Capricorn’s depiction as a goat with a tail is one of the two confusing symbols of the zodiac, the other being Aquarius’ depiction as the water-bearer. With Aquarius, the confusion comes in the element. Because of the water pouring from the jug, it’s easy to associate it with the Water signs even though it’s an Air sign.
But what about that fishtail on a goat? What’s that all about?
Capricorn represents the climb to the top of the mountain, the attainment of goals, and ultimate success. That explains its association with things like big business, authority, bosses, financial success, and worldly power. This underlying drive behind Capricorn makes it the most goal-oriented sign in the zodiac. Social status is extremely important, as well as the need to be recognized by peers. Being respected and maintaining a good reputation is critical to their self-esteem. Capricorn’s ruling planet, Saturn, represents the struggle with things like time, limitations, overcoming restrictions, and lessons often learned the hard way. You can see why Capricorn is stereotyped as stressed, repressed, and conservatively dressed. Some Caps have a delightful sense of humor to accompany them on their climb to the top, while others earned their reputation as “cold.”
That explains the head, but what about that pesky fishtail?
With the tail of a fish and head and forebody of a goat, Capricorn represents evolution from the emotional, nebulous depths of the sea toward the cautiously maneuvered and solitary climb to the very tippy-top of the mountain peak. Modern astrology usually refers to Capricorn as The Goat (sans fish tail) ~ an indication, perhaps, that the emotional nature has no place in a practical, non-mystical, and success-oriented world. Finding a natural place at the top of the natal chart, Capricorn lies directly across from Cancer, the mother of the first drop of water that created and nourishes us. Capricorn draws on its emotional depth (yes, it is definitely there), but does everything within its power to keep its head above those whirling waters when interacting with the practical world. Every bird leaves the nest, every goat will climb whatever it can to be on top of its world. The lowest depths of the ocean and the highest peaks of earth are both frigidly cold ~ territory that Capricorn instinctively knows will make it stronger if it doesn’t kill it first.
In Capricorn, an emphasis is placed on material ambition or an obsessive call to duty, with emotional, spiritual, and intellectual interests sometimes getting pushed to the side. Workaholics fall into this category, sometimes to the point that their health suffers and they lose all objectivity about any activity or involvement except their work. Families and friends can start to feel like a low priority and don’t understand why the workaholic can’t just relax a little. Pessimism and negativity creep in. The tension mounts and everyone suffers. The workaholic gets cranky, the family gets cranky, everyone’s cranky! In close relationships, the goat-natured can behave unsympathetically, sometimes cruelly, toward others as a result of their necessity to keep their nose to the grindstone. The harsh behavior is a coping mechanism to repress distraction from work and anything other than the call to duty.
Things are rarely either/or, this or that, black or white. There’s usually more than one thing to consider when making decisions ~ a whole web of concerns stretching from here to there and back again. Imagine you’ve been offered a new job at a nice salary increase, but long hours are going to be part of the package. If you do take the job, you won’t have nearly as much time for your family and friends or your pet. You also have a rent increase or some other financial obligation coming at you head on. If you don’t take the job, you’ll have to start dipping into that tiny savings or give up that gym membership. If you do take it, your pet will spend a lot of hours alone. If you don’t take it, you may not be able to afford the family vacation that your loved ones are anticipating, another duty call to answer. What to do? !
We’ve all got Capricorn, herded by Saturn, somewhere in our charts. The question is: Are you a Goat or a Sea~Goat?
Are you The Goat, putting aside your emotions and employing only practical means to fulfill your goal? Or are you The Sea-Goat, drawing on your emotions to propel you forward until you have overcome that long, craggy climb to the top of this particular hill?
- Goat or Sea-Goat, how do you believe it has helped or hindered you?
- Since all of us are driven in some manner by our desire to succeed and our emotions, what underlying need is so strong that your choice to repress or engage your emotions determines how you proceed?
- How has it impacted your relationships?
- How can you make it better?
Some of my favorite people in the world have been Capricorns or have strong Capricorn tendencies. They’re all among the funniest people I know, perhaps because my old goats have been able to laugh at themselves ~ a truly endearing quality. They’ve understood that once you’ve lost the ability to see the humor in even the direst situations, it’s all downhill ~ a place no Cap ever wants to go.
For suggestions on various New Moon activities, see 12 Things to Do When the Sun Transits Capricorn.