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BLACK MOON LILITH AND THE TABU OF GENDER DYSPHORIA:
SOME PRELIMINARY THOUGHTS

by Simon Wickham-Smith {email him}


In her myriad of different astrological forms, Lilith is frequently portrayed as a negative influence, a source of shame and sadness, of frustration and violent rage, of cruelty and hatred. Her mythological refusal to fall in with Adam’s gameplan renders her influence as being androphobic; her wilful and savage destruction of her children marks her as a vile harridan, isolated and hateful, a focus of the contemporary rage, perhaps, against pædophilia and suchlike activities.

But this is, of course, an analysis at once both gynophobic and post-feminist: gynophobic on the part of men who, traditionally and societally, fear women’s autonomy and self-awareness, who fear women’s sexuality and the power which, thereby, they are able to wield both in the bedroom and in mundane affair(e)s; post-feminist insofar as a definitive choice is made, either to withdraw from male influence and male society (this is more feminist than post-feminist, of course) or else to play men at their own game and establish their own place in the world alongside men.

Lilith’s astrological symbolism is thus pregnant (yes, a deliberate choice of word) with ideas around equality and self-determination, which are simultaneously threatening to those who fear such things and empowering to those who welcome them.

Moving out from the traditional male/female binary (or [fe]male unity perhaps?), we can see Lilith as being intimately concerned with tabus, with what is and what is not acceptable within our society/ies. Over the last few years, my own main focus of astrological research has revolved around the issues of gender dysphoria, sometimes called transsexuality, in which a person born with, say, male genitalia, is emotionally, psychologically and psychosomatically female. It’s a tricky area to describe, both medically and politically and it’s fraught with issues of gender, physicality and sexuality which render it, in many cases, one of our society’s final true tabus.

In the next few months it’s my intention to put together a research paper, addressing the ideas around astrological Lilith in the charts of certain gender dysphoric subjects with whom I’ve been working. What follows are a number of ideas which have arisen from this research. If anyone has any comments, questions, ideas or refinements of these ideas, I would welcome their input: this is a very complex subject and, as a resolutely non-dysphoric XY individual, I don’t have the direct understanding which other people clearly do. Astrologically, Lilith is a relatively uncharted area and I’d also welcome insights into her mythopoësis and symbolism.

I should also point out that I use the true value of the so-called Black Moon Lilith. In addition to the mean value, there are at least two other astronomical phenomena which have been given the name Lilith - an asteroid and the Earth’s (semi-hypothetical?) second moon, otherwise called the Dark Moon. Jeannine Akimowa's page is an excellent site for further astronomical information. Any ideas concerning these bodies and their influence on gender dysphoria would also be gratefully received.

• Lilith’s placement seems to indicate the way in which the subject deals with tabus and the way in which his or her society works with tabus. We are generally looking here at tabus surrounding sex and gender and sexuality, but Lilith’s mythopoëtic placement on the periphery means that she represents whatever is pertinent to the subject. For instance, a person with a Scorpio Sun/Ascendent is going to have a very different relationship with their natal Lilith than someone with a Capricorn Sun/Ascendent and will care more about certain tabu areas than about others. In terms of gender dysphoria, Lilith appears to indicate the way in which the subject has come to see him or herself in relation to the societal norms: a FTM Sagittarian Sun subject with a Libran Lilith has made a very significant effort, weighing up the best ways to explain his situation with sensitivity and understanding to whomever might be interested.

• It’s important, in particular, to notice the aspects which Lilith makes with the luminaries and the angles. Interestingly, neither Venus nor Mars exert much direct influence on/with Lilith in the charts I have looked at. In well over two-thirds of the subjects, there is either a sextile or a square between Lilith and the Ascendent; this is especially telling, because it emphasises the connection between the image presented by the subject and his/her true (and often hidden) self. It might be that aspects between Lilith and the Ascendent will be seen as the central factor in analysing the subject’s expression of Lilith.

• Progressed Lilith appears to trigger the realisation (the making real) of one’s gender dysphoric identity. In several charts progressed to the year in which subjects either accepted themselves, or else came out to others, as gender dysphoric, there is a challenging aspect - square, quincunx or trines (which are here challenging because they’re urging the subject towards action) - between natal and progressed Lilith.

• Finally, in a few charts, I have looked at the relationship between Lilith and Pallas Athena. Although the influence of Pallas is not necessarily as clear-cut as maybe one might have expected, I have noticed that there are connections between the two which might, with more research, lead to something more concrete.

© 2002
Simon Wickham-Smith



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NOTE: I asked Simon about computer programs that calculate True Black Moon Lilith (BML), and he replied:

"I have yet to find a program which computes the True BML, so I go back to the New International Ephemeris, which lists both True and Mean. So that's how I calculate the BML at the moment."





Jeannine Akimowa's The Lunar Apogee



Also, check out Sue Simmons'
3 Liliths,
"the place for info on all 3 astrological Liliths: the asteroid Lilith, Black Moon Lilith and Dark Moon Lilith." You can subscribe for free (or read on-line) here for "Hard to find info in one convenient place, on what each one is, orbits, glyphs, common errors and where to find articles, tapes, books and ephemerides, whether on-line, in software, or in print. Updated periodically."

Wout Hendrickx emailed me that at www.zwarte-maan.nl: "We mainly publish about the Black Illuminations, the Black Moon. We try to publish new articles each month."

published by Simon Astley Scholfield - all rights reserved in all media