Starhawk’s Lilith-Saturn Square

“The practice of magic also demands the development of what is called the magical will. Will is very much akin to what Victorian schoolmasters called “character”: honesty, self-discipline, commitment, and conviction.

Those who would practice magic must be scrupulously honest in their personal lives. In one sense, magic works on the principle that “it is so because I say it is so.”

A bag of herbs acquires the power to heal because I say it does. For my word to take on such force, I must be deeply and completely convinced that it is identified with truth as I know it. If I habitually lie to my lovers, steal from my boss, pilfer from supermarkets, or simply renege on my promises, I cannot have that conviction.

Unless I have enough personal power to keep commitments in my daily life, I will be unable to wield magical power. To work magic, I need a basic belief in my ability to do things and cause things to happen.

That belief is generated and sustained by my daily actions. If I say I will finish a report by Thursday and I do so, I have strengthened my knowledge that I am a person who can do what I say I will do.

But if I let the report go until a week from next Monday, I have undermined that belief. Of course, life is full of mistakes and miscalculations. But to a person who practices honesty and keeps commitments, “As I will, so mote it be” is not just a pretty phrase; it is a statement of fact.”

― Starhawk, The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess

Starhawk is a prototypal eco-feminist and eco-pagan.  The Spiral Dance is an ur-classic, the mother-lode of the modern Goddess awareness and worship movement.

But what strikes me as super-apt about this quote is that her astrological signature is the Sun conjunct Lilith and the Midheaven in Gemini: Mercurial eloquence (Sun) deployed to reclaim banished or forgotten female archetypes (Lilith) to such an extent that it’s her vocation or brand (Midheaven.)  That all makes sense.

That trio is square Saturn in Virgo so every time the Solar Word Witch vibe is rising, there’s Saturn in Virgo. You can see it all on display in the quote above, right? And I’d hazard a bet that this Sun-Lilith square to Saturn contributed to the breakout success and influence of The Spiral Dance.

Published on Halloween 1979 –  Starhawk’s Saturn Return – it became an esoteric classic. She could have been one of countless Pluto in Leo generation hippie/wicca people but that Saturn square drove her to research, push and put the knowledge into a solid Saturnine context.


40 thoughts on “Starhawk’s Lilith-Saturn Square”

  1. Hmmm, funny wink from Uranus in Taurus, as my choice of commitment to mark the transition is… a permaculture course with Starhawk starting in a month! I saw her speak last year and found her so refreshing. I’m travelling with her book The Earth Path, haven’t read it yet or The Spiral Dance, but this makes perfect sense, and confirms I’m definitely on the right path! I’ve been working with Saturn on scheduling and rigour since he went into Capricorn but could be better about it, as this reminds me. I have had lots of winks from him too (writing about it on my blog I’m a plant spirit witch, Chiron in Taurus, with Lilith in… I forget. I’m going to look it up! Thanks for this!

  2. On her fiction, Totally recommend both “The Fifth Sacred Thing” and the sequel “City of Refuge”–

  3. This post resonates so much and is so apt right now. I read the whole quote to my husband….here’s a little funky twist I had turning in my mind of late.

    There are evil people with bad intent whose values of grifting, corruption and vile behavior correspond to their actions. Seemingly many of those who practice these actions seem to get away with it. Meanwhile, ordinairy people with good intent bust their ass, develop chronic diseases, lose their shirt in messy investments and get pooped on here and there.

    The difference? The evil folks are living in integrity with their evil values. When their schemes are successful, they carry on, knowing rhey got away with it, “everyone else does it” and ‘getting theirs’ as they believe other people are just as competitive trying to take advantage of them in equal measure. If you get hit or threatened, hit back three times as hard.

    I’m wondering that muggles, particularly the kind of muggles who practice BS spirituality, who break their promises to themselves (this one bite if cake doesnt matter…this one drink won’t kill me…This little fib won’t hurt her…this excuse… and so’s fault not mine….its an errosion not just of character but WILL.. Evil people seem to have very strong will…and willpower…but ordinary schmoes who just float on life with lower standards for themselves and other…they get what they put out…which usually translates into a passive victim like state..

    In the US we have noth Rightwing and Leftwing victim/blame mentality which is very muggle.thinking..

    The beauty of magic is that one who uses it believes it gives them an edge. The beauty of magic is that it helps to support anti fragile mentality.

    But if one does refuses to set firm boundaries with oneself and enforces them in daily disciplines no wil .can be developed. It is a muscle. It can be done. Ask any ballet dancer…the creative habit…the creative will, requires work and discernment. Without a commitment to allign Will and Daily action, one can succumb to the manipulation of evil people whose intent is to keep us very small indeed.

  4. Many talk the talk, but VERY few walk the walk.

    Many are called, but few are chosen.

    Purity of intention.

    A MM book club

    Gladdens this librarians heart.

    Have read both Starhawk and Alphabet/Goddess but not his other work.

    Other Uranus in Taurus literature IMHO

    Gimbutus and Riane Eisler

    1. Yes – Marija Gimbutas! The archeologist who posed that God was a once woman and that women were once in charge, or at least equal partners with men in Old Europe.
      Starhawk & Donna Read made a documentary on her: “Signs out of Time” – free on youtube.

      Another influential book i love is Monica Sjoo & Barbara Mor’s “The Great Cosmic Mother – Rediscovering the Religion of the Earth”.

      Also loved Monica Sjoo’s ” New Age & Armageddon: The Goddess or the Gurus”
      – a scathing look at the New Age and corporatism.

      1. Thank you Scarab for info and other reading recommendations
        Apparently Joseph Campbell was a fan of Gimbutas (apologies for misspelling her name!)
        Winners write His Story (History)

  5. saturnplutoflux

    I have to reread this, and track down all the other suggestions. It totally blew my tiny 20 yro patriarchally programmed mind out the window when it came out.

  6. Love this so much. ….”Those who would practice magic must be scrupulously honest in their personal lives.” is what also stands out for me & what makes the difference to the results of the magic you weave.
    She has her Sun conjunct Lilith ON the MC to boot! She WILL be remembered, lol.

    I read this book when it came out and it thrilled me to bits – as it finally brought witch & pagan rites & beliefs to the mainstream. But mainly it was such an empowering book for women at the time. Starhawk & Marion Zimmer Bradley were like a breath of fresh ancient wisdom.

    If you are looking for more Uranus in Taurus material to read – you should read Starhawk’s first novel “The Fifth Sacred Thing”. I read it over 30 yrs ago, so not sure how well it has aged – but i thoroughly enjoyed her radical eco feminist witch ideas of a utopia set in 21st century San Francisco pitted against the evil christian corporatist dystopia of southern California. Definitely revisiting it. Thank-you Mystic.

    1. saturnplutoflux

      Also Walking to Mercury- the prequel,awesome ecofeminist fiction featuring an 80+ yr old heroine 😀

      1. Yes!! though i haven’t read it – but you’ve reminded me that the 80 yr old heroine, Maya, is 98 yrs old in “The 5th Sacred Thing” AND leading the revolution…. yaaay!
        Here’s to Crone Power!

  7. Starhawk is amazing, seriously, her permaculture work, her ideas on adapting her novel to film–building sets that will become permanent, workable environments–she has been incredibly influential for me.

    As well as “The Alphabet and the Goddess,” I recommend his other book, “Sex, Time, and Power.”

    1. And ps. I met Starhawk at a panel event at a University and her energy is super chill–does Virgo temper Gemini energy? (Perhaps when writing is an accessible channel, lol)

      1. You’re right – she vibes super chill and earth. But then she does have earthy Saturn/Virgo on her Asc (face to the world) PLUS Chiron at zero point Capricorn (conjunct IC) squaring Saturn AND opposite her Gem Sun-Lilith…. I’d say this Virgo & Capricorn combo totally grounds/tempers her Gemini energy.

        You can see this effect on a youtube video – Starhawk’s 5 Calming Tips during Protest:

        1. Be aware of panic.
        2. Change your body position.
        3. Take a deep breath.
        4. Find your ground.
        5. Remember the sacred
        (i love this – this could well be one’s MO for when one is in any tough situation)

  8. Lux Interior Is My Co-Pilot

    I love this post so much.

    As soon as i see the words “Victorian Schoolmaster” I think Saturn.

    1. Starhawk was one of the first pagan/witchy writers I read. While my practice has moved in other directions since, she’s been a truly formative influence.

  9. StarHawk! It was on of he first books given to me by a radical feminist (stage named Lilith), in the 80’s along with the MotherPeace Tarot.
    ‘We have come a long way’ since as the saying goes.
    The Sun-Lilith has just brought me an offer this morn via a mutual friend to accompany a totally blind financial investor to a health retreat in QLD for 3 weeks all expenses paid.
    Looked after him for a few hours when he was in my city. He holds onto my shoulder to walk as the cane thing apparently doesn’t do the job in unknown places.
    What a surprise. He liked my sense of humour and how i described surroundings to him. Details not settled
    yet but entails room sharing….mmmm.

  10. Tag: MM Book Club! Will borrow from the library. Must revisit Alphabet and the Goddess, was only a small way through until it was due back.

  11. This is on point. I have a strong Saturn and Gemini Lilith conjunct Mars in the 8th. I’m completely obsessed with the root of ancient ritual in human psychology. I’m sure there are gems out there I haven’t heard of to satiate my curiousity. It would be so fab if I could dedicate my time to studying and experiencing it.

  12. im MOON conjunct lillith in aries trine saturn in leo…wish i could interpret this….lillith isnt part of a drop down menu on astro dotcom anymore!

    1. thankyou, yes i did have a bitchcraft reading…just greedy for more knowlege…and how the trine affects’ve helped, thankyou!

  13. this is what i dont get abt squares-sometimes they seem ‘bad’, then other times they’re deemed beneficial.
    time for a re read of spiral dance, read it yrs ago

    1. Squares, I believe, indicate challenges, which when unmet or unprocessed could yield ‘bad results. When squares are harnessed, their energy can be used and wielded by the individual who did the work to harmonize them.

      If Starhawk, the word witch, didn’t pay heed to Saturn’s presence in Virgo she might have instead become an ungrounded ‘new ager’ – spouting off words of fluff and frill that held no bearing in the tangible. Instead you can read the Saturnian authority and self-responsibility in her words.

  14. “So every time that Solar Word Witch energy kicks up, there’s Saturn.”

    What do you mean by this mystic?

    1. Solar Word Witch = Sun + Lilith in Gemini. They are both square to Saturn so whenever she expresses her Gemini vibe, as just described, her Saturn is also in play. Because of the Square. I thought that the quote at the top of the post was the perfect example of this but it may be too obscure a reference.

      1. ok, cool. so, if i got this right, your take on saturn here is in the fixity of words and circumstances to ‘make it so’. their capacity to determine the situation..

        i’ve felt this fwiw. when you feel the molecules of the world shift around to fit the intention.

      2. saturn in virgo square gemini sun sounds a bit like some hard earned lessons in clear and honest communication? not honest as in dishonest, but more like ‘an honest days work’ – because anything fudged or hazy tended to come back to bite her? i wonder.

      3. I think it’s a great reference!

        Without discipline, committment, conviction (all Saturn) – your words and character are about as useful to you or anyone else as a gentle breeze.

        One can spout off all the great ideas and plans they have, but until they focus that into something more direct and tangible it’s just jibber jabber or them listing off random things from their fantasy with no comprehension of how to anchor it into the world.

    2. I think the twinge of discomfort I’m feeling about reading the words might be associated with Saturn now squaring my Pluto and MC (fresh off squaring my sun, ha.)

      It reminds me of my more witchy phases (mutable = everything is a phase. 3d existence is a phase. etc) and how much more faith I used to have in things / life. Hmm, ok. I’m going to stay here and breathe through this somatic resistance situation, for some closer examination.

      1. Riffing..

        What if everything is a phase, but there are deeper phases to the initial phase that require Saturnian wisdom to access?
        Foooor sure 3d existence is a phase, but to what or where? What do you commit to in a phase? Is what you commit to in relation to future intentions?

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