The Archetype of Capricorn
by Jef Bartow
With this article, we come to the 12th constellation which plays a major archetypal role for humanity. Capricorn is also the last of the earth Signs within our zodiac. Least us forget, the element tendencies are how we are conditioned by the sign, while the qualities of the sign are how we mature consciously and progress in psychological growth. Capricorn combines the earth element with the cardinal quality. Together, they make a powerful combination for success in the outer world. Capricorns archetype is that of the industrious breadwinner. Being highly determined for success, Capricorn’s intent is in "finding one's own position within the greater possible whole." Focused on utilizing practical concrete and efficient methods, Capricorn provides the patience to endure restrictions, frustrations and difficulties until every obstacle is overcome and the goal is attained. Mythologically, Capricorn relates to the goat at various levels. The traditional one is the mountain goat, which is surefooted in the high-altitude difficult maneuvering mountains of our earth. The goat is also associated with the "harvesting of the grain and with the abundant cornucopia full of the fruits." As to mythological figures, Kronos (Saturn) is the usual symbol. Representing the masculine side of the generative principle, he also symbolizes time and eternity. Being the son of the great God Uranus and mother Earth, he came to power by ambushing and castrating his father. Unfortunately, he soon reverted to his father's ways and ultimately became a similar symbol of senile rigidity.
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The symbolism that best depicts the archetype of Capricorn is "the King must die so the new King can be born." What this brings is a "burdensome shouldering of unwelcome responsibility" with some form of imprisonment or limitation in bondage. Overall, Capricorn represents both the "duality and unity of the father and son."
Personality Conditioning: "active practicality"
The earth tendencies summarized by the word practicality conditions us to be pragmatic, efficient, patient, responsible and dependable. The cardinal influence of Capricorn turns this into highly ambitious, opportunistic, focused on material security while seeking both status and respect. Power is to be used for material gain, which is the measure of success. This power is translated into endurance, determination, self-sufficiency and perseverance.
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Capricorn’s influence leads us to become a natural organizer with good leadership ability; a hard worker with strong self-discipline; highly competitive with a natural talent for administration and management; and the generous and sacrificing authority figure for those who would rather follow than lead. Its most positive influence endows us with prudence, trustworthiness, integrity, unswerving loyalty and a thoughtful, compassionate and warmhearted nature. Where power is used, power can corrupt. Capricorn’s influence can also demonstrate as overly demanding, unsympathetic, winner takes all, intolerance and selfish retaliation. Internally, the "all-knowing father" faces an inferiority complex compounded by pessimism and a negative attitude about our own abilities. Here, we can become compulsive about living by shoulds in oughts, conflicting family duties, traditions and growing old. Unless the fundamentally materialistic nature represented by Capricorn is crucified (so we can become a true humanitarian), the paternal influence of Capricorn can make us hard, cruel, proud, egotistical, guilt ridden, paranoid and overly rigid. As we face down duty to the masculine, we can more easily develop self-esteem and nurture our "inner child." Through learning the lesson of unselfish love and humility, we become capable of living and expressing a whole other part of our nature. This includes the gentleness, warmth, free-flowing feelings and aesthetic values of the spiritualized feminine. Not surprisingly, Capricorn is a feminine sign capable of exhibiting powerful masculine qualities. Embracing the Capricorn archetype in its spiritualizing affect, we can ascend to our "chosen peak with ever-increasing sureness." We can give form to the formless and attain far-reaching goals in a patient wait for redemption. The result is Initiation. Our intermittent failures lead us to ultimate success and spiritual attainment. Although the Initiatory Path of spiritualization never ends, each progressive Initiation measures our success in moving from a self-oriented human to a spiritual Being capable of great service.
Living a Spiritual Life as a Co-creator with God
The synthesis of cardinal qualities with earth tendencies focused on unselfish service provides us the opportunity to become a great catalyst and great transformer. This is represented by the unicorn as the "fighting and triumphant creature." The "tremendous outpouring of creativity" through our "unrelenting transformation and change" not only brings us our culminating purpose, but the creative resources to express it. The Capricorn archetype in our spiritual life brings us to the mountaintop. What we do from there, we will only know when we get there. But frankly, the arduous journey is worth the results. Once we fully embrace our Capricorn archetype within, we know there is no retreat worth living. And by the grace of God, we are given everything we need to complete the process.
Living the Holy Grail
The spiritual influence of the Archetype of Aquarius is realized through living the Holy Grail. For each of us, this means living it in the areas of life where Aquarius resides. For myself, with Aquarius predominately in my third house and on the fourth house cusp, it has meant living the above through my thinking, writing, lecturing and publishing (all third house activities). Although I have gained the gifts of the Holy Grail for myself, the power of my writing and publishing has truly been for the benefit of the larger group of kindred spirits and, hopefully down the road, for much of humanity. A spiritual Aquarian exhibits a creative genius. Through living with integrity, charity and tolerance toward others, the spiritual Aquarian makes a better world for all through enlightenment, living a vision of equality and essential unity of all while expressing a universal orientation to the brotherhood of collective souls. By then pouring spiritual knowledge and revelation of truth into the outer world, the spiritual Aquarian gives vitality and momentum in transforming the earthly focus of humanity. The natural results of becoming the spiritual Aquarian have been described in the focus and service of "avatars" helping humanity through the trials and tribulations in becoming soul infused and a spiritual initiate.
Individuating the Self through Initiation
Spiritualizing the self through Capricorn (like Aries, Cancer and Libra) begins with embracing cardinal qualities. These include, but are not limited to, becoming progressive, resourceful, dynamic and energetic with acute self initiation. A stable and stubborn mountain goat needs to become the "one pointed resolve of the unicorn. From the descriptions above, it's fairly easy to conclude that we must "break free from our attachment to the material forms of life." This includes dethroning and dismembering our own internal father figure (right after we have done so to any external paternalistic authority figures). This entails resolving the "inner conflict over what is duty to Self, duty to Father, and duty to the collective."