The Lilith myth is a tale of Woman in her sexual, sensual power, who uses her instinctive animating urges to heal, liberate, and create ecstasy for self and others with her life force. No surprise then that for much of her history, Lilith has been forcefully rejected and demonized by cultures that had an orientation towards the control of female nature as the way to ensure male dominance.
According to scholar and astrologer Demetra George, Lilith’s origins come out of the culture of ancient Sumeria where Lilith was in service to the great goddess Innana, herself worshipped from about 4000 – 3100 BCE in what is known as the Uruk era, the time of the rise of urban centers in Mesopotamia. Innana’s temple was called the House of Heaven, perhaps for the sacred sexual healing that was performed there by women such as Lilith. In a famous act of male dominance, Babylonia hero Gilgamesh destroys Innana’s temple, virtually ending the Middle Eastern era of reverence for female power and sexuality.
But Lilith re-emerges in Hebrew culture as the first wife of Adam. Refusing to be controlled by patriarchal pretentions of power and its insistence on submitting to subjugation to male-focused authority, Lilith leaves Adam and becomes the cautionary tale for Eve to sublimate her own sensual urges solely to the purpose of monogamous procreation. But Lilith pays a high price for her freedom in being henceforth characterized as a demon for exercising her sexual instincts. This demonization went so far as to cast her as an evil seductress and baby killer, and object of suspicion and hatred from other women. She became known as the harlot or prostitute, the serpent, the evil sorceress, the hag, and of course, the witch.
Today Lilith embodies both the rejected “dark” side of female sexuality – with its sensual allure and irresistible temptations for men who dare to give in to her enchantments, and the liberated “light” side of feminist liberation that is unashamed of participating in ecstatic rites of pleasure and sexual healing.
In astrology, there are three versions of Lilith, distinguished and described by Demetra George – the asteroid, the dark moon, and the black moon. These three faces of Lilith trace the mythical journey and psychological process of (1) being suppressed and humiliated for one's essential nature, (2) suffering as an outcast, turning bitter, plotting revenge, and (2) reclaiming healthy sensual expression and transmuting sexual power.
The Asteroid Lilith
Lilith is the assigned name for the asteroid #1181. She can be located by sign and degree in an astrological chart, and represents how we are likely to experience situations of being repressed or denied the freedom of authentic self-expression. She also indicates where in life we are likely to not be accepted for who we feel we really are, or to not have our full sexual-self valued.
Depending on the house where asteroid Lilith is located, we may be prevented from some kind of freedom of movement (physical, emotion, intellectual, personality, action taking, making decisions and choices, etc). The house placement also shows in what kind of circumstances we will feel forced to obey so as not to be cruelly punished, and the zodiac sign that attaches to this asteroid (determined by your birthdate) will indicate how we are likely to react to feeling threatened and humiliated, and how we are likely to rebel when overwhelmed by resentment.
It is a fact of the general laws of physics that energy that is confined and constricted tends to grow into enormous pressure that sooner or later will erupt in a violent explosion. In the human being, this pressure becomes the usually destructive release of repressed (over-pressurized) anger. This anger could be psychologically understood as the need to express, experience and live one’s truth. In relationships, this release is a kind of burn one’s bridges action, regardless of the damage that can do to love, marriage, or career.
Despite this shadow picture of the asteroid Lilith, she can also be understood in a chart as showing where our higher-self consciousness yearns for the freedom to speak our truth and determine the rules for our own life.
Men, too, can be afflicted with Lilith energy, and of course, men do have Lilith in their charts. The man who experiences the dark side of the asteroid Lilith can be especially prone towards abusing women who reject his sexual advances. He doesn’t know how to have an equally liberating sexual relationship and mistakes domination for sexual fulfillment.
Dark Moon Lilith
When we cling to the rage we feel, that anger becomes the guiding force for everything we do from then on. It’s one of the sources of self-sabotage, self-harm, and repetitive cycles of failed relationships and careers. It’s as if we subconsciously, mythically, live out the exile from our natural selves that Gilgamesh forced on Innana and her handmaidens like Lilith.
Astrologically, and ironically, the Dark Moon Lilith is not an actual physical body in the sky. She may have no physicality, but she is enormously powerful in a soul-sucking way. When turned against ourselves – which is one way to understand this Lilith exile from natural sexual instincts – we have little choice but to become the quintessential victim who blames everyone else for her woes. The Dark Moon Lilith hates sex all its forms, and takes revenge on any challenger to what she sees as belonging to her. She especially engages in the cruel acts of the woman “scorned” or betrayed by an unfaithful partner likely looking for some tender compassion or loving ecstasy.
The man experiencing the exile of Dark Moon Lilith may try to sublimate the rupture between soul-self and life force behind the façade of the false walls of so-called sexual purity that some spiritual traditions mistakenly believe is the ideal expression of worship of the Sacred. Like their female counterpart struggle with the Dark Moon Lilith, they can become emotionally unavailable and cold, or try to cover a deep inner emptiness with a lot of indiscriminate sexual activity with many partners with whom there is no vulnerability, no connection, and no real soul-satisfying pleasure, just physiological release.
When possessed by Dark Moon Lilith we become consumed with plotting revenge against all who we deem as having blocked us from expressing our true nature. We may indeed become the she-demon of Lilith’s medieval reputation. Driven by thoughts of getting-even and keeping score, this phase of the Lilith cycle reflects the deep psychic pain of having one’s healthy sexual power repressed.
Black Moon Lilith
This third version of Lilith is also not a physical body in the sky, but rather a mathematical point along the ellipsis of the lunar orbit around the Earth. Could this be where we get the idea of the earthy sensuality and sense of humor of the sexually empowered human?
The Black Moon is a transmuting and healing energy, the way back from the abyss to self-acceptance, and owning our sexual power. In today’s parlance, she is woke. She knows her truth, she refuses to be subjugated to any false, restrictive, sexual abstinence ideal or patriarchal, power-over dynamic.
On the way to healing herself, Black Moon Lilith destroys the illusions we’ve held about ourselves, the stories told to us that we believed but that were not true, and the images of the Madonna-esque female sexuality that did not belong to us. Black Moon Lilith reclaims the idea of the Sacred Slut, the woman who enjoys the sensations of her aroused body, and knows the value of sexual pleasure in the healing process for herself and her partners.
Black Moon Lilith demands total naked honesty – no hiding behind what society wants or how parents tried to shape us. This Black Moon strips us of all our illusions, masks, and veils, to stand in the stark light of what is authentic to us, and she demands we be dealt with on her terms alone.
Because of this ruthless pursuit of truly embodied power, this Lilith can seem harsh, especially when first getting to know her moving within you. She tolerates no relationships or interactions that are based in deception and disrespect, but that doesn’t mean she is intentionally hurtful or discourteous. She simply engages on an even playing field, or she walks away. She doesn’t need to argue about who is right, or why others should reject their repressive ideas. Lilith is not in the business of conversion. She is in the pursuit of being free to be her erotic, sensual, animal life force that acts in accordance with the creative energies of the Universe.
Knowing When Lilith is Working in You
If you are feeling continually repressed in a relationship or workplace to the point that your authentic self and talents are unacknowledged or denied, and you’re feeling on the verge of leaving that situation in such a way that you won’t be able to return, that’s probably asteroid Lilith trying to show you where your power is and how to take charge of it.
If you are experiencing your sexual self walking on the wild side in ways that could be life-denying or health destroying, or if you are constantly refusing to give in to your sexual urges out of a sense of “propriety”, that’s likely Black Moon Lilith wanting to remove your delusions about healthy sexual expression, and asking you to raise your consciousness about your sexual self.
If you are a guy who gets a thrill from dominating, abusing, degrading, or denigrating women, you probably have a deep wound in your sexual self that needs healing so that you can enjoy the honest, euphoric pleasures that a transcendent Lilith within you can help you find.