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  • Writer's pictureGrace A. Johnson

Name of the Week: Lilith

“Ah, come in! Rowen must have sent you,” called a lilting voice, one not sickly sweet, not quite British but not a definable anything else either. Her words echoed within the church, rumbling through the walls and shaking the rafters not with volume, with chaos, but with peace and joy.

The door shut behind me with a resounding thud, and it was only then, as Elliot’s cold, wet body moved against mine, that I realized I had walked in. That I was trapped in a church, surrounded by religious fools. Very well, a man behind me and a rather petite little woman six yards ahead of me wasn’t quite surrounded, but that didn’t much matter, did it? I was still stuck in here.

“Let me think,” the little woman said as she clasped her hands in front of her. “Your names are coming to me. Ah, they’re clearer now. Yes. Crimson and...Elijah. No, no. Elliot. Yes. Much better fitting, I say.” She took a few steps closer, turning six yards into four, bringing my face into better view of hers.

She was probably around the same age as the mysterious admiral, and just as odd. No more than five inches shorter than my sixty-four, not quite plump but not slender either. She had the skin tone of a pampered princess, as white as Scarlette’s was. But her coloring didn’t match—raven hair, eyes dark as Xavier’s. And her features—the full lips, broad forehead, slightly large nose—were all African. Certainly African.

Certainly not what I pictured someone’s God-fearing, kindly grandmother looking like. Or the reverend’s wife. Or whatever she was—unless, of course, that was a witch. Though why a witch would be in a church, I couldn’t figure.

The witch lady stopped walking, splayed a small hand over her mouth. “Heaven have mercy! Here I have visitors and I cannot even properly introduce myself!” She extended her hand to Elliot. “Lilith Blythewood. Not lady or miss or anything. Just Lilith. Or Lil.”

Fitting. Lilith, if I remembered correctly, meant demon. Tobias had told me the stories—that in Jewish folklore, Lilith had been the name of Adam’s first wife, who had been cast aside and turned into a demon. I’d always fancied folklore. Tobias’s Jewish, Da’s Scottish, Junia’s Roman myths. Now…I was beginning to regret my overindulgence in foolish fairy-tales.

Well, that sums up today's name of the week, doesn't it? Crimson pretty much explains everything in two sentences. Lilith, that beautiful, unique, uncommon, and tantalizing name...means demon. Or, more specifically, night demon.

Lilith isn't your typical mythological name. It's not Diana or Apollo or Thor or any of those strong, elegant names we'd feel comfortable naming our children. Lilith may have a sound so smooth and delicate, seeming so closely related to lily--as in, the flower.

But when you learn the story behind it?

It's suddenly a very ugly name.

Lilith comes from the Akkadian lilitu, which means "of the night." Lilitu is also a feminine noun used as the name of a class of Mesopotamian demons. The name itself, Lilith, is translated to mean "night monster." Why? Because as Crimson says, in Jewish folklore, Lilith was the first wife of Adam--as in, the first man Adam--who was cast off for not submitting to him and thereby turned into a demon.

Yeah. Freaky.

I chose the name for Lilith, my seer in Prisoner at Heart, mainly because I just adore the sound of it! Despite it's horrible negative connotations, it really has a beautiful sound. But it also fit for a young Lilith. Born a slave to her African-Carib slave mother and French master, Lilith grew up around her mother's native witchcraft and a lot of evil spirits that surrounded her father and his plantation in Jamaica. She had always been able to see into the spirit realm, but very few people believed what she saw and those who did thought that she was a witch.

Therefore, her name was Lilith.

Lilith, along with her husband Rowen and their friend Soline (who is the midwife that delivered Rina's twins in Prisoner at Heart), has a very interesting story, and it's one that I hope to tell one day. But, in the meantime, I hope y'all enjoyed this small glimpse into her backstory and into the history of her name.

Just remember before you name your children to look up the origin and meaning of the name you like. It might have been the name of a demon in pagan folklore. You never know. Fortunately for me and Lil, Adam never had a first wife named Lilith, so maybe her name isn't so bad after all.

By the way, have y'all gotten your free e-copy of Held Captive yet? You can find the link to download it in my post "Want a Free Book?" from last week! I hope y'all read it while you have the chance, because next year I plan to put Prisoner at Heart on Booksprout for reviews!

Also, if you're interested in seeing more of Bound and Determined, check out my Pinterest boards! Or, go back to the homepage and scroll down to see a new quote! If you enter your email at the very bottom of this page, you can also stay up-to-date on the monthly progress I make in Bound and Determined. We're inching closer to The End every day, guys!

Excerpt from Prisoner at Heart: Copyright © 2019 Grace Ann Johnson

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