lilith

The āl, from Middle Eastern folklore, is a lilitu-like demon that steals embryos from pregnant women, or the organs of a woman who has just given birth. After doing so, the āl will run toward a river, or the nearest body of water to wash the stolen organs, before eating them. To prevent the creature from crossing, you must stir the water with a stick or sword before she’s finished.

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Lilith is so much more than a sexually wanton demon who steals babies in the night. She was Adam’s first wife, made from the same clay, who refused to be subservient to him. She left the Garden of Eden and paired up with the angel Samael (a satan-like figure in Judaism) and mothered many demonic offspring known as Liln.⠀

In modern times, she’s hailed by some as a feminist hero, for refusing to be considered lower than Adam. She appears across many ancient texts, from the Talmud, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and texts of the Kabbalah, and her story may even have roots in Mesopotamian mythology. So much has been written, and so much can be said about Lilith, and she’s my favorite demon.

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Agrat Bat Mahlat is a daughter of the Jewish demon Lilith. She rides through the night sky in her chariot, followed by 18 angels of spiritual destruction. On Wednesdays and Saturdays she dances on roofs while her mother howls. She’s a queen of the demons and an angel of sacred prostitution who’s mated with numerous demons and archangels. She’s even said to have mated with King David and bore his son, the demon Asmodeus. Art by Alese Osborn

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