White Moon Selena and Calculation Quandaries

I recently did my bimonthly Q&A with my patrons and one of the questions was about White Moon Selena. Here’s the question:-

Can you please explain White Moon Selene? Do you find it significant, and is it related at all to Black Moon Lilith?

Now this question led me down such a rabbit hole! Before I even explore the meaning of White Moon Selena, it is necessary to talk about some technical calculation issues. On the Swiss ephemeris documents for this point (h56) it says:-

This is a ‘hypothetical’ second Moon of the Earth (or a third one, after the “Black Moon”) of obscure provenance. Many Russian astrologers use it. Its distance from the Earth is more than 20 times the distance of the Moon and it moves about the Earth in 7 years. Its orbit is a perfect, unperturbed circle. Of course, the physical existence of such a body is not possible. The gravities of Sun, Earth, and Moon would strongly influence its orbit.

So, the first thing I did, as I haven’t used this point before, was to calculate Selena on my own chart using solar fire astrology software. As you can see here, it is at 21 degrees of Taurus. If I wanted to do the same calculation on Astro.com, I would need to use h56 in the additional objects tables.

Now, here is the problem. In modern astrology, especially in the past few years, White Moon Selena has been said to be the perigee of the Moon. Let’s just look at that first so we understand what this means – and for this, I need to talk about Black Moon Lilith.

Black Moon Lilith - Apogee and Perigee

So, as you can see from this image above, the Moon’s orbit around the Earth isn’t a perfect circle. Instead, it’s an ellipse. If it were a perfect circle, then the centre of the Earth would be the gravitational point around which the Moon would circle. But an ellipse has two gravitational points or foci. One of those gravitational points is inside the Earth and the other is in space. That gravitational point in space is Black Moon Lilith. Hold that thought.

Now, because the Moon has an elliptical orbit, sometimes it is far away from the Earth – which is called the apogee and sometimes it is closer to the Earth which is the perigee. If we on Earth are looking towards the apogee of the Moon, our technical line of sight would go right through that gravitational point I spoke about above. So, to be clear then, from our vantage point on Earth, Black Moon Lilith is the second foci of gravity of the Moon’s orbit and the apogee of the Moon. We base our interpretation of Black Moon Lilith on these astronomical facts as well as of course the story of Lilith who was first wife to Adam.

So where does H56 and White Moon Selena fit into all this? Well, this is the quandary I discovered.

When I calculated White Moon Selena on my chart, as you can see above, it is nowhere near the opposition of Black Moon Lilith. If White Moon Selena is the perigee of the Moon, then technically, that should be somewhere opposite Black Moon Lilith. But here you can see that Selena, this hypothetical Moon, is nowhere near the perigee of the real Moon’s orbit. So, all the interpretations that I might have thought of, regarding H56 White Moon Selena just fell apart under scrutiny because it isn’t connected. It is simply a hypothetical point that has no basis in reality as noted by the Swiss Ephemeris documents.

But, if I apply all that is said of White Moon Selena to the actual perigee of the Moon, that to me makes much more sense and is an illuminating and intriguing contrasting story to Black Moon Lilith. To find this White Moon Selena then, I propose you need to calculate the true position of Black Moon Lilith (h13 on astro.com) in your chart and there you will find Selena, in the opposing degree of true (not mean) Black Moon Lilith.

When I asked my astrologer friends about all this, my colleague astrologer Lynn Hayes pointed me to an article by Richard Nolle. It fascinates me that we both came to a similar conclusion independently that the archetypal story of Selena is more in keeping with the point opposite true Black Moon Lilith than with the hypothetical White Moon Selena (h56) point that everyone commonly uses. Actually, Nolle then goes on to posit the idea that the point opposite Black Moon Lilith should really be called Eve, so there we have another avenue to explore! And then I haven’t even mentioned that in Continental Europe, there are some astrologers who consider the perigee, the point opposite Black Moon Lilith, to be Priapus, a lusty fertility God. Okay, so now we have more possibilities for how to explore Lilith’s shadow/opposite/counterpart. Maybe all of them are right, layers of interpretation creating a 3D rounded picture.

So, this is the quandary that surrounds White Moon Selena (h56), and it is going to be up to personal preference as to which point people use to explore this story – either h56 or the degree opposite true Black Moon Lilith, i.e., the Moon’s perigee. My preference is for the latter as I am uncomfortable using a hypothetical moon that cannot have any basis in reality. But others may feel attuned to the symbolic meaning and movement of this point and I cannot argue with that.

I should also say that there is always a little room for error with any calculation of the lunar apogee and perigee as the Sun’s gravitational tug on the Moon’s orbit will cause perturbances. But still, the degree opposite Black Moon Lilith is a lot closer to the perigee than Selena H56. You can also calculate perigee on Astro.com using h22. It won’t be exactly opposite Black Moon Lilith unless one of them is conjunct or square the Sun but still, it might be worth playing with the idea too.

So then, technicalities out of the way (my head is still whirling!), how can we play with this imagery, story and symbolism to better understand White Moon Selena? Whilst I’m old friends with Black Moon Lilith as she is directly conjunct the Sun in my natal chart, White Moon Selena is a new character on my archetype stage. Here are the ideas I’m thinking about, beginning first with my familiar dark Goddess before I move to the light.

As Black Moon Lilith is at the apogee of the Moon, far, far away from Earth, we sense her, a gravitational pull from space, a tug deep inside. But we cannot see her. She is a wraith, an insubstantial thing who was once made flesh and allowed into Paradise to be with Adam. But Adam did not treat her well. Adam thought he was better than her. So Lilith, who was so powerful that she knew the name of God, said no! No, I will not be subservient! She left the Garden of Eden and for her audacity, for her impudence, Lilith has been demonised ever since, as has the divine feminine and the Earthly female throughout history.

Black Moon Lilith’s position shows where we have enormous creative potential, yet she is also where we feel demonised, where we feel unacceptable. She is what we say no to, where we refuse to be mistreated yet often experience mistreatment. She is the part of us that seems unreachable and out of touch and yet we feel her deeply, powerfully, an inner void, waiting to be filled. She is the witch, whose archetype has been polluted throughout time, the cursed one, the scapegoat for the horrors of the world. Black Moon Lilith is the power of our magic when we focus our intention. Just as Lilith said, I desire to be made flesh, we too make our desires manifest.

So, what of Selena? Selene in mythology was a Moon goddess – maid, mother, crone, rather like the fates Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos with whom Selene was sometimes connected. Out of interest, Lachesis is the one who gifts us our guardian angel, or spirit guide that will accompany us through life. Locating asteroid Lachesis on your natal chart can give you more information about that. But, going back to Selene, she is in mythology, the Moon, the guiding light through the dark. There is much more to her myths of course but this is what I will work with right now.

If Lilith is what we say no to, then Selena is what we say yes to. She is where we know without question that this is the way. She is where we feel blessed, where we are in touch with our guardian angel, where we feel protected. Black Moon Lilith, cast out of Paradise, was not protected. In many stories, it’s said she birthed the horrors of the world. She was the mother of demons and killer of human children. There was no one there to sing her praises, lift her up, or protect her legacy.

If Black Moon Lilith speaks of descent of heavenly powers into earthly manifestation, then maybe White Moon Selena, at the exact opposite degree of true Black Moon Lilith, represents the transmutation of material to spiritual. If Selena is the perigee of the Moon, then the reason we connect with her so immediately is because she is closer to us. We find her easier to embody, easier to relate to because she is somehow more like us than Black Moon Lilith. With Black Moon Lilith so far away, so beyond our understanding, she becomes the scary witch with a crooked nose and a wild cackle, the wicked witch of the west. But with Selena so close to us, she’s more like the kind old woman who lives in the last house of the village. She’s the one you visit quietly after Church on Sunday afternoon because you need a little potion to tickle your lover or cure an ill or charm away a little bad luck. Maybe Selena is the good witch of the north. If Black Moon Lilith is the ghost that haunts us, then perhaps White Moon Selena is a fairy Godmother, granting wishes, one, two, three. Now click your heels together.

However, if we are to create an axis from these two, Black Moon Lilith and White Moon Selena are two sides of the same coin, all relating to our lunar expression, all connecting to our emotional journey as souls. There is magic bound within them both, not dark or light but a neutral force that shifts depending on our intention. Whilst we have words like black and white, dark and light to describe them, they are not simply polarities. Neither is wholly bad or good. Black Moon Lilith shows us where we need to honour ourselves for who we are, even when all others forsake us. She is directly connected to our manifestation magic. Remember, she knows the name of God! In shadow, White Moon Selena can lurch towards spiritual bypassing if she is not embraced with clarity and grounded awareness.

So, these are just some thoughts I’m thinking around White Moon Selena. As I said earlier, personally, I would apply all these meanings to the degree that is exactly opposite to Black Moon Lilith’s true position in the chart rather than the h56 point due to the latter not being a real point or body in our material universe. However, I present these ideas gently, with consideration to other astrologers who may have different theories, practice and experience and with the knowledge that our discipline is ever evolving as we discover more about the heavens and ourselves.