Cover Art (c) Georges Muchery
Oh, Capricorns. Aren’t they so hardworking? You admire pop astrology’s description of their willpower — they are often portrayed as willing to scale to the top of the mountain and preserve through all storms, so much so that sometimes, you wish you had that kind of work ethic for yourself (because you’re a Gemini and we all know Geminis are lazy, lol)!
Before we progress: There’s full bias here since I roll under the sign of the sea-goat myself. I, as most Caps, are not immune to the ego-stroking flattery that comes when other signs acknowledge our ability to haul ass under trying circumstances. Getting shit done when you’re tired, or you’re full of self-doubt — I like to think it’s a superpower to keep going when you want to give up. And I love that we Capricorns will see a goal we think is worth it and slam our foot on the gas pedal to get it, regardless of whether it’s mastering knitting or climbing up the corporate ladder.
I should also clear the air and say that yes, of course this isn’t just a Capricorn problem. Pop astrology, in order to maintain accessibility, will often dilute all of the zodiac signs individual qualities down to a handful of keywords so that it’s easy to remember which sign represents what. For example, I know that if I took a shot for however many times I saw words like “dreamy, spiritual, and spacey” tied in with Pisces, I’d probably need to be wheeled in to the hospital for alcohol poisoning.
But enough about that, though. Let’s deconstruct this pervasive belief that Capricorns are a drag.
Part 1: Understanding the Cancer/Capricorn Axsis as a Way to See Where the “Boring” Stereotype Comes From
I have noticed a particular lack of interest for Capricorn in the pop astrology realm. Accounts on Instagram will make memes of all the signs, often relegating us to being a “buzzkill,” “workaholic,” or, if they’re feeling nice, “the snarky know-it-all.” Now and again, I’ve encountered a meme where Caps get forgotten altogether — we aren’t even a footnote that gets to be a part of the memery.
Look, I get it. The shadow side of our sign can be quite dry. Capricorns who are operating on a lower vibration get so caught up in chasing the paper, they don’t leave a lot of room for things like fun, or relaxation. A “boring” Capricorn is one whose most exciting moment of the day came when they found out they were made Employee of the Month. A “boring” Capricorn thinks having a social life will hinder their goals and may thusly give people the cold shoulder, intimidating people away the same way an iron fortress hovering over a visiting knight does. It can be hard to form a relationship (platonic or romantic) with somebody whose only defining personality trait is that they “work hard.”
Now, I could cue the “not all Capricorns are like that” line because it’s true, we’re not. But I’m not going to throw the low vibrational Caps under the bus like that because — even as “droll” as they can be — I can see where that energy comes from. Low vibrational Capricorns may come off as “boring” to a lot of people, but it’s (usually) not because they want to; rather, they are operating from this “work hard” mentality because they are afraid.
They are afraid because they have seen or experienced what it was like to grow up in poverty.
They are afraid because people and systems they once trusted have betrayed them, people they thought they could rely on.
They are afraid to lack in a world that can and will take from them at a moment’s notice.
To them, working hard and building up a secure financial base is the most surefire mean of “protecting” themselves from outside threats. But where does that energy come from? Where does this “lack” mentality exist in a sign that can appear to others as being so sure-footed and prepared?
It’s important to remember that zodiac signs do not exist in a vacuum. When looking at the 12 constellations on a natal chart wheel, signs make aspects to each other.
Example 1: Pop astrology says Scorpios and Capricorns are compatible because Scorpio (which is two signs away from Capricorn) sextile each other. Sextiles are positive aspects where potential can be unlocked if recognized, thus promising an “easy flow” once understood.
Example 2: Pop astrology says Aries and Capricorn butt heads a lot because they square each other. Squares are tense astrological aspects that are difficult to reconcile because the way each sign wants to achieve something is disagreed upon.
And on it goes. I bring this up because it helps to keep in mind that the signs communicate with each other, sometimes nicely, sometimes not. Which leads me to my next point:
Because the zodiac doesn’t operate in a vacuum, it’s easier to understand the “droll” Capricorn when compared to it’s equally negative counterpart, the “weepy” Cancer. On the surface, these lower vibrational manifestations of the two signs can’t seem any more different. What does being a big crybaby have anything to do with a dead-inside office worker?
The keyword when looking at the Cancer/Capricorn opposition is security. Consider: the crab (Cancer’s symbol) protects itself by hiding inside its shell. For a Cancer, security is found from the inside-out. This is why Cancer is also associated with the mother; the mother provides a nurturing, emotionally validating environment for her family to thrive in. When those around her are secure, they in turn make her feel grounded, providing a comfortable environment for her to be vulnerable in. A secure Cancer is one that finds strength in their rawness — a crab that doesn’t have to hide.
For Capricorn, the sea-goat, security is found from the outside-in. Goats climb mountains to avoid would-be predators. Among their own, they brawl frequently, wanting to snuff out weaker links and keep their groups small. To show weakness is not something they are afforded if they want to avoid the rare (but very real) threat of falling off the cliff. And as the opposite to the motherly Cancer, Capricorns earn the title of “The Father of the Zodiac.” The father provides with substance. You know that he loves you because he goes to work every day and busts chops to make sure there’s a roof over your head and food on the table. He provides the physical bedrock for which his family can rest in; only when he knows they are safe and taken care of does he feel like he can show his more tender emotions. Put more simply, a secure Capricorn is one that is happy with the legacy they’ve built — a goat who doesn’t have to keep climbing.
Part 2: What Does a “fun” Capricorn Look Like? Visiting the Myth of Capricornus
So now you understand some of the reasoning behind why Capricorns might come off to others as “boring.” Yet you’re still not convinced that we can be “fun,” either. Seeing as I don’t know you very well, dear reader, I’m going to narrow down the list possible reasons to one of two things:
a) You are newer to astrology and so most of what you encounter is only a surface-level analysis (this isn’t a bad thing, it just means you’re still learning)!
b) You’ve had too many bad experiences with those “boring” Capricorns (which is valid, but casting your personal biases on a whole group of people makes you believe it’s a universal truth when it’s not)!
Regardless of which school of thought you’re coming from, I’m going to explore what a “fun” Capricorn looks like through the lens of mythology, partly because a mere anecdote lacks persuasion, but also because I think understanding the sign’s history will make you do a double-take when you compare it to current pop astrology meanings.
The constellation Capricornus was first documented in 2nd Century by Greek astronomer Ptolemy. It’s two mythological representations are Amalthea, the foster goat-mother of Zeus, and the Greek god Pan, the so-called patron of shepherds.
In Amalthea, you get the provider. Her legacy is Zeus himself; because she shielded him from danger and kept him nourished while keeping him hidden from Chronos, Zeus was able to forge from her his thunder-shield and the horn of plenty, one of the ultimate symbols for abundance. There’s a reason it’s called a “cornucopia” when something is overflowing!
Then there’s Pan. Half-human, half-goat, Pan is considered a God of the wild, fertility, rustic music, and “improptus.” He was once so taken by a nymph’s beauty that he pursued her despite her feeling from him; by the time he had “caught” her, Zeus had heard her pleas, having turned her into reeds. Angered that he couldn’t have her as he had so desired, he destroyed the reeds, only to later weep at the destruction his anger caused. Pan has also been depicted with Dionysus, the God of wine and revelry.
In the constellation’s mythos, you can see the duality. When we Caps are called forth to provide, we open our hearts and an abundance of care flows from our horn of plenty. Instinctually, even lower vibrational goats know this; what appears to you as surface-level status chasing could be to them an opportunity to get a raise, which in turn may be to because they want to help a relative make ends meet. Resentment may fester within them, but they know the pain of lacking in our very material, capitalist-driven society, and so they work hard to provide — sometimes at the expense of closing out everybody else to do it.
However, one of the problems Capricorns need to face in order to elevate themselves to a state of “higher” vibration is understanding that it’s okay to let their hair down and take care of themselves, too. Like Pan, a Cap in tune with themselves recognizes their deep-seated desires, letting them connect with each emotion with their whole being.
They let themselves be okay with their anger, feeling it out as it spreads from the coil of their gut.
They let themselves be okay with their happiness, reveling in the joys of life and not being ashamed to hit the dance floor from time to time.
They let themselves be okay with their lust, pursuing that which interests them with a determination more fierce than an Aries and more calculated than a Scorpio.
At the end of the day, you’ll know a “fun” Cap when you see one because they are secure enough to share their “horn of plenty” with others. They ditch their “lack” mentality and switch to one of “abundance,” knowing that even if others take from their cornucopia, there is plenty more where that came from.
First off, If you’ve got this far in reading my article, bless you.
Second off, if you got this far but still aren’t quite convinced that Capricorns can be “exciting,” I implore you to look at the “sea” part in “sea-goat” as well. Consider that another one of Pan’s most famous myths had him hiding in the Nile from the raging titan Typhon. In order to escape, he turned the lower half of his body into that of a fish. On a more literal level, we can see Pan’s strategic move as very Capricorn — he used rational wit and the resources around him to elude danger.
But if we take a second look, his willingness to temporarily abandon his surefooted goat-legs in favor of a fish tail shows that Capricorns are steeped in spiritual potential as well. There are times where our pragmatic nature cannot surmount a task, and it is in those times that we must remember to dip our feet in the water in order to search beyond ourselves.
A Capricorn firing on all cylinders is rarely surface-deep, and it could just be that they aren’t interested in showing you what hides beneath the water’s surface. It could also just be that you don’t find Capricorns interesting because you don’t want to take the chance to peer deeper — maybe you prefer having an instant connection, or somebody who isn’t bound up in so many layers. That’s okay either way, but just remember: there’s a reason the Devil takes the form of a goat.
Additional Reading and References