Capricorn Season and the Spirituality of Cardinal Earth

Capricorn Season and the Spirituality of Cardinal Earth

For much of my life, I thought of Capricorns only in terms of their mascot - the hard working sea goat, swimming for their lives and ever climbing up mountains. I totally bought into the trope of a Capricorn who eschews fun and is more fixated on achievement, more fascinated with adhering to rules than reimagining them. To be fair, the definitions of zodiac signs that I learned when I was young were all pretty stereotypical. But, as I began to deepen my study of astrology and the associated signs of the wheel, I began to see beyond the binaries of these limiting interpretations of the energy of the signs and of their relationship to their houses and to each other.

My initial efforts to better understand astrological signs - the stories they contain, their personalities and their seasons - were in support of my understanding of tarot. Then, I began to fall in love with the narratives that each sign embodies. Each sign has something to teach us. Each sign offers us a beautiful gift to expand our sense of what is possible in our lives. Capricorns and Capricorn season offer us the gift of Cardinal Earth energy, the gift of rooting into our purpose and keeping us grounded as we walk our path. Cardinal energies invite us into a new season and a new time period. Capricorn energy takes us into the fertility of Summer in the Southern Hemisphere and the depths of Winter in the Northern Hemisphere. Capricorn season initiates us into the eternal cycles of birth, death and rebirth. It also reminds us that while we live in a physical body and a material world, we are, fundamentally, spiritual beings. 

Because they sit at the most ascended part of the wheel - right around the midheaven or the true north of the zodiacal year - Capricorn season draws from both the philosophical energy of the 9th House and the public, career and achievement focus of the 10th House. If we reflect upon this idea of Cardinal Earth energy as being solely connected to the 10th House, focused on the drive to manage and master material resources - the tendency to put their nose to the grindstone as the source of their purpose - we miss out on the reservoir of spiritual wisdom that can be found in Cardinal Earth and in Capricorn. The real key to accessing the sagacity of this 10th sign in the wheel can be found in the mascot of Capricorn season: the mystical “sea goat”.  Yes, the goat with its ability to climb untenable peaks, does symbolize the high achieving aspects of a Capricorn. But it is the sea-goat’s ability to navigate the deep waters of contemplation that remind us of Capricorn’s profound connection to spirit. In their most evolved self, Capricorns understand that all work is holy, that we can never truly separate the spiritual from the material.

When we consider Capricorns and their Cardinal Earth season, we are reminded of the steadfast nature of the Earth itself. The Earth is always present. It is faithful in its silent attention to all of our efforts. Its constancy and its ancient intelligence makes Earth a keeper of sacred wisdom. So too, are the Capricorns and this magical time of Capricorn season connected to profound and venerable knowledge. In The SWT, the suit of Earth is “The Gatekeeper”, for whatever moves through your physical realm informs and affects your spiritual essence. All of the Earth signs (Cardinal Capricorn, Fixed Taurus and Mutable Virgo) root us into our soul’s purpose and can function as true guides as we walk our own personal soul paths.

In further consideration of the spiritual nature of Capricorn, we can look to mystic and poet John O’Donohue. In his book “Four Elements”, O’Donohue proposes that if “the earth has the most ancient networks of selfhood, then the memory of the earth is the ultimate harvester and preserver of all happening and experience.” (pg. 136) He goes on to write that “experience is not merely an empirical process…Experience is rather a journey of transfiguration…Experience is not about the consumption of life, rather it is about the interflow of creation into the self and the self into creation.” (pg. 139) This idea of humans - all the spiritual beings living in this material world - co-creating their life experiences with the Earth contains within it a truly liberating notion. When we work with the Earth and not against it, we free the Earth to express its imaginative intelligence and we free ourselves from the limiting belief that we are somehow separate or more important than this planet we call home. When we can move away from this idea that we are “consumers” of the Earth and understand that we are in co-creation with it, we facilitate a healing process that can liberate us all. Capricorn energy knows this in its bones. It understands that each cycle -  each season - offers us the condition of possibility and the certainty of change, that each season is a time of transformation. May this Capricorn season hold you close. May it nourish your body and your soul. May it draw you into your own intuitive wisdom. May it call you home and help to set you free.


Capricorn Considerations

  • Journal Prompt: Contemplating my relationship to the Earth.
    • In what ways am I currently in co-creation with the Earth?
    • How can I be of more support to the Earth?
    • How can I expand my understanding of the Earth as a holy, sacred place?
  • Tarot Cards, Mantras, Chakras and Elemental Energies
    • X: The Wheel (The 10th House, ruled by Jupiter): “Purpose”
      • Fire: Solar Chakra, The South - perseverance, determination, strength, courage to walk the path
    • XV:  The Bind (aka “The Devil”, ruled by Capricorn. We can work with “The Bind” to help transform any of the chains to which we have bound ourselves.): “Transformation”
      • Earth: Root Chakra, The North - the deepest form of wisdom - the compassionate heart
    • Student of Earth (Earth + Earth. May we look to the Earth with more humility and wonder): “Wonder”
      • Earth: Root Chakra, The North - the deepest form of wisdom - the compassionate heart
  • Poem for Capricorn Season:


“In Praise of Earth”


Let us bless

The imagination of the Earth.

That knew early the patience

To harness the mind of time,

Waited for the seas to warm,

Ready to welcome the emergence

Of things dreaming of voyaging

Among the stillness of the land.

And how light knew to nurse

The growth until the face of the earth

Brightens beneath a vision of colour.


When the ages of ice came

And sealed the earth inside

An endless coma of cold,

The heart of the earth held hope,

Storing fragments of memory,

Ready for the return of the sun.


Let us thank the Earth

That offers ground for home

And holds our feet firm

To walk in space open

To infinite galaxies.


Let us salute the silence 

And certainty of the mountains:

Their sublime stillness

Their dream-filled hearts.


The wonder of a garden

Trusting the first warmth of spring

Until its black infinity of cells

Becomes charged with dream,

Then the silent, slow nurture

Of the seed’s self, coaxing it 

To trust the act of death.


The humility of the earth

That transfigures all

That has fallen

Of outlived growth.


The kindness of the earth.

Opening to receive

Our worn forms,

Into the final stillness.


Let us ask forgiveness of the earth

For all our sins against her:

For our violence and poisonings

Of her beauty.


Let us remember within us

The ancient clay,

Holding the memory of seasons,

The passion of the wind,

The fluency of water,

The warmth of fire,

The quiver-touch of the sun

And shadowed sureness of the moon.


That we may awaken,

To live to the full

The dream of the earth

Who chose us to emerge

And incarnate its hidden night

In mind, spirit and light.


Pat O’Donohue, 2010

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