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Lilith

Shame and evil share invisibility through Lilith since both have been banished from sight through projection onto the goddess diabolized as a repository for male shame. Shame and the evil activated by its denial lies in the deepest of fault lines in the human psyche created in the shift from matriarchy to patriarchy. It is this connection, therefore, that makes shame the affect which connects us most deeply to knowledge held within the collective unconscious.

Men are being introduced to a new level of feeling and emotion for which patriarchy has not prepared them. They are outgrowing stereotypes and the repression of their emotional and spiritual lives. An opening for Lilith and the recognition she requires is created, and is occurring now in the male psyche (Thompson, 1981). David Tacey (2007) describes a “New Man” in the making, a mixture of the best traditional masculinity with the addition of sensitivity and emotional expressiveness, dimensions required of masculinity today “if humanity is to be renewed.” Modern man must commit to true masculinity. “Unless man in his individuality can differentiate himself from the collective patriarchal standards, both will go down together” (Wyly, 1989). Only as an individual, undivided, can man continue on his journey, meet the maternal feminine both within and without, as an equal opposite, and fulfill his creative destiny” (Wyly, 1989).

The image of Lilith is dissimilar to Jung’s concept of the anima in a significant way: she is completely beyond the ego’s command and conscious control. This difference can restore sight, and means that a man must realize that her blinding and diabolization is in fact his own shame. Individually and as a culture, mankind is re-confronting Lilith in order to learn how to distinguish the demonic from the spiritual, or, in psychological terms, an expanded ego from the true self, and power rooted in omnipotence and the denial of the maternal feminine from empowerment of self; such discrimination does not come easy.

So if Lilith, the archetypal repository for masculine shame, is rising up along with the evil that has historically been characteristic of turning points in human evolution, or what Thompson (1981) has called “catastrophic bifurcations,” then perhaps we need to take a closer look at masculine shame and evil as a way of trying to feel our way through the darkness of our contemporary condition. “If a way to the better there be, it lies in taking a full look at the worst” as Thomas Hardy says.

 
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