Ishtar: The Feminist Symbol

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The Burney Relief (Old Babylonian period) – Often Identified as Ishtar

Introduction

(Warning! Long post! Also, Trigger Warning for discussions of rape, violence, gender, and sexuality!) Ishtar, the ancient Babylonian goddess of love, war, and sex is a complex figure. She evolved from the goddess Inanna in the earliest civilization in the world; ancient Sumer. (Modern day Iraq.) Her figure is at least 5,000 years old and her worship enjoyed popularity throughout all ages of Mesopotamia. (Unlike many other goddesses whose popularity waxed and waned.) She had many aspects, that added to her character over the ages. It was because of this some scholars theorize that Ishtar may have originally been a combination of several local goddess, which explains the complexity of her character.

While the mainstream academic view is that of Ishtar being a spoiled “brat”, trying to get what she wants, and that of a capricious teenager in mythology, this view ignores what could be garnered from modern  feminist interpretations. Looking at it from an ancient perspective, Ishtar is an independent woman in patriarchal societies that frowned upon that sort of thing. In a modern perspective, Ishtar stood up for herself when she was raped, back in time when rape wasn’t always a big deal,  owned her own sexuality, was independent of men, and remained an important figure of fertility in nature.

It was because Mesopotamians didn’t like demonizing and oppressing their goddesses too much, even if they went out of the gender norm, that the wild aspect of Ishtar’s lust (Killili) and violence seem to have contributed to the myth of Lilith, a more popular feminist figure of the modern age. Lilith (Babylonian Lilitu) became then, and subsequently in cultures who inherited the myth (Israelites),  a woman that was used to warn other women about the dangers of being independent woman in a society where women were owned by the males of their respective families. (In fact the Babylonian word for “prostitute” and “independent woman”, both of which Ishtar and Lilith typically identify, are similar for such reasons because both ideals are looked down upon in their respective societies.)

This essay will explore Ishtar’s character and myths in the ancient world, while offering a modern feminist interpretation of such mythology. She can be used a modern symbol of female empowerment, much in the same way her maiden Lilith is used by feminists. (The main reason why Ishtar is not viewed in the same lense of Lilith, is because Lilith enjoyed being interpreted by Romantic artists of the Victorian period and evolved into a symbol of modern Jewish feminism. Whereas, Ishtar became hopelessly lost in the veils of time, mostly.)

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History

It is important to note the historical background of Inanna’s (Ishtar) as it is a necessary component of her character. The goddess Ishtar is probably the most substantial goddess of the Ancient Near East in the Mesopotamian region.  She is connected to a plethora of goddess, like the Persian Anahita. But most particularly, she is identified with the Syrian-Canaanite goddess Astarte.

Tradition in the ancient world split Ishtar’s origins in two. In the priestly tradition she was regarded as the daughter of the principle god and ruler of heaven, Anu. (Sumerian An) The folk tradition offers the idea that she is the daughter of the moon god Sin (Sumerian Nanna) and as a consequence, the sister of the solar god Shamash (Utu). In Babylonia, these three made a triad, Sin of the moon, Shamash of the sun, and Ishtar of the earth. Ishtar here, is represented by the eight pointed star, Shamash by the solar disk, and Sin by a crescent moon symbol. She received the title of “Queen of Heaven and Earth” because of this.

Ishtar’s two most important aspects are fertility and war. The Babylonians emphasized her sexual aspects, while the Assyrians chose to focus on her power as a goddess of war. Prior to the rise of Marduk, Ishtar was the main deity of war. (Marduk eventually replaced her in Babylonia.) As the goddess of sex and fertility, Ishtar’s cult was comprised of priestess-prostitutes, in what is called “sacred prostitution”. The goddess herself being the goddess of prostitution.  In her war aspect, she vied for power and the battlefield was titled “the playground of Ishtar”.

Inanna’s capital was the city of Uruk. This is where her principal shrine was held. It was named “E-ana” or “House of Heaven”. Here is the origins of her as the daughter of Anu himself. She is also connected to the “morning/evening star” or the planet Venus.

The high priestess and daughter of Sargon of Akkad revered Inanna, and helped raise her to prominence. The priestess’s name is Enheduanna. She is considered the earliest poet in the entire world, who was not anonymous, she was also the first woman to hold the title of EN which was of great political substance. Even though Enheduanna was a priestess of the god Nanna, her most famous works are about Inanna. (It is likely Sargon moved her to the city of Ur to secure power in the Sumerian city-state.)  ‘The Exaltation of Inanna’ is her most famous work and this work influenced the conceptions of the goddess.

Ishtar’s popularity continued to grow over the region. Eventually, her cult spread to the Mediterranean. She evolved into the great goddess Aphrodite, where the cult of sacred prostitution spread. Inherited from the Ishtar mythologies, the Greeks began to think of the evening and morning stars as one star, instead of two separate ones. Later, Aphrodite survived as the Roman goddess Venus.

Ishtar’s Descent into the Underworld

In the Epic of Gilgamesh, Ishtar offers Gilgamesh sex. In which he spurns her advances, citing a long history of her cursing her former lovers:

“For Dumuzi the lover of your youth
You decreed that he should keep weeping year after year.
You loved the colourful allallu-bird,
But you hit him and broke his wing.
He stays in the words crying ‘My wings!’
You loved the lion, whose strength is complete,
But you dug seven and seven pits for him.
You loved the horse, so trustworthy in battle,
But you decreed the whip, goad, and lash for him
You decreed that he should gallop seven leagues (nonstop),
You decreed that he should be overwrought and thirsty,
You decreed endless weeping for his mother Sililu.
You loved the shepherd, herdsman, and chief shepherd
Who was always heaping up the glowing ashes for you,
And cooked ewe-lambs for you every day.
But you hit him and turned him into a wolf,
His own herd-boys hunt him down
And his dogs tear at his haunches.
You loved Ishullanu, your father’s gardener,
Who was always bringing you baskets of dates.
They brightened your table every day;
You lifted your eyes to him and went to him
‘My own Ishullanu, let us enjoy this strength,
So put out your hand and touch our vulva!’
But Ishullanu said to you,
‘Me? What do you want of me?
Did my mother not bake for me, and did I not eat?
What I eat (with you) would be loaves of dishonour and disgrace,
Rushes would be my only covering against the cold.’
You listened as he said this,
And you hit him, turned him into a frog (?),
Left him to stay amid the fruits of his labor.”
– tablet VI, SBV ii

Ishtar is shown as sexually independent and bound to no man, in the texts. This is not normal of Mesopotamian women. However, she tends to curse her many lovers in the end. Gilgamesh enrages Ishtar through his rejection. She sends the Bull of Heaven out at on him and his friend as revenge. Gilgamesh manages to slay the Bull of Heaven, at the cost of his friend’s life.

It is because of this event that leads Ishtar to perform the necessary funeral rites. The Bull of Heaven was the consort of the underworld goddess Ereshkigal–Ishtar’s sister/rival. Thus, Ishtar must descend to the underworld, since she is responsible for her sister’s husband’s death. However, Ishtar’s appearance in the underworld is two-fold. She is after obtaining power over the underworld by seizing Ereshgikal’s throne. This would make Ishtar the Queen of Heaven, the Earth, and the Underworld.

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A Sumerian relief showing Inanna (Ishtar) in the middle, worshipers above her, and underworld creatures below her.

But in order to pass through each seven gates, Ishtar must remove an article of clothing. This is symbolic, as it stands, to show Ishtar’s loss of power as she keep descending to lower levels. Once she passes to the last gate, she is completely naked.

After the final gate, seeing the throne, Ishtar attempts to seize it from Ereshkigal. Angered, Ereskigal and her demons slay Ishtar and hang her corpse on a hook. Ishtar once dead, husbands will not copulate with their wives, animals will not mate, and crops will not grow. It is Ishtar whose power is so great that she is imperative to existence in the world. The gods see this and decide Ishtar must be revived to restore order, so they bargain with Ereshkigal, who demands a replacement for Ishtar.

As Ishtar travels to the surface, newly brought back to life thanks to the other gods, she checks to see who is mourning her. All the gods mourned her except, her husband Tammuz (Dumuzi) is seen enjoying her splendor while she was dead and not mourning her in any way whatsoever. So, she sentences him to death as her replacement in rage. The demons gather their strength up and take Tammuz from Ishtar’s throne. Gestianna, Tammuz’s sister, offers to exchange places with Tammuz every six months to appease Ereshkigal.

Here Ishtar is a great symbol, she attempts to seize power for herself and she removes that which threatens her power. She does not allow those to disrespect her, even if that disrespect comes from her own husband.

She has many lovers and even her relationship to Tammuz can be ambiguous at times. She does not seem to have a permanent mate. Nor are any real children ascribe to her, with a possible exception of Shara. Bound by no man, bound to no children, and certainly she is not bound by traditional family life as the patriarchal Mesopotamian society would have it. She usurps it. She retains this independent character throughout her entire mythology; no children and no permanent lover is a prominent theme. She takes the power she can for herself and she removes all which is a threat to her independence. Not even if the threat is from someone of the same gender.

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Inanna (right) being presented a king-worshiper

Ishtar vs Mount Ebih

Ishtar for the record, formerly would bow to Anu. Now she has taken her own path. Swayed by her anger at mount Ebih for dishonoring her. She has decided to take matters into her own hand, even at the cost of disobeying the top god. This makes her wholly independent. She chose this and she takes responsibility for her actions.

The poem “Inanna and Ebih” is very interesting as Anu the sky father, refuses to help Ishtar. Very similar to Yahweh in the Garden of Eden with Eve, the patriarch Anu is not so tolerant of women’s equality even when Ishtar requests aid. But unlike Yahweh, An gives up and breaks his alliance with Ishtar when she disobeys. Anu is typically a key source of Ishtar’s divine power, this act however, seems to shake cosmic order.

O maiden Inanna. I will not set my head with yours against the fiery radiance of the mountain.

An say this to her:

INANNA! PORTENOUS ONE! HOLY! ILL-BODING!

FURY OVERTURNS HER HEART!

When academics look over this characterization between Anu and Ishtar, it is interpreted as Ishtar being a spoiled child to her father and throwing, what could essentially be called, a “hissy fit”. This is how some scholars now see Ishtar, which would be a very classical and patriarchal view. Rather, than looking at it as a woman standing up for herself against one who has dishonored her, to the point of disobeying the head of the pantheon; Anu. She challenges Anu’s patriarchal authority. There is no other goddess in the same mythos that does this. (At least that I know of!)

In Mesopotamian (Ancient Near East) societies, similar to historical biblical ones mentioned in the bible, women were typically owned by the head male (patriarch). Unmarried women would be owned by their fathers. Married women by their husbands, and if they are widowed, then by his brother or their uncle, if there was no male heir. Noble women usually had more freedoms, however, the society was emphasized that women be groomed to be wives, mothers, and caretakers. Men were thought to do this to preserve “legitimate” lineages and to curb adultery.

There are many tales told to women of the dangers of being an independent woman. Ardat lili (Akkadian for Lilitu) was typically used for this gesture. Themes of prostitution, women owning their sexuality, and adultery were commonly told tales of caution. This increasing sexualization of Ardat lili and Lilitu definitely came over from the Ishtar aspect. Despite this matter, Ishtar’s cult thrived and so did prostitution. It is amazing that Ishtar’s mythology preserved a more positive look for women outside of societal norms.

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Ishtar’s Rape

One of the most notable stories about Ishtar is the one that occurred about her rape. It is not just the fact that rape had happened to Ishtar in the story, it is also very note worthy that Ishtar sought to punish the rapist, personally. This was back in an era when rape was identified as offence against a man’s property if a married woman was raped, and when the rape of an unmarried virgin forced the girl to be married to her rapist.

In the code of Hammurabi of the Ancient Near East, the rape of a betrothed virgin woman was a crime punishable by death, but this is more because of the husband. However, if a married woman was raped, this was considered “adultery” and punishable by both the deaths of her and the rapist.  Similarly, in Ancient Hebrew law, if the woman was raped within city walls, cries of help would be assumed so someone would help her, if not, then the victim and rapist were executed. Outside the city walls, especially of a virgin, the rapist was required to pay for and marry the victim. There was no justice for the survivors of rape in the Ancient Near East.

This is why this particular story is very important when examining Ishtar as feminist symbol. She sought justice where there was none. She punished what was fleeing from punishment. Even when the water god, Enki (Babylonian Ea) hid the rapist. Ishtar did not give up searching for such a man.

In the setting of the story, Ishtar goes on an adventure to learn justice and falsehood. Soon she becomes wary, and falls asleep underneath a tree. A man takes advantage of this. Ishtar awakes dismayed and filled with vengeance. The man flees with the help of Ea, who helps all those he petition him. Ishtar cannot find this man as she destroys the land. Finally, she too, petitions Enki who revels his location.

Then the woman was considering what should be destroyed because of her genitals; Inana was considering what should be done because of her genitals. She filled the wells of the Land with blood, so it was blood that the irrigated orchards of the Land yielded, it was blood that the slave who went to collect firewood drank, it was blood that the slavegirl who went out to draw water drew, and it was blood that the black-headed people drank. No one knew when this would end. She said: “I will search everywhere for the man who had intercourse with me”. But nowhere in all the lands could she find the man who had had intercourse with her. – Now, what did one say to another? What further did one add to the other in detail?” – Inana and Shu-kale-tuda: translation 129-138

[…….]

When he had spoken thus to her, …… hit ……. …… added (?) ……. …… changed (?) him ……. She (?) determined his destiny ……, holy Inana spoke to Cu-kale-tuda: “So! You shall die! What is that to me? Your name, however, shall not be forgotten. Your name shall exist in songs and make the songs sweet. A young singer shall perform them most pleasingly in the king’s palace. A shepherd shall sing them sweetly as he tumbles his butter-churn. A young shepherd shall carry your name to where he grazes the sheep. The palace of the desert shall be your home. – Inana and Shu-kale-tuda: translation 290-310

It is simply wonderful to find a story that is thousands of years old, where a goddess seeks justice for the rape at hand. In many stories, rape is not punished and is somewhat socially acceptable. In some myths, such as Poseidon and Medusa, the victim is punished. (In this case Medusa was punished by Athena.) Even Hera, Queen of the gods in Greek myth, is said to have married her rapist, Zeus, to cover her shame. (Zeus being the epitome of what a man is in Greek culture.)

Ishtar is empowering as a Feminist symbol, here, because she refused to be a victim any longer. She didn’t just kill the man, either. She likewise, had the man remembered for all eternity because of the shame he brought on himself for the act. This is why she mentions this, and it should be taught as a lesson. But most of all, as with her other stories, Inanna refuses to take any shit, especially from a man.

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Sumerian image of Inanna (right) ready for battle

Ishtar and gender

One of the most interesting aspects to Ishtar and her cult, was the androgyny/gender crossing in her character.  Inanna, in her warrior aspect, takes on the role of a male.  She “appropriates” this role by striding into battle, a completely male dominated domain. She is referred when she is off to battle as embodying that of a young man. All the while, she is still considered a woman. But she is far outside the domestic domain of the Ancient Near East, a taboo in and of itself.

This part of it trickled into Ishtar’s cult. Ishtar herself, challenges the social norms. Even to the point of welcoming the “manly woman”, who was usually socially ostracized in Mesopotamian society. There may have been cross dressing women, and men, as a portion of Inanna’s cult. In one poem Ishtar is described:

Inanna… Dressing as a maiden, within the women’s rooms. Embraces with full heart, the young girl’s handsome bearing.

Here, “handsome” was used to explain “cross gendering”, in the translation. One could summarize this is what would be called a “dyke” in modern culture. We cannot say for certain about lesbianism in such a context, because of how ancients defined their own sexuality and how the texts were written. But at least, some of these “handsome women”, were not just simple tomboys or cross dressers.

Many texts exist that make reference to Ishtar’s cult personnel, in temples, as being eunuchs, androgynous, sexually ambivalent, intersexed, or trans because she embraces them. In the poem “Lady of the Largest Heart” we learn that Inanna “turn man to women/woman to man/are yours Inanna”. In this, her cult also challenges the hetero-normative Mesopotamian culture. She breaks sexual boundaries and gender boundaries–all taboo.

  Conclusion

Ishtar welcomes all gender identities and sexual identities into her cult. She is a social justice symbol from an era when such a thing never existed. In a time when this sort of thing was shunned and people were socially ostracized for it; Inanna embraced all the social misfits of society. Even the goddess herself crosses gender boundaries, breaks taboos.

As Betty De Shong writes in her book “Inanna: Lady of the Largest Heart“:

Inanna represents the full expression of whole range of possibilities for woman’s identity. That range includes same-sex unions. Inanna is free to travel throughout the landscape of her sexuality, enjoying each scene to the fullest. She sanctions sexuality in its many forms as the surging of the life force itself. To suppress a viable expression of sexuality, such as same-sex unions would be anti-life to Inanna and would go against the creative force of her nature.

Likewise, she is a symbol of justice for rape survivors. She does not stop searching for the perpetrator until she punishes him. The punishment befitting of the crime, for the era, she destroys him. Humiliates him for all time by letting the story circulate as a lesson. She is the refusal to remain a victim, she inspires those to empower themselves against those who committed such injustices.

When she battles the mountain, she is taking on patriarchy itself, symbolically. Not just by the fact that she had disobeyed the authority of the father god An, she also took on the embodiment of a male mountain. The gods, especially An, were in awe of Ebih and fearful. Inanna challenged this as well, she destroyed the mountain that was not respecting her. This could inspire many women to take on their own patriarchal cultures and remove their own mountains. Especially, if they block their paths in life. They too, like Ishtar, can fight to keep their autonomy.

Lastly, in the Descent of Ishtar to the Underworld, she even challenges another female’s domain. Inanna lusts for power, why is this considered a bad thing when so many women suffer from a lack of power in their own lives? Even other women can bring down patriarchal norms on females. Can’t we be like Ishtar and seize the throne ourselves? Why must we lay down? Ishtar is the embodiment of what we should seek; the power we need/want, even at the cost of usurping it from someone else. Though she did not get what she wanted in that particular story, she did get power later from Enki by stealing it successfully for herself and her people. This is how we should be as feminists.

References:

  • Inanna Lady of the Largest Heart by Betty De Shong Meador
  • The Hebrew Goddess (3rd Enlarged Edition) by R.Patai
  • Gods, Demons, and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia by Black and Green
  • DR: Ishtar/Inanna
  • Herstory on Rape
  • Wiki for Greek myths

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fetch/Nahualli & Dream Working

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A witch leading animals from Puella Magica Madoka

Introduction:

Warning: long post

I made this as a thread on a forum. I only posted it in one place and I gave it some thought that it may be helpful to my witchy and shamanistic friends. If you’re into any kind of magical workings that involve dreaming and the otherworld, this post is for you. It’s based on my own experiences, experiences of others whom have told me, and some cultural things that helped me on my own path. It does have a overall Hindu cosmological scheme. But I see no reason why someone couldn’t utilize it anyway. It’s pretty much a FAQ/Guide thingy. It will also aide in interpreting dreams.

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An esbat being performed

I am fairly knowledgeable in dream working and using the nahualli, or fetch as my Nordic friend has called it. I wanted to make this thread so I could share my experiences and knowledge with people, and coach them on it if need be. Me and a friend ran the academic sources (Mine from the Aztec side of things, hence the term “nahualli” or nah-wah-lee, as it is said in Nahuatl, and him for the Nordic side of things. In his case he uses the term “fetch”.)

Notes: Nagualism is the modern terminology for it in Mexico, and nagual is the modern word for it. You may remember it from people who write about Toltecs and Carlos Castenada. For this thread, I am going to use a combination of academia from what I have gathered and experiences to help people. (Since we have many threads asking for help against dream invaders. I may talk a little about my magic system here as well.)

As stated before me and a friend compared notes and the Aztec version and the Nordic is pretty much the same with different terms. I would go out on a limb and say this is a form on shamanism. Now, I am not as knowledgeable about Nordic systems, but I believe this system here throughout is utilized by many different cultures. All with unique terms for what they experience, which is pretty much the same.

In classical Nahuatl, the language spoken by the Aztecs, “nahualli” also meant sorcerer. But we aren’t going to refer to it in this manner because we have English words denoting the difference. The other meaning of the word, the one we are using in this thread, has not an English equivalent. A fetch or nahualli is an animal that shares your soul with you. This is quite different from a familiar which may just be an animal who works with you, or a spirit animal/totem which is an animal who is there to help you learn.

For modern witches in Mexico, this spirit animal is usually coyote. Another thing, I don’t know if I ever met anyone who is offended if you use the term “nahualli” if this is your preferred term. I have used it for years and no one calls me out for it. I doubt modern Nahuatl speakers care.

Another big note, this concerns more of a cultural specification, is that modern shamans or curendos as they are called, and brujas in Mexico are trained. They have a lineage based system similar to trad Wicca. I am untrained, but I have read enough ethnographic material and had over a decade of experiences to help. So, let’s get started, shall we?

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By Benjamin La Combe

              What is a fetch/nahualli/nagual?

The fetch/nahualli is an animal that shares your soul with you. Everyone has one. Even the gods have nahuallis; The Aztec god,Tezcatlipoca’s main nahualli is a jaguar for example. They can be anywhere from ducks to eels, to all sorts of strange animals. Some people can use theirs to fly, even. You see, in the dream world, you can turn into yournahualli and do all sorts of magical things.

The nahualli connected to your soul is very important and has to do with symbology, your nature, and your personality. It is a part of you. This is why you have to protect it from the mal-intent who want to “steal” it. This is why many rural people do not reveal their main nahuallis to anyone. For myself, I am not scared of others and have enough protection to make sure I am safe, so I do not mind revealing mine.

 In native thought there are 3 tiers of animals:

1. Common tier. Those commonly seen, such as cows or horses. (These are thought to be “commoner type people”. Though I disagree a bit of the social system here, more on that later.)

2. Mid tier. These animals are occasionally seen by humans. Coyote is a good example of this ideal. They represent the “middle class”. But as with all animals are highly important to the scheme of things.

3. Top tier, which are animals rarely seen by people who represent the leaders or nobility. Animals such as puma, or bear could be said to be this. Usually large wild animals, but not always. In Mexico, the highest of all animals and the lord that rules them all is the jaguar which is sacred to many people there. Sorcerers with jaguar nahualli are also feared because there is a chance they could be “evil”, likened to Tezcatlipoca the god of nahualli.

One of the biggest bits of information though, is that people can have more than one nahualli. They do so by obtained the animal through ritual consumption, (Hunting and killing it, then eating it.) stealing someone else’s, or being given one as a gift from the gods or another being. But these other nahualli they obtained will never share their soul with that person like their main nahualli does that they were born with. (The other nahualli will be connected to you in spirit though and you can turn into them.) Remember this, as it is very important to remember if you plan on getting more than one. Tezcatlipoca, has four nahualli including a turkey and a feathered coyote, but they are not the ones he was born with like the jaguar, Tepeyollotl.

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Elephant trunk snake

                                 How do I find out what my fetch or nahualli is?

This will take some time and will occur in the dream world. For myself, I asked the Irish goddess Badb for help back when I did not know what a “nahualli” actually was. She revealed it anyway. But if you are an atheist and not willing to believe in helpful archetypes, what good will that do?

To know your nahualli you must be attempting to get to know what it is through the dream world. You will turn into that animal, and it will feel like you physically turned into it. You’ll know. You may have to ask the spirits for help, but it is entirely possible to find it by yourself. You may also turn to “surface” magick, or magick done outside of the other world of dreams for help. Meditations and trances would help.

A word of advice, your fetch may not be the animal you think it is. It is not the animal you are “most attracted” to. It’s usually an animal you like but did not expect. I did not expect mine at all, but I do love it.

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                                   Why should I discover my animal power?

Your fetch is going to be what you use in your dream workings and in the other world, including traversing. (More on the other worlds later.) If you are a bird or bat, flying is very advantageous, you can travel great distances in a short amount of time. You probably heard of old European legends of witches turning into bats, owls, or creatures of the night. If you want to obtain a flying nahualli because you are a ground type of animal or water type, do not worry! You can definitely obtain one as I mentioned the methods above.

Another thing is the powerful symbology behind the nahualli and it’s senses. For example, a coyote person would be a trickster and very cunning. They may have a good sense of smell. An owl person would be associated with the underworld, death, and have super excellent hearing on top of the good nocturnal eye sight. (Contrary to popular belief, owls’ strongest sense is hearing.) A jaguar person would be very stealthy and be a natural at sorcery. When you discover your animal, it is good to take it upon yourself to look up world mythology and symbology on the creature. Also, it may be good to see what its biological advantages are. Remember, no matter how small, even a mouse is important in the scheme of things.

You may also use your nahualli to escape from enemies or attack them. If you are an animal such as a bear or a goat, it may be easy to attack other people or non-human spirits in that realm. If you are a tiny mouse it is good to use this form to escape. Some words to the wise, common animals are great nahuallis and stronger than most people give them credit for. Since they are commonly seen it is easy to trick other beings in the other world with them more often than rarer animals such as owls. Stealth plays a part in most animals’ lives and for their survival. Unless your animal is something like a bear, you may want to devise tactics on how to attack, hide, or run away from enemies.

The best reason though, is through your fetch you can find out more about yourself than you ever thought possible.

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A commission. Copyrighted by “Lolita-Artz”.

  Please, explain the “dream working” & the “other world”?

Dream working is the type of magic that you work in the otherworlds. The otherworlds are worlds you can usually get to, though not all, through astral projecting and dreaming which is a form of this projection. There are many other worlds. Most traditions honor the earth, heavens, and underworld. With the latter two being places you obtain through dreaming.

Some layers of the heavens or certain worlds cannot be accessed even by some of the most skilled. They may be home to the gods, spirits, or another type of other worldly being such as the asura. There are layers of reality in all, and the invisible plane known as the “astral plane” inhabits all other worlds, including here.

It is thought that the beast form or nahualli of higher being such as gods reside in the astral sphere when they are not turned into theirs. Attacking some beings there could result in their deaths if you are strong enough. (Though I would only advise to do that against malevolent beings that prey on people such as the asura/mazoku.) Attacking a human on the astral plane could result in making them crazy or mentally unstable, but rarely death. This is because the spiritual beings born without bodies are tied with their mental projections of themselves on our plane of existence when they manifest and in the other worlds when “physically” manifesting, since we have physical bodies it is a different set of rules for us. Thus, it is not as important to us when we are attacked astrally, but if attacked physically we get wounded horribly or die. It is the opposite for them. (And yes, you will meet at least one entity that preys on someone when you are dream working.)

It is important to note all the other worlds are connected to this main one and it’s reality. What you do in your dream has a lasting effect on physical reality in the here and now. IN the other worlds, time and physical limits are not as bound, you may be able to do things that would be physically impossible to do in “real” life. The other worlds, at least the basic ones, are world of ideas and the spiritual beings born without physical bodies have a lot do to with ideas because it helps make them who they are.

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Ishtar in her descent into the underworld. Human worshiped flank the top, while underworldly creature flank the bottom.

    What do I need to know to start getting to work on dream working?

There is many ways to get into dream working. This includes through trances or meditations, guided and not. Sleep is the more preferred method. Also, may include psycho-active drugs but I do not condone this method here. (Just mentioning it as a lot of tribal “shamans” use those things to travel.) Sometimes long trance rituals can take places to help which include many potentially dangerous things such as sleep deprivation, inducing extreme pain, or fasting for example. (Also, not saying this is necessary.) My most preferred method however, is just before you go to sleep and right before you just wake up. Important point is that the only dreams you remember are the ones you wake up from! :o

You need to protect yourself in the dream world and out. You may have to do rituals outside before you dream to help you do things or protect yourself. Sympathetic magick is extremely good for this. Say you may have problems with possession, while a house usually symbolizes your body when dreaming. Try making a circle of salt around your abode. This may also help if you are attacked a lot mentally by a dream invader. (Salt is very good to use for purification and protection against otherworldly beings.)

A big thing you need to know is how to ascertain different types of dreams. A lot of this is entirely experience based, but you will still have mundane dreams that are not real important even when you have begun your dream working journey.
There are 3 types of dreams:

1. Purely psychological. Everyone has these dreams and they are entirely you. They may be important to figuring yourself out or maybe just a manifestation of fears such as losing all your teeth. They vary in importance to you.

2. A mix of the supernatural and psychological. This dreams will at least be pseudo-important and are probably some of the most common types you will encounter when you start your journey. They may have symbols in them that are important to you and only you, but they may also contain things such as your nahualli or Loki or another deity.

3. Purely supernatural. This is the good stuff, when you start dreaming of places you have never been. You may converse with gods or the fae. But you will be in some place you could never possibly conjured up. You may even dream of places like heaven or more likely the underworld.

Keep a dream journal by your bed, if you are having trouble remembering. This can really help because dream working gives you a lot of information in the form of “puzzle pieces” that you cannot always remember. You will be able to see what is going on by recording it. You will be able to see the bigger picture.

Remember that you can meet other magick users in the other worlds as well that you may meet, some of them are far from friendly. Using elemental magick and incantations to defend yourself is a good idea because it manifests like Hollywood magick. For example, one can easily call forth the light spirits to leave a dream or simply light a place in the darkness of their dream. Or use spirits of literal darkness to conceal yourself besides your nahualli. (These elemental spirits are low beings and are not generally that intelligent, but they can make things for you. It’s a concept of animism.)

Also, reflective surfaces, particularly mirrors and water, are portals to the other worlds in the other worlds and beyond. You do best to keep that in mind as some spirits can use the same surfaces as portals. (This is especially handy if you have a haunting.)

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Three witches by Gardner

          Dream invaders, evil spirits, and the like?

Well, I gave outlines earlier about this sort of stuff such as sympathetic magick, as cited above, using elements, or elemental spirits, and the like, I need to talk about the different kinds of yokai. (The Japanese word for mysterious supernatural beings or phemonea.) By yokai I am using more generally here and not using it specifically to Japanese folklore. There are so many different otherworldly beings to encounter it is tiring to classify them all and probably impossible because they are diverse. However, yokai is the appropriate term for that which is unclassifiable and seems similar to the modern usage of the word fae or faeries. Either term will suffice, it’s a matter of preference.

For the ones with more conclusive terms with have different kinds. I am only putting out the most commonly encountered for the purpose of this thread.

1. Monsters/Mazoku/Asura(Possibly Jotun), these guys do not have much concern for the goodness of mankind and actually see us humans as prey. They hate “good” things such as logic, justice, courage, valor, love, etc. This is because these beings were formed, from chaos, as anti-thesises to the gods who represent more positive ideals. (As above, so below, eh?) It is also because these entities feed on the energy generated from negative emotions, so they look to make humans suffer. They tend to have one or more form, but their beast or monster form, as in their “real selves” reside in the astral plane and will be invisible to humans. The mental projection however, which usually can take the form of an animal, person, or thing, will not be. Usually for most of them, something will be “off” in their imitations. Especially, if pretending to be human. Such as their behavior will be extremely off to be a human.

The higher ranking or more powerful a mazoku, the harder it will be to tell if they are human or whatever they are imitating or not. The most powerful mazoku (s) being able to mimic gods and to be the most dangerous to humans. However, I would not worry about these ones so much, because there is not much most people can do about them. (The gods must take care of that thing.) They usually own the lower ranking mazoku in a master/follower relationship and are not commonly seen, because they are the type of mazoku to start wars with the gods and such, and have more important things to do then bother a few humans. (I.e. the opposite of the evangelical Satan archetype.) High ranking mazoku usually have territory in certain underworlds in the otherworld.

Most dream workers only need to concern themselves with low ranking mazoku, who prey on individuals and are much more personal, and cause chaos in the humans’ lives both in and out the otherworlds. All mazoku are heavily connected to the otherworlds. It is possible to fully exterminate a lower ranking mazoku via the other world. They are weak against magic from the gods, from high ranking mazoku, or astral magick.

They can also be defeated by sheer willpower if the will of a person is greater than the mazoku’s they can be harmed. Likewise, they are weak against positive emotions and particularly disdain logic from my experience. (Healthy skepticism really helps in fighting them.) As mazoku are the opposites of holy spirits and gods, they are typically trickster spirits. If gods have a trickster god or two for every pantheon, then mazoku are almost entirely made up of trickster spirits with one or two actually being blunt. They are also very much associated with uncleanliness and “unholiness”.

While I prefer the Japanese “mazoku”, when I encountered them and tried to identify them they made known themselves as “monster” which is a broad term that can refer to anything that looks scary and unnatural. “Mazoku” is more specific since it was invented as the Japanese term for the Asura of Hinduism. “Ma” means “demon” or “evil” and “zoku” means “race” or “clan”. The mazoku are definitely monsters, their beast forms represent that, but they are only a certain type of monster.

I also think mazoku are extremely misidentified in Western cultures as various things. The lower ranking ones’ most common identification is Christian “demons” or “Satan”, but they are neither fallen angels nor really directly related to Satan. (Demon can also mean malevolent spirit, and they do fall under this category.) Mazoku based energy magick is good for curses and attacking or offensive endeavors, despite being impure. The type of energy they have can be amplified with negative emotions and it is good magick to use in a bind. It typically falls under “unjustifiable magick”, which is good or bad depending on the situation. God energy based magick would be it’s opposite.

2. Souls of dead people. Pretty common and probably one of the common ancient usages for dream working. You will likely meet all sorts of different people who are dead. Some may even try to employ your help. Others may attack you, depending on what type of person they were in life.

It is not your business to help everyone to pass on. Especially in the other world, where some of them may already be passed on! For the ones that do attack or act hostile, elemental magick is successful at making them leave with out decimating them. It may also be wise to purify the area. Others if they ask for your help, you must decide on a case by case basis. While still other ghosts may be friendly and help you traverse the other worlds.

3. Demons or daemons. I am not using the “demon” word here in such a way to mean “evil spirit”. But closer to it’s original usage of daemon. There are half humanish demons, such as mermaids, or the completely monstrous ones such as Lamashtu with little human characteristics. It is important here to note that daemons can be good or bad, and sometimes their origins lie in being created to serve the gods or another being, or even mazoku. It’s impossible to ascertain unless mythology is an indicator.

Tlaloc, an Aztec god, has many little spirit servants that look like him called the Tlaloque, they would be considered “demons” though people can use them in rituals or work with them as they do the sidhe. There are so many example and there are even daemons who were came from chaos or the like. As said before, they can usually be good or evil. In ancient Mesopotamia, even bad demons such as the owl spirit Lilitu, who killed babies, had good sides. (We do not know her beneficial nature to humans, we just know it existed.) You will definitely see many spirits such as these. It’s mostly trial and error, because while one daemon species may be hostile to humans in general, it may not be hostile to you.

4.Other magick users. You would be surprised how many dream workers see each other in the other world. Now dream working, can be done by anyone of any belief system. So you will see, Christians, Wiccans, Islamics, Satanists, pagans, and the like in certain parts of the other world. That being said, dream working attracts the goodand bad people. I personally, have met some vampires who would prey and pick on people in the other world. I promptly took care of them and would stop them from doing that.

There are certain vampiric people that will attack others, but they are not the only ones. There have been bad “witches” who just seem to want to cause people chaos. (Humans are fairly neutral in the scheme of things so they can go either way.) There have been people who just like to abuse their power over people. While they may not do that irl, they will certainly do it in the other world. As mentioned in the mazoku part, there is different sorts of magick you can utilize against them. But I suggest not resorting to that if you do not have to. I’d also say the most dangerous magick and their users is those who case the evil eye, and I would be wary of those people. Though I think it is rare to encounter such a user since the eye can be difficult to cast.

It would be good to learn a bit of trickery in all your endeavors in dream working in case you meet enemies such as the ones I have outlined.

Anyway, this is what I got so far. I hope someone can find it beneficial.

Lilith: A Modern Goddess

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Lilith in Eden

Disclaimer: So, I am in the process of making this huge post on the goddess Ishtar in a modern interpretation. In the meantime, I wrote a modern view of Lilith as a goddess of Neopaganism, combining what I learned and UPG. I have published this on Wiccan Together and Tumblr. But this seems a better place for such a modern view.  It’s aimed at Neopagans who know that Lilith is not an ancient goddess of anything, and have trouble placing her for their own personal usages. It does not rely so much on comparing her to other goddesses, it mostly relies on interpreting her own vast mythos.

It’s my own personal view, but feel free to use this in your personal practice or expand on such. I am perfectly comfortable with it and I want to make it available for anyone to use. Thanks! 🙂

Warning! Extremely long post!

There is many modern interpretations of Lilith and while I’ve written extensively on the subject of Lilith over the past few years, most of it was concerning a factual point of view and other people’s’ interpretations. These are my own personal views on Lilith, the dark goddess.

My views of Lilith have evolved from a more traditional point of view, that was staunch on her being a demoness, to accepting the more modern interpretations of her character. This took a lot of time, almost a decade, of dealing with my personal experiences with Lilith herself and me rethinking what I had previously thought over time. I had realized how much she had benefitted me, as I started to grow into an adult. (I will get on more about that later in the article.)

Major concerns about worship

I understand she is not a goddess for everybody and there are many reasons for this. I will cover two major factors here that I have encountered. The first major factor I noticed about Lilith that people have the most difficult time with is that of her child killing aspect. (This is one factor I will admit to having for along time.) While this aspect was used to blame SIDS on in medieval and ancient times, I will not romanticize it. It is true, Lilith can be a child killer. (In the same vein, we could call her a “rapist”.) However, this aspect is a later development to the character of Lilitu and Lilith. It is most certainly a characteristic that she inherited from Lamashtu. It is not a deniable part of her character, though for some it overshadows everything else. I find this problematic, as many may point the finger at Yahweh for killing children, other gods have been said to do such ill behavior. This includes the dark goddess Hekate who sends evil spirits out on people, and monsters such as Lamia who eats children, but Hekate can also protect people from them. This does not make these gods “unworshipable” nor does it make them have no benevolent aspects. (I also want to note that I do not personally think Lilith is a goddess that anyone under 18, or more preferably 20, should worship since her character is very sexualized. She certainly is not a goddess of children as some assert or a goddess for children.)

The second major reason people are hesitant is because she was not originally a “goddess” but rather a “demon”, or more accurately, a spirit, which is a better term for what the ancients considered her. The reasoning that she should not be considered among deities. I find this to be the most problematic because if we are approaching Lilith from a more pagan view, then it should be noted that ancient pagans were known to worship people as in the case Egyptian Imhotep, various emperors, and oddly, even George Washington in some Americanized Shinto traditions in Hawaii. Furthermore, many cultures had words for divine spirits and gods that were the same. Shintoism does this with “kami” which can be used to refer to both and the ancient Aztec word “teotl” functioned similarly.

Now where does that leave Lilith in her connection to divinity? What makes her a “divine spirit”? In two major places; ancient Mesopotamia and Jewish mysticism/Judaism. In the ancient near east, Lilitu was certainly molded after an aspect of the sex and war goddess Inanna/Ishtar called “killili”, which is why the Burney relief was so controversial in it’s identity. (It could be Ishtar, it could be Lilith.) Ishtar sent Lilitu out to “lead men astray” and mostly, she has a sexualized character like Ishtar. (She is also Ishtar’s handmaiden.) She is an embodiment of the kilili aspect of Ishtar. But “Is she is Ishtar herself? is entirely different question. I do not think they are exactly the same. They’re definitely related in my own opinion, as I work with both. (I think it’s like how you have the main Aztec god Tlaloc, and he has divine spirits that help him that look like him called Tlaloque that function similarly.)

The other cue of divinity of Lilith is in Judaism or more specifically Jewish mysticism, as you know, Lilith was used to explain Genesis’s dual passages about male and females being created. The first passages details the sexes being created at the same time, and the latter one states it was later with Eve. Now, the Zohar, is a Jewish mysticism book that is essentially biblical commentary and expands on Lilith’s mythology. In the Zohar, Adam and Eve are created in the “image of God” and later it states, Samael and Lilith are created in the image of Adam and Eve. (This means they are also made in the “image of God”.) Lilith and Eve represent dual characteristics of the female aspect of God, in a similar way that Adam and Samael represent God’s male half.

Lilith: Goddess of….

As we have got the hard parts out of the way… What exactly is Lilith to be considered the goddess of? She was never historically worshiped by people. There are no temples or inscriptions to go by. In both medieval, and the ancient times, had some views of her that could be construed as quite sexist. Views on sexuality and women have changed considerably over the centuries. Lilith was originally used to demonize women and sex, because the cultures she was in were very “conservative”.

Another problem is there is so many different answers to what Lilith covers! I am sure if you ask many different people of different religions or beliefs, because Lilith is worshiped among a diverse group of people, you will get many different answers. People from Wiccans to Satanists love Lilith, people from very different paths. Some may take a more Kabbalah stance, while others revel in her ancient past. Even still, there are people, like myself who use a mix of these mythologies. I am willing to offer my own personal views on Lilith, I have not seen people cover some of the themes I ascribe to her. I figure that this can be used to help worshipers of Lilith, those who want to be closer to this dark goddess figure but do not romantanize her to the point of denying her myths. (Note: These are the major aspects and associations I consider her with, there may be others I forgot to add or maybe something pertaining more personally to the readers that I skipped over.)

  • Lilith is a goddess of knowledge. This comes from me personally working with her and her Kabbalah mythology. In some myths, Lilith was the one who tempted Eve of the fruit of knowledge of good and evil, the snake of the tree. (As you probably know, serpents are ancient symbols of wisdom.) Similarly, a story of her and king Solomon has him outwitting her and being granted powerful knowledge from this. (As the Queen of Sheba.) In her ancient past, she was associated with owls and while this is more from the Greek side of things, we can still use owls as symbols of wisdom and not just of the underworld. Likewise, Lilith’s element is wind/air. This element is connected to all things mental and especially intelligence. Even more astounding is that as a literal figure, Lilith is one of the oldest surviving in the world. Coming from the first civilization of Sumer, to modern times. She must be wise and knowledgeable about humanity.
  • Lilith is a trickster goddess. (Something almost unheard of because most trickster gods are male.) Not just from the riddles that were posed by the Queen of Sheba, or the deciet she used against men in Jewish lore, but you can see it nowadays in how many people confuse her and Ishtar, or confuse her myths with other goddesses. Some even say she is an ancient Sumerian goddess demonized by men or a goddess older than Ishtar. From my personal experience, she used to “trick” me such as saying she was “God”(?) at some point, I don’t really know why. But it really helped me in the end when I saw the truth. Through her trickery I gained so much knowledge of ancient religion and Kabbalah, because I wanted to study more of it. I learned of civilizations I never even heard of before and I learned the origins of the Hebrew religion that became Judaism.
  • Lilith is a witch goddess. This is more from traditional Jewish folklore, but Lilith is undoubtedly considered a witch and her female children are well versed in witchcraft, too. She fits the image of a traditional witch, not the crone image nor the romantic Neo-Wiccan image, but one of the seductress who uses her power and deceit against men. An independent woman who will not be tamed, she travels through the other worlds and searches for prey. Even her red hair is a trait of a witch. (She is certainly a model for witches of the female variety.)
  • Lilith is a goddess of sexuality. I am fairly certain almost all people who worship Lilith can agree on this. She is the divine whore for Ishtar, but she was also made after the aspect of Ishtar that is a divine whore. Therefore, Lilith is a patroness of prostitutes, similar to Ishtar and Aphrodite. She represents carnal desires and wantonness. She can be lewd, crude, and unacceptable to society’s rules about sexuality. She is a symbol of freedom and liberation of one’s desires. She is wild. On the sexuality side, I also believe Lilith can help get over sexual abuse that people suffer. Lilith may benefit those who are gay, lesbian, bi, and trans, in my own opinion. In the Kabbalah specifically, Lilith was originally a hermaphrodite in some versions and seduced Eve as a female. (Ancient myths state a male version of Lilith who seduced women was call Lillu. Whether or not Lilith is the same as the male being, is up for debate.)
  • Lilith is a goddess of death. Not just of the obvious child death, Lilith would be a symbol of sin in Kabbalah which equates to death. There she is married to the angel of death, Samael. She and Samael symbolize the tree of knowledge of good and evil, which is the opposite of the tree of life that promises immortality. Mankind is always seeking the tree of life, but forsaking the tree of knowledge. The tree of life may promise a certain kind of power, however, it is not realistic. The tree of knowledge, though, offers the power of knowledge which can be used to stifle death as well. For myself, I likewise consider Lilith a goddess of abortions, because of her aspects and also because abortions give women freedom over their bodies. Lilith represents the power to choose and in that choice, it is bodily autonomy. Similarly, I believe Lilith can help those who have suffered miscarriages or child death, recover from the loss of a child.
  • Lilith is a goddess of the wilderness and animals. This is an oft ignored aspect, but Lilith from her early days of Lilitu and her later days in the Zohar is always associated with the wilds and wild animals. This comes into play as she is associated with owls. In ancient near east lore, owls are associated with the wilderness, abandoned places, ruins, isolated places, cemetaries, wild animals, evil spirits, the underworld and death. All of these attributes are still a part of Lilith. You see that with the Isaiah passage about her hanging out with other wild beasts, and it is a part of the narrative with Mesopotamian lore as well. My experience with Lilith has taught me how much she knows about the wilds and the wild beasts. I have asked her, for example, what kind of birds Anzu birds of Babylonian myth were since they have so many theories as to what they are. (She had told me the eagle identification is correct.)
  • Lilith is a maiden and a mother, but never a crone. In the Babylonian days Lilith was described as a infertile maiden (unmarried young woman) and in the Zohar she is said to look about “20 years old”. She is always described as beautiful and young in nearly all her myths. There is no myth I have ever come across, modern or ancient, that pits her looks as anything less than a charming, pretty, young woman. Her mother aspect is the dark aspect that you see as the child killer or the one willing to abandon her young to be slayed in exchange for her own independence. (She preys on pregnant women or mothers at times too, though this is rare behavior.) She is harsh to her children, she teaches them strict and hard life lessons, but they learn. However, Lilith is eternally youthful and will not ever reach the crone stage. She could be applied to either the maiden aspect or a dark mother aspect of the Goddess, but never the crone aspect for she is never old and haggard.

Why Lilith?

This is just my personal experience as to why I choose to indulge myself into Lilith and her symbols. I cannot speak for anyone else on the matter and I am not trying to “convert” anybody. I am just sure some people wonder why anybody, or just myself, would worship Lilith. So,I will share some personal experiences, which is something I do not do often….

My first real experience with Lilith as a goddess was when I was basically still a Neo-Wiccan. (And I am now still, but I left it for some time to “find myself”.) I had been a Neopagan at that point for two years. I was reading a book on a few different religions and it had her listed as a “Hebrew” goddess, which I guess now looking back you could make that claim. Something drew me into trying it out, but then I remembered that I stopped believing in anything Hebrew/biblical/etc at the time, which is a stupid belief I picked up as a teenager from some Neopagan book I cannot remember. (Originally I was a Christian, so it was me trying to “let go”.)

I had some beliefs about Lilith before that I picked up before paganism and before I was really into feminism. I was about 14 at the time and I didn’t know much. I remember watching the history channel and how one woman explained Lilith and praised her for standing up for herself. I picked up on this idea, briefly. My mother took me to a church and somehow the topic came up, and I said Lilith was great, happily. The pastor looked at me and said “No. No. She really is not.” which come to think of it I think tainted my view of her for along time because I felt bad, like I had done something wrong for going against the church basically.

After the stint when I was 18, I forgot for awhile until Lilith started visiting me regularly in my sleep when I was about 19. She “tricked” me a few times, by her claims which I researched and found out were not true. I grew to distrust her and every ounce of me tried to resist her and in my opinion, “go against my nature”. I studied her obsessively for a few years and for along time. I bought a lot of books on her and through my studies I also came to learn about Ishtar, Asherah, Astarte, Kali ma, ancient Sumer and Babylonia, etc. I read just about everything about Lilith good and bad. But I still held onto these “conservative” views about her, not about being a woman or sex, I could care less. I just could not get over the child killing aspect of it all and her trickery, even though all of it benefited me.  I lashed out at her online, and her followers trying to tell them she is a demon all the time. Emphasizing her evil traits. I was mean to her and abusive, when she was not to me and I shouldn’t have been looking back. I feel bad about it now because she showed a ton of patience with me, I don’t know why.

Well, in 2007 I was dabbling in different philosophies and religions, I took up “Aztec reconstructionism”, which was one of the biggest mistakes of my life but I learned a lot from it. I kept trying to be someone I was not to “fit in” with people who did not even like me for who I was. (They weren’t nice people.) Why? I have no idea why, really, I guess I just wanted to fit in. I worshiped Tlaloc for years, and here is the kicker, he had child sacrifice performed in his name. That was worse than what Lilith does really! (Also, I am still into Santa Muerte who is just as dark as Lilith is.) She does not tell people to kill children for her! I loosened up about Lilith but something still bothered me.

Namely, my spirit animal, you see is a white owl and I consider Ishtar/Aphrodite/Isis like my mother. Now every thing I researched about Lilith would have made me associated with the same things because in most cultures white is the color of death and owls symbolize death/underworld, evil spirits, abandoned places, prostitution in Babylonia etc. (In ancient times, even owls were sometimes called “lilitu”, so it made Lilitu the spirits or spirit and Lilitu the owls a confusing thing! This would mean that I too, was a “lilitu”.) Owls are almost universally associated with witchcraft, vampirism, and as death omens. Pretty much also stuff I am associated with it. I did not want to admit how much “in common” Lilith and I had, but it just kept piling up. Even with the Solomon story she is said to have “hairy legs” and having a lot of body hair (Like Esau) was an ANE symbol of an evil or dark spirit. I suffer from hirtuism, so that always stuck in my mind. On top of the fact, that originally my hair was strawberry blonde until I got older and red heads are associated with like the god of chaos Set and witchcraft. (Now it’s dyed red, haha.)

You’d think this would be a wake up call to me, eh? Like all the puzzle pieces fit into place… Nope. I stubbornly clinged to the old gods, of which now I am only loyal to a few. That religion messed me up and was about just as bad and unhealthy for me as Christianity. It made me distressed and any religion that isolates you and causes you distress, is not “healthy”. I left. Did a ritual and I found out I am very eccletic and do not fit anywhere. Wicca is my thing. (Took years to stop pretending to be someone I am not.) I have always maintained being a witch throughout my spiritual and religious endeavors, because that is who I am and Lilith is a part of me as well as being one of the best things that ever happened to me no matter how much I resisted, in the beginning. After all that I decided it was time to break taboos. All the beliefs I was determined to cling to had fallen apart on me and I can worship Lilith if I want. I am free. I am not a slave anymore.

I should not hold the child thing against her nor should I be afraid something “bad” is going to happen to me for embracing Lilith. Plenty of people worship Lilith, and nothing “bad” happens to them because of it. In fact all the bad things she did, usually happens to people who do NOT worship her. (Mostly, Jews, I guess? Idk, but it seemed like they were a target way back when.)

I stared into Lilith and I stared back into myself. She showed me who I was and who I should be. How I should be free and value my independence…. How to stand up to people and assert myself. She helped me over come abuse on emotional, verbal, and sexual level, and helped show me that those unhealthy people I do not need to be around. As she is also a part of my identity, she is likewise separate from it. I am a Lilith, as she is a Lilith. I value the wilderness, nature, animals, death, and knowledge as she does. As part of the Craft, I too, am constantly studying and gaining wisdom. I am always learning and growing. I am wild. My only regret is I wish I had realized this sooner and stopped resisting so much.

A little on my Isis UPG

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TSG *update* Disclaimer: Old cross post from Tumblr. I had recent UPG that gods share names at times and this is where some of the confusion come from. (Though they never specified who or when, etc.) I can completely see this. But I think, at least, there is enough evidence for Ishtar becoming Aphrodite in the records.

Isis-Aphrodite statue in the pic. I tried to find the funny one of her lifting her skirt up, but failed.

Disclaimer: I am going to make this post and its the first time I really publicly spoke of my UPG/CPG with syncretism. I have no clue if many others have similar ones because the only people I ever really corresponded with on the matter were hard polytheists who are reconstructionists who reject that sort of thing, both modern and ancient, which was one of the reasons I left it. So, if you’re easily offended about gods and what not, then ignore this post. I am not here to debate the matter because I see gods largely and ultimately “unknowable” and conclusively unknown from an objective point of view. (My agnostic side here.) So, this is an entirely subjective/opinionated post.

If you’re new to this, UPG is unsubstantiated personal gnosis, which means its not a fact or scientific evidence. The term is used, specifically, to about any sort of spiritual experiences… Be it with nature, gods, spirits, demons, and so forth. It includes communications with them. SPG is shared personal gnosis in which multiple people have the same UPG or same experience, sometimes at the same time. Lastly, CPG is confirmed personal gnosis in which the user may learn something about a spiritual being through UPG, only to have it historically confirmed later. None of these things equate to “facts” however, because beliefs in and of themselves are not facts. (Other than the fact of what one believes.)

I, for the record, am not a soft nor hard polytheist. I am more in the middle, I have only met one other who is also a middle polytheist. (I really don’t know another name for it.) I am also not a monotheist. I am however, a monist, but I believe the one thing underlying all of reality is primordial chaos/void. I believe gods can separate into 2 different gods, which according to my UPG is what happened to Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca, which is why they’re twins, rivals, opposites, and now two very distinct beings. I also believe gods can merge with each other, but that is where I do not have a lot of UPG to say. It would be similar to how Sekhmet-Bast-Hathor are sometimes considered same goddess in some trads, yet entirely different beings at the same time.

My experience with Isis-Aphrodite: Back in 2005, when I was young, I had a discussion with Isis in which she told me her other names… The names of which were Aphrodite and Ishtar, are the ones that stuck in my mind. (She only told me names I knew of. I made note of this.) I made note of it, forgot about it for along time and went on with life. (She also told me Isis is her favorite name for herself.)

About a year or two later, I happened to stumble upon the Isis-Aphrodite thing and remembered what she said. Through my research I found out that Aphrodite was the Greek version of Babylonian Ishtar, that is, the Greeks inherited her from the ancient near east and ascribed to her their own cultural views. Including a new origin myth. Before then, the Greeks had two different gods for the evening and morning stars  because they thought they were two different stars. The morning star god, remained in later Roman poetic term as “Lucifer”, who very much later the church said was Satan. After which, the Greeks only had Aphrodite as both stars because they took a lot from the Babylonians, Assyrians, and so forth. (The zodiac, astronomy, planets, Hermes’s staff, [Ningishziddha] and astrology was taken from the ancient near east, probably some more I do not know of. Ishtar retained her planet name through Venus.)

Now its important to note that many scholars talk about how fecund Inanna is just within the context of Sumerian myth alone and tie her with Astarte, who see her as nothing more than a West Semitic version of Ishtar. (Though some dispute this.) She is called “she of many faces” for all her various aspects in mythology, aspects such as Kilili in her descent to Kur which is similar to Lilith. (Origins of the confusing identity of the Burney relief.) Likewise, later on, Isis is called “She of 10,000 names” and her cult was popular enough to start absorbing many other goddess cults of the Roman era.

See, the Sumerians were conquered by the Babylonians who took their culture/religion. Very similar to how the Romans conquered the Greeks and then adapted everything. Old Babylonian religion( pre-Marduk), is considered the same as the Sumerian, with slightly different names for the gods. Inanna became Ishtar. Enki became Ea, Utu became Shamash, Nanna became Sin, etc.

How I saw Isis, in my UPG, was very similar to the author of the Golden Ass. His account of Isis is when she appears to him and gives him many names of herself that are names of other goddesses. The book was written centuries ago and I never really had any sort of net access until 2006, so I was astounded to see such passages. The major difference is that the names she gave me and the names he got are different. I can’t explain this and I don’t care to, though maybe he took some liberties.  I certainly cannot remember the other names she gave me, Aphrodite, Isis, and Ishtar were the three that stood out to me the most.

Now I am going to admit, I am a bit fuzzy on the Egyptian Aset’s connection and Isis. Aset is connected to so many goddesses within Egyptian myth, even foreign goddesses, it is even more confusing than this post is probably to you reading this. (Its confusing to me, at least. Hathor, as well.) But by the time the cult got around in the Roman era I am less confused. Aphrodite, as seen in this relief and many others like it, became heavily syncretized with Isis at the time.

But I think the biggest telling thing to me is that Isis picked up some epithets and associations that Aphrodite had previously lost in her transition from Ishtar. First, Isis became associated with the moon, though not considered a proper moon goddess ala Diana. Just by association, which is how Ishtar was in ancient times. This is interesting because Ishtar/Inanna was associated with the moon. Not only was her father Nanna the moon god, but she had that underworld kilili form I spoke of earlier and controlled Lilitu,(and lilitu demons) whose name alludes to the night and the moon, and is a succubus. [night demon] The other interesting title was the Romans started calling her the “Queen of Heaven”. This is the most famous title of Ishtar’s and I have never seen Aphrodite being called that, so its interesting to me how things came back around full circle centuries later when a few of the cultures were gone. And like Aset, Ishtar tended to trick other gods. Though Ishtar is not as heavily associated with magic until later. As we know, Isis is all about magic. Hell, the Egyptian culture was all about that sometimes. Magic was a big part of daily life.

We know, maybe you heard of it, that Mary and Jesus pictures are based on Isis and Horus. They are similar images and I do believe it is not a coincidence. Some pagans include the Virgin Mary as an aspect of Isis. Personally, I have very little experience in this area. So, I guess you could say Mary is a Christianized Isis, although not exactly like St.Brigid.

Anyway, my recent UPG, Isis told me another name for herself, a more modern one is Aradia. Now, the only “evidence” is that this was an idea Leland also had which he wrote about in the appendix of his book. (In an ironic twist of fate, he also relates her to Lilith.) But now I consider Aset, Ishtar, Inanna, Aradia, Aphrodite, Astarte, and Isis to be parts of her many forms and names. (This is not including the cultural specific titles she bears.) I wrote a long thing about how she was Aradia here.

Now, please take this with a grain of salt because it is just UPG and not as fact. If you ever doubt one god being the same as X god, then treat both as different gods unless they say differently to you, I mean, if you’re a theist.

Welcome!

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My name is Lilith and I currently reside in the wilds. Welcome to my blog. I will be covering Neopagan topics and recipes/spells. I will also add social commentary and be blogging about history topics, and yes, I may even get a tad bit… political.

I’m a feminist witch and while I am a Goddess worshiper, I am not exclusive though. There are many male gods I do enjoy. I am bit of an eclectic. My area of focuses are India, Ancient Near East, and Egypt. However, I know a great deal of topics. Including some Aztec and Mesoamerican knowledge!

I hope you can gain something from my personal opinions and practices. Enjoy!