Do You Really Want Success? Your Shadow Says No

Today Pluto has moved direct in Capricorn. The archetypal Lord of the Underworld is no longer retrograde and all things career and success related can finally rise to the surface of the psyche. For me, this has resulted in a realisation that my shadow side is not at all on board with my conscious desires for success.

What’s Pluto in Capricorn got to do with it?

Recently, I’ve had Pluto opposite my natal Chiron so I’ve been experiencing a surge of old patterns and pains coming to the surface of my psyche, things that I wasn’t aware were even in there. One of them is a great fear of responsibility (ugh, so Capricorn).

Capricorn is the drive within us to succeed, to put ourselves out there. Like the mountain goat, we keep climbing higher and never give up. We adjust our footing as we go and don’t rest until we’ve reached the summit.

Pluto in Capricorn encourages us to transform this energy, and retrograde Pluto forces us to look again at areas we may not have fully transformed in the past.

Responsibility blocks

Over the last month or so I’ve had a serious block over selling myself (my writing and coaching), not because I don’t think it’s good enough (I’m shit hot and I know it, sorrynotsorry), but because as soon as someone agrees to buy my services, I have a responsibility to fulfil that person’s expectations.

I like, more than anything, to do a good job and solve my client’s problem, leaving them toasty warm and totally satisfied, ready to come back for more later, but that’s a responsibility right there, HUGE responsibility.

As soon as someone hands over money, shit gets real. Your client has put a certain amount of trust in you (depending on the amount of money) and so in some way, they partially own you until you deliver the goods. If you don’t deliver the goods, then we got problems.

This is a terrifying scenario, and one I’ve used many a time to keep myself small. I somehow believe that by only taking on small responsibilities, small jobs, small monies, I only have a little way to fall.

Avoid the big responsibilities and I’m safe. If I don’t take much money and keep shooting below my real potential, then I don’t take any risks, but at what point do I realise that I’m swimming in the shallows? I know damn well how to swim, and I’m a strong swimmer too, but I’m scared of moving on up to the big kids’ pool, just in case I forget and drown.

Unrealistic beliefs

Now, in five years of freelance writing, I have never once missed a deadline, or received a bad review, so why on earth would I panic about not being able to deliver the goods now?

We often look at things with skewed vision. We tell ourselves to worry about things we know for sure will not happen. Unless I got hit by a bus or one of my family got hit by a bus, I would always deliver what I promised to deliver (and even then, depending on the level of injury received by said bus, I’d probably still give it a go).

So, what’s the real problem here? Fear of failure? Low self-esteem? Past experiences colouring my judgement? Well, possibly all of them wrapped up in there somewhere, but it’s also something else.

Part of me doesn’t really want to succeed.

Yup, that’s right. There’s a shadowy, sinister side of me that would rather not have the big money or the exciting clients, because that just wouldn’t fit my current ego narrative.

The stories we tell ourselves

We all tell ourselves stories, about who we are and how the world works, or in particular, how the world works for us, and it’s these stories that shape our every thought and action. Without these stories we would have no comprehension of life or relationships or reality.

We grow up listening to our parents’ stories, the stories of our teachers and our peers. We learn what the world means through our experiences, so ultimately, our reality is built upon things outside of ourselves, that we internalize and feed back to ourselves as truth.

If we’ve grown up in a family that had to struggle to make ends meet, then part of our ego identity is that we have to work really hard in order to get anywhere. We’ll think that material sources are scarce and that the universe doesn’t deliver what we need from it. We think in terms of lack.

If, like me, you come from a place where nobody really has much and a rare few ever really make it out, let alone onto something big and exciting (that’s if they even have the drive to), then your story includes that. Part of your identity narrative is that it’s impossible to get what you want from life because of your circumstances.

Why this story is totally wack

Now this is crazy for me because if you ask any of my nearest and dearest what I think about my hometown or my ability to get what I want, they’d tell you “Ellie is hell bent on creating her own reality, she works real damn hard but she scoffs at the illusion that is the 9-5 and would rather stick her head in an oven, she’s constantly banging on about how we should all just create our own career doing something we love and that the internet is the key to making all of our dreams come true” – and they’d be bang on.

Except that this is the conscious Ellie talking, the other stuff, the stuff that causes me to play small and hide my true light (which is really fucking bright btw), is completely unconscious. It’s so unconscious it directly contradicts with what I think I believe.

Walking contradictions

I say I have big dreams and I’m totally equipped to make them happen, yet I deliberately sabotage my chance at reaching those dreams because I don’t fully believe they’re achievable. It’s the complete fucking opposite. I’m a walking contradiction, but I’m not the only one.

For most of us, most of the time, we go about thinking we know our own motives, and consider ourselves in complete control of our actions, but the part of our mind that instructs us on a daily basis, the voice in our head that we call ME, is not the only deciding factor up there.

Your shadow side, made up of all the dark icky stuff you’d rather not deal with consciously, also has a say in what you do.

My shadow side says that it’s tired of working hard, just like it watched its family get tired of working hard, and all of that feels nice and familiar to my shadow, so it keeps things that way.

My shadow side says that only privileged people get to play out their dream careers because so few people it knows personally have got to do so.

My shadow side says that it doesn’t matter how hard you work, you’ll still never get anywhere, and why would you want to get anywhere anyway? Because if mere survival is achieved through tiring hard work, then real big juicy wealthy influential success must be back-breakingly difficult to achieve. You must have to work like crazy every second of every day to achieve it. Success sounds exhausting, better to just kick it in the kiddy pool where it’s only mildly taxing.

How do we tell new stories?

So, what now? Now all this is out in the open, how do I correct it?

Well, for starters, the shadow doesn’t want to be corrected, it wants recognition. It wants airtime. It wants you to look it in the face and say “ok shadow, you got me, those are all totally valid viewpoints and you have every reason to believe that”.

Once you give yourself permission to feel those nasty icky feelings and accept that you’re fucked up, just like everyone else is fucked up, you’ve already won.

You’ve brought the unconscious into consciousness, just like the psychotherapists and alchemists and soul searchers of the world. You’ve healed a part of yourself that really just wanted to be acknowledged.

I might still fall prey to this false narrative again, but at least next time around I can name it, accept it and let it go. “sorry shadow, we’ve been here before and you know I love you but you gotta give it a rest”.

Acknowledging your blocks gives you power over them

Just like in the story of Rumpelstiltskin, when you name something, you have power over it.

When you name your unconscious motivations and see them for what they are, and where they come from, you have power over them. You can get back to being a shit hot writer/coach/teacher/mailman/vet/whatever and move on up to the next level where you belong.

If trying doesn’t seem to be working, figure out why, it’s more than likely you’ve got some unconscious motivations blocking you from succeeding and you need to have a good sit-down chat with your shadow side.

Pluto moving direct in Capricorn might just be the push you need to finally meet your own demons. Feel free to tell them I sent you. 😉

If you need some help getting to know your shadow, I’d be happy to mediate. I’m now offering planetary mindset coaching to help you transform your thoughts using astrology, so you can finally live the life you truly (think you) want.

Does this sound familiar? I’d love to hear your story!




Featured image: Jane June

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Ellie Rose is a writer, astrologer and tough lovin' tarot reader. While she admits that she'd rather be at the beach, if she had to do something it would be liberating humans of mental strife, achieving enlightenment and transmuting enough gold to feed the world and save the animals, oh and trees, she really likes trees.

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