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 February 3, 2013 – February 9.

I’ve got a personal reason that this lunar cycle devoted to the journey of mastery has been a challenging one. I’m being goaded by Saturn, the planetary ruler of this lunar cycle’s New Moon sign—Capricorn.* This planet is getting under my skin. I will be having my second Saturn return this Fall and I think I’m already starting to notice the effects.

The Saturn Return is a transit. A transit is when a planet passes over a sensitive degree in our natal charts creating a reaction designed to help us manifest our fate—the composite of every choice we’ve made and every potential we are capable of achieving. A transit is an interaction with a planetary archetype, and we get to choose how fully and in what ways we want that interaction to occur. Even though there is choice, it sometimes doesn’t feel that way, and that becomes part of the challenge. Back to Saturn. By transit, Saturn returns to the place it was in the zodiac when we were born, every 28 to 30 years. Since it happens so rarely and because Saturn is all about developing our own authority, when Saturn comes knocking, the pressure can be quite high. It’s easy to feel as if this is the most important test of our lives. It’s also easy to feel, and rightly so, that we are just on the cusp of success. That makes the yearning stronger, thus upping the ante on pressure.

I’ve been particularly sensitive to how the desire for mastery evokes feelings of shame, self-judgment, hopelessness, and even inertia. At the same time, I’ve been working to remember that success is truly around the corner because I’ve seen this happen under Saturn transits time and time again. I am noticing the tension between these feelings and finding ways to accept them without attachment. Saturn transits and anything to do with this planet—like the season of Winter, the sign of Capricorn, the inevitability of aging, and the desire to create a legacy—are a challenge to our stamina. Twenty- eight to thirty years is a significant chunk of life. It makes sense that we tend to take it seriously.

Perhaps you’re also noticing the strong effects of Saturn in this season. If so, this lunar cycle is ripe with lessons as we enter the final week. As I begin to evaluate and compost this lunar cycle, I will be thinking about this question: What helps me to shake off the heaviness of expectation and open to the wonder of possibility? How will you answer?

Forecast February 3, 2013 – February 9. 

Moon in Scorpio

February 3—Last Quarter Moon: Evaluating. The Moon conjoins Saturn. All those Saturn pressures are felt strongly, especially under this phase of evaluation. Each of us has to determine for ourselves how much pressure is good for our developing mastery and how much is harmful. The ability to go under the surface and feel our way to the answers is incredibly important to the whole process. I am guided by these words from Ranier Maria Rilke: “Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” Answers are waiting for us, and when they come, they will answer questions we did not even know we had. 

Moon enters Sagittarius 9:45 am**

Monday, February 4. We may be pushed and pulled in many directions today. Mutable energy can be unsettled and all the planets moving through mutable signs right now are being challenged by the Moon in the mutable fire sign, Sagittarius. We could be surprised by emotional reactions to events, where it might seem like small triggers release tensions. One current to acknowledge is the conjunction of Mars and Neptune today in the mutable water sign, Pisces. The glory of Pisces is compassionate empathy. The trouble is a confusion of boundaries and the tendency to escape what hurts. Mars has just entered Pisces and will be in this sign till March 12. Use this time to heal your responses to emotion. Notice what comes up for you today as a guide to that work. Later the Moon opposes Jupiter in Gemini, the mutable air sign. This could be a good time to notice thought patterns—ways that learning and connecting with others creates wholeness and ways that a busy mind creates more confusion. In addition, Chiron in Pisces is square to both the Moon and Jupiter as well. How are you being initiated into a deeper experience? What are you learning? What are you teaching?

Moon in Sagittarius

Tuesday, February 5. Mercury joins the other planets in Pisces. After two and a half weeks of stimulating our thoughts and visions in Aquarius, Mercury enters Pisces for an extended stay due to an impending retrograde coming up later this month. Mercury won’t leave Pisces till April 13. Time to practice our intuitive skills and to adjust to a reduction in things making logical sense. Some of us will love this and others will be more challenged. Practicing balance between the right and left sides of the brain will help. With the Sun in Aquarius and the Moon in Sagittarius today, there is a strong desire for freedom. Let your spirits soar!

Moon enters Capricorn 11:55 am

February 6—Balsamic Moon: Surrendering. We began this lunar cycle with the Moon in Capricorn, now we finish the cycle with the Moon’s return to this sign. What does the journey towards mastery bring for you? Just like the ups and downs of life, symbolized so beautifully by the phases of the Moon, this journey is not just one thing. There is excitement, joy, satisfaction, contentment, as well as shame, self-judgment, oppression and self-doubt to be found along the way. Within all that there is the still calm center of the Self who desires excellence as well as surrenders attachment to any particular outcome. Find that place today. Venus in Aquarius is sparked by a connection with Uranus. This could bring inspiration and a desire to begin a new relationship or bring new energy to existing relationships. Inspiration to create beauty is high as well. What moves you? Venus is also feeling Jupiter’s expansive qualities allowing us to look on the bright side, and that is wonderful. Mercury contacts Neptune. Practice opening to feelings. Take note of what comes up.

Moon in Capricorn

Thursday, February 7. In the cycle of seasons, the Balsamic phase of the Moon corresponds to late Fall, the season of Samhain in the Pagan wheel of the year. During this time, tree sap flows into the root where it waits until the renewing warmth of Spring. Today, the Moon is void-of course (VOC) all day, which means it isn’t making a contact with any other planets until it enters Aquarius tomorrow. Given that a VOC Moon can feel like a time when not much moves forward and that we are in the Balsamic phase of the Moon’s cycle, the guiding metaphor today is let yourself return to your roots. Find a way to spend time in the quiet dark. It will help you as you begin to embrace the rising energy of the next New Moon that begins on February 10.

Moon enters Aquarius 1:16 pm

Friday, February 8. I hope you were able to make use of the quiet dark yesterday, because the next two days leading up to the New Moon in Aquarius will not be as calm. The urge of Aquarius is to break free. After months of darkness and cold, folks in Minnesota, where I live, really do get cabin fever. What rut do you want to break out of? That desire is strong today. Mercury represents the quickest and most impulsive parts of ourselves, our minds. Today Mercury is conjunct Mars, another impulsive part of ourselves, our wills. Mercury also reaches the degree where it will turn direct after its next retrograde journey. Some astrologers think of this as the shadow portion of Mercury’s retrograde where it first passes over the same area of the zodiac it will again retrograde through in a few weeks. It zigzags, and this perfectly captures how our minds work too, zigzagging between clarity and confusion. Time to invoke a sense of humor and a sense of acceptance for what Mercury plans for us this time. Also, it can’t hurt to back up your computer files!

Moon in Aquarius

Saturday, February 9. Although technically, the New Moon happens tomorrow, in many ways, this is the time to formulate your intention for the next lunar cycle. I’ll write about my own intent next week. But for today, open to inspiration. The Aquarius Moon encourages us to pour out our visions, hopes, and dreams into the world—to sense the barren places that need innovation. We can be excited by the possibilities of change. What is your vision for the world, for your communities? What is your role in that vision? Mercury and Jupiter are in mutual reception (in each other’s home signs) and square each other today. This is a strong connection between these planets. We can expect to push the horizons of what we thought possible even further, especially if we use our intuition and come from the heart. 

* To follow along with the story of this lunar cycle, read the forecast for the New Moon on January 11.

** All times are CST.

Contact Teri at teri@starsdanceastrology and visit her website at