In turning such over-limiting mechanism back onto the self, there may be always ‘shouldering’ of the self-talk and an adaptation of the persona to what is thought one ‘has to be’ , in doing what ‘has to be done’.  In such symbolism a negative ‘parent within’ is directing the child aspect within, which may be symbolized as classically giving the self a hard time.  In general such experience can lead to a narrowing and calcifying of the character, causing attrition to positive potential. The true self may become hidden under the constructed adaptations of the personality (often typically with the tone of being formal, shy and reserved, etc).

Thus, Capricornian significations can manifest in a distorted kind of control and in the practice of self-denial. This may happen not just through projection onto others, but also limiting the individual potential and becoming out of touch with the personal needs and truth.  Also, for all the ambition one may carry, this sign often relates to a syndrome around the ‘fear of success/fear of failure.’ 

Negative Capricorn can be so over-invested in success as to always feel like a failure, no matter what is achieved.  Such individuals can tend to over-compensate and become zealous workaholics, creating an incredible over-commitment to duties in the world. In the extreme, Capricorns over-compensate to the point of becoming ruthlessly ambitious.  Therefore the self may become divorced from taking the time to find security, particularly in experience on the emotional level.  Such mechanisms of experience usually derive from early patterns, formed generally around the denial of feelings and needs.

It is stated that the archetype of Capricorn tends to avoid the heartfelt realm and a dry, pragmatic nature can tend toward insensitivity. At worst, their dry outlook leads them to become extremely cold and unfeeling.  Learning to identify and fulfill the personal needs and to understand the feeling realm, are the important lessons which are said to be contained in the principles of the polar sign of Cancer.  Therefore Capricorn chart factors may be urged to soften any rigidity and brittleness, to become not just a stiff, authoritative expression (to others and self), but become the astrology that may hold positive control and authority with compassion.

  After all, the ancient mer-goat dips its tail into the watery element of the emotions. It just has to ‘remember to feel’ at times, especially when lost in the ambition to secure itself in the manifest world, in some manner.  The ambition that this zodiacal energy can potentially constellate is well commented upon, as stereotypic Capricorn can become over-invested in prestige and status.  Such Capricorn stereotypes are known to be ‘snobbish’ in the extreme, superficially choosing associates who may support personal aims and may be expected to manipulate social relationships to gain status.  Again, any emotionality of expression, regarding the real self and needs, is to be controlled within such dynamics.

Afflicted Capricorn usually has to learn the lesson that one may have more fair and true control when one allows control to slip .  Thus Capricorn-types can, in the negative, become very ‘heavy’ in nature. This sign is known perhaps most of all for its penchant for seriousness. Learning to ‘lighten up’, to become more flexible and thus to allow for enjoyment of being, is probably one of the biggest tests for this sign. 

Ultimately under the auspices of Saturn, such individuals can become very invested in remaining ‘gloomy’ (the entirety of the chart depending).  This sign is generally regarded as the most ‘pessimistic’ of the zodiacal pantheon and thus can be a prime indicator of a depressive personality, particularly if in a challenged shape in the birthchart.  Hence Capricorn may easily assimilate the likes of guilt and blame, pointing the finger at the self, or others, depending upon the situation.  The classic astrological ‘scapegoat’ is represented, usually tending to unconsciously set up conditions to blame or be blamed.  The mechanics of guilt and its attachments, such as fear-based reaction, can be the crux of the ‘Capricornian game’.

Learning to embrace the positive face as seen in the mythos of the god Pan can be asked for when turning Capricornian limitations around. Pan was the free and creative god who is recognized in the positive enjoyment of nature and the sensuality of the material life.  At its core Capricorn is an earthy, sensual vibration in essence, hence the potential capability to give form to things.  Certain Capricorn-types are also known to be ‘lusty’ in nature and so on, which may be often hidden by a natural reserve.  Accordingly, the sign of Capricorn is very much of the natural world and may reflect the lessons within the pleasure of the senses, the feelings and the inspiration that this may stimulate.

  The rigid Capricorn-type tends to deny the archetypal face of ‘Pan’s play’, due to various injunctions and restrictions.  Such individuals may also react to the unconscious fear of ‘losing control of themselves,’ feeling vulnerable in truly surrendering to any fun.  It has been well-noted that such types may be capable of being downright ‘silly’ and loving it, when the playful child can surface.  In denying this archetype, fear of vulnerability may be realized by magnetizing ‘pan’demonium into the reality.  The higher-evolved Capricorn realizes that in being able to let a bit of ‘natural’ chaos reign, creative experience can happen.  They may yet still possess the facility to keep positive boundaries and containment on such experience, to garner results.

Capricorn is required to remember that its symbolism belongs to the  ‘water-goat’ and is not only destined for the dryness of the high mountains.  Those with this sign strong in their personal astrology are said to ‘get better with age’, as they may assimilate any testing experiences into wisdom, over time.  Rather than being typically depressive, Capricorn is noted to develop a sharp, dry, often intellectual witticism, in regards to the realities of life.  Such individuals hold the knowledge, drawn from their own ‘initiations’ throughout time, that may support new evolvement, as in the metaphor of the seeds of Spring stirring under the Winter snow.  The symbolism of this sign reminds that there is a value in heritage, organization and regulation. Perseverance produces enduring results. The following quote captures the Capricornian experience:

It is said that Capricorns have difficulty in their youth, for they are beset by limitations and responsibilities which hold them back from actualizing their dreams and desires.  As they grow older, life becomes richer for them, for they have learned self-discipline and have gained the ability to turn seemingly adverse circumstances to their own advantage.  It is in later life that the flower of Capricorn’s wisdom emerges and gives forth its lessons for all to learn.  The older Capricorn becomes, the more ageless he realizes himself to be.” [10]

Therefore it is said that to fully realize the dharma potential and authority that may be held within the ‘family’ of society, the Capricorn-type may integrate the emotional security and sensitivity of Cancer, the autonomy and initiative of Aries and the diplomatic awareness of Libra---the other signs sharing the quality of the ‘cardinal cross’ upon the ecliptic.

Capricorn Energy in the Horoscope

The astrological energy of this sign is structured, form-giving and grounded in nature; although very active it tends towards the receptive.  Planets and points within or on this sign will be potentially drawn to somehow relate to other chart components concerned with the cardinal quality and the element of earth.  Capricorn may contribute to a horoscope as follows below.

 Capricorn is an earth sign and thus planets within this field of zodiacal energy may lend stabilization and consolidation.  This sign is also cardinal in quality (which adds active characteristics), and when combined with earth, may lend a tone of practical industriousness that may yield an enduring effect.  Capricorn planets usually tend to express conservatively, cautiously and prudently, these are generally ‘reserved’ voices which, in the negative, may prove to be too inhibited, repressed, or highly adapted and over-compensated.

The astrological principles posited in this energy are dealing with the functions of foundation, structure and organization, thus may somehow aim to express themselves via these themes.  Such energies can be utilized with authority and steadiness, or negatively, can tend to become over-ambitious, domineering, and bossy.  Capricorn planets also have a great capacity for achievement and to hold authority in their function.  They may also be very naturally ‘dignified’ in nature and powerful in their ‘maturity’.  At the best, a great sense of integrity is potentially signified with Saturn-ruled astrological factors.

In being under the government of Saturn, Capricorn planets may also tend to have a ‘serious’ tinge to their manifestation.  The symbolic principles reflected by the planets and points in Capricorn may be used very constructively and responsibly, as these are usually parts of the self that ‘get things done’.  In the negative, such principles may tend to take on an inappropriate degree of burden and lean towards become ‘too heavy’, thus the fulfillment of expression may become restricted.   There may often be some form of injunction on a body in this sign, or a feeling of ‘not good enough’ and when extreme, its expression may come from a ‘fear-based’ platform. In tending to compensate somehow, these planets may therefore become parts of a self that is very controlling (and controlled).

Such horoscopic factors may also be utilized to block vulnerability, pass on injunctions to others and believe that it is ‘hard’ and difficult to fulfill a positive expression.  These may be depressive voices which may bring one down and limit opportunity or optimism. One must watch for any rigidity in the nature of the planetary principles concerned.  Factors concerning Capricornian placement typically may tend to ‘bloom late’ or open cautiously, learn deeply and mature the best in expression, as the individuation and self-responsibility ideally builds over time.  Hence the clichéd statement regarding Capricornian components as being like ‘a fine wine, which gets better with age’, not bitter.

 This sign on a house cusp often points to an accordingly ‘serious’ and important place, within the entirety of the horoscope.   There may be the tendency to approach this area conventionally and there may even be a sense of tradition, and ‘heritage’ and such like here.  Most usually, one can be very respectful or even cautious and reserved regarding the things pertaining to this area of self and life. 

As an outer reflection, traditional things to which Capricorn may relate include elder and/or more authoritative people, who may be involved in those matters which come under the banner of the house concerned.  As Capricorn can be a very ‘cold’ sign, one may have also have been called to ‘grow up’ here, often in having the childhood needs and emotional sensitivity somehow denied.  In this house one may also seek respect and to gain achievement.  Positively this is a place where a greater sense of inner authority and maturity may be gained, usually over time and later in the life experience.

At its very worst, the Capricorn-imbued house may classically constitute a ‘bleak’ area which can reflect the dark, depressing, and even fearful things in life.  There may be found many tests, the likes of burdens and hard lessons here, such as being asked to ‘get real’, ‘take responsibility’ and ‘work hard’. 

In fact, hard work and structured application pay off regarding the Capricorn house and as noted, things normally take form over a period of time (thus often later in life).  Hence there may be the call to be patient here, and one may feel restricted, frustrated and blocked in confidence etc.  There may be experienced ‘control’ issues and be very controlling in the self (often unconsciously) where this sign is involved.

These challenges may manifest through this house.

 The Capricorn house is a place where dependability and consistency might be found; a stable ‘grounding’ may be accessed there.  In the parameters of the Capricorn house, one might also manifest industriousness and the creation of enduring results.

Ruling Planet

 The planet Saturn, who is typically known as the ‘hard taskmaster’ and the ‘Lord of Karma’, rules anything sitting in the sign of Capricorn due to holding direct dignity with this sign.  This body spends approximately two and a half years transiting any sign, thus ‘sub-generational’ groups of individuals are born with Saturn in the same zodiacal positioning. 

The respective placement and condition of this ruler will point to certain themes around the planet or point in question, as their astrology will pertain to its astrological condition.  The house of this ruler will likewise be drawn into the complete analysis, as an area of life involved with and affected by the nature of the Saturnine energy. 

It will be the aspects to this body that will truly individualize it as an archetypal experience in a person’s horoscope, especially if in aspect to any of the personal planets and angles.  This highly respected planet’s presence and strength in a chart is also particularly strong if this planet is ruling any of these personal components as well (particularly if contact exists through an aspect).

Some Other Capricornian Correspondences

Physiology & Health

The traditional and unadulterated Capricornian physiology is considered lean, sharp, or boney. At times, the individual may tend to look more ‘mature’ than they really are.  Such representation is because this sign (and its ruler) are regarded as closely associated with the metaphysical symbolism of old age and the ageing process. 

It is also said that the classic Capricorn-type may begin life with an ‘old’ demeanor and somehow, become more youthful as life unfolds.  In the tradition of astrology it is also said that the Saturn-ruled are typically ‘darker than usual’, tending to a swarthy complexion.

Though generally medium in stature, traditional Capricornian physiology is also noted to rarely be overweight and tend towards slenderness, even angularity, of build.  Usually some form of ‘seriousness’ may imbue the demeanor and in the extreme, such types can appear autocratic and ‘cold’ (or at least very reserved and shy).  Afflicted Capricorn is stated to sometimes reflect ‘afflicted structure’, in such cases there is an awkwardness or crookedness of body.  Conversely, this zodiacal energy may aid in carrying age well and with strength.

The astrological symbolism of this sign is related to the structural aspects of the body, teeth, nails and most importantly, the skeletal system itself.  The archetypal essence of this sign pertains to the quality of what supports the cohesiveness of things, in an organized fashion.  In medical astrology Capricorn is regarded to represent all connective tissue and the cutaneous system. It has a special affinity with the epidermal layers of the skin and cuticles.  The whole structure of the knee is directly governed by this sign and in general, the joints in the body.

Thus Capricornian afflictions include osteoporosis, arthritis, calcification and mineral deposits in the system generally.  The negative symbolism of this sign may contribute to impeded functions, blocks and the pathologies concerning any rigidity, or inflexibility, in the form. 

Thus breaks, bruises, sprains and dislocations may be also associated with this sign and issues to do with teeth also come under the banner of Capricorn.  Crystallization and dryness are two other pathologies, especially dryness of the skin and the attrition of fluids.  Being under the auspices of Saturn, this may also be classed as a ‘barren’ sign, said thus is said to ‘deny children’, via sterility and so on.

Because Capricorn typology can tend to the naturally depressed and melancholic, lowered vitality is also a hallmark of its affliction, and in adult life any disease may tend to be chronic and long lasting.  As a modern ‘business’ sign, the challenge of Capricorn is also said to cause ‘business’ afflictions such as anxiety, fears and therefore stomach ulcers and such like. 

This is a reflex action to the polarity of Cancer which is the direct ruler of the stomach and the same dynamic is represented in the aforementioned ‘barrenness’, as Cancer is also the ruler of the womb.  Some Capricorn-types, if weakened and vulnerable, are said to be very prone to all afflictions caused by the cold.

Blue-violet on the chromatic scale.  All dark colours, browns and greys, especially dark brown, grey, blue and green, black, indigo, russet.

Minerals & Gems
All black, grey, dark minerals, lead, onyx, jet, obsidian, coal, chrysoprase, the sapphire is Capricorn’s classic precious stone.

Plants & Herbs
Comfrey, Solomon’s seal, hawkweed, hemlock, henbane, nightshade, mosses, oak, ivy, black poppy, all plants that can endure harsh conditions (particularly the cold, dry and mountainous).

Typical Vocations
‘Professionals’, ‘serious’ study, academics professors, researchers, teachers and holders of old and arcane traditions, doctors, scientists, politicians, officials, administrators, business executives, managers, CEO, ‘practical work’, ‘hard work’ of any form, farmers, peasants,  landscapers, arborists, geologists, industrious and organized work, digging holes, archeologist, jobs that demand time and patience, controller, adoption, social security,  organizer, systems builder, any works in corporate/material fields, organizations with heritage or dynasty, jobs within hierarchy,  tax department, bodies of authority in general, police, prefects, government and government workers, social climbers, architect,  workaholic, antique-dealer, undertaker, historian, landscapes, carers for heritage and inheritance, workers with the elderly, work involving discipline and denial, censorship, jobs with great responsibility and/or integrity, jobs involving rules regulations and uniforms, examiners and those who ‘test’, engineers, mechanics, critics, skeptics, patriarchal vocations, vocations passed from parent to child (especially father to son).

Associated Tarot Card
Key 15 - The Devil - the archetypal horned image that treads the thin line between the enjoyment of the material world and the enslavement to it.  This tarot symbol also carries very deep and fundamental arcane philosophies.

Some Modern Keywords
Structure, dignity, respect, objective, earthy, industry, integrity, reaping, responsibility, duty, economy, serious, hierarchy, control, organization, climbing, achievement, ambition, status, formal, official conservative, reserved, practical, patient, lasting, diligent, planning, goals, old, antique, historical, integrity, arcane,  dark, shadow, initiation, real, stable, commitment, perseverance, testing, business-like, parental, ‘super parent’, rules and regulations, status quo, bossy, elder, authority, father, dynasty, heritage, tradition, time, alchemist, results, long-term, maturation, dry, barren, melancholy, repression, denial, limitation, scapegoat, burdened, guilt, stunted, depressed, narrow, intolerant, bleak, negative, struggle, ‘less then’, castrating, rigid, ingrained, formed, calcified, inflexible, blocked, brittle, cold, insensitive, unfeeling, stiff, awkward, habitual, old-fashioned, detractor.


Author: Donna OConnor

 Donna OConnor is writer and facilitator of The Mercurius Tutorials --- a series of classes in Astrology, ranging from foundational to advanced levels. OConnor is recognised as an Accredited Astrological Teacher with the Federation of Australian Astrologers, tutoring many people over the years, including some award-winning students. She also holds a Diploma Honours, with the Astrological Guild of Educators International, for a thesis on the ancient doctrine of “Planetary Sect in Astrological History.”

 OConnor is especially interested in astrology’s historical and cultural perspectives throughout all human development. Her particular focus is upon the Art’s essential philosophical tenets, what this produces, thus why and how it may ‘work’. She believes astrology is evolving towards taking true postmodern form in times to come. This will regard the further recognition of the real astrological tradition, reinforcing the subject to stand in its own right as a salient body of knowledge – and therefore how astrology may grow in respect of this authentic traditional construct, to effectively meet our ongoing requirements in the current age.

She states:

“Astrology still survives in our global and psychologically complex times – testament of an essential construct, although largely distorted in modern parlance, still holding profound natural truths, - and also testament to instinctual aspects of the human intellect echoing, which are ultimately primal. Astrology is hybrid knowledge, encompassing the rational and the irrational, the objective and subjective, the intellectual and intuitive, science and art. Here mankind has looked to the heavens and become inspired enough to validate a perceived cosmological relationship. Astrology is awesome in its scope, and in its breadth of application, thus reflective of a certain esoteric genius. It is a paradoxical entity, full of riddles and truths; it is exceedingly complex, yet elegant in essence.”

 OConnor writes and lectures, for both the professional astrological community and those who are interested in any aspect of the Art. She is also an astrological consultant and offers specialist service to those creating any work or articles involving the subject.

Madame OConnor can be reached at    and/or

Presented are class notes from the Mercurius Study Programs of times past. This comprises of notes on each of the Signs and on the subject of Essential Dignity. The writings on the zodiac are intended as an overview and guidelines to each symbol, regarding some traditional and some modern ‘psychological’ views. The writing on essential dignity is also an introduction for beginners to the subject, although more geared in respect of the truer astrological tradition – all of these notes are from the foundational level of astrological study, written in 1999/2000.

Copyright: Donna OConnor
The Mecurius Tutorials

[1] Ibn Ezra, The Beginning of Wisdom, Epstein trans., p. 64.

[2] Manilius, Cook trans., cited in Star Names Their Lore & Meaning, Hinckley Allen, p.735.

[3] Hinckley Allen, Star Names Their Lore & Meaning, p.136.

[4] As discussed in notes previous regarding the polar sign of Cancer (D), the higher esoterics of this lunar-ruled sign concern being the ‘gate of incarnation’, of subtle energy passing into manifest experience in general.

[5] Thus Ea/Capricorn, appears to strongly reflect archetypal shades of Hermes Trismegistus and the deeper metaphysics and mythos of MercuryO.

[6] Guido Bonatti, Zoller trans., Liber Astronomiae, p. 22.

[7] Hinckley Allen, Star Names Their Lore & Meaning, p.735

[8] Dante, Paradiso;Ibid, p. 139.

[9]Alan Oken, Alan Oken’s Complete Astrology, p.294.

[10]Ibid, pp. 147-8.

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