The abandoned soul
And Night bore hateful Doom and black Fate
And Death, and Sleep and the brood of Dreams …HESIOD – THEOGONY
The story of Lilith and the Black Moon is not without its charm, both for the interesting mythological ground that dates back to some Sumerian and Biblical passages and for the debates and discussions that have arisen among astrologers.
Lilith (whose symbol, two crossed crescents with a slit in the centre, recalls the image of the female sex) would have been observed for the first time in 1618 by the Jesuit father Giovan Battista Riccioli, an astronomer from Ferrara and considered by him the second terrestrial satellite. There is no shortage of more ancient considerations that would trace its knowledge back to the ancient Egyptians, where he was known as Nephthys. The astrologer Henry Gouchon, in his “Dictionary of Astrology” , states that in 1971 the Americans “rediscovered” Lilith, also publishing its ephemeris, but the author considers the news unfounded.
The failure to detect the second satellite with today’s technological possibilities makes it difficult to accept this phenomenon. Furthermore, the daily pace assigned to it is 3 degrees (according to ancient texts), even though a planet’s orbit is never regular. But deep down, we know that traditional interpretations have undergone many upheavals over the centuries. Some astronomy notions are needed to explain the Black Moon’s intricate genesis fully.
ELLIPSE. An ellipse (from the Gr. Ἔλλειψις, lack) is a particular conic obtained by sectioning a cylinder with an inclined plane to its axis (figure 1):
V1 V2 = major semiaxis of the ellipse – V3 V4 = minor semiaxis of the ellipse – F1 F2 = focal ellipse axis.
The orbits described by the planets around the Sun are of the nature of the elliptical conic illustrated in the figure, following Kepler’s assumption in his first law: “The orbit of a planet is an ellipse, with the sun located at one of the two foci”. The lunar orbit is also an ellipse, of which the Earth occupies one of the focal points (figure 2):
Figure 2 illustrates the perspective set of the Earth’s and Moon’s orbits. The plane of the lunar orbit intersects the ecliptic at the two points called lunar nodes; the lunar orbit is inclined to the Earth’s orbit plane by 5° 8′ 30″; Earth occupies one focus of the lunar orbit. Perigee is the point of closest approach between the Earth and the Moon; the apogee is the point of maximum distance. The two extremes of the major axis of the lunar orbit are called apses (from the Gr. Apsis, curvature, vault).
The Black Moon is still considered today as the second focus of the lunar orbit, therefore an immaterial point, contrary to the supposed physical reality of Lilith; its astronomical definition, however, required a lot of effort. Extrapolated in 1937 by Dom Néroman, aka Maurizio Rougié, a Parisian occultist, the Black Moon aroused heated hostility in the astrological environment, both for the accusations of plagiarism made against Rougié, who, according to his detractors, gave the name of Lilith to the Black Moon to use, without indicating the sources, studies already published in England; and also because the lunar apogee, expressing the symbolism of the Black Moon instead of the second focus of the lunar orbit, is a concept that we cannot represent mathematically: to determine precisely, in the order of one minute of arc, the lunar path, it takes about three hundred factors. Astrologers thus advanced the concept of mean lunar apogee (given by the mean movement of the major axis of the lunar orbit, of the nodes, of the apogee and perigee with the theoretical ellipse described by the lunar orbit) to explain the Black Moon (the opposite point, the mean perigee, was called Priapus). Other authors defined more precisely what is now meant by the Black Moon: not the apogee, but the second focus of the deformable ellipse described by the complex lunar orbit, with a longitude close to that of the mean lunar apogee.
The mythological structure of Black Moon – Lilith goes back to Sumerian – Akkadian sources (the poem of Gilgamesh and others), where the Sumerian root LIL is found in the formation of names such as Enlil, Ninlil, Mullil, Anlil, deities and evil spirits. Lulu, meaning “libertinage”, was a nocturnal demon arousing voluptuousness.
The myth of Lilith in the Jewish tradition is even denser than the dramas that have always echoed in the depths of the collective unconscious. Genesis, the Torah, the Midrash, and the Fall symbolism, which makes Adam plummet from the undifferentiated state to the knowledge of the pain of generation, offer us one of the most illuminating passages. Next to Eve, the female tenet that realises with Adam the alchemical marriage of the Two who are One,
the demonic Lilith emerges. She is Adam’s first wife, all sensual and animal instinct, a cunning and prevaricating who is a prelude to the abandonment of the unconscious shadow by the man. Henceforth, he, frightened and alone, loses control of his soul and sets out towards the Promethean but false glory of being for himself only.
In the Egyptian and Greco-Roman tradition, the reference to the dark and numinous double aspect of the Moon, which constitutes the poles of existential experience, is well-defined: the full Moon, compliant and benevolent, is inevitably followed by the new Moon, the dark, cruel, destructive one. And it is precisely from this presage of the invisible effect of the Moon, even more frightening because it dominates while not appearing to the eye, that the need for the symbolism of the Night emerges: the Black Isis of the Egyptians, the Greek Hecate, the Proserpina of the Romans, she who brings destruction.
With the advent of Christianity, dualism became total: Lucifer, the fallen angel, opposes the God of Good and Reason; the Malleus Maleficarum, a questionable instrument of moralisation, raged throughout the Middle Ages in the hunt for alleged witches, with the sole denominator being the refusal and physical elimination of the demonic from human consciousness.
And here we are on the threshold of the seventeenth century, the Enlightenment era forerunner of modern dreams of greatness. Thanks to the wonders of reason, we can relegate the nightmares of the past to primitive soul beliefs. But is that the case, or is it not perhaps an attempt to remove what is instinctual, and therefore irrational, in our nature?
Lilith-Eve and Hecate-Demeter – the two aspects of the feminine – mark the painful passage of abandonment into modern man’s consciousness. Today the Soul’s Shadow has been misunderstood and relegated to a psychotic component of the personality. A ruthless dualism forces us to consider evil and undesirable what is hidden. As a receptive aspect that complements the positive nature of man, in her rejection of patriarchal rule, the woman takes on the form of the fugitive Lilith. This first prevaricator companion does not accept the subordinate role dictated to her by Adam. Not being able to obtain the coincidentia oppositorum (unity of opposites), we have shaped with our own hands a dark goddess, the most real, albeit imaginative and hidden: Lilith, a demon we will depict with terrifying and perverse features until we can recover, through a work of integration, the dark pole of our soul.
From the viewpoint of astrological exegesis, the meanings of Lilith and Black Moon coincide. The discovery – actual or presumed – of an invisible satellite is perhaps an attempt to give substance to immaterial fears in an era of growing materialism, contributing in some way to a real work of exorcism.
Much more relevant is the astronomical symbolism of the Black Moon as the second focus of the lunar orbit. The binomial Lilith-Eve results from an illusion of our distinctive mind, unable to accept as its own what appears as opposing, especially if the astronomical representation is a non-existent fictitious point but still the centre of a complex balance of cosmic forces. From this point of view, the Black Moon is a sort of anti-Earth, which brings together fears for what is not visible, concrete, stable, which provides no support: it is the forgotten soul, it is an attempt to restore space for the empty, the formless, in opposition to the human experience delimited by the objects of perception. And what is empty creates a sort of ambivalent attraction; it wishes to be filled, but it preludes the destruction of the beliefs on which we affirm our individuality. In astrological interpretation, the Black Moon will represent the spontaneous power of the sexual libido, not in the inferior sense as some understand it, but as a shadow element of the psyche that we must integrate into conscious dynamics. Its interpretation by sign, House and aspects will indicate the area of experience where it will be necessary to face one’s fears under penalty of social rejection.
|Symbol of the Black Moon: the crescent (the soul) dominating matter.|
|Daily step||6′ 30″|
Lilith in zodiac signs
As for the traditional planets, the presence of Lilith in the zodiac signs should be interpreted as the quality the sign brings to the planet; in the case of Lilith, the libidinal drive manifests itself following the meanings of the host sign. Since Lilith is a dark side of the psyche, we underline the most problematic aspects of its expression, i.e., those that most readily come to attention. That does not exclude the presence of an integration potential that combines sexual energy with the particular sensitivity of the zodiac sign (e.g., Lilith in Gemini can return a communicative ability that captivates and fascinates with words). These hints also apply to descriptions of Lilith in Houses and aspects of it.
Excess or violence due to sexuality, especially if there are criticalities with Mars and Pluto; otherwise, wild instincts.
The apparent instinctive tranquillity can hide impulses such as nymphomania or satyriasis, especially in conjunction with the native’s Moon and Venus.
Cerebralism makes sexual appetites live with detachment, favouring curiosity rather than passion, auto-eroticism and voyeurism.
A closed, prudish, or corrupt atmosphere creates inhibitions and deviations. Oedipus or Electra complex .
The creative power tends to overwhelm and overshadow the partner or children. Domination instincts.
Inhibition and control of the senses frustrate sex; complex, tormented, intricate relationships predispose to neuroses.
Narcissistic and exhibitionist tendencies; intense and passionate relationships characterised by morbid jealousy.
The exasperation of sensuality can lead to the sublimation of instincts or, conversely, to destructive and self-destructive relationships.
Attraction to unusual or artificially induced sexual stimuli (e.g., drugs). Reorientation of sexual tendencies in mature age.
Sexual conflicts cause frigidity and repression of instincts, especially in the presence of negative Venus Saturn aspects. Erectile dysfunction or infertility is possible.
Anarchic sexual instinct, lack of respect for taboos, daring or bisexual sexual experiences.
Hidden sexuality veiled in mystical fantasies and propensity towards masochistic relationships.
Lilith in the Houses
Lilith’s presence in the Houses reveals the domain of human experience in which the need to integrate hidden drives is manifested.
For a man: narcissism, diversity, nonconformity, possessiveness, misogyny, sexual disorders of various kinds or chastity complexes, sadism. For a woman: independent and authoritarian personality, rebellious, tormented, attracted to solicitation and seduction, unconscious refusal to breastfeed and take care of her children. N.B. According to tradition, the Black Moon-Ascendant conjunction with an orbit up to 2-3 degrees marks people with an extraordinary destiny.
Limited possibilities of acquiring material goods, lack of intuition, sacrifices and renunciations, contempt for venal matters.
An unhappy childhood, difficulties in studying and social relationships, and morbid attachment to relatives, especially brothers or sisters.
Introversion, restless nature, torment and anguish, family instability, problems identifying with parents.
Unstable sentimental relationships, anomalous attitudes towards love, possible reproductive impotence for men, vaginitis, infertility and miscarriages for women.
Predisposition to psychosomatic disorders, tyrannical superego complex, refusal of routine work.
Difficulty in choosing a life partner, broken relationships, partner infidelity and possible legal problems.
Morbid imagination, erotic restlessness, a crisis of abandonment, financial problems related to inheritance or acquired assets, the tendency to self-destructive states and psychosomatic illnesses associated with the zodiac sign in which the Black Moon is located, if negative aspects are present.
Lack of ethical, artistic or philosophical ideals and aspirations, introversion, and refusal of separation.
Unusual and strange occupational activities and difficulties fitting into social and professional life.
Lack of aspirations and projects, introversion, love of closed places, poor social adaptation, and disappointment with friends.
Negative attitude towards life, tendency to run away and use drugs or psychiatric drugs, chronic illnesses, secret relationships.
Aspects of Lilith
With Sun and Moon: interpretation of the correct relationship between parents and children.
With Venus and Mars: modes of loving behaviour.
With Mercury, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto: neurotic, paranoid, schizophrenic tendencies.
In positive aspect with the Sun. Good harmony between reason and instinct, a balance between the male and female, ability to integrate.
Negatively aspected to the Sun. For a man: lack of identification with his father’s image, devaluation of personality, betrayals of friends. Overwhelming passions lead to ruin. For a woman: it lacks a model to adopt as an ideal male image, hatred of men, and attitudes of superiority. In general: lack of spontaneity, fickleness, hyperhidrosis (abnormally excessive sweating) or ptyalism (overproduction of saliva).
Well aspected to the Moon. Acceptance of one’s sexuality, attraction to the occult or issues concerning the sexual sphere, predisposition to psychological studies, and deep bond with the mother.
Negatively aspected to the Moon. For a man: there is no unconscious model that he can assume as a female image, psychic castration by the mother, hatred or fear towards the woman, and sometimes impotence. For a woman: lack of identification with the maternal model, endocrine disorders, sometimes nymphomania, infertility or predisposition to miscarriage. In general: feelings of guilt and self-punishing tendencies.
In positive aspects to Mercury. Good mental relationship to sex, attraction to sexual problems and the creative elements aroused by sexuality.
In negative aspects to Mercury. Odd or perverse mentality, excessive cerebralism, refusal to communicate, nervous imbalances.
In positive aspects to Venus. There is a balance between love and eroticism, internally fulfilling and formative relationships, and the ability to master negative sexual impulses.
In negative aspects to Venus. Unconscious refusal to love, voyeurism; for a man: the rejection of the woman, sometimes impotence; for a woman: a rejection of her femininity, frigidity and inhibitions.
In positive aspects to Mars. Accentuation of sexual activity; sometimes risks of nymphomania (for a woman) or satyriasis (for a man).
In negative aspect to Mars. Poor willpower, apathy, the tendency to thyroid dysfunction leading to obesity, aphonia, accident prone; for a man: the rejection of masculinity; for a woman: castration tendencies towards men.
In positive aspects with Jupiter. Morality or religiosity conditioning sexual expression; for a man: paternalistic and protective attitudes towards women.
In negative aspects with Jupiter. Psychic instability and inconstancy, anarchic tendencies, dyspepsia or aerophagia.
In positive aspects with Saturn. Low sexual exuberance, frigidity or disinterest in sex, choice of celibacy.
In negative aspect with Saturn. Tendency to loneliness, self-destruction, psychic crises, frustrations, scruples, abdominal or joint discomforts.
In positive aspects with Uranus. Sexual freedom, lack of taboos, originality in erotic experiences.
In negative aspects with Uranus. Lack of sense of opportunity, capriciousness, abnormal emotional reactions and outbursts of aggression.
In positive aspects with Neptune. A romantic vision of eroticism, idealised desires, and voluntary renunciation of sexuality.
In negative aspects with Neptune. Exaltation of the imagination, erotic and imaginative delusions, loss of consciousness, immoral life, sometimes schizophrenia and drug use.
In positive aspects with Pluto. Intense and passionate loves, deep sensuality, voluptuousness.
In negative aspects with Pluto. Tendency to lie and betrayal, lack of guilt feelings, sadism, destructive and self-destructive potentials in relationships.
- Federico Capone – Luna Nera Lilith (Black Moon Lilith) – Turin 1978
- Clara Negri – Lilith la Luna Nera in Astrologia (Black Moon Lilith in Astrology) – Naples 1985
- Roberto Sicuteri – Lilith la Luna Nera (Black Moon Lilith) – Rome 1980