The Dark Moon Goddesses in Astrology
by Evelyn Laino
The Moon has long been seen as a symbol of the feminine. Early
peoples noticed that the 29½ days it took the Moon to cycle through its phases
corresponded to the number of days of a womans typical menstrual cycle. They,
therefore, surmised that the Moon must be feminine and personified it as the
divine Moon Goddess. The symbolism of the Triple Goddess grew out of the new,
full and dark phases of the Moon cycle.
The waxing New Moon was conceptualized as the White Virgin Goddess who birthed new
life, the Full Moon was likened to the Red Mother Goddess who nourished and
sustained life, and the Waning Moon was envisioned as the Dark Crone Goddess
who destroyed life and prepared it for renewal.
The Dark Goddess destroyed in order to renew, and her underworld was not a place of
torture but of salvation; her role was to purify, heal, and prepare souls to be
reborn. She was also the keeper of the secret traditions of magic, oracle,
prophecy, and of sacred sexuality as the vehicle for ecstasy, regenerative
healing and spiritual illumination.
Over the course of many millennia, solar-centered cultures
gradually replaced the Moon worshippers, and knowledge of the cyclic nature of
reality, as mirrored by the phases of the Moon, was lost. Death was no longer
the precursor to rebirth, but rather the final ultimate conclusion of life that
plunged one into endless damnation.
In the mythic imagination of male dominated cultures, the original nature of the Dark
Goddess became distorted and she took horrifying proportions. As Lilith, the Dark Goddess flew into the
night as a she-demon who seduced men, bred demons and killed infants. As
Medusa, her beautiful abundant hair became a crown of hissing snakes and her
evil eye turned men into stone. As Hekate, she stalked for men at the crossroads at
night with her vicious hounds of hell. As the Hindu goddess Kali, however, she
retained her sense of positive motivation that of a powerful mother protecting
her human children. Although her image appears in cremation grounds adorned with
a garland of skulls and holding a severed head dripping with blood, the skull and
severed head are those of demons she has killed to protect people. Even so, she is
frightening. According to Hindu legend, Kalis destructive wrath had been so great
she had even wounded her mate, Shiva, as he had found it necessary to get between
her and the Earth to protect the Earth from destruction.
Demetra George, in her book Finding Our Way Through the Dark: The Astrology of the
Dark Goddess Mysteries, describes the astrological embodiments of this dark,
feminine energy as potentially healing and worthy of respect. As the collective
culture has banished and defamed the mythical Dark Goddess and her
teachings, so have we as individuals been conditioned to deny and repress the
parts of our personalities that correspond to the qualities of the Dark
Goddesses. But if we acknowledge and pay respect to the dark forces in our
unconscious, our inner Dark Goddesses will be well-disposed towards us and
provide insight, healing, and renewal. It is when we demean and exile the Dark
Goddess of our nature that she will (like the shadow self when rejected and
denied), unexpectedly burst forth into our conscious reality during our weakest
The positions of the asteroids that share the same name with the Goddesses of the
Dark Moon, in mythic-psychological astrology, represent our feminine shadow
personalities as they operate between men and women. Ephemerides are available
with these asteroids positions. Some asteroids will be more significant than
others in any given chart. An asteroid is most significant when it is conjunct
or opposite the Sun, Moon, or an angle (the 1st, 4th, 7th, or 10th house
cusps). Its motifs also may be prominent in our personality when it aspects any
of the other personal planets, the four major asteroids (Ceres, Pallas, Juno
and Vesta) or Chiron. Here are the descriptions of some of the Dark Goddesses
George includes in her book and their meanings in the birth chart.
Moira, Triple Goddess of Fate
Moira is the Goddess of Fate who spoke to the issues of fate, destiny, and the karmic
patterning of the soul. Her position in the chart gives clues to how we
experience our fate, for better or for worse, as the inevitable ripening of our
karma, or prior actions. The ancients believed that once the destiny of an
individual was woven, it was irrevocable and could not be altered. In her
triple aspect, she is known as Klotho, the spinner, who signifies how we spin
our fate by our actions; Lachesis, the measurer, who shows how we weave our
fate into the fabric of our daily lives; and Atropos, the cutter, who indicates
the inevitable ending and has to do with closures and terminations.
Nemesis is the Goddess of Swift Retribution who maintained the equilibrium of the human
condition. Her position in the chart shows how our conscience and morality
guide us toward right action, and how when we ignore these promptings we suffer
Hug thee thy dream,
Poor fool! I am no dream, who offer thee
Rapture and peace at cost of sterile pride.
Thou dost deny and question, but mine eyes
Gleam on thee, being lit with alien light;
My lips proclaim thee mysteries; mine arms
Are bond for all thy doubts, not mist nor mud,
But all that Gods desire and fools reject:
My name thou knowest not, and yet shalt know,
And know too late. But know thou this indeed:
Joy is my sister, sister I to Death.
He conquers me
Who dares to pay my price. My price thou
Excerpts from the lyric play Lilith,
written by George Sterling in 1919.
Lilith is best known as the first wife of Adam, who left her husband, choosing exile
and loneliness rather than domination and sexual subjugation to Adams will.
She was subsequently distorted into a demoness by the nomadic patriarchal
tribes for her instinctive sexuality and for defying male authority. She was
then feared, hated and vilified as Torturous Serpent, Blood Sucker, Harlot,
Impure Female, Alien Woman, Witch and Hag, rather than revered for her powers.
In astrology there are three distinct astronomical bodies that are all named
Lilith: the asteroid, the Dark Moon Lilith and the Black Moon Lilith. The asteroid describes
how we find ourselves in those repressive situations where we are not free to
express ourselves and not valued for who we intrinsically are. We are prevented
from acting, moving, choosing and determining our life circumstances. In chart
analysis, the asteroid Lilith shows where we want to be free to move, to act,
to choose, to speak our truth. When the energy of this dark maid is blocked or
denied, it shows how and where we experience the themes of suppression,
resentment, explosive anger, rejection and flight in our lives.
The Dark Moon Lilith describes our period of exile where the rejected shadow
becomes distorted by the anguish of our pain. As it festers it poisons our
psyche with images of revenge and retaliation. The Black Moon Lilith describes how and where we cut away our pretensions, false
roles, and delusions and actualize our true, essential selves.
Hekate, Queen of the Night
Hekate is an original embodiment of the Triple
Goddess and one of the most ancient images from the pre-Grecian stratum of
mythology. This lunar goddess could be seen walking the remote roads of Greece
accompanied by her howling dogs and blazing torches. She dwelt in caves, made
love on the vast seas, and was the force that moved the Moon. She is often
linked with the dark of the Moon, and she presides over magic, ritual,
prophetic dreams and visions, and madness. As Queen of the Dead, Hekate is a
ruler of the underworld where she is a wardress and conveyor of souls. In the
birth chart, Hekate is a guardian figure of our unconscious who enables us to
converse with the hidden parts of our psyche. When our relationship with Hekate
is positive, we may experience her as inspiration or prophetic dreams and
visions. When we deny or reject Hekate, her shadow nature may make itself known
as madness, nightmares, stupor, depression, stagnation, blocked creative
energy, and real or imagined persecution.
Other significators of the Dark Moon type of energy are: the 12th house, the South
Node of the Moon and Pluto. The darkness becomes light if we shine a torch into
it and seek to understand!