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Astrology in the Old West: Wild Bill Hickok

In this series of articles I’m looking at the horoscopes of legendary figures from the Old West. Last time I wrote about Calamity Jane. Now let’s look at the gunfighter whose name is so often linked to hers, James Butler Hickok, better known as Wild Bill Hickok.

Hickok was a Gemini by Sun sign. (Click here to see a horoscope for Wild Bill charted for noon on his date of birth.) He also had Mercury and Venus in Gemini. This emphasis on Gemini served Wild Bill quite well, since his survival often depended upon Gemini qualities such a superior manual dexterity and a cool head. Unlike Calamity Jane, Hickok’s exploits are well documented, and they typically ended with Wild Bill drawing quicker and shooting straighter that the other guy.

It wasn’t all about the quick draw, however. Hickok also used his quick, Gemini mind to best his foes. In one instance a man who intended him harm had the drop on Bill. Hickok directed his gaze to a point behind his assailant and shouted, “Don’t shoot him in the back!” His enemy immediately turned to meet what he thought was a new threat.  By the time he turned back to Bill, the game was over.

Speaking of Gemini and games, along with being an occasional lawman, Wild Bill was also a professional gambler, a profession that can easily associated this sign. His fortunes in this line of work went up and down. At times, Hickok was the very image of nattily dressed prosperity, with his two (what else would you expect from a Gemini) pearl-handled pistols tucked into a silk sash around his waist. At other times he was being hauled off the jail as a vagrant and a drunk.

Drastic changes in fortune have a lot to do with Uranus, which squares Hickok’s Sun and Venus. So it is not surprising that Wild Bill’s life had so many peaks and valleys. Of course, this square by Uranus is also one reason why Wild Bill was seen by his peers as someone special, even during his earliest days as a gunfighter.

Neptune, the planet of popular culture, is in a nearly exact trine to Hickok’s Sun. Accounts, often highly exaggerated, of Wild Bill’s adventures appeared frequently in the popular press back East. Buffalo Bill Cody chose Hickok to star in his one first attempts at a Wild West show. Wild Bill also briefly tried his hand at acting. Even before he was dealt his famous last poker hand of aces and eights, Wild Bill Hickok was a major figure in the popular culture of his time.

Along with his Sun Gemini, Wild Bill Hickok had the Moon in Pisces. In my new book Father Sun, Mother Moon: Astrology’s Dynamic Duo, I point out that people with this combination of the Sun and Moon deal with problems by “presenting a moving target.” This seems to be what Hickok was doing in 1876 when he decided to abandon his new wife and go to the lawless mining camp called Deadwood.

There is evidence that Bill’s eyesight was failing at this point and that he had a premonition of his impending death. (Not unlikely, with an intuitive Pisces Moon.) This may have been what was in Hickok’s mind when he (uncharacteristically) took a seat at the poker table with his back to the door. A Gemini Sun would have never have committed such a tactical error. But a Pisces Moon, awash in negative feelings and submitting to depressive thoughts, might have. That lapse of judgment brought an end to Wild Bill’s life, but not to his legend.

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