The Zodiac sign Capricorn is represented by the mythical animal the Sea-Goat (sometimes called the Goat-Fish). This creature is part goat and part fish with a goat's upper body and a fish's tail. It appears in the constellation Capricorn, as well as serving as the official symbol of the Zodiac sign Capricorn. The origins and meaning of this mythical animal relate to Capricorn's traits, drives, and personality.
Origins of the Sea-Goat Capricornus
During the Bronze Age, ancient Babylonians worshipped the god Enki (God of Water), who was represented by the Goat-Fish. Greek mythology tells of the Goat-Fish Pricus. Pricus was created by the God of Time, Chronos, and he shared Chronos's ability to control time. According to legend, Pricus created a race of Sea-Goats that could speak. Pricus's offspring loved to move onto the land and spend time in the sun. However, the more time Pricus's children spent on the shore, the more they moved away from their Sea-Goat origins and became land goats, losing their fish tails and ability to live in the ocean. This upset Pricus, who turned back time on many occasions in order to have his children return to him. Yet, the same thing happened no matter how many times Pricus manipulated the clock, and he once again found himself in alone in the sea without his family. Finally, Pricus realized he could not control what his children did, and he stopped resetting time. Instead, he resigned himself to a life of loneliness, begging Chronos to allow him to die in spite of his immortality. Chronos sent him to the sky as constellation Capricornus, where he could always watch over his children and feel less alone.
Sea-Goat and Earth Signs
The Sea-Goat may seem a strange creature to represent earth sign Capricorn with its association with the land and the sea, but when you understand the cardinal nature of Capricorn's personality, it begins to make sense. And while it's true that as an earth sign, the goaty part of Capricorn navigates well on land, Capricorn also has a watery element and is equally comfortable navigating the deeper spiritual nature typically found as traits in water signs.
Capricorn as the Goat
Some astrologers represent Capricorn as either the Goat or the Horned Goat. In fact, the name constellation Capricornus means horned goat, so the Horned Goat is more likely the correct representation for the constellation (although some represent it as the Sea-Goat), while the Sea-Goat represents the Zodiac sign. It is likely astrologers choose this representation because it symbolizes the earthy nature of Capricorn and her ability to be sure-footed in pursuit of her goals. Horned Goat Capricorn without its watery fish tail is more grounded in planetary pursuits of success, prosperity, and responsibility, which are key to Capricorn's nature.
Sea-Goat, Goat-Fish, or Goat?
In fact, all three of these creatures are decent representations of Capricorn's nature, so one isn't more correct than the others. Instead, Sea-Goat and Goat-Fish may more accurately reflect Capricorn's dual nature of earthy pragmatism and spiritual ascension.
The Sea-Goat Glyph
On natal charts, Capricorn is represented by a strange-looking glyph that looks like an N with a loop in the tail. The loop represents the fish tail of the Sea-Goat, while the "N" represents the head of the goat.
Whether you choose to identify it as the Sea-Goat, Goat-Fish, or just a goat, Capricorn's symbol represents the earthy nature of the Capricorn as a person who adapts to his or her circumstances and manages to succeed due to canniness, sheer will, and effort while still ascending spiritually throughout his or her life.