Follow the Moon: Astrology of intention and mindfulness

by Teri Parsley Starnes

Teri’s interest with astrology lies with helping people see how following a practice of intention and self-awareness leads to a fuller relationship with Mystery. Astrology is a wonderful tool for this. Her weekly column orients readers to the seasonal energy of
each month’s Sun sign in order to set magical/mindful intention for the lunar month beginning at the New Moon.

Each week Teri will write about the unfolding energies that support and challenge our intentions. The ebb and flow of the lunar cycle resides deep in our souls. Through following the phases of the Moon, we remember the natural cycles that guide us.

Astrologers divide the lunar month into eight phases. These are:
New Moon: Dreaming
Crescent Moon: Beginning
First Quarter Moon: Manifesting
Gibbous Moon: Perfecting
Full Moon: Illuminating
Disseminating Moon: Sharing
Last Quarter Moon: Evaluating
Balsamic Moon: Surrendering

Come follow the Moon as we practice intentional awareness together.

Forecast July 22, 2012 – July 28

I’m not going to lie to you; this week has been difficult for me and I am feeling a little sorry for myself. The unsettled energy of this Summer—hard aspects between Uranus, Pluto and Mars; Mercury stationing retrograde; and a new Moon in sensitive Cancer—seemed to have conspired against me. My intention to remain mindful and centered has been tested.

I’ve said this before, but I think it is really worth repeating: The planets are not to blame for our challenges. In fact, I think blame in general is a waste of opportunity and I try to avoid it, even when I am feeling sorry for myself. I’m not sure why astrology works so well to describe energy, potentials, and challenges, but I believe that the point of it all isn’t about who or what to blame for events in my life. Mercury didn’t make my car break down and my roof leak. Mars didn’t make me twist my knee. Pluto and Uranus are not causing my free-floating anxiety about the future. No, it isn’t that easy for us humans. There’s no one to blame for how we react to situations. Those reactions, whether they are frustration, anxiety, or self-pity, are our responsibility. It is my reactions, not the events themselves, which are the real challenges.

With that said, not letting myself feel tender, sad, frustrated, or fearful is, to me, a form of self-violence, which I also refuse to indulge in. So here I sit, mindful that I am feeling overwhelmed and sorry for myself. And somehow, this seems appropriate to acknowledge in this moment as the Sun makes it way out of Cancer.

It would be easy with the recent transits and the Sun entering Leo on Sunday, to gloss over my feelings and just get on with it. I could do that, but I wouldn’t be honoring the intention of the Cancer New Moon of July 19: to learn from and honor the tidal currents of emotion that I feel each and every day.  Developing my emotional awareness will serve me as the rest of the year unfolds, helping me to let go of unhealthy expectations for myself and allowing me to develop a fuller, more useful, emotional intelligence.

If you are being tested too, I invite you to let yourself feel and honor what your feelings are telling you.

July 22—Crescent Moon: Beginning. This phase of the Moon can be about the excitement of trying something new, and it can be about the first inkling of resistance to sticking with our New Moon intentions. If this lunar cycle intention is to honor feelings or to find that place of rootedness, security, and nurturance that Cancer values so highly, then we begin to notice how easily we want to forget those intentions, put them on the back burner, or get overwhelmed by them. However, during this phase, we also have the opportunity to get excited by how the flowering of our intentions will improve our lives. Now is the time to commit.

The Moon is in Virgo encouraging us to put our lives in order. What will help you stay true to your intentions?

The Sun enters Leo today. If like me, you’re feeling just a little sorry for yourself, watch out for overindulgence in self-pity. From tenderness to exuberance, emotions might swing wildly as we notice the shift from Cancer to Leo. The transitions from water signs to fires signs are the most interesting of all the ebbs and flows of the astrological year. We go from relating to others through our feelings while the Sun is in Cancer to an emphasis on self-actualization and self-expression with the Sun in Leo. Which side of this divide do you prefer? It is interesting to notice the difference. These signs, which seem so different from each other, want to be integrated however. Without both, we’d be missing a lot. After all, Cancer is ruled by the Moon and Leo is ruled by the Sun; where would be without these two lights?

Giving an extra boost to self-expression, Mercury (still traveling retrograde) makes a favorable contact with Mars in Libra today. Mars invites us to gracious expression; Mercury asks us to get a new perspective on self-actualization. There is a lot of potential in this delightful combination.

Monday, July 23. Much is made of void-of-course Moons. [Void-of-course means that the Moon has made its final major aspect to another planet before it changes signs. These periods usually last a few hours sometimes they can last for over a day. Void-of-course periods become more significant the longer they last.] Some astrologers treat a void-of-course Moon like a Mercury retrograde and recommend that people don’t do anything important during them. As you might guess, I don’t feel that way myself. I simply take note that there is a period of time when it might feel like I’m not ready to get anything started. It might feel better to take my time and wait for the energy to feel right. A void-of-course Moon began on Sunday night and goes until 5:38 pm* today. This may feel like a day to catch up on life. At the speed things have been moving lately, this may be a relief.

Tuesday, July 24. The calm of yesterday breaks today with potential turbulence in the atmosphere. This is not to say you will have a bad day today. But there are lots of connections being made. The Moon may act as a trigger to release stagnation. The Moon joins the t-square (think: Wow, this is a lot of challenging yet exciting energy!) of Pluto square to Uranus opposite Mars. Today is another day to be on the lookout for short fuses. The Moon is looking for harmony but may be hard pressed to find it. Remember that intention to honor our emotions from the New Moon? Today, those emotions may spill over as Jupiter in Gemini squares Chiron in Pisces. In addition, the Sun contacts oceanic Neptune today with the paradox-inducing quincunx aspect. There are parts of this day that defy rational understanding. Become a mystic.

And it that’s not all. Retrograde Mercury is very active today too. It plays a role in the square between Jupiter and Chiron. As we open to the messages from the heart, expect the unexpected. This could be an opportunity to show compassion, have a heart-to-heart conversation, or reveal our vulnerability. This day may be a good one to develop trust in the process.

Wednesday, July 25. The day starts out with a big aha. Something suddenly makes sense or we get excited about sharing a new idea. Then the Moon makes a conjunction with responsible Saturn and goes void of course till 9:30 tonight when the Moon enters Scorpio.  From brilliant ideas to a focus on manifestation—not a bad way to go today.

July 26—First Quarter Moon: Manifesting. The Moon in Scorpio today loves our Cancer Moon intentions. The first quarter phase of the Moon challenges us to stay the course in our intentions. Each water sign teaches us about another layer to our emotions. Scorpio tells us that there is so much more below the surface when we let ourselves feel. Sometimes this revelation can be overwhelming. Can you navigate the torrents and stay present to your emotions? Today is not a day to judge what or how we are feeling, but to honor those feelings as true teachers and allies. After squaring Mercury in the morning, the Moon goes void of course again until tomorrow night. This is a long void period. Notice what happens during this time. Is there more going on inside than outside? Mercury forms a quincunx to Pluto today and this fits nicely with the Scorpio Moon energy. This may be a wonderful day to write about feelings, memories, or currents of thought and emotion.

Friday, July 27.  Even though we are at the height of Summer in the northern hemisphere, we may feel the cold of winter cross our paths today. The Moon is void of course all day and in Scorpio, the sign of late Fall when the veils thin. Do you feel Summer’s end already?

Saturday, July 28. Every time Mercury turns retrograde, it disappears from the sky as the Evening Star and journeys toward a meeting with the Sun. This conjunction of Mercury and the Sun while Mercury is retrograde is called the inferior conjunction. In the synodic cycle between Mercury and the Sun, this is like the New Moon phase. A seed is planted. Today that inferior conjunction happens at 6° Leo and it represents the heart of this retrograde period. Whether you are experiencing this Mercury retrograde as challenging or amusing, this is the point to set an intention around what you desire from Mercury. If 6° Leo is significant in your chart, this may be a particularly important and perhaps challenging Mercury cycle for you. The Moon in Sagittarius today supports a philosophical approach. What is your truth? How can you express that in the world? Do you have a latent gift that needs to be developed? Go for it.

*All times CDT