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Who’s Afraid of Black Moon Lilith

June 29, 2010

Since first reading of the astrological interpretations of Black Moon Lilith and the corridor formed by the Osc. (true) BML and the Mean BML, plus the various understandings put forward by mundane, esoteric and evolutionary astrologers alike, I have been studying this corridor in my own natal chart as well as transiting corridors at peak experiences in my life; as well as in the charts of others.

The understanding I have come to is best described in a quote: When a door closes, a window opens – but it’s hell in the hallway.  It is my perception that the Black Moon Lilith corridor is this hallway: a zone through which energies of transmutation and transformation are triggered in the native, signaling a period of intense challenge which brings to the native the choice to walk on the light side, the colourful side or the dark side of life.

It may well be the place where the metaphysical battle between good and evil takes place for our Soul, or as I prefer to look at it, where we face the conflict between choosing to live a life of reckless indifference or one of intentional compassion for ourselves.  It’s not about other people: it’s about the Sacred Contract we have with the way we follow a path of personal empowerment in the world. 

Where this BML hallway appears in one’s natal chart, the house or houses it spans, the sign of that house, as well as it’s relationship to other influences in the natal chart, is an entryway to where to start excavating the unconscious driving forces behind our Sacred Contract.

As an example, I studied the natal chart of quintessential bluesman, Chester Arthur “Howlin’ Wolf” Burnett, looking at the BML hallway on both the day of his birth and the transiting BML hallway on the day of his death.  It may be that the full energetic, esoteric and evolutionary meaning of this ‘halloween zone’ is better appreciated through studing the arrival and departure points of a human soul whose life can illustrate the Lilith gifts.

The Black Moon Lilith corridor in Howlin Wolf’s chart is narrow in his Scorpionic 12th House.  Osculating BML at 14° is said by some to represent the less stable energies; the door and the Sabian Symbol is “Telephone linemen at work”, suggesting a connection that needs to be established or repaired. Mean BML at 10° Scorpio, the more focused, stable and mature energy, the window in my humble opinion, has the Sabian Symbol of “A fellowship supper”. 

Also in Howlin’ Wolf’s 12th House is asteroid Lilith at 5° “A massive rocky shore”, and Waldemath Dark Moon Lilith at 24° “An X-ray” is in his 1st house snuggled up to his Scorpio Ascendant at 23° “A bunny metamorphosed into a fairy”.  These last three Sabian Symbols are delightful, yet with all his Lilith’s in Scorpio, this man was born with some powerful issues to overcome.

The Sabian Symbol for his moon Taurus 5° “A widow at an open grave” gives insight as to why Howlin’ Wolf was the ultimate bluesman. He was born to howl his pain and through his graveled, growling vocal instrument, touch the pain within those who heard him. This man lived his Moon emotionally, if you now anything of his life story, and battled in his heart with the harsh rejection he encountered from his mother; a religious fanatic who claimed he sang ‘the Devil’s music’.  It is possible that if the boy Chester Arthur Burnett had not mastered his shadow as a man, he could have been a widow-maker.  And I’m not talking about corsets!

As a mature man, Howlin’ Wolf was a focused, responsible and honourable individual who lived wisely, yet the mother wound followed him to his grave. On the day he died, the BML hallway was transiting his 5th House, just over the cusp between the 4th/5th Houses: and it wasn’t a hallway but a shaft with Osc and Mean Lilith at the same degree – 8° Aries “A large hat with streamers flying, facing east” with Pluto opposing in the 11th House at 13° Libra, “Children blowing soap bubbles”.

Also in transit of the 5th House was Chiron and the Moon, sharing the degree of 24° Aries “An open window and a net curtain blowing into a cornucopia”. A lovely visual imagery oft used in movies when the camera pans way from the dying man to the window, symbolizing the Soul heading off to the Summerlands.  Death for the Wolf was a joyful release.

Howlin’ Wolf’s natal Chiron in the 4th House at 3° Pisces “Petrified Forest” speaks of the deep childhood wounding this man carried through his life, and with goddess asteroid Pallas Athene also in the 4th House of Home at 12° Pisces, “An examination of initiates”, it speaks somewhat that little Chester Arthur Burnett was a born initiate and destined for greater things than a sharecropper’s life.  The ‘petrified forest’ Chiron also speaks of the history of hard living and inflexible attitudes, prejudices and fears  that a Southern black male inherited from his tribe.  The nature of the values and core beliefs he would have absorbed and was challenged to transcend.

This towering giant of a man knew his Shadow and they say you have to live the blues in order to sing them well.  Without his musicianship as a healthy outlet to channel his Lilith energies, Chester may have become a monster: a deeply embittered man who took his pain out on everybody who crossed his path. Yet it is evident from his life that he claimed a strength of spirit to manage these heavy 12th House challenges safely; to walk on the light and colourful side of life. He found his tribe of fellow bluesmen, “A fellowship supper”, and the love his life, wife Lilian.   Yes that really was her name.

Returning to the 5th House transits on the day Howlin’ Wolf passed, also in transit was Jupiter at 17° Aries “Two prim spinsters”, and as the healing challenge of the 5th is entering the desert, the Sabian Symbol tells me that the barren wasteland that was the boy Chester’s experience of mothering, and the judgement his mother condemned him by, was a regret he took with him.  

Yet her choice was not his responsibility. The consequences of her choice was a matter between her and the God of her understanding.  It was her role to be a Dark and Devouring mother and as such she fulfilled the Sacred Contract her soul had with her boy Chester.

In his latter life, Howlin’ Wolf was beset with health problems, primarily kidney disease; an imbalance that reflects the wounded child, the “kid” who didn’t receive the mother love it needed.

In many ways, the transits of Howin’ Wolf’s departure are an eloquent Sabian Symbol eulogy, in the same way that the Sabian Symbols of his arrival are an intriguing announcement of his soul’s highest potential.

For me, using the Sabian Symbols has given me a deeper understanding of the true connection between all of us and the everywhen nature of the cosmic energies present in each moment of our life, and that in every moment we are as newborns with the world laid out before us. Most of the time we don’t see, let alone understand, our soul’s guiding influence over the course of our life until we are in the final furlong.

And we never know when the final furlong has begun: if this day will unfold to be our last or if we still have a’ways to go.  Another chart I studied was that of a man who like thousands of others didn’t know that September 11 2001 would be his last day on Earth.  His passing reverberated around the world and while few know his name, we all remember him as ‘the Falling Man’.

Chester’s mother believed her son was a ‘fallen man’. He wasn’t.  He didn’t murder, cheat or steal, yet if he had, I do wonder if she would have, could have, accepted her share of accountability for having pushed him. That Chester chose a healing path as Howlin’ Wolf, achieving respect, fame and wealth, and leaving a legacy of blues music that, in his lifetime, birthed rock n’ roll, as well as being an inspiration for the nascent Rolling Stones, tells me that he successfully transmuted the potential toxic legacy of his natal 8th House Pluto.

The man was an Alchemist.

Ultimately, he made the choices that supported rather than sabotaged his personal empowerment at each and every cross-road of integrity he faced. He walked with a special Grace in this world and it is my perception that Howlin’ Wolf was Beloved of Lilith: and he serenaded her all his life.

This Black Moon Lilith hallway offers all of us bouquets or brickbats. How we handle her lessons, how we transmute them and manifest them in our life is simply a matter of choice.  Archetypically this hallway is the Saboteur-on-Wheels.  Cultivating the wisdom to use these dark energies to grow a compassionate heart and live a life that sponsors the empowerment of one’s Soul, and by osmosis, the souls of others, is all that Lilith asks of us. It is how we redeem Her myth.  She’s not bad, she was just written that way.

In closing, I should add that Chester Arthur ‘Howlin’ Wolf” Burnett’s natal Jupiter in the 11th House at 5° Libra is elegantly magical, “A man teaching the true inner knowledge”.

His path, his songs, his life, his Grace is the Wolf’s gift to us.

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