Friday, August 3, 2012
Vendredi: Chthonian Histories
Lilith is a jealous demon. Her vengeful nature stems from her envy of human women who can give birth to beautiful, human children. Lilith, on the other hand, has only spawned hideous, deformed demons and she seeks at every turn to make the descendants of her first husband, Adam, pay for her misfortune. The best defense against Lilith's killing hand, again according to Hebrew folklore, is the very name of the demon herself. But this can be tricky too; she has many names and one cannot be sure which she will wear at any given time.
According to T. Schrire's Hebrew Magic Amulets, seven names of Lilith printed or embossed on an amulet will keep the demoness at bay. The trick is to know the names and, perhaps, know the subtle differences between each one.
The name Lilith, of course, tops the list. This is followed by a name which identifies one of the only other distinct personalities in the group: Obizuth. Over time, Obizuth has become her own form of demon. She is an ugly, slithering torso devoid of legs and arms who can be heard dragging herself across the floor of a home. Her particular interest is women in childbirth and, if she cannot kill the newborn outright, she will maim it in some way. Her victims can be born blind or deaf; they may have deformed limbs, or none at all much like the demon herself, and many die not long after being born. Though her vicious chores seem the same, in her physical ugliness Obizuth is something of an anti-Lilith, who is often said to be dazzlingly beautiful.
The other names, though equally exotic, do not seem to carry the distinct personality that Obizuth does. They are simply alternative names for the all encompassing she-demon Lilith. In alphabetical order, Schrire lists them as Amitzrapava, Kawteeah, Khailaw, Khavaw Reshvunaw, Mitruteeah and Paritesheha.
If knowledge is power, than the idea inherent in these ancient amulets is obvious. Knowing the name of the enemy will help to empower the human against the demon's evil.
Header: La Lune by Jacques Prevert via Old Paint