The Dark Side of Capricorn

New Line Cinema

Capricorns are born in the wintry dark and carry a bit of that "Winter is coming" portentousness year-round. They're cold stone sober at times, being of the season of the longest nights.

Winter is a time when our ancestors dealt with the harsh realities of survival. There's a touch of the survivalist in Capricorn, who works hard to make it through tough times.

Though Samhain is a time of thin veils, it's been my experience that Winter Solstice is the darkest night of the soul. And seasonally, it's a tough time for many, when thoughts of death and dying (suicide) peak. The dark envelopes, and it's not as easy to find that light of faith -- we have to dig deep and with persistence.

Capricorn then is a sign of those reserves of strength, but one that faces these dark realities of mortality, the dying time of nature, the lack of light. Along with that, it's a month when the Moon peaks in Cancer, bringing emotional yearnings for closeness and familial closeness to a crescendo.

Poor Capricorn can become grim and grave-faced, and suffer with depression in a big way.

A Capricorn that's denied herself the comforts of private life, in pursuit of that career peak, can lash out, until they realize what's missing. If the shadow is running things, they could be that boss that pushes everyone to model their own ways of putting work first, and paying a price.

The Saturn Thing

The late great Linda Goodman of Love Signs fame writes of Capricorn's "blind obeisance to tradition, family, law and order and all forms of authority." She adds, "Goat J. Edgar Hoover was just doing his Saturn thing."

Capricorn is ruled by Saturn, the planet of authority, that's in that automatic mode, when it's not matured to a more authentic, self-styled and earned credential. If we look at a fearful Saturn as wanting to control, keep order, we see all the ways the dark side can play out.

They are the ones that hide behind a uniform or government authority. And Capricorn is cardinal in its mode - they are natural born leaders. Will they be tyrants or rule fairly? A saving grace is that they want you to be productive, because it reflects well on them. But a rigid-minded Goat inspires rebellion, and often squashes originality.

A negative trait of Capricorn is seeing rank or standing as an established, solid thing.

I've found, too, that Capricorns can take as set in stone, all kinds of hierarchies, even those that are cultural or somewhat alternative. A Capricorn friend once couldn't get why I didn't want to write for a regional Magazine, as it was "THE best one I could be associated with." But I found it on the pretentious side, and even the editors there admitted it was a booster magazine for advertisers.

She also judged my then-boyfriend-now-husband as not up to par, because, well, he lived in a storage unit. To her credit, others likely thought it, while she said it! Capricorn is an earth sign of strong opinions, and you know where they stand. If you don't share the same values, or the same idea of status, that becomes a larger and larger gulf.

The Scrooge

And then there's the materialism of Capricorn, the love of worldly things taken to its extreme. In her classic book Practical Astrology, the merrily creative writer April Elliott Kent names Scrooge in Dickens' A Christmas Carol as a Capricorn character, the misanthrope who becomes a new man.

She writes, "Dry, brittle, and preoccupied with material success, Scrooge is transformed by an encounter with the spirit world (Capricorn is symbolized by the sea goat and can make his home in both the physical and spiritual realms). Confronted with spectral visions of what he is, what he has been, and what he will be if he keeps going int he same direction, Scrooge sees the light - it is, after all, a solstice tale - and opens his heart to the true wealth of friends."

The Long View

Dickens' Scrooge is an old man, and Capricorn is the sign of old age, the winter of life. It's in this deep dark that we have that kind of life review, those "spectral visions" of what will unfold, if the path isn't altered.

And perhaps that pessimism comes from seeing so many going along, not taking charge of their lives or altering the course of history. Capricorn gets cynical, from ruminating on all the passive sheeple going toward their doom, individually or collectively.

That's when Capricorn gets morose, despairing over all that's wrong, and how things are seemingly getting worse and worse. But if the even longer view is seen, Capricorn becomes the sign of ancient earth, with chronologies marked in epochs that they find peace with contemporary life.

It's harder for some to find the lightness in Capricorns they know, or for Cappy's to find their own light. But when, they do, it's like finding a light to carry through all time, that stands up to the darkest ordeals.

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