chapter  1
10 Pages

The succubus, the evil eye and shame

Shame is the hidden affect that inspires oppression. Woman, once the site of fertility and birth, is oppressed and recast in the image of the succubus. Although strikingly little has been written about her given her 7,000-year history, the succubus is a universal image that appears throughout world history in mainstream and marginal cultures, acquiring a multiplicity of faces and coming to be known under many names. She is the dark feminine inspiration for the femme fatale, castrator, dominatrix, vixen bogey, witch, enchantress, blood sucker, seductress, villainess, scarlet woman, beguiling abomination, preening temptress, predator, demon bride, impure female, Hell’s rose, or black widow. More recent names might be bimbo, eye candy, career bitch or feminist. She appears throughout the world in many animal forms, such as a serpent, dog, screeching owl, or donkey, and she inhabits the soul as any creeping creature. Some might know her best by her proper biblical names of Lilith, the fi rst wife of Adam and even worse than Eve because she is demonic from the moment of her creation; the seductive Salome, the temptress who danced for Herod in return for the head of John the Baptist on a silver platter; the beautiful but cunning Delilah, the Philistine woman of the Old Testament who betrayed Samson by having his hair shorn as he slept, thus depriving him of his strength; or Princess Jezebel, who painted her face and waited to be pushed out a window for taking the blood of an innocent man. Some of her mythic names are Circe, the witch in Homer’s Odyssey who turned men into swine; Clytemnestra, the screaming bitch who called for an axe so that she could murder the war hero Agamemnon; the infanticidal Medea, who murdered her husband out of rage and revenge; Pandora, the Kallon Kakon or beautiful evil, the lovely curse that men had to pay for getting fi re; Rusalka, the Slavic female ghost who seduced men with her eyes that shined with green fi re; or Yuki-Ona (Snow Woman), the beautiful woman of Japanese folklore whose skin was transparent, and only her face and pubic hair stood out against the snow. Her eyes would strike terror into mortals, whom she would transform into frost-coated corpses, or lead them astray to die of exposure (shame). And then there are her historical names, the duplicitous seductress Mata Hari or the well known Cleopatra, the Queen of Egypt who captivates our imagination and lives on throughout the ages in myth and legend, novel and poem, paintings and operas, Shakespearean play and Hollywood fi lm.