Lilith: An Unfruitful Darkness

Eliza Robertson

From Archai Issue 8, 2022

One of the astrological points that has attracted much speculation and fanfare in recent years is Black Moon Lilith. In her exile, for Lilith’s stories often end in exile, she has been interpreted variably as: Inanna’s handmaiden; a night demon; a hag; a screech owl; a succubus; a seductress; an abortifacient; a bitch; a witch; a heroine of feminist resistance; an advocate for the oppressed. Many modern astrologers also identify Lilith as Adam’s first, less compliant wife. When I first read this story in the Alphabet of Ben Sira, written between 700 and 1000 CE, I began to consider Lilith as “the below,” in all this word’s implications. Astrologers and Hermeticists will understand the “below” to indicate Earth and earthly bodies — those realms of material, tangible, sensory reality. The “above” points to the celestial sphere: palace of the stars, the luminaries, and those wandering lights we know as planets. Common threads in her stories equate Lilith to uncultivated land: the Earth in her increasingly rare, indeed exiled, wildness. This essay will trace the archetype of Lilith as Earth, and advocate for Earth, through a text-based scan of her early history. Following this overview, I will demonstrate the astrological significance of Black Moon Lilith and this point’s prominence in the charts of environmental movements. Over millennia, Lilith has represented a sort of unfruitful darkness: Earth in its uncultivated, uncontrolled forms. Lilith has also been scapegoated as a monster: monstrous, in part, because she fails (or refuses) to perform her function as helpmeet or breeder. Through forces of urbanization, industrialization and deforestation, it is possible we have forsaken our wild parts in much the same way.

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