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 August 5, 2012 – August 11.

“The next time you lose heart and you can’t bear to experience what you are feeling, you might recall this instruction: change the way you see it and lean in.” Pema Chodron, a brilliant Buddhist teacher wrote these words. They seem particularly appropriate for this lunar cycle* and the energy of this Summer. What can we learn by leaning into whatever feelings are arising in our realities? The Cancer New Moon intention I have been working with this month has been to honor my feelings. I’ve noticed that the Great Mystery has been happy to oblige.

There is a fine line between leaning into discomfort to discover something about ourselves and pushing into self-punishment because we aren’t perfect. It is possible that we’ve been walking that fine line while Mercury has been moving retrograde since July 14. I know I have.

Not every Mercury retrograde period asks us to walk this line. Each one is different, colored by the other planets, the length of the Mercury retrograde period (some are a bit longer than others—this one was a long one) and, most importantly, by the sign Mercury transits through. Mercury has been moving through Leo, a sign that is particularly attentive to the question of self-worth.

Mercury turns direct this week. After turning direct, Mercury will be moving through the same area of Leo to retrace its steps for the third time. This is the concluding part of a retrograde cycle when we get to “wrap-up” what it has been about. Mercury’s mission is to help us “change the way you see it, “ as Chodron writes. Whatever discomfort has appeared around the issue of self-worth, we get to lean into that feeling and change the way we see it. This phase of the Mercury retrograde cycle ends on August 22 when it reaches the degree it turned retrograde in the first place.

The waning phases of the Moon that we move through this week are also about sharing what we are learning, evaluating past experience, and letting go of old ways. This process is necessary to be able to “change the way you see it.” Without punishing ourselves, can we lean into discomfort a little more this week with the intention of transforming consciousness and old patterns of shame? What amazing work this would be!

August 5—Disseminating Moon: Sharing. I was recently at a Lughnasad ritual where the intention we worked with was: As we harvest our first fruits, we celebrate our good enuf, de-lusious gifts. In this celebration, it became apparent that if we don’t let ourselves believe that our gifts are good enough, the community is the one who suffers the most. We need to share our “good enuf” gifts for the whole to be fed. Now is the time to do that. We can use the morning of this day to dream about what we have to share and then when the Moon moves into Aries in the afternoon,** we lean into any discomfort we might be feeling and let that gift go out into the world.

Monday, August 6. A fiery day. The Moon in Aries contacts Pluto and Uranus today. These two outer planets are still within orb of their ongoing square. This connection between Uranus and Pluto is fueling our discontent and readiness to act on that discontent. Today, Mercury is slowing down for its direct station and this will add to a feeling of uncertainty as well as unexpected opportunities to act on our feelings. What practices help you to be ready to act in the moment with as much self-awareness and intention as possible? It might be good to remember those practices today.

Tuesday, August 7. Depending on your time zone in the U.S., Mercury stations direct late tonight or early tomorrow. Both days will be charged with this shift. When Mercury turns retrograde, it disappears from its place in the sky as an Evening Star (this same pattern applies to Venus too.). It remains hidden from view as it retrogrades, then turns direct and begins to rise before the Sun as the Morning Star. We are hardwired to sense the difference between sunset and sunrise. Can you feel this difference today in your thoughts and communications? A new way is dawning.

Venus moves into Cancer today. Every 1.6 years, Venus goes through its own retrograde cycle where it spends a lot of time going through the same area of the zodiac. Venus entered Gemini in April of this year, and due to its recent retrograde, has spent a long time in this mental, social sign. In Cancer, Venus helps us to find beauty in the realm of the heart and hearth, which syncs in perfectly with this lunar cycle that began in Cancer too.

Wednesday, August 8. It is nice to have our feet on the ground today. The Moon enters Taurus after some potentially unsettling days in Aries. The home is a place of refuge. Taking care of our own hearths can be healing and grounding. But there is some tension between this desire for solidity and the lessons we are learning about changing the way we see things. Sometimes inner conflict gets expressed in outer conflict with others. Are you having a hard time seeing someone else’s point of view? The issue may be one of acknowledging the desire for stability and the equally important desire for self-expression.

August 9—Last Quarter Moon: Evaluating. Do you have a standard way of evaluating an experience? I know for me, the default is my intellect. I like writing about what I am learning. Today, in honor of Mercury turning direct recently and the Moon in Fixed Earth Taurus, how can we begin evaluating our experiences of this lunar cycle thus far by using our earthy senses? How does wisdom smell? If you were to bake a pie that describes how you honor your feelings, what fruit would you choose? How bout that check book, another Taurus interest? What have you spent money on these past few weeks? What does it tell you about your values and patterns of behavior?

Venus and Neptune make a wonderful connection today. The heart holds wisdom. What is it telling you?

Friday, August 10. Yesterday’s earth reveries resonate into the morning. Notice the tension between the slow pace that earth encourages and the quick pace that air encourages as the Moon moves into Mercury-ruled Gemini this afternoon. We get to compare the evaluation styles of earth with air now. There may be a lot to talk about today.

Saturday, August 11. This week has been all about Mercury. This god of doorways has invited us to see from a new perspective, to open a new place in our consciousness, to invite in a new way to value ourselves. Today, relish the paradoxes that you sense around you. Let yourself be unresolved and open to the wonder of the questions. Of all the gods, Mercury is perhaps most interested in encouraging us to realize that we are co-creators of our worlds. Ironically, he is also the god most able to taunt us when we get too full of ourselves as we attempt to consciously co-create. What a laugh!

*See the forecast for the week of the New Moon July 19 to follow along with the developing energy of this lunar month.

** All times are CDT.

Contact Teri at teri@stardanceastrology to schedule a reading.