picture by George Hurrell
In Jewish folklore, she is Adam's first wife. But her roots are much older – an Assyrian she-demon, a serpent goddess, queen of the underworld.
In astrology, confusion reigns. There are three Liliths - an asteroid, a mean Lilith and the Dark Moon Lilith. It is the latter to which most authors are actually referring. In your chart this will appear as a black crescent moon with a cross below.
But what does Lilith mean in the chart? Does she show independence, darkness, or repressed anger? Does she show a lack, an emptiness, as some writers have suggested? Or maybe obsession, voraciousness?
On a wet and blowy evening this week, my local astrology group met to investigate. None of us felt we had come to grips with the real meaning of Lilith yet. Nothing any of us had read really resonated. So we thought we'd look at a lot of charts and see what came up.
The results were... a) horrid...
We started with a hunch - in the charts of men, could she represent a problem with women. We looked at some serial killers, and immediately the correlation was clear – Ted Bundy (Moon conjunct Lilith), Peter Sutcliffe (Lilith Rising), Fred West (Lilith in the 7th (his victims) inconjunct Neptune (fantasy)). Then there's the child killer, an embodiment of one face of Lilith surely, Myra Hindly (Lilith in the first conjunct Venus). But I don't want to dwell on them. Suffice to say, a prominent Lilith isn't going to make you a serial killer, but serial killers may well have prominent Lilith.
and b) intriguing...
We took some false turns and found some charts which seemed to have very little Lilith action. Wallis Simpson, for example. You'd think the so-called femme fatale who stole the prince away would have some Lilith action, but not really.
Just as we were winding up, someone had one last thought. If criminals have strong Lilith, what about crime writers? Agatha Christie has her Part of Fortune conjunct Lilith: she made a fortune out of her. And then it was time to go home, but it set me thinking.
When I got back, I started looking at the darkest crime writers I could think of – bingo. All of the following aspects are very close, unless I point out otherwise.
Ruth Rendell and Patricia Highsmith, mistresses of the psychological thriller, both have Mercury (mind) conjunct Lilith. Stieg Larsson, whose heroine is surely an embodiment of the archetype, and whose gory descriptions of rape and mutilation turn the reader into a voyeur, has Lilith in Libra sandwiched between Neptune (imagination) and Venus (women). Lilith's on that midpoint. Elmore Leonard: Lilith conjunct the North Node. Arthur Conan Doyle? Lilith conjunct the Moon, trine the Sun and applying to the MC.
|Jude Law as Dickie Greenleaf |
and Matt Damon as Ripley
Edgar Allan Poe has Lilith in the 7th (no surprises there then). She's trine his Sun and Mercury in the third – a little wide at five degrees but close enough.
So how about a criminal who became an author and wrote about his life of thievery. Jean Genet has Lilith on the MC conjunct Mars. And the other French outsider, Albert Camus, who practically invented anomie? On the descendant trine Neptune.
You're beginning to get the picture. Lilith is right in there.
So how about writers whose subject is the wilder shores of emotion or the darker corners of the mind?. Emily Brontë, say. Isn't Heathcliff a kind of male Lilith – outcast, vengeful, dark? Lilith is in her 7th house of the other, in Gemini, one of the writers' signs, ruled by Mercury. She sextiles Mercury and opposes Neptune (imagination again).
Robert Louis Stephenson (creator of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde): Lilith dead on the Ascendant, square Mercury, trine Jupiter
Thomas Hardy (creator of Tess – outcast, over-sexed, wonderful) Sun opposite Lilith
Scott Fitzgerald (married and inspired by crazy, wonderful Zelda) Lilith opposite Venus-Mercury
Jack Kerouac (I like the crazy ones) Lilith conjunct Uranus in Pisces (the drink killed him, but Lilith and oblivion is another post.)
So to understand Lilith, we can read fiction. Lilith is Heathcliff, she is the Talented Mr Ripley, she is Tess of the D'Urbervilles. She is a wild, dark part of the human soul, but without her our imaginations would be so much duller. She is the outsider that all writers need to be in order to see the world with fresh eyes.
|Nastassja Kinski as Tess|