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 April 21, 2013 – April, 27

I need to write about Mars. The tragic bombing at the Boston Marathon last week; the practice of U.S. drone bombings, which have been terrorizing and killing innocent people (even if they also happen to kill bad guys); the NRA’s victory against gun control legislation; and the culture of rape, which protects the rapist and accuses the victim, are all events related to the Mars archetype being out of control. Why is there so much violence?

Last week, Mars exactly conjoined the Sun in Aries—one of the two signs that Mars rules. [The other sign, Scorpio plays a big role this week in the Full Moon lunar eclipse in Scorpio on April 25 (more about that later).] Other planets transiting Aries right now increase this energy of volatility and potential violence. Yet, there is another side to Mars. In fact, every archetype carries an essential piece of who we are. The path of mindfulness and intention proposes the question, How do we harness this essential, healthy energy while discharging the painful and toxic ways it can also show up?

Caroline Casey, a wild and brilliant astrologer, explores this type of healthy relationship to the archetypes of astrology in her classic book, “Making the Gods Work for You.” She proposes that a “toxic mimic” of a wholesome quality can invade when we fail to truly honor what an archetype is showing us.

She writes, “Modern society is bereft of rituals of invitation to Mars, so strong in young people and in those who have identified with this god by serving in the military. The predominant message we give to young people and veterans today is “Get lost, we don’t need you”—a counterinvitation to exile, exclusion, and by default, crime, homelessness, malls, and video games. But in fact we do need them; we need everybody. There is much heroic work to be done: bridges to be rebuilt, forests to be replanted, cities to be revitalized, children to be cared for.” Often, it is this disempowered Mars in young men that acts out in the most confusing and violent ways.

We spend a lot of time worried about Mars: denying our own desire natures, trying to elevate ourselves beyond Mars, punishing those who express Mars, wondering why we can’t get in touch with our own Mars. Yet, it feels like we are getting nowhere in creating a world where Mars is present and useful. Even as we hate our own violence, we are becoming more violent.

One missing piece to a healthy expression of Mars is a deep sense of reverence. Too often we use our Mars energy to compete, either out of greed or desperation, which lands us in Mars isolation where violence breeds. We can choose a different path and put Mars to good use. This Aries lunar cycle is an opportunity to fall in love with the exquisite beauty of life. Reverence, like love, is one of those risky things that don’t come with a guarantee. The vulnerability isn’t something our culture is comfortable with. Yet, to be in reverent service is an antidote to the toxic mimic of Mars isolation and repressed fury. Where will you place your devotion?

Forecast April 21, 2013 – April, 27

Moon in Virgo
Sunday, April 21.
Don’t cave to the pressure of perfectionism. The Moon in Virgo has other gifts to offer. This sign excels at reverence and devotion—the very qualities that can restore Mars balance. If we can resist the square between Jupiter and the Moon, which is contributing an urge to speed up and be bigger, we are able to take small but significant steps on the path of devotional practice. The square between Pluto and Mercury provokes a desire to heal through telling the truth. If the timing is right for you, make use of this momentum. But don’t force it. Transformational truth may fall on your ears too.

Moon in Virgo
April 22—Gibbous Moon: Perfecting. There is a difference between perfectionism and the task of perfecting our intentions. The gibbous phase of the Moon presents us with this puzzle to solve for ourselves. The mission* this lunar cycle has been to cultivate a Mars-inspired sense of daring devotion to emerging life. How do you continue to craft and hone this intention without resorting to getting caught in downward spirals of self-judgment? Judgment may be strong today as we put beauty, balance, harmony, and love under the spotlight of Saturn. Strict control is a cop out when the truly daring thing is to love with all our hearts regardless of outcome. Saturn respects such commitment. From this place, we learn how to dedicate ourselves to life.

Moon enters Libra at 2:24 am**
Tuesday April 23.
 We are made aware that systems are out of balance today. This realization may actually serve to engage our wills to fight for change. Our choices, even the choice of what we pay attention to, has impact. The energy is building to an important Full Moon eclipse. Consider what you wish to transform in your life.

Moon in Libra
Wednesday, April 24.
Springtime emergence is a birthing process for whatever new things need to come next. Just when we are ready to give up, that thing arrives. The wisdom of birth comes from the earth. Open up to the messages about your own birthing processes.

Moon enters Scorpio 5:25 am
April 25—Full Moon: Illuminating. The Full Moon in Scorpio today is a lunar eclipse. What a powerful culmination to an intense Aries lunar cycle and how appropriate that Mars rules Scorpio as well as Aries. These two signs show us two essential natures of Mars—the passionate fool and the committed warrior. We have the opportunity to bring the healthy expression of Mars into our world by doing the work of Scorpio soul retrieval. Any place in the psyche that feels numb or overwhelmed is a potential opening for toxic mimics to take root. This happens to everyone. Scorpio’s gift is the power to sense into these places and root them out and to regenerate where we are wounded. Eclipses give us a sense that this moment is crucial, that events have been leading up to this moment for a long time, and that we need to pay attention.

In the Full Moon chart, Mars in Taurus is conjunct the Sun and Saturn in Scorpio is conjunct the Moon. The Saturn and Mars dialog is between essential parts of ourselves: Saturn is the wise one with the long view, who asks us to commit to integrity and responsibility, and Mars is the passionate one who longs for reverent service. Oppositions give us an opportunity to notice how we have split off parts of ourselves. The story could be we need to control our wild natures, or we will always be betrayed by passion, or changing the status quo is just too hard. These are false messages that can be rooted out. The sign of Taurus gives us a clue to the path of reverence at this crossroads. This is the sign of rebirth, the beauty of body and earth, the reverence for life cycles, the quest for sustainable and just relationship with resources of all kinds. Saturn becomes an ally for commitment when we align with service to these ideals.

Moon in Scorpio
Friday, April 26.
The Full Moon energy reverberates. Find ways that release tension and makes space energetically for healthy transformation. There are many ways to do this, find your best way. Mars makes an inspiring contact with Neptune. Tell the story of your Mars. What is your reverent service? Do you know your calling? Aim for the most beautiful vision of that calling.

Moon enters Sagittarius 6:32 am
Saturday, April 27.
This week may have provoked a lot of soul searching and self-analysis. With the Moon in far-ranging Sagittarius, turn your attention to “foreign” lands. Learn about a culture or a point of view that is entirely different from yours. There is a tendency to over idealize, so find a way to be realistic about what you are experiencing without surrendering the experience.


*See to follow along with the themes of this lunar cycle that began on April 10

** All times are CDT.

Contact Teri at teri@starsdanceastrology and visit her website at