How often do you make your own decisions? How many times in your life have you really had a choice, taken time to think about each option, felt excitement or happiness or fulfillment, and then been able to execute your own will?
With Neptune and Mercury both retrograde in the signs of the zodiac’s dreamers, I’ve leaned into my subconscious. There’s more to be learned from within and the world has proved itself an unreliable source: it’s time for introspection. On Sunday night, I dreamed of a tree. It was mostly bare, clinging to its own life despite the large hollow within its trunk. From the jagged opening of its bark, a face emerged--noble features arranged in perfect self-assurance, dark tourmaline eyes smiling, terra cotta lips spread smooth with confidence.
I woke up with no doubt who this figure was: she represents a major energy in my own chart and many others I’ve read for recently. She’s emerged as a force to be reckoned with in the astrology of the year. This was Lilith, and she encourages us to take back what we desire.
When I look for the chart for each week’s horoscope, I try to find the moment of greatest astrological impact, the largest, heaviest transit that will cast the biggest shadow. I look for planets that rule major human influences: communications, aggressions, emotions, money… But once in a while, these are not the influences with which we need to concern ourselves. The darker, quieter indicators sometimes speak volumes--especially in times of chaos, when the outside world is simply too loud to discern any wisdom.
And that world is a cacophony: on Wednesday, the growing square between Mercury and Mars perfects. Mercury has been in retrograde for nearly a month, keeping emotions high as it spins through Cancer’s subconscious depths. Others seem to speak directly to our shadows, teasing out all the loose threads we’ve failed to tie up. And with Mars now in self-seeking Aries, those threads become a fire hazard. Our frayed nerves become a wick to our volatile emotions, and Mars, the Lesser Malefic, revels in applying friction. We spark at the smallest provocation, our entire soul ignited in anger and frustration; the wedges already evident between us are kindling that turns this tension into a full-blown wildfire. At the time this aspect perfects, both planets keep strange allies: Mercury is in thrall to the Space Age weirdness of Uranus, our logic locked away while we explore grotesque caricatures of the structures we’ve lived within. Mars casts his wanton eye on Venus, now direct in Gemini, romanticising the new and different, ready to throw away previously heartfelt connections in favour of the thrill. These two aspects transform the world into an uncanny Twilight Zone Bonnie and Clyde film set: we walk on eggshells, unsure of how to connect with loved ones who now seem to host aliens beneath their skin while we watch our homes and businesses overthrown by the naive and lawless, martyrs to their own passionate shame and desperation to bend the world around them.
And Mars doesn’t stop there: the God of War has a historically insatiable appetite for destruction, and all’s fair in his name--as his square with Mercury dissipates, he grabs hold of other reigns. Breathing down the neck of Chiron, Mars grabs onto pain we’ve internalized for far too long, the deep soul wounds that have prevented us from growing into the confident individuals we would need to be in order to make our own way in the world. These are the wounds that keep us chained to others, that disguise our will as weakness.
Sometimes, help comes from unexpected places. In looking for the resolution to this energy, it was a familiar face that stared back, silently confident. If there was ever an archetype to combat this energy, it was she. Lilith has been in Aries keeping company with Chiron and Eris since January 27th. It’s important to note that there are several astrological points referred to as Lilith: an asteroid (number 1811), a mythic cloud of lunar debris (the phantom Dark Moon), and the Lunar Apogee (the Black Moon)--while there is evidence of significance to these points, my reference here is to the Black Moon Lilith. The Lunar Apogee is the farthest point in the Moon’s orbit, the point where there is the greatest distance between us and our soul, the place where emotions are left to fill our empty space. But Lilith is no stranger to separation: her mythology casts her as a pariah, banished from more than one legendary garden for her refusal to follow another’s lead. She’s been forced into the dark of the wilderness as well as oblivion, with very few reliable sources left to tell her story. She’s become the forbidden feminine, a symbol of that which we dare not allow ourselves to become, the keeper of hidden desires, the keys to our freedom which we convince ourselves we do not deserve. And in Aries she teases the magic of self-mastery, daring us to follow her lead and abandon the herd to embrace the birthright of individuality.
Her name has been recently resurrected as something of a feminist icon: according to the most popular version of her myth, Lilith was the first woman but when she refused subservience to man, she grew wings and flew into the wilderness. In more ancient tales, Lilith was of the Lilu, a breed of female wind demons with feathered wings and taloned bird feet. She occupied the willow tree of Inanna, denying the goddess her bed and throne until she was forcibly removed by Gilgamesh and fled into the desert. The discerning reader sees that she is less the impassioned feminist and more the fierce individualist, challenging the laws of man and goddess alike. She is not a warrior for progress but a force of desire, unafraid to fight for what she wants most even when the alternative is exile.
But exile seems more and more welcoming: on the 10th, Lilith perfects her square with the Sun thrusting herself into the spotlight and daring us to rip her from our branches. With sunlight beating down on her, she is impossible to ignore: we can no longer pretend not to see our own desires. At the same time, the Sun opposes Jupiter and Pluto, still within tight orb of their conjunction from last week--this is a standoff. Lilith boldly steps between expression and authority, drawing the bow taught in preparation to strike. In exposing herself, she also exposes the forces that have kept her at bay, the authorities and powers that have convinced us that we do not deserve to be ourselves or would dictate that self for us. Just hours later, the Moon sweeps past Neptune, cloaking the world in a salty mist: this is not a stand we can simply step down from. There is no escape once we align ourselves with Lilith’s quest for fulfilment. But unless we are willing to permanently domesticate and lose our wild, voluptuous hearts once and for all, we have no choice but to follow in her taloned footsteps.
Lilith may be the leader we follow into this fight, but she’s a creature of the wind. We, as human beings, are made of flesh all too easy to wound. This same evening, Chiron stations retrograde. During the next five months he’ll retrace his steps through Aries, pointing out the wounds we’ve allowed to turn gangrenous with ignorance and stagnation. Chiron infamously tends to others before himself and encourages us to do the same, allowing us to sit in our pain until we numb ourselves to it. But retrogrades give us an opportunity to reexamine our actions, to see things for what they are and make necessary changes for evolution. And Lilith, never one to miss an opportunity, will gladly seize this chance to turn our pain into pleasure and enrapture us to selfhood.
Between now and November, when we experience the final alignment of Jupiter and Pluto, I encourage you to explore your personal taboos. I can almost guarantee you’ve felt your own wings pinning with new plumage, trembling with the desire for flight. Lean into the wind and allow yourself to become wild: the coming age is in the air.
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