Lilit the Empathic Demon is a multidisciplinary project which conjures the mythological demon Lilit, who comes from a healing tradition shared by Sumerian, Acadian and Jews in the Middle East. Lilit’s narrative is directly influenced by ceramic incantation bowls that were used in an empathic ritual to trap demons. The ritual was performed in second century Babylon, mostly by females concerned with medical issues like pregnancy and birth. Both formally and thematically, this ritual serves as the guiding principle of this piece.
The building blocks of the piece are sourced through a project I launched in 2020 in which I take on the persona of Lilit and, through text messages, interact with several hundreds of people every month. People sign up for Lilit’s list and every week she sends messages with drawings, and instructions for somatic exercises. These drawings conjure the many possible faces of Lilit, as inspired by the demon drawings found on the historical incantation bowls. This piece of the project started during the pandemic as an urgent response to isolation. The texts creates intimate relationships with the readers, who frequently write her back with snippets about their lives and demons. The online instructions lead to offline actions, such as an exercise that leads participants to find something in their home shaped like a full moon, and use it to draw on their body.