Excerpt from Welcoming Lilth
by Theresa C. Dintino
In his book Lilith, The First Eve, Siegmund Hurwitz traces the linguistic connection between Lilith, the owl and the words “striga”, “strix” and “stringes”. “Strix” is literally the word for a screech owl. Ancient and classical cultures believed the strix stringes and striga to be demonic beings associated with owls. They “fly at night in the guise of birds to the cradles of children and suck their blood.”*
“In all languages, so to speak, the word means a witch on the one hand and a predatory night owl on the other.” In Italian, the word becomes “Strega”. Hurwitz states, “In Italian, the word Strega means something akin to an evil old woman or witch, who is in league with the devil.”**
Sounds like how Lilith is typically described.
After I wrote my two Crete novels, I decided to pursue a family legend I had been told about since my days as a child: That my Italian great-grandmother was a Strega. A Strega, in fact, is not an “evil old woman” or a woman in line with dark forces, the same as Lilith is not a child killer or a demon. A Strega is a medicine woman. My great-grandmother was a medicine woman in the Italian tradition.
This lineage was lost to my family. I had a few small fragments and memories to go on. She was a midwife, a healer, a doctor, an herbalist. She knew how to cure the evil eye. It was difficult for her when she moved here because all the plants were different.
To find out more, I decided to write a book about her. My novel, The Strega and the Dreamer, is the result of that effort. In doing the research, I connected to my great-grandmother and restored the lineage to my family. I am now a Strega, just like Lilith and my great-grandmother.
It is clear to me now that Lilith came to lead me on a journey to become a medicine woman in the tradition of my own lineage. It is beautifully eloquent. I am so glad that I did not send her away.
What might Lilith want to lead you back to? I encourage you to trust her and take the journey.
*Hurwitz, Lilith—The First Eve, p.45