Wednesday, December 22, 2010


The Sun has now moved into that 30 degree segment of the zodiac circle we call Capricorn: the sign of cardinal Earth. From Ken Ward's website:
In Astrology, the cardinal signs are the first, fourth, seventh and tenth (Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn). These signs are characterised by enterprise, or starting things.

Sometimes Aries and Libra are called equinox signs, and Cancer and Capricorn are called solstice signs. Equinoxes are times of perfect balance between day and night (day and night are 12 hours long). The solstice times are the times of the longest day (Cancer) and the longest night (Capricorn).

Aries and Libra are times of balance, but also times of abrupt change. Cancer and Capricorn are times of extremes.
In an effort to find a slightly new perspective on the sign I consulted Louis MacNeice's book Astrology to see what he'd found from his researches among the work of great and good astrological masters of the past.

MacNeice quotes A.J. Pearce on Capricorn, the sign: "disposition subtle, collected, calm, witty, and yet melancholy". He quotes Ingrid Lind: "action allied with common sense". Now, those five words put Capricorn into the smallest and most accurate nutshell possible - not much more to say really!

MacNeice writes: "If Saturn the ruler of Capricorn is actually in this sign, then everything is cut to the bone." Meaning, I guess, that a person with Sun and Saturn in Capricorn is likely to embody most of the traits traditionally linked to that sign. I'm not so certain. That same person might have Leo Moon and Leo rising, or Pisces rising and Moon and Venus in Pisces - then what? Or Moon and a cluster of personal planets in Aquarius. Horses of very different colours!

Recalling an earlier chapter of MacNeice's book, he quoted Ingrid Lind as describing someone as (for example) "a Capricorn-type", rather than "a Capricorn". This is good practice and I do try to remember to use the expression myself, when appropriate. A Capricorn-type need not have Sun in Capricorn; a Pisces-type could well have Sun in Capricorn.

I re-read my own post on Capricorn from 2008 and, as I can't seem to improve on it much, decided that a spot of copy-and-paste is in order:

Capricorn. What's to say about this sign? On the whole it gets a bad rap, probably only second to Scorpio for negative reporting.

Keywords for Capricorn, the sign ruled by planet Saturn, include: serious, disciplined, careful, cautious, thrifty, cold, organised, solid, old-fashioned, conservative, business-like, and the adjective coined from the sign ruler's name -"saturnine".

Sounds boring, doesn't it?

A handful of well-known Sun Capricorn people who seem to fly against the keyword stereotype: David Bowie, Jim Carrey, Rod Stewart, Janis Joplin, LL CoolJ..........

I draw a blank from personal experience, regarding Sun Capricorn people, but I have this idea at the back of my mind that many of 'em have a wickedly dry sense of humour - I'm not sure from whence that idea springs, its roots are possibly in planets lying in neighbouring signs.

In any case, I suspect that Sun Capricorns do not embody much of the accepted stereotype unless every personal planet lines up in that sign. Sun Capricorns are liable to have two or more personal planets in neighbouring signs Sagittarius and Aquarius, both likely to dilute Capricorn considerably, and bring in a hint of happy-go-lucky Sagittarius flavour, or some whacky Aquarianisms. Conversely, it's quite easy to pick up Capricorn flavour in natives of those two neighbouring signs, where close personal planets are often found doing a turn in Capricorn.

I'd expect to see more typical Capricorn traits in a person with Saturn rising in Capricorn, the ruler rising in its own sign. That's when Capricorn is going to be more easily seen in public, even if that person's natal Sun and Moon are nowhere near the sign of the seagoat. It's unwise to place too much confidence in Sun signs, they are an easy label, a convenient rule of thumb, a fun grouping, but they are liable to be terribly misleading.

(Sir) Anthony Hopkins has Sun and ascendant in Capricorn - perhaps slightly more stereotypical than those people mentioned above. He comes over as fairly serious and disciplined, a little old fashioned. But even here, his Moon in Sagittarius and Jupiter in Aquarius tend to "mix it up and make it nice", added to which, Capricorn's ruler Saturn lay in Pisces as he was born, lightening its heavy influence quite a lot.

Graham Chapman (of Monty Python- shirtless in the photo), with Sun and ascendant in Capricorn, Moon in Taurus, Saturn in Taurus sounds like someone Earthy and sensible - heading closer to the stereotype - but Venus and Mars lay in Sagittarius, which kind of knocks it all smartly on the head.

(Sir)Sean Connery (aka the original James Bond) is the nearest I can find to matching a typical Capricorn stereotype, yet his Sun and Moon are in Virgo, an Earth sign which doesn't tend to smother Capricorn completely. He has Capricorn rising with Saturn in first house very close to the ascending degree. Saturn is his dominant planet and Capricorn shares sign dominance with Virgo. The ususal culprits for messing up Capricorn's serious reputation, Sagittarius and Aquarius, don't get a look in in Connery's chart, by the way.

Hopkins and Connery both happen to have been knighted by Queen Elizabeth II - that in itself is rather Capricornian! However, Hopkins is unimpressed and says he only accepted it to make his (then) wife happy! Connery describes it as one of the proudest days of his life. He had been denied the honour for several years due to his passionate Scottish nationalism, and support for Scottish Independence.

I have to say that I'm with Hopkins on this!


Rossa said...

I'm Capricorn Rising with Saturn in situ, 14 degrees from the horizon, so took a personal interest in this post. Aquarian Sun (with Merc and Chiron)and Moon in Sag.

I think I equate myself more with the David Bowie end of the spectrum though I wouldn't say no if Sean Connery wanted to park his slippers under the bed :-)

As for the words associated with Capricorn, the only ones I would associate with are:

organised, conservative (small c) and business-like.

I wouldn't say old fashioned though I do love period houses and traditional things.

Earth Angel said...

How about the idea that the traditional earthy, common-sense reading of the earth signs is all simply over-simplified? I am a sun sign Cap who used to think I must really be an Aquarian. Certainly my other natal influences affect me, but I've got a stellium of Cap in 2nd house and moon & Saturn in Taurus, so I should still be pretty grounded. I'm earthy, but I'm also pretty head in the clouds. According to the traditional, overly limited readings of Tau/Cap, this shouldn't be so. Readings of Taurus and Capricorn as spiritual signs make soooo much sense to me, and bring it all together. It's not just the Pis/Neptune & Sco/Pluto influences in my chart that make me a weird, quirky, non-material, anti-status-quo Cap. It's my sun sign itself. Earth is omitted from astrology, and just as we live on her and take her for granted, perhaps we don't truly understand earth signs at all. Just like a Scorpio can be on the lowest level - the scorpion - or the highest - the dove, the Cap can be obsessed with money and social standing or more concerned with the spiritual/self-actualization mountaintop - Martin Luther King Jr. And the humor of Capricorn has been much documented. It is not a humorless sign. That much seriousness must balance itself out. I like these Tau/Cap readings that step outside the box: Perhaps because the man-made divide between body and soul has not yet been largely bridged, Taurus is generally seen as 100% material and 0% spiritual. The reality is 50% and 50%. We have not yet been ready to perceive an astrological sign which is a unified blend of materiality and spirituality, because we ourselves have not been living this truth.

In fact, Taurus is precisely the first and most significant sign that represents the unity of spirit and matter, inner peace and outer fullness, resting in the present moment and being active in the physical world, loving others yet taking care of ourselves first, valuing the ideal of peace but remaining grounded in practical reality. With our modern psyche so fundamentally divided, of course we have been blind to see Taurus as it really is, a union of heaven and earth.

The energies streaming forth from the constellation Capricorn express a crystallization process carrying the seeds of death, that give way to life through the initiation process. An earth sign, Capricorn produces the densest point of concrete materialization the human soul is capable of. It is the crystallization of this materialism that eventually reaches a "hardness" that shatters and is destroyed. Because of this fundamentally materialistic nature, the Capricornian eventually brings about their own destruction ~ at least of their material life ~ and awakens to the higher frequency of spirit and the nonform. Initiation is the result of this process, and the goat on the mountaintop represents this.

In Capricorn the will nature arrives at fulfillment as a visioned goal is reached. The one born in Capricorn reaches either the height of personal ambition or becomes the initiate, attaining their spiritual objective. The difference between these two goals depends upon the mode of progression around the wheel of life. The disciple initiate incarnates upon the reversed wheel.

Capricorn opens the door into the life of the spirit and the Kingdom of God. Capricorn is regarded as another door and is called esoterically the "doorway into life of those who know not death," or those who will no longer incarnate.

[sounds suspiciously like Scorpio, no?]

Capricorn can express all the worst of which a person is capable, and all the best. It is a sign of extremes.

[just read elsewhere that the solstice signs cap and cancer are the signs of extremes. maybe this explains why caps are either extremely dour and serious or so kooky they seem like aquarians - like the monty python guy]

sorry for blogging on your blog.

Twilight said...

Rossa ~~~ You sound like one of those "Saturn Hybrids" I once posted about. As Capricorn and Aquarius were both traditionally ruled by Saturn- before Uranus was discovered, and presumably not for nothing - there must have been a reason for such a co-rulership. I've posted before that many well-known Aquarians display Saturnian traits. As you have the sign rising and Sun in Aquarius you'll be a true Saturn Hybrid. :-)

Old fashioned needn't mean "fuddy-duddy", sometimes it can describe a person who honours tradition - in the way you mention, even though they might have quirks in other areas.
;-0 I'm a bit that way myself.

Twilight said...

Earth Angel ~~ Hi there!

Nothing wrong with being "Earthy" though - is there? Earthiness is to be cherished.....can be very sexy!

As you say, we can tend to get overly simplistic when writing briefly about a sign's attributes, We focus on what's easiest to describe in a few paragraphs.

You bring up some good, interesting points - and thank you for doing so.

One thing I'd add is that astrology isn't "all there is" to a person, as I'm sure you already realise. Background and the people and situations one encounters when going through life can draw out from us something that's hard to find in our natal chart. So your quirkiness and head in the clouds could be a product of something outside of astrology - maybe not - but it's something to consider.

Whatever else it is, Capricorn is a powerful sign, stemming from its cardinality. Any negative vibes it has picked up over the years might come from the fact that people resent powerfulness in others....however that power manifests. Again just a thought off the top of my head.

I'm an Earthy type of Aquarius with Uranus in Taurus, and a Grand Trine in Earth so I kind of understand your point of view very well, albeit from a different perspective.

Earth Angel said...

Interesting idea that the sign may have picked up "negative vibes" over the years because "perhaps people resent powerfulness in others....however that power manifests." Very interesting. Esp. in light of the fact that I have always shunned any sort of belief or exhibition of my own power, in a traditional sense. This year, I keep coming up with the traditional cappie word: authority. I keep feeling like it's time for me to claim my authority. I think you're right. I think power has gotten a bad name, based on how it has been used (mostly by men) in the public arena. All of which may be changing as Pluto transits Capricorn. You are "an Earthy type of Aquarius" - so interesting! A grand trine in earth - 4 earth signs and an air sun. Interesting! Wonder what that "feels" like?

Twilight said...

Earth Angel ~~~ Power is a difficult concept to grasp. The cardinal signs are thought to possess it, I guess though in different areas. Capricorn's power will be of the Earthy type - business, profession, being rational.....etc. Whereas Cancer, the opposite cardinal sign's power is in the realms of emotion and sensitivity.

You'll no doubt "feel" your Capricorn most clearly at work or in business dealings, I'd guess.

Being an Earthy/Airy character is fine by me - a tethered balloon! LOL! It's my Cancer rising that bugs me most. :-)