This is a rollicking reimagined story of Lilith, who in Jewish mythology was married to Adam before Eve, leaving him when he insisted on being above her.
Her refusal to submit saw her demonised through the ages, her story unheard. Until now...
'I am Lilith, and this story is mine’
High Priestess Lilith reigns over Ancient Sumer’s greatest city in a world where female rule has been unquestioned for eons—until roving gem miner Adam warns that men are raising a rebellion.
To ensure a secret prediction of a male-dominated future does not come to pass, Lilith must uphold the subjugation of men, including the lie they have no role in procreation.
With a rebel war imminent, and her conscience deepening in her love of Adam, Lilith is torn between trying to prevent the dreaded future eventuating and honouring her radical truth…that women and men stand as one.
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“As an astrologer, I'm intrigued that 6,000 years ago—when Adam and Eve apparently existed—marks a point in an astrological cycle when a matriarchal era became an equally tyrannical patriarchal era, followed by a fated reunion. That era of unification begins now.”
- Melanie Dufty
Read the opening pages of I Am Lilith
When you realise my place in history, you might wonder how you haven’t known of me until now.
And if you have heard my name, you probably marked me as an evil seductress and baby killer, because if history wasn’t ignoring me, it was demonising me. I was made an example of what happens to women who won’t submit, and it’s true I lived up to my wicked reputation for a while.
Now, as I look down upon the passing of thousands of years, I see that before men turned the tables, I didn’t really know what I was made of. For sure it wasn’t Adam’s rib.
But I grew strong in the dark, and the time has come when my voice can be heard once more, and I have something to say.
I am Lilith, and this story is mine.
The city of Uruk in the land of Sumer, part of Mesopotamia, some 6,000 years ago
The girl, face hollow with hunger, came forward and dropped to her knees before me. She opened her mouth to speak, exposing the gap where her first milk tooth had fallen out. She must be about the same age as my own daughter, but that was where the similarity ended; where Aea was rosy and sturdy-limbed, this girl was skinny and bedraggled.
‘High Priestess L-l-lith.’ Sobs heaved the child’s chest. ‘Please let my brother stay.’
Her tears shone in the sunlight on the Temple of Inanna’s reception terrace, where I was dealing with another group seeking refuge from the drought shrivelling eastern Sumer.
I rubbed my knuckles at the place between my bare breasts as I took a fortifying inhale, keeping the movement of my belly hidden from her people. The women and girls of her tribe rested beneath a pergola of magenta flowers, where my novices fed them honey cakes and tended their feet, bruised from days of walking through rocky desert. The men and boys had already been ushered into a separate cluster by my matrons, ready to be escorted from the city as soon as they were given barley bread and lentils.
A boy, clearly the girl’s brother, came to kneel beside her and wrap a skinny arm about her shoulders. I averted my gaze to take in the vista of Uruk, the city stretching far below the mighty ziggurat that housed our temple complex. Beyond the elegant apartments and civic buildings that lined the plaza, laneways ran through the working districts where the men lived, giving way to fields of barley growing beside the Euphrates River. The lapis lazuli waters sparkled, but the river ran low. If the spring rains failed, our irrigation channels would not fill and the crops would dwindle. I’d accepted some refugee men and boys over the last few months, but the numbers were not slowing and I had spread the word—Uruk would take no more.
A flash of irritation strengthened my resolve. Why did these people petition me when they knew I must refuse their men? I’d authorised an area downriver where these people could re-settle and, in the meantime, desert game and fish were plentiful. The women were free to join their men at any time, including this girl’s mother, who had chosen the glamour of Uruk and the opportunities it offered her daughter over her son.