On Capricorn, the Sea-goat

During this Christmas week, the sun is passing through tropical Capricorn as Christians around the world celebrate the birth of the Christ Child. In the tropical zodiac, zero degrees of Capricorn marks the Winter Solstice in the northern hemisphere and is the shortest day of the year, the day when we experience the least amount of daylight and the maximal amount of darkness. In mythology, Capricorn is associated with the Sea-goat, a kind of impossible mythical creature which is goat from the waist up and fish from the waist down. Is there a connection between the symbolism of Capricorn and the Christian myth of God the Father sending his only Son to redeem humanity by dying on the cross? To answer this question we need to consider the myths of Pricus and Cronos and what they have to say about the relationships between parents and their offspring.

Capricornus as a sea-goat from Urania’s Mirror (1825).

According to Greek mythology, the first sea-goat was named Pricus and he was created by Cronos, the god of time. According to wikipedia (bold print mine):

“Despite its faintness, the constellation Capricornus has one of the oldest mythological associations, having been consistently represented as a hybrid of a goat and a fish since the Middle Bronze Age [roughly 1500–1200 BCE], when the Babylonians used MULSUḪUR.MAŠ “The Goat-Fish” as a symbol of their god Ea. In Greek mythology, the constellation is sometimes identified as Amalthea, the goat that suckled the infant Zeus after his mother, Rhea, saved him from being devoured by his father, Cronos. … Cronos created the immortal Pricus, who shares Chronos’s ability to manipulate time. He had lots of children who lived near the seashore, but when they found themselves on the dry land they turned into normal goats, losing their special ability to think and speak in the process. In an effort to prevent this, Pricus turns back time, again and again; however, he eventually resigns himself to loneliness and misery, letting the little Sea Goats leave him. Learning he cannot control their fate and not wanting to be the only Sea Goat prompts him to ask Cronos to let him die. Because he is immortal instead, he must spend eternity in the sky as Capricorn.”

An American alligator in Florida. (Source: Getty Images)

Interestingly, this same mythology appears in the Vedic literature in which Capricorn is called makara, a Sanskrti word meaning crocodile, alligator, porpoise, dolphin or sea-monster. According to BPHS (Sharma translation): Capricorn is “lorded by Saturn, Tamoguni (Tamasic) and its element is earth. It resides in the south and is strong at night. It rises with its back, has an unwieldy or huge body, is variegated (in color) and wanders on land and in forests. It is quadruped in the first half and footless in the second half and it glides in water.” For a detailed discussion of the Vedic view of Capricorn, I recommend the video by Corey Dowds All about the Capricorn Rasi.

To experiment with this symbolism of a Sea-goat, which could also be a sea-monster (makara), I looked at the event chart of a toddler who was killed in Florida by an alligator at a Disney resort in 2016. According to news reports the two-year-old was wading in a lagoon near the Walt Disney World Hotel around 9 pm on Tuesday 14 June 2014 when an alligator came out of the water and dragged the child into the lagoon. His body was found a couple days later. Here is the chart in the tropical zodiac with Placidus houses for that incident.

Around 9 pm or shortly thereafter an alligator dragged the toddler into the lake. The first call to the authorities occurred at about 9:16 pm after the parents were unable to retrieve the child.

In the chart for the attack (around 9 pm) Capricorn is rising and its ruler Saturn is Retrograde and conjoins the cusp of the unfortunate 12th house of loss and grief. Retrograde Pluto (god of the underworld) rises in the 1st house. In addition, the lord of the hour at this location is also the Ascendant-ruler Saturn, the first hour of the night which lasted until about 9:11 pm. Transiting Moon has just opposed transiting Uranus, marking this as a period of sudden unexpected events. The Retrograde Neptune in Pisces very closely squaring Asc-ruler Saturn in Sagittarius carries a malefic connotation of dissolution and loss.

In this case, the prominence of Saturn as the Ascendant lord, the hour lord on a Mars day (Tuesday), and the lord of the first hour of the night making Saturn also lord of the entire nocturnal period, highlights the symbolism of Capricorn as a makara or type of sea-monster. The myth of the Sea-goat Pricus suffering loneliness and misery is particularly poignant in this news story because, even with his power to turn back time, Pricus must accept the fact that he is powerless to control his children’s destiny or to make them return to him.

In addition to the myth of Pricus being associated with the sign Capricorn and its symbolism related to the relationship between parents and their children, we have the myth of Capricorn’s ruler Saturn (Cronos) devouring his children in an effort to maintain his power and dominion. The painting by Goya depicts this myth is dramatic form. In the tragic story from Florida we see a horrific re-enactment of the archetype of Cronos and his young child.

Francisco Goya (1746–1828): Saturn Devouring his Son, Museo del Prado, Madrid

About Anthony Louis

Author of books about astrology and tarot, including TAROT PLAIN AND SIMPLE, HORARY ASTROLOGY, and THE ART OF FORECASTING WITH SOLAR RETURNS.
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3 Responses to On Capricorn, the Sea-goat

  1. Jeffrey Geist says:


    Sent from my iPhone

  2. Kilaya says:

    Very nice. I also have been researching makaras and appreciate your comments. I see some possibility that the makara is the same creature that is called dragon in Asia. They are featured prominently in Hindu temple iconography in India and are mentioned in the Bhagavad-Gita as extremely powerful and fearsome. Connecting them to Capricorn and Saturn makes sense to me.

  3. Kilaya says:

    I am confused by your referral to a video that covers Capricorn from the Vedic perspective. Is this really relevant for a tropical zodiac astrologer?

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