What Does The Capricorn Symbol & Glyph Mean?

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In astrology, Capricorn is the tenth sign of the Zodiac, and is a feminine Earth sign that is ruled by the planet Saturn. Not only that, but Capricorn is also one of the Cardinal signs. This makes for more of a "hard work rather than hard play" type of energy, as Saturn is known for its serious nature.

For Capricorns, they often have to learn the lesson that while they can keep working on something indefinitely, it doesn’t mean it always comes to fruition. In many ways, this is why the true mantra of this sign is, "Change will always set you free," especially from the ruts they’ve worked themselves into.

This is depicted in the different Capricorn symbols and glyphs, as well as the myth behind this tenacious sign.

Meaning of the Capricorn Symbol

The symbol for the astrological sign Capricorn is a Sea-Goat.

Capricorn has so many intricate stories attached to it as part of how she changed into a sea-goat, and then what powers and challenges she encountered after that. So, it’s no surprise that there are many different ways to draw the Capricorn symbol.

Two of the most popular symbols look like a "n" or "v," with a loop on the right side that dips down; however, there are others that also mirror more of the glyph.

The basis of this glyph is that its supposed to represent a goat with a fishtail, but sometimes it’s a goat with horns, and other times the tail is looping down more so than others. 

But the commonality in the Capricorn symbol is that there is a circle within the loop said to represent the spirit, which signifies the true nature of who we are, and the fear of what we sometimes have to go through to embody that true self.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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This also ties into that aspect of change because those who carry this zodiac sign in their chart have to learn the lesson of doing what we feel obligated to, versus doing what actually calls to us.

While Capricorn carries with it strong, ambitious energy, it’s also a sign that can feel weighed down by obligation. But what we learn through the lessons we encounter, is that we feel freer when we allow ourselves, others, and our life circumstances to change.

Sometimes they grow and expand, and sometimes they constrict. But to recognize and then respond to the changes around us allows Capricorns to never feel like they need to keep trudging up a mountain they no longer wish to climb.

Learning this lesson helps Capricorns embrace the change around them, instead of fearing and resisting it.

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Why is the Capricorn symbol a goat?

The goat comes from the connection between the traditional characterizations of Capricorn as a sea-goat (from myths and its constellation), and the Sumerian god of wisdom and waters, Enki, who also had the head and upper body of a goat, and the lower body and tail of a fish.

Therefore, the sea-goat became the unique symbol for Capricorn.

Why does Capricorn have two symbols?

The multiple symbols come from the dual nature of Capricornus, which is reflective of the nature that the zodiac sign themselves can often see. This feels like being split between two worlds or two ways of living. Earth-bound, meaning practical and logical, versus water, which is about innovation and freedom.

For the best-case scenario, we end up combining both so we know what to keep working on, and what to set ourselves free from.

This energy is depicted in the myth around this legendary creature in which the gods were under attack. Pan, connected to Capricorn, jumped into the Nile to change shape so she could scare away those that were attacking. The shape she changed into was the sea goat — half goat, half fish.

Sometimes this is connected to a fear of being oneself, or fear of being seen for who we truly are, which can manifest if we share the Capricorn zodiac sign or if transit is occurring within it.

What is the animal for Capricorn?

The animal for Capricorn is a mythical creature that has many iterations and versions.

The last of the Earth zodiac signs is represented by a Sea-Goat, a mythological creature with the body of a goat and the tail of a fish. Because of the fish on the lower half of her body, this sign often has health issues surrounding the legs, knees, and bones.

While other zodiac signs have real animals — Scorpio is the Scorpion, Cancer is the Crab, Aries is the Ram — others have creatures or inanimate objects as their animal, like Sagittarius the Archer or Libra the Scales.

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The Mythology of Capricorn and the Capricornus Constellation

Capricorn is an earth zodiac sign that is ruled by Saturn and is known for being a hardworking and honest sign. But there is a difference between the Capricorn zodiac sign and the constellation of Capricornus, so much so that Capricorn no longer exists within the constellation.

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Yet, even though they are not combined in the sky, there are still many similar myths and meanings that connect the two and provide deeper insight into the true nature of the Capricorn zodiac sign.

The constellation Capricornus is the Latin name for "horned goat" and is defined as the sea-goat, a creature based on a myth that is half goat and half fish.

The tail of the fish is said to represent our past and all that we drag along with ourselves, otherwise known as that baggage that we accumulate in our lives. The head of the goat is the part that can see into the future.

Together, these two elements remind us that we can’t forever carry our past around with us and expect to be able to move forward into our future.

This energy is at play when we see a planet or lunar event take place within this constellation, as well as if this is our Sun sign. Although this sign is an Earth sign, it's in a part of the sky where many Water signs reside, including Pisces. And with the symbol for that sign being the fish, it also creates a connection between these two signs.

Photo: MattLphotography / Shutterstock

In modern astrology, this sign is often represented by the mountain goat, losing her connection to the sea altogether. However, there are still themes and lessons that carry over, as the mountain goat is skilled at accomplishing her task but often doesn’t look up to see that she’s heading in the direction she wants to.

Sometimes, Capricorn is known for being more concerned with following the rules than being true to themselves, which feels very similar to those first myths surrounding Pan.

Today’s Capricorn is one that is skilled at accomplishing the hardest of tasks but is also asked to take time and make sure that what she's working for is actually something that resonates with the authentic self.

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Kate Rose is an artist, writer, passionate yogi, spiritual astrologist, relationship and life coach, and motivational speaker. As a spiritual intuitive, she practices the religion of astrology and love. For more of her work, visit her website.