Toni Morrison and Black Moon Lilith

Wednesday August 7th 2019

I’ve been thinking about the American writer Toni Morrison today, the day after she died, and remembering her book Beloved, which won her the Pulitzer Prize, and is considered by most critics to be her masterpiece.

Beloved tells the story — in densely poetic language and imagery — of a haunting. But the ghost is a toddler’s, the ghost of a child murdered by her mother so that she cannot be taken into slavery.

These are Sethe, the mother’s thoughts, as she kills her child, named only Beloved, to save her.

“And if she thought anything, it was No. No. Nono. Nonono. Simple. She just flew. Collected every bit of life she had made, all the parts of her that were precious and fine and beautiful, and carried, pushed, dragged them through the veil, out, away, over there where no one could hurt them. Over there. Outside this place, where they would be safe.”

The story has tremendous power. Indeed, it has the impact of Greek tragedy. It’s an archetypal story, as strong as Medea’s or Oedipus’. But unlike those stories, which tell of kings and queens, Beloved is a tale about slaves, and ex-slaves, the people at the bottom of the ladder.

Thinking about Beloved, made me wonder where Morrison’s Lilith lies. This is the Dark Moon which has stories to tell about childlessness, abortion and the death of infants. Lilith, as you probably know, was the first wife of Adam, who left him because she was bored (perhaps), or wanted to be on top (maybe). Astrologically, I find her always when there are issues or questions around the loss of children. With other writers, I have found that Lilith can sometimes show us up as a particular character — a representative of the author’s animus sometimes.

Beloved is exactly a story of Lilith. Mothers can take lives as well as create them. This is something rarely discussed. And this particular power is the one that strikes most fear. That is why Lilith is cast out.

So I pulled up Morrison’s chart.

As you can see, she has an exact conjunction of Lilith and the Moon at 11° Pisces. (Yes, astrology really works, if you understand it properly!) The Fishes are, of course, the sign of the collective unconscious, collective memory, and also a sign of sacrifice. Moon in Pisces is a bardic soul, here to put our collective experience into song.

Morrison said herself that she was here to do two things: be a mother and a writer. You can see that the Lilith Moon conjunction alleviates, and is also made dynamic by those tough oppositions between Cancer and Capricorn. Here is the conflict between family and society turned into poetry.

Note that she was born on an exact opposition between Pluto in Cancer and Saturn in Capricorn. She has died in the year of their conjunction (exact in January 2020 but squeakingly close through 2019) and her own Saturn Return. Saturn, Pluto and the South Node are currently clustered around her natal Saturn.

Thank god for Morrison’s ambition (Saturn in Capricorn) to be an artist (conjunct Venus) within the rules of the game of publishing (9th House). And thank god also for her drive to break the rules, (Uranus in Aries conjunct the North Node, Lilith conjunct Moon).

May she carry on doing both from the other side. Oh — and by the way — Lilith today is at 10°41 Pisces. So she has passed on a Lilith return — job done.

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  1. Maureen says:

    I also connect Ceres with loss of children (though not necessarily with killing them) and I see that Ceres is on the South Node, part of a grand cross

  2. Mary says:

    Great article Christina – absolutely fascinating. Thank you.

  3. Alice says:

    Dear Christina, this is totally fascinating article. Lilith scares the s,,t out of me really, especially because my 10 years old son ‘s Moon is exactly conjunct Lilith at 22 degrees Capricorn (trine is Saturn in Virgo natally).am I such a bad witch in my son’s chart? Moon in Cap is such a bad placement itself.

    • Christina says:

      We do all have to have Lilith somewhere. In the end, it’s what we make of it. Might be useful for him to have a creative outlet though — how is he with sculpture, masonry etc?
      I immediately thought of Barbara Hepworth & lo, she has an exact Lilith-Sun conjunction.

      • Alice says:

        Dear Christina
        Thank you for the tip!????. I have prepared him salt clay to sculpt right away. He has created a skeleton and railway bridge. He loves construction, mining, visiting old mines anyway.
        Stellium of planets including Saturn and Pluto will hit his moon on 20January 2020.
        What is your opinion of this upcoming event? Last time when Saturn was conjunct Pluto communism was beaten and pieriestroyka started. Thank you again!

  4. Iris says:

    Thank you Christina, this is a beautiful tribute to an extraordinary woman. Timely and fascinating observations around Lilith’s role.
    She has two planets in the 29th degree.
    I’m also drawn to that Virgo Pallas/Neptune conjunction opposing Lilith/Moon.
    Such incisive, spellbinding intelligence. Listen to her here speaking like she’s weaving a spell, but each word is so precise, so potent. Utterly mesmerising. (skip the first 7 minutes of ponderous introduction) 1975 and it’s as bitingly relevant and clear-sighted today:
    “You don’t waste your energy fighting the fever. You must only fight the disease. And the disease is not racism. It is greed and the struggle for power…There are old, old men and old, old women running institutions; governments, homes all over the world, who NEED to believe in their racism, and NEED to have the victims of racism concentrate all their creative abilities on them, and they are very easily identified. They are the petulant ones who call themselves proud. They are the disdainful ones who call themselves fastidious. They are the mean-spirited ones who call themselves just….”

    • Christina says:

      Wow — so relevant now. Also the precision of that metaphor: “You don’t waste your energy fighting the fever. You must only fight the disease.”
      That’s right not just for the illnesses in our societies but also literally true, and shockingly still needs to be said.

  5. Bernadette Jones-Allen says:

    I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Ms Morrison when I was at Middlesex Uni we were studying Beloved and a student asked her to come and talk to us. She got on a plane and came. RIP Wonderful lady.