In the old stories of Lilith, she lives a life in which she is exiled from the traditional ways of being. Part of it is that she rejects the authority of those who would subjugate her, and part of it is that others reject her insistence that her own equality be recognized.
The thing that is clear about her to me in all of the stories is that Lilith’s power exacts from her a terrible price.
Of course. Power always comes with a price.
Lilith chooses exile over subordination. And, in the old stories, Lilith is never “redeemed” or rehabilitated. The only way for her to be redeemed is for her to submit to an authority other than her own. She will not agree to return to Adam if she must assume a position of inferiority or servitude.
Also according to the old stories, Yahweh kills 100 of Lilith’s children per day to punish the audacity of her belief that she is equal to Adam. Yahweh could have just let her go–out of sight, out of mind, as they say. But he doesn’t. He actively targets her with an intent to hurt her for not behaving in a way that fits his patriarchal paradigm.
The actual “black magic” of this arrangement is that Yahweh’s vengeance is framed as “righteous.” Lilith, meanwhile, is labeled a “demon” and a “baby-killer.”
It’s no wonder that Lilith is vengeful. In my view, she has every right to be. She is the wronged party here, not Adam or Yahweh.
Lilith’s story is difficult. And yes, it’s also unfair. So why is there a trend among some astrologers, in varying degrees, to whitewash Lilith with a cloying, flaky doughnut glaze of New Age Love and Light?
A “Realer” View of Lilith
Lilith is an exile by choice, and that’s an integral part of her story. She chooses to remove herself from a situation that requires her to deny her equality and her power. Adam demands that Lilith become “smaller” than she is in order to protect his own fragile ego.
Lilith is not the one with the problem. There is nothing about her “wild feminine” nature that needs to be “healed.”
Several years back, Sunny Dawn over at the “Pluto in Virgo” blog undertook a study of Lilith and wrote some extensive observations about how Lilith might work in the houses of a natal chart. Sunny references the book Interpreting Lilith by Delphine Jay as the foundation for her observations, if you’re interested in learning more.
Sunny’s writeup about Lilith in the 4th house was eerily spot-on for my Black Moon Lilith in the 4th house, which is also closely conjunct my natal Sun. Some of the characteristics Sunny noted are just part of who you are. They’re only positive or negative depending on your own or others’ perceptions.
Sometimes, males can be reluctant or resistant to addressing their “wild feminine” side. Is there a different way we can frame Lilith’s work that makes it more approachable for folks who are not female? Sure. Everyone can relate to feeling disempowered in some way by an established power structure. Even cis-males can experience a domineering parent in the home or an autocratic boss at work, for example.
Like Lilith, we can choose to leave the house or the sign “place” that requires us to become small at the expense of our own equality and empowerment. Ms. Jay writes about deemphasizing Lilith’s influence.
So, in practice, what would happen if we deprioritized the area of life that Lilith inhabits by sign and house?
Lilith in the 4th House
With my own Black Moon Lilith in the 4th house, you would gather correctly that the idea of “family” has always been challenging for me. One example in particular is that one of my sisters used to taunt me by saying that I was adopted. That is a direct statement that can be used to create or highlight inequality (by perception, at least) as a means of disempowerment. I know for a fact that I’m not adopted, and yet I felt the assertion at that young age that I was not equal in the family as disempowerment.
So as soon as I was old enough, I left home–first to attend college and live in a dorm, and then to leave college and go to work. And leaving home was so liberating for me.
Consider also that I’ve been married twice, but I have no biological children. Years before I met either of my husbands, I already knew that being childfree by choice was the right decision for me. I had deprioritized mothering long before I knew anything about Lilith or astrology.
My first husband had no children. In some ways, he was (still) a child. I used to joke ruefully to myself that I didn’t have kids because my husband was my child. I deeply resented having to play a “mothering” role in a marriage. Eventually, I divorced him.
My second husband has four living children. And I’ve experienced some painful situations, when we were newer to one another, where the children’s words and actions sent me a message that I wasn’t “family.”
It’s not just me. I’m aware that many new spouses who aren’t the first spouse, as well as stepparents, are made to feel as if they are second-class citizens. On some level, this is simply the children’s truth or that family unit’s truth.
I didn’t rear any of my stepchildren. They were already adults or teens when I met their dad, and their biological mothers were the ones who mothered them throughout their formative years. So it’s much more accurate–and more comfortable for me, if I’m honest–to describe myself as “[my spouse’s] wife.”
My stepkids eventually warmed up to me, and it’s nice that they have. They approach me as their dad’s wife, and I approach them as my spouse’s kids. This has worked out much better for us than trying to manufacture parent/child relationships when the children are already adults and already have a mother.
Lilith in the 7th House
As another example, I’ve worked with the chart of a woman whose Black Moon Lilith is placed in the 7th house, closely conjunct her Descendant (and, accordingly, opposing her Ascendant). Her Mercury is also in the 7th house, within three degrees of Lilith, as if to say, “Here, get this message!”
This client has married four times, and marriage has been a consistent vehicle of disempowerment for her. Her first husband literally tried to starve her to death, for example. So you can see that for her, deprioritizing marriage might exile her from the institution of marriage. But it would allow her to better hold and assert her own power and equality.
In practical terms, a 7th house Lilith might refrain from formalizing their connection with one partner via marriage. It might alternately say not to live under the same roof with one partner as if you are married either. A deep level of energy exchange happens when you live with or marry an intimate partner. With a 7th house Lilith, I can see how marriage might cause you to give up too much of yourself.
It’s true that marriage brings along with it certain financial and social benefits, but one might look at not having access to those benefits as the price one pays for one’s power.
In the case of a 7th house Lilith, not getting married might appear to be a bleak and lonely situation, especially in one’s older years. But that’s a very traditional way of thinking about marriage. Lilith is not about any tradition that deprives her of her inherent equality. And this doesn’t have to be bleak or lonely situation.
What’s to stop a 7th house Lilith from finding true love?
Nothing at all. True love is a 5th house matter, not a 7th house matter.
What’s to stop a 7th house Lilith having a delicious and fulfilling sex life?
Nothing at all. Sexuality is an 8th house matter, not a 7th house matter. My 7th house Lilith client has Uranus and Pluto in the 8th house (though not conjunct). Nonetheless, that planetary combination in the 8th house can speak directly, in this case, to sexual liberation and sexual power.
(For everyone else: If “morals” would stop you from having a sex life outside of marriage, Lilith in the 7th might prompt you to consider how your adherence to “traditional values” denies your equality and keeps you from getting what you want.)
What’s to stop a 7th house Lilith from being financially secure, especially in old age, as marriage has often traditionally provided to a spouse?
Nothing at all. Money is a 2nd house matter, not a 7th house matter.
With that said, the 8th house may also have something to say about your relationship to other people’s money. As is true with my client’s 7th house Lilith plus 8th house Uranus and Pluto, there can also be shocking developments and deep trauma around the topic of a spouse’s money.
Your 6th house and your 10th house may also have something to say about the work you do or the career you pursue as a means of earning money. My 7th house Lilith client has a 6th house Sun conjunct Venus in Gemini as well as Venus conjunct Neptune in the 10th house and Scorpio. This client is a priestess, a witch, and a healer. That’s her work/her labor of love (6th house) and her profession (10th house).
Additionally, her North Node is in Virgo and the 9th house. Her destiny was to be a healer. She has traveled much during the course of her life, and she works with clients and students as far away as India. Her Chiron is in Pisces and the 2nd house, though. It can be difficult to make a living doing what some see as “woo-woo” spiritual stuff, and I know that many spiritual practitioners have felt this at one time or another.
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I trust that these examples illustrate how “traditional” perceptions of male and female roles can be worked around in a way that allows women–and everyone, where their own Liliths are concerned–to stand in their own power and affirm their own equality.
And, as always, factors in a natal chart can’t be interpreted in isolation. It’s a great idea to have an astrologer look at your natal chart as a whole unit and work with you to tease out its meaning.