A Capricorn in the Art World: The Sea Goat Archetype

When I think of a Capricorn Horoscope, I think of a Goat. Being ambitious, dedicated and committed to your dreams. Taking one step at a time up the mountain. In the magazines, she was always the girl in a stylish career suit. But, I’ve since come to learn and see Astrology as more complex and full of subtleties, beyond just the 12 Sun signs. Nonetheless, taking an archetype can frame how you read a story, how you relate to your past and how you now see your current perspective.

Recently, I picked up a general astrology book, to find the Sea Goat described in Capricorn. I’d vaguely heard of this as an earlier version, but never really looked into it as it just seemed to confuse me and prick up my default binary perfectionism – a way of thinking that one ‘must’ be wrong and the other ‘must’ be right. Of course neither is either. This book (Watkin’s Astrology Handbook) was describing the Sea Goat as structured and ambitious on top and then at some point, there is a pivotal moment in the Capricorn’s life, where the goat realises this solid mountain is underpinned by a fish’s tail. Your foundations are built on more personal and emotionally charged values, beliefs and feelings. I’m not saying this experience may be so for all Capricorns. It just so happened for me, at my Saturn’s return, this is where a fish’s tail started to appear.

The orbit of Saturn is about 29 years, so around 29, 58, 87 ages – pivotal shifts generally occur.

Saturn is also the planet ruler of Capricorn.

My 20’s reflected what I’d characterise as Capricorn goat-like. I was inspired by reputable art galleries and institutions, I looked up to famous artists and infamous art collectives of the past. I thought art history was a kind of filter of bad art as everything was laid out so beautifully and each movement had something new to say. I was really excited for what the next ‘new’ thing of this age will be. I was pretty idealistic and gobbled up everything the mainstream cannons threw at me.

Of course, as you live a bit more, you do start to see the emperor is wearing no clothes. You start to see how many stories aren’t being told. How many minority groups or fringe groups who don’t fit neatly into the lineage of art history are simply not told or squished into one moment in history, like women artists painting Sydney harbour bridge in the 1920s or Aboriginal art by Papunya Tula in the 1970s. Of course women and aboriginal peoples have been creating art all along. But as much as I still wanted to find my place in the art world, I kind of realised that everyone was taking themselves very seriously. It was almost as if artists were afraid to come across as airy-fairy or weird, that this could impact the seriousness and value of their artwork. And if artist’s don’t feel free to be weird, then who the hell can?

Before Berlin, I was living in Sydney, Australia, working in reputable contemporary art spaces and making art on the side, but rarely showing it. When people asked “What do you do?” I’d say “I work at [said]-gallery and I’m sort-of an artist.” The last bit was always a bit awkward and if someone then asked if I showed my work anywhere, it was like a punch to the gut, like saying “Well then, your not a real artist”.

Looking back, I don’t think people were prodding me to prove myself, for the most part people genuinely want an interesting conversation. But I can’t deny in Sydney people had a thing for name or place dropping. Once you got a cool kid on board, everyone was then interested.

Living and working in an artist residency in Berlin for a few years, showed me so much about the art world, my own hangups, and how simple it is to claim the word ‘artist’.

To shortcut it, to call yourself an artist: just make art and when someone asks “What do you do?” say “I’m an artist”.

As a typical Capricorn Sun, I’d been trotting up the structures in the art world. It was at my Saturn return I noticed this Goat had a Fish’s tail. In this metaphor, the Goat’s mountain is built on the foundations of water ~ emotions, feelings and intuition. 

My own flavour of atheism was pretty self conscious and trying to untangle the rules of Snakes and Ladders game of life. Constantly intellectualising my imagination. With all this emphasis on the intellect and mind-space, comes a bag of tricks to numb out from emotions and awareness of this skin suit you happen to be in. In this phase I guess I’m failing around like a Goat learning to swim. Bit by bit tuning into the currents of the water ~ rather then this awkward doggy paddle in circles against the flow. 

Visit Us On YoutubeVisit Us On Instagram