Information on Capricorn History and Myth
The History of Capricorn
The sign of Capricorn is not the same thing as the constellation Capricornus. They do not coincide and all of the stars from the constellation Capricornus are currently in the sign of Aquarius. The sign of Capricorn takes the tenth 30 degrees of the zodiacal circle, and begins with the first day of winter. This is a cardinal sign, meaning it marks the beginning of the season and the change it brings with it. The constellation Capricornus marked the winter solstice in the Early Bronze Age, for the Sun was in it when winter began until 130 BC.
The name of this constellation is Latin for “horned goat” or “goat horn”, and it is depicted as a sea-goat, a mythical creature that is half goat, half fish, bringing our attention to its tail with the brightest star in the constellation in it. The tail itself symbolically represents the past, our debts and what we are dragging from our past. The constellation is the smallest of all zodiacal constellations, and it is set in the area of the sky called “Sea” that consists of many water-related constellations such as Pisces and Eridanus.
Capricornus was listed by the 2nd century astronomer Ptolomy, but prior to this listing, it was one of the constellations oldest known to men, despite its faintness. It was represented as a hybrid of a goat and a fish since the Middle Bronze Age, with the first attested depictions dated around the 21st century BC. In Babylonian star catalogues it was recorded as “The Goat-Fish” before 1000 BC.
It is interesting that the planet Neptune was discovered in the constellation Caprcornus, near Deneb Algedi, the brightest star in the tail of the goat, on September 23, 1846. The link between Capricorn and Pisces seems to be incredibly strong, especially when you consider the symbolism of the creatures and all the stories regarding Capricorn and Capricornus.
The myth of Capricorn
The myth of Capricorn is connected to Pan, the god of the wild, shepherds and flocks, nature of mountain wilds and rustic music. He had goat legs and the musical instrument he played, the panpipes, telling a special love story of a woman who feared her courtier, running away from his compliments. One of the stories of Pan speaks of a gathering of gods that was interrupted by Typhon, the monstrous giant. Out of fear, all of the gods changed shape, while Pan jumped into the river Nile, turning his legs into a tail of the fish, and his torso to a goat, to confuse the monster and scare it away with his appearance.
The important story hidden behind Capricorn is the one in which Zeus was helped by a goat that invented the scary horn called “panikos”, on his mission to defeat the Titans. The horn was discovered in the sea, and this explains the fishtail that was given to the goat, while the horn must have been a shell that made a sound to force all the Titans to scatter, panicked. When Titans were finally defeated by the Olympians and sent to the Underworld, each day as the night fell, there was a sense of fear that the Titans will rise on the horizon.
The connection between the Capricorn myth and the Capricorn zodiac sign
The word “panic” is derived from the name of god Pan, or actually from panikos, the instrument with a sound that made the Titans scatter away. Each version of the myth connected to the sign of Capricorn and its corresponding constellation is mainly about fear. This is fear that makes people change shape, and pretend to be what they are not. This is fear that grabs everyone around a person, forcing them to inflict pain.
We can see a woman, running away from the compliments of a man, but also a woman who fears a man with a strange appearance that startles her in a dark place while she is alone. We can recognize the power of fear that creates even more fear, as Pan turns into a monster himself, in order to scare away Typhon. In addition, we can see all sorts of problems with the lower half of one’s body. The fear in these stories never fades, and it is there even when the battle is over, in expectance of the enemy to return.