On the first day of this year, I swore I would make no resolutions beyond trying to be a kinder and better version of myself.
Well, that’s not exactly true; I was sincere, actually. But old habits die hard, and I didn’t stick to that no-resolution resolution. I soon returned, like a swallow to Capistrano, to my calendars and planners and markers, sketching out an ambitious schedule designed to increase my market share of the planet.
Half a year later, those calendars and their neglected goals look a bit faded, have curled up a bit around their yellowing edges. They are a little bit embarrassing, like old photographs taken when you were very young and innocent and hadn’t quite filled out yet.
The Capricorn New Moon falls near the beginning of each calendar year and signals a fresh commitment to becoming your best, most successful self. At midyear, the Capricorn Full Moon is its mirror image, the response to its call. It’s time to face the optimistic pages of those calendars and planners and compare them with your progress to date. There is still time to change your strategy—or even your resolutions.
This year’s Capricorn New Moon (Jan. 16, 2018) was conjoined by Pluto and square Uranus. That was a harsh chart. It all but guaranteed a year in which skeletons tumbled out of closets and ulterior motives and ruthless ambitions were released into the general population like a rapidly mutating virus. And Saturn had recently entered its home sign of Capricorn, a signal that we would have to work very hard, against incredible odds, to accomplish the smallest things—even harder to nudge the dial monitoring our soul’s growth even one point into the black.
This Full Moon is in a tight conjunction with Saturn, and after six long months we wish to squirm out from under Capricorn’s stern and melancholy thumb. Fortunately, the Sun, Moon, and Saturn have a friend in freedom-loving Uranus, which entered Taurus in mid-May. Whatever your prison, you are gearing up for a daring jailbreak. New Year’s resolutions about earning more money, getting in shape, or finishing a novel seem a little trivial next to the overwhelming desire to end whatever is hurting us.
The Sun in Cancer, approaching a trine to Jupiter, is like a lovely and gentle mother who assures us that we’re not so bad and that it will all work out fine in the end. But the Moon in Capricorn is not in the habit of going easy on us, especially when it’s so close to Saturn. It’s Capricorn’s job to push us toward greater achievement, not to comfort us when things fall apart. “Go ahead and run,” he might shrug. “Leave your job, your marriage, your home, your history. But it’s not enough to run away from something. You need something you can run to.”
In drafting our hopeful New Year’s resolutions each year, I suppose we’re trying to do just that—to conjure something that’s worth running to. Accomplishing them will, we imagine, reward us with the feeling that we are living lives of consequence. But that is a large burden to place on our calendars and to-do lists. Ultimately, we need loftier goals. Capricorn will sign off on nothing less.
Resolutions that mean something
My new Independence Day tradition is watching the bizarre but entertaining musical 1776, the story of the Declaration of Independence. I won’t argue that the Founding Fathers were saints, but anyone who has ever tried to shepherd a group of disparate individuals toward achieving a common goal can only marvel at what John Adams and his merry band accomplished. They let nothing stop them in their quest to liberate a people from British rule and toward their own future as a sovereign nation.
Independence wasn’t as simple as writing down a set of resolutions, either. No sooner had the charmless but indomitable Adams browbeat Congress into ratifying the Declaration of Independence than the colonists faced an even more daunting struggle. To win their independence, they would have to fight England for it.
If we find ourselves adrift at this Full Moon in Capricorn, perhaps it’s not because our resolutions were too ambitious, but rather that we weren’t thinking big enough. You needn’t resolve to start a whole country, but your resolutions should mean something vitally important to you. Forget which job you hope to land, which countries you’d like to cross off your bucket list this year: who are you trying to be when you grow up? How do you wish to be remembered? What means so much to you that you’ll sacrifice sleep, sanity, popularity, assurances of success, and even your own well-being to midwife it into reality?
The truth is, we’ve probably only got a few real resolutions in us, and maybe the best we can do at each year’s Capricorn New and Full Moons is to recommit to becoming the person who can accomplish one of them. It can take many years to understand what you’re about and where you’re headed. I’m a full decade older than John Adams was in 1776, and I’m nowhere close to answering those questions for myself. I’ll tell you this, though—Capricorn smiles a little bit whenever he hears me ask them.
© 2014-2018 by April Elliott Kent