Two Gothic Mythological Heroes: Lilith and Al KarisiMiyase Güzel
Mythological knowledge dating back to primitive times contains the first human teachings about living and non-living beings. These teachings have survived to the present while changing in form. Mythology makes up the common mind maps of the history of humanity and in the most basic sense involves the thoughts that the first people produced in the process of making sense of the world in which they lived. Intertwined with nature, these people tried to make sense of the human and metaphysical worlds. These attempts are referred to as mythologies in folklore studies are a way of narrating by giving personalities to the beings in nature and to the experienced events. Mythologies have identities onto which mythologies reflect the social, political, cultural, and economic characteristics of the society to which they belong. In addition, mythologies develop through the belief and thought systems of the society in which they are produced. Through the advantages of their ancient pasts, Turkish and Jewish societies have deep-rooted mythologies, and the knowledge and experiences of these societies are reflected in their literature. Mythologies are a method for knowing the unknown and making sense of the incomprehensible and contain similar characteristics due to the collective consciousness. The Al Karısı [wife of Al] in Turkish mythology and Lilith in Jewish mythology are mythological heroes with similar physical and spiritual characteristics. These similarities are the result of the similar lives and imaginations of the two societies. The wife of Al and Lilith harm women and children and exhibit behaviors that disrupt societal order. In order for these societies to protect themselves from these two beings, people have developed a number of beliefs and practices for avoiding and/ or negotiating with them. This study is the result of a mythological evaluation centered on Lilith and the wife of Al and analyzes the similarities and differences between these two gothic characters who are frequently encountered in daily life and literary narratives in Turkish and Jewish mythologies.
İki Gotik Mitolojik Kahraman: Lilith ve Al KarısıMiyase Güzel
İlkel dönemlere kadar uzanan mitolojik bilgiler, canlı ve cansız varlıklar hakkında söylenmiş ilk insan öğretileridir. Bu öğretiler, bugüne kadar form değiştirerek gelmeyi başarmıştır. İnsanlık tarihinin ortak zihin haritaları olan mitoloji (mythologie), en temel anlamıyla ilk insanların yaşadıkları dünyayı anlamlandırma sürecinde ürettikleri düşüncelerdir. Doğayla iç içe olan bu insanlar, beşeri dünyayı ve metafizik dünyayı anlamlandırmaya çalışmıştır. Folklor araştırmalarında mitoloji olarak adlandırılan bu girişimler, Gardner’e göre tabiatta bulunan varlıklara ve yaşanan olaylara kişilik vermek sureti ile anlatma şeklidir. Mitolojinin bir hüviyeti vardır. Mitoloji bu hüviyetinde, ait olduğu toplumun sosyal, siyasal, kültürel ve ekonomik özelliklerini yansıtır. Ayrıca mitoloji, üretildiği toplumun inanış ve düşünüş sistemleri ile gelişir. Türk ve Yahudi toplumları, kadim geçmişlerinin sunduğu avantaj ile köklü bir mitolojiye sahiptir. Bu toplumların bilgi birikimleri ve tecrübeleri edebiyatlarına yansımıştır. Bilinmeyeni bilme, anlaşılmayanı anlamlandırma yöntemi olan mitoloji, C. G. Jung’un ifade ettiği gibi kolektif bilinç sayesinde benzer özellikler taşımaktadır. Türk mitolojisindeki Al Karısı ile Yahudi mitolojisindeki Lilith, fiziksel ve ruhsal özellikleri açısından benzerlik gösteren mitolojik kahramanlardır. Bu benzerlikler iki toplumun benzer yaşantılarının ve tasavvurlarının sonucudur. Al Karısı ve Lilith, kadınlara ve çocuklara zarar vermekte, toplumun asayişini bozan davranışlar sergilemektedir. İnsanlar bu iki varlıktan korunmak için birtakım inanç ve uygulamalar geliştirerek onlardan kaçınma/onlarla anlaşma yoluna gitmiştir. Bu çalışma Lilith ve Al Karısı merkezli mitolojik bir değerlendirmenin sonucu olmuştur. Günlük hayatta ve edebî anlatılarda sıklıkla karşılaşılan bu iki gotik karakterin Türk ve Yahudi mitolojilerinde benzeşen/ayrışan yönleri tahlil edilmiştir.
The word Gothic is an architectural term that translates as French work. This architectural trend is reflected in cathedrals, castles, monasteries, dungeons, deserted places and different religious places in particular, as well as in the literature. The etymology of the expression goes back to the Germanic tribes in the Gotland region in Southern Scandinavia. Gothic literature spread from architecture first and emerged and developed in England in the 18th-19th centuries. It has been defined as explanations in literary texts of individual and social crises that convey the fears of the past and the unknown and reflect people’s sensitivity. The main criteria of Gothic literature are horror and mystery. Al Karısı [wife of Al] and Lilith are mythological heroines who continue to exist as gothic antiheroes among the people and in literary texts. The main purpose of myths is to make sense of the world and what happens in it, to know the unknown, and to create rituals around recurring calendar events and phenomena. Two known meanings for “Lil” include poison or epidemic disease. Another meaning for Lilith is identified with laylâ [night], as she is known to deceive men in their dreams at night. According to legend, Lilith does not accept weakness and runs away while having sex with Adam. Adam complains to God about Lilith, and God then sends three angels (i.e., Senoi, Sansenoi, and Semangelof) to find Lilith. Lilith must accept that, if she refuses to return, 100 of her sons will die every day. Lilith is also known to harm babies. She is believed to be infertile and to harm people. She causes newborn babies to become poisoned by deceiving midwives in particular. She is also known to kill newborn babies herself. This characteristic of Lilith has led to her being called the baby killer and the baby eater. Lilith is also known to harm babies, women during menstruation and puerperium, and single men. In order to be protected from these harms, the name of one of the three angels (i.e., Senoi, Sansenoi, or Semangelof) who’d been assigned by God to find Lilith, must be on the baby. These characteristics of Lilith resemble those of the wife of Al in Turkish mythology. Like Lilith, she also is known to harm newborn babies and puerperal women. Beliefs, lived experiences, and practices developed to protect people from this character can be found in many parts of Anatolia. The fact that today’s Islamic societies also believe in the existence of a female devil characterized as Ümmü Sıbyan or the Wife of Al due to similar characteristics indicates that Lilith lives among Muslims in metaphor, if not in name.1 The Wife of Al, who has had and continues to have an important place in Turkish mythology, is also referred to by different names as a mythical character.