[NOTE:--Some folks have been unhappy with the negative spin I give to Lilith. While I am the first to state that any astrological entity has a positive and negative manifestation, when afflicted Lilith can produce some rather nasty results. I would like to point out that Ivy Goldstein-Jacobson, a well-known astrologer from years past, is of the opinion: Lilith is always SINISTER and MALEVOLENT in her intent and ultimate effect so that the matters and people represented by the house she is in will not be granted full measure of the good that otherwise could develop in the native's life in that department. She is DENYING, FRUSTRATING and CATASTROPHIC, bringing CHAOS to the affairs ruled by that house.*
Therefore, I'm in good company with my opinions. Nonetheless it is always the choice of the native how to act out the energy, though from what I've seen of afflicted Lilith transits it can be extremely difficult to overcome. I don't have any stories of those who have resisted and overcome; they don't make the news. Therefore I know only of those who have fallen under Lilith's spell and fit Goldstein-Jacobson's description to the proverbial "T."]
* Ivy M. Goldstein-Jacobson, The Dark Moon Lilith in Astrology, (Alhambra, CA: Frank Severy Publishing, 1961).
There are four entirely different astronomical entities that have been named after Lilith. Obviously, this is one popular woman, but this makes for a significant amount of confusion since many people don't even realize there's more than one. Furthermore, if they happen to talk about Lilith to someone else, they may be talking about two entirely different things, plus each of these elements will be located in a different area of a person's chart. In order to clarify, and hopefully not exacerbate, the confusion, here they are:
Lilith, a.k.a. Asteroid 1181: Asteroid Lilith is in the main asteroid belt with most of the other asteroids. She takes approximately four years to orbit the Sun. This is the only astronomical entity named Lilith that has been confirmed to be a tangible member of our solar system.
Dark Moon Lilith: This is by far the most interesting. As far back as September 2, 1618, astronomers have reported the existence of a second satellite of the Earth, but it's rarely seen because it's three times farther away than our popular Moon and about one-fourth the size. Dr. Georg Waltenmath, an amateur astronomer in Hamburg, claimed to have rediscovered this elusive moon in 1898. It reportedly reflects almost no light and can only be seen when transiting the face of the Sun or on rare occasions when it's fully opposite the Sun, when it appears slightly red. On February 4, 1898, Dr. Waltenmath claimed that he and eleven witnesses had seen this moon crossing the solar disk, but other astronomers of the day supposedly didn't see a thing. It is believed to have a stable orbit that takes 119 days to circle the Earth, thus spending about ten days in each Sign. With today's technology, it doesn't seem like it would be that difficult to find it and either confirm or discount its existence once and for all. Nonetheless, whether it's an actual satellite or energy point, it works in astrology where size simply doesn't seem to matter.
Black Moon Lilith: This particular Lilith is not a physical body, even an elusive one, but a mathematical point in space that represents the other focus of the Moon's elliptical orbit around the Earth. An ellipse has two foci, and in this case the Earth is located at one of them. From an astrological viewpoint, which involves your location on the surface of the Earth, this other point moves. This second focus of the Moon's orbit is what is known as the Black Moon Lilith. The cycle time for this geometric entity is nine years, or actually eight years and 311 days. What's particularly interesting is the fact that Lilith, the antithesis of the Moon who’s associated with motherhood, stays in each sign of the Zodiac for exactly nine months. As you would expect its movement is a bit erratic so in astrological charts it can be viewed in either its true or mean position.
Stellar Lilith: The star Algol, located in the constellation Perseus, was referred to as Lilith by the Hebrews in the Talmud. This star has a universal reputation as the most evil star in the heavens and is usually associated with the eye or head of Medusa. This fixed star is located at 25:28 Taurus.
The wealth of information available on Lilith indicates considerable fascination and interest in this mythological figure, with numerous versions in both Sumerian and Hebrew. In the Sumerian version, recorded on clay tablets around 2000 BC, Lilith was a handmaiden of Inanna whose task was to retrieve men from the fields and bring them to the temple at Erech for sacred, sexual customs. (Now there's a job for you.) She was also portrayed as "the dark maid" who built her home in the trunk of Inanna's hallupu tree, which the queen had rescued from the Euphrates River where it had been uprooted by the South Wind. Hoping to grow it to maturity and then use the wood for a throne and a bed, she tended the tree lovingly. However, ten years later when she hoped to harvest the tree, according to the translation made by Samuel Kramer, this is what happened:
"But in the meantime, she found to her
dismay that her hopes could not be fulfilled
According to Hebrew tradition, Lilith was Adam's first wife and created from the ground in the same way that he was. Being his equal, she refused to be subordinate and ultimately left the Garden of Eden in a huff. In other words, limiting their sexual exploits to the missionary position wasn't exactly what she had in mind. Note that the Moslems had stated "Damned be the man who makes the wife heaven and himself Earth." Catholic leaders said pretty much the same thing, but apparently Lilith wasn't particularly religious and wouldn't buy into it. At first, Adam was upset and prayed to God to bring her back. Some accounts say that she flew away, which is interesting in that she is frequently associated with witchcraft and the dark arts, and of course we all know that women of that persuasion ride brooms. At any rate, God sent three angels named Sanvi, Sansanvi, and Semangilaf to hunt down the rebellious woman.
They found her living in the caves by the Red Sea in the land of the demons. Per the narrative contained in The Alphabet of Ben Sira, which dates to the 11th Century, it went something like this:
"Said the Holy One to Adam, 'If she agrees to come back, fine. If not she must permit one hundred of her children to die every day.' The angels left God and pursued Lilith, whom they overtook in the midst of the sea, in the mighty waters wherein the Egyptians were destined to drown. They told her God's word, but she did not wish to return. The angels said, 'We shall drown you in the sea.'
"'Leave me!' she said. 'I was created only to cause sickness to infants. If the infant is male, I have dominion over him for eight days after his birth, and if female, for twenty days.'
"When the angels heard Lilith's words, they insisted she go back. But she swore to them by the name of the living and eternal God: 'Whenever I see you or your names or your forms in an amulet, I will have no power over that infant.' She also agreed to have one hundred of her children die every day. Accordingly, every day one hundred demons perish, and for the same reason, we write the angels' names on the amulets of young children. When Lilith sees their names, she remembers her oath, and the child recovers."
Apparently, cavorting with her neighbors and birthing a hundred demonic children each day, even if they were destined to die, held a lot more appeal than returning to her chauvinistic husband. When she got bored, she'd seduce men in their sleep and then either murder them or drive them insane. (All right, the latter isn't that unique as women go, but you get the idea.) In other versions, she'd use the semen from their wet dreams to spawn demons or use that ejaculated during masturbation. You can certainly see how major religions would frown on such practices if it could be used in that fashion.
Somewhere along the line, Adam decided he really didn't want an equal partner after all, since it represented far too much trouble, so God gave into Adam's pleas and created obsequious Eve from his rib. Meanwhile, according to some versions of the myth, Lilith turned herself into a snake and slithered back to the Garden of Eden; you probably already know how that turned out. It's interesting to note that a substantial amount of artwork represents the infamous snake as part female, such as the detail from Temptation, Fall and Expulsion from Les Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, c. 1411 - 1416, shown at right. Sexual being that she is, is it any wonder that she's personified as the dispenser of the forbidden fruit?
Other traditions claim that she became a succubus, a winged woman with talons for feet. Many claim the verse found in Isaiah 34:14 of the Old Testament refers to Lilith when it mentions a screech owl, an alternate translation of her name. There are apparently numerous references to her in the Talmud and Hebrew mystical beliefs as well. As you can see, this bitch clearly gets around, but everyone agreed that Lilith was about raw, gratuitous, passionate sex, and incapable of caring about anyone or anything.
The various astrological forms of Lilith will indicate how and where this raw, female energy is released. Lilith is somewhere in everyone's chart, but its location and aspects to other planets and asteroids determine her power, just like any other astrological entity. Frater RIKB has written a comprehensive essay on Lilith that also includes tabulated data on the location and aspects to Lilith of various women who were famous and powerful. This fascinating treatise demonstrates that Lilith energy, like any other, can be used in a powerful yet nondestructive manner. The house placement is very apropos, with many of those whose feminism was expressed via the written word having Lilith in the 9th House of publication.
Nonetheless, no matter how you look at it, Lilith was not a nice person. She clearly represents the dark and frightening side of a woman that every decent person, male or female, fears. The archetype clearly fits the "other women", the temptress, the femme fatale, and innumerable ex-wives. (I knew someone once who referred to his ex as a psycho bitch from Hell, which is a rather apropos description for Lilith.) She's stainless steel estrogen with a razor's edge, a virtual vortex of lustful, sexual energy with no regard for anything other than fulfilling her driven and frequently perverted desires. Any threat or discipline imposed on her sexual self-expression is violently repelled and rejected in a "cutting off your nose to spite your face" manner. Her hatred of men is clearly reflected in the biblical tale of Salome, daughter of Herod, and her means for causing the horrific death by decapitation of John the Baptist.
Witches' power in the dark arts is another manifestation of Lilith's power. There is no simpler example of this than the story of Snow White. Here we have the evil step-mother/Queen who's trying to destroy the competition, an innocent girl who represents not only beauty, but righteous womanhood, with an apple, no less; no symbolism there. Even more amusing is the fact that the evil Queen was conversing with a mirror since some myths associate Lilith with ruling the land on the other side of the mirror. Note how Snow White used feminine kindness and charm to control seven, miniature men. Another one with Lilith overtones is Sleeping Beauty. Rather than recount the stories here, I suggest rereading them in the Lilith context for a simplistic but powerful example. Remember Endora, Samantha's mother, in the 1960s TV series, "Bewitched?" Think about that one, too. Another classic example is the climax of the Indiana Jones movie, "Raiders of the Lost Ark," when a seductive specter vaporizes out of the ark and approaches Indy's competition, Rene Belloq, as a beautiful women, then promptly changes into a flesh-eating demon that melts him on the spot.
And then there's everyone's
favorite extraterrestrial in the "Alien" movie series. You know, the one
Ripley took on in the second movie from the cage with the robotic claws
while hissing the challenge, "C'mon, you bitch!" (In this case,
Ripley was in the Ceres motherhood mode
protecting her young charge and the alien was in Lilith mode, in case
you were wondering which was which.) Another individual, albeit
fictitious, i.e. Samantha on the now-syndicated TV show "Sex
and the City" also demonstrates a Lilith persona with her very
seductive manner. As the show is centered around the
lives of women in New York City
there are plenty of opportunities for Samantha to show this side. She is
not a sit-at-home mom who's
busy cleaning. Instead she is on
the prowl for exactly what she wants while in NYC.
Lilith is frequently adopted as a patroness by militant women's liberation movements whose goal is to emasculate men. We're not talking about women's rights or fairness here, but the premise that males are the enemy. She uses her sexuality to get what she wants and to manipulate the opposite gender. These are the women that use sexual favors to get through school or obtain high corporate positions. It's feminine mystique gone bad as Lilith abhors sex in it's proper place as a means of emotional expression between two caring partners and/or to create life. This is the opposite pole from the stance maintained by Juno as the representation of the dedicated wife.
Lilith has an untamed, ferocious quality while Juno, no matter how enraged or vindictive she becomes, has a certain civilized restraint that Lilith never displays. When Zeus cheated on Juno, her revenge was certainly violent, but it didn't have the visceral, destructive edge of Lilith's, whose resentment was more intense by several orders of magnitude. Juno had been betrayed by her husband, who went off bedding other women, but that was who and what Zeus was. Monogamy wasn't in his vocabulary and being controlled, much less giving into his wife's demands, wasn't an option. Zeus personifies the male reaction to female control whereas Lilith personifies the female reaction to male control. Juno was vengeful because she cared while Lilith didn't give a rat's ass about anything but herself. Being self-destructive wasn't a concern, which leads me to believe that Lilith is behind the concept of suicide bombers who have no concern for themselves, much less anyone else, but instead are focused on those hot babes in burkas waiting for them on the other side. Lilith is all about destructive revenge and she doesn't care if she's in the middle of the detonation as long as her targets suffer sufficient misery as well.
Clearly, women have the potential to produce a lot more venom when their sexuality is threatened than the other way around. Men will typically go off and start a war to express their frustrations while women tend to attack each other in a different way. Maybe this has its basis in the penis envy that Freud was so obsessed with, who knows? It has often been said that if women led armies they'd be much crueler and more brutal than men.
Lilith's female passion is the opposite pole of the power of creation. She represents sexual pleasure for pleasure's sake as well as everything men feared in the feminine domain, which led to Jewish, Moslem, and Christian cultures all condemning sexual pleasures, except as necessary for procreation. When you consider middle eastern rituals of female circumcision, it's hard to miss the Lilith overtones in that sordid practice. It's the difference between the life giving power of the Sun versus the destructive power of a nuclear bomb. As with all characteristics, your greatest strength and greatest weakness are simply the positive and negative manifestation of the same trait.
There is nothing more demonstrative of female energy and power than that of giving birth. Lilith sabotages this positive expression of female energy as much as she's a proponent of lust versus love. For example, women who have been subjected to unpleasant birth experiences in hospitals where they are forced to follow unnatural routines, usually devised by men, have encountered a form of Lilith's energy. Lilith's vicious and vengeful in the most destructive way, particularly targeting her wrath on women who personify Eve's attitude of submission and the human children they bear. At least one client I know of had hard aspects to both Black Moon Lilith and Asteroid 1181 Lilith when she had such an experience, with Chiron, Mars, Uranus and Pluto active as well. Lilith is the perpetrator of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), abortion, and any type of infanticide. This could even include the increased practice of imposing cesarean sections when a vaginal birth could be safely accomplished, sometimes simply for the doctor's convenience, which not only takes the power of giving birth away from the woman but has been shown to result in more infant deaths than vaginal births. It would be interesting to study the Natal Charts of gynecologists, both male and female, for Lilith placement. Of course when Lilith interferes in the birth process, the results can be harmful to the child as well, which is the case for at least one of my clients. Lilith in the horoscopes of those compromised by a difficult birth would be another interesting study.
In a man's chart, Lilith often indicates the area in which he'll have to deal with power issues with women. For example, in the 4th House it may mean he has an extremely domineering or just plain bitchy mother and/or wife. In the 10th House, he may have to deal with powerful women in his career. As expected, it can also be a factor in sexual preference. Obviously someone who either hates or fears someone of the opposite gender is going to have a hard time sustaining a healthy relationship with one, and an afflicted Lilith in the birth chart could certainly push someone in that direction.
And speaking of sexual preference, Lilith has a strong influence on synastry, or compatibility if you're unfamiliar with that term. A Lilith influenced relationship will be wild and untamed, just as she is. Those involved will have an incredibly strong sexual attraction to one another and nothing will keep them apart. Nothing. More often than not, these affairs don't end well, either, as Lilith goes off laughing into the night. (Myths frequently mention her laugh, which I suspect was more of a cackle.) Remember the movie "Fatal Attraction?" Transits can do the same thing. Logic will absolutely not apply and nothing anyone tells them will have any effect on deterring the lovers unless they drag one or both of them off somewhere and lock them up until it passes. If the relationship was triggered by a transit and it continues when the transit has receded, the parties involved will basically have to start all over to make it work ,as they'll probably both be different people than they were when they met. As they stand in the rubble that remains of their life their memory of the entire thing is likely to be "Damn, that was hot, but what was I thinking?"
Astrological Delineation of the Lilith Tetralogy
It's sometimes difficult to determine where the boundaries lie regarding the influence of the four distinct astrological Liliths. This energy covers a lot of ground, yet it's difficult to divvy out to the specific entities when their influences all overlap, particularly through transits. Lilith, as represented in its only confirmed tangible form, i.e. Asteroid 1181, is often cited as influencing relationships, though numerous other asteroids are also involved with this part of life. Nonetheless, this is where our attitudes toward sexuality, power, or rage at its suppression, violently refusing to be subordinate, or using it for manipulation reside. Refusal to compromise one's beliefs in a destructive manner is also in this realm. Regardless of how correct the principle may be, there are ways to get what you want without being blatantly destructive, but this is not the approach taken by a Lilith-influenced personality. These folks don't care if their means are self-destructive, only that they make a statement. Eve ultimately got her way, but did so by using her feminine wiles in a far less threatening manner.
According to astrologer, Donna Van Toen, the house where Asteroid 1181 resides in your natal chart is the first place to look for a persistent unwillingness to be subservient; I have found this to be an accurate interpretation. [NOTE:--A more detailed description of the effects of each Lilith entity in the astrological houses is included in the ebook, "Lilith: Dark Maid of the Sith," available for purchase below.]
As always, when retrograde motion is involved it will internalize the energy and make it harder to express and release. For example, individuals with Chiron retrograde find it harder to process their hurts and wounds and will nurse and obsess on them for years. Women with Asteroid 1181 retrograde can ultimately go critical like the uranium in a nuclear bomb, as illustrated by the two examples included in the "Psycho Bitches from Hell" section included in the ebook.
Dark Moon Lilith, that mysterious, unconfirmed second satellite of the Earth, could represent that normally suppressed part of us that leaks out occasionally. Just as Dark Moon Lilith has only shown her face to a select few, this could represent that side of us that we only reveal in isolated moments of intimacy. This Lilith could be manifested through such things as ripping your lover's back to shreds with your fingernails during a screaming orgasm, then compassionately treating it with hydrogen peroxide when sanity returns.
Sometimes called the Jacobson Moon or Jacobson Lilith (undoubtedly after astrologer Ivy Goldstein-Jacobson, noted above), Donna has stated that its house placement natally indicates a part of your life where you have to settle for second best, which also rings true. You may get what you need but not what you want, in spite of your best efforts. No matter how hard you try to come out on top or in first place, something will come along that shoves it out of reach. This is not to say you won't ever be successful, only that you may not ever get exactly what you want. Considering that the Moon rules our needs, it figures that the Dark Moon would hold them back, perhaps even from your conscious mind, resulting in ongoing frustration.
Black Moon Lilith (BML), that point in space about which the Moon revolves, has been compared to Earth's shadow sister. It doesn't physically exist in a material sense, yet according to Kepler's Laws of planetary motion, is an important point in the Moon's orbital dynamics. No one can tell you why, only that it is, and if you want to wax philosophical about it, you could even speculate that the second focus is a spiritual center that controls the unseen parts of our emotional makeup whereas the visible Moon controls the part we express. It could even be compared to a reflection, similar to the other side of the mirror, Lilith's domain, of those parts of us we keep suppressed and hidden, those fantasies we'd never admit to having so as to maintain our civilized facade.
There are two different locations that vary up to 30 degrees, based on how BML is calculated. One is the true position, the other its mean position. Some have professed better results with the mean position, though in my experience it seems like the true position shows up more; the conservative approach would be to assume they both have bearing. The differences between them, as far as astrological delineation is concerned, are undoubtedly subtle. It appears that the mean version relates strongly to synastry whereas the true version relates more to the person's Natal Chart and any aspects to cusps and other heavenly bodies.
Again, according to Donna, the house placement of these Lilith entities typically indicate those parts of your life where you may get the shaft, be taken advantage of, or simply never be able to get ahead.
Stellar Lilith, Hebrew name in the Talmud for the star Algol, is known as the most malefic star in the heavens. To quote Bernadette Brady [Brady's Book of Fixed Stars, p. 188] Algol "...causes hangings, death by the loss of one's head, and any other foul, demonic deed that could befall the human race." This star had a sordid reputation with virtually all cultures that paid any attention to the stars and their meaning. She was called Ras al-Ghul by the Arabs, which means Head of the Demon, and was considered the wife of the devil. The Chinese called her Tseih She, which means "piled up corpses." Nice.
In practice, however, Algol tends to indicate strong, consuming passion that is expressed through the planet or asteroid with which it connects. Again, astrological energy can be directed in positive ways, but particularly with Algol it seems to deviate more than the others from being strictly associated with female issues. As horoscopic examples, John F. Kennedy, who died from an assassin's bullet to the head, had Mars culminating with Algol; Adolf Hitler had Algol aspects, and so did O. J. Simpson. Albert Einstein's Algol could easily relate to his association with the power that ultimately expressed itself in the nuclear bomb, but Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart had Algol active as well. Apparently Mozart wasn't wrapped too tight emotionally, so go figure. Very likely his self-destructive tendencies related to Lilith in some way. The apparent key is not to suppress its energy, but direct it in positive ways so it doesn't ultimately explode with all its primordial destructive power.
I am a firm believer that through our free will we can control our destiny and use any energy the Universe imparts to our natal chart in a positive way. However, I have not yet made a study of the positive side of Lilith, so this treatise will simply have to lean toward the negative. Generally speaking, Lilith’s raw passion comprises a visceral strength. While the influences noted above are negative, Lilith also usually provides the strength to not be overcome by the adversity. As they say, that which doesn’t kill you outright only makes you stronger. A study of the Lilith placements of strong, determined women who have moved mountains is on my very long list of future studies. You probably shouldn’t hold your breath.
Just remember that Lilith can be a powerful force that will express itself one way or another. It's up to the recipient of Lilith chart influences to identify their propensity for expressing this energy and making a conscious effort to direct it in positive ways as opposed to controlling it, which could result in suppression and the eventual possibility for uncontrolled explosions. Much has been written about this darker side of female power as a variety of disciplines seeks to identify its meaning and expression, a quest that has been in progress for thousands of years. It’s interesting to ponder all the talk the past few years about the return of the sacred feminine. This begs the question is Lilith its antithesis or righteous indignation at its suppression?
Psycho Bitches From Hell: Tales of Transiting Lilith
I worked with someone once who referred to his ex-wife as a “psycho bitch from hell.” Years later, when I encountered the concept astrologically as expressed in Lilith, I wished that I had the birth information of the infamous “ex” to do some checking. Alas, it was too late, but as luck would have it, other individuals were kind enough to demonstrate how that energy played out in their horoscopes, specifically women whose behavior indicated that they’d been assaulted by this irrational, wrathful, and usually self-destructive female energy. Two you probably heard about were in the newspapers a few years ago. One Lilith-crazed woman clearly wasn’t representing the Welcome Wagon at the Orlando Airport when she attempted to ambush the object of her lover’s turned affections. The other committed the most heinous of crimes when she systematically murdered her five children. All of the above information as well as these two additional tales of transiting Lilith are included in our ebook, "Lilith: Dark Maid of the Sith" available in our shopping area (see link below). This book is also available in the Amazon Kindle store.
* * *
Picture Credit above left: Lilith by John Collier
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