Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in The Mountain Astrologer February/March 2016 issue and has been republished with permission.
The four-day uprising on June 28, 1969 that started at the Stonewall Inn — during which gay patrons fought back against police harassment — marked the beginning of the American gay liberation movement. Just days earlier, Uranus had made its final ingress into Libra. It was an explosive time in history: a time to fight for equality, to be intolerant of intolerance, and to “come out” from behind the veils of secrecy and shame — the blacked-out walls of gay bars. By the time Pluto entered Libra two years later, there were gay rights groups in every major American city and many other countries.
The chart we’ll look at (below) is for the moment the police raided the bar. (1) Author Edmund White (with Mercury at 11° Capricorn) wrote of the mood of that first evening: “Everyone’s restless, angry, and high-spirited. No one has a slogan, no one even has an attitude, but something’s brewing.” (2) The Moon was in Sagittarius (on the U.S. Sibly chart’s Ascendant) opposite Mercury in Gemini; Mars was in Sagittarius, too. It was a call to arms, a time to fight physically and vociferously for freedom and pride.
Various commentators have offered rationales as to why this particular raid inspired such resistance from Stonewall’s regulars — from the fact that “there was a Full Moon, to the recent death and funeral of Judy Garland, and the astrological explanation that Mars was in retrograde, a bad time for police action.” (3) What we do know is that the aggressive perpetrators (Aries Ascendant, ruler Mars in Sagittarius) were once again out to harass the gay patrons (Libra Descendant, ruler Venus in stubborn Taurus exactly conjunct asteroid Stone!) and charge the tavern for serving liquor without a license (Midheaven ruler Saturn in the 1st).
Still, Mars was indeed retrograde (as it had been when the Inn opened on March 18, 1967) and conjunct Neptune in the 8th house. There was a melee: People resisted arrest, escaped from the paddy wagon, and fought back by throwing cobblestones and bottles. To add to the drama, drag queens formed a high-kick chorus line of “Ta-ra-ra-Boom-de-ay” to mock the arresting officers! When a fire was started, a lack of water pressure in the hose compounded law-enforcement impotence (Mars–Neptune). The police were stonewalled, humiliated, scared, injured, and vengeful. Violence escalated, arrests were made, and by 4:00 a.m. it was over for the night. But this was just the beginning.
What’s remarkable is how the Raid chart responds to transits (TR) of major gay-related events that followed. The U.K. Stonewall charity was formed on May 20, 1989, with TR Saturn–Neptune on the Raid chart’s Capricorn Midheaven (MC) and TR Jupiter at 13° Gemini. The U.K.’s 1988 “Clause 28” (banning schools and authorities from “promoting” homosexual lifestyles) was repealed on November 18, 2003, when Saturn was at 12° Cancer on the Raid chart’s IC. On May 17, 2004, Massachusetts became the first U.S. state to legalise same-sex marriage — Mars was at 6° Cancer, Saturn at 10° Cancer.
The recent Uranus–Pluto squares (aspecting the Raid chart’s MC at 11° Capricorn) have been accompanied by many changes in the law and the U.S. Constitution. With Uranus recently at 20° Aries, remaining legal barriers to gay marriage were finally overturned on June 26, 2015. In the aftermath, we witnessed the civil disobedience of county clerk Kim Davis (who has Mercury–Uranus–Pluto opposite Saturn in mid Virgo–Pisces, forming a grand cross with Moon– Mercury in the Raid chart). (4) By refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, she became an unexpected figure of Uranian defiance for the Far Right.
The Stonewall Riot Chart
The Stonewall Raid and Riots: June 28, 1969; 1:20 a.m. EDT; Greenwich Village, Manhattan, New York
References and Notes
- Data from police records, as quoted by Martin Duberman. See Sy Scholfield’s site: http://astroqueer.tripod.com/charts/events/stonewall.html
- Edmund White was born January 13, 1940 at 5:11 p.m. in Cincinnati, Ohio (from his birth certificate, obtained by Frank Clifford). Quoted in David Carter, Stonewall: The Riots that Sparked the Gay Revo- lution, St. Martin’s Press, 2004, p. 148.
- Steve Hogan and Lee Hudson, Completely Queer, Owl Books, 1998, p. 526.
- Kim Davis was born on September 17, 1965 in Morehead, Kentucky (per Wikipedia).
© 2015 Frank C. Clifford – all rights reserved
Frank Clifford is the author of Getting to the Heart of Your Chart: Playing Astrological Detective (Flare, 2012) and Palmistry 4 Today (Random House, 2002; new edition: Flare, 2009). His book Horoscope Snapshots (Flare, 2014), is a collection of essays in modern astrology from TMA and other magazines. Frank’s website is http://www.flareuk.com