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.