Rebel Queen, Babylonian Wind Spirit, the first wife of Adam – Lilith gets around. Like any woman with a past, her history is extensive, and half of the stories are lies. Slander, alibis, selective edits, chronicles written under gaslight – you know the sort of thing.
The astrological Lilith is popularly known as the Shadow or Black Moon but is actually the Lunar Apogee: the part of the sky where the Moon is as far away from Earth as it can get without breaking orbit and flying off to parts unknown. From She-Devil to Pretty Witch, every version of Lilith lives on the periphery and loves her wilderness.
She’s no Juno, Venus, or Artemis, and she is not defined by motherhood, wifehood, or daughterhood. Lilith has no social role, but she is a liberator. If Eve is the Earth-bound Moon and an archetype that feels more secure with connections and an identity intermeshed with other people, Lilith is the utter opposite.
You know, if you’re a Lilith type and you don’t even need to check out your Lilith chart placements: you don’t fit in, and Eves don’t like you. At first, it seems as if cultivating the Eves or learning the lingo will help Lilith take her rightful place at the table, but no. She is the Queen of Air and Darkness, not a princess. Nobody wants her in their garden, and the Lilith woman is reborn the day she remembers that she doesn’t want to be in the garden either.
Metaphysically, Lilith women are motherless – even if the mother was there, she was zombified on sedatives or deference and treated the Lilith daughter more like a rival. To be fair, the Eve mother of a Lilith daughter may try to pass on her ‘ways’ to a Lilith, daughter but be so thoroughly scorned that she detaches.
Privileged Liliths become the ‘oddball,’ less privileged Liliths are deemed delinquent. Historically, they’re scapegoats – destroyed with whatever excuse worked in the era – witchcraft, nymphomania, ideas above their station, etc. If they did manage to live successfully outside the system, it was probably a well-guarded secret. ‘Anon,’ as Virginia Woolf noted, was always a woman.
At some point, most Liliths decide if women don’t like them anyway, they may as well become – or try to – ‘the hot girl’ – the femme fatale. Emily Ratajkowski, in conversation with philosopher Amia Srinivasan, has some astute observations on the terrain. F.Y.I. Ratajkowski is a Gemini, with Lilith conjunct Uranus in Capricorn and square her Aries Moon. It’s a legit Lilith/Moon conflict, and My Body was her Saturn Return book.
But even there, the raw honesty wrecks the deal – if Lilith types want a genuine, intimate connection with a man they’re sleeping with, they’re ‘reading too much into it’ or even a potential ‘bunny boiler.’ If they’re nonchalant about the fact they see sex/their body as a tool with which to make money, that too is somehow ‘wrong.’
The Narnia Chronicles author C.S. Lewis didn’t invent his concept of girls being ‘daughters of Eve or daughters of Lilith’:* He was a theologian at Oxford University, a multiple conjunct Sagittarius (Sun, Uranus, Venus, Saturn, and Mercury) cruising around labyrinthine libraries perusing ancient source material.
It’s obviously very Madonna-Whore complex to say that females are Lilith or Eve but going with that for a moment, remember this: In the Genesis Myth, Lilith is the first wife of Adam, the first man. She flat-out refuses to be subordinate, argues, and says she’d prefer self-rule in the wild to marriage. She swears at God, sprouts wings, and flies off.
Eve is then made from Adam’s rib to render her more compliant than the primordial Lilith, but that plan screws up when Lilith turns into a snake and offers Eve the apple of knowledge.
Her back story is obviously far more extensive and complex – you don’t get to be the chief villainess of patriarchy through trashing a garden or after just one divorce. In one version of the old testament, she is even God’s ex-wife.
*C.S. Lewis epitomized the Lilith archetype via his White Witch character in Narnia.
Most renowned for trying to kill Aslan (the Jesus Lion) and rip a hole in the time-space portal, she has a name and a villain origin story. Jadis first appears in The Magicians Nephew, the far more original and sci-fi-ish precursor to The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe.
She’s tall, striking – ‘a devilishly fine-looking woman’ as the protagonist’s Uncle refers to her and first encountered striding around the ruins of a kind of interplanetary Babylon. It’s vaguely implied that she wrecked the city, of course. An alchemy laboratory experiment gone wrong? Mismanaged dragons? The wrong demons summoned? Burned pikelets? Who knows with witches?
So she comes back with the hero and heroine to London and then somehow ends up wanting perpetual Winter in Narnia. Odd, because she comes from a desert city, but I think at this point, C.S. Lewis or the publishers pivoted away from his ‘Receptionist of Babylon‘ concept and borrowed liberally from The Snow Queen.