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Capricorn

The Constellation

Capricorn constellationThe constellation that we call Capricorn is Aegocerus. Aegocerus is said to be the goat that was brought up with Zeus and that Zeus treated as a son. Aegocerus fought on Zeus’ side in the war against the Titans, which the Olympians or ‘new gods’ won. Aegocerus is said to have invented the trumpet and that when he blew this during the war against the Titans, they fell into such a panic, that they fled. In fact, this is where the word ‘panic’ comes from. The God Pan (goat footed) was related to Aegocerus and the stories of both Aegocerus and Pan are linked to Capricorn. After the overthrow of the old order the new Olympian gods gathered together by what is assumed to be the River Nile where Typhon, the many headed monster, tried to attack them. To escape this monster the gods turned themselves into different animals. During the conflict Pan jumped into the river and changed his hind parts into a fish, while the rest of his body remained as a Goat. To this day, the symbol for the Sign of Capricorn is a goat’s horn, with a fish’s tail and the goat that we associate with Capricorn as the mythical Sea Goat.

Zeus was so impressed by the cleverness and appearance that Pan had adopted, that he placed him up in the heavens as the Constellation of Capricorn or ‘goat horn’, as the Constellation Capricorn is in the shape of a goat’s horn with a fish tail. This combination of part goat and part fish is pivotal to Capricorn energy, for it is often a complex and contradictory Sign, but it all falls into place when you realise that this is a Sign that is part goat, part fish. The Constellation of Capricorn has also been called the ‘Pather of Light’ and 15,000 years ago, the Sun was at this point on the summer solstice, dating the history of the mythology of this Constellation back 15,000 years. During that time goatskins were sacred and the Goat Fish was recognised in almost every ancient civilisation. He was known as such things as ‘He of the vast intellect’, ‘Lord of the Sacred Eye’ and ‘God of Wisdom’.

OannesIn ancient Babylonia the Goat Fish was known as Ea, known to the Greeks as Oannes, whose upper body was that of a man and whose lower body was that of a fish.  He passed the day with men and spent the night under the sea. Oannes gave humans insight into language, the sciences and arts. He taught them how to construct cities and temples and gave them laws and knowledge of such things as geometry. He taught them to distinguish between the different seeds and how to collect fruits and instructed them on how to become civilised and refined. It is said that once his job was done he returned to the sea and returned just four more times, each time to bring a new level of civilisation and advancement to the human race. His job was to educate mankind and then retreat and it is said that Oaness taught homo sapiens everything there was to being human. It wasn’t until later times that Oannes began to be associated with the God Pan, for Oannes is Pan in his ancient form. One important aspect of the Constellation of Capricorn is that it was one of the two ‘Gates of the Gods’. These gates are where the Milky Way and the Zodiac intersect. Souls are said to ascend after death through the ‘Gate of Capricorn’ to return through the ‘Gate of Cancer’.

The Constellation of Capricorn was also known as the ‘House of Death’, as the Sun moves into the Constellation of Capricorn on the winter solstice and into its darkest and lowest point of the year. In ancient times, in winter life came to a standstill and nature itself seemed to die. Yet when the Sun passed out of Capricorn it began its ascent into the light again. This was a harsh and bleak time of year when the focus was on survival. Hence Capricorn energy is said to be one that can prevail and overcome even the most bleakest and harshest of challenges. Capricorn energy is said to be strong, enduring, self sacrificing and has a strong sense of integrity and leadership. Caesar himself was born in the Sign of Capricorn and coins dating back to his rule have the Constellation of Capricorn depicted on them. Manilius wrote of Capricorn when Caesar was born as, ‘at Caesar’s birth serene he shone’. Capricorn is regarded as the Sign of leadership and authority.

The Fish aspect to Capricorn energy is its ability to swim deep into primordial waters of the human and spiritual psyche. The Goat aspect of Capricorn energy is the one that most of us think of when we think of Capricorn. In ancient times the goat was a symbol of courage, of high aspirations and a surefootedness that enabled them to climb higher than any other animal and overcome harsher conditions. Goats can survive anywhere and on even when vegetation is scarce. They are true survivors and can endure sacrifices and harsh conditions. In terms of survival mechanisms, the goat acts differently to other animals that have been domesticated. When faced with danger or a predator, rather than herding together in a pack mentality, as sheep and other animals do, they scatter, making it impossible for them to be herded together and cornered. Also they freeze almost in the same way that an opossum does. A baby goat or kid won’t run to its mother, instead will become almost statue like, with no movement whatsoever. A predator, not sensing any movement, can often pass right by.

The Planet

Saturn planetSaturn is Capricorn’s ruling planet and it is said that Saturn was created in the Constellation of Capricorn. After Jupiter, Saturn is the second largest planet in the solar system. Saturn was the Roman god of agriculture, but in Greek mythology he was Cronus, son of Uranus and Gaia and father of Zeus. Saturn gives his name to ‘Saturday’ and is the sixth planet from the Sun. Although Saturn has been known and has been observed since ancient times, it wasn’t until Galileo observed it with a telescope in 1610 that many of its mysteries were explained. Viewed with the naked eye Saturn’s image seemed to change, but we have since found out that this is because every few years the Earth actually passes through the planes of Saturn’s rings, distorting and changing our view of this planet. Saturn has been visited by the Voyager space probes, so we know a lot more about this planet than the ancients or even the astronomers who discovered its rings in the 18th Century.

Of all the planets Saturn has the less density. Its gravity is less than that of water and it is similar to Jupiter in composition. Like Jupiter, Saturn is made up of 75% hydrogen and 25% helium, with trace amounts of ammonia, methane and water. Like Jupiter, its composition is similar to the primordial Solar Nebula, from which the solar system was formed. Like Jupiter, Saturn has a rocky core and a liquid and gaseous outer layer. One mystery that has yet to be solved is Saturn’s luminous hue. Like Jupiter, Saturn emits more energy than it receives, but that doesn’t explain this phenomenon. One explanation is that there could be some process such as ‘raining out’ helium, from deep within the interior.

The one thing that Saturn is famous for, is its rings. They look as though they are continuous bands, but they’re actually billions of small pieces of debris or particulars, all in independent orbits and range in size from as small as a centimetre, to several metres across. The largest are thought to be up to a kilometre wide. Saturn’s rings are thin, for while they are 250,000 kilometres wide, they are less than a kilometre thick. If you were able to fly into the rings you would find that they’re mostly empty space, with very little actual matter. If you were to compress this into just one ring, it would only be 100 km across, compared to the 250,000 km wide as it actually is. So there’s a lot of empty space in between.

The other phenomena taking place is one that is most in keeping with Saturn’s influence in our chart. There is a complex interplay going on between some of Saturn’s Moons and the ring system. Some of the Moons are called ‘shepherding satellites’ (namely Atlas, Prometheus and Pandora). They’re important because their gravitational pull keeps the ring system in place. The whole system is incredibly complex and scientists still don’t really understand it. You can easily see Saturn in the night sky. It isn’t as bright as Jupiter, but you can tell that it’s a planet because of the lack of ‘twinkle’, that a star has. Even a small, home telescope will let you see some of the large moons and the rings.

The God

SaturnSaturn is ruled over by Cronus, Greek counterpart for the Roman god, Saturn. Cronus was the father of Zeus and the last of the Titan gods. His name means ‘Time’. His parents Uranus (Heaven) and Gaea (Earth) mated and produced the first race to populate the earth. They were the Titans (earth gods). Uranus was repulsed by his offspring, who he thought were ugly and because they were made of flesh, were imperfect. When they were born Uranus hid his children in the depths of the Underworld so that he would never have to see them. Gaea grew angry with her husband and plotted the rescue of her children. She plotted her vengeance and when the time was right she pulled out a flint blade and gave it to Cronus, her youngest child and the most astute. That night while he was sleeping, Cronus used the blade (often depicted as a scythe) to cut off Uranus’ genitals and then threw them into the sea. As an aside to this story, the genitals rose to the surface of the sea and the foam washed to the shore. It was from this foam that Aphrodite (foam born) arose, to be carried forth on the West Wind). Cronus then set his brothers and sisters free and took over as ruler of the earth. Cronus was patient and unhurried and during his reign, the whole of Creation took place. His reign was known as the ‘Golden Age’. These were times of plenty and abundance. As the god of ‘Time’ Cronus ruled over the passing of the seasons and the cycle of birth, growth, death, gestation and rebirth in order to grow, die, gestate and be reborn again and so the cycle continued. Cronus ruled the natural order of life.

Cronus was worshiped as the ‘Grim Reaper’ and as the god that would ensure that the rules and boundaries, past which man could not cross, would be safeguarded. Yet when it came to himself, he couldn’t adhere to these rules. Cronus couldn’t accept that the cycle of life also meant that his rule would pass, in order to be reborn. To ensure this cycle didn’t take place, as his wife Rhea gave birth to each of his children, he swallowed them. That way his rule could go on, unchallenged forever. However even Cronus, king of all the earth couldn’t thwart the natural order. This went on for 5 years as each year Rhea bore a son or daughter, but by the time she got to the sixth child, she tricked Cronus. She wrapped a stone in cloth and presented it to Cronus as their youngest child, which he promptly swallowed. Rhea then safely spirited her youngest child, Zeus away to safety, where he was brought up with Aeogeocerus, the goat we met in the constellation of Capricorn. Zeus grew to manhood and returned to his father’s kingdom with a poisoned cup that he gave to his father to drink. Cronus promptly vomited up Zeus’ brothers and sisters and they were liberated. The siblings banded together as the new Olympian gods and eventually overthrew the Titans and their fathers’ rule to create a new Golden Age, thus perpetuating something that even Cronos couldn’t avoid, the cycle of life and the passing of time.

The Season

WinterCapricorn is the tenth Sign of the zodiac, the third Earth Sign and the first of the three Winter Signs. It is interesting to note that there are no Fire Signs in the Winter triad. In the northern hemisphere the Sun moves into Capricorn on the winter solstice, which is the shortest day of the year. It is a time of darkness. The leaves have been decaying in autumn and at last they re enter the ground, where they’ll wait, suspended in the cold earth, ready to be reborn in the spring. The cold settles in and starts to penetrate the earth itself. Life below and above the surface goes into hibernation, people stay indoors, animals go into hibernation, find shelter or were housed out of the cold by humans. It was a time to go within and wait. Here Mother Nature has to be respected and it’s a time to focus on survival. Food had to last the long cold winter months. On the surface this can be seen as a time of isolation, death and of being stalled, yet it is part of the natural cycle and here death does not mean the end, rather the beginning. Just as a circle continues to go round and round, so does life, year after year after year and Capricorn is the Sign that watches over that cycle.

 



Summary

In Capricorn we find one of the strongest of all the Signs. Not outwardly, for most of Capricorn energy takes place within. As a Sign it is said to be rigid, patient, enduring and to have great strength. Cronus gives Capricorn its sense of watching over the cycle of life and the passage and passing of time. Cronus also ruled the concept that neither man nor nature could cross the boundaries or break the rules. Saturn as a planet is spectacular, yet its rings are held together by rigid control and adhering to gravitational principles. Everything about Capricorn energy, right down to its season, says that man, beast and nature itself must bow to the certain natural laws.

Capricorn energy is capable of great success and achieving spectacular heights. The Goat is able to climb to the highest peaks and endure harsh conditions, conditions that other animals couldn’t endure. It’s learnt to survive, even as a species, yet it’s also independent and won’t be herded or pushed into anything. Capricorn energy goes after the prize because they are able to endure and not give up, yet this is also the Water Goat, able to go deep within the spiritual waters of life to understand its essence. Capricorn, being a Cardinal Sign initiates and begins the season it’s moving into. Here it’s winter, a time of scarcity and survival, with a need to be smart, but also practical. It is Earth energy and accomplishes by actions, not words. Capricorn energy has the patience of ‘Time’ itself and understands the natural order. Yet as the gate bearer for the winter season, it is also the guardian of the time of year where nature dies in order to be reborn. As Cronus himself found out, you can’t break the natural laws of life and nature.

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