Capricorn is the last earth sign and the last cardinal sign. It embodies the idea of universal perfection in matter and in nature. That is its paradox: how can physical matter be perfect or perfected? One way to tell if a gemstone is “real” is to look for inclusions, imperfections, and small flaws, for no natural stone is entirely perfect. Psychologically, the urge for perfection leads to expression in two extremes.
On one hand, it is the “dictator/monopolist” acquiring all the material goodies for himself and then controlling their source, production, and distribution, like the diamond cartel.
On the other hand, there is the “yogi,” the ascetic, who tries to perfect and control his own body and emotional nature, realizing that by so doing, he can, as Jesus said of himself, “overcome the world.” The motto of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (who trade-marked TM meditation) was, in the early days of that movement, “Obedience is the proper culture for eternal freedom.” Can’t get much more Capricorn than that!
Saturn rules Capricorn, and it is the sign opposite Moon-ruled Cancer. Cancer is unconditional Divine Mother love. Capricorn is conditional “Father in Heaven” love. You have to earn it by working hard, excelling and being good, better, best. It is a love based on discrimination and judgment, “I love you because you have lived up to my expectations.” Of course, if a child does not or cannot live up to expectations, he is left feeling, “I’ll never be good enough. I’ll never be really loved no matter how hard I try, so why try?” Therein lies the foundation for chronic, life-long depression and melancholia. If a person has not, as an adult, broken the psychological umbilical cord to “Mother,” he is still waiting for somebody to love him. He cannot become an authority, develop an “inner father” in his own right, and must continually depend on someone, something (church, army, government, etc.) external to himself to set limits, make rules, take control.
As a cardinal sign, Capricorn seeks goals outside itself; therefore, it feels the “end justifies the means.” Nixon espoused that idea. He was a result-oriented man of driving, insatiable ambition. He suffered, as well, from the Capricorn dilemma: to succeed in getting to the top of the heap and then fighting to stay there. The only thing sadder than not getting what you want is getting it, then worrying about losing it or fearing something better will come along. Nixon’s political career demonstrated a ruthless disrespect for anyone he perceived standing in his path and a pathological paranoia about his real and imagined enemies. Watergate was the “overkill” outcome of the attitude that “offense is the best defense.” Nixon, a sun sign Capricorn, was a remarkable example of some of the worst and best qualities of the sign. He did excel as an historian and lived long enough to recoup enough honor and respect to have the nation set aside a day of mourning when he died.
In addition to the depression and melancholia mentioned above, guilt is very strongly connected with Capricorn and Saturn, for there is a tendency to sensual indulgence on one hand, and stringent practical demands on the other (an inherent rebellion). Addictions are hooked into this cycle.
Capricorn is conservative (relative to Sagittarius’ largesse and Aquarius’ liberality) and concerned with the “status quo.” There is progress, but only slow progress in terms of order and structure. The structure, the establishment, cannot be threatened. At even the hint of a threat to the structure, ruthless and totalitarian methods may be used to defend it and hang onto it.
Usage over a period of time makes anything valuable and the more people there are valuing it, the more important it becomes for Capricorn. Sagittarius creates values; Capricorn crystallizes them. It is the collective experience of what is relatively good, better, best on the physical plane.
Capricorn is an earth sign and as such, is very lusty. The goat is connected with the sensual lustful tendencies, but there can be coldness, perfunctoriness about the sensuality if it is not connected to water signs. Sex and love are not always warmly exhibited in Capricorn, but they may be there for a long time.
Some symbols for Capricorn are: the mountain goat, the chimera, the cornucopia or “horn of plenty,” Pan, the nature god (turned into the devil by the later religion), the miser, Moses bringing the word of law from on high, and unicorns.
Sun sign Capricorn people: Richard Nixon (1/9/13), Howard Hughes (12/24/05), J. Edgar Hoover (1/1/1895), Joseph Stalin (1/2/1880), Parmahansa Yogananda (1/5/1893), Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (1/8/11 – some question about actual year).
Most Capricorn natives are industrious, have a wonderful sense of humor, and are generally patient and helpful. They don’t mind taking time to do something right. “Built to last” is what it’s all about. They are old souls and know that nothing lasts forever in this world, so like the god Janus, they have one eye on the glorious past and the other ahead towards a utopia beyond the physical realm.
About the author:
Eleanor Buckwalter has studied, practiced and taught astrology in Los Altos, CA for more than twenty-five years, including three years with the late Richard Idemon, a psychological astrologer. Her primary astrological focus of interest is parent-child relationships and family dynamics.