Of Adam’s first wife, Lilith, it is told
(The witch he loved before the gift of Eve,)
That, ere the snake’s, her sweet tongue could deceive,
And her enchanted hair was the first gold.
And still she sits, young while the earth is old,
And, subtly of herself contemplative,
Draws men to watch the bright web she can weave,
Till heart and body and life are in its hold.
The rose and poppy are her flower; for where
Is he not found, O Lilith, whom shed scent
And soft-shed kisses and soft sleep shall snare?
Lo! as that youth’s eyes burned at thine, so went
Thy spell through him, and left his straight neck bent
And round his heart one strangling golden hair.
The Black Moon, as Lilith is called is little used and little known in astrology, and even where she is known she is little understood. This poem by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, more famed for his collaboration with Holman-Hunt and the pre-Raphaelite movement than his poetry, but undoubtedly a true Renaissance Man, hints at Lilith’s narcotic power. Evidently, according to Rosetti, Lilith has a primal allure, an ability to mesmerise, to enthral and ultimately to enslave. There is more than a hint of self-deception in the dark wiles of Lilith, a beckoning to deluded oblivion. She appears to take away men’s mind’s, their rational, objective selves, and lead them upon a journey to self-destruction and despair. A true black sorceress then, Lilith, we infer, has echoes of narcissism and compulsion in her drowsy refrain, and she might be safely discarded as a colourful – if bewitching – footnote in the astrology, if it were not for the very frightening frequency with which Lilith is found to be significant in the configurations of murderers, psychopaths and those who commit heinous acts quite beyond the ken of humanity at large.
Take the cases of Lyle and Eric Menendez, brothers who gunned down their parents and proceeded to spend $1 million of their inheritance within weeks of the killings; both brothers, despite having very few similarities in their charts, one with Taurus and the other Virgo rising, have the Black Moon rising within 4 degrees of the Ascendant. Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper who killed 13 prostitutes in the late 1970s; or Jimmy Hoffa; all had Black Moon rising conjunct the Ascendant. Mark Chapman Jones, the man who gunned down John Lennon in the autumn of 1980 also had Lilith rising.
In women’s nativities, it provokes an entirely different sense. Heidi Fleiss, the Hollywood madam, undone by sex-scandals and imprisoned has Lilith rising; as did Christine Keeler, the spy and prostitute who brought down the British government in 1963 after the “Profumo affair” was exposed. Women who switch on, or give way to the bewitching powers of Lilith are certainly playing with fire, whilst those who remain resistant to her call to deviltry are arguably less well-treated; as in the case of the tragic, short life of Jane Grey, Protestant queen of England for 9 days who was beheaded in the Tower of London as a result of political intrigue and power-mongering by those entrusted with her care. Her death, one of the most despicable and horrific acts of regicide ever to have occurred in human history, is by and large a footnote in our history books, but such is Lilith’s power, she obscures, creates confusion and tragedy and bewitches men’s minds with deluded dreams of lust and power. There is not much of good to report on poor Jane’s life, even her mother sought to “harden the child with regular beatings”. Jane said of her childhood: “For when I am in the presence of either Father or Mother, whether I speak, keep silence, sit, stand or go, eat, drink, be merry or sad, be sewing, playing, dancing, or doing anything else, I must do it as it were in such weight, measure and number, even so perfectly as God made the world; or else I am so sharply taunted, so cruelly threatened, yea presently sometimes with pinches, nips and bobs and other ways … that I think myself in hell.” At her death, aged just 16, the executioner asked her forgiveness, and she gave it.
This does not mean that Lilith cannot be profitably employed. Consider the master of horror, Vincent Price, with Lilith tightly conjunct his Sagittarius Midheaven and peregrine! Any unaspected energy point in the astrology can be given enormous power, it may run away with the whole chart under certain conditions; perhaps by transit or progression, and the conjunction for price, in an otherwise untenanted 10th, was too good an opportunity to miss. He built a formidable career playing sorcerers warlocks, murderers and monsters of various dimensions and motivations and he demonstrated perhaps the only manner in which it might be considered safe to listen to Lilith’s entreaties: for the improvement of the dramatis personæ.