2016 – New goals for the year: what’s the point?

Capricorn 2016

January is a very fitting time to make New Year’s Resolutions. Capricorn, associated with the planet Saturn, loves a concrete goal. And there’s nothing like a good plan! So we sort out a diet, or choose an exercise regime. We look back over 2015 and reflect on what went well (or not) and then focus on what we might achieve this year at work or in other parts of our life. All very laudable. And it can work. But there is a problem. To do what we really want to do requires change, and we are not too keen on that.

Seat goat capricorn

It supposed to be a monster but I love this image of Capricorn which was originally a sea goat. By Damon Hellandbrand.

Predictions for 2016

I’m sorry to say it, but I think 2016, as most years, will be more of the same. Terrorists, killings, religious violence and terrible politics. But on a positive note, also lots and lots of good things that we don’t always hear about. There are opportunities in 2016, as there are every year. The question is  – what are they? I will tell you what I think about that, but first I want to consider why we might not do what we need to do to help ourselves. In my view, a lot of this has to do with Saturn.

I’ve been bad

We are often told that fear is a factor in being unable to do what might be best for us. Looking at Saturn’s realm, I agree with this. But if we are in a bad situation, surely getting out of it is better. So what are we actually afraid of? The unknown? Maybe. Failure? Sometimes. Change? Possibly. But I think there is a deeper ingrained fear, perhaps based on old norms and values or religious beliefs, that if we step out of line – which we probably need to do to change – we will be punished. Saturn and Capricorn can be really good at blame and punishment. And these are things designed to keep us in our place. It has to do with authority and being accepted.

suffragettes

Suffragettes were force fed in prison after they went on hunger strikes in 1912 in the UK. Photo from The illustrate London News.

We need to struggle…

A good example of how this works is seen in the film ‘Suffragette’. Brilliantly played, it shows the struggles of women in the early 1900s in Britain trying to get the vote. It’s a tough watch. The women are incredibly brave, and they do eventually get the change they are seeking. I am always proud that New Zealand was the first country to grant women the vote in 1893. On this note I was stunned that other countries were so much later. France in 1945, Portugal in 1968 and Switzerland (some women’s groups even voted against it) only in 1971! But I digress – back to Suffragette. The punishment aspect is very clear. Women were beaten at demonstrations – in another documentary it was stated that their faces and breasts were targeted. They were imprisoned. The main character is ousted by her husband and loses her child. It is clear that her husband feels he has little choice. If he doesn’t discipline (another good Saturn word) his wife, he too will be mocked and not be seen as a real man. He is also punished. The men don’t want to lose their authority and so do not want change. They fear it too. They need to follow rules and authority figures. Even the policeman has to follow orders that he is doubting at one stage – although he is pretty good at making women feel worthless!

You’re gonna get it

There is an underlying belief here that we should all be good or we will ‘get it’! Even Christmas myths go along with that. I think it is our own belief around punishment, and deep down believing we deserve it, that keep us from moving on by making changes.

punish

Doing the rounds on Facebook

One of my colleagues posted an article on Facebook this week that got me thinking (thanks Margaret). Written by Mark Manson and entitled ‘You probably know to ask yourself, “What do I want?” Here’s a way better question’ (see link below), it includes the following: “Who you are is defined by the values you are willing to struggle for. People who enjoy the struggles of a gym are the ones who get in good shape. People who enjoy long workweeks and the politics of the corporate ladder are the ones who move up it. People who enjoy the stresses and uncertainty of the starving artist lifestyle are ultimately the ones who live it and make it.”

Hidden in all this seems to be that we need to struggle to get anywhere. I agree that we need to take responsibility for our goals and do the work, but I don’t necessarily think this should be a struggle. Although I agree with a lot of the article, Manson asks, “What is the pain that you want to sustain?”, and I have trouble with this. It’s implied that we need pain to get anywhere with our goals, which has a link with ‘doing something new requires effort’ (fine) but also a kind of punishment. It will hurt!

resolutions

No dieting!

Typical resolutions

Going on a diet – why? Is it really for you? Or is it about being acceptable in the eyes of others or fitting in with social norms. Punishment, in this case the reason for doing it – not being part of the in-crowd? And then beating ourselves up when we fail.

Leaving a bad employer? Why not? Fear of being ‘punished’ by your partner? ‘We need the money’. ‘It’s a good job – what’s the problem?’ ‘If you don’t work, you can do all the child care, housework …’

Leaving a bad relationship. Why is this so difficult? Expecting to be ‘punished’ by not being invited to events that require you to have a plus one? Being seen as pathetic for not having a partner? Afraid that rejecting a relationship means you will be poor and/or won’t be allowed access to children and/or won’t find another relationship at all?

A new goal at work – what if I fail? Punishment in the form of: ‘That was a stupid idea – it was bound to fail’. Or having no money, which can be the ultimate in feeling powerless in our society. The shame associated with having to go to food banks or ask for help or handouts is still alive and well.

So we stay on the same old path. We won’t be ‘punished’ for that. Or will we? Is it not self-punishment?

Try it on – does it fit?

We need to look at which resolutions really fit who we are. If we are going to do something new and better, it is useful to discover who or what might punish us for going for it. And to decide if we want to give them that much authority over our lives. The real trick is to learn not to expect a negative backlash when we try something new. Can the cosmos help us in our goals this year? It may have more to say than any person!

bad santa

So what does 2016 offer?

There is a lot of potential in 2016 for change. Two planets that move slowly, and therefore give a flavour for a relatively long period, are in what are known in astrology as mutable signs. These are the signs more amenable to change – Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces. If you know people of these signs, you might understand how these signs can be changeable! Neptune is in Pisces for all of 2016 and Saturn is in Sagittarius. As well as this, we have Jupiter in the sign of Virgo until September.

Of course, we still have the two heavies going at each other – Uranus will stay in Aries this year and Pluto in Capricorn, our sign of the month. I have written often on these before, so now I will give a few ideas for the potential of the others.

Neptune in Pisces: learning about compassion

We have so many victims (Neptune) that are representative of this watery sign (Pisces). Refugees from Syria drowned again as I write, flooding damaging many properties in the US, the UK and Ireland, many women raped on New Year’s Eve in Cologne, this list goes on. There is a still a belief that punishment is applicable in many of these cases – or that blame has to be apportioned to someone. It’s the fault of immigrants or the Government or Obama! But Neptune in Pisces is calling for compassion and to know that the world is connected. It is heart-warming to see ordinary people stepping up to the plate and helping refugees and flood victims where governments can’t get their acts together to do this. Slowly we are learning that stopping trying to find out ‘who did it’ and getting on with helping might make a better world. Can you use this energy? Can you walk away from blame and let go of what doesn’t serve you (also a Neptunian idea)? Can you help someone who might need it?

couple feed refugees

A Turkish couple offer up their wedding banquet to feed around 4000 Syrian refugees. Photo english.alarabiya.net photographer unknown

Saturn in Sagittarius: responsible beliefs

Anything Sagittarian will be tested this year so that we can learn to take responsibility and be realistic in these areas. But Saturn is often a hard task master. He will challenge the areas of travel, immigration, publishing, religion and international topics such as import-export. On a personal level it is a good year to take a realistic look at your strategies and belief systems, and a year to get serious about your marketing. This is a good area in which to define goals. And to plan any travel rather than just travel on a whim, although if you do that will be a ‘learning’ experience!

de straat op

Icy weather this week in the north of the Netherlands has turned streets into ice-rinks. But travel is so treacherous that schools have been closed, post is not being delivered and the advice is to stay home if possible. Photo Jan Ottens.

Jupiter in Virgo: seeing the trees in the wood

Jupiter is our largest planet and so he tends to enlarge and expand things. Virgo is about information and detail – we are in overwhelm with the amount of information we get each day. Jupiter is a strategist and Virgo an analyst. What is needed here is to sift out what is important and relevant from all the data we get. Jupiter can see the big picture – he is now wearing his Virgo garb so this is a good time to sort out strategy and targets in the areas of health and healing, your daily routine, and how the mind and body are connected. Does your work serve you and the world? Jupiter in Virgo can result in too much anxiety, going over and over details – Virgo can be critical. But also in a good way, by discriminating what’s useful.  This combination has the potential for a grounded critical analysis of whether our belief systems (in any area) are holding us back.

overload

I can’t find the artist to credit this image. Know the feeling though!

So what’s the point of resolutions and goals?

There is none! Unless they are aligned with you and the cosmos. That way you might have a chance that they come to fruition! Good luck.

Websites of the Month

The article by Mark Manson mentioned above.

Pleasure

I thought this was an interesting article. Entitled “Pleasure is good: How French children acquire a taste for life’, it is not strictly on topic, however it does mention resolutions and dieting and compares different countries on their attitudes to food.  And I like the idea that we should embrace pleasure!

Quotes of the Month

“If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed.” Albert Einstein.

“Power is of two kinds. One is obtained by the fear of punishment and the other by acts of love. Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent then the one derived from fear of punishment.” Mahatma Gandhi.

 

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