It has been said that New Year’s resolutions are the sweet nothings we whisper to ourselves before drifting off for another 12 months of dogmatic slumbers. The Saturnal world of statistics seems to support this insight. Studies have shown that 25% of resolutions are broken within their first week and that only 8% last the calendar year. Not a strong showing.
Of course, there could be many reasons why we lack the will to stick with our resolutions – from predatory social media strategies that expropriate our attention to work-related technologies of corporate control that have colonised the delicate ecosystem of our work-life balance. Or…
Maybe our irresolution ultimately has something to do with astrology, particularly the New Moon. Perhaps we aren’t making the best use of it each year as we sit down (likely hungover) to write our goals haphazardly on a napkin, while waiting for eggs florentine at brunch with friends.
Rather than go through yet another annual cycle of weakly-inked resolutions, let’s look at how we can use the New Moon on January 11, 2024 to our utmost astrological advantage.
In general, we should always mobilise a New Moon (of which there are usually 12 per year) to inaugurate projects, goals, wishes, desires, schemes, and the like. This doesn’t necessarily mean that we should realise or concretise these plans on a New Moon (Full Moons are better for culminations). Rather we should use this particular lunation, with all its initiatory magic, to plant the seeds of our desires to harvest later.
For this year’s resolutions, the lunar calendar demarcates January 11th as the most fresh and powerful minute of the New Moon cycle. Granted you don’t have to make your resolutions in that instant but have it in mind as you think about them. A word of practical advice, accordingly: setting your resolutions down on the evening of January 11 might be a good time to do so, if you’ll be out late merry-making.
Centering our resolutions around a precise moment relates to what is known as electional astrology, a way of proactively using the stars to best achieve something important you’re about to start. Royal astrologers from antiquity, for example, would “elect” the best time for a king to be crowned or get married, based on transits. In a more modern context, Winston Churchill and Ronald Reagan also used electional astrology to aid political decision-making. While we can’t all have royal astrologers – and we aren’t ancient kings (or queens) – the principle of finding the right moment to start something should still hold for us as we set intentions for the New Year with the New Moon.
In addition to the lunar election, we also want to work with the “flavour” of the Moon to optimise our resolutions. Each Moon–like each planetary transit in general–has a certain signature, quality, or valence. A Full Moon in Aries is not the same as a New Moon in Pisces. Not understanding the flavour of the New Moon could be counterproductive to what we get out of it. How so?
Imagine a New Moon in fun and attention loving Leo (a fixed fire sign, ruled by the Sun). The flavour of this Moon will have more to do with emotional recognition than, say, compassion for others. During Leo season, it would make more sense to set shorter term goals that revolve around yourself (Leo+Sun) and your emotional needs: Throwing a party for a “friend” that nonetheless lets you shine. Working with a New Moon’s flavour or signature, rather than in ignorance of or at loggerheads with it, will help supercharge your wishes (or schemes).
The particular flavour of our New Moon under the sign of Capricorn on January 11th will be Saturn-heavy. Indeed the Taskmaster rules Capricorn and New Moon resolutions should take on a weightier valence because of that. Saturn stands for stability, improving social position, making something solid; it is pragmatic, realistic, and patient; it champions effort, working with your superiors, cutting off unimportant things that lack substance.
When you think about it, a Saturn Moon is the perfect transit for resolutions, which tend to be on the serious side. Take advantage of this energy and avoid slapdash or grandiose plans. A Saturn Moon won’t like to see “Invest all my money in crypto and/or Margiela sunglasses” on your napkin at brunch this year. Saturn is sombre. It doesn’t smile at children in the park, as it tries to finish its crossword puzzle. You should be equally sombre with your resolutions perhaps and will be rewarded.
Because Saturn governs time, duration, and longevity, think about resolutions that might not even be achieved in the upcoming year, as well: finishing a dissertation, marathon training, learning a language, or saving money for something big and lasting (home, tuition, car). The cosmos isn’t saying you can’t have fun now (Jupiter-in-Taurus just went direct). But with a Saturn Moon, it is saying “if you’re going to sit down and make some resolutions, go with prudent financial planning, not negligent expenditure. Think long term, think Saturn.”
As a final, fun side-note, since, let’s face it, the Taskmaster isn’t exactly like listening to Iggy Pop’s “Lust For Life”: This New Moon also coincides with Mercury shifting from Sagittarius into Capricorn, a more elevated sign for the Messenger. Because Mercury traffics in communication (as do resolutions), this Mercury-in-Capricorn placement could be excellent for conversation with self and others about the upcoming year. Talk about your resolutions with a friend over eggnog before putting them down in your journal. Mercury shifting into Capricorn, will also indicate more focus. Use this bit of astrological caffeine to put pen to paper (not napkin) and imagine your year unfolding slowly but surely toward a nirvana of your own design.