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.

Winter nights are magical and I don’t just mean pretty; I mean that they are potent with the power to shift our realities. The stars of a winter sky sparkle with magic. What is this magic? Here are a couple of ideas:

“Remember my definition of magic: the marriage of breath, will, and desire. By exploring these components and applying them to the self, we arrive at a place internally – and in relationship with the world – where the processes of integration will unfold. At that point, the universe steps forward to greet us.” — Thorne Coyle, Kissing the Limitless 

“Human freedom involves our capacity to pause between the stimulus and response and, in that pause, to choose the one response toward which we wish to throw our weight. The capacity to create ourselves, based upon this freedom, is inseparable from consciousness or self-awareness.  — Rollo May, The Courage to Create

Freedom, choice, magic, alignment. These are some of the guiding concepts for the next lunar cycle that begins on December 13 in Sagittarius. The glyph for Sagittarius is an arrow. It points to the horizon, a foreign and miraculous place where we hope to finally learn the meaning of our lives. This Mutable Fire sign searches for illumination. This pursuit of truth can sometimes lead to magic where we seek answers to questions like: What is the nature of the cosmos? How do we impact our world? What are the practices that help us to unify intention with manifestation? What is possible? How do I get there?

The two quotes at the beginning of this article evoke magic. Thorn Coyle calls magic the marriage of breath, will, and desire that leads to the universe stepping forward to greet us. If we substituted “magic” for the words “human freedom” in the Rollo May quote another sense arises. A magician needs the capacity to pause between what happens to her and her responses to it. In that pause, magic is possible.

I like the image of the Magician in the Rider Smith Tarot: He stands at a table with the elemental tools of his craft, with one hand holding a wand pointing above and the other empty hand pointing below. Those pointing hands remind me of the Sagittarian arrow, aiming and searching. This pose of the Magician tells us a lot about the nature of magic and the cosmos. As above, so below; as within, so without—the search and the answers are everywhere.Temperance_RWSMagician_WS

Another Tarot card I want to pair with the Magician this lunar cycle is Temperance. This card actually stands for the sign of Sagittarius in the Golden Dawn system of correspondences. Of the many things this image evokes, the key concepts I’m drawn to are paradox, balance, and containment. With a magician’s skill to pause; reflect; and align breath, will, and desire we may be able to temper the truths found on the Sagittarian quest. To temper is to strengthen; paradoxically the path to strength may lead us through states of being that don’t feel very strong at all. Uncertainty may be a sign of getting somewhere. Confidence a sign we are missing something.


Forecast for December 9, 2012 – December 15.

                                                                                     Moon enters Scorpio 3:51 pm CST

December 9—Balsamic Moon: Surrendering. On November 13, the Scorpio lunar cycle began. The Balsamic phase of the Moon is the very last embers of a cycle’s intention. It is time to reflect on the experiences we’ve had this month. Scorpio drew me to the underworld. I followed an intention of feeding the unseen world below the surface. This work helped me to see important patterns in my life in a new way. I know myself better. I also come away with a stronger alliance to the unseen world. I honor the world that feeds my own. What have you experienced since the beginning of this lunar cycle? The Moon returns to Scorpio today, touching upon the emotional reservoir in our souls. As we reflect on this month, use your felt senses to take an inventory of what your soul needs in this moment. Venus arrives at 21 degrees Scorpio today, the same degree as the Solar Eclipse New Moon on November 13. This goddess of harmony helps us to resolve conflict or tension that may have simmered under the surface all month.

                                                                                                            Moon in Scorpio

Monday, December 10. Saturn and Pluto have formed a coalition of the forces for transformation and accountability. Combined they are incredibly powerful. Great satisfaction is possible when we see things for how they really are even when they aren’t pretty. The amount we are able to manifest our heart’s desires may be in direct proportion to how willing we are to uncover parts of ourselves we were afraid to expose. The beautiful thing about this coalition is that it doesn’t have to be an unpleasant experience. We feel good when we look deeper. The Moon supports this coalition today and we learn more about the value of the unseen world.

                                                                         Moon enters Sagittarius 4:22 pm CST

Tuesday, December 11. For the third time since October 29 Mercury squares Neptune early this morning.* This aspect may be the defining one from Mercury during its recent retrograde cycle. My friend, astrologer Heather Roan Robbins, wrote about the devastating effects of superstorm Sandy (which hit New Jersey on October 29) in terms of how disrupting to communication and travel (Mercury realms) this storm from the ocean (Neptune realm) was. Transits happen this way: literally and metaphorically. Mercury had a powerful retrograde cycle this time. Today, we may notice some stormy effects from Neptune on communication or thoughts. However we may also be visited by important dreams this morning. The message may be about how our fates are entwined. With the Moon’s entry into Sagittarius we notice a shift in our gaze. From deep inner worlds, we turn our attention to the distant horizon. However, since we are near the end of the lunar cycle, it may be best to travel through the inner terrain of possibility before setting out on an adventure. New intentions are brewing.

                                                                                                             Moon in Sagittarius

Wednesday, December 12. The energy of the Moon in Sagittarius continues today but it may be harder to stay focused on the inner journey. An opposition between the Moon and Jupiter in Gemini kicks off a predominant theme of the next lunar cycle. Notice the interplay between Temperance and the Magician (See the introduction to this article.) As Magicians we need to cultivate the tools that help us to stay centered in the midst of so many possibilities. Events today could be very informative concerning development of your magical tools. What do you need to invoke in your life to be able to pause between stimulus and response?

                                                                                     Moon enters Capricorn 3:42 pm CST

December 13—New Moon: Dreaming. The dark of the Moon in the darkest time of the year is a potent time to dream of the world we wish to co-create. If we can’t dream it, how can we expect to manifest it? This dream is the reason to invoke the Magician in ourselves. This dream is the reason we apply ourselves to the Great Work of self-awareness and potency. Give yourself over to dreaming.

The chart for the New Moon shows an aspect configuration called a Yod. A Yod is a triangle, which for me has the energy of paradox and dissonance. Yod is a Hebrew term which means finger of God, so there is a sense that this moment is portentous, a moment in destiny. The planets in this Yod have been in this aspect with each other since late November and will continue in this relationship with each other until the first week in January. The configuration will peak at the Winter Solstice on December 21, and so influences any magic we may want to do at that time too.

In brief, the quality of this Yod represents a paradox. The strong coalition of Pluto and Saturn, geared toward transformation and accountability, must contend with Jupiter in Gemini, an energy that gets distracted easily but can also be brilliant. Saturn and Pluto represent slow processes of evolution and manifestation. Jupiter in Gemini represents the lightening bolt of inspiration. How do we bottle that inspiration and tether it to the real world? It will take the tempered skill of the Magician.

Another archetype, the Shaman, plays a role in this lunar cycle. Chiron leads us through shamanic initiation. We straddle the divide between our own wounds and the call to being a healer for others. Chiron is square to a significant opposition between Jupiter and Mercury who are in mutual reception to each other also. A mutual reception means that two planets are in the signs that the other rules. [Mercury rules Gemini and Jupiter rules Sagittarius.] The dream, the reason to invoke the Magician, is influenced by a strong need for healing in all the realms.

The Magician and the Shaman are guides into the dreamtime of Winter. I know that I have readers in the southern hemisphere as well, where you are experiencing Summer. Even though the seasons are radically different from each other, the intention applies. The Sun, at its peak in the southern hemisphere adds energy and light to the dreaming work of the dark we do in the north. More and more we will be thinking globally as we do our seasonal work. This is also part of the Dream.

                                                                                                             Moon in Capricorn

Friday, December 14. Yesterday, Mercury reached the degree where is last stationed retrograde. Mental function is stimulated and seems to be moving along quickly, especially after the potent New Moon energy. Remember the practice of pausing between stimulus and response. What clear choices do you have? The mental energy will be in contrast to a desire to be grounded, productive, and responsible.

                                                                                     Moon enters Aquarius 3:53 pm CST

Saturday, December 15. It is possible to be careful and accountable at the same time as we push against the confinement of obligations and traditions. But it isn’t easy. We want to break free today. Venus enters freedom-loving Sagittarius. The Moon is in visionary Aquarius. Loosen the reins to see how that serves the evolving Magician in you.

* All times are CST.

Contact Teri at teri@starsdanceastrology and visit her website at



* All times are CST.

Contact Teri at teri@starsdanceastrology and visit her website at