An experience is inaccessible from a binary “symbolic/literal” axis because it can unfold both ways (and more) at once. So how is it possible at all to interpret a natal chart and say something both about the physical and the psychological reality of the native without becoming dogmatic? The problem of “meaning” is so complex: what exactly are we looking for?
Many of us start learning astrology by attaching keywords to planets. And at one point, the list will become overcrowded and full of overlaps. It’s possible and worthwhile to enter an intimate relationship with the natal chart and meet the energy that animates it before we start to understand it intellectually. This is what I call an “animistic” approach (as opposed to a “symbolic” one).
Planets are to astrology as metals are to alchemy. Both traditions work with deep and diverse imagery. Each symbol on its own has been the subject of several books and extended research. And yet, when it comes to discussing astrology, we often stick to a vocabulary that is surprisingly static – considering that we are talking about human beings and dynamic physical, psychological and interpersonal networks.
Capricorn is the tenth sign of the zodiac. Its period corresponds to the Winter Solstice, rich in symbolism of the interplay (and often struggle) between light and darkness. It is also strongly connected to all kinds of fertility rites. Its pagan connotations and its tie to the earth and the underworld are among the reasons why Christianity linked this sign to the Devil.