Capricorn - Ascent up the Mountain

by Guru Rattana, Ph.D. - Issue #11, December 29, 1999

As the Sun moves into Capricorn we celebrate Winter Solstice, the longest night and shortest day of the year. (in the Northern Hemisphere) As we stand still, the timeless cord of silence rings in our hearts. As the cold winter sets in, and we get in touch with our deep insecurities, we light the Yuletide fires to warm our bodies and brighten our spirits. As the Sun emerges from its sleep, we rejoice at the fact that the days will now become longer. We feel spiritually regenerated as "the dark night of the soul" fades into the past and we get ready to celebrate the New Year. It is a time of endings and beginnings, cleansing and renewal. Scorpio's death and rebirth are very much an inner process. Capricorn announces its commitment to a new life, a New Year and now a new century and a new millennium, in the open air, to the whole world, on the summit of the mountain.

As the Sun moves through the Zodiac, we are all influenced by the energy and modalities of that particular sign. We are all and under the guidance of that part of "Heaven" for approximately 28 days. While the Sun was in Sagittarius we may have felt excited and restless. Capricorn gives us a moment of time out, especially during the holiday season, to regroup, to re-evaluate our lives, to consolidate our energy and in January to get back to work. While the Sun is in Capricorn from December 21 through January 19, it is wise to take advantage of the stable moment of the Earth energy to assess our past and design our future. We won't get this close to the Earth until the Sun (and this year 6 other planets!!) move into Taurus in May.

Earth Signs

Capricorn is the most stoic of the Earth Signs (Taurus and Virgo are the others.) The Earth signs deal with matter and material reality where we Souls get together to carry out our human experience. The Earth element is concerned with the laws and workings of the physical plane and how to direct energy to create in the most solid dimension of reality.

In the physical world our efforts, mistakes, actions and thoughts produce tangible results. Tangible techniques and tools are required to survive and thrive on Planet Earth. For Capricorn these tools typically include self-discipline, caution, thrift, perseverance and hard work.

The Earth signs are associated with physical resources, the environment, money, work, security, basic needs, service and achievement.(1) The Earth signs are also related to the five senses and sensations. The Earth signs perceive reality through the rational mind, i.e. what they observe, hear, taste and touch and through their sensations, i.e. what they feel in their bodies.

The Earth element poses challenges, tests and lessons in relation to:

Capricorn teaches that to feel useful, we must each offer our unique contribution to the collective whole of which we are an integral part. We establish our sense of worth by offering our service. We are rewarded through recognition, money and material payment or gifts.

The Spiritualization of Matter

Matter and the material plane have traditionally been held in contempt by most religions and spiritual paths. We are taught that materialism is bad, desires are greed and the body is sinful. However a closer look, shows us that the Earth element is honored by most religions as giving us the final key to our liberation.

The student's initiation is not complete until he or she is able to apply spiritual principles in everyday life to their relationships, to their physical environment and to their own body. Buddhism teaches us how to live righteously in the physical world. Sikhism is the path of the householder who selflessly serves humanity. Christianity is the path of healing others through an open heart. Human life is acknowledged as the means to bring Heaven to Earth.

It is only when the body is honored as the sacred container of the Soul that the duality of matter and spirit is resolved. It is in the body that the actual experience of Oneness of all life and our intimate connection with the Universal energy field is revealed and sustained.

It is my observation that there are thousands, indeed millions, of us humans who were priests, nuns, sages, monks, yogis and even saints in past lifetimes, who are here on Earth at this moment to try to understand the laws of manifestation and workings of the physical plane. For our liberation requires that we master the power of bringing Spirit down into physical reality.


Capricorn is the sign of initiation. Having completed the tests or phases of the first nine Zodiac signs, the Mountain Goat is ready to pass through the Gateway and ascend to the mountaintop. The Goat must pass three more initiations to reach the top of the mountain.

  1. First, it must experience the Oneness of humanity and humanity's Oneness with Planet Earth.
  2. Second it must learn to express its emotional energy in the highest vibration of Love.
  3. Third, it must devote its talents and gifts to serve the collective purpose and Divine Plan.(2)

Capricorn links the mental, emotional and physical planes in order to manifest spirit in physical reality. Capricorn integrates the most subtle and the densest elements.

  1. The experience of Oneness is perceived through the Mind or the mental body, which is the element of Air.
  2. Transmuting emotional energy into Love is the task of the emotional body, which is the expression of the element of Water.
  3. The passion with which it commits to serve the collective good is an expression of Spirit-the Fire element. The actual work, the manifestation of concrete results and the creation of structures require the physical body and the Earth element.

Capricorn's Earthly role is to define and encode the Laws of Manifestation. Capricorn creates the structures and order that bring the Divine Plan into physical existence. Capricorn teaches how to acquire the emotional stability, surefootedness, and the ability to function wisely in the physical world - the prerequisites for taking on a major responsibility for world service.

Peak Experiences

It is on the "mountaintop" that seekers traditionally have peak experiences that reveal the mysteries of the Universe and open the consciousness to the Oneness of humanity, and indeed all life. It is in this higher state of awareness that the seekers see visions of the future. Nose to the grindstone Capricorn is not the sign one would necessarily associate with peak experiences. However, with a closer look this makes total sense.

The Path of Enlightenment is up. In yoga we raise the Kundalini up the chakras. The Path of Manifestation is down. We allow the enlightened energy to descend through all our chakras, clearing old patterns and programs so we can embody our Soul identity. Capricorn realizes the necessity of both the raising and grounding of our energy in our physical body. It is relatively easy to raise our energy. To actually embody spiritual energy and hold it in our physical bodies is the greatest challenge. Capricorn knows that it must feel the sensations of Spirit in its body in order to express the spiritual dimension of its being in human life. With each step up the mountain, it anchors its consciousness in its emotional and physical bodies.

Traditionally spiritual paths focus on "up and out" and cultivate leaving the body and the Earthly experience. Absurdly enough, the lower chakras and body below the heart are even considered "bad." The lower part of our body is the seat of our Kundalini, creativity and individuality, not simply our transportation system! Capricorn teaches us that the highest spiritual path is the spiritualization of matter. To even get a glimpse of this possibility is a peak experience.

Capricorn puts the three pieces of the spiritual path together.

The Path of Enlightenment is up. The Path of Manifestation is down. The Path of Liberation is mastering both the Path of Enlightenment and the Path of Manifestation.

It is interesting that many spiritual masters were born under the Sun sign of Capricorn, including Yogananda, Swami Vivikenanda and Mother Mere who currently lives in Germany. Mother Mary has been assigned her birth date in Virgo. Buddha's birthday is celebrated in Taurus (Earth sign). History has chosen to place the birth of Jesus in the sign of Capricorn, even though there is no historical proof that this time is accurate. Jesus's final peak experience was on the cross when he declared "Forgive them, they know not what they do." He taught us that Christ consciousness is attained when we can open our hearts enough to forgive others for their ignorance.

Karma, Fate and Destiny

Capricorn's work is here on Earth. Capricorn is here to bring Heaven to Earth. To do so Capricorn teaches us that we must know and honor the limitations of the physical plane. We must make "right", i.e. sustainable choices, as we use the Earth's resources to take care of the human population. Capricorn embodies integrity. Capricorn energy teaches that we must be objective and transcend personal gain and self-aggrandizement in our use of both natural and financial resources. Capricorn teaches us to respect money as energy and as a means of exchanging value.

The Planet associated with Capricorn is Saturn. Both are often associated with attachment to physical forms and material wealth, and the limitations and restrictions that we confront when we focus our attention on material desires. The role of both Capricorn and Saturn is to teach us how to break free from our attachments to material forms of life, so we can be the co-creators of these forms in physical reality.(3) Capricorn is about hopes, dreams and ambitions. But when they are defined in terms of solely material gains, we create karma and activate our fate instead of our destiny.

Our attachment to material wealth and gain is often challenged by the physical loss of things, situations and persons. Our "karmic lessons" teach us about our own mortality and the cause and effect relationship between our fear driven desires and thoughts. These lessons are not meant as punishment. Awakening Capricorn discovers that the purpose of loss, restriction and limitation is to educate it about the guidelines and parameters for spiritual manifestation of its own Soul path and the expression of a spiritual life on Planet Earth. Awakening Capricorn learns to move out of egotistical greed into a mindset of sustainable abundance.

What greater peak experience than the realization of one's own wholeness, greatness and ability to co-create personal and collective realities. In wholeness, the Goat discovers its destiny path. What a wonderful feeling to know what you came to this Planet to do, and to actually be in the process doing it.


Capricorn is represented by 3 symbols, which correspond to 3 levels of consciousness:

  1. The Mountain Goat is spiritually asleep.
  2. The Sea-Goat is waking up.
  3. Awakened Capricorn emerges as the Unicorn.
Asleep Goat

Asleep Capricorn is doggedly attached to the physical world, possessions and status. It is fixated on amassing objects and property. Its obsession with creating a world of appearances is an attempt to cover up a deep inner insecurity and fear of not getting its needs met.

Its vision of what is possible and desirable is defined by social mores, family conditioning and often a "keeping up with the Jones" mentality. Asleep, earthbound Capricorn denies the spiritual basis of life because it simply does not perceive anything else than what it sees with its physical senses. This limited view of reality and blind attachment to form is the root cause of the difficult lessons that asleep Capricorn must endure. For it must be banged against the head to wake-up to an expanded view of reality. Its myopic vision continually creates and re-creates problems, which over time finally, serve to jostle it from its snoring, often nightmarish, sleep.

Asleep Capricorn's problems are seemingly of a material nature. It is apprehensive about not having enough, losing what it has and not getting what it wants. The preoccupied and worried Goat always seems to be fighting an uphill battle. Fear is the glue that keeps its limited worldview, trauma-oriented outlook and excess emotional baggage strapped to its back. Whether this baggage is from this lifetime or previous lifetimes, it is certainly karmic from the point of view that unless the Goat drops its pack of fears and insecurities, it will continue to re-create the same old stories and scenarios throughout its life. Unless it opens its eyes enough to make better choices, the weight of its own fear will create some kind of disaster, which will serve as the alarm clock and accomplish the task.

Asleep Capricorn spends most of its time hitting its head against the wall and chasing lost causes. When it is ready to end its pain and to find resolution by integrating tools from the other elements in its tool kit, it begins to alleviate its self-inflicted suffering. As it lets go of its need to program and control all outcomes and starts to let life unfold, its thwarted instincts begin to guide it to growth, opportunities and eventually to recognition and rewards.

The sleeping Goat plods its way through life. It is often depressed by the dreary prospects for success. The asleep Goat often seems to take one step forward and two backward. No wonder it has to learn patience! This makes sense when we look at the symbology. The goat's anchor is its fish tail, which connects it to its emotions and anchors it into the vortex energy of the Earth. Unacknowledged emotional energy will dislodge anyone from what an ambitious ego perceives as a path to glory. The Goat slips back in an effort to connect with the messages of its Soul as expressed through it emotions. Once it honors its whole being and willingly listens to its own internal guidance and intuition, it no longer sabotages its own journey.

Awakening Sea-Goat

Awakening Capricorn begins to see the spiritual value in the Earthly lessons that it has attracted. Life becomes less of a burden and more of a learning center. Material forms become tools to accomplish goals. Money becomes a means to achieve desirable ends, not an end in itself.

One of the major turning points in its life is when the Goat reorients its desire for worldly status and recognition to making its unique contribution to the world. Capricorn will always be motivated and ambitious. The question is motivated by what? When its goals are defined in terms of world service, Capricorn feels less burdened. Its inner drive becomes a viable and valuable asset to accomplishing its tasks. There is no harder worker than the Capricorn who is determined to reach its goals. The Goat's patience, fortitude, fairness and seriousness of purpose empower it each step of the way.

The key ingredient for the Sea-Goat is to be unattached to the glory or even the success of its projects. DETACHMENT is the evolutionary goal that determines Capricorn's ultimate freedom and success. For Capricorn's real goal is not the goal, but the appreciation of Path and the enjoyment of the moment.

It is the Sea-Goat that makes it possible for us to start a new cycle on our Soul journey and to make another turn on the spiral of evolution. The tail of Sea-Goat allows it to be in touch with the emotional attachments that are thwarting its climb. As it swishes its tail in the deep sea, it rids itself of emotional baggage and lightens its load so it can make its way to the summit.

Although Capricorn is an Earth sign, the Sea-Goat embodies both the Water and the Earth elements. Its fish tail allows it to take in the spiritual energy contained in the crystallized minerals in the Earth as it borrows its way to the deep subterranean sea. It is this profound connection with its emotional roots that gives the Sea-Goat the stability and patience necessary for its climb up the mountain of life. It is the acknowledgment of its emotions as the expression of its Soul that leads it to discover its destiny path. It is the depth of integration with the Earth, its mother, which nurtures its sense of security. It is the experience of Oneness with the Earth that anchors in its courage to make the climb to the summit of personal integrity and to offer its unique contribution to the world.

As the Sea-Goat develops the concept of Self as its anchor, it gets more and more in touch with its creative gifts and talents. As it turns its attention inward, it establishes a deep connection with the fluid rhythms that pulsate and flow through all life forms including its own body and the Earth. The awakening of this profound awareness in its consciousness opens its inner vision. The two horns symbolizing body and Spirit, or the duality of the mind, merge and the one-horned Unicorn emerges.

Awake Unicorn

The two horns of the Mountain Goat symbolize the perceived duality of Spirit and Matter in unawakened stages of consciousness. Capricorn resolves this duality when it perceives the camouflaged spiritual meaning of ambition and the spiritual essence in all physical manifestations.(4) The single horn of the Unicorn symbolizes a Mind, which perceives the unity of Matter and Spirit. When this Oneness of Earth and Heaven is a conscious experience, the Unicorn can pursue its Destiny Path with one-pointed resolve, disciplined action and devoted commitment.

Awake Capricorn cultivates a magnetic presence by being energetically present in its body. "Be Here Now" is its power and its touchstone. The Unicorn's continuous outpouring of creativity is a by-product of its ability to experience the wholeness of its being. The Unicorn tunes into the Divine Plan and aligns its will with Divine Will. Its evolved intelligence is able to synthesize and integrate multiple objectives of the Plan. Its worldly gifts enable it to organize physical resources to bring goals to fruition.

The Unicorn's combined physical, mental and emotional strength gives it the power to eliminate outdated forms and structures and to create new ones. The Unicorn can appear aloof and cold in its relentless mission to bring about change and revolution. In fact, the Unicorn is whole-heartedly devoted to manifesting the Plan. Its actions are one-pointed. Its speech is direct. Its intentions are pure.

The Unicorn points its horn to the Heart of Humanity with the goal of opening our hearts so the Light of every Soul can shine through. The solidness of its Earth essence and its focus on physical reality and structures make the Unicorn one of God's most effective servants in manifesting Heaven on Earth.(5)

The Unicorn empowers its horn with its ambition to open the door of Destiny. Capricorn has liberated itself from its attachment to form and material illusions. It is free to serve humanity and be rewarded for its ability to see and manifest spiritual reality on Earth.

Capricorn's Territory

Capricorn's territory includes ambition, recognition, honor, achievement, authority and purpose. The Goat is the business person with the mental acuity that knows what needs to be done and how to do it. It is also the worker bee that accomplishes the task.

Capricorn symbolizes the outer image that one projects into the world, which is determined by the inner image that one has of one's role in the world and deeper raison d'être. Capricorn's need to achieve and to prove its self worth is not a superficial egotistical goal. It must make a contribution to society by expressing its unique Soul purpose. Capricorn's deepest drive is to find and follow its Destiny path.

This sounds fine so far. Capricorn's life challenge is to overcome the obstacles and difficulties that seem to always delay and get in the way of its achievement and success. One key that unlocks the door is self-determination. Capricorn must exercise its own free will, makes its own choices and take responsibility for its own life. It must quit blaming others for its plight. It must learn to accept the preparation and hard work that it takes to manifest its dreams in physical reality. It must honor and utilize the power of its inner drive, instead of using it to beat itself up.

Capricorn must learn to enjoy its work because it is not here to rest. It is here to make lasting changes and leave a legacy. When it realizes the importance of its "assignment", discovers its own role and purpose and cooperates with the Plan, it is able to transcend fate and its fatalistic mentality. Setbacks and delays will be replaced by a slow, but steady, climb to the summit of success. Capricorn teaches us that we are all born with gifts, but in order to express them in life we must be able to meet our challenges with courage, patience and skill.

Capricorn's Psyche

Capricorn's psychological challenges include fear of failure, sensitivity to the opinions of others, self-questioning and a basic sense of inadequacy. Capricorn must learn how to overcome inertia and get started. One key is to establish goals based on its intuitive guidance, not external values set by others and society.

When it is time for Capricorn to move on, it often reflects that it should have done so long ago. It is perhaps universally true that once "we see the light" we wonder why we wallowed so long in the darkness. Capricorn energy teaches us that the reason is we have to learn our lessons first. Plodding through physical reality takes time. Capricorn instructs us to be thorough. Once we have learned and are wise in worldly ways, we are truly ready to take the next step up the mountain of evolution.

Capricorn learns about serious soul-searching from its mentor Saturn. Saturn, the god of entrances and doorways, has two faces. "One looks to the past and has an understanding of the of history. The other looks ahead and has knowledge of the future.(6)

Capricorn reaches the gold in its own psyche through self-honesty, objectivity and detachment. Not easy to achieve, but Capricorn shows us that it is possible. Capricorn teaches us that if we truly prepare ourselves, we often find ourselves in positions of great responsibility and authority. The personal integrity and sense of compassion that Capricorn embodies qualify it for positions of political and diplomatic leadership.

The Unicorn teaches us, "Keep up and you will be kept up." (Yogi Bhajan) Facing our challenges, living our lives and achieving our goals may not be easy, but with Capricorn's enormous capacity for self-discipline and sense of duty everything is possible. The ultimate gift that Capricorn has to offer us is the demonstration that the summit can be reached. In the end, it is our personal choices, grit and commitment that determine if we make it to the top.

Acknowledging the Past and Setting New Year's Goals

The first New Moon of the Millennium is in Capricorn January 6. This is an optimal day to reaffirm your life purpose goals and to begin taking concrete steps to accomplish them.

Capricorn invites us to examine and define our personal purpose that gives meaning and significance to our lives. Capricorn offers us a time of stillness so we can consult with our own hearts. It is a good time to acknowledge ourselves and our accomplishments during the past year(s). I personally find that acknowledging what I have done in the past year brings peaceful and meaningful completion to the past and unleashes powerful energy and even serendipitous events that kick off the New Year.

Capricorn lends us a moment of silence so we can actually listen to and hear our Soul speak to us about why we are here, what contribution we have to make to the world. The is a meditative to time is to ask and to listen the answers from our Hearts - How will the world be different because I came for a visit? What special contribution will be lost forever, if I do not make it myself?

Capricorn helps us get in touch with our own mortality, not to make us pessimistic or fatalistic, but to motivate us to truly live full, rich lives. Capricorn helps us realize that our greatest fear is not of dying, but the fear of the tragic possibility that we could end our lives feeling that we never really lived. Capricorn gives us time to discover our innermost desires, to acknowledge what gives us the greatest satisfaction, and to define our unique skills and talents, our purpose. As we embrace our uniqueness, we uncover the motivation that fuels our passion and uncovers our destiny path. Then come January 2, Capricorn empowers us with the strength and the courage to get to work.

Capricorn and New Year's Eve Meditation

Yogi Bhajan has given us the following Kundalini Yoga meditation to do New Year's Eve. Begin this meditation at 11:30p.m. for 31 minutes through the crossing into the year 2000. "This meditation will heal your pain, neuroses, and the physical body. It will bring you a perfect equilibrium in the time and space. Do it and you shall never regret it. Bring in the Aquarian Age on the highest pinnacle of your own projected consciousness". - Yogi Bhajan

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There are several ways to chant this mantra.(7) For those who know the various chants, pick one. For the rest, chant it in an ascending scale up the chakras, vibrating the spine. Let the Hung go forcefully out the top of the head. The whole mantra is chanted on one full breath, so take a long deep inhale before each cycle.

RA = Sun - root chakra, base of the spine
MA = Moon - sex chakra, abdomen
DA = Earth - navel chakra-2-3 inches below belly button
SA = solar plexus
SA = Infinity - heart chakra
SAY = Totality of Infinity - throat chakra
SO = ajana chakra, third eye
HUNG = crown chakra, top of the head

SO HUNG = I am Thou or I am the totality of Infinity

RA MA DA SA is the Earth mantra. SA SAY SO HUNG is the Ether mantra. Together they link Heaven and Earth. Perfect to cultivate the power embodied by Capricorn to connect and integrate dimensions.

Here is an excerpt from a particularly beautiful version, recorded by Dr. Joseph Michael Levry - Gurunam:

This meditation can be done individually or in a group. If you have even a small group, do it in a circle. Part of the group can be in the center of the circle. I usually have half the group in the circle for have the time and the other half for the remainder. We usually do it 5-10 minutes 2 times. Although for New Year's Eve it is best not to break the 31 minutes.

The arms are supposed to be up 30° from horizontal and spread 60° in front of the body. You will notice the accurate position when the spine at the level of the heart center starts to energize and heat up. The arms are straight and the palms are facing forward and slightly down because of the 60° angle. This position is a bit challenging for 31 minutes, so do your best. Come down when needed and then go back up. When your hands are down, face your palms out to the center of the circle. If you are chanting alone (or even in a group), your hands can be up or resting on your knees.

This meditation builds healing energy in your hands and sends healing to those in the center of the circle and to those at a distance who you have prayerfully placed in the center of the circle. Remember to include Yogi Bhajan in the circle.

You don't have to wait until New Year's Eve to do this meditation. It is a good one to do every day while the Sun shines in Capricorn. Focusing on each chakra as you chant up the spine will keep you present in your body as you climb the path of internal enlightenment.

References and Footnotes

"Soul-Centered Astrology", Alan Oken, The Crossing Press, Freedom, CA, 1990.

"Saturn: A New Look at an Old Devil", Liz Green, Samuel Weiser, Inc, York Beach, Maine, 1976.

1. Green, p.34
2. Oken, p.223
3. Oken, p.226
4. Oken, p.224
5. Oken, p.229
6. "Capricorn New Moon-January 6-7" Mary Plumb, The Mountain Astrologer, Dec.1999-Jan 2000, p. 75.
7. Two healing meditations with this mantra can be found on pages 174-176 of Transitions to a Heart-Centered World - 2nd Edition, Yoga Technology 2014.


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