Capricorn: The Turning of the Wheel

This is the time of Capricorn. Winter solstice is both an entry into an ever-increasing time of light—the days are now beginning to get longer in the Northern Hemisphere–& the time when the Sun, our centerpoint, begins his transit (passage) through the zodiacal sign of Capricorn. It is a time when we remember that there is an order to all things, that there is a process that will not be denied. How fitting that one of the most significant turnings of the Wheel of the Year, the Winter Solstice point, is aligned to this ingress of the Sun into Capricorn in the western or tropical zodiac.   Sabian Symbol associated with 0*-1* Capricorn is:




Personal authority & an appetite for it, is clearly illustrated here.



Capricorn teaches us to find our own personal authority through the evidence that we can see outside of ourselves; to go to the root and hold fast to it knowing that it is grounded in reality and truth; to put our faith in the inexorable cycles of life because we have been witness to them in the past. We have no reason to think that we should expect any other eventuality than the one that we have always experienced; that life does follow a pattern and that it always will.


As I have previously mentioned, the ingress (entry) of the Sun into Capricorn is a beginning—like the New Moon. The Solstice point marks a shift in perspective, literally. The increasing light promises illumination is on the way. And, just as we can attune to new intentions, create new wishes and begin to construct new designs at the New Moon, so, too, at this time of the year, we can take a few moments to renew our intentional selves and attune to new pathways of becoming. This is especially relevant in 2020.


And, it is most appropriately linked to Capricorn, an energy concerned with building, construction, growth. It is in the element of EARTH that process begins and Capricorn is an earth sign, part of the family that includes Taurus and Virgo. The modality is cardinal where it is joined by Aries, Cancer and Libra. In the Natural Zodiac Wheel, it rests firmly at the southernmost part of that wheel or, as the eye sees it, the top. In astrological terms, it is aligned to the Midheaven, the most elevated point in the chart. So, though this energy is often quiet, reserved, contained and cautious, it is also deliberate, determined, goal-oriented and resourceful. It understands how to measure worth and then how to utilize that worth for maximum return. No wonder that it is often linked to business, commerce and management of some kind. With its alignment to the most visible part of the Natural Wheel of the zodiac, it also demonstrates the manner in which authentic, true leadership should be exercised; quietly, with caution & reserve; deliberately, with restraint & consideration.


The most ancient symbol associated with Capricorn is the Sea Goat, a mythic creature with the body of a fish and the head and shoulders of a goat. In modern times this symbol was gradually morphed into a plain goat. Thinking back to the original esoteric symbol, we glean something about the energy. Overtly, the Capricorn psyche aligns itself with the obvious, the goat. Clever, persistent and sure-footed, the hardy mountain goat can navigate just about any terrain. However, underneath that visibly competent exterior swirl the complexities of a different kind of nature and one that starkly contrasts with the practical, down to earth one we usually ascribe to this energy. Yet again, we are reminded that there is much more to Capricorn than meets the eye, literally demonstrated in the fishy body hidden deep in the water. Another way of understanding this dual nature is that this is, above all else, an energy that is able to find solutions to problems. The original myths associated with the Sea Goat involve the magic of shape-shifting in order to elude capture and survive. Capricorn is resourceful, able to assume many different forms in the face of danger, challenge and threat. If one strategy does not work, Capricorn will devise an alternate one until solution is realized. What an energy! Willing to face anything, able to go the distance, dependable and trustworthy and indestructible! Or, at least that is what it would like us to think!


This strange original symbol also indicates an internal nature—the hidden fish—that is much different than the obvious visible demeanor—the goat. Inside, Capricorn is not so rigid, more fluid as he navigates the watery realms of emotion. In fact, he does have the equipment necessary to deal with emotional complexities. He just does not necessarily trumpet it out for all to know.


But what about all that merry-making that goes on at Winter Solstice or Christmas? How does that co-relate to the energy of Capricorn? The answer is simple. Real celebration is that which is experienced as a result of accomplishment and Capricorn understands how to accomplish. So, when the work is finally done, this energy knows how to let loose and revel in its own success. Under that seemingly reserved and cautious exterior, is a sensuous, even hedonistic interior that is merely waiting for a reason to express itself—think, sea goat yet again! So, if you are a Capricorn type or have Capricorn types in your life, this is a good thing to understand—that they actually need an outlet on a regular basis, that without an outlet, they could well become so compressed that a distortion in the persona may even occur. Whenever something is not expressed openly and freely, it will find some other way to express itself. And this is the case with Capricorn. It is important to acknowledge it when there is a need to ‘let loose’.  So, all you Capricorns, all work and no play makes ‘Jack’ a dull boy, right?


Capricorn is the Elder energy of the Zodiac. An intrinsic part of the soul contract of anyone having an accentuated Capricorn energy, (several personal points located therein. Pluto in Capricorn or the nodes along the polarity of Capricorn/Cancer), involves a culmination process. Depending on the structure of the individual psyche, we can see someone who is operating in full fruition of the qualities expressed by the chart or, conversely, someone who has contracted to ‘payout’ the debt of past lives through the current life experience. Whatever the case in question, there is a deep knowledge contained within this energy, knowledge of application that leads to a result, the knowledge of how to persevere under any circumstances, the knowledge of how to apply determination and true grit of spirit to get results. Reactively, if the current life is a life of ‘payout’, the ego can experience frustration and even despair as a result of unrealized potential or dealing with the feeling that every move is impeded somewhere and somehow. Acceptance is a great tool when facing frustration and even despair. Focusing on the cyclical nature of life is also helpful. In the Major Arcana of the Tarot, the Wheel of Fortune card demonstrates this truth; that life is constantly changing. In the popular song, “That’s Life’, the songwriter expresses this idea very nicely when he writes, “riding high in April, shot down in May…but I’ll be back on top, back on top in June…that’s life…” If you are one of those Capricorn types who is facing challenges in your life (and at this current moment in time that would not be overly surprising), find the Wheel of Fortune card and use it as a focusing device. Gaze at this card and examine the nature of the wheel. Note that it appears to be in constant motion. Move into the motion of the Wheel and feel it inside of yourself. Trust that whatever is difficult, challenging, even unbearable, will, indeed, pass. Try it. You might find some relief if you need to endure just a bit longer.


Capricorn is an energy that loves to construct, to build, to sustain, and to order all that is in disorder. Its sense of wealth is founded on minimalism rather than accumulation. And yet, through skillful management of whatever resource it has, it can create substance seemingly out of nothing. It is like the soup pot that sustains the family for the whole week, simple yet nourishing, spare yet filling the belly. Ah, Capricorn, what would we do without you!


Competency is second nature to this energy and if there is something that needs mastering, there is a strong will to apply to the task. As an earthy energy, Capricorn concerns itself with what is real, what is, not with what might be. This is one of the great strengths of this energy; the ability to work in the present with what is available, a can-do kind of spirit that avoids self-pity at any cost, sometimes even at the cost of its own self. So, for those of you who are in relationship with a Capricorn type, nurture them even when they appear not to need it!



If this energy is not consciously worked, the Capricorn psyche can be cold, seemingly unsympathetic and harsh. There is a danger that one could become too hard-nosed, overly matter of fact and suppress all the magic that is also a part of this crazy life we live. The need for results can sometimes lead to ruthlessness and even cruelty. The expression coined by Machiavelli that, “the end justifies the means’ lends insight into the darker side of Capricorn ambition. And, just as the Mountain goat can jump over obstacles and land sure-footed on almost any surface, so, too, can the driven, goal-oriented Capricorn psyche disregard the welfare of those around him and even ‘under’ his metaphorical feet as he leaps into his self-perceived destiny. There can be a disregard for tender emotion and even impatience with others’ less practical attitude to reality. Interestingly, it is by accessing the feeling nature of the opposite or partner sign, Cancer, that Capricorn can bring some balance into its sometime too black and white world view. This means making an effort to open the heart chakra, ‘hear’ the ringing of the bell that is the heart chakra sound and becoming attuned to the message that the bell brings when it rings. For those of you who have experienced the ‘Heart Bell, you know how full of emotion this sound is, how it opens the self to the love that is the universal spirit of compassion and forgiveness, both qualities to which Capricorn must mindfully aspire. Once Capricorn determines that it must become more compassionate, more emotional, it will pursue this just as it pursues anything else, with determination, perseverance, single-mindedness and devotion. No wonder this energy can do just about anything!


The planet that is associated with Capricorn is Saturn.  In mythology, Saturn (or Cronos) is one of the primary gods. Saturn’s story is a story of passion, power, and pain. He overthrew his own father in his lust for power and then ate his own young so as to maintain his supremacy. Ultimately, he was overthrown by one of his own children, Jupiter, who then assumed the primary position amongst the pantheon of gods in Olympus. These mythological stories serve to illuminate something about the qualities of this planetary archetype. We begin to understand, when we meditate on them, that we, all of us, have built into our psyches the drive to dominate, to control our reality, to succeed according to whatever criteria we have set for ourselves. We have as deep a resonance of fear as we do of love and unless we consciously work through this resonance of fear, it can dominate our lives. In the Saturn function that is wired into the persona, we face the limits of our consciousness and we pay the price for every action we take (karma).


Saturn teaches us about the measure of time, that there is a cycle for everything. The physical planet has an orbital time of about 30 years so astrologers use the Saturn cycle to mark turning points in the life cycle. The first Saturn threshold comes at about 7 years of age. There is a whole body of work on this period of life, demonstrating how critical those first formative years are for the developing child. At 7 we begin to assume a more defined sense of self and it is the experience of the preceding 7 years that contribute to that sense of self. The next Saturn threshold is at about 14-15, the onset of adolescence, then 21, the entry into a preliminary kind of adulthood and then finally, 29-30 when, in most cases, we deal with the results of our choices, stepping fully into responsibility for not only ourselves but often for the family that we have begun to grow. If, at this point in the cycle, you have not put in the ‘time’ to create a firm, stable foundation, you will have no choice but to do so in whatever way is available to you. As an example, if you have not made an effort to develop some way to support yourself, you could experience any number of ‘hardships’ at this point in time. Nevertheless, the brutal reality is that you will have to deal with whatever it is that you have done. No skills? No job. No job? No money. No options? Well, off you go and work to find some. It may take time and require effort but the promise of Saturn is that if you put in the effort and take the time, you will begin to turn things around.


Saturn is all about the ultimate reality check. It is through the process of facing up to our actions, counting out or measuring the cost of all that we have done, that we learn and grow. If we heed the inner teacher, the Saturn function, we gather strength, we stabilize and we prosper. If we ignore the lessons of Saturn, we will not escape the consequences that ensue. In a sense, Saturn teaches us about the delicacy of true balance, about the process of finding that pivot point within the self. It is vital that we work hard to construct an inner structure that will enable us to maintain the reality that we are manifesting. Through Saturn, we truly learn who we are, and slowly, with determination and perseverance, we can hone ourselves to become diamond-bright souls rather than coal dust that can be scattered with a mere gust of wind. So, though we use words like containment and limit when discussing Saturn, we understand that it is a containment of security and a limit that creates comfort.


In the mythic story, Saturn is ultimately overthrown by Jupiter. This part of the story informs us that Goodness will always triumph over Evil. Our job is to maintain Trust that this is, indeed, so. Paradoxically, by accessing the Saturn Function within the self, we can actually arrive full-blown at the Jupiter function, that is to live in full faith and within the arms of spirit.


The thing to focus on is that any part of the persona has a reactive side and that it is sometimes easier to give in or give up than to stand firm and hang in. That is why we often associate so-called ‘bad’ things with Saturn. In fact, the truth is that there is relief in any situation if we only keep going and maintain faith. By connecting with our own inner will, another aspect of the Saturn part of the psyche, we can master whatever it is that we are experiencing. Thus, the reference to the teacher archetype associated with Saturn. At times, we can feel as if we are being ‘tested’ by our life experiences but if we draw on previous lessons learned and maintain an attitude of determination, we can grow into true masters rather than mere victims.


Saturn moves slowly through the signs of the Zodiac, spending about 2 ½ years in each one & we have just passed the moment when Saturn has finally exited his home sign of Capricorn & moved into the sign of Aquarius, along with Jupiter. It was a crystal moment in time & for those who were able to view the so-called ‘great conjunction’, breathtaking! We are looking ahead to a significant restructuring over the next 2 ½ years. For the next 200 or so years, these two giants will be meeting in air signs every 20 years. As a collective, we will be exploring the limits of our minds, the extent to which we can create new technologies, the very essence of creative thinking itself. Will we follow these threads into a more egalitarian society based on giving, love & humanity or will we get lost in the digital universe that seems to have separated us from one another & created a false reality in the process? Let’s all hope it is the former.



So, what can be said about ‘Saturn-like’ experiences. If the experiences are challenging, even threatening, you are being asked to reconsider what you are doing.  How can you be more diligent, pay greater attention to the bottom line, take more responsibility for any actions that you have taken or are taking? Where in your life must you hold fast, stay steady, hang tough? On the other hand, you might be reaping the rewards for hard work already accomplished, feeling full and content, experiencing a sense of safety and security. This, too, is the Saturn effect. If you know your chart, you can locate the Aquarius sector, and then explore just what is going on in that part of your life that could co-relate to some of the ideas I have discussed here.


House 1—body/self



House 2—resources/values



House 3—mental body/communication


House 4—home base/the personal




House 5—love/creativity & luck



House 6—daily routine/work/habits/health



House 7—interpersonal life



House 8—life/death/taxes & all things intimate



House 9—travel/education/the higher mind



House 10—you in the world out there/social personal




House 11—group associations/social causes




House 12—the inner life/unconscious drivers





As you can see, these 12 categories of experience pretty well cover what life is about, from the mundane concerns like resource and occupation (houses 2 & 6) to the more complex issues of meaning (house 9), relationships (houses 7& 8), and the inner life (houses 4 & 12). We move through our lives and like a surfer on his board, we navigate the waves, sometimes riding high and other times wiping out. Through the experiences we have, we acquire life skills, knowledge, and even, for some fortunate few, wisdom, the fruition of self. The key is that this is an ongoing experiential process. There is never a full stop and even transition from this physical life to whatever lies beyond merely takes us into yet another aspect of this spiral of becoming.



When considering Saturn, we face the bottom line of whatever sphere of life is being activated. As we stand face to face with the reality that we have created, we reap the results of our actions, positive or negative. If, in fact, we experience challenge or suffering, the assurance is that, if we pay attention to the ‘lesson’, we can then begin to shift our reality, brick by brick, so as to alleviate the extent of the suffering. The thing to keep in mind is that life is a wheel, always turning, never at a standstill even when it might appear to be so to our limited subjective minds.


On a collective level, Saturn is finally beginning to move away from his intimate union with Pluto, the God of the Underworld. These two energies have been in the same sign, Capricorn, for the last two years and over that period of time, came together in a conjunction. The conjunction aspect is considered to be a dynamic and sometimes challenging aspect. The dynamic part of this contact comes from the focus that is found when two archetypes unite. Focus contributes to result if applied appropriately. The Pluto part of this contact can be summed up in the words ‘power & transformation’. When this is conjoined to the Saturn aspect of reality, we begin to understand that the basic structure of what we see and experience is being transformed. Look at the current social climate. The very fundamentals of our culture are being re-imagined. It is not unreasonable to think that there is a power struggle ongoing between those who want to control & those who are being controlled. It is not finished by any means. Saturn is now moving into the individualistic & innovative energy of Aquarius. It is up to us to find beauty in our lives, reduce consumption, develop altruism and social consciousness, work hard and save more. We are changing and our community of choice is changing because of the change in us. There is a saying that espouses the concept that ‘we should be the change that we wish to see’. Saturn in Aquarius points us in the right direction for effecting change on the microcosmic (individual) and macrocosmic (collective) level. It is the time for the collective to rise up, to assume personal responsibility for personal actions taken and thus let that ripple out into the collective arena of society. Every day do something altruistic. Give. Share. Save. Love. Let us all reduce, reuse, and renew. Let us all seek inner contentment rather than external transitory stimulation. We are asking ourselves, both individually and collectively, to contain and sustain all aspects of our reality. No more throw-away culture, please. It takes a great effort of will to make such intrinsic changes to the status quo. We have to change the way we think, feel, and ultimately act to see even a little bit of change. We must examine our desire body and teach it to want to sustain and contain rather than consume and destroy. It isn’t going to be easy but it can be done if we have the inner grit to do it. Do we? Will we?




The energies of BEAR (as a totem) co-relate very nicely to Capricorn energy. Following is a description of this strong power animal.


Stand with me in silence.

Feel the rhythm of my heart deep within your heart, beating in harmony as the sun drops slowly into the arms of the sea.

I bring you remembrance and I bring you foresight. Use them well as you walk into the west, into the setting sun.

I am the sleeper who dreams the dream. As I lay deep within the hidden caves, I spin the story of your life. Come and join me in the world of dream and magic. In the place of magic and miracles, I will show you the Earth and I will show you the Sky. I will take you to the Rainbow Bridge that runs between the two. Rest with me in the shade of the Great Tree and gather wisdom from the rustling leaves. Silent, let it be.

In the bright light of the steamy Sun and the cool light of the luminescent Moon, we will dance together in the Great Circle of Joy. I will teach you to listen to the Sun, to feel the power within and to listen to the Moon, to hear the whisper of truth and to ride these rays with nimble feet.

If you have a question, enter into my stillness and speak. Out of the silence, I will answer and you will hear my voice. All that is asked in purity has a response born in mercy. My silence is your silence is my silence. Let it be so. And so will you know.

I am the healer and I bring you the skill of knowing the cure. Follow my lead and let your inner knowing guide you through the sickness that you seek to salve. I can tear away all that is rotten and soothe all that is broken. I know how to quiet the burning of the flesh and I know how to rouse the healer within you.

I am HE who fears nothing. I am raw courage, true, and strong. I will stand by you as you defend those that call for your help. I will help you as you help others.

If you call me to your side, I will bring you my devoted support. I will teach you silence in the face of chaos and self-certainty in the face of doubt. I will open your heart to the love that is always present and show you how to drink deep from the cup of loving-kindness. I will never leave you unless you tell me to go. Once we have bound each one to the other, I will stay at your side forever.

I am all that you wish to be and even more, that which you cannot even imagine. If you walk with me in courage and in trust, I will show you the pathway to your perfect self. Follow me. Follow me.

I am Bear and together we can dream the dream.