One of two things seems to happen here – either Lilith is totally insubstantial and barely felt in the least visible house of the horoscope, or it is more powerfully expressed here than anywhere else in the horoscope, harshly impacting not only the childhood but lasting well into adulthood. When 4th House Lilith is apparent, it typically has a life-long effect similar to the 11th House. It’s a toss-up over whether 4th House or 11th House Lilith is the worst of the two, but I have come to suspect that Lilith has a “fallen” quality in the 4th House, with its natural energy of Cancer.
A Few Observations:
· Miserable childhoods
· Rejected by a parent
· Abandoned by a parent, due to deployment, divorce, or death
· Mixed ethnicity, bilingual, early awareness of difference
· “Rags-to-riches” – not typical, but you do see it.
· Death of a child, parent, or sibling, or sometimes all three – also not typical.
· As an adult, highly engaged in a profession. Spends a lot of time with peers.
· Home must be a sanctuary once they become adults. If it is, creativity is fostered here.
· Obsession is a theme, either expressed positively as ambition, or negatively as, well, obsession.
· Detached, Aquarian-like temperament as adults.
· Contrast between 10th House true Lilith and 4th House true Lilith: 10th House Lilith has an agile body, a gift for manipulative and fluid motion, which sometimes emerges as a talent for dance. 4th House Lilith has an agile (tongue) or mouth, capable of manipulative and fluid communication, making this a placement for gangsters, politicians, writers, actors, lawyers, and anyone who relies on double-edged gestures or double-sided words as a source of power.
Cancer’s quality is nurturing, and strongly associated with recognition of motherhood, while Lilith’s offspring are demons and her motherhood is horrible in the eyes of man. In contrast, Lilith often does well in Capricorn, where the restrictive, limiting, inflexible, rigid nature of Saturn channels the endless manifestation of new forms that Lilith is known for into something useful. For example, the endless shape-shifting of 10th House Lilith may manifest as dance – sinuous, illusory movement as an art form.
The opposite occurs in the 4th House, where Lilith is either totally invisible (a blessing!) or completely overwhelming, spreading everywhere, and ruining the house. Lilith can be a witch in this house, and not a good, white witch. Lilith is known for out-of-bounds obsession, and one thing about the experience of a pervasive Lilith in childhood is that the adult acquires natural detachment as the only way to deal with Lilith’s evil. Often, I have noted an Aquarian-like quality in 4th House Lilith adults, independent of natal planets in Aquarius or in the 11th House.
Her expression runs the gamut in childhood. On the mild end, the child has a foreign, bilingual, or half-caste background which makes him aware of being different from other children at a very young age. A slightly deeper shade of Lilith results in a parent who rejects the child, or a child who feels abandoned by the parent. Perhaps the worst expression of Lilith is a child who ends up in an endless series of foster homes because the dysfunctional parent or caregiver will not be persuaded to give him or her up. Another heartbreaker is the child who suffers the frequent military deployment of the parent, and then ends up losing that parent altogether due to divorce or death.
The very worst expression of Lilith destroys the native’s entire family – one thinks of Abraham Lincoln, who lost his beloved mother at age nine, and broke down in tears when his only sister died in childbirth at age 18. At age 26, he was devastated by the death of his alleged childhood love, Ann Rutledge. Like a cancer (pun intended), Lilith went into remission, allowing Lincoln to soar to an incredible heights – the “rags to riches” quality of 4th House Lilith is occasionally mentioned by other astrologers. Then Lilith returned with a vengeance, as Lincoln watched his three year old son, Eddie, die at age forty. For Lincoln, the horror of Lilith was never-ending. At age fifty-four, bowed with grief at the premature death of so much of his family, he again watched his twelve year old son Willie die, most likely of typhoid fever, which was rampant in Washington DC during the Civil War. Lincoln himself would be assassinated two years later. Even in death, Lilith wouldn’t quit. His youngest and favorite son Tad died six years after Lincoln’s death at age 18, the same age that his beloved sister, Sarah Lincoln, had died.
My Note: There was a partile Sun-Chiron conjunction on the day that Lincoln was born, and this came to signify a brutal relationship with his father that Lincoln could not heal from, as well as his own agonizing experience as a parent of children who could not heal themselves. 4th House Lilith emphasized the power of this conjunction in a most cruel manner.
My Note: Abraham Lincoln has no historically known birth time. His parents were dirt poor, and it is not known who attended his birth, but it unlikely that anyone present would have owned a watch. His chart is a rectification. While I tend to be skeptical of such nativities, I am willing to believe that Lincoln is indeed a 4th House Lilith – in fact, he is the consummate example of one.
During my research for this article, I noticed an unusual number of natal 4th House Lilith celebrities whose parents came from two different cultures, or who ended up leaving behind the culture where they were raised. One common (and rather mild) manifestation of Lilith turns out to be mixed ethnicity, a bilingual childhood, or simply parents from two widely different cultures or social classes. There is something in the family that marks the child as different from his earliest memories.
She was born to an American mother and a Cuban father. Lilith in the lower houses of the natal wheel sometimes brings about a fast-acting twist of fate that propels a child or young adult to his or her destiny. At age 16, Diaz was discovered by a photographer at a Hollywood party who, within a week, helped her land a contract with the Elite Modeling Agency. She immediately took off for Japan, and began a five year relationship with videographer Carlos de la Torre the same year she graduated from high school.
Model, TV hostess, and occasional actress, Klum became an American citizen but still managed to retain her German citizenship.
His father is a descendent of Swedish nobility, while his mother is from a Jewish family in New York City. There’s got to be a joke here, although I can never think of one when I need it.
Rowling is bilingual – her mother is a native French speaker. She was working as a bilingual secretary for Amnesty International when she first conceived the idea for Harry Potter on a delayed train from Manchester to London at age 25. Rowling is another 4th House native with a “rags-to-riches” narrative, although her experience of poverty could not compare to Abraham Lincoln’s.
Lincoln grew up under conditions so wretched that his famous utterance, “I used to be a slave,” was no exaggeration or plea for pity. After his mother died, his father simply abandoned him and his ten year old sister, leaving them to fend for themselves on a rural homestead for an entire year while he went looking for a new wife. When he returned, he hired the boy out and insisted on receiving his entire wages. (His sister was luckier – neighbors took her in, mainly in order to get her away from that home.)
For a whole decade, until age 21, Lincoln was not allowed to keep any of his wages. His father was quick with his fists and the whip, as well, and Lincoln utterly detested him. When he died, Lincoln would not attend his funeral.
Lincoln’s “half-caste” status was a state of mind rather than an actual fact. He ascribed his own positive traits to his maternal grandfather rather than his father – his “power of analysis, his logic, his mental activity, and his ambition” to a man who Lincoln said was a “nobleman of Virginia” who had sired Lincoln’s mother out-of-wedlock. Lincoln’s own father could barely read, but as a youth, Lincoln himself was almost completely self-educated. He was obsessed about education, and willing to pay any price in order to grasp it. [Many of the anecdotes about Lincoln in this article are from William Herndon, his law partner, friend, and most well-known biographer.]
Lewinsky has true Lilith conjunct the IC with a five degree orb, and has been labeled a “home-wrecker extraordinaire”, which isn’t entirely fair. Bill and Hillary Clinton have always had an unconventional marriage; it merely became more obvious to the public in recent years. The ironic truth is that Bill Clinton flip-flopped on gay marriage when his own wife is bisexual, something Lewinsky likely could not have known at the time of the affair. If anything, she was a pawn, and Hillary Clinton had the last laugh, in more ways than one.
Obsession is a theme with 4th House Lilith, and the public seemed most uncomfortable with the obsessive way that Lewinsky pursued Clinton. In my opinion, public disgust with her behavior had a lot to do with how uncomfortable negative obsession makes onlookers feel.
Out of necessity, Lewinsky has made her home in Europe for much of her adulthood, and one suspects that this must have initially been a “fish-out-of-water” experience for her. This is also characteristic of 4th House Lilith – one is never entirely comfortable or at ease in the culture where one grows up, and this has a way of persisting into adulthood.
Mercury, the lead singer of the famous rock band, Queen, had an international background worthy of Barack Obama's. His parents were Parsi-Zorastrians from India, who emigrated to Africa and settled in Zanzibar, where the young man known as Farrokh Bulsara was born and spent his earliest years. For most of his childhood, however, he did time in a series of Catholic boarding schools in India.
He returned to Zanzibar at age 17, just in time for he and his family to flee the 1967 Zanzibar Revolution for England, where Mercury promptly found himself a British girlfriend, even though he would later embrace a gay identity (Mercury died of AIDS in 1991). He kept his Indian descent a secret from most of his fans, most likely because he did not believe it would fit well with his rock music persona.
Although nowhere near as common as a 5th House female true Lilith who “marries up”, this phenomenon does occur often to be noticed. A rapid rise is not a matter of luck, the way it is in the 5th House. 4th House Lilith typically works hard for success, the way 6th House and 8th House Lilith does.
A descendent of Abraham Lincoln's family through Lincoln's birth mother, Nancy Hanks, the actor Tom Hanks was born to a father who was an itinerant cook and a mother who was a hospital worker. His mother is of Portuguese ancestry, and the young Hanks was a “Bible-toting evangelical teenager” with a family background of Catholicism and Mormonism.
Hanks truly made good on the “rags-to-riches” narrative. According to Wikipedia, as of 2012, his films have grossed over 4.2 billion in the US, and over 8.5 billion worldwide, making him the highest all-time box office star in Hollywood.
Tyson came from a background as impoverished and emotionally devastated as Lincoln's. His father was a street thug who abandoned the family around the time of his birth, while his mother died when Tyson was 16, leaving him in the care of his boxing manager and trainer, Cus D'Amato.
Tyson had the same sort of obsession with boxing that Lincoln had with education. Both men grieved the premature deaths of a mother and a sister (Tyson's sister, Denise, died of a heart attack at age 25). Both men attracted Lilith, in terms of the women they chose as wives. In Tyson's case, he projected Lilith on to his women – he was divorced twice, beat both of his ex-wives, had multiple out-of-wedlock children, and was convicted of raping a beauty queen in 1992, for which he did three years in prison.
One of nine children born to Italian immigrants, Capone was unquestionably more interested in power than riches. As head of the Mafia, he transformed the use of power in the Italian-American community.
Capone was expelled from school at age 14 for hitting a female teacher in the face, and promptly fell in with small-time gangsters. By the time he was age 17, he was on the rise in a major gang.
Capone did not attract a Lilith in the home – he married his Irish-American sweetheart at age 19 just after she gave birth to their first son. But he had access to plenty of women outside the marriage, and suffered from syphilis as an older man. As a young man, he was slashed in the face three times after inadvertently insulting a woman in a Brooklyn nightclub, from which he got his legendary nickname, “Scarface”.
Another “Lilith-like” twist occurred in Capone's use of power. He believed in brutal violence as a means to an end, and thoroughly understood the use of intimidation as a basis for creating a powerful criminal organization. Yet he also perceived the power of a “Robin Hood” approach, and became known for generous, “anonymous” donations to schools, churches, and hospitals in Italian-American communities.
After an assassination attempt against him failed, he paid for the medical care of a young boy and his mother who would have otherwise gone blind from injuries sustained in the blast. Acts like these transformed him from mere gangster to celebrity, and also shaped the code of ethics in the Italian-American Mafia. One is reminded of the political instincts of Donald Trump, or even, dare it be said, Abraham Lincoln.
Psychology of Adulthood
Let me get directly to the point – 4th House Lilith is often a hallmark of abuse, or at least remarkable neglect in childhood. It always makes me cringe when I suspect a client is not particularly maternal, and then I see a child’s horoscope with Lilith in the 4th House. This Lilith can be the most miserable placement of all twelve houses, and survivors often deal with chronic depression in adulthood.
This natal Lilith feels the neglect keenly – they are frequently fated to develop under the care of the worst possible parent(s), given their psychological needs and desires. DG Jay hints that the psychological expectations of 4th House Lilith are exceptionally high. I think this is a key point.
6th House Lilith also has a tendency to grow up in harsh circumstances, or at least less than ideal ones, but the native identifies with the parent, and feels sorry for him or her in adulthood. They are less likely to see their childhoods as abusive, and more likely to say that mom or dad did the best they could. This isn’t true for 4th House Lilith, who knew they had a right to expect more, often a lot more.
“Interpreting Lilith” by D.G. Jay
Normally, I prefer to focus on original ideas in my articles, without undue reliance on the work of other astrologers. However, this is one house where D.G. Jay should not be ignored. His view of 4th House Lilith in adulthood is so “on the mark” that I will share a number of his excerpts with readers. My own analysis simply isn’t going to be as good.
DG Jay writes, “Early in life there are frustrating emotional dead-ends where the usual family supports are concerned. In a great many instances this is because of the absence, circumstances or the temperament of the parent… There may have been an illness, removal (as in the case of divorce), or the actual loss of that parent, which the child may have selfishly resented with feelings of, "How could he/she do this to me!"
My Note: My niece has 4th House Lilith, and I was the one who was stunned when my sister-in-law took her to Ukraine when she was six months old to spend a few weeks with her grandmother, and simply walked out on her and returned to the US for more than six months. Ostensibly, my niece was left behind so she could develop fluency in the language and a strong bond with her Ukrainian grandmother and uncle, both which did happen. However, there is no way to explain this reasoning to a child so young, and my feelings about my sister-in-law’s decision making process shall be left unsaid.
DG Jay writes, “In the fourth, Lilith may also represent a step-parent or conditions between the parents that made the home barren or uncomfortable. Many times there is a broken home. Lilith here may denote an orphan or living in a foster home.”
My Note: 4th House Lilith does not necessarily denote an adopted child – in my experience, this is more likely to be 5th House Lilith in the parent’s horoscope. Also, the stepparent can be a positive influence in the child’s life – Abraham Lincoln appreciated what his stepmother did for him, and remained cordial to her for the rest of his life – see the New York Times article under “Sources”.
DG Jay writes, “The first step toward growing out of emotional dependence occurs when he substitutes a creative release, mental interests or a vocation from which to get his satisfaction & discovers a delicious sense of independence from or within family. He IS different from them, with different needs for his further emotional maturing.”
Lincoln did this, as soon as he left home at age 21. He found sympathetic patrons who were willing to extend him credit so he could study law. His experience in the 1832 Black Hawk War at age 23 also transformed his belief in himself. He was “promptly chosen captain by his comrades. Although he felt himself unqualified for the office, he delighted in the honor. He wrote in 1860 that he “had not since had any success in life which gave him so much satisfaction”.
DG Jay writes, “As adults, rather than live where they feel uncomfortable, which does not take much…, they will prefer to live alone or withdraw from the home as much as possible.” He adds that, “As hosts/hostesses they are hospitable and see to your comfort that belies the continuous effort behind it. Actually, there is talent here, if the rest of the chart supports it, for professional work as a hotel manager, host/hostess in a restaurant cocktail lounge or any commercial area where people meet to relax & enjoy hospitality.”
Totally true of Lincoln, who lived for the traveling circuit, where he was followed by admirers, and had friends to stay with in every Illinois hamlet that required the services of a traveling lawyer. No one made better use of his tight Mercury – Uranus trine than did Lincoln, who was known for his wit, and now has whole books devoted to his sayings and speeches.
DG Jay writes, “When Lilith is in the fourth house and marriage is the problem, investigate this area as very possibly the eroding factor between the couple. If a male, this one is not above having set up or being drawn to another 'home' environment where he feels more comfortable, or to one who is more conducive to providing him with what he wants. Many times this will explain why he supposedly works later & later every day at the office.”
Lincoln simply could not stay at home, because his wife, Mary Todd, was a shrew with a temper, a Lilith in hoop-skirts, if there ever was one, according to Herndon. Herndon may have been biased, because Mary Todd hated him. The trouble is that other independent sources recalled her tantrums, servants only stayed on because of their respect for her husband, and her last remaining son, Robert, did have her committed to a mental institution many years after Lincoln’s death.
DG Jay writes, “If one has, or can establish for himself in the home, an atmosphere in which he can express his artistic flair; music; a hobby or use it as a studio, office or base for his/her studies or special interest; writing; student or literary gatherings, he can indeed be happier here.”
Once his law practice was established, Lincoln literally lived at the office in order to avoid catching a frying pan as he came through his front door. He checked in at home often, but never felt comfortable enough to stick around.
My Note: 4th House Lilith can be highly creative, particularly in intimate, home-like settings. JK Rowling comes to mind. Harry Potter was written in coffee shops, and at home while her children were in school.
My Note: In fairness to Mary Todd, it is not easy watching three of your four children die, and coming from a solidly Confederate, slave-proud family when one is married to the most famous abolitionist of all time could not have been much of a picnic either. Nonetheless, Todd was remembered as a White House travesty, and later Presidential wives had to scale down the role in order to avoid comparisons.
· 4th House Lilith needs a private home without family around as an adult. Sometimes, these folks enjoy a communal home, and if there is a deep feeling among his peers, these people will take the place of family – think of a monastery. But more often than not, roommates just get on this person’s last nerve.
· The home is a sanctuary for the 4th House Lilith adult. Even so, he or she won’t be found in it very often. 4th House Lilith loves to travel around and meet up with his or her mates for conversation and other stimulation.
· 4th House Lilith may enjoy an “empty nest” for many years. He or she may choose not to have children just so the nest can be feathered in peace.
· Other 4th House Lilith people don’t have any issue with having their kids around, but prefer the spouse not be there all the time. Getting the house after a divorce suits this Lilith placement perfectly, and the new boyfriend or girlfriend should plan on remaining at his or her own place.
· Chronic depression in adulthood can be a hallmark of 4th House Lilith, similar to a Moon-Saturn conjunction. This is offset by natural detachment as the 4th House Lilith matures – it can sometimes seems as if this native is playing a role around intimates, particularly when a family member has personal problems or is in need of emotional support.
· 4th House Lilith can be a marker for career achievement, particularly in middle age. This can be a highly ambitious placement.
Lilith in the 3rd House: Karma Chameleon
What Did I Miss?
Burlingame, Michael. The Inner World of Abraham Lincoln. University of Illinois Press. Urbana and Chicago. 1994.
For a look at Sarah Bush Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln’s stepmother, and his relationship with her: