Home » Notices » Capricorn — Evocative Images and Esoteric Teachings

Capricorn — Evocative Images and Esoteric Teachings

Francis DonaldThe images and texts published in these posts were created by Francis Donald.  His wonderfully evocative images and inspiring writings help us to more fully understand the nature of astrological signs, and the esoteric concepts underlying their meaning and power.

We are grateful to Francis for this most significant contribution.

Francis Donald can be contacted at oeahoo@yahoo.com


Capricorn Discussion

by Francis Donald

As the sun pauses for a moment on the horizon, we step inside the pyramidion (capstone) of the Great Pyramid– one of the most sacred places on earth. A rare moment in the life of a disciple is unfolding before us: “[We see] the emergence of the consciousness of the initiate (white and one-pointed) and the defeat of the king of beasts (the personality) …the triumph of selflessness and illumination over selfishness…The king of beasts [has been] blinded and killed by the piercing of his eye and heart by the long horn of the unicorn.” Esoteric Astrology, p. 155


Initiation - The New Unicorn by Francis Donald

Initiation – The New Unicorn by Francis Donald

Thus we have the theme of this month’s full moon image entitled “Initiation– the New Unicorn.” His victory has taught him to kneel upon his lion’s skin, for “only when the Capricornian subject learns to kneel in all humility and with his knees upon the rocky mountain top to offer his heart and life to the soul and to human service, can he be permitted to pass through the door of initiation and be entrusted with the secrets of life. Only on his knees can he go through that door.” Esoteric Astrology, p. 169

He “offers his heart and life to the soul” by means of a mudra (a sacred hand position).


Detail of Disciple's Vision (Capricorn, 2011)

Detail of the disciple’s mudra and vision, from Initiation, by Francis Donald

As the center of gravity shifts from personality to soul, his inner vision opens. The two horns have become the unicorn’s great “horn of plenty” It has been occultly said that a vision of these powers and their many weaving lines (seen  as rivers and streams of light) is given to the initiate from the mountain top of Capricorn, once that summit has been reached. It is at the Transfiguration initiation that this vision appears before the eyes of the astounded disciple.” Esoteric Astrology, p. 167

On the alter before our disciple sits the crocodile-headed god Sobekh. The Crocodile, the Goat, and the Unicorn depict three stages of man’s spiritual unfoldment in Capricorn. Sobekh with its two horns, uraeus, and solar disk carries attributes of all these stages, thus he hastens the dissolution of the outgrown form. When linked with Heru, the falcon-headed principle of spiritual ascension, he becomes a potent transformer– a primal force needed in the preparation for initiation. For this reason both Sobekh and Heru (here depicted as a descending falcon surrounded by the constellation of Capricorn) offer the ankh– the symbol of life.

* * * * *

The Mudra: The thumb and little finger of our disciple form the apex of a pyramid while their opposites indicate the Pit– the root chakra of the Great Pyramid. The inner three fingers of each hand form a counterclockwise spiral that represent the pyramid’s three known ascending spaces, the Queen’s Chamber, the Grand Gallery, and the King’s Chamber. And of course “pyramid” means “fire at the center.” This mudra also represents the head center, the “Heart’s Deep Cave,” and the root chakra of the disciple. Through this dual meaning he has aligned himself with this great instrument of initiation. 

The Vision: Saturn crowns a mandala of 7 circles and their interconnecting lines of force representing the seven sacred planets. As Saturn rules Capricorn both exo- and esoterically, you will find it poised above the mudra within a field of green, emanating its lines of force in all directions. In the capstone above Saturn, the onrushing eye of Horus meets the “eye that looks out from between the two” thus connecting the micro and macrocosmic. (You can see a ripple as this axis passes through the force field of the pyramidion).

Odds and ends:

The solar logos is illustrated through the use of both the left and right eyes of Horus thus depicting a level of consciousness beyond duality.

Venus (Capricorn’s hierarchical ruler), ever the companion of the setting sun, shines from atop a nearby pyramid.

The flight of the falcon from night to day illustrates the momentous passage in Capricorn into the light half of the year macrocosmically, and this disciple’s passage into Life microcosmically.

The image of Horus embossed on the robe of the initiate radiates within a sun that has 51 lines of force. The sides of the Great Pyramid are set at 51º 51’.

The white belt indicates the disciples triumph in the tests of Scorpio.

The rug shows the same mandala of interconnected circles whose deeper meaning is being revealed to the disciple.

Capricorn: “…in the perfect example of the influences of Capricorn, head and heart are perfectly balanced.” Esoteric Astrology, p. 169

“Capricorn admits the soul into conscious participation in the life of that world centre which we call the Hierarchy.” Esoteric Astrology, p. 169

“Capricorn is ever the sign of conclusion, and of this the mountain top is frequently the symbol, for it marks the point beyond which further ascent in any particular life cycle is not possible.” Esoteric Astrology, p. 168

The Great Pyramid: This great temple was designed for the rites of initiation by an unknown Master Builder of the highest order– and thus serves as the Capricornian mountain-top par excellence. From Esoteric Psychology, Volume II: “Through the opening on the summit of the pyramid, dropped from the blue of heaven, a key came down. It landed at the feet of the discouraged worker. The key was of pure gold; the shaft of light; upon the key a label, and writ in blue, these words: ‘Destroy that which thou has built and build anew.  But only build when thou has climbed the upward way, traversed the gallery of tribulation and entered into light within the chamber of the king. Build from the heights, and thus shew forth the value of the depths.’”

Sobekh: The magical properties of Sobekh-Heru line of force was well known in ancient Egypt; in fact two separate sanctuaries were erected on the grounds of Kom Ombo, one each for Sobekh and Heru, so that this line of force could be made accessible to the priests and acolytes of that temple.

* * * * *

In Tibet, there is a type of structure called a ‘Gompa’– a combination spiritual study center and meditation hall that can be found in almost every lamasery. In “Extract from a Statement by the Tibetan” (which prefaces each of the Alice Bailey “blue books”), the Master Djwahl Khul (DK) informs us that He is/was the abbot of such a lamasery, situated near the border of Tibet. In keeping with the Tibetan tradition of study, meditation, and service, DK has provided us with a curriculum, to be used in future esoteric schools, that extends beyond cultural boundaries, the guidelines of which have been adopted by the Morya Federation. (See Letters on Occult Meditation, p. 297)

‘First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain. Then there is.’[1]

Take a moment to imagine, if you will, the Master Djwahl Khul awaiting our arrival in the Gompa depicted in this month’s image. Drawn by His wisdom, we pass together through the Capricornian gate and begin our climb– intent on closing the gap that separates us from Him. (It is customary to capitalize all reference to those who have achieved the level of Master of the Wisdom and higher.)


Gompa by Francis Donald

Gompa by Francis Donald

As we ascend, we get an occasional glimpse through the trees of another mountain, one that dwarfs the foothill we are climbing. “That must be the true mountain,” we think to ourselves. In fact, the more of it we see, the more absorbed we are in its Presence, and the less we seem to notice the difficulties of the path we walk. Upon our arrival at the Gompa, we find ourselves among other seekers, all gazing eastward, lost in contemplation of an unimaginably loftier summit.

And the waiting Master? We know now that He was with us at the gate (some might say He is their gate), is with us in the Gompa, and will continue to guide us as we descend into the hidden valley beyond.

* * * * *

The mountaintop: The symbol we most readily identify with Capricorn is a natural metaphor for final achievement within a given arena of aspiration and endeavor. DK tells us: “Capricorn is ever the sign of conclusion, and of this the mountain top is frequently the symbol, for it marks the point beyond which further ascent in any particular life cycle is not possible. Capricorn is, therefore, the sign of what has been called esoterically “periodic arresting.” Progress becomes impossible under the existing forms, and there has to be the descent into the valley of pain, despair and death before a fresh attempt to scale the heights takes place.” Esoteric Astrology, p.158

Geometry, Rulers, and Rays: Because of the predominant influence of the 3rd aspect of divinity in Capricorn (Saturn is its exoteric ruler) rotary motion governs the initial environing conditions of this cardinal earth sign. The quality of this motion is described thus in the Old Commentary: “Amid the whirling forces, I stand confused. I know them not, for, during all my past, they swept me up and down the land wherein I moved, blinded and unaware.” Esoteric Astrology, p. 20

But Saturn is also Capricorn’s esoteric ruler, and as such, offers opportunity to the disciple who stands ready to break the inertia. This puts a new face on Saturn, bringing in 1st ray as well as 3rd ray energy (see EA621). Describing this progressive influence the Old Commentary continues: “I know them now [the whirling forces] and here I stand and will not move until I know the Law [of Karma] which governs all this movement up and down the land… I will determine for myself the way to go. Then onward I will move. I will not travel up and down the land nor turn in space. But onward I will move.” Esoteric Astrology, p. 20. Rotary motion gives way to directed movement.

In Esoteric Psychology, Volume I, the ‘six brothers’ (ray lords) exhort their 3rd ray ‘sibling’ (Saturn) to “Let the clear shining of the sun of life reveal the mind of God, and set the shining one upon his way. Then lead him to the central point where all is lost within the light supernal” (the Sun is the 3rd decanate ruler of Capricorn). The final phrase in the above quote: “…lost within the light supernal” directly links this Old Commentary passage to Capricorn’s keywords: “Lost am I in light supernal, yet on that light I turn my back.” But the keywords indicate a further step– a step beautifully described in these words from DK:

Capricorn rules the knees and this is symbolically true, for only when the Capricornian subject learns to kneel in all humility and with his knees upon the rocky mountain top to offer his heart and life to the soul and to human service, can he be permitted to pass through the door of initiation and be entrusted with the secrets of life. Only on his knees can he go through that door.” Esoteric Astrology, p. 169


Thank you for sharing this work with me!

Highest Regards,


[1] Donovan, 1967. The lyrics refer to a Buddhist saying originally formulated by Qingyuan Weixin, later translated by D.T. Suzuki in his Essays in Zen Buddhism.)


Link to this document in PDF:

Capricorn – Evocative Images and Esoteric Teachings