Salman Rushdie

Less than two years ago, Salman Rushdie was stabbed 12 times on stage in New York by an attacker who thought him “disingenuous”.  It would not have been a surprising event decades ago when he was prominently facing a fatwa called for by the Ayatollah Ruhollah for writing “The Satanic Verses”, but felt out of the blue so many years later and his injuries were horrific.  Surgeons were not sure he would survive, but gradually he has recovered enough to write “Knife”, an account of his survival and recovery, published this week, and gave his first major interview, to his old friend Alan Yentob..

Birth Chart

With half (5) of his planets in the Air element, and being born on a New Moon, with the Sun exactly conjunct the Moon (we have his birth time), we have a strong depiction of an intellectual here.  What is more, his conjunction falls exactly opposite the Galactic Centre, marking him out perhaps as a protagonist in life, an intellectual warrior.  His ruling planet Mercury is exactly conjunct the I.C. – showing intellect as the foundation for life, in Cancer (novelist) situated in 3td House.  The Sun and Moon are also conjunct Uranus, which makes him innovative, original, rebellious, with the power to shock.  Mercury exactly sextile Mars gives him quick nervous reactions normally, and the power to critique.  And Mercury’s trine to Jupiter gives a wide ranging, expansive mind.  Mars and Jupiter trine his Careerpoint (the Midheaven) make him a warrior in that arena, and also gave him opportunities for success.  Jupiter loosely square Pluto produces power struggles in life, while Saturn conjunct Pluto may be responsible for some of the dire events such as the fatwa and enforced years of hiding.  His North Node/Venus conjunction in Gemini in his 2nd House of finance reflects his championing of the Arts.  He states about his new book: “This was a necessary book for me to write: a way to take charge of what happened, and to answer violence with art”.  He is making the pen mightier than the sword.

Life and Career

Rushdie was born and grew up in Bombay, his family coming from Kashmiri Muslim stock.  At the age of seven his family moved to Rugby, England.  As a child he read P.G. Wodehouse and Agatha Christie.  At the age of 16 he read Lord of the Rings.  He later attended King’s College Cambridge, where he studied history.  He became a household name when his second novel Midnight’s Children won the Booker Prize in 1981.  This was a novel about India’s transition from British colonial rule to independence and partition.  Many of his books are set on the Indian subcontinent.  But it was his fourth novel, The Satanic Verses on 26th September 1988, which brought a wider fame and drama, when denounced by the Ayatollah.  Although Jupiter was transiting his natal 2nd House Venus (a publishing and financial boost) other transits included huge challenges such as Neptune square his Neptune (self-deception or delusion) and Pluto square his natal Pluto (self-sabotage or disempowerment).  The Fatwa itself was issued on 14th February 1989, the book being deemed “blasphemous against Islam”, and he was put under police protection.  He spent 10 years in hiding.  With the Fatwa eased in 1998, he went to live in the United States in the year 2000.

Chautauqua 2022

While on stage at the Chautauqua Institute in New York on 12th August 2022, talking about keeping writers safe, Hadi Matar stabbed him 12 times, while members of his audience tried to protect him from further harm and tried to save his life. He thought he was dying.  The transits at this event included Saturn squaring his Mars (inflicted cruelty), Uranus opposite his natal Jupiter (shock), Jupiter opposite his natal Neptune (religious and spiritual confusion).  The trial of Hadi Matar is due to take place in the Autumn.

The Book and Interview

It has been a long road to healing, but he is in a stronger place now, and has used the metaphor of “Knife” to cut a new slice into his literary career and to fight back.  He writes about the fact that after decades of nightmares about a would-be assassin, in the moment it happened, his first thought was “So it’s you.  Here you are”.  He is an atheist, and believes in free speech, themes which accompany his life story (fanatical religion and the right to publish): “The whole point of freedom of speech is that you have to permit speech you don’t agree with.”  He has dedicated the book to the people who saved his life.  Transits for the publication of this book include Mars trine Jupiter (fighting spirit), Jupiter on his Mars (self-esteem), Uranus sextile his Mercury (a publishing surprise), Uranus transiting his natal Mars (high spirits), Uranus trine his natal Midheaven (taking charge of his life direction) and Pluto trine his North Node (coming through trauma).  In his interview with his old friend Alan Yentob he talks about the metaphor of the knife in relation to his injuries and the antidote of writing a self-empowering account.  Losing an eye in the way he did has caused him upset every day.  His (fourth) wife Eliza also has provided  some moving testimony about thinking she would lose him, and the joy of having him pull through.

With other near escapes in his life story, Salman Rushdie appears to have used a few of his nine lives, but his strength of character lives on in his literary canon.

“Rushdie’s triumph is not to be other: despite his terrible injuries and the threat he still lives under, he remains incorrigibly himself, as passionate as ever about art and free speech… At one point he quotes Martin Amis: “When you publish a book, you either get away with it, or you don’t.” He has more than got away with this one. It’s scary but heartwarming, a story of hatred defeated by love.”

— Blake Morrison ― The Guardian

“Knife” – Meditations after an attempted murder, published by Jonathan Cape 2024


One of the most dynamic conjunctions we have had in years, Jupiter was conjoined with Uranus at 21 degrees Taurus in the early hours of this morning.  I hope it didn’t keep you awake…  This is a conjunction of breakthroughs, and last night we heard that Joe Biden had at last managed to push through a much needed package of aid to Ukraine.  Whatever you are wrestling with may depend on where the conjunction falls in your birth chart, but holds a prospect of dynamism, entrepreneurship and doing deals in that area of your life.  There is also an element of risk involved with this combination, but in my experience it is a breath of fresh air and I am a fan (it is one of my favourite conjunctions).  I hope that for you, in your life, it  is full of promise.

But the expansive conjunction is not the only astrological feature of the day.  We also have a conjunction of Venus and Chiron at 20 degrees Aries, highlighting the need for healing in relationships, and hopefully also providing the means to that healing.  Where there is a will on both sides, healing can be achieved.  Or forgiveness on one side can also move mountains.

Later on in the afternoon, a more challenging aspect takes place: that of Pluto squaring the Sun.  If there is drama, you may ascribe it to the Jupiter-Uranus conjunction, but it is more likely to be laid at the door of Pluto square the Sun.  The atmosphere becomes more thoughtful and serious.  This is a deep soul-searching aspect.  It is the sort of aspect which can be looked upon as a gamechanger, or watershed.  So if you are in integrity, you may be able to influence what side the coin lands on.

Tuesday (23rd) sees a Full Moon in Scorpio at 4 degrees of that sign. It’s a time to look within and examine your emotional health.  Another area demanding attention is that of shared finances and an attempt to balance material resources and needs between two people.  It is  one of the most intense Full Moons of the year.  For some there may be a temptation to lash out; some may be prickly about the conditions they find themselves in, and may be angry.  As with Sunday’s Venus-Chiron conjunction, forgiveness can be a key.

Though the week has challenges, you can draw on the positive energy of the Jupiter-Uranus conjunction if you are flagging later in the week, and there is another bonus on Thursday (25th) in that Mercury is Stationary prior to turning Direct.  There is some relief from recent communication glitches.  There may also be a turning point in your travel plans. Hopefully, if you have projects waiting to happen of a literary or technical nature, this may also be a go-ahead for you.  If you have been holding back on communication, you may feel the push to move forward again with it.

The week in bullet points:

  • Today – dynamism and possible breakthroughs; poignant relationship healing; psychological drama
  • Tuesday – emotional high tide
  • Thursday – communications a-go-go