Freedom of speech has been dragged centre foreground again after the attack on Salman Rushdie and has triggered a spat in the Society of Authors, who of all people should have been waving the banner for the right to speak up or write without fear of retaliation. Joanne Harris, the chairperson, best-selling author of Chocolat, put out a tone-deaf tweet about writers receiving death threats, assumed to be a sideswipe at J.K.Rowling with whom she has had a long dispute over her stance on gender identity.
Rowling in response said that Harris had “consistently failed” to defend female authors who disagreed “with her personal position on gender identity ideology”. She had allowed the women to be intimidated into silence, citing Rachel Rooney and Gillian Philip, who had suffered “severe personal and professional harm” because they dared to “challenge a fashionable ideology which has been remarkably successful in demonising those who protest against the current attack on women’s rights”.
Joanne Harris, 3 July 1964, no birth time, in Barnsley, England, was born two weeks after Boris Johnson and has the same high-wire, argumentative and beyond-stubborn Mars in Gemini on the point of a T Square to Saturn opposition Uranus Pluto in Virgo. Like him she had a turbulent upbringing with a French mother and English father and respective families who didn’t speak each other’s language. One of her recurrent themes not surprisingly is identity as well as mother/child relationships, the emotional resonance of food, the outsider in the community.
Her Cancer Sun, Mercury and North Node are in a wide Water Grand Trine to Neptune and Saturn in Pisces – good for creativity, not always for interfacing with reality. Her Neptune also opposes indulgent Jupiter in Taurus, hence her love of food, and a tendency to be a dreamer.
She has a son who came out as transgender this year.
Harris’s focal point and aggravated Mars in Gemini is conjunct Rowling’s North Node so it is a fated and inflammatory interface. Their relationship chart hints at a tendency to oneupmanship tussles and ego-clashes.
The Society of Authors, founded 18 February 1884, has its Neptune at 18 degrees Taurus agitated at the moment by tr Uranus (Mars North Node) conjunct – with tr Saturn wending backwards and forwards till early 2023 in hard aspect to the Aquarius Sun, Neptune, Scorpio Moon and Pluto – a downbeat time. With tr Pluto in a disruptive trine to the Uranus this year and next; plus tr Uranus hitting on the Fixed T Square 2023 to 2026 – so the Society will be going through a major upheaval.
Joanne Harris, facing calls for her resignation, has tr Uranus conjunct her Jupiter (opposition Neptune) at the moment and repeating into early next year, which like BJ, may bring her down to earth with a bump. Her Solar Arc Neptune is also in an undermining opposition to her Sun; and tr Saturn is dampening her enthusiasm as it squares her Jupiter in October/November. Not her shining hour.
J.K. Rowling, 31 July 1965 9.10pm (rectified) Bristol, England, is moving into a lower profile few years with tr Saturn dipping below her Ascendant though she shows no sign of stepping back from voicing her opinion and supporting her pet causes. Death threats made after Rushdie’s latest assault may cause her to pull back if visibility becomes too obvious a risk. Tr Neptune is opposing her Virgo Moon this year into 2023 and she has a frustrating, blocked and scary Solar Arc Mars square her Pluto exact in 18 months.