Review: “Lilith’s Cave,” curated by Howard Schwartz

I have to acknowledge the conspicuous absence of my book reviews the last couple months, for which I apologize; I decided I need to shake things up a bit. I got through the first few books and realized I had read the Ben Sira story about 50 times in a row and it was starting to suck the joy out of it. So, I took a little break and moved around my reading schedule so I will feel a bit less like banging my head into a wall.

So with that out of the way, this month I decided to read something a bit different. “Lilith’s Cave” is a collection, not all of which are about Lilith, but many are.

First, let’s be clear on what this book actually is and is not: it is not an occult book, and it is not a book for working with Lilith. It is very simply a catalog of folk tales from the last few hundreds years of primarily Jewish European culture (I have heard some of these same stories in other cultures too, but this is how they appeared in the European Jewry).

And on that level, it’s an interesting book that I think is worth picking up for anyone seriously interested in Lilith’s anthropological history. There are echos in some of these stories that make some of her larger historical themes make more sense, and I found it valuable. “The Demon in the Tree” recalls some of Lilith’s oldest archetypes, such as in “Inanna and the Huluppu Tree.” “Helen of Troy” recalls her residence on the cliffs of the sea.

Schwartz presents the collection with no commentary, apart from the introduction. It is, essentially, a straightforward historical work, which is a nice thing to see.

There is nothing here for the occultist, or even for the modern ethicist. But there is a lot here in terms of learning about how lay culture interacts with the divine on a day-to-day basis from their perspectives — something I think we can lose touch with after many years of involved occult practice, especially if we’ve taken a trajectory that requires deviation from mainstream narratives, like the left-hand path. Sometimes, it is good to touch base with how the world around us experiences these things. And I may not find it to be relatable, or even correct, but on a human level, that humility is valuable.

If you are as much a Lilith nerd as a Lilithian practitioner, I think it is definitely worth checking out.

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  1. Thanks for this review. 🙂 I wasn’t sure if this book was worth reading, now I will look into it.
    Have you read, Embracing Lilith, by Mark H. Williams? I was looking through your site to see if you had written a review on it but nothing came up. I am currently reading it and am really enjoying his book. ❤️

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