posted September 21, 2020 08:31 AM
The Astrology of Virgos in Black Liberation: Trans & HIV Activist Marsha P Johnson: Liberation of Body/Mind
Marsha P. Johnson was a black “trans” activist who played a major role in LGBTQ+ liberation of the 1970s’. This was during a time where “trans” and “cross-dressers/drag queens” were arrested, institutionalized, and treated as mentally sick and depraved. Marsha P. Johnson was said to have "thrown the first brick" in the Stonewall riots. The riots were between cops & the LGBTQ+ Greenwich Village community at a LGBTQ+ friendly bar, the Stonewall Inn in NYC in 1969 that sparked the Gay Rights Movement. FYI no one is sure who threw the first "brick" "glass".
Marsha P Johnson was a drag queen and and local popular icon fixture in the NYC gay scene and art scene since 1966 having relocated to NYC in 1963 at the age of 18 from her native New Jersey. Marsha P. Johnson was part of the Hot Peaches comedy drag queen troupe. Marsha P. Johnson was very politically and socially active. A founding member of the Gay Liberation Front in 1969 after the riots. In 1970 Marsha P. Johnson co-founded the radical activist group Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (S.T.A.R.), alongside close friend Sylvia Rivera.
Marsha P Johnson Astrology Breakdown
12 pm/unknown August 24th 1945 in Elizabeth, NJ
Sun in 1 Degree Virgo
Moon in 16 Degrees Pisces
Mercury in 24 Degrees Leo retrograde
Venus in 23 Degrees Cancer
Mars in 21 Degrees Gemini
Jupiter in 29 Degrees Virgo
Saturn in 20 Degrees Cancer
Uranus in 17 Degrees Gemini
Neptune in 4 Degrees Libra
Pluto in 10 Degrees Leo
North Node in 6 Degrees Cancer
Chiron in 3 Degrees Libra retrograde
Sun widely conjunct Jupiter in Virgo
Marsha had Sun widely conjunct Jupiter in Virgo.
Growing up in the 1950s’ and 1960s’ Marsha existence was a threat, a source of pain and shame. Growing up in a religious household; Marsha was sexually abused at a young age and made to feel like a freak for being gay. She wanted to live in her true/authentic self for her well-being and mental health.
It’s important to note that Virgo energy has to do with health (physical and mental) being that it’s the traditional ruler of the 6th House. The mind body connection is real and things effecting you internally can manifest externally. Virgo energy knows this and constantly strives to better their mental/physical state.
Though Jupiter is in “detriment” (rolls eyes) in Virgo. It shows Marsha had a larger than life persona. She moved from her small New Jersey town with little money and big dreams to the even bigger Big Apple (NYC). She invested and believed in herself (Jupiter), taking a gamble and creating her own “luck” and fortune.
Marsha however being different and being the time period that she’s in (honestly not that much has changed); she had to struggle. This includes participating in survival sex aka bartering sex for shelter and constantly getting harassed/attacked by men/people/cops.
Mercury widely conjunct Pluto in Leo
Marsha had Mercury widely conjunct Pluto in Leo this meant that her thinking/learning/communicating processes (mercury) were intensified to an obsessive powerful level (Pluto). In Leo Marsha thought of herself as more than she could be and it’s clear she took pride in herself.
Marsha’s voice/persona was powerful, dramatic, and theatrical. Known was the Mayor of Christopher Street (a street in the gay friendly NYC neighborhood of Greenwich Village) It’s important to note that the “P” in her name meant pay it no mind (her trans-ness/different-ness/other-ness. She spoke herself into existence, and loved herself enough to allow herself proudly and shamelessly to exist.
Mercury is supposedly said to be in detriment in Leo because some people believe Mercury is exalted in Aquarius (detriment is the sign opposite the domicile sign). I don’t know but I do see problems with fixed nature of mercury in Leo. A sense of stubbornness (fixedness), arrogance (Leo) in her speech/communication. Especially with intense, shameless, blunt, say it like you mean it Pluto energy. I could definitely see her sense of self-expression being offensive or crass to others.
Sun widely opposite Moon
Marsha's ego was in a tug of war with her emotions. Larger than life, discerning but humble Virgo energy was in struggle with impressionable, emotional sponge Pisces. Pisces moons are often sensitive and empathetic with unpredictable emotions that soak in others’ energy and emotions. The way she reconciles the contradictions in her personality and emotions is to help others, to be a voice for others, and to be out in the front-lines.
Venus, Saturn and North Node in Cancer
Marsha also has a pseudo stellium in Cancer (Venus, Saturn, and North Node in Cancer). I say pseudo stellium because technically North Node is not a planet so its not an official stellium. Remember a stellium is 3 or more PLANETS in one sign or in one house.
Anyways Marsha has an abundance in uber sensitive Cardinal Water energy Cancer. Marsha was constantly searching for a home perhaps in themselves and in their physical bodies
Liberation of body – Marsha had Venus widely conjunct Saturn in Cancer which continues the themes of her finding black liberation through her body. However what she encountered was limitations to her sense of beauty (Venus conjunct Saturn). Marsha lived in a time (again not much has changed) where her being, her beauty and the way she presented herself was targeted violently and belittled.
This probably played with her sense of perception of her beauty and social/physical value. Marsha wanted to be loved and to be accepted for who she was (gender nonconforming) and was met with literal violence and abuse.
Her sense of liberation was finding a home for her being which is very Venus in Cancer.
Not that only but she was also poor which isn’t talked about with Venus. Beauty in the western requires effort and capital. Beauty in western society isn’t just being. It’s effort, hard work, expensive, time consuming, and a constant dance between trends and archetypes.
She had to wear cheap wigs, outfits, and makeup. As a woman nothing brings down and cheapens your beauty with cheap bad wigs and cheap makeup. FYI of course there is more to beauty than the physical and mass consumerism but also appearances are everything as woman. It’s often a performance and an act that we are forced to participate in. The politics of pretty, of beauty are real and there is a power/benefit to looking beautiful/pretty and at the very least “presentable”
Especially as a black women you must look “presentable” so you are not perceived and treated as “ghetto”, “low class aka poor, uneducated” which will give others the courage (more like audacity) to disrespect and discriminate against you.
Marsha as gender conforming/trans she also had to rely on the politics of pretty and not being able to properly fit into it. Regardless Marsha with resourceful Cancer energy made do with what she had.
Marsha with fellow trans activist and close friend Cancer sun Sylvia Rivera
Marsha also had north node in Cancer so her destiny was for her to search and find a family and a spiritual, physical, & emotional home. She was found a sense of family as best as she could with her drag/lesbian/gay/trans Stonewall Inn, comedy group, and Gay liberation Front friends. However the home part wasn’t there, being poor. It’s important to note that home and having roots is an important part of your psyche and growth. How can you feel safe and secure in this world if you don’t have 1 place (even just physical) to be safe in.
Marsha’s trans/dragness, homosexuality, her being poor, and the instability of mental illness kept this from her unfortunately.
Mars conjunct Uranus in Gemini
Marsha had Mars conjunct Uranus in Gemini which can show the unpredictable votive behavior, split and gender duality/fluidity in Marsha.
Note there is no particular placement in astrology that is coded to show gender duality or mental illness. It’s more of a mixture of life/free will/choice and how energy is directed in individual.
Like Uranus can show neutral, androgynous “gender neutral” energy but it more due to it the nature of Uranus being unpredictable, rebellious, and freedom loving.
That said in Marsha looking at her life story, free will and choice, in my interpretation I am choosing to look at her Mars conjunct Uranus energy.
Mars conjunct Uranus in Gemini can denote a chaotic sort of Prince and the prankster, Peter pan, split personality (in a non-vulgar astrology terminology) energy.
I have read that Marsha when she was in her masculine form was sad, violent, chaotic, and aggressive but Marsha in her feminine form was more at peace, loving, and generous. Marsha suffered from drastic mood swings described by friends as “schizophrenic.” These episodes landed her in psych wards, mental institutions, jail, and hospitals several times throughout her life.
Marsha's was Mars conjunct Uranus in Gemini squared both her Sun/Jupiter in Virgo & Moon in Pisces which can show her actions (Mars), her sense of personal freedom (Uranus), her sense of abundance/luck/expansion (Jupiter) emotions (Moon), and ego (Sun) were in constant conflict which can further shows her instability.
I also noticed an abundance of mutable energy in her natal placements with 3 out of 4 mutable signs (Virgo, Pisces, and Gemini). This is both good and bad. The good is highly adaptable, always moving/always a need to move, and the ability to bounce back/let go. The bad is mutable energy is very vulnerable sensitive energy and not a solid sense of self/core because of all the changing/adaptability.
Mutable energy dominates need to MOVE in all directions physically/emotionally/financially/spiritually otherwise they remain stuck which is un-natural. I said it before and I will say it again but “stopping in a mutable energy is akin to death like a fish out of water, a heart that stops beating, or the brain without oxygen.
Marsha not just being black and poor kept her stuck, but also being different/trans/gender non-conforming and mentally ill disabled her. If she was given a chance to be who she was, and wasn’t discriminated/targeted, for being black/poor/vulnerable/gender nonconforming and mentally ill she could’ve been more at peace.
Chiron in Libra
Marsha’s wounded healer is her struggle to fit in and to see one’s own beauty reflected in society. Marsha’s sense of liberation and why I chose her as one of the Virgo archetypes of Black Liberation Astrology is because she fought against this. She healed her world by fighting for others like her. Her healing was seeking justice and fighting for a place in this world.
Marsha partnered with other like-minded people and fought to change the perception and social/legal value of black, gay, trans-people. It’s important to note that even during this time (not much as change) Marsha wasn’t even allowed to participate in early gay pride celebrations. To put it bluntly she was seen as an embarrassing freak show and the gay/lesbian organizers want to distance themselves from her/trans/non-conforming people.
It’s important to note that Marsha P Johnson sadly died on mysterious and tragic circumstances in 1992. She was HIV+ positive at the time. Her body was found in the Hudson River. Her close friends believed she was tragically murdered and that the police didn’t investigate because she was seen was worthless. Supposedly witnesses heard her killer bragging in a bar about killing her. The police and some of her other friends at the time believed it was a suicide. Now her death is undetermined.
Regardless of “how” she died justice allude her which is also a case in Black Liberation. It’s ever changing process without a clear end-date. Violence against homosexual (sexual orientation) trans (gender) non-conforming people still happens. Triple if they are black (race) and poor (class). My message is not meant to be political but social.
If you can’t personally fight for others whose “lifestyle” and “being” you morally disagree with, just get out the way. I think it’s important to not stand in the way of others choosing to fight themselves. All we can ask as human beings is to allow others to live not just survive or get by, and to accept others’ different than you to fight for themselves and not get in the way. I think we should be all able to fight for ourselves, our values, and being.
Marsha P. Johnson in Virgo Black Liberation energy symbolizes body autonomy, fighting for and liberating your physical body, the mind/body/black/gender/class poor connection, and fighting for a place in a world that thinks you don’t belong.
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