Our duty is to encourage everyone in his struggle to live
up to his own highest idea, and strive at the same time
to make the ideal as near as possible to the Truth.
Swami Vivekananda, Sun in Capricorn
If we consider the 12 signs of the zodiac, Capricorn is perhaps one of the signs that best exemplifies the power of patience, persistence, and single-mindedness needed to attain the potential of focused effort. No matter what the unswerving attention is riveted on, be it a red rose in nature or in meditation, writing a book, or performing a complex scientific experiment, Capricorn excels at the mastery and wisdom gained from painstaking experience. Focused effort can be considered virtually synonymous with the power of controlling one’s thought.1
Some of Capricorn’s most well-known, positive qualities of character are endurance; conscientiousness; tenacity; concentration; depth of purpose; diligence; thoroughness; the ability for intense, hard work; strength of will; trustworthiness; commitment; and loyalty. Since Capricorn is a mixture of (goal-oriented) cardinality and (conservative) earth, it is a sign willing to expend its energy on long-term labor, with the ability to condense its efforts in tireless stamina, coupled with a powerful desire for achievement. In Hindu astrology, Makarar is the astrological sign of Capricorn, considered by the ancients to be the most important of all the signs—a signifier of Cosmic Order and Justice.2
It is surmounting difficulties that makes heroes.
Ruled by the disciplining force of Saturn, Capricorn is the archetypal energy of the sure-footed mountain goat that will struggle, keep on, outlast, and eventually reach the rarefied pinnacle of the mountaintops, for the goat knows how to use time wisely as a trusted ally. All obstacles and setbacks only enhance the goat’s unflagging and, sometimes lonely, perseverance. Inspired by lofty goals, it is fitting that this sign also rules the highest point or “Midheaven” of the natal chart. The elevated peak of the 10th house describes our maximum potential, as well as our mission—how we can best contribute and open out to the world. Whichever cusp of the natal chart that Capricorn resides is where an individual can apply the power and potential of the forever upwardly climbing, “mountain-goat” energy to those specific affairs and issues of life.
One of the best ways to learn about Capricorn’s resolute steadfastness is to study the biographies of famous persons who had/have this earthy sign strongly emphasized in their make-up and thus in their life. Louis Pasteur, a brilliant academic and one of the greatest scientists ever, had 6 planets (which included the Sun) in Capricorn, all in the 3rd house of his natal chart. This is an extremely powerful planetary configuration—termed a “stellium”—in an extremely influential sign. By studying his birth chart and how the energy of Capricorn played out over the course of his life, you can also learn how your astrological signatures can become your biography and how a crystal clear focus and dedication can be the platform for immense attainment in a given lifetime. Always curious and enormously enthusiastic, the living mantra of Pasteur’s thoughts was revealed when he wrote, “Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal. My strength lies solely in my tenacity.”
Recognized as the sign of Initiation, Capricorn’s success comes from the notable ability to disregard the non-essential by setting its sights on the intended goal or prize and then slowly-but-surely realizing its considerable ambitions. As Pasteur put it, “One must work; one must work. I have done what I could.” And the reality for all of us is that we cannot escape the results—consequences—of our constant focus. What we habitually concentrate on is the vibratory consciousness in which we imagine, create, and thus spend our lives. “Thought power,” according to the spiritual teacher, White Eagle, “is the greatest power in life.”
Young Louis Pasteur received training in the power and potential of focus from a very early age, growing up as he did with a father who had this maxim on his tannery account book: “Never think about anything but what you are doing at the time.” White Eagle would likewise say do one thing at a time with such undivided attention that you are continually practicing the present moment and experiencing the Divine as an abiding, constant influence. According to your internal focus, so shall your external world be. This is the legacy you give to the world.
At the age of 17, when he was in his final year of secondary school and devoting all his energy to studying, the serious Pasteur wrote to his father, “Once one is used to working, one can no longer live without it. And of course, everything in the world depends on it; in science, one is happy; in science one rises above all others.” This was his early template that crystallized all his indefatigable energies towards his intended ascent, which eventually made him a giant among the scientific pioneers of his day. He was later to be popularly known as both the “father of microbiology” and the “father of germ theory.” One of his famous sayings was: “In the fields of observation, chance favors only the prepared mind”—a perfect motto for a Capricorn who described work as the only thing that can bring joy!
Pasteur was endowed with exceptional courage and fierce determination, so much so that it was said of him, “he could not and would not be defeated. He never would give up.” He appeared to be incapable of anything but forging ahead in spite of all odds, even to the point of fervently defending his ideas and severely condemning colleagues who opposed him. He, too, had his full share of (Saturnian) delays, restraints, failures, and those who criticized his methodology, but they only made him more industrious and relentless as he expended all his talent on the current experiments. His vision, combined with an innate wisdom about timing, was focused like a laser on the mastery and rigorous precision he needed to climb the steep slope of scientific endeavor, whose heights he would one day dominate as a legend. He knew he stood in the spotlight of worldwide fame through his significant contributions, and was swift to accept all honors. The scientific methods of the 19th century were revolutionized as a result of his indefatigable work.
“I constantly felt the sacred fire of science
burning ever brighter in my heart…”
During the course of Pasteur’s remarkable life, his staggering productivity moved from the self-disciplined but mediocre schoolwork of a reserved boy not outwardly gifted with native intelligence, to his initial studies in crystallography, which laid the foundation for his life-long curiosity with the cellular building blocks of life. In turn, his dauntless quest led to the study of yeasts and the diseases of the French wine and silkworm industries, to his successful unraveling of the mysteries and treatment with the new concept of vaccination for the deadly anthrax and rabies diseases, and to the final capstone of his indomitable willpower that oversaw the building of his prestigious, influential “Institut Pasteur.”
The tentacles of this coveted place of research eventually resulted in a global network of 32 institutes in 29 countries dedicated to leading-edge scientific and medical discoveries.3 In fact, the creation and funding of the Institute made Pasteur the world’s first scientist to become a highly successful enterprise—another apt outcome for a Capricorn. He knew that if his willpower and work showed “patience when the task is long” that success would crown his achievements. Indeed it did in perfect Capricorn style! Currently, his worldwide work continues by those devoted disciples called “the Pasteurians.”
To read about the life of Pasteur with his search for excellence and his deep-seated sense of purpose is to read a classic textbook description of Capricorn and what can be accomplished when a person directs all their resources toward a desired end, because focus begets focus begets self-empowerment. And, ambitious Capricorn is a sign that loves power, recognition, and prestige. Pasteur, accordingly, was able to center his thoughts, time, and energy in such a way that, over the course of his lifetime of dedicated work, he became the chief architect that triggered a scientific and medical revolution, which redesigned the landscape of both science and medicine while creating entirely new disciplines, such as bacteriology, microbiology, and immunology.
This renowned scientist opened new frontiers and literally changed the face of his world to a far, far healthier place. Now, more than a century later, we live with the positive, life-saving consequences of the many medical and scientific advances he fostered. “But to whatever life will have favored your efforts,” Pasteur assures us, “when you approach the great goal, you must be able to say to yourself: ‘I have done my best.’”
Other Biographical Offerings:
• Choose Love (actor Robin Williams)
• Compassion On the Day of Love (actress and singer Whitney Houston)
• How Would You Be Remembered? (actress Elizabeth Taylor)
• That Could Be Me (author Neale Donald Walsch)
• Waves of Goodness (minister and power-of-positive thinking writer Catherine Ponder)
• One Small Nudge affects the Whole World (ecologist and author Chris Maser)
• Greatness Within (President Theodore Roosevelt)
• Master Healer: Dr. Edward Bach
• Profound Goodness (author Charles Dickens)
• Believe and Conquer (Napolean Bonaparte)
• A God-Filled Life: Julian Of Norwich
1. A version of this article was originally published in Drumbeat, Journal of the White Eagle Lodge (Canada), Volume 10, Issue 2, pages 12-14, 2002.
2. Nicholas Devore. 1947. Encyclopedia of Astrology. Philosophical Library, Inc. and Bonanza Books.
Text © by Zane Maser, 2014. Photos gratefully used from Wikimedia Commons. Capricorn the Goat is from Guido Bonatti, Liber Astronomiae. The photo of Pasteur in his lab is legally in the public domain due to its expired copyright. All rights of Zane Maser and SunnyCat Astrology reserved worldwide.
My editorial guru and technological wizard is Chris Maser, my delightful husband.