Astrological Archetypes with Avalon100
Home | Mythology Portal | Favorite Links | Contact Me | A Brief History of Astrology
Mythology of Capricorn

Astrological glyph for Capricorn.


The Winter Solstice marks the ascension of Capricorn marking the time when darkness begins to release control and light once again begins to take on more significance as the days become longer.  This is also the time of year when we transition from one year to the next.  Mythologically, it is the time when the goddess Persephone (Proserpina) returns to her mother Demeter (Ceres) from the Realm of Darkness ruled by Hades (Pluto). 


The feminine, cardinal earth sign, Capricorn, (keyword, I Use), is the tenth sign of the Zodiac ruling between December 22nd and January 20th.  It is ruled by Saturn and represented by a glyph that represents part goat and part fish.  It signifies the time of transition in the development of the soul.  In Capricorn the transformation has begun.  The assimilation of the collective truth or wisdom has finished and the transformation into Self has begun.  This is one reason why the birth of Jesus was placed at this time of year and for more than 5,000 years a time of birth for many of the ancient gods who represented the higher self.  At Newgrange in Ireland, the interior of the megalith tomb is illuminated by the the Winter Solstice, an ancient attempt to ignite rebirth


The mythology of Capricorn begins in very ancient times when the Babylonian god, Ea ruled the waters beneath the earth.  He kept the Tigris and Euphrates rivers flowing, thus making it possible for life to exist on land.  Ea rose out of the Persian Gulf to teach his wisdom to the Sumerians.  He was a man cloaked in a cape of fish skin.  He was also referred to as the antelope of the undersea world.  And Mesopotamian art very often shows the goat and antelopes eating from the Tree of Life.


The Greeks accepted Capricorn as Amalthea, the goat-nymph, who nurtured the infant Zeus (Jupiter) on the island of Crete, where Rhea had hidden him from Cronus (Saturn).  Amalthea, half goat and half nymph, was the sister of the satyr, Pan, who was half goat and half human. As a reward for nurturing Zeus, she was placed in the heavens as the constellation Capricorn.  


Many respected astrologists have used Pan to depict Capricorn as well as the Christian mythological creature Satan.  Pan was addicted to lust and sexual promiscuity and the term satyriasis is a psychiatric term for a man who is seriously addicted to sex.  Saturn, the ruler of Capricorn, was also sexually aggressive.  The Feast of Saturnalia took place during the month of Capricorn.  It was a time of total abandon in areas relating to sexual conduct.  For some time, the Feast of Saturnalia was celebrated simultaneously among Pagans and Christians.  Eventually it evolved into the Christmas season.


Greek legend also has an explanation of the symbolism of the goat-fish creature.  In his attempt to escape the wrath of Typhon, Pan leaped into the Nile.  While still in the air as he leaped, Pans human portion changed into that of a fishes tail to accommodate his descent into the depths of the water.  It represents a time when the Goat (sexual promiscuity) is dying and the Fish (sexual self-control) is coming into being.  The symbol became one of not only the escape from certain death into the realm of a new existence, it became the symbol of Christianity.  So, in essence it is also a symbol of the passing of an old religion to a new religion.


It is this change that brings us to the strongest Olympian ruler who embodies all of the symbolism of Capricorn, latent sexuality, spiritual rebirth and sense of purpose: Hestia (Vesta).  Some historians associate the Keepers of the Hearth, or Vestal Virgins as temple prostitutes keeping the sexual connection in tact.  Hestia, which means hearth, represents the inner fire, the fire that is never allowed to go out.  It is equated with the fire within; the kundalini fire as represented in Scorpio.  It is by controlling this fire that the altered states of consciousness is achieved.  This fire is also represented by the Self, which is symbolically born at the Winter Solstice, and is the real meaning behind Capricorn.


Taking into account all of the archetypes for Capricorn there is a diversity that involves not only sexual addiction but nurturing and protecting.  The individual born under Capricorn has a latent desire toward the wild abandon behaviors of passion and sex, yet they live with a fear of incrimination and public humiliation, with strong enough consequences to keep them not only from acting out, but also into pushing those feelings deeper into repression.  At this stage of development it is expected that some self-mastery has occurred.


The polarity sign is Cancer, so whereas Cancer represents the nurturing, emotional aspects, Capricorn tends to be full of energy and passion and there tends to be authority, control, and release issues.  The Moon rules Cancer and is in its detriment in Capricorn.  Capricorns image is one of rigidity, coldness, materialism and perfectionism and usually indicates conflict with the father figure. 


Saturn overthrew his father, Uranus (Ouranos), and in turn eventually swallowed (or suppressed) his own children in his attempt to hold onto the throne.  Capricorns continue the cycle by worrying so much about their own children they end up becoming overprotective and too controlling of their children, as they attempt to hold on to their own rulership role in the family, thus swallowing up their children in the process.  This is the wound that Capricorns have to deal with in their lives: They do not get what they NEED from their parents.  What is given to them is generally not what they need to break the cycle they are swept up into.  This is the example of the sins of the fathers being passed on to the sons. 


The Hestia (Vesta) influence has also been felt in the relationship area.  Hestia was the first child of Cronus (Saturn) and Rhea.  She was therefore the first to be swallowed and the last one to be freed when Zeus freed his siblings.  The Hestia personality is one that suffers from the loneliness of being isolated from the emotional warmth of the parent (especially in a home with a dominating father who prevents the mother from being emotionally strong).  There is tendency to never recover from the emotional isolation to the point where, there is a stronger desire to strengthen and understand the inner light, than to work on or in some cases even seek out external relationships.


There is a mythological example of this type of dysfunctional family system in the story of the House of Atreus.  Atreus, in a show of self-promotion, took his son and boiled him, then served him as the main course at a banquet for the gods.  The gods were outraged and decided to punish Atreus in a unique way.  They brought the son back to life, but the son was spared the curse of the gods.  The punishment fell on the generations that followed in the form of patricide, matricide, infidelity, insanity and murder.  Ultimately it was resolved, but not without a great deal of effort on the part of the descendants to overcome it.


Those with the Moon in Capricorn usually dont feel well nurtured and must learn to nurture themselves.  They must learn to parent that inner child after they themselves have become adults.  They must unlearn their controlling ways and learn to just live within the confines of self-control.


Mercury in Capricorn usually imparts a slow, discerning ambitious and methodical mind.  Venus in Capricorn displays loyalty, fidelity, a sense of duty with responsibility, and where money is spent in a calculated way.  Mars is exhalted in Capricorn and this placement is a blend of ambition and achievement.  Jupiter in Capricorn unites the father and child in a situation where the child surpasses the father, but only though slow, methodical progress.  Chiron in Capricorn is manifested though professions like teaching, medicine or political reformation.  Saturn rules Capricorn and this can the sign of a workaholic, who may be very strict with their children, both done in self-sacrifice to achieve.  Uranus in Capricorn tends to indicate opposition to rules and regulations, parental authority and controls.  And there need not be a biological connection between the authority and the opposer.  Neptune in Capricorn or in the 10th is a difficult placement.  Neptune and Saturn are not easily blended.  Rejection, fear, abandonment, despair are multiplied when these two work together.  Pluto in Capricorn shows up in the natal charts of some extremely successful businessmen and politicians, but our understanding of the effects of Pluto in Capricorn is still limited at this time.  




The Only Astrology Book Youll Ever Need  by  Joanna Martine Woolfolk

Parkers Astrology  by  Julia and Derek Parker

Mythic Astrology:  Archetypal Powers in the Horoscope  by  Ariel Guttman & Kenneth Johnson

Archetypes of the Zodiac  by  Kathleen Burt