Now here’s an inspiring and courageous story! Maria Toorpakai was born in a remote part of tribal Pakistan, near the Afghanistan border. This region is still largely controlled by the Taliban and girls are not allowed to be outside but must live their lives inside a house at all times. Since the age of four, her parents, both teachers, allowed her to dress as a boy, so that she could play outdoors. By age seven, she lived life as a boy and dressed like a boy until she was 16. Her father tells the story of his sister, a tomboy, who collapsed suddenly one day. He felt she died of a broken heart because she wanted desperately to be outdoors but was forbidden to do so. Maria’s father enrolled his daughter in weightlifting classes in Preshawar, Pakistan, when she was twelve, using the name Ghengis Khan! She defeated boys in weightlifting but then became interested in squash.
Finally, she had to produce a birth certificate and so had to give up pretending to be a boy. She became the first tribal Pashtun Pakistani girl to compete in international squash tournaments. She turned professional in 2006, and the President of Pakistan gave her an award. The next years were filled with threats against her and her family, and she locked herself in her house for three years but kept practicing squash in her home. Snipers were posted outside her home to protect her and her family. She wrote letters seeking patrons for international training, which she did eventually get. In 2009, she won third place in the world junior women’s squash championship. As of May 2016 she is ranked 56th among female players in the world and first in Pakistan! She lives in Toronto, Canada, where she is in sports training.
Maria Toorpakai was born on 11/22/90, in South Waziristan, Pakistan (time unknown). Her Sun is at either 29 Scorpio, or if born after 7PM, her Sun is 0 Sagittarius. Her planetary distribution in the chart or her gestalt pattern shows eight planets grouped closely together with Mars retrograde in Gemini and Jupiter/Leo separate from the pack. This alone tells us a big part of her story. Both Mars and Jupiter have to do with physicality, and a strong Jupiter is often implicated in sports. The fact that she led a double life until age 16 can be seen in Mars/Gemini, a mutable flexible identity. Mars retrograde at the very least lends emphasis to her sense of self and the unusual way in which she had to assert herself. Her determination and strong will show up with Pluto/Scorpio sextile a group of four planets in Capricorn which includes Uranus, Neptune, Saturn, and Moon, in that order. She has Venus and Mercury in Sadge (and possibly the Sun), with the ruler of Sadge, Jupiter in Leo, again indicating a strong will and a desire to live a free life of her own choosing. Her Nodes are in Aquarius/Leo, also indicative of a creative/unusual life on her own terms and with an impulse for human rights. She’s written a book, A Different Kind of Daughter!