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.

The magic and wonder of the night sky takes my breath away. It is why I am an astrologer. I feel a connection to a long lineage of seekers and magicians when my spirit is lifted by the intelligence of the stars. Even in a week where so many are fearful that the stars portend an apocalypse, I know that really those stars are telling me to wake up, rather than fear, and be aware that this is not the end but the beginning.

I am continuing my relationship with The Magician as the Moon waxes. My intention is to accept that I am a co-creator with an intelligent cosmos.** I offer this quote from Richard Tarnas’s incredible book, Cosmos and Psyche as inspiration for what the Magician is doing: “His ultimate goal of knowledge is not increased mastery, prediction, and control but rather a more richly responsive and empowered participation in a co-creative unfolding of new realities.” This calls for deeper relationship. The wandering planets with the backdrop of fixed stars offer such a relationship.

A little bit of astronomy will help us better appreciate the wonder of the night sky this week. Here is what you need to know. There are two ways to track the location of planets—sidereally and tropically. Sidereal means “with the stars.” Tropical means “with the seasons.” The scary-sounding astronomical concept to be aware of is “the precession of the equinoxes.” Look it up if you’ve never heard of this. Essentially this means that there are two zodiacs. Once upon a time the sidereal zodiac and the tropical zodiac were the same. So if you said, that the Sun was at 0 degrees Aries on the first day of Spring, that is where the Sun was in relation to the stars of Aries and that was where the Sun was when it crossed the Celestial Equator signaling the beginning of Spring. But due to the precession of the equinoxes, the tropical zodiac and the sidereal zodiac have separated. What this means to astrologers is that when a tropical astrologer (like me) says that Jupiter is at 9 degrees Gemini, it actually can be seen in the constellation of Taurus, conjunct Aldebaran, one of the four Persian Royal Stars. Some astrologers use the meaning of the fixed stars (like Aldebaran) along with the tropical zodiacal meaning (like Gemini) in their analysis of an astrological event. This week is a perfect opportunity to do that.

Last week, I wrote about the Yod aspect formation involving Jupiter in Gemini, Pluto in Capricorn, and Saturn in Scorpio. I frame this configuration, which increases in potency this week, as the opportunity to become co-creators of new realities through the power of paradox. What do we dare to dream into reality? Jupiter will be at 9 degrees Gemini this week conjunct the fixed star Alderbaran. If Jupiter in Gemini represents the Magician, of all the places he could stand to do his magic, this is one of the most powerful ones. The ancient Persians recognized four Royal Stars in the four fixed signs of the zodiac. When Witches invoke the four guardians of the watchtowers of each direction, it is these four signs and these four stars that hold that power. Alderbaran is the Royal Star of the earth sign, Taurus. Even though, tropically Jupiter is in an air sign, Gemini, this earth power is also part of Jupiter’s placement at this degree. The power may be one of manifesting thought. How powerful our minds are! Another fixed star is prominent this week—Antares, the Royal Star of Scorpio, which is exactly opposite Alderbaran. Mercury and Venus stand next to Antares this week. Tropically, Antares is in the fire sign, Sagittarius. Just as Jupiter near Alderbaran combines the power of mind with manifestation, Mercury and Venus near Antares will unite the power of spirit (fire) with soul (water).

Forecast December 16, 2012 – December 22

 Moon in Aquarius

December 16—Crescent Moon: Beginning One pitfall I easily fall into is mental overstimulation. As our intentions for this lunar cycle begin in earnest, it is important to mindful of the limitations of mind itself. The Moon in Aquarius encourages visionary thinking and can be very stimulating. How do you temper the Magician’s tool of mind in order to use this tool wisely? Venus and Neptune may play a role in helping to find the balance we need. Venus will be squaring Neptune today. Remembering to center our thoughts in our hearts is key to knowing how to use mental powers. We may be tempted to turn off spinning thoughts by escaping reality. A little of this can help, too much and we waste the opportunity to feel into our possibilities.

                                                                                                Moon enters Pisces 6:48 pm

Monday, December 17. Mercury conjoins the fixed star Antares and opposes Jupiter, which conjoins the fixed star Aldebaran. The desire to resolve dissonance is strong, yet may not be the best choice. Can you live with the questions without projecting blame? What happens when we let go of old paradigms? We are on the verge of new beginnings on so many levels. Is it possible to let go of one old assumption you have been holding for way too long? Does it feel like the world might end if you do? Well, it won’t. Try it. The evening* hours are especially powerful for experiences of transcendence.

                                                                                                            Moon in Pisces

Tuesday, December 18. Yesterday’s opposition between Mercury and Jupiter is triggered by the Moon in Pisces today. We may be highly reactive and the source is the emotional realm. Every time we forgive ourselves we increase the capacity of forgiveness in everyone. Do you believe that too? Thinking well of others, can we give that person who hurts our feelings the benefit of the doubt? Word play for the day: “Atonement” is also “At One Ment.”

                                                                                                           Moon in Pisces

December 19—First Quarter Moon: Manifesting. On this third day of Moon in Pisces, it will be good to practice setting boundaries. If we’ve let this Piscean energy expand our hearts into greater and greater empathy, now is the time to know when to stop taking on more and more pain and develop the skill of knowing where to draw the boundary between self and others. Such boundaries help us maintain healthy compassion while at the same time not playing into scenarios of co-dependence. How does the Magician draw boundaries? Meeting this challenge helps us to manifest new patterns of in our relationships. From these new patterns, new possibilities arise. Uranus wants to help us in these new relationship patterns. Let your own authenticity guide you to knowing the borderline between you and others.

                                                                                                Moon enters Aries 12:43 am

Thursday, December 20. What if we were truly free? Free to feel with all our hearts the pain and bliss of the whole world and free to act effectively on behalf of the world we know we all deserve to live in? What if the only thing keeping us from that freedom is ourselves? This is not about blaming ourselves for not claiming this freedom, it is about honoring the great work of becoming the Magician who knows how to claim this freedom. The Moon in Aries gives us the drive to act, even when we don’t really know where those actions will lead. Today and the next two days are important as the Sun makes its standstill tomorrow on the Solstice. Aries is about beginnings, not endings. Envision the beginnings you plan to make. These choices are potent. One challenge today arises between the contradictions between effusive optimism and realistic fatalism. It isn’t about choosing between these options but using both to serve your intentions.

                                                                                                                        Moon in Aries

Friday, December 21. Winter Solstice at 5:12 am. Honor all that you have learned on your journey toward enlightenment as well as all that you will never know. Remembering the quote from Richard Tarnas, the “ultimate goal of knowledge is not increased mastery, prediction, and control but rather a more richly responsive and empowered participation in a co-creative unfolding of new realities.” How are you becoming more richly responsive to the cosmos? How do you know that you make a difference? How do you honor the contributions of all? The Yod aspect pattern with Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto is as exact as it gets today. Reach out to the mystery and claim your place in the unfolding new realities.

                                                                                    Moon enters Taurus 12:25 pm

Saturday, December 22.  Tonight Venus conjoins fixed star Antares and opposes Jupiter, which is still next to fixed star Aldebaran. This has been a royal week of planetary gods standing at these two gateways in the sky. Jupiter is visible all night. Try to see Jupiter tonight as you invite in the balance between all the elemental tools of the Magician: the power of mind to manifest reality and the power of spirit to be tempered by soul. This path is not simple and every one of us will make mistakes along the way. With open hearts and questioning minds may we continue the grand quest of creating the world our descendants deserve to live in.

 * All times are CST.

** To follow along with the story of this lunar cycle, read the forecast for the New Moon on December 13.

Contact Teri at teri@starsdanceastrology and visit her website at