Capricorn is depicted as a strange creature, part goat, part fish. According to Greek mythology, there once was a whole tribe of sea-goats, which lived near the shore. They were intelligent beings that had the unique ability to speak and to think, and they were able to make themselves at home both in the ocean, and on land. However, the more time they spent on land the more they lost their unique gifts and turned into ordinary goats. The father of this tribe was Pricus, a wise old goat who shared some of the attributes of Chronus, the of time, who had created him. His goat-fish children enjoyed exploring the shores, and as they spent more and more time on the land they forgot their origins and even the ability to return to the sea. Pricus was saddened by this and tried to turn back the time, thus bringing his children back to the sea. But eventually, he realised he could not keep them from following their hooves to new shores and new adventures. He let them go and eventually was the only sea-goat left in the sea. Sad and lonely, he asked Chronus to let him die. But Pricus was immortal, so dying was not possible for him. But to relieve him of his loneliness Cronus placed him among the stars as the constellation of Capricorn.

The goat-fish is also sometimes seen as the she-goat Amalthea, who suckled the infant Zeus. Cronus, who in order to circumvent the predictions of the oracle which had predicted that he would be usurped by one of his sons, swallowed all his children directly after birth. Cronus himself had emasculated his father Uranus and feared divine retribution. But his wife Rhea had also heard the oracular prediction and, desperate to save at least one of her children, handed Cronus a stone wrapped in swaddling clothes, which he promptly swallowed. She then took the infant to the she-goat Amalthea, who suckled and fostered the infant God.

Another myth, which is much older, can be traced to the Sumerian God Ea, ‘the God of the House of Water’, whose symbol is the goat-fish. In Hellenistic times, Ea was referred to as Oannes, which morphed into Greek Ioannes and Latin Johannes (Campbell, Occidental Mythology, 1964). We know this Johannes as John, the Baptist, who practiced baptism as a right of purification. To be submerged in the waters is a rite of passage, a crossing of a threshold between old of matter and spirit.

The symbol of the goat-fish reminds us of our oceanic spiritual origins, which, however, we forget as we move into the material world. Capricorns have both of these qualities, but they can lose their spiritual connection if they become too ambitious and engrossed by the promise of material gain and worldly status. They can become obsessed with worldly gain.

To develop their full potential they need to consciously immerse themselves once again in the waters of life and connect with their spiritual selves and find spiritual meaning in their lives.

Higher octave: the dove, as a harbinger of the spirit