Capricorn Animal Totems and Archetypes

The Sun enters Capricorn on Tuesday 22nd December 2015 at 4.48 a.m. in the U.K.  This is the eighth in the series where I look at some of the animal totems and Archetypes for the various signs. Do you, or someone close to you, have Sun, Ascendant or Moon in Capricorn?


The Goat is the traditional animal totem for Capricorn, and for the Capricorn Inner Child the story of the three Billy Goats Gruff is perfect, though scary, incorporating the idea of overcoming fear!

The mountain climber, or social climber, as embodied by Capricorn encompasses the qualities of ambition and perseverance we associate with this sign.

Ted Andrews description of Goat in “Animal Speak” is almost word perfect for a textbook on Capricorn, emphasizing for the mountain goat surefootedness and seeking new heights. He particularly focuses on the connection between Capricorn and the skeletal system. Here is a sample:

“…Their highly flexible skeletal system is very significant.  Comprised of bones and cartilage, it is the support system for the framework of the body and assists in its movement.  If a mountain goat has shown up as a totem, ask yourself some important questions.  are you getting the support you need as you move up into new areas?  Are you giving the proper support to others as they move?  Are you being too inflexible in exploring new possibilities?  Are you feeling a lack of support or a need for support?”

…If the mountain goat has climbed into your life, this is a time to begin new climbs and new endeavours.  You will not need to rush into them.  With proper foresight, you will see what is ahead and will be able to move forward with greater surety.”


About 20 years ago, I submitted a feature to “Kindred Spirit” magazine about Wolf totem, and its association as pathfinder and teacher with Capricorn.  The article wasn’t printed, but they wrote another article in response, and printed an accreditation with our names (it was co-written by myself and my Capricornian daughter).

Wolf is the Teacher in the sense of being an Elder, imparting wisdom born of experience.  It is this quality which links him with Capricorn.

The “lean and hungry look” of Cassius in Julius Caesar also links to Capricorn’s physicality, an attribute of wolf.

Famous Example: Kevin Costner

Kevin Costner has Sun closely conjunct Chiron in Capricorn and North Node in Capricorn, and was driven to make the film “Dances with Wolves” in which he starred as hero.  I believe he was tapping into a Native American past life, and indeed he had karma with the Native Americans even in this lifetime, as later there was a dispute over rights to land, but he also set up an educational centre in relation to the history of the bison and the Native Americans.


Though monkeys are associated with Gemini, Gorillas have more gravitas and would be assigned to Capricorn – witness King Kong at the top of the Skyscraper!  There is a lot of respect that goes with Gorilla.

Nicholas J. Saunders says: “Gorillas are gentle and dexterous, able to fold nettle leaves so that they may eat them without being stung”.  Capricorn is so very practical!

Famous Example: Dian Fossey

Gorilla expert Dian Fossey who wrote “Gorillas in the Mist” was a Sun sign Capricorn with Saturn its ruler exactly conjunct her Sun, and Mercury and Mars at the far ends of Capricorn.  She studied mountain gorilla groups for 18 years, working in the mountain forests of Rwanda in cold, dark and muddy conditions.


The dog breeds I associate with Capricorn are the Alsatian (German Shepherd) and the Huskies of Alaska and Siberia.  Siberia is one of the places associated with Capricorn.


It is rare to come across someone who has a dinosaur animal totem, but I would ascribe this totem to Capricorn.  I have a friend who is associated with a Capricorn family, and has Saturn rising (the ruling planet of Capricorn), and when I learned of her dinosaur totem, I turned to my good friend Sandy (who has now passed over) with whom I developed the animal totem work many years ago.  She was a shaman and a seer, and had far memory, and provided a vignette of what she saw in association with this totem:

“What I first ‘saw’ was a group…the trees and vegetation were very important.  then when I ‘tried to see’ again there was just one [dinosaur] with another smaller and younger mate or baby, I didn’t know which.  Again the Sun was shining very brightly, and somehow the plants or trees were of utmost importance.”


As I wrote in a recent blog about Past Life Regression, people in regression can experience memories of dinosaurs.

Bird Totems

I have identified some common garden birds such as the blackbird and coal tit (shared with Scorpio, and in some cases Gemini) as being associated with Capricorn.


In “Birds Divine Messengers” Angela Wansbury’s attributions for Coot seem to fall squarely in Capricorn territory.  Its message is “Discipline”, a quality of Capricorn, and she ascribes the Archetype “Drill Sergeant” to this water bird:

“A coot is saying there is an area in your life where more discipline is needed.  Is it to do with a nutritional programme or an exercise programme you know you should adhere to, or is it to do with kicking a bad habit?”

 Mythological Figures


The Greek Goat God Pan has always been associated with Capricorn and country life.  According to Nicholas J. Saunders: “Originating in myths of the mountainous region of Arcadia, Pan was born with the hindlegs, horns and beard of a goat. He was a shepherd deity, the protector of flocks.”

Sea Goat

There also exists an old symbol for Capricorn consisting of a Sea Goat with a fish tail, sometimes referred to as a Goat Fish.  This mythical creature has a head and upper body of a goat, which like the centaur of Sagittarius indicates a dual nature.  In this case, the body indicates the practical nature, and the fish tail represents the soul nature.  This symbol goes right back to Babylonian astrology.



The Politician Archetype represents the role of Capricorn in the outside world, associated with its 10th House of Career and Capricorn’s gift for administration.  I created a Past Life Archetype for South Node in Capricorn in an article of 2010 which encapsulates much about Capricorn’s association with Politics:

Archetype:  The Politician

Place: Russia

Time: 1905

“My name is Piotr, and I whisper in the corridors of power. But even the whispering has rules. You speak only when you are spoken to by someone above your rank. You only speak that which is necessary and the bare minimum and for a serious purpose.  Every word is weighed carefully.  And information is classified, on a need-to-know basis.  Sssh!  I cannot tell you anything at the moment.  Sometimes you’d think this was an old Trappist monastery.”


At the opposite end of the spectrum and paradoxically withdrawing from the world, the Hermit also expresses part of the Capricornian psyche.  Capricorn men in a family often play the role of the strong, silent type, which is a type of withdrawal.

This Archetype has features in common with Pisces (spiritual retreat) and Virgo (“I want to be alone”, uttered by Greta Garbo who was a Virgo).  I see the Capricorn manifestation as less of a spiritual retreat than the Piscean manifestation.  In Tarot, Saturn (Capricorn’s ruler) is often ascribed to The Hermit, because of its association with Old Father time (Chronos).

One of the variations of Hermit is the Recluse.  One whose name was synonymous with reclusivity is Howard Hughes:

Famous Example: Howard Hughes

Millionaire Howard Hughes famously took refuge in the Desert Inn, where apparently he did not open the curtains for 9 years.  He had Sun/Uranus in Capricorn in 4th House of Home.  When he began his reclusive behaviour Pluto was square his natal Venus (a major change in relating to others).

The Patriarch

The Patriarch is a Capricorn Archetype, the polar opposite being the Mother of the Cancerian Sun sign.

Under “the Father” for the Leo Archetypes, I wrote:

“Shared with the sign of Capricorn, this Archetype in its Leo manifestation brings up a feeling of Protectiveness and Guidance.  The Capricorn manifestation is more authoritarian and disciplined in nature.”

The Leo Father Archetype is closer to the Creator and is more playful, whereas the related Capricorn Archetype of the Patriarch has more gravitas.

In Caroline Myss’ book “Sacred Contracts” (and she is making no distinction between the Father and the Patriarch) she writes: “This archetype combines a talent for creating or initiating with the ability to oversee others, whether a biological family or a group of creative people”.


A word about ageing, zodiacwise: Geminis are known for looking and acting ever youthfully.  Capricorns are known for having an old head on young shoulders when young, and growing old gracefully into their old age as their prime of life.

So we have as a Capricorn Archetype the Crone, or Wise Woman.  Again quoting from Caroline Myss: “Wisdom also comes with age, and so the Crone or Wise Woman represents the ripening of natural insight and the acceptance of what is, allowing one to pass that wisdom to others.”  Again we have a hint of the qualities of patience and forbearance of Capricorn and Old Father Time Saturn, a sense of knowing that All Things Must Pass.

In her Shamanic system, Nicky Scully uses the Crone as a major player on her healing journeys: “It is this Crone, the wise, old female aspect of yourself, who opens your third eye and begins instructing you on the ways of intuition, herbs, and healing.”


 “Sacred Contracts” by Caroline Myss

 “Animal Speak” by Ted Andrews

“Animal Spirits” by Nicholas J. Saunders

“Birds Divine Messengers” by Andrea Wansbury

“The Golden Cauldron” by Nicky Scully


In this week running up to Christmas the first aspect we encounter is in the early hours of tomorrow, Monday morning, and it is a challenging square between Mercury and Uranus.  The shops are hoping it is going to be Panic Monday, for buying last minute Christmas presents, as it may well be!  So a better start to the week would be to open with a Meditation to establish a calmer basis for this week’s activities.  Or if you don’t want a frenetic week, alternatively you could sing the words of Silent Night:

“Silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright…”.

Mercury does sextile Chiron too, which goes some way to bringing healing.  There may be a tussle between the forces of Uranus, which are disruptive, and the forces of Chiron, which are healing, so try to balance them or just observe which one is winning at any given moment.

In the early hours of Tuesday (22nd) the Winter Solstice occurs, with the entry of the Sun into Capricorn.  May I wish you a Happy Solstice and the return of the light.

Thursday (24th), Christmas Eve, blesses us with a beautiful sextile between Venus and Jupiter, a real holiday atmosphere, the embodiment of Good Will to All.  Socializing and gifts are well starred that day.

Unusually, the Moon is Full on Christmas Day (Friday 25th), in the sign of Cancer (degree 3), and at the spiritually significant time for some: 11.11 a.m. in the U.K.  This ensures a high tide of emotion at relatives reunited or absent loved ones, either way tears are likely to be shed.

But the real Christmas gift from the Universe occurs at 20.19 Hrs with Mercury trine Jupiter.  That ensures a good atmosphere, with compliments and jokes flying.  Much may be learned too about family history or philosophy.  The evening turkey or tofu sandwiches will go down well.  Mercury trine Jupiter will aid the digestion, but may induce a climate of overeating.

I cannot advise you on your television choices.  In the U.K. the main choices at 20.19 Hrs will be Call the Midwife, The Two Ronnies and Downton Abbey.  Call the Midwife reflects the Full Moon, The Two Ronnies are the comedy angle of Mercury trine Jupiter, and Downton Abbey probably leans more to the Full Moon tears than the Mercury-Jupiter comedy!  Who has the upper hand with the remote control in your gathering?  If you are spending Christmas evening alone Mercury trine Jupiter will free your mind and choices.

You may get a stirring, that evening, of the vibrations of Uranus turning, which occurs in the early hours of Saturday (26th), Boxing Day.  There may be a restlessness, a feeling that there is something afoot.  Uranus may deliver a surprise as it stations prior to turning direct.  There may be an area of mental awareness which is assisted by this turn of affairs.  The Christmas evening Mercury-Jupiter trine will open your mind to possibility and opportunity, and Uranus turning may galvanize an idea and make it attractive as a way of moving forward.

Happy Christmas to All!

The week in bullet points:

  • Tomorrow – shock and healing
  • Tuesday – the return of the light
  • Thursday – harmony and uplift
  • Friday – emotion and jollity
  • Saturday – progress