assessing, hard work and labour, are always directed toward an end. And you don't always see the goat showing his goal on his sleeve like any Sagittarian, or talking about it like Gemini. Often he'll play the humble servant, the one who has no ambitions, who only seeks to help, while he waits and assesses and plans. But there's no time for wasted time with Capricorn, no space for useless leisure and play. Serious? Yes, you might say that about Capricorn too. His wit is often of the ironic kind, full of a sense of life's incongruities, rather than the broad slapstick of some of the other signs. That ironic wit is part of Capricorn's underplayed charm. But to most goats, life is a serious business, because it has to be mastered if you want to survive.
Survival is another key theme for Capricorn. To the goat, the world isn't always a friendly, bountiful place. It's as if his antennae are always plugged into what might go wrong, rather than what might go right. As J.D. Smith says, 'The world is nothing but a vast, concerted attempt to catch you with your pants down.'
Nothing is ever taken for granted by the goat, least of all luck, which to Capricorn is a highly untrustworthy and often nonexistent commodity. He'd rather replace luck with good, solid hard work, unlike his fire sign cousins. And goals, of course, are another keynote to our perplexing goat. Without goals, Capricorn slides back-end first down that steep mountain path and lands with a rude bump in a big, black depression. Since the world isn't basically a friendly place for him, his goals give him his sense of meaning, and achievement to him is what romance is to the fiery signs. Besides, Capricorn will be the first to tell you, romance is all very well, but it isn't very permanent, and it doesn't put a roof over your head. Achievement can outlast your lifetime, and often comes in the form of good, hard cash.
Let's consider Saturn for a moment, Capricorn's planetary ruler. He's got a peculiar reputation in astrology, since he's always been considered the symbol of limitation and discipline. Also of isolation and loneliness. In mythology Saturn is one of the Titans, the earth gods, children of the great Earth Goddess Gaia. Earthy indeed: there isn't any greater pragmatist than Capricorn. Saturn is also often portrayed as a ruthless figure in mythology, who will stop at nothing - even his own father's destruction - to seize power. Ruthlessness may often be seen in the goat, and the field of politics swarms with Capricorns. But it's always a necessary ruthlessness, and rarely stems from a wanton malice or cruelty. Power, too, is attractive to many Capricorns, both in the world and in their personal lives. This in fact is one of the goat's biggest problems in human relationships: he finds it immensely difficult to relinquish control. Male or female, Capricorn must always hold the reins. He's downright terrified of what might happen if he loses control - not only of the situation outside him, but of himself as well. You might guess from this that Capricorn isn't likely to be the great gambler in the sphere of the passions. You'd be quite right. He's more known for having the wit to choose the conductor over the second violin.
Yet in Roman mythology, Saturn's rulership over the world coincides with the Golden Age of man. Vines bear abundant fruit, rivers flow sweet, the sky is blue and cloudless, the earth yields its riches, and the children of men no longer have to labour by the sweat of their brows. In some ways the earth signs have made peace with the world, and the world, pleased to be recognized as something other than a grubby, sleazy and unspiritual cesspit (we're taught, after all, that it's pretty hard for rich men to enter heaven), will often show a kind face in reward for the long labour which the earth signs are willing to expend. And you often find that Capricorn, once his paid his worldly dues to the ferryman and accomplished something in the way of success or skill, will settle back and begin to develop the deeper, more profound side of his nature. Capricorn, far from being a ruthless materialist, is a reflective and often deeply introverted soul who knows that he'll never have the freedom to pursue his love of the mysteries without first learning to live in the world. Visionary and mystical he isn't; the qualities of faith in the intangible are hard for Capricorn to muster. But he's often drawn to the occult, which involves learning the laws of the energies that govern life. That's a very