Fish Eaters: The Whys and Hows of Traditional Catholicism

"Praise ye Him, O sun and moon: praise Him, all ye stars and light''


Capricornus, the goat and the fish in one creature, one flesh, rises in July. Think of what the goat symbolizes scripturally: it is one of the animals used as a sacrifice, and the animal used by the ancient Israelites as a sin offering, as the creature who took on the sins of the people -- the scapegoat:

Leviticus 16:20-22
After he hath cleansed the sanctuary, and the tabernacle, and the altar, then let him offer the living goat: And putting both hands upon his head, let him confess all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their offences and sins: and praying that they may light on his head, he shall turn him out by a man ready for it, into the desert. And when the goat hath carried all their iniquities into an uninhabited land, and shall be let go into the desert

All of the Old Testament sacrifices were but a type of the antitype of the New Testament Sacrifice. They foreshadow the Once and For All Time Sacrifice of Christ, Who took upon Himself the sins of the world, all for the sake of Love.

And the fish? Not only a symbol for Christ Himself -- ΙΧΘΥΣ (Ichthus) -- but of His people. Recall the Parable of the Draw Net: 

Matthew 13:47-50
Again the kingdom of heaven is like to a net cast into the sea, and gathering together of all kind of fishes. Which, when it was filled, they drew out, and sitting by the shore, they chose out the good into vessels, but the bad they cast forth. So shall it be at the end of the world. The angels shall go out, and shall separate the wicked from among the just. And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Even more explicit is Christ's referring to the Apostles as "fishers of men":

Mark 1:16-17
And passing by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother, casting nets into the sea (for they were fishermen). And Jesus said to them: Come after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.

Indeed, the fish was taken by the early Christians as a secret symbol, the means to let other Christians know where to meet and to let other Christians know who they are. St. Augustine wrote about the mystical symbolism of the fish in his "City of God," when recounting the History of the Sibyls. St. Clement of Alexandria wrote about the taking of the fish as one of our symbols in his Paedagogus: "And let our seals be either a dove, or a fish, or a ship scudding before the wind, or a musical lyre, which Polycrates used, or a ship's anchor, which Seleucus got engraved as a device; and if there be one fishing, he will remember the apostle, and the children drawn out of the water." In the same work he includes a beautiful hymn, with part of which reading,

King of saints, almighty Word
Of the Father highest Lord;
Wisdom's head and chief;
Assuagement of all grief;
Lord of all time and space,
Jesus, Saviour of our race;
Shepherd, who keeps us;
Husbandman, who tills,
Bit to restrain us, Rudder
To guide us as You will;
Of the all-holy flock celestial wing;
Fisher of men, whom You bring to life;
From evil sea of sin,
And from the billowy strife,
Gathering pure fishes in,
Caught with sweet bait of life:
Lead us, Shepherd of the sheep,
Reason-gifted, holy One;
King of youths, whom You keep,
So that they pollution shun:
Steps of Christ, celestial Way;
Word eternal, Age unending;
Life that never can decay;
Fount of mercy, virtue-sending;
Life august of those who raise
Unto God their hymn of praise,
Jesus Christ!

Tertullian uses the metaphor of Christians as fish in his On Baptism:

Happy is our sacrament of water, in that, by washing away the sins of our early blindness, we are set free and admitted into eternal life! A treatise on this matter will not be superfluous; instructing not only such as are just becoming formed (in the faith), but them who, content with having simply believed, without full examination of the grounds of the traditions, carry (in mind), through ignorance, an untried though probable faith. The consequence is, that a viper of the Cainite heresy, lately conversant in this quarter, has carried away a great number with her most venomous doctrine, making it her first aim to destroy baptism. Which is quite in accordance with nature; for vipers and asps and basilisks themselves generally do affect arid and waterless places. But we, little fishes, after the example of our ΙΧΘΥΣ Jesus Christ, are born in water, nor have we safety in any other way than by permanently abiding in water; so that most monstrous creature, who had no right to teach even sound doctrine, knew full well how to kill the little fishes, by taking them away from the water!

Now consider the sacrificial goat and the fish united in one flesh -- At One, as in the word "atonement." We, as the ones chosen to be the Bride of Christ, will be one with our Groom, destined, if we endure to the end, to share in the Divine Nature. 

First Decan: Sagitta

The constellation of Sagitta is portrayed as an arrow, symbolizing repentance. Psalm 37:2-4

Rebuke me not, O Lord, in thy indignation; nor chastise me in thy wrath. For thy arrows are fastened in me: and thy hand hath been strong upon me. There is no health in my flesh, because of thy wrath: there is no peace for my bones, because of my sins.

The arrow is portrayed as that which pierces our hearts, humbling us and making us cry out to be saved. It is through repentance that we start the journey of becoming one with Him.

Psalm 49:1-2, speaking of Christ, uses the metaphor of the arrow to describe Him:

Give ear, ye islands, and hearken, ye people from afar. The Lord hath called me from the womb, from the bowels of my mother he hath been mindful of my name. And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword: in the shadow of his hand he hath protected me, and hath made me as a chosen arrow: in his quiver he hath hidden me.

God Himself convicts us if we open our hearts and have the ears to hear.

Second Decan: Aquila

Aquila is seen as an eagle -- interestingly, to the Greeks and Romans, the eagle that carried the thunderbolts hurled by Zeus in retribution. Exodus 19:3-4 tells us how "Moses went up to God: and the Lord called unto him from the mountain, and said: Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: You have seen what I have done to the Egyptians, how I have carried you upon the wings of eagles, and have taken you to myself." The eagle, enemy of the serpent, symbol of Christ taking us unto Himself, is a very fitting symbol for a decan of Capricornus.

Make note of the eighth brightest star in the Northern sky in this decan: Altair, "The Eagle Star."

Third Decan: Delphinus

Delphinus means "dolphin," long a symbol for Christ and, even more often, for the Christian  himself. The dolphin has traditionally been seen rather as the "dog of the sea," a creature known for its special relationship with humans. They're especially famous for saving the drowning. Everything written above about the constellation of Capricornus is emphasized by the existence of the dolphin as the third decan of this zodiacal sign.

Capricornus can be seen from July to November.


Capricornus relative to other stars in the Autumn sky:

Table of Contents

The Zodiac


A Tour of the Heavens

Envisioning the Celestial Sphere

The Constellations of the Zodiac












Summary and a Few Odds and Ends

The Traditional Catholic View of Astrology

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