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 September 2, 2012 – September 8.

Astrology helps me practice mindfulness. Good thing too, because I really need that calming practice these days! I’m highly influenced by Buddhism. I appreciate their teachings about non-attachment. I feel centered when I practice noticing inner and outer states of being without forming judgments or attachments. The last few months I have been noticing four states that are particularly strong right now: conflict, dissonance, determination, and resolution. We’ve entered a highly-charged time, borne out by the star patterns of this summer. What can the practice of observation without attachment yield? What role does non-attachment play in this month’s lunar intention of honoring my wholeheartedness? As we enter the waning phase of this lunar cycle, I am working with these questions. And also noticing how hard it is to be non-attached!

The ongoing themes that play into these states.

Conflict. Uranus squared Pluto exactly for the first of seven times on June 24, 2012. This set of transits continues until March 2015. Conflict has been heating up as these two planets ask us to transform toxicity and make dramatic changes. I wonder if recent acts of extreme violence, such as the shooting at the Colorado theater in July, are explosive releases made by fragile people who are feeling the tension of uncertainty as this powerful transit unfolds.

Dissonance. Each of the New Moon and Full Moon charts since June 19 have either emphasized the square between Uranus and Pluto or have had a Yod aspect configuration. There has been a Yod in the last five lunation-charts (either New or Full Moons). The Yod looks like an isosceles triangle composed of two quincunx aspects and one sextile. The feeling of a quincunx aspect between two planets has a quality of dissonance since neither of the signs involved in the aspect have any way to relate to each other. Yods create even stronger dissonance.

My dictionary defines dissonance as: “a tension or clash resulting from the combination of two disharmonious or unsuitable elements.” This is similar to the conflict generated by a square, but is different. In conflict, it is easier to see the differing sides. In dissonance, it is hard to rectify what we believe with what is happening to us.  Psychologists label this state “cognitive dissonance: An emotional state set up when two simultaneously held attitudes or cognitions are inconsistent or when there is a conflict between belief and overt behaviour. The resolution of the conflict is assumed to serve as a basis for attitude change, in that belief patterns are generally modified so as to be consistent with behaviour.” Reber and Reber (2001), The Penguin Dictionary of Psychology

Stress and anxiety increase during times of cognitive dissonance. Everyone is a little more fragile right now.

Determination. Saturn is the ally of determination, and this planet has been in Libra (with a 4-month return to Virgo) since October 2009. The focus on steadfastness in relationship, balance, and justice has been underlying the states of conflict and dissonance. Saturn has been an anchor through this summer for seeking understanding and harmony in spite of our discomforts. This month Mars joined Saturn in Libra giving us a greater sense of determination.

Resolution. Conflict, dissonance, and determination are not really new states. These energies happen to be very strong right now, but the interesting new idea comes from Neptune in Pisces. In April 2011, Neptune entered Pisces. The last time it did so was in 1847. This is a significant shift. Neptune is offering another possibility—the dissolution of isolationism and the re-emergence of communion. Neptune inspires and it deludes. There is danger in becoming fanatical or Messianic with Neptune’s influence. But Neptune also offers something important, and it usually involves ideals and belief. Neptune suggests we find resolution in losing a sense of isolated individualism. This is an enticing possibility. However, it is also important to critically question easy, overly-enticing resolutions. With so much cognitive dissonance, we are primed to blindly follow the next savior and that could be disastrous. A little dissonance might be a good thing after all.

Sunday September 2. Notice conflict today. The Moon is in Cardinal Fire sign, Aries and will trigger the square between Uranus and Pluto again. This is the Full Moon phase of illumination. What patterns around conflict do you see? Can you become aware without judgment? This illumination can create a sense of wholeness in the quest for wholeheartedness. We get to accept our whole beings, both the shadow and the light.

Monday, September 3. This is a complex day. We are determined to work out conflict in our relationships. It might not be easy, but feels rewarding to put effort into understanding others. Yet, there is also dissonance. Mars is quincunx Uranus. The feeling may be one of agitation, misunderstandings, or frustration. Mindfulness practice can help to weather this. Even with the possibility of an underlying dissonance, there is a strong desire to create healing today. Notice dissonance. What happens if you make more room for this emotion?

September 4—Disseminating: Sharing. An important part of every spell is to give back to the allies who have helped you. This phase of the Moon reminds us that whatever merit we have achieved through the intention work of this lunar cycle is a to be shared for the good of all. Gratitude and gifting can heal a lot of hurts. The Moon moves into grounded, sensual Taurus today. The body is an anchor to help navigate through more dissonance! Mercury joins in with Mars (see yesterday’s forecast) to form another Yod. The sharing we do will involve communication as well as action. I wonder how this energy will impact the Democratic Convention, which begins today? Sudden insights are also probable. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 5. Today and most of tomorrow, the Moon is in Taurus. Attention is focused on the physical plane. Practical matters help us to ground into what we are reaping from this lunar cycle. Notice your relationship to the earth. How can you sustain what matters most to you?

Thursday, September 6.  Venus enters fiery Leo. Will this bring another expression of outrage in how women are being treated? Venus represents more than women. This planet is the power of beauty and the lusciousness of life. How outraged are you that this power is demonized and cheapened by so much of our culture? Leo encourages fun and creativity. What is a fun way to reclaim beauty and love in your life? Sleep might be more difficult tonight after the Moon goes into Gemini and we suddenly have new ideas. Try to calm down.

Friday, September 7. Well, here it comes again, another quincunx aspect. This time the dissonance is between Venus and Neptune. This may involve differing ways to approach beauty, love, inspiration, relationship, or even money management. This paradoxical aspect may bring mystical enlightenment. Fridays are dedicated to the Goddess Freya another love goddess. Perhaps the best thing to do today is honor love in an unexpected way.

September 8—Last Quarter: Evaluating. Yesterday and today, mental energy is high. Notice how busy you are trying to understand things. The last week of the lunar cycle begins with the phase of evaluation. Mutable energy is strong and that encourages an effort to create meaning and understanding around our experiences. This desire feeds into this phase perfectly. Perhaps deep insights will come to you today. But take care, too much mental activity can actually discourage understanding. Where is the balance between thinking and being?

*See the forecast for the week of the New Moon August 17 to follow along with the developing energy of this lunar month.

Contact Teri at teri@starsdanceastrology and visit her website at