Lilith is a Sumerian or Babylonian demon Goddess, Who is perhaps better known for Her role in Jewish legend. Called “The Dark Maid” or “Maiden of Desolation,” Lilith is associated with owls and is a creature of the night. She is depicted on a Babylonian clay plaque from 2000-1600 BCE as beautiful winged woman with bird’s feet and claws.
As a young woman, Inanna, the Sumerian Goddess of love and war, plants a sacred huluppu-tree from which She hopes to make Her throne (representing Her power as an adult woman) and bed (representing Her full sexuality). But Lilith, along with the serpent and the lion-face danzu-bird, takes up residence in the huluppu-tree, as a symbol of Inanna’s fears. The hero Gilgamesh eventually drives Lilith out, and Inanna is then able to claim Her throne and bed.
In Jewish legend, Lilith is Adam’s first wife. She refused to have sex with him because she did not want to be beneath him. She left him and was cursed to give birth to one hundred demon children a day who were then killed. She was said to take Her revenge for this curse by stealing or killing human children. Her name means “Screech Owl” or “Night Creature.” She is mentioned in the Bible: as the Hebrew God, Yahweh, threatens the destruction of Edom (a land located to the south and east of the Dead Sea) He describes what will happen after it is laid waste: “…The night creature shall rest there, and find for herself a place of rest” (Book of Isaiah, chapter 34, verse 14). Like in the Inanna legend, Lilith’s presence symbolizes a dark time of fear or desolation.
Lilith was also believed in Jewish folklore to be a succubus, a sexual vampire or demon who came to men at night and caused wet dreams. The Queen of Sheba, portrayed in some legends as a seductive temptress or sorceress, is associated with Lilith in Jewish tradition.
In recent times, Lilith is revered as a strong and independent Goddess, confident in Her sexual powers, Who refused to be subordinate to the husband She was given to, and Who left Paradise willingly rather than submit to a man. (x)