Black Moon Lilith & White Moon Arta
*Note: this article is about the theoretical or hypothetical point known as the White Moon Selena, as used in the Avestan School of Astrology in Eastern Europe, and therefore the ephemerides mentioned here are also the ones used by Russian astrologers.
Before I get into explaining the White Moon I am going to first write a couple of words about Lilith and also mention the Lunar Nodes (Rahu and Ketu) as Selena/Arta is part of that whole “package”.
Lilith has been the subject of much discussion amongst Western astrologers. There are at least 4 Liliths in astrology: Mean Black Moon Lilith (h21), True Black Moon Lilith (h13), Dark Moon/Waldemath Lilith (h58) and asteroid Lilith (1181), the latter one being the only actual physical or verifiable Lilith body. The fixed star Algol in the head of Medusa in the constellation Perseus is also thought of as part of this vast “Lilith corridor”.
Technically, Black Moon Lilith is defined as the Lunar Apogee and the Lunar Perigee, the opposite point, is called Priapus in Western astrology. The astronomical ephemerides for this axis is calculated by Kepler. But due to considerable problems in calculating these apsides, Dieter Koch has said (quote):
“Although Kepler ellipses are a good means to describe planetary orbits, they fail with the orbit of the Moon, which is strongly perturbed by the gravitational pull of the Sun. This solar perturbation results in gigantic monthly oscillations in the ephemeris of the osculating apsides (the amplitude is 30 degrees). It turns out that the motions of the Lunar Perigee and Apogee form curves of different quality and the two points are usually not in opposition to each other. They are more or less opposite points only at times when the Sun is in conjunction with one of them or at an angle of 90° from them.”
This is where White Moon Selena / Light Moon Arta of Avestan astrology comes in – this so-called hypothetical point was calculated by Russian astrologers in accordance with International Astronomical Union IAU standard expansions for the epoch J2000.0, developed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), which is based on the most accurate currently available dynamic model of the motion of the Sun, the planets, the barycenter of the Earth-Moon system relative to the barycenter of the Solar System (DE403) and the Moon’s motion relative to the geocenter (LE403).
This theory is available here: ftp://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/pub/eph/export
The calculations, however, did not take into account any corrections related to the finiteness of the speed of light, as is done in all astronomical calculations, and, unfortunately, astrological ephemerides. According to the Theory of Time of Professor NA Kozyrev, real momentary coordinates of the planets and the stars should be exerted on us since time does not extend, but appears immediately in the whole universe. And as we know, astrology is built on the interaction of planets through time. Therefore real astrological ephemerides should give the true position of planets and sensitive points without taking into account any effects associated with light.
Going back to the meaning of the Lilith corridor and the Lunar Nodes, I would like to quote Juan Antonio Revilla’s (a Costa Rican astrologer) excellent interpretation:
“The osculating apogee (True Lilith) represents the actual trajectory of the Moon as it actually is at a given instant. We can think of it as a ghost image that the Moon carries with it all the time. This ghost image represents a sort of ideal, an “ideal future” when the Moon is (or will be) at apogee, but it keeps changing or evolving as the Moon travels through space. We can also think of the perigee, the North and South Nodes, and the empty second focus of the orbit in the same way: they all represent idealized focal points or “directions” that are a result of the “psychic projections” of the Moon, they are “Moon ghosts” that the Moon always carries with it, that are part of the “lunar structure” of every individual. The Moon represents the present moment, the Nodes, apsides, and empty focus represent the past and “look forward” psychic projections that give shape and structure to the lunar dynamics of a person’s life. They are like the rooms, passages and corridors of a house (the different parts of the orbit) that become projections of the person who inhabits it (the Moon).”
Revilla’s explanation is very similar to the Avestan view of the Moon’s Nodes, the Lilith corridor and its axis, and the White Moon or Selena. Avestan astrology, which is based on the Zurvanite texts (an extinct heretical branch of Zoroastrianism) in the Russian astrological sources stored in the archives of the NKVD-KGB, defines the Nodes of the Moon and Lilith as the “three finite times”. What does this imply?
The three finite times (past, present, future) are combined into one single point by the White Moon, which represents the point of eternity (the cycle of death and rebirth) and the polarity of the Lunar Apogee (Black Moon Lilith). The past is symbolized by the Descending South Node (Ketu/Cauda Draconis), the present by the Black Moon Lilith and future by the Ascending North Node (Rahu/Caput Draconis). The Black Moon also represents the darkest nether regions of our personal psyche whereas the White Moon represents the lightest or the most pure part of our lunar structure.
In terms of their nature the Black Moon and the White Moon are also seen as accumulations of a person’s dark and light karma (meaning “action” in Sanskrit) in the horoscope. From a Buddhist perspective, the Black Moon is like the primitive mind or the primal instinct within us while the White Moon is the primordial mind. Personally, I like to think of the Black Moon Lilith (Lunar Apogee) as a manifestation of the shadow(s) that exist deep within our subconscious mind, and the White Moon as our inner light and the “good” in us. In other words, inner darkness and inner light. Here’s a beautiful piece of poetry by Sandi Lynn Schraut that I think illustrates this nicely:
“I walk under the Moon’s glow – half in silver light, half in shadow. Each half wants to own me.”
Just as there are two Liliths, the Mean Lilith (h21) and the True Lilith (h13), there are also two White/Light Moons that serve as the polarities of Lilith’s essence:
Unfortunately, Arta is absent from most astrological softwares (except ZET Software and maybe a few other Russian ones). Astro.com only lists Mean White Moon Selena (h56), which should not be confused with the asteroid Selene (580). The orbital period of the True White/Light Moon is approximately 6.92 (or 7) years, and seems to fall amazingly in line with the Earth’s axis movement as well. The approximate orbit of True Lilith is 8.85 years if we go by the Russian ephemerides for the Black Moon. What is quite remarkable is that the asteroid Thule (279) also happens to have an orbit of 8.85 years, and the asteroids El Leoncito (2311) and Helga (522) an orbit of 6.92 years. Coincidentally, these asteroids almost move in opposition to each other, which is why the White Moon is also thought of as the opposite point of the Black Moon in Avestan astrology. These asteroids are believed to play the same role in our solar system as the Black Moon and the White Moon. As for Priapus, this point is called “Priap” by the Russians, and has an orbit of about 7.89 years. It represents our genetic memory as well as male sexuality.
The Black Moon (sometimes also called the “Dark Moon” by Russian astrologers) is basically the factor of separation while the White/Light Moon is the factor of integration. The astrologer Juan Revilla touched upon this topic extensively here: http://expreso.co.cr/centaurs/blackmoon/lilith.html
Altogether they represent the psychophysical structure of mankind, uniting the solar (conscious) and the lunar (subconscious) functions. Conceptually, it is closely allied to the injunctions and ordinances thought to uphold it, collectively referred to as dharma, and the action of the individual in relation to those ordinances, referred to as karma as per the Buddhist view.
The moment of birth determines the level of the binding effect one has with the world. A strong White Moon in the chart makes the individual conscious and aware of universal unity, and feels therefore a higher connection to everything and everyone, operating beyond doubt and fear and separation. A strong Black Moon, however, has been observed in individuals who do not conform, who would rather challenge the world they were born into, and thus this point is seen as a separating factor, a temptation, which can sometimes be a painful experience for the psyche and potentially cause suffering. A sense of separation is part of the very illusion (māyā) that keeps us in Saṃsāra (cycle of death and rebirth – our 3D world). It is worth noting that major importance is assigned to the Moon in both Vedic and Tibetan astrology, much more than the Sun, as the Moon is the Great Mother, the principle of nurturing, and is the root of our subjective mind with all of its opinions, likes and dislikes. It sheds light on how we relate to the world on a very deep personal psychological and emotional level.
The many meanings of the White Moon in chart interpretation include: truth, light, positive previous life deeds, white magic, awakened mind, a sense of ultimate meaning or purpose, man’s grace, protection, guardian angel etc. When transits trigger this point in the horoscope you may experience an invisible force that seems to protect you or shield you from harm. Why is that? Because the White Moon is a manifestation of the guardian angel, of purity. In Buddhism, purity is related to one’s Buddha-nature or Buddha-principle (buddhadhatu in Sanskrit) – the unsullied essence or “true self” of a sentient being. This can be laid bare once the temporary and superficial contaminants (kleśas) have been eradicated from its presence. These “contaminants” are seen as extrinsic to, rather than inherent within, the essence of the being. The awakened mind is the pure, undefiled mind – the primordial mind. An awakened (enlightened) mind is indestructible and invincible. All sentient beings carry the seed of this within themselves. Perhaps, to get a better understanding of this, we should examine the origin of the name given to the True Light Moon – Arta. It is actually derived from the Sanskrit Ṛta meaning “natural order or truth”, manifested by light, the principle which regulates the operation of the universe and everything within it. As an adjective, it means “luminous, enlightened”. In Zoroastrianism, Arta (also called Asha) is an ancient manifestation of Ahura Mazda who first made the world to be pure light. Later a second world came into being that was material in nature. The material world was conquered by Angra Mainyu, which caused the pure light of existence to be mixed with darkness. Interestingly enough, a very similar concept of duality also exists in George Lucas’ famous Star Wars movies: the Light Side of the Force (also known as “Ashla”) and the Dark Side of the Force (also known as “Bogan”).
So, in conclusion, the White Moon or the Light Moon encompasses the (obscured) noble and pure nature within us.
“The primordial or awakened mind is not something which has to be achieved, it is something which is already there, but due to our temporary obscurations we do not recognize it.”
― Tathāgatagarbha Sūtra