Astrologers are often consulted to give proper perspective and intelligent illumination to certain major events. For those of us who enjoy a little 20/20 hindsight, I modestly offer an astrological analysis of the events at Stonewall 50 years ago. I, for one, believe that the planets set the whole thing in motion.
June 28, 1969 at 1:20 a.m., an unexpected police raid was carried out on a bar in Greenwich Village, New York City. Usually, the patrons would submit to whatever the police would dole out, but on that particular night, enough was enough. The riots lasted five days and ultimately launched our liberation movement. Was it the drinks? Was it the planets? What was it that night that made the Stonewall Riots the event it was and the turning point it turned out to be? What was it, indeed…
Astrologically, the night was primed for revolution:
The Sun, which changes signs every 32 days or so and rules our life’s ambitions and true personalities, was in sentimental and sensitive Cancer that night. It was quite true that emotions were exceptionally high during that period (Judy Garland’s funeral was held the day before in New York City, and it has been said that many in the community were devastated by her death.).
The Moon, which changes signs about every two days and rules our emotional reaction state, landed in Sagittarius on June 28. Mars, the planet of action and aggression was also in Sagittarius at the time. Rebellious Sagittarius; Poke in the eye Sagittarius; Need I say more? Not only does this particular sign not listen to authority, but it absolutely revels in that wonderful type of “up yours” attitude.
Contemplative Mercury, in quick thinking, quick action Gemini, contributed to the highly charged energy and Venus, the planet of love, was in stubborn Taurus. Taurus the bull will not be put aside when it is finally pushed to the limit of patience.
“The Ascendant,” which rules first impressions and beginnings of things, was in fiery, no holds barred Aries. Word of advice — Aries is the steamroller sign. Don’t ever say no to an Aries.
“The MidHeaven,” which is the sign that was in the highest spot in the sky at that time of night, was in Capricorn. Capricorn knows how to gain the long-term advantage; what to do and how to do it. It is also one of those unstoppable signs once it gets going. The old goat knows just how far to push without getting totally squashed.
So what do we have so far? Highly charged emotions coupled with an “in your face, don’t even try to hold me back” attitude just waiting for a justification to act.
The true beauty of astrological analysis is the interaction between the planets, called “aspects.” Aspects cause the energy to take off in one direction or another. It’s what gives us our oomph. The planetary oomphs that night were fairly dramatic. Here are just a few of them:
The Sun had a pleasant aspect to Saturn. Saturn can be a hard taskmaster, but when it “sextiles” the Sun, one can experience a terrific learning experience. It can also set things in their proper direction. Stonewall set the entire movement in the right direction, and there was no turning back. In addition, the Sun had a difficult face off with explosive and unpredictable Uranus; who we want to be becomes open to sudden, unexpected changes. We are not pretty during this time. We don’t sit up and shut up.
Mercury and the Moon didn’t see eye to eye — emotions and logical thoughts were not in sync. We do what we are compelled to do, rather than what is logically the most prudent (and respectful) thing to do.
Mars gives the energy and impetus to act. It had a few planetary tête-à-têtes that night and, with the exception of delusional Neptune, they were all good. Action produces lucky (Jupiter) and unexpected (Uranus) results. Need I point out that Mars was sitting in the area of the horoscope that affects sex and deep psychological revelations?
The planet that probably set the whole affair on the map is Pluto. Pluto was having some pretty major interactions with others planets that night: 1. conjunct Uranus and Jupiter — unexpected major transformations that prove to be very lucky; 2. sextile Neptune — not sure what to expect, but big, big, big; 3. square Moon and Mercury — allowing emotions and ideas to cause some pretty major changes; 4. trine Venus — big, beautiful transformations. Pluto is unleashed power and major change. There is no turning back with this planet. It erupts and changes the landscape. That night, it changed the landscape forever.
Some hack writer once wrote, “(it is) not in the stars, but in ourselves that we are underlings.” I must disagree. Were it not for the stars that warm June night, who knows what type of life we would be leading today. I shudder to think.
Charlene Lichtenstein is the author of “HerScopes: A Guide to Astrology For Lesbians” and a former qnotes columnist.