Into the night,
Into the dark . . .
The greater mysteries await.
Kreshkali in The Spell of Rosette
The dark goddesses were a gateway to the great mysteries. A symbol of the sacred feminine, they were honoured, respected and revered. Temple priestesses initiated men into the sacred rights. It was a boon to participate, but as patriarchal cultures conquered those worshiping the Great Mother, the sacred feminine was subjugated and cast out.
Where did she go?
Jung would say she was relegated to the unconscious of both men and women, and not with very positive results. As the saying goes, what we resist persists and the figure of the demonized feminine is alive and well in mythology, folklore and contemporary fiction . . . like Kreshkali.
I didn’t have the ancient goddess Lilith in mind when Kreshkali jumped into the story—I had nothing in mind; she wrote herself—but on reflection she has much in common with the ancient Mesopotamian goddess even though they are from vastly different times.
Kreshkali lives in a 24th century post-apocalyptic Earth where women are persecuted by a totalitarian government. Technology is failing, the oceans dying, tectonic plates shifting. She’s a hardcore survivor though, studying the occult by day and whoring for water by night. Prostitution is the only occupation opened to an unattached female; drinking water the only currency. Lilith lived in earlier times though her life was similarly oppressed.
Ancient Lilith sprang up in Sumer thousands of years BCE. The handmaiden of Inanna, she brought men to the temple for initiation into the sacred rights. Once beautiful, potent and wise, she became demonized as the goddess cults were subsumed. By the time she appears in Cabalistic text, she is the first wife of Adam, a devouring monster who was outcast because she would not submit to him—specifically she would not lie beneath him in sex saying she was his equal. God expelled from the garden and Eve was created from Adams rib (in hopes of a more compliant mate). Both Lilith and Kreshkali were feared and persecuted. As an image of our ‘collective shadow’ they are scapegoats—the despised ‘other’.
Lilith and Kreshkali are alone. They have no mate to explore their worlds with, no sisters to practice their ritual magic, and no creative offspring. In some versions of myth God condemns Lilith to birth one hundred demons a day that she must then kill with her bare hands. Not surprisingly, these outcast women can harbour some bitterness. But to those who gain their trust, they are powerful allies, a source of strength in the search for wholeness. There is something deeply magical about them, as well as deadly.
Perhaps in writing Kreshkali, I was seeking to reinstate the compelling, mystical, potent, sexual and self-determining qualities of the sacred feminine. I know that many readers love her, honour her, and that is fulfilling on more than a personal level. It feels like something in the collective has been redeemed.
Do you have a favourite female character who carries a piece of Lilith’s heart? I’d love to hear about her!
Kim Falconer lives in Byron Bay with two gorgeous black cats. As well as her author website‚ she runs an astrology forum and alternative science site‚ trains with a sword and is completing a Masters Degree. Her novel writing is done early every morning. Currently she’s working on the Quantum Encryption Series.