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Evel Knievel (born Robert Craig Knievel) was a legendary motorcycle daredevil stunt performer who became famous in the late 1960's and 1970's, and died at age 69 in 2007. In 1971, he set a world record by jumping over 19 cars. He is known for pioneering 'ramp to ramp jumping,' without which there would be no X Games today. During his career he broke 37 broken bones, which earned an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records as the survivor of the "most bones broken in a lifetime."

Here is his natal chart with his birth data taken from a birth certificate according to the Astrodatabank website. Notice that he has an exchange of signs, or what's also called a khala parivartana yoga between 1st lord, Saturn, and the 3rd lord, Jupiter.

Evel Knievel's Birth Data
Evel Knievel's Natal Horoscope Evel Knievel's Natal Chart

His chart is an excellent example of how the classic Jyotish texts can sometimes be taken literally. My Jyotish guru, K.N. Rao, often encourages students to take the classic texts liberally, not literally. This is the best advice I've ever heard regarding interpreting the classic texts, since they often give exaggerated or outdated outcomes. For instance, the person will "own 100 elephants," or will be "praised by the king," or some such irrelevant outcome for modern society. If you take those outcomes liberally, and understand their essence, then you can apply them for today's society. Otherwise, they're useless. Knievel's chart is an exception where you don't have to modify the classic text - taking it literally works just fine. See the following quote by sage Mantreshwara in the Phaladeepika about a 3rd and 1st lord exchange:

“When the lord of the 3rd house and that of the ascendant are connected by their mutual exchange of places and are strong, the native shall be brave, valorous, friendly to his brothers and capable of performing daring acts."
- Phaladeepika, Ch.16, v.7,
(translation by S.S. Sareen)

This more than aptly describes the daredevil Knievel. In addition, the quality of courage is enhanced in his chart because not only is his ascendant lord, Saturn, placed in the 3rd house of courage, and in exchange with 3rd lord, Jupiter, but Saturn is aspected by Mars, the planet of courage. Mars is also in the 3rd house from the Moon further reinforcing this courageous quality. Notice also that the 3rd lord, Jupiter, is debilitated in Capricorn. This may appear to be weak, which would be contrary to the definition of the yoga since the planets need to be strong. However, the parivartana yoga forms a neecha bhanga raja yoga due to Jupiter's exchange with its debilitation lord, Saturn.

Knievel basically launched his stuntman career during his Venus-Jupiter dasha followed by his Venus-Saturn dasha, which extended from 9/11/1967 - 7/12/1973. These sub dashas activated the parivartana yoga, and gave him considerable success. Notice also how well positioned the maha dasha lord, Venus, is for being visible in the public eye, as the yoga karaka 5th and 10th lord placed in the 11th house. The following Sun dasha from 7/12/1977-7/12/1983 was not very successful, and represented his decline due to injuries. The Sun is the debilitated 8th lord in the 10th house of career. He retired as a stuntman in March, 1981.

Besides being a courageous person, Knievel was also a performer and the 3rd house is the house of performing arts. A connection between the 3rd and 1st and/or 3rd and 10th lords can often be seen in the charts of actors, musicians, and performers of all kinds.Let's face it, it takes guts to be on stage as a performer so it's natural that the 3rd house represents both performing and courage. Studies show that most people's biggest fear is not death, but public speaking. Marc Boney's excellent astro-profile article, Hollywood Nights: Acting and the 3rd House, gives convincing evidence of the correlation between the 3rd house and acting with examples of over 35 Hollywood celebrities.

Jane Fonda's Birth Data
Jane Fonda's Natal Horscope
Jane Fonda's Natal Chart

A good example of a Hollywood actress with a very similar chart to Knievel is Jane Fonda, who was born 10 months before him. She also has Capricorn ascendant with the same parivartana yoga between Jupiter and Saturn. However, she doesn't have the supportive influence of Mars, the planet of courage, that Knievel has, which is key planet for becoming a daredevil stuntman. The question then is: Is she also brave, valorous, and capable of performing daring acts like sage Mantreshwara says in the Phaladeepika? One could argue, yes. Besides being an actress, which some would say is brave enough, she has been an outspoken feminist and political activist. For example, she has put her reputation on the line to speak out for civil rights, and against the Vietnam and Iraq wars.

An amusing point about Knievel as that as a troubled youth he was given his stage name, Evel Knievel, after sharing a jail cell with a man named 'Knofel'. The clever jail keeper looked at the pair and started calling them 'Awful Knofel' and 'Evil Knievel'! The name stuck, but Knievel later changed the spelling to Evel to avoid being considered 'evil'. He wasn't evil, he was just bold and loved pushing the limits of what he could accomplish as a stuntman. Sometimes he was successful and sometimes he crashed horribly, defying death itself, which led his stunt events to become highly publicized. The following video interviews are particularly interesting from this perspective since he talks about facing death and his absolute lack of fear.

An interesting side note is that before Knievel became successful as a stuntman, he sold insurance to provide for his wife and kids. One time his boss, W. Clement Stone, suggested he read a book, Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude, which his boss co-authored with the famous, Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich, which has sold over 60 million copies. Knievel ended up crediting much of his eventual success to following the principles of positive thinking contained in Stone and Hill's books.

Here are a few videos of Evel Knievel. The first two are parts 1 and 2 of an interesting interview on the Dick Cavett show in August 1971 (scroll forward to avoid the TV commercials!). The second of these has footage of his famous crash in Las Vegas at the Caesar's Palace. The third video is a successful jump over 17 vans and trucks in Portland in 1973: