Mythology and General Characteristics of Earth’s “Black Moon”
By Grace Ellery Williams
Fellow, American Academy of Astrologians
(Mercury – 6/1928)
Before a proper interpretation of LILITH in a horoscope can be made, it is well to consider the mythology.
Moncure Daniel Conway in Demonology and Devil-lore gives the following. “The compilers of the Book of Genesis, to amalgamate the Elohistic and Jehovistic legends, ignoring the moral abyss that yawns between them, led to some sufficiently curious results.
The difference between the two creations of man and woman critically examined was recognized by the rabbins, and their speculations on the subject laid the basis for the further legend that the woman created at the same time with Adam, and therefore not the woman formed from his rib, was the first wife, and turned out badly.
It was natural to assign the name of this wife, to one of the ancient goddesses who had been degraded into demonesses. For the history of Mariolatry in northern Europe has been many times anticipated; the mother’s tenderness and devotion, the first smile of love upon social chaos, availed to give every race its Madonna, whose popularity drew around her the fatal favors of the priestcraft, weighing her down at last to be a type of corruption. Even the Semitic tribes with their hard masculine deities, seemed to have once worshiped Alilat, whose name survives as Elohim and Allah. Among those degraded Madonnas was Lilith, whose name has been found in a Chaldean inscription, which says, “when a country is at peace, ‘Lilith’ (Lilatu) is not before them.” The name is from Assyrian lay’la, Hebrew Lil (night) which already in Accadian meant sorcery. It probably personified the darkness that soothed children to slumber; and the word Lullaby has been derived from Lilith Abi. The theory may suggest the path by which the soft southern night came to mean a nocturnal specter.
The only Bible reference to Lilith is Is. 34:14, where the English version renders it ‘screech owl,’ and is interpreted as nocturnal, specter or ghost. Rabbinical myths concerning Lilith, often passed over as puerile fancies, appear to be pregnant with significance and beauty. These relate to principles and facts of social evolution, whose force and meaning are not yet exhausted and run after this fashion.
Lilith was said to have been created at the same time and in the same way as Adam, and when the two met, they quarreled about the headship which both of them claimed. Adam asserted that he was her master. Lilith replied that she had equal right to be chief. Adam insisting, Lilith uttered a certain spell called Shemhamphorasch – afterward confided by a fallen angel to one of ‘the daughters of men,’ with whom he had an intrigue, and of famous potency in the Jewish folklore – the result of which was that she obtained wings. Lilith then flew out of Eden and out of sight. (This legend may have been in the mind of the writer of Revelations, 12:14 – when he describes the Woman who received wings, that she might escape the Serpent. Lilith’s wings bore her to the Serpent.)
Adam cried in distress – “Master of the world, the woman whom thou gavest me has flown away.” The Creator then sent three angels to find Lilith and persuade her to return to the garden; but she declared that it could be no paradise if she was to be servant of man. She remained hovering over the Red Sea, where the angels had found her, while these returned with her inflexible resolution. She would not yield even after the angels had been sent again, to convey to her as the alternative of not returning, the doom that she should bear many children, but they should all die in infancy.
This penalty so awful that Lilith was about to commit suicide by drowning in the Red Sea, when the angels moved by her anguish, agreed that she should have the compensation of possessing full power over all children after birth up to their eighth day.
Some churches taught that infants should be brought to baptism before the 8th day as the ceremony in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, was believed to have a potency to drive away all evil influences.
She promised that she would not disturb any babies who were under the angel’s protection. Hence the charm against Lilith hung round the necks of Jewish children bore the name of the three angels, Senoi, Sansenoi and Sammangelof. Lilith has special power over all children born out of wedlock for whom she watches, dressed in finest raiment; she has special power on the first day of the month and on the Sabbath evening. When a little child laughed in its sleep, it was believed that Lilith was with it, and the babe must be struck on the nose three times, with words thrice repeated – “Away, cursed Lilith! Thou hast no place here.”
The divorce of Lilith and Adam being complete, the second EVE (Mother) was now formed, this time out of Adam’s rib, so that there would be no question of her dependence, and that the embarrassing question of woman’s rights might never be raised again.
About this time the Devils were also created, being the last of the six day’s creation, but they were made so late in the day, that there was no daylight with which to fashion bodies for them. The Creator was putting them off with a promise to provide bodies the next day, when lo! The Sabbath – which was for a long time personified – came, and He would break the sanctity which had already been promulgated, if he worked any on that day. Under these circumstances, the Creator told the Devils that they must disperse and try to take bodies as they could find them. For this reason they have been compelled ever since, to seek carnal enjoyments by nestling in the hearts of human beings and availing themselves of human senses and passions.
These Devils as created were ethereal spirits; they had atmospheric forms, but felt that they had been badly treated through lack of flesh and blood, so were envious of the carnal pleasures of human beings. So long as men and women remained pure, the Devils could not take possession of their bodies or enjoy pleasures through them, and it was of great importance to them that the first human pair should be corrupted. At the head of these Devils stood a fallen angel – Samael – who had been up to this time, and ideal flaming Serpent, leader of the Seraphim. He was now burning with lust and envy, as he witnessed the pleasures of Adam and Eve, when he found beautiful Lilith lamenting her wrongs in loneliness.
She became his wife. Lilith has remained the Lady of Sorrows, and her sighing and weeping is said to be carried in the winds and storms.
Samael found in Lilith a willing conspirator against Jehovah in his plans for man and woman. The corruption of these two meant bringing their bodies down into a plane where they might be entered by the devils, not to mention the manifold other motives by which they were actuated. In the rabbinical tradition after their Aryan impregnation, there were traces of the desire of the Devils to reach the Tree of Life.
Lilith was supposed to have beguiled the Serpent on guard at the gate of Eden to lend his form for a time, after which theory the curse on the serpent might mean the binding of Lilith forever in that form. This appeared to originate the notion that while the serpent was erect, it had a virgin’s head. Many pictures of this nature are found in old Bibles. Michael Angelo has felicitously expressed this in the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
In the Arabian mythology Lilith was transformed into a Ghoul, but in the rabbinical legend she seems to have been influenced by the story of Lamia, which name was substituted for Lilith. The name of Lamia was long used to frighten Italian children, as was Lilith among the Hebrews.
Lilith was regarded as a perilous seducer of young men, each victim perishing of unrequited passion. The anathema for forsaking Adam, – that her children should die in infancy – was escaped in her marriage with Samael. Samael (Mars) was known as the fiery serpent, while Lilith was the crooked serpent, and their union produced Leviathan, Asmodeus and most of the famous devils.
In Queen Mary’s Psalter (1553) Lilith is pictured with the beautiful face and ample hair, but with the body of a cat. There are many myths, which consign the cat as a familiar to the witches. This is the origin of the Black Cat crossing one’s path as an evil omen, and Lilith is our black moon. It affects the left side of the body.
Much of interest on Lilith may be found in Sepharial’s Science of Foreknowledge, as to its discovery, periods and nature. It has been found that from one solar conjunction with Lilith to another is a multiple of 177. The period between May 3, 1764 to June 11, 1855, 33,276 days, was exactly 177×188, showing its accuracy after 188 revolutions. Its mean diurnal motion is 3 degrees.
To determine the longitude in any horoscope:-
From the Ephemeris, take the position of Lilith on the first day of the birth month, and add three degrees for each day thereafter, using a proportionate division of those 3 degrees, to fit the hour of birth. Its symbol is an oval like the letter O, with a straight horizontal line across the middle. (q)
Its approximate longitude may be brought to the M.C., Asc., or their aspects by meridian distance and semi-arc measures. By secondary direction, progress Lilith at the rate of 3 degrees for each year of life and it can receive the conjunction and aspects of the planets in their secondary as well as other methods of direction. Every thirteen years it forms a conjunction with the Sun exactly 31 days later and returns to the same longitude on the same day in 126 years.
After observing Lilith in horoscopes for more that eight years, I have every reason to believe that when excited by progressed planets or transits, particularly of a malefic nature, that Lilith gets in her demoniacal work. The tales of woe of the most vicious and jealous nature would furnish plots for many stories.
Lilith in the 1st house has been the most difficult to analyze, but has brought some irritating physical conditions such as itch, or being attracted to a place where pests, vermin, infectious disease, or licentiousness ran riot.
In the 2nd house troubles involving money matters, such as receiving counterfeit or bogus checks, theft or hush money.
In the 3rd house, it is apt to make one rash and impetuous in making promises to brethren or neighbors, then sometime when the affliction comes, they will demand the fulfillment of the statement.
In the 4th house, it has brought demoniacal conditions between the parents and turned the child out to drift, or a step-parent with whom it is impossible to live.
In the 5th house are the greatest number of verifications, which have brought unlucky love affairs by death or running away with a rival. It has caused the death of children before or soon after birth. Being also the house of pleasure, theaters and investments, it actuates vileness and jealousy with combat and losses, worse for the time being than Mars or the Dragon’s Tail.
In the 6th house it often brings death at the employment, severe troubles with servants or inferiors who by jealousy tell lies and naturally cause so much trouble that a change may be necessary. It brings what some have called bad luck in raising foods or small animals because of pests, disease or theft. It has brought illness because of the bite or sting of hornets, rabid dogs or cats and snakes.
In the 7th house, I have heard many gruesome and horrible stories in connection with the marriage or business partner, when excited by a malefic transit. Mars is bad enough but that of Saturn or Neptune are a thousand times worse.
In the 8th house, Lilith has brought so much trouble about inheritance that it was not worth the effort to collect it. With some it gives a terrible fear of death and has brought gruesome experiences at funerals or witness to horrible deaths at the time of an accident or disaster.
In the 9th house, it brings rebellion to orthodox or limited doctrines and dogmas. On long journeys it brings one in contact with suspicious characters or some with erratic behavior or seasickness if Lilith were excited at the time. One person frankly confessed to being connected with a secret order where they practiced black magic. She said “People want to be fooled, so we fool ’em.”
In the 10th house, it has brought jealousy in business, and muck-raking competitors, attacking the honor of the business. For one holding a political position, then all the dirt is brought out.
In the 11th house, it develops jealousy amongst friends, or with the employer, because of some illicit love affair, the 11th being the opposite of the 5th.
In the 12th house it often deals with foreigners or in foreign countries. With the ex-Kaiser, it is in Gemini in the 12th, which could account for his short left arm, and certainly some of the demoniacal influence was shown in his foreign relations. One severe case was a progressed Mars over Lilith in Pisces, lasting three years, when it brought treachery, blackmail, arrest, continual conflict with foreigners, while trying to conduct the commission for which he was sent to South America and in the Colon Zone.
Place this black queen of the night in your chart, and watch what will manifest under transits, progressed or converse positions of the planets, especially the malefics. When Lilith is not disturbed, she lies sleeping and purring as the beloved fireside pet cat, and one would be unconscious of her presence.