Magic Inscription of Lilith Found on Human Skull: A Halloween story of the evil eye.
By Dr. Stephen Yulish - October 26, 2009
A recent issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, March/April 2009, vol. 35, no. 2, has a fascinating article by Dan Levene entitled Rare Magic Inscription on Human Skull. Levene describes this magic incantation which is inscribed in Aramaic, a Semitic Biblical language along with Hebrew and probably the language of Jesus, on a human skull. There have been 2000 bowls found with these magic incantations which date from the 3rd to the 7th century AD from Jewish communities in Babylonia and surprisingly they were made at the same time and from the same communities that also produced the most intricate, rational and complex legalistic accomplishment of Rabbinic Judaism, the Babylonian Talmud (compiled around 400 AD). This compendium of Jewish Oral Law by learned rabbinic scholars complimented, clarified and expanded the written Law of the Torah - the Pentateuch-the first five books of the Bible).
As Levene pointed out though, “belief in demons was widespread at this time among the Jews of this area as well as among other peoples.” Some would argue that the Jews, who were still in captivity in Babylon at this time, learned all of this from their pagan captors. They did influence King Solomon with all his pagan wives and practices. However, Lilith is first mentioned in the Biblical Book of Isaiah written around 700 BC. In Isaiah 34:14 she is called the night demon. Five hundred years later she is mentioned in the Dead Sea Scroll, Songs of the Sages. The later Zohar, the Bible of Jewish Mysticism, compiled in 1200 AD also mentions her.
At this time in history there was a high infant as well as a high birth mother mortality rate, and these were attributed to Lilith. Lilith was said to be roaming the earth looking for pregnant women and newborn infants to attack. Lilith emerges later on in the medieval period as the first mate of Adam in the Garden of Eden who refused to be subservient to him and subsequently as the wife of Samael (Satan).
In the Midrash (story, legend) Alpha Ben Sira written around 800 AD, Lilith’s origin is first discussed. She supposedly was the first woman created independently just like Adam but unlike Adam who was created from clean dirt (Hebrew-adamah), she was created from filth and sewage. Adam was said to have mated with this demoness and from that union sprang innumerable demons that still plague mankind. Lilith did not want to be subservient to Adam. She did not want to lie beneath him during lovemaking. Lilith was the quintessential, feminist archetypal figure. When Adam refused her wishes, she flew off. Adam complained to God and He sent three angels, Senoy, Sansenoy and Samangelof to bring her back. They found her at the Red Sea bearing 100 demons a day. They begged her to return or they would destroy her, but she refused. She told them that God had ordered her to take charge of newborn children (Satan and his cohorts are liars)-boys until the 8th day and circumcision and girls until their 20th day. Lilith told them if she saw their three names on an amulet she would spare the children. Thus, some Jewish women to this day wear an amulet with the names of these angels on it to ward off the evil eye of Lilith.
Lilith was also thought to be the great temptress of men. She was a succubus that attached itself to men causing them to err. She was also the one that supposedly caused nocturnal emissions in men. God then created Eve as a helpmate to Adam from his own side. Many an incantation bowl said “Adam and Eve out Lilith.”
To combat demons that were thought to cause a myriad of medical problems, mishaps and other ills, some Jews invoked numerous magic rites and formulas. They also invoked magic formulas to gain the attention of a potential suitor or to ward off an unwelcome person. Thus, there were both love incantations as well as curses. These various incantations have been found on bowls, parchment, tin, lead, copper, silver, gold, eggs and less frequently on human skulls.
Levene got the opportunity to view some of these skulls in the Moussaieff collection as he worked on his doctoral dissertation.
These skulls just surfaced over the years on the antiquities market and were not excavated professionally so their validity, context, and age are still unknown.
Surprisingly, in this Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin 65 b, it states that “there are two kinds of necromancy, the one where the dead is raised by naming him and the other where he is invoked by means of a skull.” This is all fascinating in the light of the fact that first of all necromancy is forbidden in Judaism (Torah) as was the handling a corpse or a human skull.
According to the Torah (the Jewish Law), sorcery, witchcraft, omens, spells, mediums and “calling up the dead” are detestable to the Lord (Deuteronomy 18:10). In spite of this admonition, Saul went to the witch of Endor to call up the dead spirit of Samuel (1 Samuel 28:11-15) but he as well as his sons subsequently died for doing this (1 Chronicles 10:13). Again in the Torah, the Jewish Law, it is written in Numbers 6:6, that one should not go near a dead body. How else could one get a human skull?
The incantations on the skull referred to “spirits” and "Lilith's." Similar skulls in the Berlin Museum refer to the son and grandson of Lilith as well as seven other angels and the archangel Gabriel.
There are many representations of Lilith in Western Art and literature. There is a fresco on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel where Michelangelo depicts Lilith as a half woman and half snake tempting both Adam and Eve to fall. The West Facade of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris built around 1210 AD also depicts Adam and Eve at the Tree of Good and Evil in the Garden tempted by Lilith in the center as the snake that seduced them. Lilith is also referenced in Milton's Paradise Lost of 1667, Goethe's Faust of 1808, Robert Browning's poem: Adam, Lilith and Eve of 1883 and even Aleister Crowley's De Arte Magica.
The reason that I am telling you all of this is because some women speak of Lilith as the Divine Feminine, the Queen of Heaven sometimes arriving on an UFO to help mankind.
Be aware that there are negative feminine archetypes as well as positive ones. Some call this Queen of Heaven arriving in an UFO, Lilith, but remember that the Lilith character in Jewish mythology killed newborns, tempted men and attached herself to them to cause them harm. Many feminist groups and even some lesbian groups use the name of Lilith endearingly. Beware. She will slaughter you given half the chance. You say that you believe in God but demons (i.e. Lilith) also believe and they tremble at the thought (James 2:19). Submit yourself therefore to God and resist the devil (Lilith) and it will flee from you (James 4:7).
Stephen Yulish PhD has a BA in Human Evolution and a MA and a PHD in History. He was a Professor at the University of Arizona and later a Jewish community professional. In spite of all of this, he accepted Jesus Christ in 1988 after a series of revelatory visions and a dream. He now has MS but still serves the Lord everyday through his writings.