Posted by: Donna Cunningham | July 24, 2013

Goal Setting–a Helpful Strategy for Handling Tough Transits

©Reposted 7-24-2013 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

Let’s look at ways of meeting the challenges of difficult transits. Create a list of best and the worst case scenarios for the aspect you’re concerned with, depending on which houses of your astrology chart is involved. Then pick one of those best case scenarios and brainstorm ways to make it happen.

Analyze exactly what actions would help you change things that aren’t working for you.  In order to do that effectively, rather than in a hit and miss fashion, the best tool is a set of  clear, achievable goals that lead you to definite actions.

Of all the aspects, squares are the most likely to spur you to action. Of all the planet/sign pairs, results-oriented Saturn and its sign, Capricorn responds most strongly to goal-setting  so the transit of Pluto through Capricorn is  an important window for identifying and working toward concrete improvements in the areas of life governed by the houses where transiting Pluto in Capricorn is located. Let’s look at resources to help you set realistic targets for this transit and to come up with steps that will help you achieve them.

I’m a great belnew-years-resolutionsiever in  goals—it’s been a key tool for me. Each New Year for over 30 years, I’ve made a list of things I want to accomplish for the year.  I make sure they are realistic, concrete, and fully aligned with what I hold in my heart.

They don’t include any SHOULD-based promises to my conscience, my pals, my doctor or my guru of the moment. Back when I used to include SHOULD-based items, it was a different story and humiliating to realize how quickly I abandoned them. I decided not to jinx the list and set myself up for failure, so I stopped making promises like those.

Right after dead Christmas trees start appearing in trash bins, I stash this year’s list away somewhere and promptly forget what’s on it. Nope, no visualizations, affirmations, karma collages, dream boards, nothing like that.  Late in the year, maybe around September, I’ll run across the list and be pleasantly surprised to discover that I’ve already completed most of them.

My manifestation mojo wasn’t always this strong, but using goals and statements of intention habitually and consciously for over 30 years has surely honed it.  It can help you, too. If you have crucial goals ahead of you, read Dr. Wayne W. Dyer’s life-changing best-seller, The Power of Intention for tips on how to maximize your results.

I also routinely declare lesser, short-term goals to friends who still have the patience to listen to my latest enthusiasms.  (“My goal is to continue this series until I’ve written 5-8 posts on the topic.”)

I’m careful, however,  in who I select to share them with.  I give a wide berth to pessimists, cynics, critics, and my detractors, because they can take the wind right out of my sails and cause me to give less than my all.  On the other hand, having nothing but Neptune in earth, I do include my fine cadre of good buddies with beaucoup earth in their charts,  for I value their sound advice on details of my projects.  (Lynne, Martha, and Deborah, I couldn’t do it without you!)

Declaring my intentions publicly seems to fortify my ability to complete them…or maybe it’s just the embarrassment of wimping out on my promises!  If it would help strengthen your own goals to declare them publicly, you’re invited to post them in the comment section.

 Helpful wikiHow Articles about Setting and Reaching Goals

Since goal-setting is a technique espoused by experts in many different fields, from efficiency experts to metaphysicians to salesmanship trainers, it seemed redundant for me to write about this topic. I just created a list of links to articles about how to do it. I’m a great fan of wikiHow – The How-to Manual and their varied online collection. I found some good references there, which you’ll see on the list of links below.dreamcloudsabs-a2d

(In dealing with WikiHow, always keep in mind that the authors may or may not be qualified mental health professionals, for anyone can contribute a how-to piece, and all their authors are anonymous. Take what’s helpful from the articles that follow, but don’t consider it professional advice.)

More Posts about handling Tough Transits:

Related Posts for Using Transits to Change Unwanted Patterns:

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  1. Great a very timely. Saturn is moving through my 2nd house and is trying to help me break the 2nd house Neptune curse that I can’t make money from my arts. May we succeed!!

    Incidentally, I reread your Planet+House=the Best and Worst Possibilities of a ToughTransit and thought about your hands and the Saturn 3rd house transit. Would that be a worst case scenario or a case of God’s delay is not his denial. I didn’t want to mention it then, since it seemed so painful for you at the moment, but you seem to have reemerged so wonderfully now. What a concealed gift!

    • Thanks, Mads. You know, the healing seemed to take forever then–and it DID, almost year–but now I hardly remember how difficult it was. Donna

    • Mads, I am having the exact same experience with Saturn in the 2nd and my natal Neptune in the 2nd! Your post gives me hope!

  2. Hi Donna! Really tks for this! Having my sun in libra 12(6 house) and moon in cancer 10 (3th house), Pluto and Uranus are “dancing” with me! What i have experienced is that when any personal planets move that square (like the stellium in Aries or now in cancer) are the worst times, so what i say to myself is “easy girl this shall pass too and breathe”; i believe that i´ll understand my changes may be a year ahead.

  3. I made plans and set reasonable goals for this Saturn transit, and I am now having to put my plans on hold…

    Pluto has been transiting my fourth house, and home renovations have been a big project (especially plumbing/underground pipe replacing). Saturn in Scorpio through my second house seemed like a good time to use the savings we have been scraping together to work on the actual structure of the house, and maybe even repair our old barn.

    But transiting Saturn hit my daughter’s ascendant, and she needed braces. Neptune opposed my son’s Virgo Sun, and he needed eye surgery.

    I’m not throwing in the towel on my original plans, but true to its nature Saturn is saying “not yet.”

    • Ah, yes, there’s the timing we plan, and then there’s the timing that is. With Pluto in Capricorn and Saturn in Scorpio, time seems to be moving much slower in some things and at a dizzying rate in others. Glad you can allow timing to happen as it will, rather than trying to push the river–saves a lot of frustration. Donna

      • Again another post that reflects my own chart. With Pluto in my 4th I have had to move three times in a year. I suppose I’ll keep doing it until I find where I belong. In the meantime, though, it’s a rough ride. Saturn in my second has caused me to spend a lot of my money financing all those moves.

  4. My moon is cap 11 in my 3rd house squaring Saturn at Aries 8 (conjunct Eris) in my 6th house of health. When Pluto went retrograde in April my life mate (whose Leo Moon was Conjunct my Leo sun) died four days later unexpectedly. Then a week later I began struggling with new health issues. There is no preparation for such events.

    I also have SN in early degree of Scorpio in my 12th, so had Saturn’s retrograde working too. I probably got the worst case scenario of these outer transits, as I am also in my balsamic waning progressed moon phase until 2015. My life has changed so drastically since these transits started, my old life is almost completely gone and I am feeling leveled.

    I don’t think there was any way to prepare for the Pluto/Uranus square’s destruction that changed my life. I am tired, and just the idea of setting more goals is much too difficult and trying right now. I feel like it is a time of Being with Death (Endings and Total Darkness). And this is ok with me, because I understand that this is what the balsamic waning progressed moon phase is truly about. I have spent 95% of my life so far setting goals, and now the time has come to stop, and just be, and see what happens…

    • Such a tough time you’ve been through, so sorry. This Pluto-Uranus square lasts a long time, and there are so many harsh losses. People need time and space to grieve, before trying to rebuild. Donna

      • Donna, Could you help. I’m growing more concerned that when Pluto makes a 2nd pass over my Cap 11 Moon at the end of 2013, beginning of 2014, another tragic/deathly/Plutonic event might occur. Does this usually happen with second passes? Another concern is that November’s Saturn/Sun/Moon eclipse in Scorpio will happen close to the 4th Pluto/Uranus Square (which strikes my Cap Moon & Aries Saturn). What would be some keywords for Nov’s Saturn/Sun/Moon eclipse conjunct my natal Scorpio Mars? Thanks.

      • Hi, Menstrala, I can empathize with your concerns. To answer your questions on such a complicated setup, however, would really require a session to look at the complete chart. I’m older now and have been retired from chart sessions for very good reasons for 5 years already. I’ll send you by email a list of people whose work I know and respect. As for the eclipses, I don’t follow them closely, as they generally just highlight things that are already in process. Best wishes, Donna

  5. I love that you posted a picture of someone’s 2009 Resolutions. LOL.

  6. I love lists! I am entering the age of can’t rember sh&t…and am having significant transits to inner planets from all of the outers.

    I began doing a List Moon practice around the Cardinal ingresses in 2008 (I think). I list things I would like to see accomplished for myself and my family (Cancer rising, comes with the territory) at the Full Moon prior to the Cardinal Ingress. It seems the right time to do it, though some might say the New Moon.

    I look at all those things I have accomplished from previous lists, and write a separate Gratitudes List. Usually, I do that first. Then I write the manifestations. Finally I write Words of Power (a technique I learned from the late Marion Weinstein) and those I repeat every day as part of my meditation and prayer practice.

    It never occurred to me to consider transits. I might try that. Then again, simple works best for me, so if it’s not broke.. I might not fix it. As a Libran Sun, Gemini Moon, i can see the self dialog I will be having about this in the next month. Thanks for the suggestion

    • Sounds like it ain’t broke, so for sure don’t fix it. I like your addition of the gratitude lists, which I do regularly. God likes it when we say thank you, and the longer I said a heartfelt thanks for all my blessings, the stronger my power of intention got to be. Donna

  7. Thank you for this post. I have a Cardinal Grand Cross so I’ve been through some difficult times lately, although the changes take place mostly on the inside, nothing as dramatic as the experiences of some of other commenters. Can you give us some insight on how the transiting planet transforms not only the house it’s currently in but also the houses of ruled by the planet it is aspecting? In my case, of course, there are going to be 4 houses involved (4th, 6th, 10th and 12th). Oh, fun times…

    • I’ll keep that in mind for another post, Tatiana. I have a feeling that between the posts on houses and the ones on transits, there’s probably a lot of info on your question. What I’m intending to do is to revise the series of posts I wrote on how to handle the Pluto-Saturn square that happened a couple of years back. (The current post is a remake of one of that series.) Donna

  8. I’ve been studying astrology for a long time….approximately 30 plus years, but I also see signs and I pay attention to numbers…numerology. I work hard on being aware and living in the moment. Mostly, I pay strong attention to my sensitive feelings. Lately, the messages I have been receiving from God and/or Spirit have been more numerous and stronger than ever. I was even surprised recently by being awoken in the middle of the night and adamantly told to write a letter to my daughter. It was such a stern order that I immediately obeyed. I went to the bathroom first and when I returned to my bed, my laptop had been placed on my bed, emphasizing the importance of the command to WRITE! God has also told me to listen to Him each morning for what I am to do each day. Is there a blog for someone with a similar situation to mine?

    I have a Grand Trine in water plus Neptune in Libra near my Ascendant. My feeling is that my Dad and Granddad in Heaven are working together to help me with my goals and Mission in Life.

    Thanks for any advice.

  9. I wish I did the best & worst case scenario analysis before Neptune transit through my second house. It’s turning out as the worst case scenario, with my stock portfolio slowly going down for practically and unbelievably consecutive 42 weeks for a 60% loss, and the value of my stock options plummeting by 50% in just 3 days. I’m starving myself due to depression, and have lost 10 pounds in a few weeks.

    The first year of second house Neptune is not even over, and I lost about 15 years of savings. But there are16 more years of Neptune in my second house to go. Looks like the worst case for upcoming Neptune oppose Sun/Mars will be some extended hospitalization or unemployment. Not going to be fun for sure. I’m going to buy my life insurance for my family, just in case.

    I only prepared for the best case scenario of Neptune through second house, and started donating to charities at a faster pace. I even wanted to start my own charity. It turned out that I was totally deluded. Both ways would have resulted similarly, except I owe so many hungry mouths a meal.

    I tried very hard to win the battle with “dragon”, but I guess the scroll of fated oracle is written otherwise. Alice in Wonderland certainly didn’t kill the dragon in this round.

    • For Nathan….I have never had enough money to even think about any kind of stock investment. But, I have gone through extreme financial hardship and survived. That was back in 1983 and 1984. My son was born in February of 1983 just when my life felt the worst. My husband was out of work and my whole family (my husband, myself, my daughter who was seven and my newborn son) suffered greatly from being poor. We survived with the financial help of my sister. My young son knew nothing about our real situation but he was extremely sensitive and could feel our sad, collective emotions. He was a Pisces ruled by Neptune. Myself and my family learned the hard way to always put God First in our lives. I prayed earnestly everyday all through that time period in my life. Our family hit Rock Bottom when my son was one and one half years of age. We were forced out of our home and had to move to what we all called the Hell Hole. It was an apartment complex on the opposite side of town. The type of people who lived in the complex were drug dealers and prostitutes. We somehow survived living in the Hell Hole and God stepped into my life in the Spring of 1985 and gave me the permission to divorce my husband at that time. God had found a good job for me in late January of 1985 and even though, I was making enough to support myself, my husband and children, God wanted me to move out of the Hell Hole, so I did. Eventually, my former husband also got a job and moved himself. Then, he lost his job and I had to briefly (for six months) move back in with him because I had helped him by signing his lease and had put myself in the role of the responsible person. Later, I learned that my lifelong lessons from God were to learn responsibility and the sacredness of work and building a firm Christian foundation within me. Thirty and one half years have now gone by. Both of my children are extremely hard working and responsible. God is just now finally telling me that I have learned how to work hard by de-cluttering my life and being very responsible. I am very close to God and He is leading me day by day. God feels like my earthly father who died in 1975 when I was six months pregnant with my daughter. My daughter is now pregnant for the first time at the age of nearly 38. She will turn 38 on the Fall Equinox, September 23, 2013. Writing this to you has helped me. My daughter will be six months pregnant with her baby girl who is due to be born on the Winter Solstice. The Fall Equinox will be marking my turning point from dying to earthly life but yet overcoming death while still in my body. Death is our last enemy to overcome. In 1983 and 1984, poverty felt like Death to me. God brought a Miracle into my life in March of 1985 which gave me a Spiritual Rebirth. This is what happens with a strong Neptune. My Neptune is on my ascendant at 8 degrees and 8 minutes of Libra. When my earthly father died, Neptune was EXACTLY conjunct my natal Neptune at exactly 8 degrees and 8 minutes of Libra. My Mother, myself and my five siblings could all feel the JOY in my Dad’s Spirit when His Spirit crossed over from the Earthly realm into what most of us all call the Heavenly Realm. Now, because humans have bodies that are evolving, we can die and still live. Our earthly ego can die and we can survive in bodily form. We are all overcoming death by the poverty and suffering that we go through on earth. The pain that we go through purifies us and cleanses us such as a wild fire cleanses and purifies negative energy on earth. We are the Phoenix. We all have the ability to physically die to this earth while still living on earth. It is the Miracle of God, the Miracle of the Universe and the Miracle that is given to us through the outer planets….Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. My son was conceived when the planet Neptune was at the Center of our Galaxy. Our Galactic Center is at about 26 degrees of Sagittarius. That was in early June of 1982. I had an extremely Spiritual Experience at that time. I remember feeling magnetized and electrified. The human heart is 100,000 times stronger electrically and up to 5000 times stronger magnetically than the brain. Go with the FEELINGS in your heart. Feel all your feelings. You will Feel like you are dying but you are living and will survive. Trust me. Neptune, along with Saturn, Uranus and Pluto is purifying you. Poverty is ruled by Saturn. Spirituality is ruled by Neptune. Pluto rules life and death and transformation. All this can be felt through your heart. On Saturday, July 27, Saturn in Scorpio (death and rebirth) will be squaring the Sun (the Light) in Leo (the Heart). My heart is already feeling this Square. It has driven up my Blood Pressure, especially because I have Saturn and Pluto conjunct in Leo in my Capricorn tenth house. Actually, my tenth house is half Cancer and half Leo. Home and Heart is all about who I am. I am the Hearth of the Home. Pioneering Aires (Moon in Aires on Saturday and Sunday, July 27 and 28) will help us all to be Pioneers of this New Life of evolved humans on planet earth. You do not have to be sick and physically die. You can survive and live! Blessings to You, Nathan.
      Elisabeth Barry

      • I know I’m extremely lucky compared to many others. Yet my life course has taken me down to the trough a couple of times. What I experienced was quite Plutonian, and I had to go to practically total annihilation, and then come all the way back and some more. Looking back, I don’t even know how I made my comeback twice already. It was with definitely God’s blessings. This current journey would be my third trial.

        All my life I just want to help and serve others. But so many repeated failures are making me to question why bother. I wonder whether I’m just deluded, with Neptune in Scorpio in my 10th house. I can never give out enough money to help the poor. The economic/political system is broken, and I must think up a better system, and only if I could just have the power to implement the system. What a deluded thought that I have.

        Whatever comes to pass is by God’s will. Yet I cannot make myself to stand aside, and do nothing. I hear the poor and the hungry crying for help, and I pray that God will bring better life to them.

      • Ah, Better, I hear you! There have been points where I just had to shut down, too, with so much suffering in the world and so little ability to do something about it. That’s a big part of why I stopped doing chart consultations 5 years ago–my heart center just couldn’t take it any more. And I’ve prayed and done lots of healing work on the heart chakra, and the instinctive answer is still no, not on a one-on-one level. But the lesson for me has been, just do what you can and take care of yourself too. And one thing I do is to try to make the world a kinder place by validating the positive things people do. So, is transiting Saturn in Scorpio crossing your Neptune? That would be pretty much textbook for what you describe. Donna

      • I understand that many times we simply have to be patient. Being patient has been very hard for me. Growth is painful but to finally reach some important goals in life makes all the pain and growth worthwhile.
        I do believe better times are coming for all serious growth and spiritual seekers.

      • My current major transit is Neptune conjunct 2nd house cusp, and opposing Mercury. In my first depression, I had Saturn opposing Mars/Sun/Moon, Neptune conjunct AC, and Pluto conjunct Neptune all within about 1.5 years of period. I had to terminate my lifetime dream of becoming a scientist, and redefine myself. Saturn conjunct Neptune would be bad, and it’s coming in 2 years for me, yak!

        Donna & Elisabeth, thanks to your positive encouragement. Everytime I fall down so hard, I keep telling myself that I must get up, if not for myself, but for others. I cannot fail, because failure is not an option. There are poor people out there, and they need help. I must get up.

        Even then, success or failure is not my call, but God’s. I just feel kind of worn out from the repeated failures, especially when I always try so hard even at my family’s expenses.

      • I know what you mean about the depletion, Nathan. We need to replenish ourselves regularly, and both exercise (swimming helps me immensely) and energy work like Reiki, Chi Gong, and MariEl can help. Another helpful practice is working on clearing and energizing the chakras, especially the heart chakra. Gretchen Lawlor’s article at talks about how astrologers can take care of themselves, but it would help others as well. Donna

    • Donna, I really appreciate all of your informative articles and kind comments. I’m not familiar with the above stuffs, but with Uranus starting in my 3rd, and Pluto in my 12th, probably it would be a perfect time to learn those.
      I used my hunger to learn how the poorest feels on the daily basis, to understand how it feels like to have no food for days and crave for it, and to remind myself that I have let (so many of) them down. No one on Earth deserves to eat mud cake, and yet that’s how Haitian poor survive.
      I’m slowly going back to normal. My stomach and body got used to just a meal a day, such that even a regular meal fills me up so much, and I cannot digest it after hours. I have money to eat anytime, but some cannot. I pray God to send food to them, and fill their lives with abundance without any more hunger.

      • Nathan, hang in there. We are all evolving so quickly and we are all going through some crazy and weird times. Over the past 5 or 6 years, I have had all kinds of digestion problems. But, I know that my system will return more to normal very soon. Fasting is actually a good thing and this time is a good time for cleansing the body. Some days, I eat more and some days I don’t want much food. I am small, 5 feet tall, weigh about 105 and really do not need much food. But, my body seems okay… is changing and that is all okay. I used to be almost 50 pounds overweight and I am happy to be thin. I can feel really good at only 100 pounds so I am not really worried. I can get too thin at around 95 pounds so 100 is a good weight for me.

        Trust me. Your Guardian Angels are protecting you.

  10. I just noticed some mistakes I made in my posting above. Pluto was conjunct my Neptune when my Dad died at 8 degrees and 8 minutes exactly. And, I was three months pregnant with my first born, my daughter, in March of 1975. Since Pluto moves so slowly, my daughter was born with Pluto at 8 degrees (although not 8 minutes) it was at 47 minutes of Libra and as I correctly said, she is a strong Libra Sun at 0 degrees of Libra, 26 minutes. Every degree and minute and even second is important. My whole family is very Plutonian, Neptunian and Uranian. Saturn and Jupiter are also strong. My extended family survived the Great Depression and all of us born later have survived our own individual bouts with poverty and depression. We are all survivors!
    Elisabeth Barry

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