For those unfamiliar with the North American West and its history, Calamity Jane (left) and Annie Oakley (below) are two women who left a mark on the Collective consciousness through their unusual talents and choices. At a time when women were typically relegated to roles either as an accessory (the upper classes) or of toil (the lower), these two carved places for themselves in male-dominated areas of accomplishment. Both were crack shots who largely made their living from their ability with firearms; both dressed unconventionally; both were celebrities in their own lifetimes–but that’s where the similarities end. The two were radically different in how they conducted themselves, and in their relationships–and this is what we must look at if we’re to sort those of us who are ‘Annies’ from those who are ‘Janes.’
Now, there’s nothing wrong with being a ‘Jane’ or an ‘Annie’; this is more about assessing essential approaches to life and relationships that we may mistake as freeing when they’re actually undermining to our intentions. This is the real difference between the historical characters: Annie turned her unconventional inclinations into a long, productive, and impressive show business career that demanded discipline and persistence and may have required a bit of an emotional straightjacket; Jane let her inclinations and emotions overwhelm her, leading to outstanding instances of bravery and compassion (likely flowing from that spirit of independence and emotional exuberance), interspersed with excessive, debilitating drinking and confrontational anger (expressed through words, dress, and all manner of Self-sabotage). Astrologically it might initially appear to be a stark Saturn v. Uranus quandary in the natal chart, and this does fit for both these women, but I would also include a look at Chiron and Neptune, specifically, as they apply to hurt that may be acted out, and the factor of illusion as it served or ruined the reputation and injured or benefitted the individual (as well as the obvious factor of escape via substance abuse).
Annie Oakley (13 August 1860 no time known Darke County, Ohio) learned to shoot young, in order to supplement the family income by hunting and selling game, and she was so successful that she paid off her mother’s mortage by the time she was 15. Frank Butler, frontiersman, showman, and entrepreneur, was with a troupe of traveling marksmen who challenged the local talent as part of the show; Annie took the challenge, and beat him, hitting 25 out of 25, while Frank only hit 24. Annie is throughout her life described as small, serious, tidy, self-contained, calm, modest, and appealing–Frank fell in love immediately, and the two married and traveled, performing trick shooting with various groups, and finally with a circus, which lasted for a year. Then they joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, the top show of its kind, and traveled North America and Europe for 16 years. They had no children, but they did have a beloved dog, Dave, that allowed Annie to shoot an apple from his head as part of the act. During both the Spanish-American War and World War 1, Annie offered to recruit and train a unit of female marksmen–and both times the government declined the offer. The after-effects of several train and automobile accidents finally caught up with Annie, and she died in 1926, with Frank refusing to eat after her death; he died 18 days later.
Annie has a strong chart, one that may have prompted her to choose her course early and stick with it. She has a Leo Sun conjunct Saturn, perfect for a serious showperson in a line that requires strict control and discipline–certainly, she embodied this configuration. The Sun is opposed Chiron, suggesting that she may have chosen very early to reject the idea of herself as wounded, or a victim, even though her early life was tough in some respects. Chiron is sextile Pallas–healing through use and development of skills–and sesquiquadrate Vesta–perhaps showing some discomfort with the unusual home situation for the times (always traveling, no children) and the unconventional image she presented. Her Sun is also trine Pallas–she was the epitome of the competent, adept warrior–and quincunx retro Mars–accomodating the Self to a more masculine approach, adopting firearms–and this suggests she could’ve been intimidated by them at first–she wouldn’t be the only person to have become very competent in an effort to overcome a fear. Sun and Saturn are quincunx Neptune–implying she may have had to adjust her dreams and fantasies to the reality with which she was presented; and yet Neptune conjuncts Sedna, sesquiquadrates Mercury, and squares Juno, again echoing some discomfort with the image presented, with what she was communicating, and there is the notion that, in fact, rather than having to adjust her dreams, she didn’t even know what they were! Perhaps they were suppressed so thoroughly (Saturn–through a sense of duty and necessity) that they never even broke through to consciousness (Neptune).
All this says that Annie was an almost archetypal incarnation of Pallas (in Aries) and Saturn energies, and that she both rejected (the negative) and raised to a high skill level (the positive) her Chiron attributes; Neptune shows as a repository for all she didn’t connect to, and yet she may have also served as a screen upon which Collective fantasies of an ideal female of the frontier were projected. This is in sharp contrast to Jane, about whom we’ll talk in part two, which will also include a quiz that will help you decide if you’re a Jane or an Annie, and what this might mean for your love life.
Photos are historical and widely available on the net.