The tenth sign of the zodiac is an interesting one, mostly because half of its body has been entirely dropped off of it in the modern era. Most modern astrology sources only refer to Capricorn as the Goat, which isn’t entirely correct. It is said that this goat is the perfect manifestation for the Capricorn work ethic, as goats relentlessly climb the mountain, so to do the Capricorn people push themselves up the slopes of success with hard work and patience. The downside is that they are often overly judgmental and harsh on people who they feel don’t have as fine tuned a work ethic as they do, seeing most of the world around them as lazy. Capricorns adopt a sort of “play it safe” attitude in life, in their mind, there really isn’t much of a use to take risks, necessary or otherwise. Just like the tortoise in that old fairy tale, slow and steady wins the race, and it ensures you get there, though you may be waiting awhile, Capricorn is patient enough to wait, knowing that there is something worth waiting for at the summit.
Placed in a rather disappointing area of the sky, Capricorn is the second faintest constellation of the zodiac. Surely there are some that would link the faintness of the stars in the constellation to the dullness of Capricorn herself, but that’s not the point. The constellation does, though hold a few galaxies and clusters in it. Most notably, the global cluster Messier 30. Oddly, despite the faintness, the constellation of Capricorn is associated with some of the oldest mythologies in the ancient world.
The constellation is best viewed at 9pm during September.
There are two Greek myths behind the origin of Capricorn. One is that Capricorn is Almathea, the goat who nursed Zeus as a baby when his mother Rhea hid him from his father who had every intention of eating him to ensure his own supremacy. Now, this works well in theory. Certainly such an important character in Zeus’s life would be granted a favorable position among the stars as to be one of the twelve zodiac signs. However, there is a small problem in the fact that Almathea is a goat and Capricorn is a goat fish. So, we’re about halfway there.
The second myth is a bit less known, but this one centers on the Greek goat god Pan. Long ago, during the war with the titans, Typhon attacked the god Pan who dove into the Nile to escape the terrible monster. He turned his goat legs into a fish tail to aid his escape, but kept his upper body its normal goat-ish form, thus giving us the half goat, half fish picture we’re so used to. However, the constellation of Capricorn has been mostly connected to aquatic creatures in ancient cultures and has been linked to the god Ea who is an aquatic god who lives in the deepest parts of the ocean. Ea came on shore to give culture and civilization to humanity, uniting sea and earth in a way that is visually depicted in the image of the goatfish.
About Capricorn, Lilly lists it as “the house of Saturn and is Nocturnal, Cold, Dry, Melancholy, Earthly, Feminine, Solstical, Cardinal, Moveable, Domestic, Four-footed, Southern, the exaltation of Mars”. In a previous chapter, Lilly also groups Capricorn under Bestial (the same thing as four-footed) and in his third book, Lilly says Capricorn is inclined to barrenness.
As a feminine Sign, Capricorn is very introverted, preferring to shun situations where she is in the spotlight and very rarely takes a prominent position. She has a great distaste for being in the public eye for any longer than necessary and is very good about keeping her personal and professional lives separated from each other. Capricorn is a Cardinal Sign due to the winter solstice being held at the beginning of this sign, marking the beginning of winter. Cardinal signs are dedicated, persevering, and ambitious all of which are easily applicable to Capricorn.
The majority of this Sign’s significations come from associations with her ruling planet Saturn. The disciplined, reliable, and cautious Saturn has imprinted these same qualities on this Sign. There is an inherent contradiction between sign and planet; where Saturn restrains, Capricorn strives. There is compromise, though, where the reality-based Saturn levels the head of Capricorn, making her goals much more realistic and obtainable than the more “out there” desires of other Signs. The energy is expressed in a more slowly released fashion that allows for long, drawn out periods of drive instead of short, exuberant bursts of energy. This does have a positive side, as it allows more to be done over longer periods of time, but the negative of it is that it may be looked down upon by the other Signs who see it more like a tortoise, without realizing that slow and steady very well may win the race. This also plays into how weakened Sol is in Capricorn, marking the beginning of winter and the lowest point of Sol’s path. The sparkle and warmth of energy isn’t very visible, but is more akin to a warm glow than a burning fire. Capricorn has a great respect for history and tradition, this works very well with Capricorn’s distaste for risks. By looking to history, Capricorn can have a look at what things have already been tried and failed so as to better improve upon them. Insanity is doing the same thing twice and expecting different results, and insanity is never something that’s been said of Capricorn, who is very quick to use the past as a map. Time and forethought are very central concepts to Capricorn who wants to make sure that her next move is a good move. Living for the moment doesn’t work for Capricorn who would rather get inspiration from the past and apply it to the future. The curse of Capricorn is that the present is hardly ever acknowledged. Unfortunately, Saturn and Capricorn are both barren, this makes dating difficult for her. With emotions that are always under control by Saturn, it’s difficult to respond to flirtation with anything but a silent blush. Relationships and Capricorn are both centered on stability, however, dating is centered on the exact opposite. So while Capricorn does seek a relationship, the fact of the matter is getting to that real relationship will most likely kill Capricorn’s spirit. Hesitant to date in the first place, and then disappointed by the failure of dating, she may give up before she finds what she’s looking for. If not for that relentless spirit, Capricorn would be single for life.
Earth Signs have a distaste for emotional expression. This is true for Capricorn as well who, while appearing closed off and cool, do hold a strong emotional reserve. It’s not that Capricorn doesn’t experience emotion, but that she refuses to show them and sometimes may refuse to actively experience them. This makes the other Signs see her as pessimistic and even demoralizing in expression. Capricorn has a hard time displaying romantic affection and is actually quite a shy Sign. While we’re talking about romance again, Capricorn is quite resolved to their partner, so much so that this Sign has a great leaning towards jealously and possessiveness.
An interesting aspect of Capricorn is the constellation figure and what effect that idea has had on the significations behind the sign. The strange part is that Capricorn is half-fish, half-goat, but is not classified as bicorpeal sign, even though it fits the description. This is something that I’ve always found strange, but it gives a great amount of weight to the idea of the tropical zodiac where the time of year is more important than the constellation itself. Anyway, as shown by the figure, the creature has the tail of a fish, indicating deep reserves of emotional power, yet with a goat’s head, representing thought and logic that is free from the baser, fish instincts and emotional influence. This works well with Capricorn’s other signification of the earth element, where the emotions are they, just not easily expressed. The horns of the goat are also symbols of wisdom and illumination, which is a common theme used in artistic expression of great and wise people.
Capricorn is further defined as a bestial or four-footed, meaning that she lacks social graces and manners, as well as oftentimes has an animalistic reaction to emotions. This comes off as contradictory, but Capricorn is also defined as domesticated, suggesting that it isn’t very often that these animalistic explosions occur. This is due to the influences of the element and ruling planet.
Capricorn rules the joints, bones, skin, and teeth, of the body, as such she is significant of the ailments and illnesses that afflict these parts of the body. Lack of bone density, arthritis, and other such ailments are all signified by Capricorn. Not to mention other types of illnesses that result from the slow metabolism and flu-like, cold conditions. Afflictions that are the result of a lack of moisture are also prominent including dry skin, those bone conditions mentioned earlier, and allergies. Degeneration and infection are also shown by Capricorn, such as illnesses like leprosy and gangrene. As far as places go, Capricorn signifies places where wood is stored, where animals roam, and as all Earth signs go, places low down and near to the floor. Capricorn also signifies all barriers such as walls, gates, fences, and doors.
The stars that make up the constellation have a strong influence over what the constellation signifies and what the sign becomes to mean as a part of astrology. According to Ptolemy’s Tetrabiblos, the stars in the horns of Capricorn are of the nature of Venus and Mars, those in the mouth are like Saturn and Venus, the feet and belly are like Mars and Mercury, and the stars in the tail are of similar nature to Saturn and Jupiter.
The alpha star of the constellation is Geidhi, which is the horn of the goat. This star symbolizes self-sacrifice, but is otherwise a beneficial influence also suggestive of offerings. The self-sacrifice and giving influence of the star comes from the idea of the goat horn as the cornucopia, or horn of plenty. Likewise giving its native a kind, gentle, and giving nature. The eyes of the goat Dabih and Oculus are of similar natures, both being dualistic in nature. When prominent they can give success as a public figure or in business, however if they are afflicted they give criticism and suspicion.
The stars that make up the heart and belly of Capricorn – Armus and Castra – have unfortunate influences and are considered destructive and malevolent. These stars make the native a nagging, contemptible, troublesome and overall unpleasant person. The final three stars – Dorsum, Nashira, and Deneb Algedi – are all of similar natures. They have the ability to destroy or build depending on their positions. Well placed can lead to great things, but afflicted they can lead on a path to corruption and abuse.
Dignities and Degree Influences
Capricorn is the domicile of Saturn thanks to it being the farthest removed Sign from the signs of the luminaries. Saturn’s relationship with Sol and Luna is anything but pleasant. No planet is exalted in Capricorn. Being the most removed from her domicile here, Luna is in detriment in Capricorn. Being a part of the Earthy triangle, Capricorn enjoys Venus as daytime Earth ruler, Luna as nighttime Earth ruler, and Mercury as participary ruler.
0° Capricorn: Face of Jupiter, Term of Mercury, Masculine
1° Capricorn: Face of Jupiter, Term of Mercury, Masculine
2° Capricorn: Face of Jupiter, Term of Mercury, Masculine
3° Capricorn: Face of Jupiter, Term of Mercury, Masculine
4° Capricorn: Face of Jupiter, Term of Mercury, Masculine
5° Capricorn: Face of Jupiter, Term of Mercury, Masculine
6° Capricorn: Face of Jupiter, Term of Mercury, Mascluine, Dark, Deep
7° Capricorn: Face of Jupiter, Term of Jupiter, Masculine
8° Capricorn: Face of Jupiter, Term of Jupiter, Masculine
9° Capricorn: Face of Jupiter, Term of Jupiter, Masculine, Light
10° Capricorn: Face of Mars, Term of Jupiter, Masculine
11° Capricorn: Face of Mars, Term of Jupiter, Feminine, Increasing Fortune
12° Capricorn: Face of Mars, Term of Jupiter, Feminine, Increasing Fortune
13° Capricorn: Face of Mars, Term of Venus, Feminine, Increasing Fortune
14° Capricorn: Face of Mars, Term of Venus, Feminie, Smokey
15° Capricorn: Face of Mars, Term of Venus, Feminine
16° Capricorn: Face of Mars, Term of Venus, Feminie, Deep
17° Capricorn: Face of Mars, Term of Venus, Feminine
18° Capricorn: Face of Mars, Term of Venus, Feminine, Dark
19° Capricorn: Face of Mars, Term of Venus, Masculine, Increasing Fortune
20° Capricorn: Face of Sol, Term of Venus, Masculine
21° Capricorn: Face of Sol, Term of Saturn, Masculine, Dark, Deep
22° Capricorn: Face of Sol, Term of Saturn, Masculine
23° Capricorn: Face of Sol, Term of Saturn, Masculine, Deep
24° Capricorn: Face of Sol, Term of Saturn, Masculine, Void
25° Capricorn: Face of Sol, Term of Mars, Masculine, Lame
26° Capricorn: Face of Sol, Term of Mars, Masculine, Lame
27° Capricorn: Face of Sol, Term of Mars, Masculine, Lame,
28° Capricorn: Face of Sol, Term of Mars, Masculine, Lame
29° Capricorn: Face of Sol, Term of Mars, Masculine, Light, Deep
Houlding, Deborah. Capricorn the Goatfish. Dec. 2003. . <http://skyscript.co.uk/capricorn.html>.
Houlding, Deborah. Star Lore of the Constellation Capricorn the Goatfish. Dec. 2003. . <http://skyscript.co.uk/cap_myth.html>.
iVillage. All about You: Capricorn.. . <http://www.astrology.com/allaboutyou/sunsigns/capricorn.html>.
Lilly, William. Christian Astrology. : Astrology Classics, 2004.
Ptolemy, Cladius. Tetrabiblos. : Astrology Classics, 2005.
Wikipedia. Capricornus.. . <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capricornus>.