Let me tell a story

Or, rather, quote a story from the book I’m reading (see below).

Story starts out with the creation, and Adam, being like God, both male and female. Then God splits Adam into the separate genders. That’s where this story begins.

“Lilith”

The Woman had long hair that hung loose, and it waved like the serpentine sea. And as they lay in love together, it smelled to the Man of cinnamon. And to the Woman, the hollow under his arm smelled like apples warming in the sun. And they were as close as any two can be.

Then the Man said, “Get below me!” The Woman smiled, for she thought he was jesting. Bug he said again, “Get below me!”

And the Woman did not smile so much and she said, “We were made equally and together of the same dust from all the four corners of the earth.”

But he said again, “Lie below me!”

And she said, “We were one body and one being, for we were made he and she together in God’s own image, and we cried equally to God out of our loneliness. And that is the only reason God made us two.”

But the man said only, “Below me!”

Then the Woman said – and now she spoke more loudly and faster – “Together we named every animal that prowls the earth, every bird that wings the sky, every fish that cleaves the waters. And the angels so envied the glory and the vastness that was equally ours when we were undivided, that they cried to God, ‘What is this creature that you are so mindful of it?’ And yet you say to me, ‘Get below me!'”

And in anger she cried out the ineffable name of God. And the power

of the name was so great it lifted her into the air, and she hovered above the Man. And he stood up and called, demanding, after her. Then she was gone, and he saw her no more.

Break in story, Woman does some bad stuff, becomes Lilith, has half-demon children…. Not exactly relevant to where I’m going with this.

“The Plotting of the Angels”

So the man, having lost the Woman who had been the other equal half of him, cried again to God of his loneliness.

This time, as he slept God took out a rib from him and fashioned that small part of him into a Woman. And God braided and tamed the Woman’s hair, and covered her with a sheet of light smooth as a finger-nail, and adorned her with four-and-twenty rings and bracelets and necklaces. Then did God waken the Man. And the Man saw her, and kissed her. And they lived together in the Garden of Delight. And this Woman did as the Man wished.

Another break in story, describing the angels’ desire to not honor humanity, thus several begin to plot to do harm.

And while he had waited, God divided the creature into two, first a Man and a Woman with long loose hair who was as proud and passionate and powerful as Sammael [one of the angels] himself and who left the Man, and later out of the Man alone God had made a Woman with braided hair, to do as others wished her to. Then Sammael laughed for he knew the moment had come. For this one had been made only to please the Man, and had no strength of her own.

Now, I’m pretty sure this author is a feminist and a scholar, and while her work is based in ancient stories etc, it is still, as she claims, legend, so I don’t want anyone reading too much into it. In the introduction, Berg says she tried to separate the stories from morality and religion, so one can assume we’re not supposed to see them that way.

Very interesting, however, the way that whole story of the fall of man is laid out here. Man and Lilith, then Man and Woman, and that last part, about her being made only to please the Man and having no strength of her own. I’m very interested to see what, if anything, happens next with these characters. I’m fairly certain the author doesn’t believe all womankind to “have no strength of her own.” I think she was trying to get at something else. However, if it is really to be read only as a story and a legend, and not as any claim on morality, spirituality, or political and sociological ideas.

What do you think?

  • Rockin’ out to: mix cd, favs from last fall
  • Wisdom Source: Yeah, that whole not reading till I moved thing didn’t work. I pulled out a book I bought this weekend at Borders (hey, it was under five bucks). Now I’m reading The God Stories: a celebration of legends, by Leila Berg. Very good.
  • Today’s Wisdom: A loving heart is the truest wisdom. –Charles Dickens