Photo-Illustration: by Preeti Kinha; Photos: Getty Images
Meet Black Moon Lilith, an elusive astrological “placement” (I’ll explain) associated with deep desires, sexual liberation, and the extraordinary power of claiming (or perhaps more apt, reclaiming) your identity. Sounds badass, no? Also pretty confusing, yes? Just keep reading to learn everything you need to know about the true queen of the underground.
First things first: Black Moon Lilith doesn’t exist. Physically, that is. Unlike the big-name planets we track in astrology or even the lesser-known asteroids that hover between Mars and Jupiter, Black Moon Lilith is actually a location, not a celestial being. To understand exactly how this place in space is coordinated, allow me to take you through some light astronomy.
As the moon spins around Earth, it moves on its own elliptical orbit in which Earth isn’t exactly in the center — it’s actually closer to one of the sides. This means the moon is sometimes closer to Earth than at other times. When the moon is closer, when it forms lunations known as “supermoons,” it’s at the lunar perigee — but when it’s most distant, it’s at the lunar apogee. Stay with me here.
Black Moon Lilith is located at the point that mirrors Earth’s location in the oval on the side of the lunar apogee. In other, shorter, words: It’s basically the real-life version of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. (In fact, it’s occasionally referred to as the “Dark Moon”!)
Per ancient Mesopotamian and Judaic mythology, that would be Adam’s first wife, Lilith. While the ever-popular Eve was birthed from Adam’s rib, Lilith and Adam both emerged from the soil of the earth, highlighting Lilith’s autonomy as a being separate from Adam. As the story goes, Lilith refused to be submissive to him, exercising her right to assert her freewill and sexual independence; she was consequently banished from the Garden of Eden for rejecting her wifely duties.
For centuries, Lilith was depicted as corrupt, deranged, and even demonic. (In ancient Hebrew, Lilith translates to “night monster” or “night creature.”) Her wild, evil spirit was believed to curse pregnancies, steal children, and even steal men’s semen as they slept. Yikes.
A few decades ago, feminist writers and activists took a closer look at Lilith’s narrative and reputation. In 1972, Lilly Rivlin published an essay in Ms. Magazine challenging Lilith’s negative implications and redefining her as a “female archetype that is creative and self-liberating.”
Although Black Moon Lilith is often oversexualized, I find its mythology and symbolism are best expressed through its lack of physicality: Black Moon Lilith is a void. An absence. A missing piece. Likewise, Black Moon Lilith represents our deepest repressed desires that yearn to be expressed. It speaks to the darkest parts of ourselves that we’re often afraid to acknowledge or where we feel criticized or misunderstood. When we choose to explore these empty spaces in our own stories, we can excavate incredible discoveries about the most hidden parts of ourselves: our desire, autonomy, will, and freedom.
Everyone has Black Moon Lilith in their complete astrological profile, i..e, the birth (or natal) chart. By using astrology software, such as TimePassages or Astro.com, you’ll be able to identify Black Moon Lilith’s zodiac sign in your chart (if you’re up for the challenge, bonus points for locating which astrological house it occupies). Below are keywords associated with each of the 12 signs; note that Black Moon Lilith is about reclaiming autonomy, so by pairing that concept with the corresponding keywords, you’ll discover what that sense of raw, reclaimed energy looks like for you.
Black Moon Lilith in Aries: Success, competition, winning
Black Moon Lilith in Taurus: Worth, values, consistency
Black Moon Lilith in Gemini: Communication, information, influence
Black Moon Lilith in Cancer: Nurture, support, sensitivities
Black Moon Lilith in Leo: Visibility, spotlight, courage
Black Moon Lilith in Virgo: Structure, organization, healing
Black Moon Lilith in Libra: Partnership, commitment, balance
Black Moon Lilith in Scorpio: Transformation, metamorphosis, depth
Black Moon Lilith in Sagittarius: Expansion, wisdom, exploration
Black Moon Lilith in Capricorn: Determination, ambition, motivation
Black Moon Lilith in Aquarius: Rebellion, activism, progress
Black Moon Lilith in Pisces: Intuition, psyche, creativity