Lilith, Chiron and the other Centaurs
– Written by Philip Graves – 22 Jan 2004
– Reformatted for WordPress, June 8th, 2016
This article gathers conveniently in one place concise information on Lilith, Chiron and the other centaurs.
What is Lilith?
Lilith is the name given to three altogether distinct phenomena, an asteroid, the Moon’s apogee (sometimes known as Black Moon), and a hypothetical second Moon to the Earth (sometimes known as Dark Moon).
The asteroid Lilith (1181) has a geocentric period of about four years. Its glyph represents the upturned palm of a hand. It signifies conflict resolution (sometimes the incapability to attain this); divided loyalties; favoritism; issues of personal and sexual power, domination (particularly in male nativities) and violence; doubts over the integrity or loyalty of partners; female sexual assertiveness, fantasies, independence and lust; a lack of sexual commitment; love triangles; manipulative relationship behaviour; a non-submissive disposition, particularly with regard to gender roles for women; negotiation and compromise ability; repressed anger (sometimes leading to vindictive behaviour); personal independence; resentment arising from rejection; rivalry for affection, commitment or fidelity; sexual expectations or criticism; subterfuge in relationships; an uncompromising stance over beliefs; and the use of sex as a weapon of vengeance or domination.
Afflicted, Lilith can signify the inability to reach consensus before issues of power can be resolved; perceptions of femininity as being ‘bitchy’ or evil (particularly in male subjects); or even sexual abuse.
Transits to Lilith bring issues of comparison, competition, preference or rejection to the fore, often with some activity keeping partners relatively apart temporarily, leading to feelings of neglect and jealousy. They can also provoke confrontations with gender role stereotypes. When activated by transits, eclipses or progressions, Lilith placed strongly natally can manifest as a period of sexual disinterest or involvement in love affairs.
In synastry, aspects to Lilith indicate the necessity for those involved to negotiate compromises; and potential sexual difficulties arising from anger, fear, suspicion or rejection.
Apogee (Black Moon) Lilith
In the Moon’s orbit of the Earth it periodically reaches its closest distance (perigee) and then its furthest distance (apogee). The longitude of its apogee is known as Lilith or Black Moon. Lilith in this sense is a much more major astrological consideration than either the small asteroid or the altogether questionable ‘dark Moon’. The true position of apogee Lilith varies greatly from the often calculated mean position, and includes periods of retrogradation. The geocentric period of apogee Lilith is about nine years; while its glyph is a black Moon sitting over a cross.
Apogee Lilith is believed to be a point of instinctive and emotional intelligence, whereby individuals can gain contact with and feel their inner heartfelt truths and soul longings and passions. Since at Lilith the Moon is more distant from the Earth than usual, the Sun gains relative prominence, and Lilith is also associated with the unveiling of illusions, the illumination of self-defeating behaviour patterns, the exorcism of self-centred desires, and the coming into closer contact with Earth wisdom. A strongly placed Lilith favours art, creativity, detachment from social norms, emotional sensitivity and vulnerability, an uncompromising will, and unconventional relationships. Natal apogee Lilith retrograde is thought to offer past life indications judged by its sign and house placement.
Only conjunctions and oppositions to apogee Lilith within a three degree orb are considered in interpretation. Such aspects to Sun, Mercury or Venus in females are thought to heighten the expression of their sexuality in their public image; those to the Moon can indicate difficulties connected with pregnancy and childbirth; and those to Mars favour the expression of independence, sometimes attracting opposition from men.
In female nativities, a strongly placed Lilith shows consciousness of one’s instincts, and confident governance of one’s sexuality and childbirth needs; while more negative manifestations of the placement of Lilith can be social isolation stemming from unorthodox manners of functioning, and unsuitable sexual partners. In male nativities, a strongly placed Lilith attracts the individual to equal, fair relationships with strong females, who in turn are attracted to such types as him.
Transits from apogee Lilith bring pain and uncomfortable, uncontrolled emotions in matters connected with the transited planet, and sometimes manifest as vengefulness.
In synastric contacts, apogee Lilith brings a sense of soul connection characterised by a mergeance of personal and impersonal attributes, but with an inclination towards intensity, the uncovering of deep-seated desires, and some danger of obsessiveness and pain.
Hypothetical Moon (Dark Moon) Lilith
In 1618 there was a reported sighting of an apparent second Moon orbiting Earth. Sporadically ever since, speculative attention has been focused on this and other reports of such sightings, and the name Lilith has been given to them collectively, although the corporeal existence of such a Moon has never been proven and it stands to reason that almost certainly there is none and that the reported sightings had other explanations. Nonetheless, in 1918 the eminent astrologer Sepharial took the idea seriously enough to coin the name Dark Moon and publish a speculative ephemeris of its position, based on observations of perturbations to the lunar orbit. This idea was built on later by the astrologer Delphine Jay. Astronomically, Dark Moon Lilith is supposed to have a geocentric period of 119 days and to orbit at three times the distance of the Moon, while its diameter is said to be about one quarter that of the Moon.
Supposed influences of Dark Moon Lilith include objectivity, and a creative instinct that seeks impersonal expression through aesthetic, creative, mental or spiritual outlets. The glyph for Dark Moon Lilith is a zero bisected by a diagonal line from bottom left to top right that extends beyond its limits.
The centaurs are celestial bodies orbiting between Saturn and Neptune, typically following very elliptical paths. Collectively they are regarded by Melanie Reinhart as indicating inclinations and drives that require integration or overcoming in the course of self-development; and the transcendence of the personal ego and narrowly earthly consciousness.
The first centaur discovered, Chiron, has a period of about 49 years. It comes within the orbit of Saturn for a third of its cycle, and exceeds the perihelion distance of Uranus (but not its mean distance from the Sun) at aphelion around 9º Aries. Its glyph represents a key. It is accorded astrological influence in connection with the path of its eccentric orbit between Saturn and Uranus and, to some extent, with the reputation of the name ‘Chiron’ in ancient mythology.
With these considerations in mind, the influence of Chiron is thought to partake of both the material and psychological realities of Saturn and the inventive mental perspectives of Uranus; and it can manifest in its expression as either the inherent conflicts between these energies, or their smoother-integrated combination, and the anchoring of Uranian wisdom and understanding in reality. It challenges the individual to bridge the disparity between the Saturnian and Uranian principles, bringing inner transformation and the healing of Saturnian restrictions in the process.
Chiron is believed to signify the ability to heal others; belief in the superiority of one’s own knowledge and ways; the challenging of limited established perspectives and views with original or different ones; education and teaching ability; an exaggerated sense of personal suffering and affliction; the expansion of the universal perspective beyond materialism or dualism while retaining its anchoring in matter; freedom from restrictive cultural, parental or societal ideas or codes related to its sign and house placement; the handling of the crisis of adolescence whereby individuation is sought but parental allegiances and family pressures and values remain binding; higher knowledge that can be taught outwardly to the world or inwardly as guidance to the spirit; holistic understanding; liberation through compassion; medicine; the opening of the heart to suffering; rebellious, wilful nonconformity; the search for a cure; the seeking of means to circumvent established rules and codes; self-healing from within; and the union of mind with body and intellect with instinct.
Chiron’s placement in signs where it is closer to or within the orbit of Saturn stresses its more practical and personal side; while its placement in signs where it is closer to the orbit of Uranus emphasises its more mental and transpersonal side.
When within the orbit of Saturn, around 20º Leo to 27º Scorpio, Chiron confers the strongest centering in the self; a sense of being unprotected by boundaries from the outside world; sensitivity to the integrated oneness of the universe; a tendency to construct artificial boundaries and defence structures such as intellectualisation, immersion in the collective, or pushing oneself outwards into society, in order to compensate for this insecurity; a tendency to project parental filters onto the transpersonal or divine realm; and sometimes an inclination, whether overtly or subtly, to make demands of others, and to feel the need to be the centre of attention.
When at the orbit of Saturn, around 10º-20º Leo or 27º Scorpio to 7º Sagittarius, Chiron confers an equal connection with the inner (personal) and outer (transpersonal) realms of existence, bringing confusion as to whether one is responding to the outside world or it is responding to oneself. It confers at once the capability to rapidly translate internal changes into outward realities; and a strong intuitive impressionability in response to changes in the outside world.
When outside the orbit of Saturn, around 7º Sagittarius to 10º Leo, Chiron brings a lack of centering in the self, bringing a relative freedom from ego, together with a feeling of having sustained a fundamental loss of some facet of the self or the awareness thereof; the need to regain what is lost; the seeking of learning and development through connection with and involved activity in the outside world; and the aptitude for concretising whatever inspirations and discoveries are made on that journey. If moving towards aphelion (its furthest distance from the Sun), Chiron outside the orbit of Saturn brings greater social involvement. If moving towards perihelion (its closest distance to the Sun), Chiron outside the orbit of Saturn focuses more on the quest for inner rediscovery.
Furthermore, whatever its distance at the moment of birth, if natal Chiron is approaching perihelion, the life direction is shown to favour the outward expression of the existing personal world, while if it is approaching aphelion it favours the intake of transpersonal or spiritual energies.
Aspects to Chiron connect the significations of the aspected planet to an intuitive higher understanding. Harmonious aspects promote the personal search for uniqueness, rewarding it, while inharonious ones manifest as an apparent rejection and inhibition of the expression of the personal vision, mostly stemming from internal conflict and the seeking to present outwardly one’s originality and differences from others (in manners and areas indicated by the sign and house placement of Chiron), which frequently manifests antagonistically and irritatingly to others, who therefore show resistance. Afflictions to Chiron can also show limitations to understanding; overreliance on authority or dogma; self-doubt; or spiritual disquiet.
Transits of Chiron manifest in the breaking of rules; connections with the expectations of parents or authorities; delays and restrictions beleaguing desired life changes; interactions with mentors; and turning points in life.
In synastry, Chiron promotes exchanges of an educational and healing nature.
Another Centaur, Pholus, has a period of about 90 years, and an orbit that runs between just within that of Saturn and close to that of Neptune. It signifies impulses consciousness of which is only partial, and consciousness of whose motivation is absent, and has been associated with drug addiction, and the renewal of dreams and visions. Aspects from Pholus indicate matters (as identified by the aspected planets) from which the consciousness remains disconnected, although there is potential for such a connection being developed. Impulses governed by the aspected planets may therefore be blind, hasty and disastrous in outcome. But with regard to more intangible realms, Pholus confers a visionary and mediumistic capability.
Transits from Pholus to the nativity intensify the natal points contacted, and bring sudden insight inciting unusual courses of action with unpredictable consequences. Transits by conjunction to the angles bring rapid changes via temporary instability.
The orbit of a third centaur, Nessus, runs between just outside Saturn and beyond Neptune towards Pluto and has a period of 124 years. It signifies emotions and psychological urges of which consciousness would be personally liberating and beneficial; self-liberation through the embracing of one’s less accepted inwardly burning emotions as a valid component of self; the tendency to interpret the present through the filter of psychological complexes inherited from the past; awareness of the patterns of interaction between people, locations and matter; deep-seated psychological motivations (including vengeance and recompense for and transition from past hurts) for sexual desire and lust; the development of integrity and self-empowerment; levels of personal empowerment or disempowerment conditioned by past experiences with others; illusory promises of salvation whose unveiling is liberating and protecting; and repercussions of treachery and power misuse.
References: Demetra George and Douglas Bloch; Martha Lang-Westcott; M. Kelley Hunter; Bistra Spirieva; Melanie Reinhart