Lilith was the name for a supposed second "dark" moon of the Earth, theorised by various astronomers from the 19th century until the early part of the 20th that could be seen only through irregularities in the sun as they conjoined. Some astrologers continue to use it in charts, calling it symbolic of man's dark side, although the practice is rare.

1895 fantasy novel by George MacDonald. Explores the "Adam's first wife" story from the position that she was an angel who tasted the power of Creation in childbirth, and it went to her head.

An ancient religious figure who has been recently glorified, especially by the steadily inflating female indy-rock culture. According to jewish apocrypha, she was the first wife of Adam who refused to submit to his sexual dominance and ran away from the garden of Eden. Though a tempting choice for a female heroine and martyr; what pop culture neglects to tell you is that she also copulated with Satan to spite Adam, giving birth to a brood of one hundered demons in one day. When she wouldn't return to the garden she was punished by Yahweh.
Stories of a lilith-eqsue demon has been found in many cultures including the Canaanites, the Sumerians, the Mexicans, Native Americans and Greeks and though she has had many names; the stories are all uncannily similar in naming her as a notoriously murderous evil spirit.
So before you adopt her as your patron saint of feminine empowerment, be aware that her most noted activities ranged from killing pregnant mothers to strangling children. Not exactly very congenial to womanhood if you ask me.

Lilith is a female "demon" of Jewish folklore; her name is related to the Babylonian-Assyrian demon called Lilit, or Lilu. There are a few variances in her myth, but most commonly, she is said to have been Adam's first wife, but after refusing to let him have the superior sexual position, she was banished from the Garden and later became some kind of nightstalker that preyed on babies and men, giving birth to demon children according to some traditions, sterile according to others. (Her sterility is supposed to be her motivation to kill babies and men.) One theory is that it was Lilith who sent the serpent to Eve and started all that trouble in the first place.
Anyway, Lilith has become a feminist symbol for her rebellion against the patriarchal system. It is interesting to note that both Lilith and Lucifer have in common the act of "rebellion", or rather, questioning why someone has to be superior to another, and both were demonized for it.

Lilith is, in Jewish mystic tradition, a female demon and the bride of Sammael (who was merged with others in angelic tradition to become Satan). According to legend, she predated Eve, and was Adam's first wife. Some sources have it that she bore Adam one hundred children each day, until the creation of Eve, when she left for the cities of the coast where she is to this day trying to ensnare mankind. Lilith is commonly assumed to be the creation of rabbis in the Middle Ages, but is actually drawn from ardat lili, evil female spirits of Mesopotamian demonology. In Kabalic tradition, demons are mortal, but not so Lilith, who will plague men until the end of the earth. Lilith goes by a score of names when walking on Earth, and was forced by the prophet Elijah to reveal seventeen of her names: Abeko, Abito, Amizo, Batna, Eilo, Ita, Izorpo, Kali, Kea, Kokos, Lilith, Odam, Partasah, Patrota, Podo, Satrina, and Talto.

The giant crucified on a red cross in the depths of NERV HQ. Its face is covered with a mask on which SEELE's coat of arms is painted, and its hands are bolted to the cross. Although its lower body was missing while pierced by the Lance of Longinus, its lower body grew back as soon as the Lance was pulled out. The Instrumentality Project originally planned to use Lilith, but the loss of the Lance caused SEELE to change the plan and attempt complementation using Eva-01 instead. At that time, Keel Lorentz says that Eva-01 is "Lilith's clone", which apparently indicates that Eva-01 was made by copying Lilith.

Incidentally, rabbinical scripture states that Lilith (Lilit) was the first wife of Adam, and also that between Adam and Lilith were born demons and spirits.

Source: The End of Evangelion : Glossary contained within The End of Evangelion - Theatrical Program.

The Eva Carddass Masters A-17 Angel card is titled "2nd Angel Lilith" and the small print at the bottom of the card translates to the following. "A Source of Life Angel called/named 'progenitor' like Adam. Until being noticed by Kaoru Nagisa, Nerv had misrepresented the giant crucified in Terminal Dogma as Adam, but it was actually Lilith. Rei Ayanami is a being with the soul of this Lilith and (a copy of) the body of Yui Ikari."

I’d like to add two points regarding Lilith:

  • Much has been said here about Lilith’s character and origin, but little of her name. If I understand correctly it stems from the same Semitic root as “night”. In some languages Lilith is, more-or-less, “of the night” (relating to a female).
  • Some legends have it that Succubi are the daughters of Lilith, or in other variations her manifestations. They certainly share many characteristics, such as being related to the night and expressing a strong, independent female sexuality. Amusingly, some legends about Lilith are explicit enough to state that she had a fight with Adam because she would not lie under him during sex, while the name Succubus comes from the Latin succubare – to lie under.

Here's another interesting bit to throw in for good measure:

The various portrayals of the Lilith character have always struck me as rather off-the-wall, even in terms of the frequently bizarre apocrypha of the Judeo-Christian culture. However, I'm amazed at how ubiquitous the figure is in Western European art, especially during the years of early Renaissance. She's everywhere!

And we're not talking about third-rate Florentine street artists here, either. Have a look at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, for instance. During this period, Lilith was often depicted as a half-woman/half-serpent creature, her legs replaced with an elogated tail. And who should we find in the center of Temptation and Fall, just two panels above the famous Creation of Adam? Lilith herself, her tail coiled around the Tree of Knowledge, actually handing down the fruit right into Eve's hand.

What's more, many of the old masters propagate this same scene-- almost identically-- in other major 16th-century works... Hieronymus Bosch's Paradise, for instance, a fantastic painting in its own right, which renders a more slender Lilith in essentially the same pose... Titian's The Fall of Man, where Lilith is shown as a cherubic child, her snake's tail concealed by the Tree's branches... The Limbourg Brothers' Temptation, Fall and Expulsion, showing Lilith with her characteristic fiery-blonde hair, as part of a dramatic painting for Les Très Riches Heures...

Trace it back even further, and you'll even find forms of Lilith among the intricate carvings of the Notre Dame Cathedrals in Paris and Chartres.

One thing's for sure... for a mythological demon, the girl sure knows how to get around.

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