NOTE: What follows is the result of e-mail exchange about the astronomical problems and definitions regarding the different Black Moons/Liliths used in astrology. Some of the concepts were not clear to me at first, and as the discussion progressed they were clarified (I hope). You may want to skip all the first part of the discussion and read only the last posts, written several months after the first ones.

For a recent, more definitive and coherent exposition, see my "Variants of the Apogee" -- Juan Revilla.


Date: Wed, 24 Nov 1999 11:07:34 -0600

I have always been very attracted to the symbolism and psychological implications of the "Black Moon" and of Lilith, but until now, I never used it because I haven't found a consistent approach that I can accept.

I want to have my mind open and learn from others that have experience in this, but I will tell you the theoretical or astronomical reasons why I have rejected most approaches to it.

First: I believe that astrological and psychological symbolism must always match astronomical reality. The realm of Lilith seems to be too primordial and basic, very far-reaching for the human psyche, very "lunar". For this reason, I am skeptic about using asteroid 1181 "Lilith" for this, since, astronomically, its orbit is quite ordinary among thousands and thousands of similar asteroids. By the same token, the asteroid realm between Mars and Jupiter where 1181 Lilit is found belongs to a more social and cultural reality, while Lilith is much too basic and "primitive" for this.

Of course, this is only theoretical. I don't have experience with 1181 Lilit.

Second: When one uses the orbit of the Moon --which seems to me carries the appropriate "Lilith" symbolism-- the usual practice has been to use the mean position of the apogee. But, astronomically, this mean position can diverge so much (up to 30 degrees) from the true position, that its use falls in the same category as using imaginary points and hypothetical planets, i.e., it is astronomically meaningless.

With this I don't mean that hypotheticals or the mean apogee don't work, of course.

Third: The other option, that of using the "true" or osculating apogee, presents also problems because the true orbit of the Moon is not really an ellipse, but has a shape that changes constantly and irregularly, so that the concept of "empty focus" of the orbit seems artificial when one considers the true shape of the orbit over time, which is very irregular.

Another approach that I have seen consists in finding the positions of the Moon from one apogee date to the other, and then tracing a smooth line between the two positions and divide it in equal parts, producing therefore a regular motion, since the movement of the true apogee, when measured from one apogee date to the next, looks very regular. But of course this approach is artificial.

Actually, as you can see, all three approaches have something artificial in them. My personal feeling goes for the "true" apogee, but most astrologers who use the "Black Moon" and swear by it use the other, imaginary "mean" point. This is because it has been only recently that astronomical formulas are available for calculation of the true (osculating) apogee, added to its extreme irregularity of motion, which gives reasons to astrologers for its rejections.

So, I wonder which of the "Liliths" or Black Moons is the Lilith of the myth...




Date: Wed, 24 Nov 1999 11:52:16 -0600


The second focus and the apogee are always the same except when one is talking of the mean apogee only, in which case there *could* be a difference, due to the fact that the mean apogee is not defined in reference to the geocenter but to the Earth-Moon barycenter, 1700 Km below the Earth's surface. Normally, this distinction is never made.

As explained in the Swiss Ephemeris documentation, when working with the mean apogee only, if the Black Moon is defined as the empty focus, the variation from barycentric to geocentric position would be +- 6 degrees. If it is defined as apogee, the variation would be only +-40'. (another reason why the usual "mean apogee" used by astrologers is so artificial).

This distinction between the 2 definitions does not exist when one is working with the osculating apogee, since that will be always geocentric. In such a case empty focus and apogee are exactly the same point of the zodiac.



Date: Wed, 24 Nov 1999 15:47:52 -0600

... I don't have the N.I.E, only the freeware Swiss Ephemeris software. Here is what they say in their documentation:

<<The position of 'True Lilith' is given in the 'New International Ephemerides' (NIE, Editions St. Michel) and in Francis Santoni 'Ephemerides de la lune noire vraie 1910-2010' (Editions St. Michel, 1993). Both Ephemerides coincide precisely. The relation of this point to the mean apogee is not exactly of the same kind as the relation between the true node and the mean node.  Like the 'true' node, it can be considered as an osculating orbital element of the lunar motion. But there is an important difference: The apogee contains the concept of the ellipse, whereas the node can be defined without thinking of an ellipse. As has been shown above, the node can be derived from orbital planes or great circles, which is not possible with the apogee. Now ellipses are good as a description of planetary orbits, but not of the lunar orbit which is strongly perturbed by the gravity of the sun. The lunar orbit is far away from being an ellipse!>> [...]
<<It has also to be mentioned, that there is a small difference between the NIE's 'true Lilith' and our osculating apogee, which results from an inaccuracy in NIE. The error reaches 20 arc minutes. According to Santoni, the point was calculated using 'les 58 premiers termes correctifs au perigée moyen' published by Chapront and Chapront-Touzé. And he adds: "Nous constatons que même en utilisant ces 58 termes correctifs, l'erreur peut atteindre 0,5d!" (p. 13) We avoid this error, computing the orbital elements from the position and the speed vectors of the moon. (By the way, there is also an error of +/- 1 arc minute in NIE's true node. The reason is probably the same.)>>

--I have the book of Chapront & Chapront-Touze that is mentioned here as source of the NIE ephemeris of the true apogee. According to the authors, the "constant part of the maximum error" (p.30) using this method is 0.45 degrees (27'). The positions calculated by Riyal are similar to those derived from the Moshier's ephemeris included in the Swiss Ephemeris, and the maximum error possible is less than 6'.



Date: Wed, 24 Nov 1999 19:30:47 -0600

<<Ephemerides. 1900-2050. Asteroids. Lune-Noire et Chiron" (St Michel-Editions)...
<<Given the proximity of the Black Moon to the Earth, it is necessary to take the observation point into account - longitude and latitude - as it is done when calculating the Ascendant.>>

The proximity of the Moon or of any point in the Moon's path such as the Black Moon, produces a large "parallax", i.e., the position will be different when seen from a point in the Earth's surface (topocentric) than when seen from the center of the Earth. But the parallax varies from a maximum when the body or point is on the horizon to zero when the point is on the zenith or on the nadir.

Therefore, it is not possible to make a "topocentric ephemeris" for a specific place or zone of the earth, since in every longitude and latitude, the parallax correction reaches 2 maximums and 2 minimums in the course of one day. There is no chance that an ephemeris may be specific to the coordinates France.

Let's examine the points quoted in the introduction of the above book:

<<... We have chosen the usual correction, however this corrected position has been found thanks to a series of simplifying hypotheses which, despite usage, must be taken into account...>>

--this statement says they have chosen the "usual correction", but then they say that have not, that theirs is modified, "simplified". They even say that this simplification "must" be taken into account. Why?.

Let's see what the simplifications are:

<<... The position takes no account of short term disturbances which may be quite considerable.>>

--Why are they ignoring the short-term perturbations? What is "short-term" for them? Presumably they ignore many corrections in order to produce a "smoother" motion, which is very far from the true motion.

<<... The centre of the Earth is taken as the focus of the instantaneous ellipsis of the lunar orbit (the Black Moon occupying the second focus). In fact, the Moon revolves round the centre of gravity between the Earth and the Moon and not round the centre of gravity of the Earth.>>

--This correction is of course included in the true apogee. But theirs is not a true apogee, it is a mean apogee to which some corrections are applied, and some others are ignored. As mentioned in the Swiss Ephemeis documentation that I quoted, the difference from barycentric to geocentric position can be either +-40' or +-6 degrees, depending on the definition that they are using (empty focus=large correction, or apogee=small correction).

<<Given the proximity of the Black Moon to the Earth, it is necessary to take the observation point into account - longitude and latitude - as it is done when calculating the Ascendant.">>

--Here they speak of the parallax. But I mentioned that the parallax cannot be possibly included in a daily ephemerides, so we can discard safely the idea that they may be doing such a correction in this book.

As a reference, the horizontal parallax or maximum geocentric/topocentric difference of the point of apogee of the Moon's orbit is 55'.


p.s. The documentation of the Swiss Ephemeris may be of help here:

"There have been several other attempts to solve the problem of a 'true' apogee. They are not included in the SWISSEPH package.  All of them work with a correction table.
"They are listed in Santoni's 'Ephemerides de la lune noire vraie' mentioned above. With all of them, a value is added to the mean apogee depending on the distance of the sun from the mean apogee. There is something to this idea. The actual apogees that take place once a month differ from the mean apogee by never more than 5 degrees and seem to move along a regular curve that is a function of the elongation of the mean apogee.
"However, this curve does not have exactly the shape of a sine, as is assumed by all of those correction tables.  And most of them have an amplitude of more than 10 degrees, which is much too high. The most realistic solution so far was the one proposed by Henry Gouchon in ”Dictionnaire Astrologique”, Paris 1992, which is based on an amplitude of 5 degrees.
"In ”Meridian” 1/95, Dieter Koch has published another table that pays regard to the fact that the motion does not precisely have the shape of a sine.
(Unfortunately, ”Meridian” confused the labels of the columns of the apogee and the perigee.)""There have been several other attempts to solve the problem of a 'true' apogee. They are not included in the SWISSEPH package.  All of them work with a correction table.


Date: Thu, 25 Nov 1999 10:04:19 -0600

In a post by Julian Garcia in a Spanish mailing list months ago, there is a references to an article by M. Garcia called "Astronomical reality and fiction of Lilith" (in Spanish). Julian's reference shows how the "corrected Black Moon" --based on a sinusoid of midpoints between apogees and perigees-- is nonsense. Mention is made of Joelle de Gravelaine, who, after more than 20 years of experience, manifests that the corrected Lilith doesn't work, and that the effective position is the mean Lilith.

(It was from a book by Joelle de Gravelaine, by the way, where there are many quotes from Jean Carteret, where I first learned of Black Moon Lilith back in the mid 70's)

Julian's post goes on to explain that the "True Black Moon" draws a curve that is very violent and anti-natural, to which you can hardly adjust any biological rhythm. He explains that the true apogees (i.e., the positions of the Moon when at apogee) do not happen at the points opposite to the perigees, and viceversa. This is because the Moon's orbit is not really an ellipse. For these reasons, he calls the "true" black Moon an artifice.

According to Julian's reference to the article by Miguel Garcia, the author proposes a solution consisting in two curves, one for the perigee, and another for the apogee, drawn from the points where the Moon is found at apogee and at perigee once a month. Calculated this way, the differences between the Mean and the "true" would never be very large.

But according to Julian in his post, it may be that even this correction is not necessary, and he gives the example of someone's sleep rhythm, which remains constant in front of a slightly variable cosmic rhythm, which is why we always wake up at eight even if in Summer the day starts earlier. He favors the use of the traditional Mean Black Moon.



Date: Thu, 25 Nov 1999 10:24:58 -0600

... and just to be exhaustive, here is another reference to Black Moon tables, given by Julian Garcia in the post I mentioned before:

<<If ayone has the Book by Jacques Coutela: "La Luna Negra. Interpretacion completa de Lilith", Luis Carcamo, Madrid, 1987, you should abstain from using the "Tables allowing to locate Lilith correctly", because not only the don't allow to do that, but the deviation is in the opposite direction (adding when you have to subtract and subtracting when you have to add).>>



Date: Thu, 25 Nov 1999 11:34:09 -0600

By making the exercise of writing about this in this forum, I have come to a conclusion on the "Black Moon" for the first time since I started with astrology 25 years ago. So please, if you are still not tired of reading these comments, here is the reasoning behind that conclusion:

1-The only time when the lunar apogee really "exists" is when it happens every 27.55 days (this is called the "anomalistic" month). But this is only a mean value of the period from one perigee to the next, or from one apogee to the next. Due to solar gravitation, the duration of the anomalistic month varies between 25 and 29 days.

2-The apogee (or perigee), mathematically or geometrically speaking, is not in the same category as the lunar node. The "true" lunar node is defined at all times by the intersection of 2 circles, but the "true" apogee is clearly defined only when the Moon is there. In the interval between the 2 extreme distances of the Moon, the "true" apogee is badly defined, and is never 180 degrees from the perigee.

3-The position called "osculating" apogee, astronomically akin to the true or osculating node, is the only one which should can called "true" astronomically, while all the others should be called "corrected". But this is only for the sake of clarity in terminology, it doesn't mean that one is true and the others are "false". Rigorously, the osculating apogee is "true" only at the *times* of apogee.

4-When the position of the Moon at the time of apogee is compared with the position of the mean Black Moon, one finds that the difference is never more than 5 degrees, whereas when one compares this mean Black Moon with the theoretical osculating apogee at times falling between two apogee dates--, the difference can reach up to 30 degrees. This suggests --to me and to others I have read-- that the osculating apogee may NOT be the Black Moon we are looking for, and that the mean Black Moon is closer to this position we are after.

5-Following this reasoning, then what one needs is to find a correction that accounts for the difference between the position of the Moon at the moment of apogee and the position of the mean Black Moon at that same moment --which we know will never be more than 5 degrees. This is the approach described by Dieter Koch in the documentation of the Swiss Ephemeris, although it is mentioned only in passing an it is not implemented in the software.

6-This approach is the most consistent with the symbolism of Lilith, because it is not an abstraction, it is not based on mathematics or in a conceptualized geometric space, but in TIME, in accordance with a more direct experience of nature's cycles and rhythms as they are related to the Moon. Therefore, we are "going back" to a more pristine or primordial state of humanity, before abstraction and calendrics, which is the world to which Lilith belongs.



Date: Thu, 25 Nov 1999 14:01:16 -0600

I calculated the times of all Lunar apogees from 2000 to 2010, a total of 136 apogees. I then calculate the positions of the Moon and of the mean apogee/Black Moon at those times, and the difference between the two. The difference oscillates between -5.4 to +5.7 degrees. When this difference is plotted on a graph, one sees a clear cycle with a period of 206 days. This is the period of the difference between the longitude of the Sun and the longitude of the mean apogee, and it shows that the main deviation in the longitude of the apogee is caused directly by the Sun.

Let's call the Sun/apogee difference "A"

A = 197.113207 +31931.756119*T +0.010627*T^2 (degrees)

where T is centuries from J2000
T = (Julian day-2451545)/36525

One can reduce the difference mentioned above (-5.4 to +5.7) to 1/4 or 1/5 of it, by adding the following correction to the mean apogee:

   -4.7 degrees * sine of (2 * A)

With this correction the errors will be less than 1 degree, and the maximum will be 2 degrees or less.



Date: Fri, 26 Nov 1999 11:44:38 -0600

... I was really trying to clarify things for myself, since I have never had a clear picture of this matter astronomically. My perception at this stage is that the reasons why there are so many explanations are:

-Most people who write about the technical part, don't really understand it (I mean the astronomical part, of course.

-Up until 1991, with the publication of "Lunar Tables and Programs" by Chapront and Chapront-Touze, the literature on this was very difficult to obtain or non-existent.

-Generally, in astrology, if you believe in something strong enough, it will work for you, so that, since it worked for astrologers, they always thought the matter was settled or straightforward astronomically, when it was not.

From my present understanding, I think there are 4 possible Lunar apogees:

1- The mean apogee, the most traditional and easy to calculate. But even here there are problems: a-) the normal definition refers not to the center of the earth but to the earth/moon barycenter, so that, if one were to have a rigorous "geocentric" mean Apogee, one would have to apply a correction of + or - 40' (In case one defines it as the empty focus, the correction would have to be +- 6 degrees). But even with those corrections, who nobody has ever made, it would still be the "mean" position. Another variation seldom applied is the "reduction" to the ecliptic, which introduces further inconsistencies (although in this case it is a matter of arcminutes only)

2- The osculating or true apogee (as given in the N.I.E. and others with errors of up to 27'), which is a "snapshot ("instantaneous") moment of the ever-changing shape of the Moon's orbit. This has been available only recently. As we have seen, the difference between this "instantaneous" position of the apogee, and the position of the mean apogee, can be as much as 30 degrees. And we have the problem that it is badly defined, since all the formulas used refer to the perigee and assume that the orbit is an ellipse. It is not, and the perigee is never exactly 180 degrees from the apogee.

3- The natural apogee, which is based on the position of the Moon at the moment each apogee occurs, from which one draws a smooth function that can account for the dates in-between each successive apogee. The movement of the apogee defined this way, is much smoother that the movement of the osculating apogee, and varies only between -5.4 to + 5.7 degrees from its mean position (#1 above).

4- The "corrected" apogee. This to me seems the most badly defined, because it is based on arbitrary simplifications, and especially since several people have explained to me how the 12-degree correction is being applied in the opposite direction. But I cannot say more of it because I don't have the sources to check it myself.

I hope this helps to clarify the concepts. Writing it helps me... :)



Date: Fri, 26 Nov 1999 14:47:07 -0600

The trigonometric series that appears in the 1991 book by the Chapronts contains 58 terms for the osculating perigee. All added together, the result can be an error by 27' (0.45 degrees). This same series is used by Francis Santoni 'Ephemerides de la lune noire vraie 1910-2010' (Editions St. Michel, 1993), and, since the positions and errors are exactly the same, it is apparently also used in 'New International Ephemerides' (NIE, Editions St. Michel). This is the "osculating" perigee to which 180 degrees are added to produce the apogee, based on the assumption of an ellipse.

according to Bode's remarks:
<<The correction for the Black Moon is based on the gravitational force from the Sun. All other factors that influence the orbit of the Moon, all together 60 - which from each only has a minor influence -, are disregarded.>>

The difference between the mean value and the osculating, can reach 30 degrees. If the maximum difference (the "channel") used by Bode can reach only 12.3 degrees, then it is necessary to conclude that the terms being discarded are not "minor".

If, as has been said, these tables by Jean Carteret with the "corrected" apogee --using these 12.3 degrees of variation-- were published in 1988, and we realize that the Chapronts' book appeared in 1991, there is a chance that the astronomical theory used to construct those first tables was wrong, or that someone made a mistake in their construction.

I have learned that the 12-degree sinusoid of "La lune noire corrigee" is applied in the wrong (opposite) direction. I cannot go deeper into this because I don't have the tables to check them. I am here repeating the conclusions of at least 2 researches that have dealt with them.


There is probably confusion here between the words true and osculating. I wrote to Dieter Koch (the author of the Swiss Ephem, who also tells me has written a book on this subject with a friend) yesterday, and he explained to me the resons why identifying the "true" apogee with the osculating apogee --as I had done in my conclusions-- was confusing. He advices to call the osculating apogee just that, "osculating" (we can imagine it as "instantaneous"). The "true" apogee for him is where the Moon is when she reaches apogee. If we measure it this way, then the "true" may never be more than 6 degrees from the mean apogee.

Bode's --or Carteret's-- "corrected" apogee (12 degree amplitude) is based on an arbitrary simplification of the lunar orbit --as he himself declares--, the correction is applied in the wrong direction, and the assumptions used for the simplification are wrong, at least this is what I can gather until now.



Date: Fri, 26 Nov 1999 20:55:23 -0600

<<Is there a shape that the Moon's orbit has? I like to imagine things.>>

I am not a lunar theorist, and could be wrong, but I would imagine it like this: it is an ellipse now, but tomorrow or in the next few hours it will be another ellipse... and it keeps changing the shape of the ellipse very rapidly. But not only that: the change is irregular, i.e., it is not rhythmic, accelerating and decelerating, changing direction, etc. In other words it is not one but many different ellipses in a short time-span which change irregularly. You can see this by examining the behavior of the osculating apogee over time.

<<Also, is the osculating change because the Moon is pulled by Earth and by Sun and all those other 58 factors?>>

The osculating apogee is the result of the pull of the Sun, the earth, the planets... The "58" terms are only the main ones. In reality there are hundreds or thousands of terms, but they are all combinations of the same factors.

<<... I think that it wiggles?>>

My dictionary defines "wiggle" as "to move or to go with short, quick, irregular movements from side to side". No celestial particle in orbit can physically move that way: they all move along a "trajectory". The Moon and the Earth orbit their center of mass in the course of one Lunar month, and the Moon accelerates as it approaches this barycenter and slows down as it recedes. The barycenter itself changes due to gravitational pulls... Lunar motion is very very very complex.

[NOTE: I later corrected myself on this, see message from January 13th.]

<<Am I understanding this at all?

I wonder that myself.

<<I do understand that there are different measurements depending on if you measure from surface of Earth or center of Earth.>>

Yes. This is called parallax, and is larger for those bodies closer to the Earth. It is a maximum when the body is on the horizon and zero when on the cenit or nadir. It is a function of geographical coordinates, distance from the earth's center, and the local sidereal time. In the case of the Moon the maximum parallax is 59' (when at perigee) or 55' (when at apogee, so the maximum parallax of the apogee is 55'). If the "Black Moon" is defined as the empty focus instead of the apogee, then the parallax is much larger than 55', reaching several degrees.



Date: Fri, 26 Nov 1999 21:04:25 -0600

<<I think that it wiggles?>>

The Moon can never wiggle according to the laws of physics (only u.f.o.'s can do that), but the *osculating* apogee, not being a particle in orbit following a trajectory, but the mathematical derivation of an orbital plane that is in constant and rapid change, does indeed wiggle.

[NOTE: I later corrected myself in this, see message from January 13th.]



Date: Sat, 27 Nov 1999 19:57:07 -0600

As I mentioned before, I have decided to use a terminology in which there are 4 possible lunar apogees: mean, osculating or true, and natural. The "natural" is used here to designate the position of the Moon when the apogee occurs. Here is a sample list of such positions; they represent apogees separated by 27 days each:

22.1 Sag    1/ 2/2000  1h12m
28.0       28/ 2/2000 20h38m
 4.1 Cap   27/ 3/2000 17h12m
 9.6       24/ 4/2000 12h17m
13.2       22/ 5/2000  3h48m
13.5       18/ 6/2000 12h45m
17.1       15/ 7/2000 15h20m
22.3       11/ 8/2000 22h15m
28.4       11/ 8/2000 22h15m
 4.4 Aqu    8/ 9/2000 12h29m

If we define the apogee this way, one can see that its motion is really very smooth, quite the opposite of the osculating, and very close to the traditional mean value (variation -5.4 to +5.7). I am not inventing this approach to the definition of the apogee. I have seen it outlined by several authors, and to me it seems very "natural". The apogee an any specific time intermediate between the apogee dates can be found by interpolation, and I had suggested a way of making a good approximation of it my means of a simple correction that is applied to the mean apogee.




Date: Sun, 28 Nov 1999 09:03:30 -0600

Here is a comparative view of 3 different values of the apogee: osculating, "natural", and mean:

                 Osc.      Natural    Medio
  1 Dec 1999     28Sc52     22Sa35    19Sa50
  2 Dec 1999      0Sa26     22Sa28    19Sa57
  3 Dec 1999      2Sa53     22Sa20    20Sa04
  4 Dec 1999      5Sa59     22Sa12    20Sa10
  5 Dec 1999      9Sa28     22Sa04    20Sa17
  6 Dec 1999     13Sa05     21Sa55    20Sa24
  7 Dec 1999     16Sa37     21Sa47    20Sa31
  8 Dec 1999     20Sa01     21Sa38    20Sa37
  9 Dec 1999     23Sa19     21Sa29    20Sa44
 10 Dec 1999     26Sa33     21Sa20    20Sa51

The osculating apogee represents the "instantaneous" ellipse of the Moon's orbit, and is proof that this orbit is not really an ellipse evolving through time but many different ellipses changing constantly and irregularly with great speed, i.e., in astronomical terms it is not an ellipse.

We can see in the table the "smooth curve" described by the natural apogee (which is now retrograde), defined by the Moon's position when the apogee occurs every 27 days. It is always very close to the mean value (here reduced to the ecliptic), and it never varies more than 5.7 degrees with respect to it.

In practice, what this means is that the apogee described here is an astronomically viable solution to the problems faced by the Mean apogee or Black Moon, which are:

1- The value of the mean apogee is not referred to the center of the earth but to the earth-moon barycenter, and its geocentric position varies +- 40'. If the "Black Moon" is defined as the empty focus, this variation would be +-6 degrees.

2- The mean apogee is based on a "reference ellipse" that is far from being the real shape of the Moon's orbit, which is changing constantly, and the apogee of this changing orbit can be as much as 30 degrees from the mean value.

3- The motion of the Mean apogee is only an index, and it is constant, therefore it does not correspond to anything that really exists in astronomy, let alone to the changing orbit of the Moon, i.e., it is not part of the symbolic lunar world that it pretends to represent.



Date: Mon, 29 Nov 1999 12:48:04 -0600


The opinion I have at this stage about this 12d. correction is that it was obtained from lunar theory before the release of the book by the Chapronts.

The "true" osculating apogee was very easy to calculate by an experienced astronomer without need for any real theory, since it is obtained directly from the position and velocity vectors of the Moon (this is how I do it in Riyal, and explains why its more accurate than the NIE), but this was not possible for astrologers. After 1991, anybody could apply the Chapront formulas.

The motion of the osculating (true) apogee is influenced by many factors, but before the book of the Chapronts there was no an analytical development of those factors --because it was not needed in lunar theory-- and the only one considered in astronomical treatises on the subject was a theoretical 11.6 degrees oscillation caused by the Sun, corresponding to a correction on the position of the mean-Moon called "evection".

This is most probably the origin of the 12-degree channel. If anyone wants to try this hypothesis, just add to the mean 12 degrees x SINE of (Sun-Perigee): I will probably give the corrected position (I still have to test this myself).

After the Chapronts published their results in 1991, it was evident that the motion of the true osculating perigee was much more complex that it was thought before, where the difference between mean and true could reach 30 and 12 degrees. As I said, this was not known before because the position of the osc. perigee (and of the osc. "true" Node) has never been needed in lunar theory.




Date: Mon, 29 Nov 1999 16:21:40 -0600

... The apogee is *always* an axis of perigee/apogee, Lilit/Priapus. One does not exist without the other, like the North and South nodes. And both are "empty" from one perspective, because none is a planet. From the perspective you are using here, like the empty point in a T-cross, it would not be possible to talk of the point opposite the apogee as empty, because it is always an axis. It would be like saying that the South or descending node is the "empty" point of the North node.


... What could be this channel astrologically? Certainly not the angle between the corrected and the mean apogee, since the correction is wrongly applied. It seems to me that it is one example of how astrology works: you convince yourself that the technique is valid and sound, and then it will work for you. Exactly like a hypothetical planet. If you believe in it, it will work, and you can do valid chart delineations with it. Of course it helps if you ignore that it is astronomically impossible for such a body to exist (for example).

With this I am saying that I have no doubts about the validity of astrological interpretation done with wrong calculation or with false positions. They always work because astrology is a question of adjusting meanings and interpretations to a certain mental code that is established before-hand. The components of this code do not need to exist physically.




Date: Mon, 29 Nov 1999 18:21:43 -0600

1- Take the position of the Sun and convert it to 360 degrees:
   example: (Jeannine) Sun 13,17 Libra ==> 193.3

2- Take the position of the mean apogee/Black Moon and convert:
   example: 6,03 Gemini ==> 66.05

3- Subtract this from the Sun and multiply by 2.
   example: 193.3 - 66.05 = 127.25 x 2 = 254.5

4- The correction is 12 x SINE of 254.5
   example: in BASIC, 12*SIN(254.5) = 12*(-0.96363) = -11.7

5- Add the correction to the Mean apogee/Black Moon
   example: 66.05 + (-11.7) = 24.5 Taurus

As you can see, this is a child's game. Astronomically, it is meaningless, because the correction, beside being far from the true correction needed, is being applied in the opposite direction. Now I can confirm it!



Date: Tue, 30 Nov 1999 09:21:53 -0600

I like the idea of making a little research on the sources. For example, I have a book by Jacques Sadoul written in 1971 that says:

<<Black Moon: ... It is a recent invention of the years 1930-35, due to the clever mind of Dom Neroman and which is very much in vogue today. What is fastidious is that there are several of them...>>

Dom Neroman = Pierre Rougie (1884-1953).

He also mentions an article by Jean Vernal in #149 of 'Cahiers Astrologiques' and quotes: <<As we are about to see, the notions of apogee and perigee are, in the case of the Moon, rather complex and they do not correspond to a reality except in certain particular cases; this is the reason why we are entitled to ask: "does the Black Moon exist?" To which the final answer is "Sometimes it does, but...">>.



Date: Tue, 30 Nov 1999 11:33:56 -0600

The name "Lilit", was first used by Sepharial (Walter Gornold), with which he baptized an allegedly dark satellite of the Earth discovered by Dr. Waltemath and publicly announced January 22, 1897. This information is in an article by Mae Wilson-Ludlam, of which I have a translation in Spanish published in 1985, without reference source or date.

In the "Encyclopedia of Astrology" (1940's), Nicholas de Vore suggested that this "Lilith" may have been asteroid Hermes (1937 UB), which approached the earth in October 30, 1937, at a distance of 700,000 Km, less than twice the Moon-Earth distance, being the asteroid that has come closest to the Earth so far. Hermes was never seen again afterwards, having been observed only 2 nights.

To this first "Lilith" of 1897, the dark Moon's companion, never confirmed again astronomically, Ivy M.Goldstein-Jacobson published ephemeris in which it moved in circles around the Earth with a period of 118 days, at a rate of 3d.02' per day. The position January 1, 1900 was 22,41 Sagittarius.



Date: Tue, 30 Nov 1999 15:24:00 -0600

<<... "Remarqeuz que Carteret avait bien retenue le caractere sexuele de Lilith signale par Dom Neroman.">>

So it seems so far that it was Neroman who "invented" the use of the mean apogee and gave it the name "Lilith". But this sexual symbolism, since it is present in the original mythology of Lilith, is also part of the other --apparently first-- "Lilith" baptized by Sepharial at the turn of the century. The article by Mae Wilson-Ludlam I have on the meaning of this body, is based on the same mythological material...


It is such a powerful symbol and archetype. My feeling is that it is related to the Moon by necessity, but how? Alexander Volguine had developed the "Black Moon" symbolism based on the darkness of the New Moon... This "Black Moon" must be some reflection of the Moon itself, a "dark Moon", a "not Moon", a vampiress... Certainly the New Moon qualifies. I know there is also a "Red Moon", and a "Blue Sun". I'm serious... only not talking from my left brain and letting my right brain speak. What I need to settle is what in astronomy is related to that.


1181 Lilith exists, while this Sepharial dark Moon doesn't: it is completely hypothetical and physically impossible, like the Hamburg School planets or the Russian White Moon, which move in 2-dimensional flat and perfect circles.

The position of 1181 Lilith January 1 1900 at 0hr. was 20,27 Pisces, and it has nothing to do with this... unfortunately. Since this asteroid is there and its position can be ascertained unambiguously, it would have been great to think that now we have Lilith and can put the matter to rest, but, in my opinion, astronomically, these asteroids have the least chance of being able to focus such a strong archetype as Lilith-Hekate.

The slow-moving female centaur orbit-crossers: Chariklo, Hylonome, Okyrhoe, Melanippe, have a better chance of concentrating Lilith-type energies, being more bloody and wild and completely dissident in nature from an astronomical point of view. But they are at this moment "vortices in the making" of Lilith-Hekate archetypes... maybe the vortices will be completely formed very fast, and we could have a direct link between the "domestic" Moon and all the females energies of the body and psyche that will be forever wild and untamed.

This is only speculation, of course. I still feel that we must find something related to the Moon's orbit... Maybe what we need is more research on the osculating apogee, if we consider that its position has been available only since the early 90's...



Date: Tue, 30 Nov 1999 17:56:09 -0600

<<"God then formed Lilith, the first woman, just as He had formed Adam, except that he used filth and sediment instead of pure dust. From Adam's union with this demoness, and with another like her named Naamah, Tubal Cain's sister...>>

Yes. I was using "sexual" here in the context of the different perspective on it developed by Peter de la Haye ("changed the theorie and indicates the Black Moon, as the highest form of inspiration , a cannal to the cosmic world").

To me, the story of the creation of man and woman from which Lilit's legend sprang, is the story of the primal and spiritual origins of sexuality as the fundamental experience out of which human consciousness started. This is why I find Lilith's legend so fascinating, because it (Lilith/sex) is inextricably tied to the history of human consciousness.

<<The same Gnostics say: "Some say the God created man and woman in His own image on the Sixth Day, giving them charge over the world, but that Eve did not yet exist.>>

I have studied the story of the creation quite a bit, although I have been away from it some years now. The Hebrew text says that, when God separated woman from Adam's side, then Adam called her "Isha", because it was taken from "Ish" (the creative spirit of man). Eve appears only after they are taken out of Paradise. In Paradise, Woman was simply "Isha". This is how it is in the orthodox text.

Now, we may think that this "Isha" is Lilith. But etymologically "Lilith" comes from a transliteration of "Layla", and it means "Night". The text mentions Lilith explicitly when it says: "And God called the light "Yom" (day), and the darkness he called "Layla" (Lilith=Night).

There are probably several versions of Lilith's legend (since we cannot speak of mythology in the Hebrew world). I have a book of 1969 by Joëlle de Gravelaine and Jacqueline Aimé with an extensive explanation of Lilith's symbolism. It is basically the same you cite: before the creation of Isha, Adam copulated with Lilith and engendered demons...

Probably, both aspects of the feminine are present in Lilith/Hekate: the night murderous vampire and the primordial woman twin-soul of man that never left paradise and is protected by the fire of the Cherubim (like Wagner's Brunhilde in the mountain-peak).

In other words, to me, all this is originally sexual, and refers to de deepest aspects of human consciousness and existence.


Just a question of the meaning we give to words. To me, sexuality IS that (i.e., getting consciousness and wisdom). All spiritual paths of the ancient world were intimately related to sexuality... (to me the word does not imply necessarily "genitality", which is different).

<<I rather think Black Moon is related to Plutonic issues.>>

Yes. In its primitive manifestation, Pluto refers to Great Mother archetype issues (Scorpio). In the natural, non-astrology world of common experience and relationship with the cosmos, it is the real Moon (not the astrological Moon).

>>> I know there is also a "Red Moon", and a "Blue Sun".  <<

They are "occult", not physical. "I have been there", I have seen them... I was wondering if they could correspond to something astronomical... or just my rising Pluto in Leo stuff.



Date: Wed, 01 Dec 1999 07:51:49 -0600

I made a reference in a past message to Nicholas de Vore's assertion that Sepharial's "Lilit" may have been the asteroid Hermes found (and lost) in 1937, and that this Hermes (1937UB) is the closest an asteroid has come to the Earth. That was in the 1940's when de Vore wrote his Encyclopedia.

I went to the Minor Planet center site and found the following updated list:

 0.0007*  1994 Dec.  9.8  1994 XM1
 0.0010   1993 May  20.9  1993 KA2
 0.0011   1994 Mar. 15.7  1994 ES1
0.0011   1991 Jan. 18.7  1991 BA
0.0029+  1995 Mar. 27.2  1995 FF
 0.0030   1996 May  19.7  1996 JA1
0.0031** 1991 Dec.  5.4  1991 VG
       0.0046   1989 Mar. 22.9  4581 Asclepius
  0.0048   1994 Nov. 24.8  1994 WR12
       0.0049   1937 Oct. 30.7  1937 UB Hermes

This a list of the closest approaches discovered so far. The first quantity is the minimum distance, and the second the date when this distance was reached, followed by the designation and name. (As a reference, the distance of the Moon is 0.0026). 1991VG is thought to be "a returning piece of man-made space debris", and 1995FF came very close to the Moon also. Most of them are less than 25 meters in diameter, except Hermes (67-1500m) and Asclepios (210-470m).

This was only a piece of information to clear things out, in a search for "Lilith" candidates. Personally, I feel that since these asteroids are not in orbit around the Earth, they cannot be considered "dark Moon companions" in any way, so I will discard them.

A better candidate could be asteroid 3753 Cruithne (1986TO):

<<The near-Earth asteroid 3753 Cruithne is now known to be a companion, and an unusual one, of the Earth. This asteroid shares the Earth's orbit, its motion "choreographed" in such a way as to remain stable and avoid colliding with our planet.>>
[ http://www_asteroid_yorku_ca.html ]

Think about it. Cruithne shares the Earth's orbit: like 2 trains that use the same railroad! Obviously, to avoid collision, Cruithne has a very special type of orbit called "co-rotating" of the "horseshoe" type, where, as it approaches the earth, it goes retrograde, until it approaches the earth from the other side and turns back again, doing all kind of gymnastics like reaching latitudes of 85 degrees and more... somewhat like the turtle and the hare, or like the roadrunner and the coyote...!

If interested, in Jonathan Dunn's website you can produce a Cruithne ephemeris for any date and period you want:



Date: Mon, 06 Dec 1999 07:14:01 -0600


I have never "felt" the position of my osculating apogee, but, since the first time I read about the Black Moon in the book of Gravelaine and Aime (with many references to Jean Carteret) and found the position in my horoscope (the mean apogee), back in 1975, I have never felt it either. And curiously --against all logic and astronomical theory-- the approximate corrected positions seems to "speak" to me. So this is simply confusing.

Perhaps Lilith should remain that way: a mystery unresolved, she is there, but she is not there. Perhaps this is the meaning of Lilith... 




Date: Mon, 06 Dec 1999 08:07:05 -0600

<<You believe that astrological symbolism always must match astronomical reality, I have the same approach, simply because I learned astrology that way.>>

Following this principle, then there is not anything "Lilithian" about asteroid 1181 Lilith. After working with the orbits of the centaurs, which are "exaggerated" in several ways, I have come to realize that the main astrological characteristics of a body can be derived by the "gestures" they make in the way they move and the place they have in the solar system. That is how they speak.

But I also know that an astrological chart is only a very conventionalized and simplified representation of astronomical phenomena, and many of the techniques used in astrology (such as the time manipulations in progressions and directions), do not correspond to "natural" reality. We don't use planets in astrology, we use their projections unto the ecliptic, so that we may be interpreting a conjunction in the chart which, because of latitude, may never happen in the sky.

That is why and how Uranian Astrology works, with all its literal manipulation of ecliptic coordinates that have nothing to do with the sky.

<<Nowadays there is a new generation astrologers, who are working with a lot of hypothetical points...>>

When one works with a hypothetical point, it helps to be ignorant of the astronomical facts. That is part of the mystery, and probably part of why that point works for an astrologer: it is "charged" with meaning, with "numinosity". But once the mystery is gone, once you realize that the Uranian planets --for example-- move in perfect circles and perfectly flat orbits around the sun, unperturbed and unacelerated, then the aura of numinosity fades away and you realize that you are working with something that is impossible in the natural world.

Whether hypothetical points work or not, probably has to do with the individual astrologer's frame of mind.

<<An example, this channel (George Bode), created by the black moons will deactivate in some time (arbitrary) and is activated again by Pluto square Pluto.>>

The only consistent thing you can do with this "channel" theory is make an ephemeris of the channel, i.e., each day the separation between the mean and the corrected moon is a little different... so if you know how different, you can figure out when the channel is at maximum (12.3 degrees) and when it is zero. Then one can work with transits or with secondary progressions. This channel is zero --or maximum-- once every 206 days, so it has absolutely nothing to do with "Pluto square Pluto".

<<It is even much heavier, I get emails from people, which get Pluto square Pluto in the future, they are very anxious and are fearfully waiting what is going to happen at that period, because some 'astrologer' told them something really horrible. OK, we all know that this approach has nothing to do with astrology, but it happens, much more then I like. The result is always, "oh, this or that happened when I got Pluto square Pluto". When I look at that horoscope, I always find much better origins for that particular period with the old way of interpretation.>>

This happens all the time, because the chart is not seen hierarchically, i.e., the relationships are not "weighted", so that people think "Pluto square Pluto" (for example) has the same weight as "Pluto conjunct Moon", for example. Astrologers themselves often do not weight anything... or they weight things unconsciously and inconsistently, such as giving a lot of importance to a hypothetical and astronomically impossible point --like the mean Black Moon or like Arabian parts-- and ignoring other powerful and "real" planets or minor planets --such as the powerful centaurs, for example.

But since astrology is about the construction or giving of meaning, we give the same meaning very often to very different circumstances or "facts".
What we have, then, is that hypotheticals "work" --at least for some people who are tuned to them-- and they force you to question your assumptions about the nature of astrology, of astrological reasoning and practice.


<<So we now have 5 Lilith's>>

1- the asteroid 1181
2- the mean lunar apogee ("uncorrected")
3- the true lunar apogee (osculating)
4- the corrected lunar apogee (Carteret/French invention)
5- the hypothetical "second moon" of the earth
6- the "natural" apogee
7- the "dark" moon = New Moon or Moon eclipse.



Date: Fri, 10 Dec 1999 17:06:30 -0600

>It becomes more and more complicated, thinking about it, and is confusing.

Yes. That's why I cannot simply take one of the many "Black Moons" and use it, assuming that it is Lilith... however, I feel very strongly that it is related to the Moon in some way, to the dark side of the Moon... Maybe to the draconic zodiac?




Date: Sat, 18 Dec 1999 11:52:15 -0600

Hello all!

Just a note before I continue reading and enjoying this post. First, let me say that I see no problem in working with purely mathematical or hypothetical points. They all work. But the Black Moon cannot be compared with the nodes for 3 reasons:

1- the nodes are clearly defined by the intersection of two orbital planes, and do not depend on the shape of the orbit. The apogee/empty point is dependent on the shape, which in the case of the Moon's orbit, being constantly changing in shape, is very badly defined.

2- the difference between the mean node and the true node is never more than 1 degree 52'. The difference between the mean apogee and the true apogee reaches 30 degrees.

3- the ephemeris of the mean apogee is barycentric (center of masses Earth/Moon, located 1700 Km below the surface of the earth), not geocentric, and if you define it as the "empty focus", then, because of parallax, you would need to apply a correction of more than 6 degrees to the mean Black Moon. This does not happen with the nodes.

I would say that if the mean apogee works, it is for the same reason that all other hypothetical and physically impossible planets also work.



Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2000 07:51:14 -0600


Personally, I think the names "true", etc., don't really matter. What matters is that you understand how it is defined, i.e., its astronomical principle. If one uses "true" in the same way that the "true node", then the Swiss Ephemeris positions are the ones to take. In that case "true" is synonym with "osculating", which is the orbit at the "instant".

I don't think anyone, neither Michelsen nor the authors of Swiss Ephem (let alone me), knows for sure which is the correct one or the "true" one (i.e., osculating=30 degrees difference with mean, corrected=about 12-13 degrees difference, or the "natural"=5 degrees difference with the mean.

I just invented the word "natural", others will say that it should be called "true", and let the "true" be called "osculating". Obviously the word "true" applied to the lunar apogee has been badly abused by people with very partial understanding of the matter and it doesn't mean much right now.

Your confusion is shared by everybody. It is a confusing situation. There are very few people even in the world of astronomers that could answer this, the reason being that the position of the true apogee has never been needed in practical terms by astronomers, they never use it.

The osculating (Swiss Ephem) apogee is derived by a set of mathematical formulas that define the instantaneous orbit of the Moon. Is this where the apogee really is? No one knows. More work has to be done regarding what the apogee is: a mathematical abstract point? the point where the Moon is at its maximum distance? An imaginary point empirically validated?

In other words, the answer to your question depends on how you wish to define "apogee". I believe that we will never solve this until we do a lot of conceptual work regarding definitions.

Not knowing all this is probably better, since it is your faith in what you believe what makes it work... especially regarding an imaginary or abstract point that does not correspond to anything physical, like the lunar nodes.
Examining the differences and similarities with the lunar nodes is one good starting point for the conceptual work I mentioned...

So, "one has to work with works for one". The problem is that not everybody can accept not knowing what you are working with.



Date: Tue, 11 Jan 2000 06:08:02 -0600

>You regard the Lunar Nodes as physical points ? Aren't they "abstract
>points", like the Black Moon, formed by axes and so on ? I mean: they aren't
>real planets either ? For some astrologers reason to ignore them as well ?

No, and yes. Both are abstract points in the orbital plane, which is a mathematical abstraction... I don't know, maybe if one considers an orbit from an "etheric" point of view, or over time (the etheric is our "body of time"), then the orbit becomes the real planet, a living being, and the orbital shape would be like flat disk. This what the ancients perceived in their atavistic clairvoyance, and it is why they referred to the earth as "flat" (meaning the earth's --or Sun's-- yearly orbit).

But undoubtedly, from the merely physical standpoint, both nodes and apses are abstractions, exactly like the zodiacal signs or the Vernal equinox. They are reference points. One can speculate about the symbolical meaning of these points.

For example, the nodes are the points of intersection of the orbit and "us" or "our world" (the ecliptic). Things come in or go out of our world into the lunar realm at the nodes, which is why they are like "doors", soul doors through which we enter and leave this plane (birth and death). They can also be related to "horizontality" and relatedness for the same reason.

Anyway, the discussion about the symbolical meaning of the "points" in the planet's orbit would be interesting. If one sees the orbit as the real "body" of the planet, then the different points are like parts of this body and we could use metaphors to understand what they mean (like the "spinal axis", which could be the perigee/apogee axis).

This is not mathematical or astronomical. We also need can discuss that... 



Date: Thu, 13 Jan 2000 08:04:10 -0600

I was reading again the material I wrote a while ago on this, and found 2 errors in what I said. There are probably others.

for example, I said that the difference between the mean apogee and the true (or corrected) apogee --the so-called Bode's "channel"-- has nothing to do with an ellipse. This is wrong. The Mean Black moves circularly, and the effort to know where the "true" is, of course has to do with accounting for the fact that the orbit is not circular.

Think about this, those who like to use the Mean Black Moon, Mean Node, White Moon... they all move in a perfectly circular orbit, like the Uranian planets and other hypothetical planets, so the Mean Black Moon does not really represent an apogee. This is why there is always a search for the "true" apogee.

The mean apogee is used in Lunar theory as an argument in the calculations, so it may give the idea of something astronomically accurate. But it is only an index, a calculation device...

Another place where I was probably in error was in the question if the Moon "wiggles". I answered that it couldn't because it follows a trajectory, and that the osculating apogee, not being a physical object, does wiggle. I kept thinking and realized one thing: the Moon's trajectory is not really around the Earth but around the Barycenter inside the Earth's crust, so... when seen against the background of the stars, if followed by slow-motion film, we will probably see it wiggling (that is, according to my dictionary, moving quickly up and down or from side to side). This is because the Moon is very close to us, so the change of perspective from the center of its orbit (the barycenter) to a place in the surface of the earth, will produce the effect of seeing it wiggling.

This is only an educated guess, since I don't have anybody to ask. I'm learning as all of us here... probably a good book around there explains this well.



Date: Thu, 13 Jan 2000 16:06:19 -0600

<<The point which the French call the BL M is not a physical body. It is a point on the Moon's orbit where the Moon is farthest from the earth, known in astronomy as its apogee. The moon's perigee is the point on the Moon's orbit when it is closest to earth.>>

Thanks a lot for this. In other words it doesn't say *anything*, which is VERY unfortunate and a good reason for not using it. In this case, I would trust Swiss Ephem if I were you.


NOTE: the mean apogee of Riyal and of Swiss Ephem coincide, because both are applying a "reduction to the ecliptic", to account for the fact that the mean apogee/perigee is measured along the orbit and not along the ecliptic, which results in the mean apogee having a latitude that can reach 5 degrees. In this case, from the Swiss Ephem, one can see that its latitude is 2,51. This adjustment, however, never reaches more than 6'54". Another possible correction is one of +-40', to account for the difference between the barycentric and the geocentric mean apogee, but since nothing is mentioned here, we cannot assume that it is being done. In fact, no body that I know has ever applied this correction.

The calculation of the osculating apogee in Riyal and in Swiss Ephem is also done in the same way (though probably with different formulas), by using the instantaneous position and velocity vectors of the Moon. But Riyal's Moon positions are approximate (2-3" of error in the 20th century) and this will result in errors of up to 6' in the position of the osculating apogee, when compared with the (slightly) more accurate Swiss Ephem. 




Date: Fri, 04 Feb 2000 20:24:34 -0600

Just personally, as a confession, I have to say that I --at this point-- completely reject the use of imaginary points to represent Lilith: this includes the "Dark Moon", the Mean Lunar apogee = Black Moon, the "White Moon", etc.

With this I do not mean that their positions and interpretations are not effective. I mean that with so many asteroids around, female centaurs, primordial-deities-tnp's, etc., it makes no sense to use points that are astronomically and physically impossible.

This includes the Uranian planets. They are very effective, but so are the more than 230 transneptunians that are already available and do actually exist. Points moving in perfect circles and immune to gravitational influences from other bodies except the Sun are only abstractions. This is what all hypotheticals are.

I know I'm being dissident here...

A few weeks ago I had a discussion in the Centaurs list about the meaning of asteroid 1181 Lilith, and we generally agreed on our conclusions. As a main-belt asteroid, 1181 Lilith shares their sphere of action: the social and the "civilized".

Main-belt asteroids, centaurs, trans-Neptunian, the lunar orbit... they all work in different spheres. The Lilith archetype is not "owned" by any of them. Female centaurs share a part of it, 1181 Lilith another part, the TRUE lunar orbit another part... the "Dark Moon" doesn't share anything because it doesn't exist. Like the Uranian planets, they are categories of the mind only.

I find it very hard to accept working with a point (the Mean Lunar apogee = Black Moon) that can be as much as 30 degrees away from its true position, and pretend that the matter is settled and everything is all right. It is not all right, and it is not settled, and it cannot be treated as if it were a real body.

Again, I know I am being dissident, but this is what I think at this point.


You all know that in astrology, the same thing can be said in many different ways. If not with "Lilith" (whatever that is astronomically --most people who work with it don't know), I can say it with Pluto/Moon, with Chariklo, a strong 8th house, midpoints, etc. I just prefer using something that exists and is not just a fantasy.

I hope nobody feels that what I am saying is disrespectful to someone. I respect all those who work with imaginary points moving in perfect circles in an idealized world around the Sun (Uranian planets) or around the Earth (Black Moon, Dark Moon, White Moon, "Lilith", "Lulu", etc.). All I am saying is that, with so many amazing real bodies with real orbits out there waiting for us to discover their astrological meaning, it makes no sense to me clinging to what is moving only around the minds of some.




Date: Sun, 06 Feb 2000 15:55:01 -0600


If I conceive --as an example-- Lilit as a succub and Lilu as in incub, then I feel that they are naturally the same archetype, the same part of the psyche. I would look for Lilith placements in search of both, depending whether it is the chart of a woman or of a man or of a lesbian, etc. And seen from a psycho-dynamical or psychoanalytical point of view, all this is related to the "womb" and the beginnings of sexuality and therefore to the female (dark mother) part of the psyche.

I very strongly feel that this is related to the Moon, but not "our" (astrological) Moon, so I sympathize with the idea of the kenofocus (the other or empty focus) of the Lunar orbit. It is a "void", a "ghost" Moon.

But I don't think it can be the Mean Apogee, moving perfectly regular in perfect circles around the Earth. Such idealized regularity so far removed from the real or true lunar apogee is very alien to what Lilith represents.

I suggest that people take a look at the osculating apogee in search for more "ghostly", sexual, irrational, and Lilithian interpretation of the Black Moon.

I may have a good example of this. Perhaps you have heard of Whitley Strieber. He is a classic case of being visited and taken by a succub, except that he sees it in more modern terms as an alien abduction. He tells all the terrifying story in a book called "Communion". There are comments on his chart in my Web article "The Redemption of Nessus", where you can find the birth data. This is part of what I wrote:

<<If the chart is drawn with the regular planets, they all appear between 1 Taurus and 3 Libra, less than half of the zodiac. If we add the four main asteroids, the situation doesn't change. "Lilith" is the mythological figure more clearly associated with these nightly "erotic" demons: asteroid 1181 Lilith is in 4,31 Libra, in conjunction with Neptune in 3,39 Libra, but this is far from the very intimate and terrifying experience that Strieber narrates in his book, "Communion". The same with the lunar apogee, or "Black Moon", which, if defined as the mean apogee, we find it in Libra 23,40, in conjunction with Ceres in 24,49 Libra. The "true" apogee falls in 2,37 Scorpio, and has a better chance of being related to Strieber's experience: it is in opposition to Mars in 1,25 Taurus (12th house), and defines the "rim" of the bowl-type planetary pattern.>>



Date: Sun, 06 Feb 2000 18:27:32 -0600


Obviously one has to follow some model of thought or paradigm in order to have some guidelines as to how to interpret the meaning of a new body in astrology. Ultimately it is verification through experience what gives a more permanent or universal validity to the conclusions that you may reach.

But the experience is not "raw", it is given meaning according to a pre-established system of symbolical associations. This why all hypothetical bodies, if their meaning is well articulated, work. They don't have to exist physically in order to work.

I am following a way of thinking which rejects purely hypothetical and physically impossible "bodies" like the White Moon, the Mean Lunar Apogee / Black Moon, the Dark Moon, the Uranian planets, etc. I very explicitly said that this doesn't mean that they don't work. I have said many times that I give complete validity to other people's work with them.

But since I am following an "astronomical" paradigm, they cannot have a place in my own production. In this perspective, the completely fictitious motion of the Mean Lunar Apogee is altogether alien to the symbolical world of Lilith.

Juan, with Saturn and Pylenor conjunct his 9th house Mercury in Taurus.


Date: Sun, 06 Feb 2000 18:51:48 -0600

one question here:

are you talking of your experience with the mean lunar apogee or are you talking of symbolism in general?

In my own way of thinking I do not conceive the centaurs as "instinctive". Maybe they are in the myth, but not in my astrological conception of them. On the other hand, others may have a different way of looking at Lunar symbolism, but I see it related to man's instinctive and pre-rational world.

And for the record, I don't think this has to do with the division between "heart" and "head". I believe there can be as much heart and head in the Moon as in the Sun.

It is apparent that, when one is trying to develop or to communicate new and.or controversial ideas, one has to face the problem of language conventions and language codes, because the conventional code we use to communicate still does not contain them. So we have to fight first for the proper use of words and definitions.

There is a difference between the highly abstract conventionalized code which is our astrological tradition regarding the Moon in a chart or the mean lunar apogee in a chart, and the pure, more direct world of Lunar symbolism in the psyche. When I think in the legend/myth of Lilith, it is this world that comes to my imagination.


The way I like to put this myself is: it is not true that the heart doesn't follow logic; what happens is that it follows its OWN logic, which is very different from the logic of the head. And it is not that difficult to learn the logic or the language or the heart. What happens is that our culture does not or cannot teach us this language (remember that I have Venus "in the heart of the Sun" in opposition/contra-parallel with and in the midpoint of Monn and Neptune.)



Date: Sun, 06 Feb 2000 19:50:46 -0600

>[Solar Fire:]
>The Lilith used in Solar Fire is the one popular in Europe, and it is also
>called the Black Moon. This is not actually a hypothetical planet, but
>rather the geocentric position of the empty focus of the moon's orbital
>ellipse (the earth being at the other focus). Solar Fire gives the Black
>Moon's mean position, and this is accurate to 1 minute of arc.

--- And the mean position can be as far as 30 degrees from the true position. This 'mean' position is based on an idealized reference orbit of the Moon which does not correspond to the true lunar motion. Additionally, it's position is barycentric, not geocentric, and it is wrongly equated with the empty focus of the Moon's orbital ellipse. The geocentric position of the empty focus of this idealized reference Moon's orbit can deviate as much as 6 degrees from the position normally used by astrologers and displayed in this program...



Date: Mon, 19 Jun 2000 22:17:12 -0600


I am and have always been interested in Lilith, but my mind was never settled on which of the possible alternatives to use. Despite all the wisdom and experience of those who work with the mean lunar apogee/Lilith, this is not enough for me, because I am convinced that with good interpretation skills and a pre-established code, one can make anything work, as is attested by the hypothetical planets and the Dark Moon.

Recently I have had some exchanges in a Spanish forum about the Black Moon, and this awakened my active interest again. I posted 2 messages yesterday in the Centaurs forum which spoke directly of the Black Moon because I found a very exact and --to me-- very good example of the Lilith symbolism in the chart of the composer Tchaikovsky, while I was examining his centaurs. The contact, however, is with the TRUE or OSCULATING apogee.

Before I go any further, let's try to clarify the terminology.

Dieter Koch's "interpolated apogee" is the same as Riyal's "natural apogee":

5. 20 June 14 cp 58'52"   RIYAL 14,58  d=1'
6. 21 June 14 cp 56'45"   RIYAL 14,56  d=1'
7. 22 June 14 cp 54'21"   RIYAL 14,53  d=2'
8. 23 June 14 cp 51'39"   RIYAL 14,50  d=2'
9.  1 Jule 14 cp 22'11"   RIYAL 14,13  d=9'
10. 1 Aug  13 cp 01'43"   RIYAL 13,05  d=3'
11. 1 Sept 15 cp 57'19"   RIYAL 15,57  d=0'
12. 1 Oct  21 cp 18'40"   RIYAL 21,18  d=1'
13. 1 Nov  27 cp 59'30"   RIYAL 27,58  d=2'
14. 1 Dec   4 aq 32'56"   RIYAL  4,32  d=1'
15. 1 Jan   8 aq 53'12"   RIYAL  8,47  d=6'

... The explanation of the natural apogee is found in the Riyal documentation. I call it "natural" because it is something that happens in nature: one takes the position of the Moon every time it is farthest from the earth (every 25 or 26 days). For the dates in-between the times of the Moon's farthest distance, one calculates by interpolation, the same you do when, for example, finding the exact position of the Moon or any planet from 2 extreme positions in a tabular ephemerides.

This method cannot be exact, it is only an approximation, and sometimes the apogee calculated this way goes retrograde, and the approximation becomes even less exact.

In Spain, Miguel Garcia, also a software developer, had done the same thing years ago.

The MEAN APOGEE doesn't need any of this. It is an artifice, exactly like the "fictitious Mean Sun" used by astronomers for the measurement of time. It moves very regularly, describing a perfect circle around the earth/moon barycenter (not the earth). Its movement is actually as round and regular as the hands of a clock and it is very easy to calculate. This roundness of its motion is the main reason why I completely reject it as representative of the nocturnal and magic demoness Lilith. Roundness and steady motion belongs to the Sun. It is alien to the world of the Moon.

This is without mentioning the fact that, if one pretends this mean barycentric apogee to represent the mean empty focus of the Moon's geocentric orbit, one would have to apply a correction of +-6 degrees...

The OSCULATING APOGEE represents the shape of the lunar orbit at one specific instant of time. It is not averaged as the mean apogee, and it is already geocentric, unlike the mean apogee. Sometimes it is rejected because it doesn't seem to make any sense to have it swing as much as 30 degrees from the mean position, but I disagree at this point. It is precisely this erratic behavior what makes it the best representative --in my opinion-- of the irrational, instinctive, and primal symbolism of Lilith.

Another reason for its rejection is that it is a geometric artifice, based on the assumption that the geocentric orbit of the Moon is an ellipse. Well, it is not. The ellipse is with respect to the earth/moon barycenter. Geocentrically, as I think Kelley Hunter said once, the Moon "wiggles", deviating from elliptical motion. Therefore the image of an ellipse allegedly breaks down and the osculating apogee is only an artificial number without meaning. I don't agree with this. The osculating orbit is calculated from the lunar trajectory at a specific instant, it is by definition completely "instantaneous" and the trajectory so calculated is quite real. It doesn't matter if in the next instant this trajectory changes (sorry for this technical explanation)

... The word "true" to me, used for the osculating apogee, is correctly applied to all the other instantaneous orbital elements, like the true node. The osculating ellipse indeed exists, even though it doesn't in the long run, because it is soon replaced by another ellipse. The lunar orbit is in constant mutation, and it is this precisely what the osculating apogee measures so well.

This True Black Moon does not have the decades of astrological and interpretative elaboration that the Mean Black Moon has. It has been available only after 1992. You won't find simplistic formulas to make its interpretation easy. It requires research and willingness to try the new. It needs NOT  receive the conventional meanings given to the round and astronomically featureless Mean Black Moon; but, as far as I am concerned, is the only one my mind can accept as representative of the mythical, nocturnal, primal and lunar Lilith.



Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2000 08:38:05 -0600


If Bode's "corrected" Black Moon calculations are not open to scrutiny by others, then anyone can keep saying anything forever. This situation won't change until he publishes the necessary formulae so that others can calculate the correction without having to buy the tables or his books.

One minor point regarding my comments on the corrected Black Moon: all I was doing was repeating what others who have access to the tables and know their stuff (Dieter Koch in and Miguel Garcia in Spain) have said, echoing the opinion of many others in Europe.

The same goes in my attitude to the Dark Moon Lilith. I have tried the different positions provided by Kelley from the ephemeris she has by D. Jay, as well as a table for the first of each month calculated by Ivy M. Goldstein Jacobson (I have it copied in a Spanish publication of 1986), assuming as it is said, a motion of 3,02 degrees per day. It doesn't work, nor with other slightly different daily motions. Those positions are not calculated as it is claimed and the motion is very irregular.

Since I can do all the necessary calculations myself, and I greatly enjoy making them available for free, I personally distrust and dislike those who conceal the information or don't give the necessary explanations, or at least tell you where to find them without saying "buy this" or putting themselves above others.



Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2000 09:48:12 -0600

>Can you explain me in simple English, what the word "osculating" means ?

If you look in a Latin dictionary, you find:

"OSCULATIO": kiss, the action of kissing "OSCULOR, OSCULATUM SUM": to kiss, to caress, to pet

The word is in the Webster's:

"osculant" = united by certain common characteristic "oscular" = pertaining to an osculum, pertaining to the mouth or kissing

"osculate" =

1- to kiss
2- to come into close contact or union
3- (geometry, of a curve) to touch another curve or another part of the same curve so as to have the same tangent and curvature at the point of contact 4- to bring into close contact or union (like my Sun/Venus!) 5- to touch another curve or another part of the same curve in osculation 6- (archaic) to kiss (yeah!)

"osculating plane" = the plane containing the circle of curvature of a point on a given curve.

"osculation" =

1- the act ok kissing (I like it!)
2- a kiss
3- close contact
4- (geometry) the contact between two osculating curves or the like

"osculum" = a small mouthlike aperture as of a sponge.

The "moment of osculation" is only a brief moment: the next instant the "point of osculation" will have shifted in space. Osculation refers to the "point of contact" at a given instant between the orbital plane or the trajectory of an orbiting body (e.g., the Moon) and the "real" perturbed orbital plane of the body as seen through time.

There is a discussion of osculating elements in the latest documentation of the Swiss Ephem.


.. The Moon orbits the Earth/Moon barycenter, not the Earth. The constantly changing ellipse is with respect to this barycenter. At least you know that it doesn't "wiggle". When seen from the center of the Earth (as in the astrologer's ephemeris, a change of 4700 Km from the barycenter), it does indeed "wiggle", therefore it is not precisely an ellipse... At least this is the argument.

But the osculating apogee is a different concept. It is a geometrical projection based on the trajectory the Moon is "drawing" in space at a given instant with respect to the center of the earth. The next instant, the trajectory has changed somewhat. But this doesn't matter. The definition of the "instantaneous osculating orbit around the Earth" is accurate, at least the way I see it.


... This is calculus, not easy to understand. I have been trying to figure it out all these months, and now I think I understand better. The orbit of the Moon, seen geocentrically, if we observe it for a period of one lunar month, would look like an ellipse only roughly, i.e., the "path" drawn by the Moon during one period of revolution around the Earth would look somewhat skewed, like a 2 year old's drawing of an ellipse.

But the osculating apogee or osculating orbit is another concept. It is "constructed" from the position and velocity vectors of the Moon at a given instant, what I call the "trajectory", the small curve drawn by the Moon in space. Technically, it corresponds to the direction of the "angular momentum" vector of the Moon. The velocity, the angles subtended with respect to the ecliptic and the center of the earth, the gravitational pulls, etc, allow to build or draw an orbit that is valid only for that instant. This is the definition of an osculating orbit. It doesn't matter if the Moon will not draw strictly an ellipse if we observe its path over a month. The osculating orbit is always an ellipse, a "conic section".


The definition of the osculating apogee is independent of the Moon being in "precise conjunction" with it. It is simply that at the moment of the Moon's greatest distance from the Earth every 25 days, the Moon is in precise conjunction with the osculating apogee. But for the calculation, one never takes into account this "precise conjunction".


The cycle is exactly the same in all calculations and in all alternatives. The only thing that varies is the magnitude and the direction of the oscillations within that cycle.



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