Salman Rushdie – Shooting the Messenger

Shocked but not surprised – I guess is how I would describe my reaction to the attack on Salman Rushdie. Since shortly before 2pm on Valentine’s Day in 1989, when the Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa (which is a legal ruling on a point of Islamic law) sentencing Salman Rushdie to death, I often felt concerned for his safety. Yesterday – more that 33 years later – in Chautauqua, a young man tried to carry that fatwa out. With an absolutely humungous full moon just behind us – like many astrologers I’m sure – I wanted to look at the horoscopes.

In Rushdie’s chart – the Moon and Pluto are OOB – and the Moon is in cazimi in Gemini- reflecting his amazing resilience while living under extreme circumstances of emotional uncertainty, anxiety and certainly in the early days of the fatwa, fear. Striking in the light of yesterday’s events – is Rushdie’s Mars/Jupiter opposition – which very much plays into the aforementioned Leo full moon -and the fixed grand cross it created (Sun opposite Moon, squaring the Nodal axis, and Mars/Uranus).

The most important and defining horoscope – is for the fatwa itself. Issued under a stationary Mercury in Capricorn (strict interpretation of and adherence to the rules). A cluster of outers setting in Capricorn, Uranus/Saturn/Neptune in that order. Three new planetary cycles gearing up here, and the flavour is Capricornian – no frills, no thrills, ‘sober up’ ‘get real’, highly authoritarian. Thatcher was still in power too!! Pluto stationing in Scorpio, opposite Mars and squaring Venus in the fatwa horoscope – tied tightly in to Mars/Jupiter in Rushdie’s birth chart. The fixed signs dominate, as you can see in this bi-wheel, fatwa is inner wheel, yesterday’s assassination attempt outer wheel.

Communication is so important to writers and to Gemini’s too. Born under a new moon – with Mercury in Cancer, talking is personal and as a result, powerful. Rushdie has become a symbol of free speech and in some ways, a representative of what we have lost. In a discussion on the radio today, it was said that no publisher nowadays would touch ‘The Satanic Verses’ with a barge pole. Essentially the 1989 fatwa put a kibosh on free speech as we know it. Yet, shining like a beacon, Rushdie’s book remains defiantly in print. You can still buy a copy. Fixed signs are tenacious and Rushdie’s Mars/Jupiter opposition, bestows him with courage a plenty.

The chart is for the first publication date. I chose 9 am – because this is the time bookshops would have opened in 1988. We can see Saturn/Uranus moving towards conjunction here, on the galactic center – which to my mind – always introduces a degree of chaos. (Some of my thoughts on the GC can be found here). Uranus is also OOB – so you can definitely expect the unexpected. This is a predominantly fire/air horoscope – dealing with big ideas, grand theories but with Mars in Aries also opposite the Sun (in detriment) – something is striking a very discordant note.

Like many others, I am sending a prayer to Salman Rushdie today. Mars in Taurus – tough cookie. You got this…

Liz Hathway Astrologer