Who is Lilith, and what does she mean on True Blood?
Those are very good questions which deserve to have a closer, in-depth look. This post is to help explain who she is and what this might mean on the show. Although, we aren’t sure how Lilith will fit on True Blood exactly; this is our own theories and speculation(s) and if we are correct, it might contain spoilers too.
As Dieter explained in the second episode of True Blood, there are two vampire factions. One is the main-streamers, who are members of The Authority who (obviously) want to mainstream with humans and are responsible for making it known to the rest of the world that vampires exist. The other group are the Sanguinistas, who wished vampires had never come out of the coffin and look at humans as only a means to satisfy their blood lust, and carnal urges.
True Blood introduced us to the Vampire Bible – which dates even further back than the human’s Holy Bible. The two sides view the Bible very differently. The main-streamers look at the bible as only a metaphor for how vampires should live their lives. They believe that humans and vampires can live comfortably side-by-side. The Sanguinistas however; believe the Vampire Bible should be taken quite literally and think humans are nothing more than food for vampires, vampires are not allowed to fall in love or copulate with humans, and believe that vampires should have remained a secret from the rest of the world.
The Authority rules over vampires; making sure all of them adhere to the rules of the Authority. They have a Guardian named Roman, whose duty is to watch over (what is believed) to be the blood of Lilith. The first and original vampire, who they view as a God.
What’s interesting about this is Lilith is mentioned in the human Bible, of which Christianity (and many other religions) is based. The Vampire Bible reveals that Lilith was created in the image of God, which means…is God really a vampire? The vampires seem to think so.
Let’s take a closer look…
Who the hell is Lilith anyways?
This is a very good question to those who don’t know, don’t remember or are just plain lost and confused (like me). Let’s take a look at some of the myths surrounding her.
According to Judaic mythology; Lilith was a female demon of the night who supposedly flies around searching for newborn children either to kidnap or strangle them. She sleeps with men to seduce them into propagating demon sons. Legends told about Lilith are ancient. The rabbinical myths of Lilith being Adam’s first wife seem to relate to the Sumero-Babylonian Goddess Belit-ili, or Belili. To the Canaanites, Lilith was Baalat, the “Divine Lady.” On a tablet from Ur, ca. 2000 BCE, she was addressed as Lillake.
One story is that God created Adam and Lilith as twins joined together at the back. She demanded equality with Adam, failing to achieve it, she left him in anger. This is sometimes accompanied by a Muslim legend that after leaving Adam, Lilith slept with Satan, thus creating the demonic Djinn.
Adam complained to God who then sent three angels, Sanvi, Sansanvi and Semangelaf, to bring Lilith back to Eden. Lilith rebuffed the angels by cursing them. While by the Red Sea Lilith became a lover to demons and producing 100 babies a day. The angels said that God would take these demon children away from her unless she returned to Adam. When she did not return, she was punished accordingly. So God gave Adam the docile Eve.
Even though the story of Lilith disappeared from the canonical Bible, her daughters (the lilim) haunted men for over a thousand years. It was well into the Middle Ages that Jews still manufactured amulets to keep away the lilim. Supposedly they were lusty she-demons who copulated with men in all their dreams, causing nocturnal emissions.
(Excuse me for a moment…but is this where the idea of men’s wet dreams originally comes from? Hahahahaha. Sorry, had to laugh at this.)
The Greeks adopted the belief of the lilim, calling them Lamiae, Empusae (Forcers-In), or Daughters of Hecate. Likewise the Christians adopted the belief, calling them harlots of hell, or succubi, the counterpart of the incubi. Celebrant monks attempted to fend them off by sleeping with their hands over their genitals, clutching a crucifix.
(Hate to butt in here once more…but I wonder how well that worked out for the monks? Haha.)
Even though most of the Lilith legend is derived from Jewish folklore, descriptions of the Lilith demon appear in Iranian, Babylonian, Mexican, Greek, Arab, English, German, Oriental and Native American legends. She sometimes has been associated with legendary and mythological characters such as the Queen of Sheba and Helen of Troy. In medieval Europe she was proclaimed to be the wife, concubine or grandmother of Satan.
Men who experienced nocturnal emissions during their sleep believed they had been seduced by Lilith and said certain incantations to prevent the offspring from becoming demons. It was thought each time a pious Christian had a wet dream, Lilith laughed. It was believed that Lilith was assisted in her bloodthirsty nocturnal quests by succubi, who gathered with her near the “mountains of darkness” to frolic with her demon lover Samael, whole name means “poison of God” (sam-el). The Zohar, the principal work of the Kabbalah, describes Lilith’s powers at their height during the waning of the moon.
Still laughing over this. That’s too funny. Of course, it’s the woman’s fault. Men can’t be held accountable for having their own lusty thoughts and women are to blame. (rollseyes)
According to legend Lilith’s attraction for children comes from the belief that God took her demon children from her when she did not return to Adam. It was believed that she launched a reign of terror against women in childbirth and newborn infants, especially boys. However, it also was believed that the three angels who were sent to fetch her by the Red Sea forced her to swear that whenever she saw their names or images on amulets that she would leave the infants and mothers alone.
These beliefs continued for centuries. As late as the 18th century, it was a common practice in many cultures to protect new mothers and their infants with amulets against Lilith. Males were most vulnerable during the first week of life, girls during the first three weeks. Sometimes a magic circle was drawn around the lying-in-bed, with a charm inscribed with the names of the three angels, Adam and Eve and the words “barring Lilith” or “protect this newborn child from all harm.” Frequently amulets were place in the four corners and throughout the bedchamber. If a child laughed while sleeping, it was taken as a sign that Lilith was present. Tapping the child on the nose, it was believed, made her go away.
Wow…back in the day, people were very superstitious weren’t they?
She appears in the bible in Exodus 34: 14f;
Wildcats shall meet with hyenas,
goat-demons shall call to each other;
there too Lilith shall repose,
and find a place to rest.
There shall the owl nest
and lay and hatch and brood in its shadow.
In case you didn’t understand all of that…the gist of it is; Lilith was Adam’s first wife and someone who was created equal to Adam (unlike Eve). You could say that Lilith was the original advocate of womens’ liberation (women’s right to vote and work outside the home). When she would not submit to his (Adam’s) authority (interesting choice of words), she was kicked out of Eden, and turned over to the ‘dark side’. I find it interesting that instead of being created from Adam’s rib, like Eve was created, Lilith was created the same way as Adam and in God’s own image. Some pictures depict her as the serpent who convinced Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden before they were tossed out of the garden. While there are varying versions to the mythology of Lilith, one thing is abundantly clear – she was considered a “demon”, had hundreds of demon children, preyed on those when they were weak and at their most vulnerable. The name “Lilith” means “of the night” and is basically a female nisba from the word “LYL” that means, night. Literally translating to nocturnal “female night being/demon”.
What does this mean on True Blood?
Your guess is as good as mine, but I find it interesting that the writers are incorporating this mythology into the show. Could she be the original vampire on True Blood? I find it very plausible. Vampires have to originated from somewhere. Vampires have always been known as being “evil”, “demons” or “monsters”, and stalk their prey like menacing animals, just like Lilith preyed on newborns and on men while dreaming.
Why all-of-a-sudden in Season 5 of True Blood are we seeing this now? There are many TV shows, books and movies about vampires, where it was revealed how and where vampires originally came from. The Vampire Diaries, Underworld and the Anne Rice novels, just to name a few. So, why not on True Blood too? (insert sarcasm) Let’s all join in the fun. They are just copying what others have already done.
Just like with the examples I named, there are many differing variations on the origins too. It will be interesting to see how True Blood reveals the origins of vampires, something Charlaine Harris hasn’t actually done in the books.
How will Lilith ‘make an appearance’ on True Blood?
As you may know, there was a ‘sneaky’ casting call for episode 7 and some spoilers hinting that Lilith will be joining the show later on this season. Below, is from the casting call we posted for Episode 7.
[LIL] Female, early to late 20s, Caucasian. She’s supermodel beautiful. Strong and ethereal…no lines in the first episode. FULL FRONTAL NUDITY REQUIRED. SUBMIT ALL ETHNICITIES. RECURRING
Is this Lilith? It could be. Supermodel beautiful = check. Strong and ethereal = check. Full Frontal Nudity Required = check (weren’t Adam and Eve naked too?). Recurring = check. Lastly, [LIL] = check (Lil is short for Lillian or Lilith, right?)
This seems ever more likely, because Lilith has already been shown as a vampire once before in the Book of Nod, which is written from Lilith’s perspective, as depicted in the image below.
My guess is True Blood is taking this mythology of Lilith and are going to be translating it onscreen, as the first original vampire.
Our theories and speculations:
As you know, Russell is coming back this season. He is over 3000 years old. Quite possibly, Lilith was the one who turned Russell so many years ago. Nobody else (that we know of) could have turned him, because even Salome is only 2000 years old. Everyone knows that Russell would be considered a Sanguinista and will be out for blood. Since The Authority wants to main-stream, that’s not really part of Lilith’s or Russell’s agenda is it? From what we’ve written here, it looks like following the Authority will be the last thing Lilith will want to do or be involved with. And we already know Russell will want revenge on Eric, Sookie and anyone else who was involved in his burial.
Let’s not forget, Dieter explained that God made Lilith first in his own image, then created Adam and Eve to be her source for food. I think it’s interesting that he would reveal so many details about the Vampire Bible this soon in the season. It has to mean more than just showing us the rituals and ceremonies The Authority performs. Foreshadowing much?
I, for one, am very intrigued that True Blood has decided to look into the origins of vampires. Is God really a vampire? I (personally) don’t think this is true, since vampires don’t really exist in our world. But it does make for great drama – if written well.
How did the vampires originate on True Blood?
My guess is that each of the demon children Lilith birthed – are really vampires and not demons or succubi, as the various mythologies allude to. They each turned numerous of humans into vampires, and so on until now. Are there more original vampires out there, and will they ever appear on True Blood? We’ll have to wait and see…
Lilith will be the villain to end all villains. Who could beat someone who is so old, powerful and ‘God-like’? Even though Roman said that humans still out-number vampires, their strength will be insignificant to be able to fight Russell or Lilith on their own without the help of members of The Authority and the vampires we’ve come to know and love.
Nymerias will be writing Part 2 in this in-depth look – focusing on The Authority soon!
What do you think? Feel free to share your thoughts and speculations below!