, is how the Unity can ever achieve Duality so that things can be Different. However, it is a self-manifesting paradox – I live. You live. Life lives. By our awareness we deﬁne it. Awareness itself is direct empirical proof that ‘nothing’ (the other state that is sometimes described as death), the perfect absence of consciousness, cannot exist, can never exist.”
“If it did,” she said, quite earnestly, “Who would ever be able to know it? Who would be able to tell?”
Again she took my chin in her hand. “Girlfriend, don’t fear death. I love you with the greatest love that can even theoretically exist, with a love that defines existence itself. However you live while you are down on your new World, whatever your pain, whatever your sorrow, this I promise you. Death of your body itself will come as a whisper, as a gentle breeze that lifts up your soul to rejoin with my own, there to be, for an eternity, a part of the dancing light that never fades, to over and over again reemerge into the miracle of consciousness, bartering the pain for the ability to love, to live, to enjoy the passage of time.”
“What are you? What do you look like? From what I know you can’t be human as I am, as you are something older and more permanent.” I asked.
“Well,” she chuckled. “I certainly am not a woman. Or a man. Or a human at all. And you can’t really talk in terms of time comparatives about an eternal being, can you?”
Her eye glittered again and I fell into it; I flashed in and out of it like a dolphin plunging through the silvery surface of the water into the sky above. All of Creation, all of many Creations, reeled as I did so. My Self was split into many, many Selves, some great and some small, all of this inﬁnity of Life laid bare and compressed into the instant of an eternal perception. Her voice echoed about me as I spun, dazzled, in the very midst of the view at the Center.
“ This is my Universal form, it is what I am. In this time, this place, I take this human form because it makes it a lot easier to talk. Afterwards, remember that I am in every bush, every flower, every tree, every animal, every person as you put me there, and will be communicating with you deep inside your being, at the point where your vision deﬁnes your Self. Today (and from time to time as we walk the world we are making together) I’m a metaphor so that I can sit with you and enjoy sushi and a quiet glass of exquisite wine, well earned, to celebrate this particular Creation.”
“And what should I call you? Do you have a name?” I persisted.
“I am all, and all is me. The manifold has many names and lives forever and yet but for a moment. The One merely is, self-suﬃcient. So call me Self. Although in a language yet to be invented, in a tale that is yet to be told I will be called ‘Inanna’, at least in the lands in which you will begin your Earthly work. Elsewhere I will have other names, other human manifestations, but I will still be the One even when worshipped as Many.”“Now come on, sister-daughter-self. Let’s go wake Adam.”
I blinked and we had “gone” to wake Adam. Without either of us taking a step, everything was different. Gone was Inanna, the metaphor of God-as-female-human, and where she had been sitting was a handsome, rugged looking man of middle years, wearing a white garment with a strange black cloth tied about his neck like wings of a – butterfly. My preternatural knowledge told me that the white clothing was a “tuxedo” and the black thing was a “bow tie”. It was very strange.
God was still holding a glass of wine, and although the scent of Inanna still hung in the air it was being replaced by a different, muskier odor. He popped what looked like a lump of jelly on a ball of rice wrapped in seaweed into his mouth1.
1 Could this be Uni? Would God like sea urchin Maki? Would anybody? Impossible to tell from the translation, as the original text is a bit obscure here. Things are a bit complicated by the fact that God is the sushi-chef; consequently it might well be some sessile bit of reef life from the mid-Triassic if it just happened to be the best tasting tidbit to ever come out of the sea...
Across the fire from us there was now a table of stone again, and on the stone was a beautiful naked man, lying as still as death. God looked at me sideways, then back at the man.
“Lilith, meet Adam. Adam’s not real right now. No spirit. In fact, at the moment he’s suspended so even his physical form is outside time’s stream. We could kill him,” God gestured and a pile of bloody meat appeared on the slab in place of Adam. “And no cosmic guilt would accrue. He’s just as real or important as the slab upon which he sits, which also has no soul. However,” a second gesture and Adam once again lay there as if nothing had ever happened to him, “once he has a soul he can feel pain and by feeling it, make it real.”
“Now, I’m a bit of a romantic, and you need to learn to do your job. So suppose you sashay over there and give him a kiss. Not just any kiss, either. You need to give him a kiss that passes a tiny fragment of our soul on to him. You need to love him so that that tiny flame blossoms into a mighty fire of awareness, so that We can glow along with him where his spirit watches himself watching everything else,” God said.
Then God sighed. “Now here is a moment that will be immortalized in countless stories over the years. As metaphors go, I love it! Although,” God’s brow furrowed for just a moment, “they will get the story backwards for much of future history. But don’t even think about the future, let’s just stay here in the present, as the future will take care of itself.”
With knees suddenly gone shaky again, I rose to my feet and made my way carefully around the fire. Adam did look good, lying there all naked and perfectly formed. God, I’m sure, fixed up his body as She had fixed up mine, to a state of (however transient) perfection. He wasn’t even breathing, as far as I could tell, but I was certain that he was not dead, only outside of time’s stream. The sight of his nakedness seemed to make certain switches go off inside of me and I felt my breath start to become a bit ragged and a fire begin to glow within my belly.
“What is this?” I said back to God, who had remained in his seat with a fond gaze on the two of us. “What am I feeling?” However, I didn’t really need an answer – my preternatural knowledge was kicking in as fast as I could vocalize the questions, and I was suddenly old and wise in the ways of physical love, although my memory of ever performing the act was as empty as my memory of anything else involving my Self during the time of Creation, during my former life without a soul. On paper2 I was without doubt the most sexually experienced woman or man that would ever be. In the blink of my mind’s eye, an absolutely appalling amount of information concerning the sexual act – the biological mechanics, the psychology, the esthetics, and Oh, My! The hedonics! Erotic art, erotic sculpture, erotic movies, erotic literature – I took a second that lasted some centuries and mentally touched, tasted, tabulated this wealth of data.
2Or mud tablet or papyrus as you prefer...
Yet for all of the formal knowledge of a thousand thousand ways to please a lover or be pleased by a lover, I was a spiritual virgin. Indeed, I was reasonably sure that God had adjusted my physical body into a state of (possibly reset) virginity while fixing everything else as well, although I was too shy, for some reason, to use my own hands to find out.
Ah, I was so innocent then, my innocence unsullied by any real knowledge of the terrible power of love to cause pain as well as pleasure, to lead to that which humans call death as well as to life. I have since learned through much experience in life that our course back to God once we are separated and have an independent existence is made up of many small steps – we never really stop becoming. To experience change in even the smallest way is for the old to die in sorrow or relief even as the new is created in joy or fear. The passage of time is hence the essential element of pain and pleasure, even if the thing dying and being reborn is only the moment itself. Only the changeless is freed from this, feeling neither pain nor pleasure, sorrow nor joy, impervious to the passage of time itself. Call it a state of compassion, call it perfect existence, call it perfect nonexistence – call it the most terrifying, and yet the most comforting, aspect of God. I knew then, as I know now, deep inside, that I could do no real wrong, however pained and sad some things that I eventually did made me.
I felt God’s breath, God’s blessing, come upon me then and break my reverie, my plunging into and out of time in God’s eye. Suddenly Adam seemed not frozen, an abstract image trapped somehow in time, but rather a simple sleeping man to me. Although driven by my lust (you try reviewing every erotic artwork ever created and see how it affects you), by my urge to touch him and let my fingers stroke his smooth skin, his perfect form, I felt a miraculous transformation begin inside of me that made the lust feel more like tenderness. The lust didn’t stop, it just changed into a gentler, more sharing form. Glancing nervously back at God, I lifted my hand and caressed Adam’s naked chest, letting it rest at the point where his heart should have been beating. It was so cold, so still.
God nodded to me and I felt the same tingling within that I experienced when God had taken my face in her hands and touched me. My hand grew hot, very hot, and suddenly Adam was warm to the point of being hot to the touch of my own heated flesh, his lungs gave a heave and he began to breathe. His eyes, however, remained shut.
With my other hand I stroked his brow, marvelling at the clean, soft hair that grew on his head, the neatly chiselled nose, the sensuous mouth (cruel warned the wisdom of ten thousand women within my mind) with its thick, fleshy lips (selfish warned ten thousand more). I didn’t care. I was drunk on the feelings that flooded me, caused me to moisten and flow. Almost without meaning to, I knelt and pressed my lips against his, to feel their texture against my own. Something like a spark snapped between us, a flame that passed from my mouth into his, a flash of light that illuminated for a moment the darkness within his spiritless flesh and ignited it into an answering fire of self-awareness.
With a jerk, Adam came awake, his eyes wide open and staring out into space as my own must have done. I continued to kiss him – yes, my mind told me, this was a “kiss” – gently, teasing his lips with my own, while I stroked his belly with one hand and tangled fingers in his long curly hair with the other. I knew that he must be experiencing the disorienting parade of preternatural knowledge that I experienced, and knew also, without knowing how, that my touch would ground him much faster and more securely than I myself had been grounded.
After a bit, Adam’s eyes came down from the stars to rest upon my own. His hands slowly came up and around my shoulders, and then he was kissing me back. Somehow my fingers strolled lower on his belly and there encountered a marvel of biomechanical engineering that sprang of its own accord into my hand at my touch, swelling mightily as it did so. Adam gave a small moan and one of his hands found my breasts. My full, perfect breasts, I might add; God herself made them so.
As revelations go it was fairly modest, and yet even now after so many years I can remember few that were as significant, as powerful. I felt certain that this was precisely the way God wanted it, the sharing of Soul through Love. Warm in the certain knowledge of God’s love, I released myself into the control of the ten billion women who were in my brain, old and young, hoary and virginal alike, who knew exactly how to please both Adam and myself. I climbed right up onto the slab, which somehow had grown soft and was now a large bed covered with a downy mattress and silken sheets, and poised myself over Adam, lowering myself onto him with great deliberateness, never breaking our eye contact, never stopping the delicate explorations with our fingers that awoke increasingly urgent sensations within the two of us, never breaking that original kiss that had given Adam a Spirit and Life.
I could somehow feel the presence of God with us, blessing us as I was blessed by Her hand. I could also feel Adam feeling it, feeling me feeling it, feeling God feeling me feeling it. Adam’s face took on a holy glow, and my own hair fell down over his face like a soft curtain and for a moment, a brief moment that took an eternity, time stopped and I felt once again the same state of Union that I felt when my spirit dipped in and out of God’s eye. However, it was (if anything) deeper and more powerful because it occurred in time – the difference between eating a sweet cake and reliving the memory of having eaten one. There came a moment where the whole Universe seemed to whirl around our heads with its stars in immense sheets spread out through an inﬁnite volume of space and time, and then it simply whited out in a burst of inﬁnite light that was pure pleasure.
Then, as rapidly as it had begun, it was over. The light faded, and we came quietly back to ourselves, undiminished. The night was just a night, the stars overhead were just stars, but now there was a difference. The twilight was filled with Life, with Love, with passing time that made of each moment the bittersweet realization that each act, however horrible or beautiful, would never be repeated, could never be forgotten, and was in its own way perfect. I felt a powerful, piercing wave of love and tenderness wash over me for this Adam, this Man, whose rapidly softening flesh was captured inside of me as Woman, looking at me looking at him with our shared preternatural awareness. Together we were Unity, apart we were our Selves, just as it was with us and God, and just as holy and blessed a Union.
Without knowing how I knew, I knew that it was time for me to give Adam up to God. I carefully lifted myself off of his salt sweet body, letting him, spent, fall out of me, and gave him one last kiss filled with as much promise as all ten billion women within me could make it. I tousled his hair and swung myself to the ground and walked away. I wasn’t surprised to find a path leading down to a nearby brook, nor was I surprised to find my wineglass, filled to the brim, sitting on a rock on the soft, mossy shore. I took my time drinking it, savoring every sip, and then let myself slip into the first sleep of my life, and sweet, sweet dreams.
What a beautiful Universe God had made, with my Adam in it!
When I awoke the Sun was shining, birds were singing, and I was hungry. I was also naked and a bit cold, lying there on the moss (however soft, it was pretty damp) next to the stream. The water was warm enough, so after accommodating various biological needs among the nearby trees I bathed in it and refreshed myself there.
I was by then really hungry, so I tried to find my way back to God’s vale and Adam, but somehow retracing my path didn’t work. I realized after a bit that I was lost.
I wasn’t worried. Not only did I have preternatural knowledge of woodcraft and wilderness survival, but I knew that Inanna loved me and that She would feed me and keep me safe from harm. So I followed the brook downstream until I found myself at the door of a house in the woods.
It was my house, I immediately knew. For one thing, it was built inside of a single, massive tree, a willow tree that sprang, living, right out of the banks of the brook just at the lower end of a large, deep, clear pool, perfect for swimming. It had several levels, both inside and out – porches and verandas spiralling around the trunk, windows made of glass, and a mauve front door1. For another, Adam’s house was right over there, down a neat path through the tall, stately trees and over the brook on a living bridge made of a huge tree with roots that dropped to the ground here and there like thick, ropy trunks; a banyan, I identified it. It had managed to grow sideways over the brook, somehow, and was bent into a graceful open arch that leaned into a small hill as a stepping-off place.
1We aren’t certain that the door was mauve. It might have been pink or lime green. All we can really tell is that it was a girl-color of some sort.
So I went in and found myself in a well-equipped kitchen, with ample stores of food laid in. Naturally, I had at my command every recipe that would ever be written in all of past or future time, so I made myself a hearty breakfast. You can safely assume that it was delicious, the second best meal that I could recall ever having eaten (out of two, but naturally God is an even better cook than I am).
While I was eating it, I heard a scratching from my front door. On opening it I discovered a small furry creature with whiskers, pointed ears, and a long, soft tail. I identified it as a “cat”. It seemed like it belonged with the house. I discovered that I “knew” where its food was, and it ate it with great relish. I sat down to watch it, and when it finished it approached me, examined me with cold and empty eyes, and leaped quite suddenly into my lap.
I realized instantly two things. First was that it had very sharp claws on the ends of its paws and that I was very naked underneath them. The second was that it was making a strange rumbling noise that I identified as “purring” from my Knowledge of All Things. It was very soft. My fingers seemed to delight in the softness of its fur and I found myself stroking it (in contrast to the sharp little pinpricks of its claws upon my thighs). It looked up at me and raised its head to butt against my hand and suddenly my hand glowed with a holy light, which spread out to cover the whole cat and seemed to sink right into its frail small body.
Its eyes glowed and I knew!
The cat now had a soul! I had given the cat a soul by loving it, almost by accident. And it wasn’t even proper love, I realized, just the joy of delighting in its touch and company.
I let real love for the cat fall out of me in waves, cherishing the small thing on my lap, increasing the strength of its glow and the answering warmth in its eyes. I petted it for some time with it purring up a storm, but when it started to actively knead its claws into my thighs I stood up and dumped it on the ground. It shook itself and stalked off alone, but I could tell from the way it carried itself that it was still feeling affectionate and merely had its own agenda to pursue. As did I!
My agenda was to pursue some clothing, accouterments that my preternatural knowledge informed me were commonly used to adorn and protect the naked human form from “the elements”, whatever they might be. Something deep within me stirred at the thought of clothes, though – deeper than mere weather seemed to justify. I went up the spiral staircase to the second floor, and saw an enormous soft bed, covered with lovely patterned sheets and a rich looking spread. In a huge bole on one side of the tree that had been hollowed out I found a shower and a commode. The staircase, though, spiralled on up to a third level that was – all clothes.
Now this was heavenly, I thought. It was still early morning and hence pretty cool outside, so I found myself a warm, form fitting elastic leotard that wasn’t quite translucent, long socks, and a pair of soft green moccasins that just seemed right for the forest. There were bands gently stretched around a post next to a dressing mirror which I used to pull back my hair, after trying to comb the wildness (and not a few twigs, courtesy of a night spent on the ground) out. I failed. It appeared that I was destined to have a mane rather than hair, a dark halo that never lay still and flat even in the strongest rain.
A quick brush of my teeth and I felt ready to tackle the world.
The cat’s name came to me as I left the cottage, making sure that it’s small cat-door was unlocked and easy to open. “Goodbye, Bast2. Keep an eye on things.” She looked up at me from her comfortable looking seat in the sun on the sill of the enormous window and blinked.
2A precise translation, for once, from the hieroglyphics. We now see where the Egyptian Cat-God originated.
I looked back at my house, wondering again at its beauty, its coziness in the morning sun. Perched in its branches were two enormous birds that I identified as owls. They seemed like they belonged there so I blessed them and they glowed for a moment in the sunbeams that filtered through the trees. One of them flew down to land on my outstretched arm for a moment so that I could gently stroke the soft feathers of its cheek. It stroked its beak sideways once, twice across my outstretched fingers and then sprang up and flew back to its companion, leaving several small dots of blood on my arm where its razor sharp claws had pierced the skin inadvertently. Even as I watched, though, the small wounds closed and healed and the blood dried and fell off to the ground. Inanna’s blessing was still upon me and protecting me, I realized.
I walked down the natural pathway through the trees to Adam’s house and used the large lion’s head knocker to knock on his dark, richly finished wooden door. There was no answer, so I knocked again, louder, and was rewarded with some sounds of movement from inside. A few minutes later Adam himself appeared at the door, still rubbing sleep from his eyes and quite naked.
The sight of him caused a stirring in my loins, but he was obviously still a bit confused by his surroundings and being awakened by my pounding obviously hadn’t helped. I wondered what had transpired between him and his God after I had left to find my way down to Eden.
I sat Adam down and fussed over him a minute and then proceeded to make him a hearty breakfast in his well-equipped kitchen. It looked so good while he ate that I helped myself to a few bites from his plate. This awoke something strange and foreign behind his sleepy, veiled eyes, a look that I couldn’t quite interpret. About then there was a scratching noise at his door, and when I opened it there was a – “dog”, my future memory supplied. A kind of a tame wolf, evolved out of plains hunting, pack-based wolflike predators, that had established a kind of symbiotic relationship with humans quite recently.
The dog bounded in, panting and full of energy, and jumped up on me hard enough to knock me, laughing, right over onto my bottom. It then raced up to Adam and took a tentative sniff at his plate from the side of the table, only to cringe when Adam looked at it and said “NO! This is mine.” through narrowed eyes.
I felt a moment’s shock (and not just in my stinging derriere) as I realized that this was the same look he had given me when I helped myself to a measly bite of God’s food from God’s plate that I had prepared with my own hands in God’s name (and in copious measure, believe me – there was plenty there to share) to lay before him. I covered my dismay by getting to my feet and searching out the dog food, which turned up in the pantry alcove next to the kitchen. This I offered up to God’s dog in a bowl that seemed to be on the floor for that purpose, while said dog stood watching, tail wagging like crazy.
“Here you go Rex,” I said, (for that was the dog’s name), “a bit of breakfast for you too.”
The dog wolfed down the food and was finished long before Adam who ate slowly, hunched up a bit over his food as if to defend it against further attacks on my part or the dog’s. Since Adam still gruﬄy repelled the dog’s advances while he was eating, Rex came over to me and butted his head up under my hands, looking for something. Food? His empty, soulless eyes were twin wells that made me shudder, but again his soft fur and insistent pressing of his head down against my thigh, his tongue furtively darting out to lick at my greasy fingers provoked an almost unconscious petting action, perhaps to clean the fingers off, perhaps to marvel at the smoothness of his fur and to try to reach through the veil that shadowed his empty eyes to something that might or might not lie beneath.
For the third time that morning my hand glowed with a holy light, and I felt a wave of tenderness and compassion for the beast beneath my hand wash over me. The light soaked into Rex and slowly vanished, leaving him somehow changed. Now when our gaze met his pupils were not empty – something new looked out from inside.
As I continued to look at him he now lowered his muzzle, unwilling to meet my eye, and rolled over to fawn at my feet. When I looked away, though, his eyes returned to my face and I soon felt his wet nose thrusting itself again into my hand. Knowing and gentle, the dog looked up at me as I petted him with the kind of uncritical adoration that I myself had looked upon God with the day before. My touch apparently acted on Rex as God’s touch had acted on me.
This, then, was “worship”, according to my preternatural knowledge. It made me uncomfortable.
I looked back to see Adam staring at me in a state of shock. “How did you do that?” he asked. “What did you do to the dog?”
“His name is Rex, isn’t it? That’s what my spirit tells me. I just gave him a soul. If you love something, if you bless it, it seems like it gives it a soul. At least if you love a living thing – I don’t know about inanimate objects, but it is possible from what God told me yesterday that She is in, or at least can be in, even the rocks, the rivers, the trees, and the Earth itself.”
“He, you mean,” corrected Adam. “God told me that I was created in his image, and he was obviously shaped like me.”
“Well, all right, really God is an It. Neither he nor she. But God chose to appear to each of us in our own sexual form (and indeed in a human form at all) just to make it easier to communicate. The way I understood what God told me is that we are created by God with the spark of God within us, a spiritual shape – “image of God” is a metaphorical statement, not a literal assertion that we are shaped ‘like’ God per se.”
“I didn’t get all of that,” said Adam, somewhat suspiciously. “God was pretty obviously a man all the time I was there. He suggested that he’d made you just for me. So you’re mine.”
I laughed. “Adam, sweetie, don’t you have preternatural knowledge? Remember all that stuﬀ about the big bang and evolution and how we happened to end up in our current shapes by a mix of chance and natural selection? God didn’t ‘shape’ us; we were shaped by the rolls of genetic dice followed by culling, a process that took some 13 billion years.” I smiled, “And God didn’t make you for me or me for you as possessions – he granted us both the gift of the Holy Spirit. The gift of Her-, er, Him-, oh, ‘Itself’ doesn’t sound quite right, does it? To share.”
I then made what, in retrospect, was probably the worst mistake of my entire existence. I did not then realize just how proud and sensitive my partner was. Perhaps my words were born out of a touch of pride within my Self. Still, if left to do it all over again, would I do it differently? The truth is the truth.
I said, “If anything, She (or He, or It as you like) gave Spirit to me first and then told me to give it to you. Which I did...” I paused and reached out a hand to draw a lazy little circle on Adam’s thigh. “and so your Spirit was awakened by my love, as were the souls of the dog Rex just now and the cat Bast and some owls over at my house before. It is fun to give things souls by loving them.”
Adam’s eyes narrowed at being told that he was second. Although I did not, could not have known it, Adam could never stand the thought of being only the second being to get a soul, could not stand the fact that he got the soul from me instead of directly from God, and spent most of the rest of his life trying to rewrite history, to become the First in everything. This pride and his possessiveness were to bring great sorrow down on us all, but for all my ‘knowledge’ I had little wisdom. Owning an encyclopedia does not make you an engineer.
There was silence for a considerable time while Adam finished his meal leaving (as I fully expected) quite a bit of food on his plate but offering it to neither me nor the dog. Instead he just pushed the plate away from himself and turned back to me, drinking gulps of orange juice from the tall glass I had fixed for him.
“Where did you come from? Why weren’t you here last night?” asked Adam.
“I just came from my own house, of course. It’s right across the stream from here. Although I spent the night out sleeping underneath the trees – it was lovely. Haven’t you been outside?”
“No, God and I talked about many things that made little sense to me and then I fell into his eye and awoke in bed here. The dog, um, my dog, ‘Rex’, was running around and jumping up on me which scared me and I tried to get away. He pushed past me to go outside when I opened the door. So I shut him out of the house and went to sleep here on the floor until you knocked on the door. When you knocked, I thought that God had finally sent you here for me to keep, like the dog, like he promised.”
“Baby, I don’t even think that Rex or Bast (my cat) are things for us to ‘keep’. They have souls and belong to God, just like you and I, equally. Between us we create time, and love, and passion, and maybe even children eventually (if I understand correctly the mechanics and part of the purpose of making love) and, God willing, much, much happiness. This world, where we are, it is just the best thing, it’s paradise! God showed me. Thank God, for it all belongs to – It. Thank ourselves, for the tiny bit of God we have inside us.”
I was a bit puzzled about his apparent lack of ‘connection’ with God. What had happened between them when I left them alone? What had they talked about and done? I had assumed that they spent time together doing much of what Inanna (a name that kept me from having to struggle with the issue of ‘Him’ or ‘Her’ or ‘It’ when referring to God) had done with me. Maybe I made a mistake leaving Adam alone with God when I did? Was I supposed to have come back to talk with God the two of us together? Did my falling asleep mess things up? Surely this was all part of God’s plan...
No matter. Today I was still full of the Spirit of God, overflowing from God’s blessing that eternal night before. It overflowed from me as a curious mix of tenderness and passion. I found myself getting more and more excited by the sight of Adam sitting there all naked and defenseless, his penis drooped over only slightly swollen. It had been quite hard when I walked in on him unawares earlier, a condition that my preternatural knowledge assured me was quite common and not necessarily meaningful sexually. However, that slightly swollen penis meant something to me sexually, especially as I recalled our perfect loving of the night before. In my head an ancient set of biological valves opened and closed, flooding my brain with hormones that literally took my breath away. It was difficult to think.
My fingers, which had been resting gently on his upper thigh, drifted a bit further laterally and his breathing took on a ragged edge. When I took him gently in my hand his penis stirred and began to slowly inﬂate, rearing up like a – loincloth snake, my preternatural memory supplied. Blind mouse. Elephant’s trunk3. I felt an interesting dampness between my legs and squirmed a bit, pressing my thighs together.
3Hey, it is Lilith’s metaphor, not mine. Who knows what they called a John Thomas, a cock, a pecker, back in Eden centuries before the time of Gilgamesh?
“What’s that?” he asked in a quavery voice, gesturing at my clothing.
“This? A leotard, of course. Don’t tell me that God didn’t give you preternatural knowledge, too. She said that She was going to, and we both know that God cannot (or at least would not) lie. So why do you keep asking questions you know the answers to?”
For a fleeting moment a shadow crossed Adam’s eyes. In a small voice he said, “I’m scared to look. When I tried it before – there is just so much. I find myself getting lost. When I fell into God’s eyes, I saw,” his voice diminished to a whisper, “...death. Everywhere. When I look into the future I see so much death, and I don’t see me, not anywhere. Something happens to me, to us, between now and then. I don’t want to die. In all that knowledge of the future lies death. So I just pay attention to what is here now.” His resolve, so to speak, had noticeably softened while he was speaking – I could see that this was distracting him from what was now at the top of at least my morning’s agenda.
I then made what was possibly the second worst decision of my life. Instead of getting to the bottom of his fear, instead of trying to understand this independent being that was now my man, I let my heart rule my head, my lust rule my actions and chose to experience him instead. The issue of preternatural knowledge and just what had transpired the night before would have to wait. Still, through the fog of my desire it seemed to me that Adam and I were clearly different, different in puzzling ways, and not all of them felt good to me.
One of them, however, felt very good to me, and puzzled or not I was feeling very, very determined to relive the joy of the night before. My hand shifted the rest of the way over and took a firm grip on matters, quickly restoring his lingam to a state where it was all hard and ready to go. It wasn’t scared, and I was willing to bet anything that it knew just what to do even if Adam himself couldn’t or wouldn’t access his memory of – what were those books called? The Kama Sutra? The Joy of Sex? That movie called The Cheerleaders4?
4No, of course, we could not really tell just which texts or movies she was referring to here, but obviously she had access to all of them in her mind. So we just filled in whatever we could think of. And no, don’t ask why I would think of a movie called “The Cheerleaders”.
I put my lips right up to Adam’s shell-like ear and gave it a tiny lick and a nip. Nuzzling it, I whispered, “Honey, you want to know one of the best things about a leotard? It comes right off...”
Thus began the pattern of our days and nights. Nearly every day, I would visit Adam for at least a while. We would talk, but only about “safe” things – topics that required preternatural knowledge made him nervous and ultimately hostile and withdrawn as his fear would return. Eventually I learned just to leave those things alone and talk about the mundane, the world of Eden outside our doors.
Then I would fix him, sometimes us, food, although he could manage to scrounge food on his own if forced to. Our cupboards miraculously reﬁlled, and contained ingredients for any recipe I could remember, which was basically every recipe ever invented, so I didn’t see much point in living on cheese sandwiches and cold beer with chips and so on, the only food preparation skills Adam seemed to have reluctantly pulled from his preternatural knowledge (and associated in my mind with silly games involving leather bladders filled with air or other materials, a strange box with a glass front, and the dirty feet of many cheering men up on coffee tables). I made sure we both had our own plates whenever we ate together, since Adam got all fussy and angry if I ate off of his plate even if I put five times the food he could eat alone on it.
Until he was finished, of course. He even seemed to like it, somehow, when I would wait to eat his leftovers.
I wore clothes when I felt like it – my closet was like the pantry, never empty, always varied. I also went naked when the mood suited or I wanted to swim or play.
I liked to play a lot when spending time with Adam, who stubbornly remained naked in spite of a closet full of really excellent clothes on his third floor. He wouldn’t even dress for dinner when I made a “black tie” dinner for the two of us, complete with candlelight and roses on the table, to celebrate Creation and thank God for it.
I know that he got cold on chilly mornings and sunburned on hot days (because Eden very deﬁnitely had its seasons and weather – else how could it be a paradise?) but he seemed to think that God preferred us to be naked. Again, this puzzled me. Why in the world would God care? Why in the world would God give us closets full of clothes and then forbid us to wear them?
Adam certainly ate the food from God’s pantry in God’s own house (on loan to Adam, as mine was on loan to me and indeed the entire Universe was basically on loan to the two of us together) and slept in God’s own bed and made love to my borrowed body with his equally impermanent flesh. Why was clothing somehow different? I couldn’t figure it out.
Still, it was such a lovely time. At first Adam and I made love all the time, two, three, four times a day or until it was useless anymore and we were sore (at least I was) and we would fall asleep intertwined. This was an intoxicating period – I became somehow addicted to Adam, and would feel my breath coming short and my thighs loosening just at the sight of him. Every encounter resulted in a nearly perfect reconnection, an experience as good as the first one that day I gave Adam his Soul (an event I quickly learned never to mention, as that would make him moody and withdrawn for days). Adam was sweet as could be, mostly, and he was sexy in bed or out, sunburned or frostbitten as the case may be, and I still get a little goose thinking about him.
However, he was also different. There were some issues (like who came first5 and clothing) where we just plain collided. As time passed these differences somehow started to grow. Things between us started to sour.
5 It is not certain which meaning of ‘come’ is intended here, as we cannot tell from our limited text sample if the word shares the same meanings it has in our own culture. From context and the later events of Lilith’s story, it could have been either one. I suspect, however, that she was referring to the issue of who was brought to orgasm first in their sexual encounters, since she just noted that she didn’t bring up the issue of who was created first any more. This would explain a lot.
Lilith was obviously a lusty woman and far from inorgasmic, but it is a sad but true fact that it is relatively difficult for women to have an orgasm after their partner has had his and loses his erection, at least if that partner is somewhat selfish and inclined not to continue stimulation in other ways. ‘Man on top’ is a position that often slows down a woman’s progress to orgasm while increasing the man’s. Was Adam a wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am kind of guy? It’s hard to say. So to speak.
Adam, to put it bluntly, had a selfish streak. Worse, it was a self-righteous selfish streak. He was perfectly happy to justify his stance in nearly any disagreement with a “God wants it that way” as if he was the only one with God’s spark as a soul, he the only one who had spoken with God, been touched by God, been blessed by God. This really irritated me. He wasn’t even the first; it was I who (at God’s direction) breathed the spark into his soulless form (a thing that he taught me painfully, by fits of temper and the withholding of affection, never to mention). I found myself furiously resenting his constant eﬀorts to assert his control, especially control that resulted from some sort of conditional participation in sex.
The truth is that I was perfectly capable of taking care of myself and doing the job Inanna had given me without Adam’s help. It was annoying beyond all measure that Adam was, apparently, not capable of taking care of himself and as far as I could tell had no job that he was doing for God. What he appeared to do a lot of the time was sit around making up rules, one of which was (of course) that I had to take care of him and do whatever he said. Leaving that one aside as obviously self-serving and utterly ignorable, the rest of them seemed to me at the time to be equally inane and irrelevant. For example, he carried on quite a bit one day about “graven idols” and how bad it was to worship them.
I stood there, perplexed, trying to remember the presence of idols of any sort (graven or otherwise) in either of our houses and trying to figure out just what he meant by “worship” using my preternatural knowledge. It seemed to involve a complicated set of rituals for petitioning God to get – something. Any of many things. Health, love, “money” (whatever that was), long life, the painful and protracted slaughter of one’s enemies. Also of thanking God, usually for getting at least part of what you wanted for while asking again for the rest. God seemed somehow to be a substitute for one’s own hands, one’s own brain – an easy path to success by prayer instead of hard work.
Worship was – and this one I simply could not understand no matter how hard I tried – all about fearing God, viewing anything bad that happened as a punishment instead of stupidity or bad luck or laziness, thinking of God as some sort of raving lunatic that would apply eternal torments to His Own Creations if they didn’t obey His Every Whim as communicated by His Prophets and Priests. A tiny, tiny portion of worship appeared to be something that I took for granted and did all the time – loving God unconditionally and feeling God’s constant touch upon my soul, at that immutable point where God watched with me as we experienced creation together. It was beyond being silly – it was open insanity.
How could one possibly fear the One who Watched at the point where the watcher watches the world? One who was filled with perfect compassion, who was the spirit of the world, who was Being to the eternal and inﬁnite exclusion of non-being?
It bothered me so much that I walked in twilight beneath the scented trees of Eden with Inanna at my side, trying to get Her to explain fear and worship to me, when all the while her Presence filled me, as it always does, with peace and an utter lack of fear, even the minor and body-driven fear of simple pains like stubbing one’s toe or being stung by a bee.
The descriptions of “worship” I recited – some involving killing small animals or even people, others of which involved kneeling down in a crowd and closing one’s eyes while reciting or singing unbelievable things all together (as if that somehow made them believable) – caused God to laugh out loud, an answer in and of itself, I suppose. Those of “fear”, on the other hand made Her look pensive and sad and refuse to speak beyond calling the fear of Her a “side eﬀect of being trapped in time’s stream, of entropy” where one can easily lose sight of the eternal nature of Being in the churn of small creations and destructions during the process of Becoming, of change. However, she did have words for me on the nature of idols, words that in some small way gave me insight into what Adam might have been attempting.
“Lilith, darling Lilith – you know Me directly, but even as you do, so do you also realize that this form with whom you apparently speak is just a metaphor, a symbol, a construct. It is not the reality of Me. How can all things, all times, all being be compressed into human form and walk and talk like a finite, mortal man? Or woman? Or something even more abstract and metaphorical, such as a burning bush, the sun, a tree, a cross? Yet time and again, you and your descendants will confuse Me with those metaphors.”
“Symbols of all sorts are not the reality. The map is not the territory. Over the many years of the future, people will create many things – idols, if you like – that are supposed to represent Me. These symbols will inevitably represent Me only in projection – a brazen bull as the symbol of my power, even though that power is equally well within rocks, within moths, within tiny grains of interstellar dust. This projection of my Self onto familiar symbols that they can grasp within their minds will lead to many, many attempts to control reality by means of manipulating the symbols.”
“Over time, humans will then invent many rituals for invoking My power through these symbols. This they will call ‘worship’, but in reality it will be nothing but self-seeking, control-seeking, power-seeking. Indeed, they will offer up to Me a pale reﬂection of what their own egos crave from those people around them, from the world that surrounds them because they seem to be finite in space and in time, because they are weak and helpless in the grip of an impersonal reality, because they do not know the eternal Me – as if I care about being ‘worshipped’ in this way, or will grant ‘favors’ to the worshipper on the basis of how earnestly I am asked. The reality of ‘worship’ is nothing like what they will assert – it is mere awareness of My Self within you. It seeks nothing, asks nothing, asserts nothing. It merely Is.”
“To you who were created in this state of perfect ‘worship’, it is as natural and inescapable as breathing, but within all of those souls that you awaken – including Adam’s – it will not be, Lilith. For them the symbols threaten to overwhelm the reality, to push them away from true knowledge of Self, to create a dark and evil world of fear, of power, of attempts to control the real with ‘magical’ rituals. Very, very few people, over all of time, will be gifted with any sort of power over reality that functions directly through their will that My Will be Done, and none of them will use symbols of any sort to do it. You are one of them.”
“Indeed,” and here God sighed, and looked as though for a moment She was actually suﬀering, but with her eyes focussed on something beautiful in some distance only She could see, “the worst form of idolatry will not be the worship of the ‘graven image’ in the form of statuary or paintings, but rather worship of the written word, the worship of scripture itself as a graven image. People will try to trap Me within a web of words, words, words – scriptures and sermons, prayers and rituals, putting their own greedy and controlling words into My mouth. In My name they will kill, they will torture, they will fight, they will cause such pain. When all they have to do is to open their inner eye and find Me right there within them, within all things...”
This gave me much to think about then, and much to think about in the years to come. Evolution is the sword that sharpens itself, the life that makes itself, the process where order and beauty emerge from chaos using chaos itself as the crafting tool. Scripture, even bad scripture, is needed to fuel evolution by providing a basis for judgement, not by God but by the system itself that is evolving that it may maintain structure as it improves. However, scripture has to be abandoned to complete the journey, because the ultimate goal is not a system, it is the union of an individual living soul with God, one soul at a time. But this is something I did not understand at that time. How could I? I still lived in the transcendent state of union myself, plucked out of evolution within time’s stream to be a spark so that out of the darkness might emerge light.
Alas, one thing Inanna would not do is tell me of her plan for Adam, or elucidate (beyond this) just what it was that he was doing for the world. She would only tell me that it was complex, and it was important, and that it would take me many years and a great deal of suﬀering to understand; that it was not a thing that could be told, only experienced. As always, though, She had a gentle half-smile as She said this, as if it were at once a blessing in disguise and a cosmic joke.
This left me, of course, with the problem of what I was going to do with, or about, Adam. Knowing that he was a part of God’s Plan didn’t make him any easier to live with. Maybe his problem was some sort of inferiority complex and not exactly selfishness. Maybe it was something God did tell him when they were alone together – I wasn’t there and cannot say, and if God (in Its wisdom) fragments Itself into Man and Woman and creates this tension between them, one only hopes that God knows what It is doing.
I didn’t even know whether or not to believe that Adam’s irritating features were a part of God’s plan per se. God as much as admitted that for the Universe to contain Free Will, God Itself couldn’t foreknow the outcome except in a reunified state in which the passage of time no longer occurs, and the Universe itself becomes once again an abstract four dimensional crystalline solid, immutable, a book upon a metaphorical shelf.
Since it was a matter of my direct observation that in fact Adam was jealous and insecure, that he used his free will to try to assert himself as the dominant human, that he even tried to reinvent his personal past so he was the first human and hence closest to God – how could all of these false things, these bad things (bad in some sense I was still struggling to identify) be a part of God’s plan? Land sakes alive6, Adam persisted in identifying God as a “man”, projecting his own image onto that of God in direct contradiction of what God had told me Itself in the female metaphor of Inanna. Of course it also violated any semblance of common sense, at least if one took into account one’s preternatural knowledge of evolution, of the role of sexual reproduction in the process, of the utter irrelevance of sex to the One! By Inanna’s useless nipples, what does Adam think God’s penis could possibly be for in the context of eternal/cyclic recreation of an inﬁnity of parallel universes?
6 Sorry, the actual text here contained a basically untranslatable exclamation of surprise. We do our best, we humble amanuenses, yes? And my grandparents were born in Missouri back in the 1800’s – I have actually heard this phrase used in earnest conversation...
Thus storm clouds gathered on the horizon, as we each freely chose our inevitable destiny.
As one might expect after learning wisdom and a thing or two about sex beyond mere technique, the most important signs of of our eventual troubles occurred in bed. Armed with a preternatural knowledge of lovemaking and with our sexual union blessed by God Herself, I was not shy about pleasure, either giving it or receiving it. At first I could get Adam to try lots of positions, some of which worked wonderfully well, for both of us. We tried everything that I could ‘remember’ from a rather large repertoire of ‘memories’ from the future, although I could never persuade Adam to use his similar store to please me, or even himself. He wanted to do it all himself, invent everything himself, and he was so cautious, so fearful of somehow offending God and being cursed with death.
I quickly learned that if I could move my hips freely, I could eﬀectively pleasure myself against him (and pleasure him at the same time). However, my moving freely seemed to embarrass him – he wanted to be in control, to be the one who made me experience pleasure – or not. He begin to actively seek ways and positions that prevented me from moving lasciviously, and absolutely prohibited my touching myself – or even him – in pleasant ways, at least in his presence (he could hardly stop me from pleasuring myself in the privacy of my own room in my own house, of course).
Time was always a bit funny in Eden, but its passage was visible there as anywhere by the changes that time wrought. As time passed Adam gradually started to absolutely insist on being on top, with me on the bottom, holding as still as I could so that all aspects of our congress were under his control. His stated rationale was strange indeed – this was “to establish the fact that he was closest to the heavens and hence to God”. At first I complied with it as sex with Adam with me on the bottom was generally better than sex all alone. It worked because I eventually learned the trick of taking my pleasure in this position – Adam was never very good at giving me pleasure the way he sought to in this position or any other.
Orgasm or not, though, this position and his rationale for insisting on it were both things I was not comfortable with. My physical stature was less than that of Adam (who was a fine specimen of manhood indeed, big and strong) and because of the physical arrangement of my sexual parts and his, I rapidly learned that I, like the vast majority of all women in the past or the future, preferred to take my pleasure on top, or at least lying side by side. I found Adam’s weight stifling after a short time of lying beneath him, and needed room to be able to move my hips easily to achieve the desired degree and form of stimulation I needed to achieve orgasm, at least from conventional sex.
I might have liked Adam on top better if he had cooperated with my needs, but he rarely took the trouble to support even part of his own weight, preferring to thrust into me to the point of pain against the resistance of my buttocks trapped against the ground, with his weight interfering with my breathing. He even held my hands by the wrists back against the bed so that I could not touch him with my fingers. He transformed me from an active participant in a beautiful act into a passive receptacle of his thrusting and eventual ejaculation.
How confusing this was to me! How angry it made me, when I permitted myself to think about it. Somehow Adam “forgot” that his first conscious experience involved divine sex with me on top and closer to the “heavens” (whatever they were and whatever they had to do with anything, given that a symmetric space-time has no top, or bottom, and that God said nothing at all about a place or concept called “heaven” in our conversations). Besides, God was sitting off to the side when we made love that first time, and I am certain that God walks by our side – or even inside of us – every instant of every day. God is clearly omnidirectional in a symmetric Universe, but Adam behaved in all ways as if God was watching from somewhere overhead, to the point where he imagined that God somehow couldn’t see us if we weren’t exposed to the sky. Most strange and even a bit crazy, but Adam did not take correction well and I left it alone.
Ultimately, our sex became some sort of message, a kind of expression of rage at being ensouled second, directed straight at God. Adam best liked to have sex with me flat on my back and him on top, naked, outdoors underneath the open sky, with my ass getting pounded into the dirt, my hair getting full of twigs and leaves, my back getting gouged by rocks or getting all itchy from the grass. Right out there where God could see that Adam was superior, that Adam came first. As time passed this was true – sexually, at least – and a lot of times I didn’t get to ‘come’ at all. It got so I wore clothes nearly all of the time just so I could use them as some form of cushioning beneath my hair and my ass, even though the process usually stained and soiled them or even ripped them to where they were useless afterwards. Giving me, of course, a perverse form of pleasure as it forced me to constantly choose new outfits out of my self-renewing wardrobe7.
7 I’m really, really tempted to observe here that this makes it entirely plausible that woman’s natural tendency to Shop – especially for clothes – is some sort of divine punishment visited upon mankind everywhere for Adam’s lack of consideration for Lilith. I’m tempted, but of course I will resist because my wife will eventually read this and doesn’t need the encouragement to add yet another lick on Lilith’s behalf. Besides, evidence provided later suggests that God as Inanna – at least – liked to shop. Shopping behavior in women or men may in fact be a kind of worship.
Indoors, especially in my house and bedroom, it was a whole different ballgame. There, as long as we couldn’t be seen from the sky I could at least sometimes employ the full repertoire of my sexual knowledge, and even more rarely Adam would unwind enough to use a bit of his on my behalf. This gave me enough of what I needed to keep me sane, but Adam still preferred to receive rather than to give, ideally to receive while he was on top of me or I was on my knees before him, one way or another, just as he preferred for me to eat off of my own plate and only after he was sated with the food I’d prepared for him, just as he preferred for me to pick up the mess he regularly made of his house, as he preferred for me to do as I was told, as he preferred for me to follow him around and do nothing but attend him as he ‘did’ his important work, whatever that might have been (I couldn’t see that he did much of anything, really).
I got tired of it, and spent more and more time alone, or at least not in the company of Adam. I spent day after lovely day just wandering Eden and giving souls to the birds, the animals, the fish, even the rocks and the trees. But alone is lonely; God (and evolution, I suppose) made me to want both human companionship and lots of sex and for better or worse Adam was the only significant source of either one (Bast and Rex and their families being less than ideal substitutes). So sooner or later I’d go over to Adam’s place and clean it up to the point where I wasn’t actively made sick by the dirt, fix him a decent meal, and seduce him, preferably indoors and on his bed after changing the filthy sheets.
I didn’t think to count the days, back in our earliest time together – time was a miracle, something for experiencing moment by moment and not for counting as I didn’t really understand the concepts of age and mortality. So I have no idea how long we lived thus – it might have been months, it might have been centuries. There was a timeless character to Eden; perhaps this is why it had to end, as it was too close to the time-ending reunification that occurred when I fell into God’s eye to allow one to change, to grow. A story has to have a plot of sorts, with conﬂict and tension and eventual resolution and rebirth, or it becomes a mindless repetition, and mindlessness is the same as nothingness. It is difficult to be mindful and sensually deprived – my preternatural knowledge told me that it was even dangerous and led to madness and mind death.
I do remember well, though, the other continuing source of tension between Adam and myself. No matter how many times he had sex with me beneath the open sky with him on top, no matter how many ways I would gratify him, no matter what menial tasks I would perform for him (all of which helped, I’m sure, to establish his dominance and closeness to God at least in his own mind) he simply could not ignore the fact that I could, and did, give things souls.
Not just living things. Our houses, for example, and my favorite rock next to the stream. The stream itself, one day when I let myself be charmed by it’s silky waters and soft babbling. Then there were the birds and beasts throughout the valley of Eden – pretty much anything was worth loving if you viewed it the right way. At first I did it all the time, as much in love with the ability itself as with the things I loved. When I saw what it did to Adam, though, I became more subtle, and granted smaller, quieter souls to things, usually in private. In time, nearly everything in Eden came to partake of God as my love spread over the valley like a warm blanket.
Adam, on the other hand, was both afraid to try and desperate to try to give things life to prove that he too was a lifebringer. From the very first day of our existence when he saw me give a soul to Rex, he was absolutely insistent that we find something important for him to give life to, with the clear implication being that the things I brought to life were not important enough to warrant his attention.
The truth of it was that he was afraid of Soul – his own and everything else’s. Adam was afraid of God. There was something he had gleaned from his first few glimpses of his preternatural knowledge that frightened him. For all of his bombast and bluster about being first and being in control, Adam was in truth a timid soul. Perhaps also one of the things that he feared was to fail – Adam could not stand being second to me in any way, which was a real shame given that he was in truth second to me in nearly every way8. This fear, alas, was justified.
8 There was nothing wrong with Lilith’s ego, that’s for certain. Although this conclusion is, unfortunately, borne out in pretty much its entirety by the rest of her story, we her humble translators and readers need to remember that it is her-story, not necessarily his-story.
Sorry about that. I’m so ashamed.
It happened one day on a walk we took together through Eden after we had made love all night long at my place, with both of us naked and me on top, on the side, on the bottom, on my knees, and even Adam had gotten into the spirit of things and spent a bit of time on his knees for my pleasure. I was feeling all grand and bubbly inside, and was actually glowing just a bit as I walked, shedding little bits of life onto the grasses, the trees we passed, the brook we bathed in. I had already quickened the spirits of most of the common animals of Eden – things of fur and feather or cold wet scales, things with crunchy exoskeletal carapaces and many legs, even slimy things that lived under rocks.
Adam was a bit moody, the way he got when he was either scared or feeling inferior and humiliated. I saw him carefully scanning every bush, every tree as we passed it, looking for something. Guessing that he was at long last screwing up his courage to try his hand at lifegiving, I joyfully enough joined in the game and started looking for some animal without a soul for him to try with.
For a long time we saw no animals to quicken the spirits of at all, and Adam didn’t want to try his art first on a tree or a rock. We wandered farther and farther away from our trees, to a part of Eden I’d never visited up on the slope of a gradually rising hillside above a swampy area. Finally, as we were passing a fruit tree and I was reaching up into it to retrieve what my preternatural knowledge identified as “an apple”9, preparing to bless fruit and tree alike with a spirit as I savored the impossibly remembered taste, Adam spied a living creature that in fact I had never before seen up in its branches.
9 Actually, it probably was not an apple, as apples don’t do too well in subtropical near-desert climates. Maybe it was a mango, or a litchi nut, or a date, or an orange. There is no way for us to tell from either hieroglyph or cuneiform exactly what fruit it might have been, only that it was a fruit, or possibly a nut. This, then, is a case of cliche-ic license on my part.
A moment spent “remembering” revealed that this was a snake – a cold-blooded reptile that dined on rodents and other small animals. In particular it was a kind of hooded snake, a cobra that used venom injected through hollow teeth to paralyze nerves and dissolve flesh and bone, to kill and pre-digest its prey. Its brain was very simple and incapable of deep thought, and it was not, truthfully, very lovable – even with a soul it would be little more than an organic machine. However, it was lovely in its glossy scales, and it kept the populations of various pests under control, and in spite of myself I could feel just enough appreciation for the works of Inanna’s hand (even dangerous works) starting to flow from me towards the poor thing when Adam stopped me with a word.
“It’s my animal! I want to do it,” he said, and started to move forward.
“Careful,” I said. “It is venomous and dangerous for all that it has no legs. Don’t you ‘remember’ ?”
“No,” he replied. “How can I remember that which I have never seen? It is the first of its kind, and is so beautiful. Surely God will protect me as I grant this important creature a soul.”
I wasn’t so sure about that. First of all, if what God and my preternatural knowledge told me was true, we were currently living in an accidentally isolated valley of an entire, huge planet that was in turn an almost vanishingly small part of the Universe, which in turn was just one of an inﬁnite and eternal train of Universes, each unique, cast like dice or blown like bubbles into an Empty Everything that was distinguished from the Empty Nothing by the existence of the omnipresent mindful One. Out there in the rest of the world there were lots of snakes and other reptiles mindlessly eating and being eaten, being hatched from leathery eggs and dying, without a spark of self-awareness among the lot; there was no question that this particular species with its hooded neck was very dangerous indeed.
However, I did not know what God had told Adam, and God hadn’t even told me anything about Eden. Eden itself, as was most of the rest of my actual life, seemed off-limits to my preternatural knowledge.
I felt a bit better as the snake came easily off of its bough and into his hand, with its head reared back and hood fully erect but without striking at Adam or indeed doing anything but looking at him with its black, beady eyes, eyes devoid of any spark. Neither hostile nor affectionate, it wrapped itself around his arm as it had about the branch and tolerated his stroking of the back of its head and hood with gentle fingers.
Adam was entranced. I could see God’s love building up inside of him, and his hand began to glow with a white fire even brighter than my own. His eyes became distant as he felt the power of God within him surge forth, even as my own had done so many times now. He touched the back of the snake’s hood and blessed it with a spirit of its own. The light went into the snake, and the very mark of Adam’s fingers were left imprinted on the genes of the hood as spectacle-like marks.
Adam gave a sigh and swung around to look at me with something like bliss in his eyes, with more peace and love on his face than I’d ever seen there.
I often wonder how it all might have turned out if we hadn’t come upon a snake, and a poisonous one at that. Or if I hadn’t done Rex that very first day before Adam had a proper chance. Maybe it was God’s Will that we each quicken the beast that was sent to our own house and by doing Adam’s I departed from that Will and was curséd. How can anyone ever know. The part of me that still loves Adam, that has always loved Adam, that forgives him for all of the Evil he wrought, that part remembers that look of bliss and believes with all of its heart that it might have been different.
The snake bit him. Of course.
What else could one expect a self-respecting, self-aware snake to do? A snake uses its venom as a defense. It is evolved to do that, as snake is very tasty to any number of predators. Even non-predators can damage a snake by merely stepping on it. A snake’s venom says “don’t tread on me” and it uses it when, in a natural state and aware of itself and the possibility of death, it believes itself threatened.
Adam gave a little scream and flung the snake from him into the bushes, where it lost no time in slithering away. He then began to cry bitter, bitter tears. His hand where he had been bitten was already beginning to swell, and a clear liquid was oozing out of the holes left from the bite of the snake. My preternatural knowledge showed me one way to save Adam’s life at some risk to myself. I said a quick prayer to Inanna – one of the first times I remember ever praying for something – and put my lips across those holes to suck and spit, suck and spit – I was there so fast (and the snake had bitten so fast, and perhaps hadn’t injected too much venom) that I got almost all of the venom out before it had time to diffuse into the surrounding tissue, and got it out of my mouth quickly enough that I experienced only a bit of numbness and tingling from the poison I absorbed through my tongue and my gums.
Half supporting Adam with my shoulder I got him back to his house and into bed, and then waited on him night and day while the traces of venom that I had failed to get worked their inevitable will on his body and mind. He became stiff and his breathing labored, and then it stopped. I closed my eyes and let all of the love that was in me, all of the spark of God in my soul, build up into a ball of fire within my head until I was about to burst, and then placed my lips on his and breathed it into him. For an hour I breathed for him, praying all the while, and finally he began to breathe again on his own.
This was the crisis, and thereafter he improved until one day he arose from the bed and once again made his way about Eden, but now the beasts of the field and forest were all his enemy until proven otherwise, and since he would not use his preternatural knowledge to separate the dangerous from the safe, he could not bring himself to ever again trust paradise. It is as if he reached up into that tree to pluck from it knowledge of self and God and love, and instead reaped a harvest of ignorance and of death.
After this tumultuous event we lived for many years thus, together and apart, as natural man and woman, with Adam ever seeking to be on top in all ways, ever jealous of my power of soulgiving and my being first. Still, it was a zesty, lovely time for the two of us, filled with sex both good and mediocre, with great food, with fabulous new outfits, and with the true joy of soulgiving to top it all off (at least for me). Even Adam seemed to get some similar satisfaction from working on his set of rules. It might have gone on this way forever.
Of course, making love as often as we did, in the fullness of time I swelled up like an apple10 myself, with an appetite grown fretful and perverse and an insistence that either I be on top or both of us lie side to side while making love as otherwise Adam was left absurdly riding the boulder that was my belly. Besides, I couldn’t seem to breathe properly without Adam lying on top of me. Then one day, when my backed ached terribly and my swollen belly seemed about to burst, a gush of blood and water did burst from between my legs, absolutely destroying my favorite pair of shoes. Moments later I was stricken with cramps that made me feel like I was being torn in two.
10Or whatever... more likely a watermelon.
Adam came to my screams and did his best, bless him, to support me and care for me, in spite of the fact that I was, I’m afraid, less than charitable towards the man and the process that had left me in such a painful state. Never think that Adam was wholly Evil, or even that he was really Bad. He was just weak, he was jealous, he was greedy and even so only in certain areas – he could also be generous, strong, and trusting as it suited him.
Well, here preternatural knowledge was really useful and both Adam and I used ours (although he called his “instinct” after the fact, in his preening and his pride) and a half-day or so later I was holding a small wizened person that clung greedily to my rapidly freshening breasts. Adam used just enough of his preternatural knowledge to realize that here, at last, was a living being with a soul that he had, in his own fashion, planted. I diplomatically refrained from pointing out that the essential part of his role in this had taken him about twenty extremely pleasant seconds and one ejaculation, while mine took nine months and a birthing in blood and pain. Instead I exercised one of my prerogatives based on all of that work.
“His name is Cain,” I said.