Respect / Pragmatism / Accomplishment / Self-effacement / Fortitude / Mastery
Humility and diligence deserve respect and position
Capricorn is steadfast, stable, shrewd, resolute and disciplined. It is the most single-minded of all the signs, whose qualities are promoted deliberately, methodically and decisively, with a persistent and intractable spirit of nature. Fecundity, affluence and advancement are the result. It shows great resilience and matchless stamina, has a stark survival reflex, never assumes good fortune and can suffer abnormal adversity. Its potency, staunchness and sheer doggedness predictably lead to mastery, and the prestige of a managerial rank. With great regard for history and convention, it represents orthodox morality, holds a demeanour of gravitas, and wears a mantle of emotional control, psychic resilience and earthy endurance.
It sees life as a serious business that must be negotiated with due diligence. Objectives are managed carefully, with real grit. As servants or as managers, it pushes efficiently against obstacles, makes the most of any talent and potential and sees it as a social duty to achieve goals and challenge others to reach their own level of excellence. With few comforts and resources, goats persist to claim their place in the hierarchy, finding themselves rightfully at the top – highly respected leaders in organizations they once humbly served. A drive for recognition binds them into a system of social control, which they learn to handle with great focus and authority. Respecting structures that have proven viable over time, they often become officers in the chain of command, key wielders of power, able in turn to demand respect from others.
The structure of life is very clear and generally reliable – applying this saturnine wisdom is the foundation of the goat’s power. Since rewards stimulate effort, they are an aspect of the formula of attainment – and so therefore are considered sacred and worthy of celebration. Success follows a formulaic pattern, and to master materiality we need to learn how to master the pattern. First play – through which skills and tips unfold; then learn – in order to complete self-confidence; then intend, with clear focus of a specific well-defined outcome; then expect a result – which finally triggers celebration, the initial purpose of the exercise.
Each of the Earth Signs is rigorously engaged with the physical, and there are deeply hidden reasons for this, which relate to the need for security. In Capricorn’s case, this secure state comes through identifying that they are not needed, and therefore are free to fail without being held responsible for the collapse of society’s structured stability. The irony is very subtle, paradoxical even, since it mostly seems that their abiding motivation is to demonstrate their irreplaceability. Yet this is their existential double-bind – the only way to prove they are not needed is to become apparently indispensable and then be replaced.
Tremendous faith comes from knowing they are the bedrock of society – and, as irrepressible as the rock of the earth, this sign cannot be broken down. It knows how to win and knows how to lose; it does not confuse what appears to be with what is; ego is a tool not a raison d'être; it knows itself to be in this world but not of this world – and finally its reality is universal and cosmic, not subject to the structure it has mastered. Tarot links Capricorn to The Devil, seemingly, but not actually, chained to the earth. People bind themselves to attachments because freedom is frightening and requires too much responsibility. Yet the goat affirms a path of responsible power towards greater cosmic potentiality, overcoming challenges of the base nature and environment, to gain in stature, reach and awareness – soul prizes worth the formidable expenditure of effort.
The Expressions of Capricorn
Capricorn 1 – 5
Respect is not seen here as a gentle courtesy that each affords all others equally in a gentle social scenario, it is understood on a deeper level. It is a power, and an aspect of the powerful. The weak and mild will teach that if we want it, and if we want to remain in control of our own situations, then we need to win respect of others; the strong simply demand it. It is wise to protect and defend ourselves, and the least violent use of power is to command respect.
Society teaches and requires mutual respect by implementing codes, rules and laws. Moralists and lawmakers claim their authority from historical precedents, and these codes are the agency through which the better aspects of the community’s past are projected into its future. This process – respecting attitudes of the past and challenges of the future – enables various communal imperatives. We can sort out what is important from what is trivial, and we can make plans to optimize opportunity and security. Countries, for example, that do not manage this well are mostly underdeveloped and constantly at risk from aggression.
Capricorn 6 – 10
What some see as pessimism, even cynicism, Capricorn sees as necessity, due diligence, common sense practicality, and down-to-earth reasonableness. The true leaders of a community are those who are able to inspire others, to nurture and offer advice, and to guide situations towards helpful conclusions. Mostly, they are professionals – managers, doctors, architects, accountants, and others. They share a particular attitude to their work and their lives – they are trained, cautious, responsible, meticulous, and most of all realistic. Typically they report to a body of governance, and carefully maintain their status as respected notables.
The inner quality that gives rise to such high standards has a definite dignity of being, which requires constant self-discipline and adherence to a code. The characteristics of such people are more conservative than radical, promoting the tried and tested more than new wisdom because the penalties for mistakes are much more impressive than the rewards for innovation; they avoid the stick, rather than chase the carrot.
Capricorn 11 – 15
By whatever personal standards we have set, accomplishment seems good and right – it feels like we have fulfilled an important aspect of our life purpose when we manage to overcome difficulties and enjoy the good fortune of a measure of well-deserved success. Luck actually is not random – it is attracted into the lives of those who work hard to develop skills and fulfil their plans. It isn’t simple to handle matters – for most people this world is much more of a challenge than a joyride. Different types of people have different names for the processes by which a thought is made into a thing or an event. Some call it management, some call it magick, and some call it prayer, but the process of each is the same. An attitude of focus, and usually persistence, is important, plus the expectation of reward, the ability to project imagination and knowing how to win cooperation. It is very interesting to read biographies of successful people – in any field of life from politician to comic, sportsman to disciple – the formula for attainment is universal, and it can be taught and learned.
Capricorn 16 – 20
Learning how to balance Self with Other is the essence of life on both the material and spiritual levels. A sports team is an example that shows how the whole is greater than the sum of parts, and how to identify more with collective endeavour than personal. This same idea is found in nationhood – and promoted with jingoistic phrases, emotional manipulation and raising the flag to a level of sacredness – ‘for God and country’. Being a team player is learned very early at school, and, ideally, encouraged as much as individual excellence.
We can lose ourselves, in the sense of surrendering to the moment, when we are rapt in the joy of natural forces, or with complete absorption in a project and, of course, through any experience of in-depth mysticism. Capricorn tackles this important dimension of life mainly through discipline and discipleship, and has an ability to enjoy its capacity for self-effacement – paradoxically even to the level of taking pride in it. Christmas, and therefore crucifixion, is celebrated during this month, though often with overtones of martyrdom and guilt.
Capricorn 21 – 25
The recognition of personal worth tends to be evaluated by most people in society’s terms, with things and awards that are hard to come by – especially by Capricorn, for which it is very important to be seen as fit for purpose; it works with grit and endurance to serve the community conscientiously. Slavish obedience to this principle would diminish joy and self-realization, yet when carried out with full awareness, can in fact optimize the attainment of personal potential.
To serve a powerful master – and society is exactly that – we have to learn to keep on our toes all the time. While we are behaving as obedient servants, it requires great awareness to hold on to our own agenda and perceptions. Carlos Castaneda speaks of the petty tyrant – and teaches that the truly committed spiritual disciple must learn how to survive within the most starkly oppressive environments. Most mystery teachings have the same idea – we take on very difficult challenges as a voluntary practice in order to put aside fears and to grow in stature. With such a perspective, and consistent fortitude, even apparent defeats are useful as lessons and there is nothing in life that can keep us down.
Capricorn 26 – 30
Any strategic life course aims to optimize potential and make real whatever is imagined; a path of mastery is one that achieves this goal. There are established policies and techniques for this, together with a complex range of essential individual qualities. Generally a dissatisfied, restless disposition is more likely to keep one moving up to a place of high repute and influence. The master can convince people that what suits them personally also suits the community very well; so can ascend to a position of leadership rather easily.
The fabric of society is woven by policy makers – functionaries who legislate in order to motivate group endeavour towards communal purposes; it is best if these are the ones who best demonstrate working within the rules. So, to win public support, a leader needs to be the perfect example of good order and obedience, while at the same time being free-thinking and independent.
Since uncertainty breeds instability and wasted resources, it is more reliable to create a future very similar to the past; yet progression and innovation is inevitable. It is tremendously exacting to navigate a successful path between new uncertainty and old reliability, between humility and pride, and between service and command. More than any other sign, Capricorn does this well.