Lilith: Both Anima and Animus

Wednesday May 2nd 2012
Munch’s Madonna. He had Lilith in Cancer opposite the feminine Moon in her fall.

“Oh, Mother, my mother!” cried the agonized girl, turning passionately upon her parent as if her poor heart would break. “How could I be expected to know? I was a child when I left this house four months ago. Why didn’t you tell me there was danger in men-folk? Why didn’t you warn me?”

– Tess of the D’Urbervilles

Hardy, author of Tess, has Lilith opposite his Sun.
She was not his only powerful female character.
Bathsheba in Far From The Madding Crowd
is a more positive expression of Lilith.

My Dad, who knows a thing or two about books, phoned me up last week to ask about Lilith. He’d read the last post, you see, and he wasn’t sure that Tess of the D’Urbervilles was an avatar of Lilth, because, as he rightly pointed out, the thing about Tess is that she is innocent; she is pure and natural. Surely, Lilith is supposed to be wicked and corrupt.

So I realised that I had to do some more explaining. I don’t think that Lilith (in astrology anyway) is necessarily wicked. Despite the name, she is not the same as the legendary Lilith. She is the force of nature within us – neither good nor bad, simply wild. She is not dark inevitably, but untameable. Indeed, she is, exactly, pure. It’s how we humans use that energy – for corruption or liberation – that is good or bad.

Scott Fitzgerald wrote several vivid female
characters including Nicole Diver in Tender is the Night
and Daisy in  The Great Gatsby.

“The only exercise that Tess took at this time was after dark; and it was then, when out in the woods, that she seemed least solitary. She knew how to hit to a hair’s-breadth that moment of evening when the light and the darkness are so evenly balanced that the constraint of day and the suspense of night neutralize each other, leaving absolute mental liberty. … She had no fear of the shadows; her sole idea seemed to be to shun mankind–or rather that cold accretion called the world, which, so terrible in the mass, is so unformidable, even pitiable, in its units.”

The Lilith in Jewish folklore – vengeful, shameless, alone – was described by a culture that feared women. Imagine how Lilith could be in a culture that accepted the feminine.

Jung has Lilith on the MC
in philosophical Sagittarius.

Carl Jung used the term archetype to describe the cast of characters that he believed we all carry within our personal and collective unconscious. These archetypes personify aspects of the human character or spirit. They com to us in our dreams, in art and sometimes even in real life. Two of the most important archetypes, he said, were the anima and the animus. In a man, this is the inner feminine. The anima is not the same as an ideal woman. She is more simply the woman in him. And the animus is the masculine part of a woman’s nature.

Jung believed there were four stages of development for the anima or the animus, and that we evolve through each of these stages. It’s the first of these which I think relates to Lilith in the chart. But I don’t think that we lose the first stage of the anima even if we reach the highest level of integration. Instead we simply get all levels working at once. A part of us will always be wild and free.

Jung called the first stage of the anima Eve, but Lilith seems to be even more basic. She is pure instinct.

It is significant, I think, that the two examples I thought of in literature immediately were Nicole Diver from Tender Is The Night, and Tess. Both are wild and terribly unhappy, trying to conform to the demands of society. Both are victims. In fact, both were explicitly abused as children. This is the danger for the pure. The world is predatory. And as you know, astrology works in polarities. The flip side of this is the predator, as pure in her pursuit of prey as her victim.

For more on Highsmith,
click here.

And we are back to Ripley, an animus figure, a male Lilith. Or Becky Sharpe, in Vanity Fair, a voracious female.

“Nelly, I am Heathcliff – he’s always, always in my mind – not as a pleasure, any more then I am always a pleasure to myself – but, as my own being.” – Catherine in Wuthering Heights.

Heathcliff is the animus too – abused, rejected, vengeful, cruel, pure. As Jung so cleverly pointed out, we contain the image of our Other within us. He said that love at first sight was a moment when we saw our anima or animus in another human being – a projection of our inner Other.

Bronté’s Heathcliff is possibly the
most powerful evocation of the male Lilith.
So here is the nub of what I see in the literary Lilith – Ripley, Heathclif, Tess, Nicole Diver – all tragic figures, true, but put quite simply, they are all of the opposite sex to their authors, exactly how Jung describes the anima/animus.
So when women are examining Lilith are we right to be looking for the wild, wild woman, or should we be seeking Herne himself? When men express Lilith artistically would it be more useful to imagine a woman – or even yourself as a woman?
I’ll leave you with two female songwriters who have explored this very thing. Kate Bush (Lilith on the South Node) became famous in the late 1970s with her song about Heathcliff, but that was not the last of her encounters with the wild man. Listen to this.
And here is SJ Tucker. Her Lilith is in earthy Virgo, exactly conjuncting Saturn (4 mins apart) (who’s the Daddy?) and opposite Mercury in musical Pisces. I’ll leave you to figure out what to do with this.

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  1. Isy Aweigh says:

    This really puts it together for me. That pure, wild, natural energy can be embraced or shut down, nurtured or twisted, allowed or abused, and that would certainly alter the way it comes out.

    At last! Lilith makes sense 🙂

  2. Maija says:

    Thank you for this. I seem to have Lilith 8′ Sag in my 6th opposing my 7′ Gem moon in 12th and Cancer rising. Is there anything you’d like to comment on that?

    I can only think of the opposition between the Moon and Sag archetypes.

    I also have a 6th house sun at 18′ Sag, but that doesn’t seem so important here.

    • Maija says:

      Oh this is fascinating. I’d been thinking my moon does no tight aspects. My MC is in Aq. probably because I’ve born in Helsinki, Finland. Some people here use the equal house system just because the houses tend to get so distorted (if I understood right..)

      I came to think of my interest in mind-body interaction, health and the physical expression of emotions. I’m still getting to know my body, but it feels so great to know where to turn to for answers – my feelings of ease or unease.

      Both my long term partners have hunted small game.

      Have to start saving for a reading by you! Thank you again. M

    • Christina says:

      It’s hard to say anything entirely sensible without the whole chart, but Lilith so tightly aspecting the Moon in the 12th must be very powerful – and in the 6th house. The wildness has to be integrated into your every day life. What’s more in Sag, I’m thinking about the image of the hunt.

      Jung has the Lilith in Sag and he sought to sort her out through systematic thought. He turned understanding her (psycho-analysis) into a kind of religion. Do you have Aries on the MC. There’s something very powerful about these placements the more I think about it. Because they are on the 12th/6th axis, the need to acknowledge them must be strong. Gem/Sag is the brainy axis of course, so you need to talk about emotions in order to understand them….

      Hope that helps

  3. Opal says:

    I think you’ve really hit on something with the anima/animus angle….it explains a lot.

    It’s a long time since I read it, but Eustacia Vye in Return of the Native came to mind too – Hardy really worked these women, didn’t he?:)

  4. Anonymous says:

    What great music! I’ve spent the past hour listening to You Tube. Thanks for that Christina. I’ve got Lilith conjunct Descendant in Capricorn, 7th House, opposition Venus/Merc conjunction in Leo in the first. So I guess that may be projected onto my partner, but that’s about as far as I’ve got.

    I’m booking in for a consult with you.

  5. Diane L says:

    I love this series on Lilith. Explains why I felt like such a wild child/tomboy growing up. *grin* Jung is a favorite of mine too. BTW, I really, really need to talk about my emotions to understand them . . .

    First House Lilith in Sagittarius conj South Node sextile Moon.

  6. Leslee says:

    Still trying to figure out Lilith, which is conjoined my South Node in Aries (9th)! I guess it adds to the other tensions between my Moon/Uranus conjunction (Leo) and Venus/Pluto conjunction (Virgo) in terms of independence and relationship – Aries/Libra. My 3+ year relationship seems to embrace/give space to the tensions, which is great. Just realized he has Lilith conjunct his Scorpio Moon! (And transiting Saturn will station on my NN next month.)

    Thanks for this series – will have to come back and contemplate more, I’ve been ungodly busy.

  7. Renee says:

    Hi, I’m interested by the Munch Lilith in Cancer opposite ‘the moon in her fall’. I have this too. I’m natal cancer with also mercury, jupiter and midheaven up there, all in the tenth, opposite the moon in the 4th in Capricorn.

  8. Christina says:

    I think it’s obvious from Munch’s painting that he had a real fear and fascination with women. Have you seen his picture called the Vampire in which a woman appears to be devouring a man. Cancer is also the sign of mother – with Lilith there I wonder if Munch was scared of his mother, and what is more Lilith’s opposite the planet that belongs in Cancer. So the idea of mother is both scary (Lilith) and consuming.

    Capricorn Moon often has trouble or fear of expressing emotion, or with depression. Munch certainly had a big dose of the latter.

  9. Renee says:

    Hi Christina,

    Have come back to this after your repost on Twitter. It’s interesting what you say about the instinctual aspect. With Lilith in the tenth of career and work, this is where I have always felt strongly instinctive, making decisions that felt deeply ‘right’ without making sense on the surface or to other people, sometimes with a wild desperation. It usually has come out fine, even while Cap moon is worrying about plans and structure.

  10. Jassi J says:

    I have been reading Relating by Liz Green, so I thought I must see what post you had on anima / animus. Tell me, I notice Lilith is exactly square my sun 24 degrees in Leo to Lilith in Taurus 24.

  11. Dee says:

    Hi Christina, thank you for this fascinating post. I happen to have Lilith conjunct part of fortune in the 3rd house…these two trine my Jupiter in Gemini in the 11th. Do you think this bodes well for my attempting to publish a book. I’d love to read your perspective. Thank you.

  12. Esther says:

    hello ! How to find Lillith on our charts? also about F.Scott Fitzgerald..his text were all inspired in his wife Zelda real writings. He actually stole her personality for his own books in case any one is interested in this pattern between male against their female companions when both are artist recommend Kate Zambreno : Heroines published by Semiotext

    • Christina says:

      Good point about Zelda F. I would love also to look at the charts of Marcel Duchamp and Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven nee Plotz, who probably was the originator of that famous urinal/art joke.

      You should be able to find Lilith on If you go to the extended chart selection and then look in the box on the lower left.

  13. Isy says:

    The new look is wonderfully clear, but the music clips are missing 🙂