The Book of Talismans, Amulets and Zodiacal Gems, by William Thomas and Kate Pavitt, , at sacred-texts.com
Constellation—Period—Ruling Planet Saturn—Mythology—The Symbol of the Goat—Characteristics—Constitution and Health Defects—India under the Rule of Capricorn—Professions—Marriage—Saturn favourable for the Elderly—Gems of the House—The Ruby—Spinel—Qualities of the Gem—Sensitiveness for Good or Evil—The Malachite—Copper as a Talisman against Colic and Cholera—Black Onyx—Favourable and Unfavourable Influence of the Stone—Jet—The Afflictions of Saturn—Effects on other Types.
Capricorn, the tenth sign of the Zodiac, is situated in the Southern Celestial Hemisphere, the constellation being composed of fifty-one visible stars known to ancient Oriental nations as the southern gate of the Sun, because its entry into this sign on December 22nd marks the shortest day and the commencement of the winter solstice, when the Sun is farthest south of the Equator, after which its light slowly increases and correspondingly the days become slightly longer.
The Sun occupies this House until January 19th approximately, and as its Latin name, Capricornus, signifies, is symbolised by a Goat, as illustrated in No. 10 of the coloured Frontispiece. Saturn is the
ruling planet of this House, and as he is sometimes depicted as an old man with a scythe (literally Old Father Time familiar to every one), this may explain the ancient Akkadian name for this month, Abba-uddu, meaning Old Father; and as the Greek words signifying both Time and Saturn differ only in one letter, in all probability the two may have been regarded as synonymous.
The Cornucopia, or Horn of Plenty, was also used as a symbol of this House, as in Ancient Mythology Saturn is believed to have introduced civilisation and the arts of husbandry, so that, as described by Virgil—
the increasing length of the days promising a bountiful future.
Very frequently the Goat is shown with a fish's body joined to the shoulders, which is explained in classical literature as the result of an adventure of the god Pan. This deity, who was considered by the Greeks to symbolise the House, whilst feasting with other gods on the banks of the Nile was attacked by the monster Typhon. In order to escape Pan and his friends plunged into the river, assuming different shapes, Pan taking the form of a fish for the lower half of his body,
and the head, shoulders, and forelegs of a goat for the other half.
The symbol of the Goat climbing a rocky eminence (as shown in the illustration), is very appropriate to well-developed subjects born under the influence of Capricorn who seem for ever persistently and patiently climbing upwards, and who are capable of great resistance in overcoming obstacles in the way, their dauntless energy and courage in facing difficulties reminding us of the goats kept by the owners of the great cattle ranches in Mexico, on account of their superior courage and intelligence to sheep, and who, if the latter are in danger of an attack by wolves, will face the foes, showing fight and fearlessness, collecting the sheep round them, and thus preventing a stampede, making their protection easier by the herdsmen.
Capricorn is an earthy sign, and its subjects are apt to exaggerate the importance of earthly life, and in youth suffer much furtive and fearful curiosity, regarding the mysteries of birth and death, and, as children, feel deeply any snub or reproof, and should never be brought up by coarse-minded people, as they readily take on the conditions of those around them, and although appreciative of commendation lose heart when indifferently treated.
This sign is typical of a remarkable continuity of purpose, and those born under its influence are deep thinkers and insatiable in their desire for knowledge, assiduous students, quick to seize and take advantage of any opportunity for self-improvement or advancement, indefatigable workers, and capable of planning out several schemes and thoughts at the same time.
The desire to make money is a marked characteristic, not so much for its own sake in the majority of cases as for the power and opportunities which wealth brings; but although thrifty and discreet in financial affairs generally it is difficult for them to economise in personal matters, and although they work harder and know better than most how to make both ends meet, yet the proverbial rainy day occasionally finds them unprepared.
They are generous by fits and starts, giving ungrudgingly of time as well as money where others bestow little, and nothing where others give much, and, in contrast to the Sagittarian type who give mostly to large institutions, the subjects of Capricorn prefer helping the individual.
The typical Capricornian takes life earnestly, and is much interested in the occult side of nature, as well as a great upholder of old customs and observances that bind the present with the past old-world traditions and antiquities generally
having a great fascination for these subjects. When adversely aspected, however, this type degenerates sadly, showing great despondency and dread of failure in all they undertake, and without some outside stimulus becoming more and more apprehensive and mistrustful, avaricious and covetous until it is almost impossible to live with them. When the ruling planet Saturn is badly aspected by Mars, revolutionary tendencies and a cruel enjoyment of the sufferings of others is indicated; but so great is the love of work even amongst the most primitive of these subjects of Capricorn, that they are too much engaged to have time to be vicious, and when the malefic side of the Saturnian's qualities are very noticeable, it is often the result of too much solitude wherein the subject has brooded over troubles and anxieties.
The temper is strong and forceful, but generally well under control, although lasting when roused and bitterly resentful.
The constitution is remarkably strong, and these subjects frequently live to a good old age, the ailments to which they are liable being colds, deafness, affections of or accidents to the joints, especially the knees, which are ruled by this sign (and are often weak), colic, from flatulence, toothache, spleen, and liver trouble, also severe ear and headaches caused by nervous prostration,
from mental and physical labour in excess. Endurance, Penetration, Caution, and Prudence being very noticeable in this type, they excel in all professions requiring shrewdness and acute discernment rising through personal merit to be recognised authorities in the various callings to which they are suited.
India, which comes under the rule of Capricorn, aptly illustrates the qualities and failings, for amongst the Indians we find profound learning, great power, rank, and a painstaking care of minute particulars; whilst the lower caste fittingly illustrate the debasement of the type. Subjects of this House are adapted for most professions and employments of a public or a governmental character. Being natural organisers, their concise methods are sought after by the weaker types they so often serve. Priests, Monks, Occultists, Organists, Statesmen, Editors, Authors, Designers, Architects, Builders, Mining Speculators, Land Surveyors, Agriculturists, Gardeners, are all professions and callings to which this type are attracted; also as Labourers, Miners, Carpenters, and woodcutters, it being interesting to note that Mr. Gladstone, who was born during this period, and who was an extremely good example of the highly intellectual subjects of this House, had also a fondness for tree-felling.
In marriage and friendship they are slow to form attachments, and are frequently unmarried; but when once attracted the influence is deep and lasting, although their love affairs are liable to great and fateful changes, for living, as a rule, solitary and self-centred lives, they create ideals beyond human attainment, and failing to realise their anticipations are often disappointed. Saturn, their ruling planet, being favourable to old rather than young people, they are advised not to marry early, the most happy and prosperous times in their lives being often between middle life and seventy, and they will harmonise best with those born during the Taurus, Virgo, Pisces, and Scorpio periods.
The gems of this House are the Ruby, Spinel, Malachite, Black Onyx, and Jet.
The Ruby.—The Ruby is one of the most precious of gems, when of a good size, free from flaws, and of the true pigeons’-blood colour, being more valuable than a diamond of the same size.
The finest rubies come from Burmah, and they are also found in Ceylon and Siam; their colour varies from light pink to the richest carmine. Until modern times the Spinel or Balas Ruby was included with the true Ruby, but they are quite different in their composition, Spinels being softer and not so brilliant, though more varied in colour,
ranging from red, orange, green, and blue to violet. Amongst Oriental nations this stone has ever and still continues to be a great favourite as a Talisman; and throughout India, Burmah, and Ceylon it is considered to guard its wearers from the attacks of enemies, reveal the presence of poison by changing colour, and to attract friends and good fortune.
In China and Japan it is also worn to confer long life, health, and happiness. Pliny describes it as the Lychnis, and says the Star Rubies were considered by the Chaldeans to be most powerful in protecting from evil and attracting the favour of those in authority. Throughout the whole of the Orient the Ruby was believed to possess the power of foretelling danger by a loss of brilliancy and colour, a belief also common throughout Europe as confirmed by Wolfgangus Gabelschoverus, who writing in the year 1600, says, whilst travelling with his wife: "I observed by the way that a very fine Ruby (which she had given me) lost repeatedly and each time almost completely its splendid colour and assumed a blackish hue." He goes on to tell that the threatened evil was fulfilled by the loss of his wife, and that after her death the stone regained its colour and brilliancy.
Catherine of Aragon is reported to have also possessed a ring set with a ruby that indicated
in the same manner the approach of misfortune.
Camillus Leonardus says that the Ruby gave control of the passions, drove out evil thoughts, secured possessions to their rightful owner, reconciled quarrels, brought peace and concord, also preserved bodily strength and health, and that the Balas Ruby (Spinel) possesses the power of averting danger of hail and tempest.
It was worn by the subjects of this House whose horoscopes were free from Saturn's afflictions to protect the body from plague, poison, and fevers, and to secure love and friendship, preserve health, vitality, and cheerfulness, against disorders of the liver and spleen, and to drive away evil dreams and spirits. It was also believed to be a very active and sensitive stone, and if the horoscope had Saturn badly afflicted would afford a ready channel for disappointment, bereavement, and other misfortunes incidental to the influence of this planet when malefic.
The Malachite.—Malachite is an opaque stone, its principal composition being carbonate of copper, which gives it a beautiful green colour.
The name is derived from the Greek Malaku, signifying the Mallow plant, as its colouring was thought to resemble that of Mallow leaves. The finest quality comes from Siberia, and it is also
found in Australia, Africa, and Germany, and it is believed to be the Molochites of Pliny; it was also used extensively by the Egyptians, both for talismanic and ornamental purposes.
It is very popular in the East and throughout Russia, where it is regarded as a safeguard against colic and rheumatism, its benefits acting through the copper in its composition; and in connection with this, Dr. Alfred J. Pearce in his text-book of Astrology mentions "that workers in copper mines have escaped cholera when their neighbours died of it, also that copper is worn by the Hindus as a Charm against cholera."
Marbodus recommends the Malachite as a Talisman for young people because of its protective qualities and power in attracting sound sleep; it was also worn for protection from lightning and contagious diseases and for health, success, and constancy in the affections. During the Middle Ages it was customary to wear it engraved with a figure or symbol of the Sun as a preservative to the health and to avert despondency and depression of spirits to which the Capricorn type are liable.
Black Onyx.—The Onyx generally has been treated in the chapter on Leo when writing of the Sardonyx; but the stone peculiar to Capricorn is the black, or dark brown, which is generally
marked with a decided white stripe across it, or the white stripe may appear in the form of a circle round the centre, in which case it is known as the Lynx-eye Onyx by the natives of India where the finest stones are found.
From very remote ages, particularly in India, the Black Onyx has been considered essentially the stone for rosaries, its attributes being to restrain passion, to give spiritual strength and inspiration, and to be beneficial in the cure of fits. It should not, however, be worn by any one born with Saturn unfavourable in their horoscope, which fact was known to mediæval astrologers who, in such cases, as mentioned by Marbodus, assert that its wearer would be exposed to the assaults of demons and bad visions by night, and plagued with quarrels, law-suits, and melancholy by day; that it would nullify their labours, and even cause its owners to feel the pinch of poverty (all recognised Saturnian troubles and afflictions), only to be counteracted by the introduction of the Sun's brightening influence in the form of the Sard.
Jet.—Jet is of vegetable origin, being fossil wood, a variety of, but very much harder than ordinary coal, and capable of taking a very high polish. The finest is the well-known Whitby jet which was first discovered by the monks of the historical Abbey before the Reformation brought its
ruin. Jet is also found on the coasts of the Baltic, and in the Middle Ages was known as Black Amber, being worn as a prophylactic against epilepsy and fits, and to prevent strangulation of the womb; taken internally, powdered in wine, it was considered good for the toothache, and mixed with beeswax was used for tumours. It was also well known and used by all ancient nations, the Greeks dedicating it to Cybele, the goddess of all things necessary to life produced by the earth, wearing it for her favours and especially for protection to travellers by sea and land. Bœtius de Boot recommends it as a specific against nightmare, witchcraft, and melancholy apprehension.
Neither the Ruby, Malachite, Black Onyx, nor Jet should be worn by the Libra or Aries type, or indeed by any who have Saturn afflicted in their birth map.