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Astrology in the Old West: Doc Holliday

In my last article in this series I wrote about the horoscope of Wyatt Earp. Now I’m going to consider the chart of his good friend and ally, John Henry Holliday, better known as Doc Holliday. (Click here to see a horoscope for Doc Holliday done for noon on his date of birth.)

There are some striking similarities between Earp’s chart and Holliday’s. Both had Mars in Gemini and both had Mars square Mercury. In fact, Mercury in Holliday’s chart is around 16 degrees of Virgo, directly opposite the position of Mercury in Earp’s horoscope, at 16 degree of Pisces.

I’ve already talked about how Gemini is associated with manual dexterity in these articles. Gemini people often possess the kind of superior hand and eye coordination that a gunfighter would definitely need. Gemini also relates strongly to games. Though trained a dentist, Doc Holliday found he could make a better living as a professional gambler.

Holliday suffered from tuberculosis, a disease for which there was no cure during his time, and that was known to slowly drain the life out of its victims. During the 19th Century this disease and people who had it were often romanticized. They were considered tragic figures who somehow possessed special qualities due to their closeness to death.

There is good evidence in his horoscope that Doc Holliday viewed himself in this way. He was a Leo by Sun sign with the Moon in Pisces. In my book, Father Sun, Mother Moon: Astrology’s Dynamic Duo, I describe this combination of Sun and Moon signs as the consummate dreamer. Holliday was a romantic, and it seems likely that he went west ready to risk his life in order to fulfill a romanticized image he had of himself.

Though descriptions of Holliday by his contemporaries emphasize his calm nature and Southern charm, violence was obviously a big part of his life. With Mars sextile his Sun and quite possibly square his Moon, this comes as no surprise. Wherever Holliday went, and he was constantly on the move, he managed to find a fracas. He was known to fight with his fists, his cane and his knife, but it was his pistol (or pistols) that gained him notoriety.

No one knows exactly how many men Doc Holliday shot down. Exaggerated claims and rumors followed him each time he moved to a new town. Leo folks are typically mindful of the power of reputation and they’re not above a little exaggeration here and there. However, when they feel their reputation is being sullied, they react with all the pride and rage of a Fire sign.

In Tombstone some of Wyatt Earp’s enemies spread the rumor that Holliday had robbed a stage coach. The gunfighter was quite content with being credited with murders he may or may not have committed, but being branded as something as tawdry as a robber was just too much. Holliday’s anger over this accusation was one of the events that led to the showdown at the O.K. Corral.

Even though he was seriously wounded in at least one gunfight, it was not violence that ended the life of Doc Holliday. Instead he succumbed to tuberculosis at the age of 36. Like all the legendary westerners I described in these articles, Neptune plays an important role in Holliday’s horoscope. It is in a nearly exact quincunx with his Venus. So it is only natural that this tubercular dentist has taken a place in the pantheon of popular culture along with Calamity Jane, Wild Bill Hickok and Wyatt Earp.