The Nostalgia Trap

Situation

With the Sun in Scorpio (brooding) and the Moon in Leo (self-centered), today and tomorrow are Six of Cups days.

On one level, this might manifest as pure and simple happiness of the type many of us enjoyed during childhood – when the days were long, the world beautiful, and life, like the summer morning, was something to be savored.

On another level, however, this might manifest as something altogether different, something deeper and, perhaps, more sinister.

Issue

It’s worth considering that in the tarot, first and foremost, the number six represents the centrality of ‘self’. Like the sun, we each become the central figure about which our entire world orbits. A healthy dose of positive self-esteem is important because without it, well, we might not even get out of bed in the morning.

But in some instances, the number six represents that central ‘self’ as having lapsed into a kind of stupor, a nostalgic longing for something from the past, fueled by frustration of no longer having access to it. At an individual level, the result is difficult enough; we lose faith in our future and may indeed struggle to get out of bed each morning. But when it occurs on a wider level, the situation becomes more dangerous.

Advice

The collective – over the past few decades, we have experienced a revival of this later form of nostalgia on a collective level, a societal longing to reproduce a shared, idealized piece of history. Those caught up in this phenomena identify solely with those with whom they’ve shared this ‘golden age’. This leaves those who are not part of this elite group as outsiders and intruders.

Recipe for disaster – since 1947, in America, each successive generation of young men have earned, on average, three times as much as had their fathers. But since the late 1970’s, the trend has reversed. Even before the Great Recession of the late 2000’s, the median real earnings of men aged 24-24 (with high school diplomas) has declined by 28%. Put that together with statistics demonstrating that even during periods of economic expansion, the top 10% of earners took 95% of income growth and we’ve got a recipe for disaster. Not only do the ‘good old days’ seem better, but in some very real sense they actually were.

The cure – shit happens – we can choose to view the difficult situation as a glass half empty but equally it might be viewed as half full. In this respect, research shows that we do ourselves a favor when we adopt the more positive approach. This is not the same as blind optimism, otherwise known as the Pollyanna Syndrome. Instead it is an affirmative decision not to blame others for whatever ills have befallen you and to take personal responsibility for making the situation better, as best that you can. The up-side of this approach is that you actually feel better straight away and from that you gain improved self-esteem on a daily basis. Who knows but that perhaps the optimism you project into the universe might soon enough become a self-fulfilling prophecy.


If you’re interested in learning more, read The Resilience Factor: 7 Keys to Finding Your Inner Strength and Overcoming Life’s Hurdles

by Karen Reivich and Andrew Shatte.

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