Being in Love: Ladies, Are You An Annie Oakley or A Calamity Jane?

Calamity Jane 2For 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.’Annie Oakley 2

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.

“A Conjunction Between Oppositions”

Dear Julie

First and foremost I want to thank you for such marvellous and vividly written astroblogs as they offer so sourceful and in-depth material for us interested to learn astrology. Keep up the good work!

Also excuse me my broken english since it`s not my mother language so I do hope addressing my synastry question is understandable.

I just found out that I`m sharing a synastry pattern that you might want to use as a case-study for your other readers. By this I mean the moon-uranus-opposition of my natal chart falling straight at natal venus opposition pluto of one particular male. So it´s this conjunction between oppositions I`d like to learn more if possible, from astrological point of view. (Also my natal chiron and asc-desc-axis is involved in this which might have some impacts here.)

Unfortunately he doesn`t know the exact time of his birth, but he thinks it`s after eight a.m (that would make him rising Pisces which sort of sounds right for his appearance, neptunian visual art career and such)

Myself I`ve tried to translate this double-aspect as something to do with emotions (which of course with moon opp.uranus is an issue itself) that could be very intense and sort of love-hate-like. The situation in real life is just peachy for the moment being as we get together occasionally, but I sense some changes are on their way..

So I`d be very grateful if you could share some insights of this conjunction between oppositions, what could it indicate? What might be the pitfalls here or are they just deeper levels of attachment yet unknown?

Best wishes and starlights



Dear Hedge,

What a lovely phrase you’ve coined: “a conjunction between oppositions”! Poetic, it perfectly describes the synastric influence, complicated and divinely simplistic, all at once, of oppositions within individual charts that in overlay create conjunctions with another’s chart, and as we know, conjunctions in synastry are by far the strongest factors in describing relationship.

With you, we see a natal opposition between the Moon in Aries and Uranus in Libra; your friend enjoys an opposition between Venus and Pluto, with the former conjunct your Moon, and the latter conjunct your Uranus. So far so good. But the picture isn’t quite this simple; his Mercury, Vesta, Moon, Saturn, Neptune, and Uranus all hook into this configuration by degree range, while in your chart the only contact the opp/conj makes is to the Ascendant/ Descendant axis. Then there is the fact that you have Chiron conjunct the Moon, bringing it into the mix, and your friend has Ceres conjunct his Pluto–all these add dimension to what started out as a relatively straightforward connection. So many energies involved suggests a lot of energies stimulated by the relationship, so that, even if this isn’t a long term or serious relationship, it still brings forward a great deal of energy interaction in the process. But what does this mean?

The Moon/ Venus connection in Aries brings good feeling into the interaction, and likely sympathy and tenderness, as well. This is typically one of the most positive contacts, though we must note that the Venus belongs to the man, suggesting that your emotional picture is in line with his vision of an ‘ideal woman’–and in Aries this implies that an independent nature is probably the ideal on both sides. The contact of Uranus (yours) and Pluto (his) brings together two transpersonal energies, which means the effect is not as intimate, though it does stimulate your romantic interest (Uranus rules your 5th) and his interest in the welfare and resources of others (this includes you) as Pluto rules his 8th.

Chiron conjunct your Moon, though, brings in the primal wound and the Chirotic gift, and links these firmly to the emotional nature and the intuition. This is both a potentially gifted and vulnerable placement, depending for positive manifestation on your ability to separate emotions from everything else–and since this lies on your Descendant, brings a special challenge: are you able to own your own emotional state, or do you succumb to the temptation to project your own feelings onto others? The answer to this will go a long way toward telling you how successfully you’ll use this energy complex, and how much it will affect all your relationships, not just this one.

Your friend has Ceres conjunct Pluto in Libra–right away we are clued in to the way this may echo through his relationships with the duo located in the sign of partners and marriage. This represents a meeting between the lord of the Underworld and his mother-in-law–who just happens to be in charge of all nature, the seasons, and all that is above ground. These two strong gods met to negotiate what started as a kidnapping (though I think that may simply be the cover story for what could have been a willing elopement) of Ceres’ daughter Persephone/ Proserpina by Pluto/ Hades. Persephone herself wasn’t strong enough to hammer out a deal with a major god, so her mother had to step in–and this may signal a built-in internal conflict stirred by all relationships for this individual ( emphasized even more as it falls in his 7th). A Ceres/ Pluto combination may mean the individual is highly skilled at negotiating the darkness and at deploying his own power and destructive energies; he may be very aware of negative or dark impulses and may exaggerate their import for him. He also may be personally amazingly resilient, able to breath new life into ashes, and could hold a strong connection to life and death energies. 

With this Ceres/ Pluto combo touching your Ascendant and Uranus, your personality and most unique character traits leap forward to stimulate this combination in your friend, so that a relationship to you may feel to him as vital, stimulating, even life and death important. Add to this the Moon/ Chiron contact to Venus, and the thought is that care must be taken here–the actions and decisions of the other person can take on exaggerated importance, considering that emotions and hurt, and the all-important feeling of the interaction, are front and center all the time.

The biggest difficulties may come from stressors outside the relationship; when a conflict situation arises in either individual’s life, it could seriously affect the interaction, and the temptation for both persons may be to funnel the tension toward the partner–this will feel natural, but would be potentially quite damaging to the relationship.

Your English, by the way, is quite good; the few little bumps in it don’t really matter, as they’re minor, and you still communicate very well–and that’s the point of language, isn’t it?

Thank you for your kind praise, and many thanks for the “starlights”–no one’s every ‘sent’ me those, before!

Best wishes to your and your friend,