I’ve been meditating on missing crucial pieces quite a lot lately.
Things that really would have helped to have, if it had survived.
Because there are questions I have. Questions that will probably bug me for the rest of my life. These are things I ask Lilith all the time, but I don’t think I will ever receive a straight answer to (not in this lifetime, at least). I really first noticed this for the first time when I studied my Norse ancestors. Well, I’d noticed it before: Lilith is nothing if not a controversial and shall we say “multi-faceted” figure, but I hadn’t truly noticed it. I hadn’t felt it in my bones, and really truly realized that there were things that were missing: entries in the historic record that mattered in a major way that could never have a hope of being accurately reconstructed.
Some of these missing bits are answers to very basic questions I would ask of Lilith. Questions like “what is it that you actually DO?”
I’ve been a loyal child for 12 years now, and in 12 years I’ve heard twice as many explanations of what Lilith did before She was condemned to a demonic reputation by the monotheists. I’ve heard of her as a wind spirit, a Handmaiden of the Queen of Heaven, a fertility goddess, a protector of Home and Hearth, a guardian of children, a Divine Consort, and more. Enough survives to indicate that any or all of those theories are true, but perhaps equally likely is that none of it is really true. Her existence in the historic record is highly fragmented, to the point that really anyone could say anything and there’d be a partially obliterated stone tablet they could point to as evidence.
Needless to say, this rather mucks up the process of attempting to understand my Divine Mother, but I’m hardly alone in such trials. Asatru also suffers from a great deal of this, despite their original sources being fairly well documented by comparison to most other reconstructionist faiths that I can think of that originate in Northern Europe, such as Druidism.
Ironically, Christianity itself has not escaped this trap, despite having a well established reputation as a professional force of “missing piece makers”. Just look at the seemingly infinite subdivisions and denominations of the faith to see how there have been people endlessly reinterpreting a work to justify a particular claim. Or take a look at the number of so-called “Apocryphal Gospels” that emerged over history, each with its own take on the life and teachings of Jesus, or one of the Apostles. Or the number of these that were discarded as the Church was saddled with the unenviable task of determining their Biblical Canon. How many of these actually existed? We have no way of knowing. How many of them will go unseen, probably forever, by the eyes of the modern day faithful? The sad truth is, probably the vast, overwhelming majority of those books.
Every faith has its missing pieces. Some are lost to accidents, many to intentional destruction… and on rare occasion, some are just plain and honestly misplaced and forgotten in the sands of time. I’ve got quite a lot of big holes in what I’m trying to work with, but I’m nowhere near the First Place position in that particular race, nor do I envy whoever actually is.
So what do we do, when we find a gap and are unable to intuit what might have originally filled it? Well, I really wish I had a better answer than “take what you know for sure and let your heart decide the rest”, but that’s honestly the only valid answer I know to give. It’s in places like these that Faith is more important than ever before.
When the historical record is reading a blank and your gods won’t answer a direct question, take what you’ve got already, and go with your gut. At least until it leads you to a brick wall or something. There’s really nothing more sage-like I can say than that, however underwhelming an answer it might be. It is what it is.
May the gods guide you, as always.