1181 Lilith

This minor planet is named after Marie Juliette Olga Boulanger (1893 - 1918), French composer best known by her nickname Lili Boulanger. Although she died young, she is well-remembered. She was the first woman to win the Prix de Rome, a prestigious arts scholarship.

It should be noted that there is little evidence that Lili Boulanger was ever called "Lilith" in her life. That makes the name of this minor planet somewhat curious. The Minor Planet Dictionary asserts that the name comes by way of reference to Lilith, first wife of Adam in Jewish mythology.

The biblical Lilith is an interesting figure. She is connected to various kinds of demons in Hebrew and Sumerian writings, and is even the origin of the lamia, the Greek child eating monster. She wandered through folk-tales, mythology, mysticism, and magical traditions. There is much discussion of her in feminist theory and modern occultism as a positive figure, representing a woman's boldness and strength, and recontextualizing her monstrous representation as a defiance of the patriarchy [1].

Before I can address the issue of a symbol for this dual-referent minor planet, I must talk about this asteroid's history in the field of astrology. Although the pseudoscience of astrology does not lend itself to authority or consensus, there are commonly three objects named Lilith which are used in astrology [2]. One is the "Black Moon Lilith," the lunar apsis or second focus, which represents forbidden knowledge. This is sometimes symbolized as a black crescent moon on a female cross. Another is the "Dark Moon Lilith," a purported satellite of the Earth supposedly discovered by Georg Waltemath, which represents inner darkness.


This asteroid is the third, astrologically representing rebellion, equality, and feminism. It is very commonly given a symbol that resembles a right hand being shown palm-front. I am tempted to use it here for historical purposes, except that it violates two of my rules: the meaning of the symbol isn't explained, and the symbol doesn't fully connect to the referent. In fact, I don't even know who first designed this symbol; perhaps Demetra George [3], one of the early and commonly cited writers on this subject.

Given all of this information, I lean towards synthesis. The symbol of this minor planet is a combination of the common astrological symbol for Lilith (a hand with the four fingers occupying the upper half of a square shape, and the thumb coming off at an angle at the lower right) with the glyph of a piano, rotated 180 degrees, representing Lili Boulanger's skill on the piano and organ.

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[1] https://astro-charts.com/blog/2018/understanding-lilith-significance-in-astrology/

[2] https://darkstarastrology.com/three-liliths/

[3] https://www.amazon.com/Mysteries-Dark-Moon-Healing-Goddess/dp/0062503707


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