This article appeared recently in The Widening Gyre. Though I don’t intend to make a habit of using content from The Gyre in this space, I received so many emails about this particular article that I’m reprinting it here for the benefit of readers of The Inner Wheel. If you are a regular visitor to The Inner Wheel and haven’t subscribed to The Gyre yet, please do (see the bottom right of this page). The Gyre has exclusive content that isn’t available on this site, along with discounts and other bonuses, and you don’t want to miss out.
What I Know About the Black Moon
It seems that recently I’ve had a hundred inquiries on the topic of Black Moon Lilith. It’s understandable. BML has been making a long term conjunction with Uranus, on and off, since December of last year and only just pulled away from him in late June. For a good part of that time the Uranus/BML conjunction was squared by Pluto. What does this mean, you might ask? The honest answer is, “We don’t know yet.”
One of the big truths in astrology is that the incidents that arise via outer planet disruption take a long time to sink in and a long time to make sense of. We go through the storm first and take stock later. Basically, when outer planets attack (forgive me, it’s shark week on the Discovery Channel again), the best we can do is try to stay alive so that we can ask questions later. BML to Pluto, BML to Uranus—sure, we can throw the archetypes together and come up with some theories. But without really understanding the initial archetype thoroughly and completely, we will be, at best, guessing.
And with something as slippery and reluctant to be defined as the Black Moon, guessing is the best we can do. Talk about taking stabs in the dark. I’ve been studying the Black Moon closely for about five years now. She doesn’t like it. The minute you try to define one of her patterns, she slithers away and hits you with another one. It started with a client of mine whose chart was so dominated by the Black Moon that he could hardly take a step without confronting her in some form in his life. She’s prominent in my chart, too, close to Chiron and opposite my Moon/Uranus conjunction in Leo, also opposite Venus, square Neptune and quincunx Pluto. Obviously, at some point in my life she and I would have to have a confrontation.
Before we go any further, let’s define her. I’m not talking about the asteroid Lilith. I’m talking about the Lilith that is represented by the apogee of the Moon—the Moon’s furthest point away from the Earth in its elliptical orbit of the Earth. This orbit is not steady, but extremely wobbly, which is why you have a choice of the True (or Oscillating) Black Moon or the Mean Black Moon. Even this is mysterious (we will find that many things about the Black Moon are mysterious, uncertain, and hidden). Apparently, even the “True” Black Moon is only True when it’s actually touching the ecliptic (the path of the Moon) and the rest of the time it’s just as wonky as the other measurement. I’ve always favoured the Mean Black Moon—I’m comfortable with mean measurements in astrology because they seem to represent a concentrated essence of the measurement. I like to think that the mean measurement is the concentrated essence of the Black Moon and the Oscillating Lilith represents the parameters of that influence.
I’ve read a lot about BML and her influence; unfortunately, a lot of what I’ve read has nothing to do with the experiences I’ve been witness to via my clients. The worst is when someone tries to put a happy face on BML, because I’ve yet to discover a true positive side to her aside from the raw power which emerges from her intimate connection to occult abilities, and her propensity to distribute post-rage clarity. This is a serious lady, certainly no one to muck around with. It’s been said that we must give up, or sacrifice something where BML resides. Unlike Neptune, with BML there is no bargaining for what is appropriate to lose–the only way we can tap into the great power of BML is to sacrifice our fears, terrors and hungers.
Because I feel we’re a long way from understanding The Black Moon Lilith, and because her behaviour is so inconsistent, (some feel her a great deal, others not at all) I’m instead going to lay out the things about BML that I know for certain to be true.
Sex, Rage, and the Tearing Away
The word ‘raw’ is, I suppose, the best way to start with BML. When you think about her symbolism—the point where the Moon is furthest away from the Earth—it becomes clear right away that her story has to do with being a kind of ‘anti-moon.’ The Moon, at its essence, describes how we feel nurtured and supported, where we are comforted and familiar. BML is the very opposite of that, and represents the stark terror of abandonment. Do you remember ever getting lost as a very young child? You dropped Mum’s or Dad’s hand in the department store or on the street, and when you found yourself alone, surrounded by strangers in an unfamiliar place, you screamed a scream of both fear and rage and you began to cry, because, that that age, we instinctively know that being severed from the people who care for us is death—not a metaphorical death, but a literal one. A child can’t survive on its own. When BML is touched by transit or progression, this kind of terror, normally hidden down deep, can rear its head.
BML has a great deal to do with the rage of not being heard, and of needs not being accepted nor understood. This is particularly true of the needs of any house it falls in. For example, if she’s found in the 5th house, and her needs for creative self-expression are not accepted, she will rage with utter fury when provoked. In the 8th house, there is a deep need for intimacy of the most intense kind; her fury will be unleashed at anyone or anything that gets in the way of this intimacy. It may be merely her perception of truth, and not ‘truth’ at all in literal terms, but with BML we are not talking about a logical process. We’re talking about visceral instinct. The cry of the “I.”
The rage of BML is a peculiar one, and everyone who has experienced it will recognize it immediately. It isn’t the deep eruption of Pluto or the cold cutting of Uranus or the lightning intensity of Mars. The best way to describe it would be as a combination of all three. It’s instantaneous, it’s blinding, and it takes over the soul and the sensibility to the point where we lose our normal consciousness and we feel nothing but the black rage. Notice I say black, not red. I think a red rage has more to do with an affronted Mars. This rage of BML has to do with the nothingness at the dark side of life. BML has been associated with the goddess Kali. She is the black hole in our psyche were comfort used to be. Kali has also been associated with Ceres. But Ceres spends equal amounts of time sewing and reaping, living the cycles of time, whereas BML seems to be all about the reaping. In fact, she’s not reaping at all, she’s burning those old stumps of grass and salting the Earth so that nothing will ever grow there again. Her anger is something primal, a wailing wound at the center of the material world. But, at the same time, there is something glorious about her. There is something majestic about all that pure force, that pure energy, bound by no rules.
The Black Moon and The Source
Try to imagine all the forces of the material world, all the energetic essences, without the world itself to contain them. That’s what the Black Moon represents. And that’s one of the reasons that BML, when she sacrifices destruction and gives up relating herself to the material world, is the true representative of occult abilities in the chart. She’s witchy, all right. More than witchy. Far from being at the mercy of her hungers, once she realizes she doesn’t have to be hungry she has the powers of all the hidden knowledge of the universe at her feet. She just knows. Her knowledge is instinctual, and doesn’t necessarily fit any logical patterns of knowing. Her wisdom is an ancient one and allows her access to become mistress of those other-worldly forces. There is a clarity, too, that can arise once the rage of BML is confronted and her anger and hunger quelled. Once we understand the seat of that rage, we can clear any debris from our soul’s path.
It has always been known that one of the great and powerful sources of energy in the world is sexual energy. BML has a great deal to do with the sexual dance because of the deeper connection between sex and the regenerative forces of the world. BML is concerned with healing sexual issues, but it is also about the uses and abuses of sexual energy to achieve things towards one’s own ends. There is nothing inherently bad in the use of sexual energy—we all use our sexuality on a daily basis, whether we realize it or not. It is the yin and yang, the ida and pingala of our energetic make-up. But there is a difference between expressing sexuality and the manipulative use of sexual power.
Black Moon Lilith and the Blade
BML is intimately connected to both male and female sexuality, and feelings about sexual power. (It also has to do with early sexual development and sexual preferences. However, this research is ongoing, and I will put out more information at a later date.) If BML hits a planet in the chart, we will be able to use that planet’s wiles in the sexual game. BML can sexualize whatever it touches. It is intimately connected to the archetype of ‘the femme fatale,’ and men with BML prominent may be attracted to relationships which cause them to give up their power and surrender to the feminine. They may also be terrified of doing such a thing, and avoid women altogether. Or they may like being surrounded by very powerful women (or a combination of all these things). If BML is prominent in a woman’s chart, she may enjoy manipulating her partners and seeing how far she can gain in the game of seduction. BML is often prominent in the women who make a career out of breaking up other people’s relationships, but can’t seem to settle into one of her own. We all know these women, who believe a man isn’t worth having unless he happens to belong to someone else. These women never feel the true and authentic power of BML until they give up the false power for the greater.
One of the darkest sides to BML is her association with castration. BML can be the castrating mother (her symbol is rather scythe-like), taking sexual power from her children, no matter which sex. With hard aspects, there may be a tendency to absorb the mother’s unspoken rage and fear and take it for one’s own. Her influence may cause an association between sexuality and this rage and powerlessness, or it may cause a disconnect between sexuality and intimacy. This is when sex becomes conquest instead of union; the ability to connect within our intimate encounters is stolen from us, and is difficult to reinstate. Or we may go through life feeling at the mercy of our sexual desires, powerless in our ability to choose, never understanding the emptiness that drives us.
Black Moon Lilith and Passion
With BML in hard aspect or prominent in the chart, there can often be an adjustment needed in one’s attitude towards passion. Healthy desire is one thing, obsession is another, and with BML strong we are prone to obsessions. Our obsessions can be about anything (see the houses involved) and can often be damaging to us without our knowing it. Obsession can lure us in until we dissolve within it, losing our separate sense of self along the way. This brings us back to BML and its role as ‘anti-Moon’—passion/obsession is ultimately about the desire of the screaming, hungry child to return to the breast. The object of obsession is elusive; our desire to own the object raises fear, terror and threat of loss, with fantasy offering the only temporary release. When we are obsessed, those obsessions become our substitutes for living, and they replace a healthy participation in life itself. We choose anti-life, and this is certainly the black moon’s realm.
For a while, I was taken to thinking of BML as a polarity—if the furthest, blackest point away from the Earth is BML, wouldn’t the closest point to the Earth, the perigee, indicate a place of material reward? A place where the natural matter forming principle as represented by the Moon could work unabated? Alas, as far as I know there is no research on this yet, and my own results are inconclusive. One of the difficulties is that, due to the wobbly orbit of the Moon, the perigee is not necessarily directly opposite the apogee. The closest point, astronomically, is not the opposition to BML, but rests on some other point in the ecliptic that (to my knowledge) has not been charted for the purposes of astrology. I would assume that this alignment would work somewhat as the Nodes do, with negatives and positives to both ends and a kind of balance as the goal. There is some discussion of this on forums, using the Priapus archetype for the opposition, but I’m not certain about dividing BML into a male and a female half, giving one end the curse of excess and the other the rage of emptiness. It’s certain that BML has to do with sexuality, but dividing it into an easy polarity like this may be taking it too far beyond our evidence for the moment.
I’m encouraging everyone to explore the Black Moon in charts and gather and document results, particularly by transit and progression. She can’t hide her dark mysteries from us forever…