At some point you just have to shrug your shoulders and let it roll on by. Does it matter that people get it wrong? Of course not, everyone is entitled to their beliefs and if it doesn’t match my own then that is fine too. Only a fascist would get upset over an iconic representation of something that, for all intents and purposes, has no iconic representation. A graven image, I mean. The kind of thing people still get stoned to death for creating in certain parts of the world. That’s the problem with a Mystery — a divine Mystery — there is no way we can wrap our heads around it. By its very definition a Mystery is unknowable — it wouldn’t be a Mystery if we understood it, now would it?
I say all this because I’ve been looking for the Empress of my deck: Lilith. As the blues singer Ida Cox sang, “Wild Women Don’t Have The Blues,” and Lilith was the wildest of them all. The problem is, though, that the representations out there (at least on the Internet) don’t hit home as what I’m looking for. Just google her name and you get 2,440,000 image results; giant tits and bat wings seem to a favorite for a lot of artists. A lot of them look like copies of the freaky She-Devils on the cover of the Lords of Acid’s Voodoo U.
There’s nothing wrong with blood red skin and giant tits and bat wings if you’ve got them, but it resonates with me as much as pictures of a blue eyed, blonde hair Jesus do — maybe that’s what people in Gary, Indiana cream their panties over but it doesn’t do a lot for me.
The things is that there are ancient images of Lilith as how she was thought to have looked way back when. The Babylonians couldn’t get enough of her. There is a famous statue of her with crow feet, surrounded by owls, the messengers of the night. This image, though, while appearing in some 1910 Tarot decks, seems to not have made it into modern times all that much.
And, sort of like how images of Midwest Hippie Jesus make me laugh at the idea that someone from Jerusalem could look so Gringo, if you think about it, there’s no reason that representations of Lilith should have the sharp Germanic features so many artists give her. Rarely do you get to see Lilith look like she’s actually from the Middle East.
If she doesn’t have bat wings, then often she’s portrayed as a satyr: one of the goat-legged fuck-bunnies from Greek mythology. There’s worse ways to spend one’s life than living in the Arcadian forest and fucking anything that moves, I suppose. Still, a satyr is a satyr and while I can imagine that Lilith might have taken her fair share of satyrs to bed (when you’re the Queen of the Night you do have a reputation to uphold), I can’t really see how her goat legs would have gotten left out in her description, being the Mother of a Mixed Multitude, and all.
And finally, there’s the kink. Because Lilith was kicked out of the Garden of Eden for refusing to be submissive to that limp-dick Adam (seriously, if the Missionary Position is the only thing that works for you then perhaps you might want to rethink this whole “Father of Humanity” role a bit) and as a result Lilith has been ascribed every base vice known — from S & M to drag queens to dental dams. Which is why, if you’re making an erotic Tarot deck, having her as the keeper of all wisdom makes sense. Now if only I could find an image of her I agree with. Hmm …