Meditations on Lilith
Lilith is an intriguing figure, in mythology and astrology alike. Her origins in mythology are unclear, although in general she often appears to be the original woman, the first female archetype, the complement to the male. There are many versions of her myth, but what they appear have in common is her refusal to be supressed or subjugated, her insistence upon equality, and her subsequent exile and replacement by the opposite (rather than the complement) of the male. Much indeed has been written about Lilith – my favourite links are included below.
What is evident from all the myths is that Lilith is perceived as dangerous, living outside the constraints of civilised life whether as the outcast, rebellious first wife of Adam, a demon of the night, a sacred prostitute sent to lead men astray – Lilith is seen as a threat to the established order of things.
Taking the myth of Lilith as Adam’s first wife, wiped out even from the stories of creation except for a curious reference in the first chapter of Genesis where both male and female human beings are created – and this is before the creation of Eve in the second chapter. Male and female are created equal and urged to enjoy all the good things God had created. So we begin with a vision of creation which is filled with complementary forces in which everything is good.
In this story, as in the earlier Sumerian epic of Gilgamesh where Lilith also appears, trouble comes when human beings start to search for immortality and to be looked up to as if they were God – at this point human beings put themselves in competition with God. And from the Bible we know that trouble comes when Adam and Eve eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thus entering into the world of opposites and competing forces in which the male wishes to take on god-like appearance through the woman being subservient to him. Lilith would have no part of this and is banished from that aspect of creation in which there are oppositional forces. And in order to weaken her threat to the assumed god-like nature of man and his desire for immortality she, Lilith, becomes portrayed as evil, demonic, predatory. Prior to her banishment Lilith must have been an accepted part of creation, loving and loved and rejoicing in its gifts; as stated in that first chapter of Genesis, God saw that all he created was good. But later the human attitude towards God changed, turning from faith to fear, from love to envy of his immortality with the acceptance of oppositional forces and the quest for his own immortality, to cheat death and live forever.
An alternative reading would be to understand Lilith as existing still in that aspect of creation which is composed of complementary forces, to me best portrayed in the union of Shiva and Shakti in Hinduism. This is how Deepak Chopra describes the complementary (rather than oppositional) forces of these two:
Shiva is silence. Shakti is power.
Shiva is creativity. Shakti is creation.
Shiva is love. Shakti is loving.
(From Deepak Chopra ‘The Path to Love’)
So it seems that Lilith has been banished from this creation which is grounded in opposition, yet still she exists, a reminder of a deeper truth grounded in complements and in which the immortal and divine is accorded its due status and not competed with.
Lilith in Astrology
In astrological terms Lilith is most commonly associated with a place in the heavens which is not comprised of matter in the way that a planet is. This is Black Moon Lilith and is a point in the sky that lies somewhere between the earth and the lunar apogee, the point in the moon’s orbit when it is furthest from the earth. It seems appropriate that just as Lilith was erased from creation so she is represented by a point which does not have a physical manifestation.
There are two other forms of astrological Lilith – Dark Moon Lilith, or Waldemath Moon is reported to be a non-reflective body, or amalgamation of particles or something that is almost physical but has never been seen, again very redolent in terms of symbolising something that has been banished from this oppositional version of creation. Thirdly there is asteroid Lilith, a visible, physical body.
To me, these three represent our experience of Lilith in different ways. Black Moon Lilith shows where we come up against and get frustrated by the oppositional nature of this world we live in – it is where we can move from one extreme or one belief to another, attempting to find unity but always somehow frustrated. Black Moon Lilith indicates where we actually live through those oppositions and rejections. Dark Moon Lilith shows where the frustration, fear and anger that is experienced by the rejection from this world bursts out – often resulting in unpredictable, erratic, uncontrollable behaviour. Asteroid Lilith indicates places where there might be a way in, an opportunity to find acceptance or integration, or where our challenge to the status quo is found to be most acceptable and successful.
My reading of these three is perhaps a little unconventional and as I am new to Lilith astrology have yet to be tried and tested to any great extent, however, reading them in this way makes sense to me and helps me decipher some of the more complex undercurrents in our lives today that are reflected in our skies at the moment.
Lilith is linking in to the current Venus Rx and forthcoming Jupiter Rx cycles in a very significant way, making her presence felt as we strive to deal with issues of anger, rejection, equality and feelings of subjugation in relationships (men and women alike – this is for all human beings). As might be expected with one so often reviled and rejected her initial contacts with our lives might have passed unnoticed, only now are we able to start piecing together events, feelings, expectations that are guiding us towards a new understanding of how we want to live our lives with one another. As we explore these issues during the Venus retrograde phase, and as we get to understand more deeply what it is we are reaching towards through the Venus square to Chiron, Lilith is also making her presence felt, reminding us that our usual ways of understanding things based on oppositions, arguments, competition will no longer do – we need to remember the complementary nature of creation and love that is rooted in equality. As an illustration I will look at the chart for the Venus transit on the 6th June.
At the time of the transit Black Moon Lilith was in Taurus – a sign traditionally associated with banks so interestingly resonant with events such as the Euro crisis (note Black Moon Lilith has been in Taurus for a while!). This placement undermines our sense of security and we may well swing from wanting to stockpile and do everything we can to make us feel safe but at the same time feeling that such material things cannot be depended upon. This is where we are experiencing that sense of polarity – wanting and not wanting the material world. Dark Moon Lilith is also in Taurus showing that we might behave in unexpected or irrational ways when it comes to our possessions and things that make us feel secure – there might well have been feelings of possessiveness and jealousy at this time, maybe about people who you depend upon or things that are special to you. Meanwhile asteroid Lilith is in Pisces and conjunct Neptune indicating the spiritual and mystical opportunities for resolving these tensions. It is worth noting that Black Moon Lilith and Dark Moon Lilith are both in a sign (Taurus) which is traditionally ruled by Venus. Meanwhile asteroid Lilith is in Pisces, sign of Venus’s exaltation. Taken together this strengthens the sense that Lilith is working with Venus to bring about some long term, deep rooted change.
As I have been exploring these Lilith connections it has occurred to me that in order to fully understand and integrate them we need to connect on a level much deeper than the rational – and so I started looking into the Sabian Symbols that marked key dates of Lilith contacts. Sabian Symbols are, to me, useful contemplative images that help us to understand the energy and message of a particular time – I’ve put some links about these below too. What I think is useful is to reflect upon some of the times and symbols that mark the current link between Lilith and Venus
We first started to get indications that Lilith was going to make her presence back in October of last year when Black Moon Lilith was conjunct the Full Moon in Aries. The Full Moon was at 19˚Aries, whilst Black Moon Lilith was at 23˚Aries. The Sabian Symbol for the Lilith degree is full of imagery reminding us of creation and complentarity:
(ARIES 23°): A PREGNANT WOMAN IN LIGHT SUMMER DRESS.
Masculine aggressiveness and the woman’s desire for fulfillment are integrated and realized in the expected child. This three-fold sequence can be seen operating at several levels, and the third term, the child, can take various emotional and cultural forms. The basic meaning remains the same. Summer is the period of fruition. Man – at the receptive “woman” level – reaps the fruits of his dynamic activity.
This is the third stage of the fifth five-fold sequence of cyclic phases. It combines the two preceding ones and suggests INNER FULFILLMENT.
On 25th November 2011 an eclipse coincided with Mercury turning retrograde. It also coincided with Dark Moon Lilith opposing that October Full Moon point, suggesting erratic, excessive or unexpected actions that work in opposition to the promise of that time. The Dark Moon was at 19˚Libra, the Sabian symbol raises many questions about the nature of civilisation built on principles of opposition and subservience rather than equality, it also indicates a disruption of the status quo, forcing things to move in another direction:
(LIBRA 19°): A GANG OF ROBBERS IN HIDING.
KEYNOTE: Protest against disharmonic social privilege.
One might rather think of Robin Hood and his band, or early Bolsheviks in Russia robbing banks to finance the revolution. The protest against an unbalanced society with its rigid stratification into classes can be seen as a positive factor, even if it challenges the principle of order, for it reveals dynamic qualities in individuals and the will to transformation. In another sense, it is the dark shadow of the ideal of “nonpossessiveness.” The question is: How valid and effectual is this kind of protest?
The fourth stage in a five-fold sequence of symbols and phases usually presents us with at least a hint of technique. What can this mean at this level? Perhaps the fact that any effective resistance to the momentum of crystallized institutions should be organized if it is to be effective. Individuals alone are impotent in producing actual changes in social consciousness. A “group” must be formed. The Keywords are GROUP PROTEST.
The day before the eclipse asteroid Lilith had been conjunct Venus at 28˚ Sagittarius hinting at connections to come with Lilith, Venus and Jupiter (ruler of Sagittarius) working together to achieve tangible change and hinting at a means to do that:
(SAGITTARIUS 28°): AN OLD BRIDGE OVER A BEAUTIFUL STREAM IS STILL IN CONSTANT USE.
KEYNOTE: The enduring elements in a society which reveal its ability to significantly link the genius of its individuals to the everyday needs of the collectivity.
This symbol brings together, as it were, the essential values implied in the two preceding ones. The mastery over material factors of a few imaginative and trained individuals enables their community to remain well-integrated and able to function easily in the best possible environment. The work of these sculptor-engineers allows their people to develop a relatively permanent culture. A tradition is built which enables men to link their outer nature with the highest vision their leaders can conceive and objectively demonstrate.
This third symbol of the fifty-fourth sequence also suggests the way in which the works of man can blend harmoniously with natural environment in producing beautiful and enduring shapes of profound meaning. Reacting against the ugliness of our commercial and chaotic cities and highways, today we tend to long for “wilderness.” But the combination of natural beauty and human skill and imagination is the true ideal to strive for. As Keywords we might use the title of an excellent book by the architect Claude Bragdon: THE BEAUTIFUL NECESSITY.
During that time in November Black Moon Lilith and Jupiter were also moving towards a conjunction, which they finally reach on 23rd December at 1˚ Taurus, the combination of Black Moon Lilith – the experience of tension and opposition in our day to day lives – and Jupiter start to make some things, some attitudes towards the ways we are living our lives untenable. Jupiter expands the feeling of being pulled in different directions but he is also planet of freedom and opening up horizons. The Sabian Symbol shows the true nature of Lilith waiting to emerge free from frustration:
(TAURUS 1°): A CLEAR MOUNTAIN STREAM.
KEYNOTE: The pure, uncontaminated and spontaneous manifestation of one’s own nature.
Here we see life substance in its original dynamic form and as it emerged from its spiritual source. This is true whatever the nature of the source may be. In a sense the mountain stream is conditioned by the nature of the soil and by all the forces which in the past have formed the mountain’s rock strata: that is to say, by past history. Yet out of this past a new, pure (i.e. unadulterated) release of potentiality has emerged. It is ready to perform whatever work its dharma is to accomplish.
This is the first stage of the seventh five-fold sequence of phases. Matter is still imbued with great potential energy, energy being matter at its source. It is flowing irresistibly toward its own destiny. It is simply ITS OWN NATURE.
Moving on from that time of promise, we come to the triple conjunction of Venus, Jupiter and Lilith in March 2012 at 10˚ Taurus. The joining of these three as part of a line up of planets forming a grand trine in earthy signs shows the inspiration, the sowing of seeds, the idea whose time will come as the three work together over the coming months – the months that we are now living through:
(TAURUS 10°): A RED CROSS NURSE.
KEYNOTE: The compassionate linking of all men.
This symbol reveals the feeling of human cooperation at the stage of pure altruism and service to the social Whole. On that foundation of Christ love (agape, or true companionship), man can reach a still higher level of experience made possible by the refinement of the substance of his being, his consciousness and his will. This goes beyond imagination and faith in the future – beyond Christmas tree celebrations – for it implies going into the dark to bring life and love to the tormented and the deprived.
At this final stage of the five-fold sequence we see what is finally open as new potentiality to the “widow before an open grave” — the closing symbol of the preceding sequence. Personal attachment in love to a husband or wife has changed level becoming a CONSECRATION TO HUMANITY.
So, in terms of the movements of Lilith this is where we now are – she is working with planetary energies to bring about a major shift in the way we see ourselves and our relationship to the divine or spiritual. She is working to remind us of our true nature before we saw ourselves as part of a creation of opposites – good and evil, sacred and secular, life and death – when we part of a creation of complements.
Moving on I will consider two more Lilith events and their symbols as an indication of the ways things are moving. First, in November there is a very powerful New Moon following another Black Moon Lilith and Jupiter conjunction at 11˚ Gemini. The Sabian symbol for this suggests the dawning of a new understanding of the nature of ourselves and our consciousness:
(GEMINI 11°): NEWLY OPENED LANDS OFFER THE PIONEER NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR EXPERIENCE.
KEYNOTE: The power and joy of new beginnings.
These “newly opened lands” can refer to any as yet unexperienced field of potential activity at any level — material, emotional, mental or supermental. We are now dealing with the third level of experience, at which individuality — or at least the ego character — operates more definitely. While in the preceding phases much was said concerning the powers of the mind, this mind was essentially based on the collective patterns of a culture and a society. Now, at this third level, we find the human being essentially engaged in his personal and particular struggle for full and effective individualization. And the initial realization he has to experience is that he has reached a potentially virgin field of consciousness and activity. He is facing the unfamiliar. Anything could happen.
This is the first stage of the fifteenth five-fold sequence of symbols. Having conquered, at least to some extent, the collective and material energies of nature and society, man has become relatively “separate” from the past. He faces the future. Every step ahead should show him RISING TO THE OCCASION.
The final event I will consider takes place just before the final eventual, promised meeting of Jupiter and Venus that I see as marking the end or culmination of this current series of retrogrades and eclipses. On 10th May 2013 there is a solar eclipse exactly conjunct asteroid Lilith suggesting opportunities to bring into material creation things that have previously been banished. The conjunction is at 20˚ Taurus and has a very beautiful Sabian symbol to herald the culmination of months of hard soul-work:
(TAURUS 20°): WISPS OF WING-LIKE CLOUDS STREAMING ACROSS THE SKY.
KEYNOTE: The awareness of spiritual forces at work.
Any emergence of life potentialities from the depth of the vast Unconscious is answered by the spiritual activity of superconscious forces in a cosmic kind of antiphony. The individual who has taken a new step in their evolution should look for the “Signature” of divine Powers confirming their progress. It may reveal the meaning of what is to come next. The “wing-like clouds” may also symbolize the presence of celestial beings (devas, angels) blessing and subtly revealing the direction to take, the direction of “the wind” of destiny.
This is the fifth stage of the tenth five-fold sequence. It concludes a process, having experienced which the individual should find themselves more securely established in their own original nature, receiving the BLESSINGS of super-natural forces.
Read more about Lilith:
Read more about the Sabian symbols: