As jovial, gregarious Sagittarius season comes to a close, steadfast and serious Capricorn season steps in to take its place. Saturn-ruled Capricorn is the 10th sign of the zodiac, the last of the three Earth signs, and represents the Mature Adult phase of the human life cycle.
While all Capricorn natives certainly don’t embody this stereotype, imagine someone set in their ways, who has spent their life creating traditions and structures and is now settling comfortably into them.
Imagine wood paneling, aged whiskey, and reading a long book next to a fireplace in your study. This is the energy of Capricorn.
This is a person who has worked for what they have, believes they know the correct way to get the things they want, and will continue to operate within whatever framework they have created for their lives, in order to truly become the person they wish to be; integrity is an extremely important factor for Capricorn.
Again, this doesn’t mean that all Capricorns are serious, steadfast individuals working traditional jobs in traditional families, but who Capricorn is and what they do are often very closely tied together.
So, what animals out there embody this Capricorn energy? Let’s dive in and find out all about what makes a Capricorn spirit animal!
What Is a Spirit Animal?
A spirit animal, in the zodiacal sense, is an animal that embodies similar characteristics of a zodiac sign – in this case, Capricorn – as well as offering wisdom and guidance that could be useful to those wishing to either embody the energy of the sign, or to those who have strong placements of the sign and tend to get bogged down with its most prominent challenges.
What Are the Capricorn Spirit Animals?
Capricorn is known as a sign that is goal-oriented, ambitious, resilient, and disciplined. They often get dinged for being rather serious, but Capricorn has one of the best-developed senses of humor in all of the zodiac – it just might go over a lot of peoples’ heads.
While there are many animals whose traits and symbolism can be seen to embody that of Capricorn, we’ve chosen five that we think show the whole picture, beyond what might be the mainstream idea of Capricorn: the goat (which is, of course, the top half of Capricorn’s traditional representative constellation animal), the horse, the beaver, the squirrel, and the penguin.
1. The Goat
It wouldn’t be a piece about Capricorn if we didn’t mention the traditional Capricorn animal first. Technically, Capricorn’s animal is a sea-goat – which seems rather fantastical for a sign with a reputation for seriousness, but that just goes to show that Capricorn can surprise you.
The Myth of Capricorn
The story of Capricorn the sea goat comes, like all signs in the zodiac, from Greek mythology. “Capricornus”, the original name of the constellation, literally means “goat-horned”.
In the myth, Pricus, an immortal sea-goat mythical creature who was the ruler of time (isn’t Greek mythology fun?) was upset because his sea-goat children preferred to go onto land, where they became regular goats who couldn’t talk and didn’t know him.
He asked Chronos to turn back time to bring his children back into the sea, but when he did, the sea-goats still preferred to lose their tails and climb up on land, ascending to the highest mountaintops.
So Pricus asked to be able to watch over them and was turned into the constellation Capricornus, so that he could watch over his children – even the ones on the highest mountain tops.
The Reality of Capricorn (and Goats)
It’s easy to see where the personality traits of Capricorn align with the myth. Pricus’ children were ambitious and goal-oriented – they wanted to climb from the lowest point on earth, the sea, to the heights of the mountains, even if it meant losing their voices and their mystical connection to the gods.
They were so stubborn that they completed the same goal even after their father arranged for time to be reversed to bring them back to the sea. “It’s not a phase, dad!”
The Saturnian themes of time are present, and Chronos, the Titan who reversed time itself, is the Greek name for Saturn – Capricorn’s ruler.
In the real world, goats do hate water and enjoy climbing things, and mountain goats can be seen nimbly climbing to places you wouldn’t think their hooves would be able to take them.
Even domestic goats enjoy climbing – if you’ve never seen a goat tower or goats in a tree, we’ll wait while you go and Google them.
All of this makes the goat the prime spirit animal for Capricorn. Ascending to greater heights can be seen as a metaphor for Capricorn’s goal-oriented, ambitious nature while remaining resilient to any obstacles in their way.
2. The Horse
Next on our list of Capricorn spirit animals is the free-spirited horse. Horses are intelligent, sensitive creatures, who can range in personality from dependable to terrifyingly independent.
Capricorn is generally dependable, although, as a Cardinal sign, they prefer to be given a free reign and allowed to run at their own pace. Most Capricorns have a great deal of independence, which makes them better at being leaders than followers – a trait shared with fellow Cardinal signs Aries, Cancer, and Libra.
Sensitivity Can Be a Good Thing
Horses are also very sensitive, and despite a tough exterior, Capricorn can be as well. While they might not display their sensitivity as readily as a gun-shy horse, it doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
Since Capricorn can sometimes be excessively preoccupied with how they appear to the outside world, and reluctant to appear as anything but strong and resilient, they could let their inner sensitivities fester inside of them, leading others to believe they are overly stoic – and of course, when all of that pressure becomes too much, they could lash out at those closest to them and cause hurt that they didn’t intend.
The lesson here, of course, is that Capricorn must learn to express their emotions in a healthy way; most often, by acknowledging that they are having emotions at all, and realizing that there is nothing weak about sensitivity – in fact, being afraid to show sensitivity might be the weaker option.
3. The Beaver
Our third Capricorn spirit animal is the buck-toothed, paddle-tailed face of industriousness itself, the beaver.
One of the hallmarks of Capricorn energy is that of tradition and family, and beavers are a wonderful symbol of both. They work very hard at gnawing down trees in order to create their dam structures, where their families can spend time inside, growing and doing the things beavers do.
As a symbol, beavers also represent pride; pride in your accomplishments, in a job well done, in strength belied by small stature. You might not expect such a small animal to fell trees with just their teeth, and yet they do – it’s quite amazing, really!
Beavers also have a striking impact on their environment. Of all animals, they might be the greatest environmental engineers, besides humans; they can cause an ecosystem and a landscape to change just by damming a stream. This can have extremely beneficial effects on an environment, or a detrimental one, depending on where the dam is built.
The Capricorn’s Effect on Their Environment
Capricorns are also able to impact the landscape around them by their industriousness. When a Capricorn uses their innate traits for good, such as creating systems, leading by example, acting with integrity, etc. It can have a profound effect on the people around them and the systems they are working on.
And on the flip side, a Capricorn using these abilities for selfish or misplaced causes can have devastating effects; of course, it’s all a matter of perspective. The most important thing for a Capricorn is that they must be the engineer of their own environment.
Even when they are in entry-level positions or taking instruction from others, it is rare that deep down, the Capricorn isn’t considering how they would restructure things, if it were up to them.
4. The Squirrel
Our penultimate Capricorn spirit animal is the squirrel. The squirrel is a symbol of the benefits of being practical, prepared, and clever.
Squirrels, like Capricorns, seem to always be busy. Their defining characteristic is that they seem to always be gathering nuts for winter, no matter the season.
Indeed, when winter is approaching, that is the squirrel’s goal, and they will often be seen with nuts and acorns in their mouths, digging their little stores to return to when Capricorn season comes along and all of nature’s abundance is germinating underground.
Squirrels are also very clever – they’ve been known to follow other squirrels to their stores and feast on all the hard work another squirrel did, which is evolutionarily a good move: use as little energy as possible while still reaping the results of a full pantry.
And then, other, even more clever squirrels will counter this by creating false stores and leading the sneaky thief squirrels there. A Capricorn lesson if ever there was one! Yes, taking credit for another’s work can be rewarding, but when you do that instead of preparing for yourself, you could end up following a false lead and going hungry for the winter.
Did You Mean to Leave This forest Here?
Squirrels are also known to create new forested areas by forgetting where they stored their nuts and seeds, which go uneaten, thus allowing them to actually grow into saplings. Even when they forget, they’re useful!
This cleverness and humor is indicative of Capricorn and how they tend to fit into the structures around them. Even without meaning to, they are often helpful. When Capricorn feels themselves becoming a little too self-serious and stoic, they can call the squirrel to their mind and remember that there can be levity, even in hard work.
5. The Penguin
Perhaps surprisingly, the penguin, in particular the Emperor penguin, is our final Capricorn spirit animal. Emperors do seem to carry themselves with that Capricorn dignity as they waddle about the harsh landscape of Antarctica, nurturing their young.
Again, there is a focus on family traditions here – Capricorn, is, after all, opposite zodiac sign Cancer, on the axis of parent and child.
The Emperor penguins undergo the most brutal climate on earth in order to incubate their eggs. Interestingly, the fathers are the ones who incubate the eggs, and Capricorn is often associated with the concept of fatherhood, as Cancer is with motherhood.
Through extreme discipline and focus, they call on the traditions of the fathers before them to shuffle in a constant spiral, eggs balanced between their feet and tucked up into warm feathery pouches, so each penguin can receive the warmth of the others inside the group, and also spend some time on the harsh outer edge of the spiral – just enough to allow the others to warm up before ducking back into the safety of the inner spiral.
Discipline, Focus, and Success
If any zodiac sign could figure out a way to raise a family in Antarctica, using only the resources at hand – in this case, community – it would be Capricorn. Capricorn is able to put their head down and weather unpleasant storms in order to achieve their goals. Rather than give up because the journey is unpleasant, they forge forward, and reap the rewards at the end.
For some Capricorns, this could mean starting a business where success doesn’t happen for years down the line – but as long as the prospect of success is there, and the Capricorn is acting in a way that is in line with their integrity, there is a high chance they will succeed – and they know it.
The penguin teaches Capricorn – and those wishing to embody Capricorn – that with focus and discipline, you can achieve anything – but you can’t do it on your own. There is absolutely no way a single penguin would survive the Antarctic winter, but together, they do.
Capricorn is a sign that can tend to be solitary or isolated, but when they put their brilliant minds together with others, the sky – where Pricus watches over his beloved goat children as the constellation Capricornus – is truly the limit.
Which Capricorn Spirit Animal Are You?
Now that we’ve explored what it means to be a Capricorn, and a few of the animals that hold Capricorn traits and lessons within them, which animal do you relate to the most? Are there any other animals you can think of that embody the traits of Capricorn?
What Capricorn lessons will you take away from the sturdy goat, the independent horse, the hard working beaver, the clever squirrel, and the adaptable penguin?