Before Adam was given his human and worldly life, he floated in a bliss no grown man can recall, in a chamber with two walls. When the moment of his inception arrived, it came upon a catastrophic pulse, on which rode a feeling that brought with it a thought that brought with it an image. “I am,” spoke he, as he took breath, as the chamber that surrounded him enveloped him and brought him forth.

I am,” spoke he.

“You are,” agreed a voice. In it was a kiss that blew against him, and washed him and dried him. “Now, awake.”

He found himself within a Garden. Pardes he knew it to be. There was another there with him. He named her Lillith, I lap against you. She folded and unfolded against him, and he suckled from her teat, and acquired strength therefrom. She in her turn acquired from him form, by his touch and by his suckle.


For ten thousand days and nights Adam suckled on Lillith, until a substantial body he had, yet without sex, and without follicle. Then he rose, and with her transversed the Gardens. Together, they beheld the Fountainhead, from which issues the Rivers Four. They followed the course of these rivers to where they leave the Gardens, and flow out to all the world.

Adam spoke to Lillith: “Explain these rivers to me, where they go. Tell me of the lands outside these Gardens.” And Lillith answered her Adam: “I know only this: there is but one land, which you one day will tread upon with your own feet. And this also: everything that lays outside this Gardens is Wilderness, and in not yet Known.”

The two then came to the river Gihon, which has a bed of sapphire. Adam stretched out his body on its bank, and rested his feet in its waters.

When the spirit of sleep descended over him, Lillith took herself to the Fountainhead of the Rivers Four and ascended its height. From it, she looked out over the Gardens, and the Wilderness surrounding, and in her was kindled a desire to know this Wilderness herself. Lillith perched atop the Fountainhead until the day had passed, and its remnants lay upon the waters of the West. Lillith looked upon these waters, and a song came to her lip, and tears flowed freely down her form, and she trembled in her sorrow.


Now when Adam awoke, he found himself alone, and yet he was not disturbed. He walked throughout the Gardens and he beheld the daimons of bird and beast, plant and earth. He then began to speak, putting names upon them. Each daimon delighted in these names he gave, and submitted with pleasure to his gaze and touch, and each made for him a gift of themselves. The birds gave beautiful sounds; the beasts offered companionship and spectacles of their energy. The plants bore him all manner of kindly sustenance; and the earth offered to him a myriad of functions, if he were to but interact with it. Adam was immensely pleased by all of this, and spoke to El’U-Allah-Jah: ‘Lord, truly you are Almighty. Everything that I need for this life of mine has been provided. I love you with everything that I am.”

Adam again felt a desire to rest overcome him, so he sat down on a grassy slope and watched the myriad daimons at play. As he observed the beasts, he noticed that each had a partner with which to play, and share their joys, and he saw that he had no one similar, lest it be Lillith, who he sought out. He found her at the base of the Fountainhead, and approached her, and lay down next to her. Adam put his arms around her, yet she did not yield to his touch.

He soon grew troubled, and spoke: “O lady who has suckled me as the doe suckles the yearling, who have I to suckle upon as the stag has the same doe? Who is my companion if it is not you? Hear me, this is what I desire: to be as close to another as a beast is close to its mate.”

Lillith answered Adam: “This new touch of yours is chilling to me, O man. I do not desire another in the same way you desire me. Yet I know I could not suffer to loose you to the arms of another, for you are the most beautiful facet in all of the Creation that I have seen. However, I do not fool myself, I know you must be satisfied.

“Come,” spoke Lillith, rising from the grass. “Follow me.”

And she took him to the edge of the Gardens, and there took blood from herself, and kneaded it with earth, and held it firmly in her grip until a ruby it became. She then placed this ruby in herself and spoke to Adam: “When this stone has passed from my body, then I shall return to you, and become your mate. But until that time, you must not attempt to look on me, for I shall be in prayer, and my prayer to you will be a terrible sight.”

And thus saying, Lillith left her Adam, walking Eastward, to where she felt herself drawn.


In the East, Lillith came upon a crystal sea, and knelt down near its waters, and prayed to El’U-Allah-Jah with all of her being, seeking strength and guidance for herself. For one thousand days and nights she did not rest from her vigil until the ruby gem fell from her person, and dropped into the waters of the sea, staining it red. She then was urged to climb to the top of the Mountains Austere. There she found a small cave, into which she crawled, to continue her prayers in darkness.

On the eve of the twenty-eighth day in the cave, a stranger appeared before her.

“Lillith,” spoke the stranger. “You have found favor in the sight of the Lord. You have given generously of yourself to Adam, and have sought to gratify yourself in communion with the Lord God alone. For this, the Lord on High has decreed that from you shall come two gifts to this world. You shall bear two trees: The I that fills and the U that accepts. The former shall bear witness to the Will of God to give and protect life, and the latter shall bare witness to the Will of the Lord to sustain and nurture the life He has given.”

The stranger then looked upon Lillith, and was overcome with awe of her, for in her was a song more holy and powerful than even the highest angel bore. And yet this song was sensual, and the stranger was overcome with a desire to touch her, and so it fashioned a garment for itself from the clay at the threshold of the cave.

Presently, it returned to Lillith.

“Who are you?” Asked Lillith of the stranger.

A son of heaven,” it answered.

“Tell me your name.”

“In this form, I have no name, but I will gladly receive whatsoever name you wish to give me.’

Lillith, who felt herself stirred by the depth of this stranger’s passion, then put a name upon him. She named him Azazel, heavens creature.

And Azazel approached Lillith, and mingled its presence with hers.


Meanwhile Lillith’s vigil, Adam strolled through the Garden Pardes, among the daimons, continuing his naming and knowing of each. Still, however, the desire for a mate grew stronger in him, until he knelt and asked El’U-Allah-Jah to fulfill him, for he knew not how himself. And El’U-Allah-Jah spoke to Adam: “The desire We have planted in you is such that not but a mate will satisfy you, nor will you find peace until you find what you seek. Thus We will bless you with a companion, who will share in your life and your fates, that may serve and enslave you with her bond of love.

And El’U-Allah-Jah caused Adam to lay at the base of the Fountainhead. And El’U-Allah-Jah caused Adam to fall under a heavy spirit of sleep where the rivers flow from the purest source. And El’U-Allah-Jah took up Adam in the Hand of Allah. And El’U-Allah-Jah separated Adam into two: the Force of Life and the Heart of Life. And El’U-Allah-Jah spoke to Adam and Eve:

Once you were solitary,
Complete yet not content.
Now, We have made you incomplete
Able to create a fuller content,
By the joining together of your Selves.

Encase, enfold, penetrate and be enfolded;
Taste and share and delight;
In having these Selves to share with one another
In having each other to complete."


Now when Adam was taken up in the Hand of Allah, Lillith recalled her promise to Adam, to lay with him and become his mate. And so, in fear and shame, she fled from her cave, to return to Adam.

The stranger also fled, chasing her for a time, until its clay garments eroded, and it needed to take on another form.

And because of the strength of its passion for Lillith, it did not take time to fashion limbs for itself, but crafted a body narrow and limbless, that like and arrow after a mark it may speed undeterred after her.

At the edge of the Wilderness, before the Garden Pardes, the stranger Azazel halted, and once more crafted its body, knowing that it must choose a form both subtle and cunning, for no easy task would it be for it to regain the touch of Lillith.

When Lillith spied the Man and the Woman, anger came upon her, for she knew that they would no longer desire her touch as intensely as they once had, when they were but one body. Rage shook her, yet she did not cry out to them.

She waited until they were asleep, and then she came to them, and mingled her presence with theirs. But the presence of the stranger that still resided in her became jealous, and began to war with that of the humans.

Lillith felt their natures conflict within her, and she ran if fear, and fell in pain at the base of the Fountainhead. She writhed and trembled until from her tore the Dven, ghastly and deranged, which fell into the Rivers Four and were carried by the waters to all the world.

Lillith then collapsed at the base of the Fountainhead, and began to bleed into the soil her untimely blood.

She cried out to El’U-Allah-Jah for forgiveness, and for healing. And El’U-Allah-Jah took pity on her, and obscured her for a time in the Cloak, or Beard, of Jah. Then she was taken up into the Hand of Allah and from her sides were formed two branches, which were grafted into the Selves of the Man and the Woman.

Then Lillith was set down at the edge of the Gardens, where she first broke from them into the Wilderness.

Lillith,” spoke El’U-Allah-Jah to her. “For your act of anger you will be punished. Nevermore will the Man and the Woman touch their bodies to yours. But for Our Love of you, We decree that you will still serve as the gateway by which Humanity enters and leaves this world.

Now you must go out into the Wilderness, and perform your works there. To aide and delight you, We give you one more gift. You will have a song to sing, to stir up the Man and the Woman. Beauty you will sing from afar, that will inspire them to the act that shall bring forth from them children. Now go, and know that Our Love is always with you.”

And Lillith left the Gardens for the Wilderness, walking to the Red Sea, where she had once knelt in prayer. And where she had bled, there sprouted a tree, a tree with red flowers and fruit of gold.

follow me

Lilith's Brood is the title under which Octavia Butler's excellent Xenogenesis trilogy was published in an omnibus edition. The trilogy consists of the books: Dawn, Adulthood Rites, and Imago. It tells about the life of Lilith Iyapo and her alien/human hybrid children. Lilith is one of the few survivors of a catastrophic nuclear war, and awakes, 250 years later to find that aliens, the Oankali, have rescued the surviving humans.. and want to mate with them, merging humans and Oankali. Naturally, most of the humans are a little conflicted about this idea.

Beautiful, beautiful writing. These are my favourite of Butler's work. The characters are so compelling, the premise so novel, the writing so spare and intoxicating. Please, please read this (these) books.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.