Astrology: Sun Sign Capricorn

Henri Matisse, L’Odalisque, harmonie bleue, oil on canvas, France, 1937. Matisse was a Capricorn, b. 31 December 1869 – d. 3 November 1954.

“I have found God, but he is insufficient.”

Henry Miller, The Tropic of Cancer, Miller was a Capricorn, b.26 December 1861 – d. 7 June 1980

The Sun moves through Capricorn from approximately 22 December to 20 January, and in the Northern Hemisphere, the ingress of the Sun into Capricorn coincides with Winter Solstice, the shortest day, and the darkest, longest night of the year. We are as far away from the warming light of the Sun as possible, and we must resign ourselves to the cold, dark stillness of winter. Many people associate winter with Death, and indeed to primitive folk, it was often a time of terror, with the bulk of the year spent in preparing for the possibly fatal circumstances that might arise in succumbing to the frigid darkness. Nature displays a chilly, unforgiving face in winter; there is little green to offer us relief, nothing soft or colored, other than perhaps the blood red of holly berry, and cardinals perched on dogwood stems. Nature is at rest, hibernating and reconvening energies for the eventual power and force of spring, and all activity is deep and hidden, as is much with Capricorn. These people are the embodiment of Cardinal Earth, best represented by the slow yet unstoppable evolution of mountains, islands springing from the seas, the rocky cliffs against which crash the ever-churning oceans, the bookends of earthly existence, responsible for outlining our sense of reality. Look at architecture, roadworks, canals and public edifices and you will see the face of Capricorn looking back at you, defining, sustaining and demarcating our sense of space and time. We take for granted how our sense of time is defined by the parameters of space, and yet, as humans, our days are spent going from here to there, from one place to the next. Saturn, ruler of Capricorn, Lord of Time and Matter is the one who defines our movements, ever-building and placing new landmarks for us to absorb into our consciousness, never ceasing. Capricorn is all about the things that stretch above and behind us, above and below, the unassuming, and often unacknowledged backdrops of our society, which we can never do without, and yet we completely take for granted until somehow these things are gone.

Capricorn is steady in the execution of power, for the Saturn-born always take a long view. Plans are meant to be achieved with care and patience, for only in approaching the world with thorough consideration we achieve long-lasting success. Capricorn does not like to redo, let alone undo any already completed work, and so will ensure that accuracy is fundamental to any endeavor. While all this sounds like our Capricorn friends are all business, no pleasure, this is not entirely true. Yes, perhaps they prefer to spend their time in pursuits that allow them improvement, as any expenditure of time is considered a luxury to Capricorn, and had better be a good investment, but who can blame them? These people understand the true preciousness of time, and the fact that our individual time here is cruelly limited. There will never be enough time to do everything that we want, not by a long shot, so Capricorn chooses carefully and wisely. At best, Capricorn is shrewd, dependable, responsible, methodical, ambitious, practical, loyal, disciplined, cautious, patient, humorous, and at worst, Capricorn is snobbish, pessimistic, cold, fearful, rigid, miserly, unfriendly, insecure, and cruel.

Capricorn Tarot Correspondence – Major Arcana XV, The Devil (Rider Waite Smith Tarot)

All this considered, it is an unfortunate thing, that as with the nature of ice, cold and immovable, so we often find Capricorn stuck and withholding. It is often difficult for these folks to really let go and enjoy themselves, as their inner judge never sleeps and is always watching the clock. They can spiral into complete constriction, never moving forward, stubbornly sustaining what they already have, for as well as ruling time, Saturn also rules want, fear and insecurity. To exist in such a place, governed by terror and unable to move forward is indeed a cold and lonely state, and Capricorn is no stranger to this feeling. Loneliness and isolation are regular bedfellows for these people, and they accept this fate rather stoically, as they understand that there is more to life than always having a good time. They prefer to be the ones who leave the party early, knowing there are a few hours left in the evening that could be devoted to working on achieving their accomplishments, but if you really need them to be your safe drive home, they will stay and patiently wait, watching you as you make a fool of yourself stumbling around drunk and ridiculous. Later, they will make you laugh so hard as they recount your buffoonery, you almost want to relive the experience just so you can have that attentive detail bestowed upon you again. And if you are in real trouble – serious life problems – or even if you are just feeling a bit confused about your direction, find your Capricorn friends. They will quickly and dispassionately delineate your situation, and arrive at the most practical and successful plan to get you out of trouble. There will be no fuss, the plan might even involve using an accountant or a lawyer, but you can rest assured that in the long run, it will work splendidly, and you will have learned a valuable lesson that only Capricorn can teach – how to plan, how to be mature, how to take responsibility. They are usually right about these things, so suck it up and move on. While some types will be smug and superior about their executive abilities, most of the time, despite their icy self-discipline, they will more than likely just have a good laugh at your expense, for these people are the masters of dry, sardonic humor. If your ego is not too wounded, you just might learn another thing from Capricorn – sometimes, all you can do is laugh, because life’s a bitch, and then you die.

Capricorn finds polarity in the Cardinal Water sign Cancer, and it is through Cancer that Capricorn can learn some much-needed lessons about how to be a bit more nurturing, gentle, kind and sensitive. With their tough demeanor, Capricorn often forgets that life is tender, people are fragile, and not everybody cares about the bottom line the way they do, and Cancer can show them how to open their hearts and let their guard down a bit. Vulnerability is fine, and between Capricorn and Cancer there are many defenses to be deployed when necessary. Capricorn can find a sense of true fulfillment in opening themselves up to trying a gentler path, as embodied by the Moon-ruled Cancerians.

  • Key words: authoritative, autocratic, reserved, ambitious, responsible, disciplined, austere, conservative, dependable, wry, tenacious, practical, patient, humorous, pessimistic, pedantic, boring, miserly, rigid, negative, cold, dismissive, snobbish, mean-spirited, spoil sport.
  • Rulership: Saturn
  • Modality: Cardinal Earth
  • Polarity: Negative Feminine
  • Gemstone: amethyst, garnet, black diamond, jet, minerals in general (especially those which are black or dark colored), onyx, white onyx, ore, turquoise
  • Metal: lead, silver
  • Tarot: The Devil
  • Colors: indigo, grey, dark grey, black, blue-black, dark brown, flat, dull colors, russet
  • Deities: Set, Pan, Priapus, Vesta, Bacchus, Cronus
  • Flora: comfrey, gardens in general, dock, flax, hemlock, hemp, henbane, ivy, nightshade, pansies, pine, plantain, poplar, poppies (especially black), quince, thorny trees and shrubs, old trees, woods and forests in general, willow, yew
  • Fauna: goats, asses, all animals with cloven hoofs and horns, cattle, pigs
  • Famous Capricorn Personalities: Elvis Presley, Joan of Arc, Isaac Newton, Kim Jong-un, Woodrow Wilson, Al Capone, J. Edgar Hoover, Martin Luther King Jr., Louis Pasteur, Mohammed Ali, Johannes Kepler, David Bowie, Benedict Arnold, Tiger Woods, Henri Matisse, Hermann Goering, Stan Lee, J.R.R. Tolkien, Betty White, LeBron James, Stephen Hawking, Frank Kellogg, Anwar Sadat, Stephenie Meyer, Marlene Dietrich, Mel Gibson, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Kate Middleton, Dolly Parton, Justin Trudeau, Jeff Bezos, Diane Keaton, Michelle Obama, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Kate Moss, Jimmy Page, Jared Kushner, David Lynch.