Capricorn – The Goat or Sea-Goat – December 22 to January 21

“Capricorn – sign of winter and continuity –
is hard-working and driven,
no matter what she chooses
her success is a given.
Sensitive, compassionate with heaps of discipline,
she’s an objective perfectionist,
her own fate she does spin.
Creating order from chaos is what she does do best,
With quiet wit and forward-thought,
she’s charming and rarely needs to rest.”
– by Silvestra Silvermoon

Goddess Symbolism

Modern images of Capricorn often depict it as a goat, but in ancient times the sign of Capricorn was represented by a goat-fish or sea-goat. This is a mythical creature that has the horned head and front legs of a goat and the tail of a fish. We will discover the origins of both images.

Our journey of discovery stars back in the Neolithic or New Stone Age about 12,000 to 5,000 years ago. It was a time of pivotal change: humanity had discovered the art and science of agriculture and farming. No longer were our ancestors dependent on food foraging and hunting. By planting seeds and domesticating animals such as goats, cows, pigs and sheep our foremothers and fathers were able to settle down in one place, grow villages and for the first time branch out into other more leisurely pursuits such as art and pottery. Through the growing of plants such as grains from seed our ancestors learned about the cycle of life. Their understanding of life and death for all of Mother Earth’s children allowed them to suffuse all of life with a deep sense of reverence and sacredness. From the magic of turning grains into bread to spinning wool into yarn and subsequently clothes every action was sacred to the Goddess, the Mother of Life and All Existence. Women who planted the first seeds, who tamed the first goat and cow and who turned soil into ceramic were priestesses of the Goddess. They were the Keepers of Her Sacred Mysteries.

According to archaeological findings the first animals to have been domesticated were goats. They supplied our foremothers and father with milk, meat, leather and all sorts of other useful materials. The domestication of animals was a huge blessing and believed to have come directly from the Mother. For that reason goats, cows and sows in particular have always been sacred to the Goddess in Her Many Guises. In fact She often assumes their shape, such as Germanic Frejya and Welsh Cerridwen as sows and Greek Hera and Egyptian Hathor as heifers.

Goats and cows who are linked to Mother Earth are also through their crescent-shaped horns sacred to the Moon Goddess. Our ancestors believed that it was the power of the Moon that taught women how to plant seeds, domesticate animals, bake bread, spin fibres, turn soil into pottery, use herbs for healing and much more.

The ancient Libyans in North Africa, a strong matristic and matrifocal people, knew the Moon Goddess as Anatha (cf. Neith in Egypt). Anatha like many Moon Goddesses has three aspects: She is Athena, the Maiden, Metis, the Mother and Medusa, the Crone.

The goat is sacred to Her in all Her aspects and Her ancient priestesses wore goat-skin aprons and magic goat-skin bags that contained a serpent and were protected by the serpent-like Gorgon mask. These aprons and bags were the original aegis which identified the wearer as being One of the Goddess’s Daughters, the Keepers of Her Mysteries. The snake symbolised wisdom and the purpose of the scary-looking Gorgon mask with its snake face and protruding tongue was to protect the Secrets of the Dark Moon from the uninitiated.

To this day Ethiopian girls still wear goat-skin aprons which are sometimes decorated with yonic cowie shells.

Although all of the three aspects of the Libyan Moon Goddess Anatha were later adopted by the Hellenic Greeks, Athena, Her Maiden aspect, was restyled as a daddy Zeus’s little girl and became a definite favourite with the by then patriarchal Greeks. (To find out more about Athena, Metis and Medusa, please check out my post: “Medusa – The Libyan Dark Moon Serpent Goddess“)

However, despite having had Her story severely twisted by the Hellenes Athena’s neolithic Moon Goddess roots have not been erased. She retains many of Her original attributes and amongst other things is accredited with having invented pottery, agriculture (esp. the plow) and, of course, the sciences, all of which were once part of the Sacred Mysteries taught to the Daughters of the Moon by the Goddess.

About 4,000 BCE some of the matrifocal Goddess-worshipping Libyans migrated north to Thrace and Crete. They took with them their Goddess and Her emblem, the sacred lunar horned goat.

On Crete, like the crescent-horned cow and bull, the goat was sacred to the Moon Goddess.

According to Rober Graves the Cretan or Minoan Triple Goddess was Amalthea, Io and Adrasteia.

Amalthea whose name means “tender” is the Maiden Goddess in the shape of a she-goat, while Io, the mothering aspect of Anatha, is depicted as a cow. Io was possibly once the same Goddess as the Mycenaean and later Classical Greek Hera, who was known as the “cow-eyed” Goddess. Both of them through their goat and cow epiphanies show close ties to Mother Earth. Adrasteia, the Crone aspect of the Triple Goddess, is described as being winged. Her name means “the Inescapable One” and She would later become the Greek Goddess Nemesis.

Their mother is Melissa, the Minoan Bee Goddess. Later patriarchal accounts changed Melissa, the mother, to Melissus, the father.

The Minoan Triple Moon Goddess also appears in Classical Greek mythology which tells of the Titan Goddess Rhea giving Her baby son Zeus to Mother Earth in order to protect him from his father Cronus. Interestingly Cronus was known to the Romans as Saturn, the astrological ruler of Capricorn. According to myth Mother Earth took baby Zeus to Lyctos on Crete where She hid him in the cave of Dicte on the Aegean Hill. This is where Amalthea, Io and Adrasteia took care of him, although according to the Classical Greeks it wasn’t Io but Ida who was the third Goddess. By then the Hellenic Greeks had reduced the three aspects of the Minoan Moon Goddess to Nymphs, which were seen as minor nature deities. Zeus was said to have been suckled by Amalthea, the she-goat, and lavished with honey, a sacred food of the matrifocal Cretans.

Later Classical Greek mythology tells us Zeus would somehow obtain one of his foster mother Amalthea’s crescent-shaped horns (accounts vary on the how) and turn it into the famous Cornucopia, the Horn of Plenty, a symbol of abundance and nourishment. He also immortalised Her as Capricorn in the night sky.

In order to understand the imagery of the Goat-Fish or Sea-Goat we need to look to Bronze Age Mesopotamia.

While during the early Neolithic era the Goddess reigned supreme, during the later New Stone Age She would be depicted as giving birth to a male child. During the Neolithic this child never grew up, but merely symbolised Her ability to give birth to something different to Herself from within Herself. During the Bronze Age in Mesopotamia (about 5,000 years ago) this male child eventually grew up and became the Goddess’s son-lover-consort. While the Goddess represents Mother Nature, who will always exist and forever remain constant, Her son-consort symbolises the transient aspect of life with its cyclical nature of birth, growth, maturity, decay, death and rebirth.

While the Goddess is depicted as the female animal such as the cow, the goat and the sow, Her son-consort is represented by the bull, the billy-goat and the boar.

In ancient Sumer the Goddess Nammu (Babylonian Tiamat) was the primordial sea that gave birth to all existence. As the Sumerians believed that the sky was made of water (the Upper Waters) Nammu as the primordial sea presumably represents the dark universe. Two of Her children are Ninhursag and Enki.

Ninhursag, also known as Ninmah, Ki, Uriash Damkina “Lady of That which is Below” and Damgalnunna “Big Lady of the Waters”, is Mother Earth. She is the “Mother of All Living”, a title that would later be adopted by Eve of Hebrew mythology.

Ninhursag is depicted wearing a horned headdress, identifying Her as also being a Moon Goddess, a tiered skirt, bow cases slung over Her shoulder with sometimes a mace in Her hand and a lion cub on a leash.

Ninhursag, the Earth, is the Great Mother, the Creatrix of Life. Every year She joins with Enki, Her brother and consort, in the fertility rite of the Hieros Gamos, the Sacred Marriage.

Enki, a very ancient god, represents the fresh water that fertilises the Earth. In the Mesopotamian region which is essentially a large desert it is only through the fresh water from the two rivers Tigris and Euphrates that plant life and thus animal life can thrive. And it is quite magical how the water from the rivers turns the brown soil green and creates an oasis amidst the dry arid region of the Middle East.

Enki, the “Lord of the Earth”, was known to the Babylonians as Ea, the “Lord of Fresh Water”. In Sumer and Babylon “a” or “ab” meant both “fresh water” and “semen” reminding us of how Enki as the rivers Tigris and Euphrates fertilises Ninhursag, the Earth, to bring forth new life.

Enki is often depicted as a billy goat with a fish tail. It is this very imagary that is the origin of Capricorn as Goat-Fish or Sea Goat. While the goat half represents his connection to Mother Earth, his fish half connects him to his mother Nammu, the primordial Goddess of the Sea, and identifies him as a god of fresh water in his own right. Through the element of water he is clearly linked to the Moon Goddess. Enki has also been linked to the double-helix snake, the Caduceus of Healing, which symbolises the wisdom of the dark moon.

Enki is described as a god of crafts, mischief (cf. the Greek goat god Pan), water, creation, intelligence and magic (due to the magical transformation of dry earth to lush vegetation by fresh water).

Capricorn’s Traits and Characteristics

Capricorns are the most charming introverts of the zodiac with a quiet wit and dignity. They are sensitive to the needs of others and make great project leaders. They are hard-working and expect only the best from themselves and their team. They have wonderful organisational skills and instinctively know when to control and when to let be.

Capricorns are multi-talented. No matter what they put their minds to they will naturally become the best at it. Capricorns are equally drawn to the arts as to the sciences. They can be found anywhere from directing plays in theatres, building, say, a new community centre to researching new medicines or inventing new technologies.

Capricorns are driven and ambitious and wish to leave their mark on society, which given their dedication and self-discipline is more than likely.

Capricorns are highly creative in the sense that they can actually make their ideas a reality. And ideas they have many! Capricorns will rarely be bored and can always come up with a new plan for a new project. They thrive on structure and are highly driven to create order from chaos.

One of the main themes that crops up time and time again in Capricorns’ lives is longevity and continuity. Their character is steadfast and perservering no matter what difficulties they may encounter. They are drawn to traditions and are the natural Keepers of the Old Wisdom.

Like all the Earth signs Capricorns are sensual and loyal and make wonderful friends, partners and friends. They are tolerate and non-judgemental.

In summary Capricorn women (and men) are:

– thoughtful
– serious
– introverted
– private
– subtle
– cool headed
– calm
– assessing
– careful
– deliberate
– patient

– acutely sensitive to the needs of others
– considerate
– at times self-sacrificing
– focused on society

– truth-seeking

– deeply mystic
– protectresses of old wisdom

– self-disciplined
– hard-working
– making the effort
– achievers
– perfectionists
– dedicated
– efficient
– professional

– seeing projects through to the end
– perserving
– steadfast
– loyal
– enduring
– reliable
– responsible especially towards the group

– grounded
– objective

– long-term focused
– forward planning
– thriving on structure
– with great organisational skills

– highly creative
– turn ideas into reality
– self-generating (never get bored)
– resourceful

– optimistic

– courteous
– charming
– with quiet wit
– dignified
– classy
– beautiful
– compassionate

– sensual

– tolerant
– non-judgemental

– ambitious
– driven
– leaving their mark

– talented in anything they put their minds to
– seeking to create order from chaos

– strong willed
– strong minded
– brave
– hardy
– able to exercise authority
– perfect project leaders (know when to control and when to step back)
– not scared of power

– with love of the land

Capricorn is a cardinal Earth sign that is ruled by Mother Holle, the Crone or Old Grandmother Time.

Capricorn is associated with earthy colours, browns, greens and the colour of winter, white.

Within the body Capricorn is linked to the the knees, skin, joints and the skeleton.

Capricorn qualities are most prominent when the Sun, the Moon or the Ascendant (Rising Sign) are in the sign of the Sea-Goat.

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Your Mother
    Nov 23, 2012 @ 18:00:26

    I’m a capricorn (Jan. 16).. Almost all of that is true about me except I am not hardworking and I’m not driven. Nor am I beautiful. I lost my motivation in pretty much everything. I am doing terrible in school. Life is.. a living hell. . . . I just wanna die.

    Reply

    • Silvestra
      Nov 23, 2012 @ 18:56:09

      I’m sorry that you’re having such a tough time at the moment. I hope things will start looking up for you again soon. I wish you all the best! S.

      Reply

    • Aron
      Nov 27, 2012 @ 05:31:26

      YOUR MOTHER I am Jan 12th, and I KNOW where you are coming from. Capricorns are prone to depression, and it can take the smallest thing that doesn’t work in our favor to trigger that. What I’ve learned is always try and think positive, don’t dwell on what can’t be changed or which you have no power over. Instead try and find a solution…keep your head high my Capricorn sister, stay blessed 🙂

      Reply

  2. AMBER
    Jul 31, 2013 @ 00:14:03

    WE ARE THE MOST HARD-WORKING AND UNDER-APPRECIATED SIGN TOO..

    Reply

  3. MDHK
    Jun 26, 2015 @ 21:16:49

    We Capricorns often have to overcome obstacles early on in life, sometimes obstacles completely out of human control (such as a parent, or other close person, passing away). We are prone to bouts of depression, as Aron mentioned; our polar opposite is Cancer, so I think we can handle the depression a little better than other signs. Our beauty might also come later in life, as we learn to relax.

    Reply

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