|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?”
|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,
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.