I wasn’t sure what to write about for Shadow Side Saturday. It’s not that I can’t find lots of dark things in my life it’s that I don’t necessarily feel the desire to share them with anyone. So I decided to ask the Dark Goddess Tarot what I can write about and I drew the Siren of Air – Lilith. At first I wasn’t sure what she was telling me. Then I got an email letting me know that a movie I requested was mailed to me. The movie is The Stepford Wives, the original version. This movie focuses on a community of men who seek to create wives who are the antithesis of Lilith’s energy. They are submissive and subservient, catering to their husbands’ needs and putting their own on hold. In fact once they are transformed they don’t even acknowledge having needs. Of course they also happen to be highly sophisticated androids.
That made me wonder if that’s what men truly want? I think there is always a layer of this desire in men. They can feel emasculated if their wife is more successful or accomplished. In it’s most violent form, this attitude manifests itself as an abusive partner however it cal also subtly pervade various aspects of our lives. How many women in the work world have been overtly or subtly told that she was behaving in an unfeminine way or is excluding by the “boys”. Even today these kind of behaviors and attitudes exist.
While working on a paper for my psych degree I read the book Against Our Will by Susan Brownmiller. One concept she put forth that struck me to the core is that even men who will never rape benefit from the fear of rape. She points out that rape is sometimes an effective tool for dominating (not just women, it is quite effective with men too). If women are afraid that certain behaviors might cause them to be raped, they will avoid those behaviors. Even now we read stories that imply or outright state a woman brought it on herself. Why was she out so late? What was she dressed that way?
Things are changing – there are many more men willing to be the stay at home parent but they are still in the minority. And while the men are praised for getting in touch with their nurturing side, the women are often castigated and view as exhibiting aberrant behavior for not being satisfied with the fulfilling life of a stay at home mother. Attitudes towards rape of all types as well as domestic violence are being treated more seriously.
This is where Lilith comes in. Lilith is the patroness of those women; those who are honest enough with themselves to admit they won’t be satisfied to be a stay at home parent. Lilith understands the need to be true to yourself and claim your power. In a world where women are still marginalized or penalized for trying to claim their independence, Lilith defiantly walks (or flies) her own path). In a world where women are convinced they need to stay youthful looking and beautiful; where no price is to high to pay to achieve these goals, Lilith doesn’t care what you think of her appearance.
She terrifies men because they can’t control her or dominate her. Lilith stands up for all women and shrieks “I won’t be boxed in or dominated!!” She’s rather like Glenn Close’s character in Fatal Attraction when she declares “I won’t be ignored”. Lilith may reproduce but she doesn’t mother. She consorts with demons and demands to be on top. Lilith won’t let someone else dictate her life or sexual preferences. She may be frightening and dark but she’s also powerful and fierce. She is free and independent and that might be considered dark but it is very appealing to me. So let’s take a moment today to embrace this dark goddess and honor her fiercely free and frighteningly forceful approach to claiming her power.