A Cautionary Tale for Polytheists: Lilith, Ardat-Lili, Lillake, and More

It is widely accepted amongst Satanists and related black magickians that Lilith originates in Sumerian lore as Lilitu, and that Ardat-Lili and Kiskil-Lillake are names of hers as well. A recent ritual by the Temple of the Ascending Flame makes use of a meditative mantra for Lilith which incorporates this name: “Lilith, Layil, Ardat-Lili, Laylah” (Layil and Laylah are Hebrew and Arabic feminine nouns which translate to “noun”). Since Irdu-Lili is listed as having been the consort of Ardat-Lili, modern sorcerers have concluded that Irdu-Lili is a name for Samael.

The name “Ardat-Lili” is translated as “handmaid of Lilitu.” The word “Ardatu” means ‘young girl [of marrying age]’ and was often used in reference to prostitutes, so Ardat-Lili is best identified with Na’amah (Lilith’s daughter or sister) rather than Lilith. Early texts concerning demons posited the existence of a Lilith Savta [Lilith the Elder] and Lilith Ulemta [Lilith the Younger], the latter of which is considered the wife of Asmodeus. Since Irdu-Lili is allegedly Ardat-Lili’s consort, Irdu-Lili is best equated to Asmodeus (if not Tubal-Cain), the incubus son of Lilith, rather than Samael.

The moniker Lilith Ulemta is generally translated as “Lilith the Younger” for the sake of simplicity, but a more accurate translation is “Lilith the Maid”, whereas Lilith Savta means “Lilith the Matron.” As far as I am aware, it is unanimously accepted that Lilith Ulemta is Na’amah, so the similarity of that title to “Handmaiden of Lilitu” appears significant.

The fourth and final proto-succubus recorded in Sumerian myth was Lillu, the father of Gilgamesh. The only demon I can think of this being is Lilith’s other son, Ornias the incubus prince of Gamaliel. This, however, like the rest of the correspondences I’m drawing, is tenative, and personal gnosis should precede the use of these names in ritual.

There is an entity by the name of Kis-sikil-lil-la-ke who appeared in an Akkadian addenum to Gilgamesh’s story dwelling within a ten-year-old tree which was sacred to Inanna along with a serpent and a Zu bird. Gilgamesh smites the serpent, whereupon the Kis-sikil-lil-la-ke destroys its own home and runs away. The “lil-la-ke” part of the name translates to mean “water spirit”, but is also interpreted as having been an owl. Kis-kil-lil-la-ke and other variations on the name have appeared in traditional rituals to Lilith.

Since Lilith is known to manifest in various aspects which all relate to different elements, the “water spirit” part is hardly helpful, but the owl aspect is related to Lilith, and since Lilith is said to be the serpent of the Garden of Eden, the symbolism of a serpent intruding in a sacred tree may be relevant. It may also be significant that pseudepigraphal Hebrew texts regarding the end times depict a giant bird named Ziz, the apocalyptic beast of the air, where Behemoth is the apocalyptic beast of the earth and Leviathan is the apocalyptic beast of the sea.

According to Wikipedia, a couple more recent scholars have disputed the attribution of Kis-sikil-lil-la-ke to Lilith, so I leave the reader to form her own conclusions.

Even if the reader discards this list of Sumerian creatures from her memory completely, never seeks gnosis regarding the truth behind the matter, and never makes use of any of these names in spiritual workings, this essay will still have served its primary purpose.

This article is a warning to those who are too quick to identify their deities with entities from other pantheons. Things are not always as simplistic as they seem. For an example of how I have examined the relationship between Abaddon, Apollo, and Sauroctonos, see the following article: https://vkjehannum.wordpress.com/2016/07/03/abaddon-apollo-sauructonos/

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6 thoughts on “A Cautionary Tale for Polytheists: Lilith, Ardat-Lili, Lillake, and More

  1. Syncretism is a tricky business at best and as you keep saying, is beneficial to do a combination of research and one’s own gnosis.
    In my experience, even when it is clearly the same deity in two different pantheons, they can be very different in aspect, approach and effect when being called upon, almost as if each name is a different key or gateway (depending on metaphor and experience) than any other name) and can lead you to two different places.
    Even when the name is the same (such as the goetic Belial and the Satanic (cardinal aspect) Belial) one should have a clarity around which aspect they are invoking depending on purpose.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent and thank you. I’m definitely resharing, as this expresses my sentiment regarding comparing pantheons, or worse yet mixing them together due to the shallow observation of a few likenesses. My personal experience coincides with the disastrous results of assuming one entity of a pantheon is the same as another from different mythologies. Hopefully others will take your advice and thoroughly research any being before working with them in a magical capacity.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In my experience, when two deities actually turn out to be the same being, the different cultures they are appearing to are fairly close to one another. Luna and Selene being the same is more likely than Tezcatlipoca and Odin being the same, imo.

      Liked by 1 person

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