Books, Thoughts

Off the Shelf: The Book of Lilith

The Book of LilithThe Book of Lilith by Barbara Black Koltuv

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Koltuv’s Book of Lilith is both a survey of Lilith’s appearances & aspects in different myths & a psychological exploration in how the archetype is still meaningful for woman in more modern, secular times. Which is appropriate in its own way, considering that Lilith’s realm, as outlined by the author, lies outside of God’s reach. Most interesting is the histories of how the character of Lilith changed over time as well as contemporary stories & poems that seek to define her. The myriad of sources listed certainly gave this reader plenty of new titles to try & track down.

In the psychological portions of the book, Koltuv also uses Lilith as a totem for those who reach a second maturation, either through the natural course of aging or as a state of being after surviving trauma. The examples of patients’ stories presented here have an authenticity or self-acceptance that carried more weight with me now than when I was a teenager reading Goddesses in Everywoman. (Of course, my age & circumstance might have its own role to play here.) A dense, thorough book (despite its small size) that will appeal to those who enjoy studying where belief & folklore intersect with psychology.

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