A Real Lilith
There are many astrologers in the Far East who feel no need to consider Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. There are many astrologers who are not about to clutter up their charts with Vesta, Ceres, Pallas, Juno, and Chiron, all of which I consider indispensable in chart interpretation. Imagine the dismay when we offer them ten more minor planets! Al H. Morrison and J. Lee Lehman of New York are the benefactors who have presented us with these ten new opportunities (challenges?) A lot of astrologers will say “thanks but no thanks.” But I react like a kid turned loose in a candy factory. My problem is, there is never enough time to do a proper job of investigation, so I am just tackling one of the new asteroids in each issue of The Mutable Dilemma.
Icarus was discussed in the Gemini issue, and the evidence has continued to accumulate since June. Some interesting cases were sent to me by Nancy Barnhart, especially Spiro Agnew who had natal Icarus in his first house conjunct Ceres, with progressed Sun conjunct them within minutes when he was forced to resign as Vice President of the United States. If Ceres is one of the keys to Virgo and hence one’s job, the combination is certainly appropriate for a come-down in one’s job through personal over-reach. Another interesting case is Billy Carter. During his days of playing games with the Libyans and his admission of alcoholism and going in for treatment, he had progressed Icarus square progressed Sun, the latter in Taurus in its own fifth house. Still another case is Yoko Ono who had progressed Icarus conjunct her natal Sun when John Lennon was killed. There are two possible times for Yoko, but the one used by most astrologers puts the Icarus-Sun combination in the Sun’s house, the fifth. The theme that seems to be coming through is the danger of the over-reach when Icarus is involved in fire patterns; aspects to fire planets, in fire houses, or fire signs (in that order of importance). After The Mutable Dilemma went to press, I located the chart on the finding of part of Marcia Moore’s body and found that transiting Icarus was conjunct Marcia and Sunny’s natal Icarus positions at the time of the discovery just as it was on Hinckley and Reagan’s at the time of the shooting. I’m still not putting Icarus in everyone’s chart, but when I suspect that I’m dealing with a person or situation where it would be prominent, I do check it out, and I usually find strong aspects. One last case which I hope will have a happier ending is Diana Spencer whose progressed Icarus was on her seventh house cusp when she married Prince Charles of England. The marriage opened up the potential of becoming a Queen in time, as well as mother of a future King or Queen. Icarus only implies a fall if we are reaching beyond our capacities. It will be fascinating to see if she becomes Queen in 1989-90 when progressed Icarus will conjunct her natal Sun in the seventh house.
To hammer again at a theme that is seen regularly in our pages, anything important in the character and consequent destiny will be shown repeatedly in the horoscope. If any new object or technique is valid and useful, it has to repeat what the chart already says, but it may amplify or clarify the message. If we keep on adding new asteroids, as I expect to do, we will have to have a computer. It is just too time consuming to calculate that many factors by hand. It is primarily because I do not have the new ten asteroids on the computer that I do not look at them regularly. But it is also an encouraging indication of understanding of the meaning of the new planets when we can say in advance, “This person looks like an Icarus type,” or a Lilith type, or whatever, and then check to see if the asteroid is involved in close and appropriate aspects in the chart. Before we leave Icarus (which is becoming one of my favorites), I will mention that although Ted Kennedy and Mary Jo Kopechne did not have an Icarus conjunction between their charts, they had a natal square. Also, Mary Jo’s progressed Icarus was square Ted’s natal Sun while Ted’s progressed Icarus was opposite his Moon-Neptune conjunction in the 8th house and trioctile his Pluto in the 7th house. If Jim Eshelman’s rectification of Mary Jo’s chart is close to accurate, her progressed Icarus was conjunct her local, progressed Ascendant while Ted’s natal Icarus was conjunct her natal IC.
But this article is supposed to be about Lilith. I titled it the real Lilith to distinguish it from the imaginary, invisible Moon with the same name. The imaginary Lilith seems to have first appeared in an ephemeris printed in England in the 19th century. The name and movement were the same as Ivy Goldstein’s ephemeris, but the positions were different. That is, Lilith was said to move three degrees a day backward through the zodiac, but the English ephemeris put it in a different part of the zodiac. Still a third ephemeris was once shown to me in Florida, again giving the same three degrees a day motion but putting the phantom Lilith in a different sign than either of the other sources. The counts against a moon Lilith include:
1. the fact that no real physical object has that kind of regular motion;
2. it would have to be around 2-1/2 times as far from Earth as the Moon to move three degrees a day;
3. at that distance, a body might not be able to maintain an orbit around earth, but if it did, the attraction of the moon and the sun would create an extremely erratic orbit.
When all these astronomical realities are added to the combination of several claimed ephemerides and the whole idea of an invisible object, I have felt justified in ignoring Lilith. But I did take the time to check out a few charts, using Goldstein’s positions, and did not find it meaningful.
The asteroid named Lilith, in contrast, is a visible small planet with a normal motion that varies from day to day and includes both direct and retrograde periods. To differentiate the two in writing about them, we might refer to the imaginary Moon as M-Lilith and to the asteroid as A-Lilith. The balance of this article will deal only with the asteroid.
In the Lilith ephemeris, J. Lee Lehman suggests that Lilith indicates the unconscious and a-rational side of the mind. When prominent in current patterns, it is said to indicate a time of testing with a need to explore the unconscious. Al H. Morrison, in a comment in the ephemeris of one of the other new asteroids mentions that most people experience Lilith as negative and as a denial of sex. In mythology, Lilith was the first woman, created with and equal to Adam, the first man. When she refused to be subordinate to Adam and he insisted, she left and God made Eve from one of Adam’s ribs, to be subject to Adam. Some of the mythology associates Lilith with dangerous childbirth and hostility towards children; some with acting as sexual temptress to mortal males.
As we always stress in our work with astrology, it is a pragmatic subject. Myths are starting places, but only extensive experience will confirm or deny the accuracy of the old traditions or of the new theories. My first effort in looking for a meaning for Lilith was to put it in all the horoscopes in Lois Rodden’s book of famous women; that is, all who were born in this century since the ephemeris covers 1900 to 2000. My first observation was that it was not a denial or block to sex. Among the Hollywood ladies noted for their sexy reputation, we can mention Jayne Mansfield who had it exactly conjunct the Descendant, making a station at her birth, her daughter, Jayne Marie Mansfield, who had it on the cusp of the 12th house in exact semi-sextile to a Venus-Sun conjunction in Scorpio, Jane Fonda with it conjunct Jupiter in Aquarius and opposite Pluto who switched from a sexpot role to a serious actress and political activist, Farrah Fawcett who has it conjunct Mars in the 8th house, opposite Pluto, with Saturn and Sun more widely involved in the configuration. Jean Harlow, known as the “blonde bombshell,” had it square her Sun-Icarus conjunction, and octile Uranus, Tuesday Weld, noted for teen-age affairs, alcohol, and pills, has it closely conjunct Mars and square Sun and semi-sextile Ascendant, with a wider conjunction to Uranus, and Raquel Welch, another star mainly known for her gorgeous figure, has it exactly on the Descendant, three degrees from Neptune. Shirley MacLaine who played a happy hooker in fourteen films has her Lilith conjunct Venus within a few degrees in the sign Pisces. Where not specified, aspects are within one to two degrees.
Quite a different collection of individuals with a prominent Lilith seem to share an interest in the occult and involvement with witchcraft, including Sybil Leek who has it exactly on the Descendant with a close sextile to Uranus on one side and a two-degree orb sextile to Pluto on the other side, and Pat Montandon who had it conjunct a first house Saturn within minutes, and who was cursed by a disgruntled guest and then dogged by disasters for a year. In contrast to Pat’s real-life brush with witchcraft, Elizabeth Montgomery played a liberated witch in the television series “Bewitched”. She has Lilith conjunct her 4th house cusp, closely trine Mars and octile Saturn in Aquarius.
Still another collection can be made of people involved in power struggles of one sort or another. Angela Davis, the avowed Communist professor in the University of California who spent years fighting the establishment has the Lilith, Uranus, Mars conjunction in Gemini mentioned for Tuesday Weld, but it is first house for Davis where Weld has it in the 12th house. Davis fought openly while Weld lived in the fantasy world of Hollywood, drink, drugs, and affairs. A number of women fought for or over their children, with Lilith connected to the fifth house. Madalyn O’Hair who opposed prayer in school and took the battle clear to the Supreme Court only to have her son become a Christian and renounce his mother’s atheism, had Lilith in her 5th house of children. Marianne Alireza married an Arab and when he decided to divorce her, she fought through the courts to retain custody of the children—an unheard of situation in the Moslem world. Her Lilith is also in the 5th house of children. Anita Bryant fought to protect her children from homosexual teachers. She has Lilith conjunct Pluto which rules the 5th house, with Scorpio on the 5th cusp, and the Pluto-Lilith conjunction is in a close T-square to Saturn, Moon, and the nodes of the Moon; all in fixed signs for power struggles, but in mutable houses for ethical issues and with media attention. The cases of women who were devoted to their children, whether that devotion was always wise, certainly does not support the myth of Lilith as hostile to children. It does fit the mythical demand for equality with a mate; the refusal to be subordinate.
A number of the famous women in Lois Rodden’s book have close conjunctions of Lilith and Pluto. Besides Anita Bryant, there is Pearl Bailey with a history of four or five marriages; Betty Ford who became First Lady when her husband became President of the U.S.A. who has the conjunction in Cancer in the 10th house, marking her role as mother of four children and often single parent since her husband traveled a great deal; Queen Margarethe of Denmark who was born to power as a royal princess and became the first female to rule Denmark. Ruby Keeler’s Pluto-Lilith conjunction was in Gemini in the 11th house, in a grand trine to Moon-Saturn in Aquarius in the 7th house and Icarus in Libra in the third house. Though her early life was a struggle, she eventually married happily and retired to raise four children.
A variation on the power theme comes with Patty Hearst who started as victim of a kidnapping, joined her rebel captors, and ended up with a period in jail. Patty’s Lilith is conjunct Saturn in Scorpio. Winnie Ruth Judd, a convicted murderer, had Lilith in the 10th house at the midpoint of Pluto and Neptune. Charles Manson, charismatic leader, involved in occultism and convicted instigator of several murders, has Lilith in Aries in the twelfth house closely conjunct the Antivertex (similar to another Ascendant) and conjunct Hidalgo (to be considered in a later issue of The Mutable Dilemma). Manson’s Mars-Neptune conjunction in the fifth house was closely quincunx Lilith and Antivertex. Both Pluto and Lilith may be keys to a dogged persistence to the end, to death if necessary. Part of the lesson of letter eight is recognizing when we have gone far enough, knowing how to let go. We may end chapters consciously or invite it unconsciously with any of the water factors in astrology. The normal focus of water is inward, but when it is mixed with other elements, as it usually is, or when we have not yet learned to handle that part of life, self-mastery may become control of others.
Mixtures of letters eight and ten often seek or are given executive power. Another princess who became a Queen is Beatrix of Holland with Lilith in Capricorn in the 10th house in a close conjunction to Mercury. Still another person concerned with power is Betty Friedan, well-known feminist, who has Lilith conjunct her Sun-Icarus conjunction, all in Aquarius, opposite Neptune and trine the MC, showing a self-made radical, not someone born to the purple. Then there is Rose Mary Woods, the famous secretary to Richard Nixon who is presumed to have erased the incriminating portion of a tape about his involvement in the Watergate scandal that eventually cost him the Presidency of the U.S.A. Rose Mary has Lilith exactly on the Ascendant opposite Icarus on her Descendant. For Christina Onassis, Lilith conjunction Venus in Sagittarius in the 8th house is a key to the power of vast inherited wealth but also to multiple marriages.
By the time I had worked through the charts in the Rodden book, and put Lilith in a variety of charts of family, friends, clients, etc., I was getting a sense of Lilith as another Pluto in the chart, or we might say another form of letter eight. It seemed to be symbolizing all the varied potentials of Pluto; the use of sex as a way to power, power struggles to achieve equality, interest in the occult including witchcraft, inheritance, and royalties in other cases, power coming through marriage or through birth into royalty, etc. For the moment, I have accepted as a working hypothesis that Lilith can be read as similar to Pluto: basically a search for self-knowledge and self-mastery which would include the unconscious association suggested by J. Lehman but not noted much in the Rodden book charts. When we turn the power out instead of in, and try to control the world instead of ourselves, then Lilith and Pluto can symbolize a variety of power activity. Like Pluto, Lilith seems to want a mate and is often prominent in people who have long and devoted marriages, or (more often) in people who have multiple marriages. It is not easy to achieve equality in marriage, and I think Lilith symbolizes a search for it and will not settle for less.