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 May 12, 2013 – May 18

In the Upper Mississippi River region where I live, Spring is an amazing gift. After what seems like endless months of frozen ground, little green, and weak Sun, the return of life and light is stunning. When I contemplate the gifts that Taurus brings, I am influenced by this power. Rebirth is a big thing—as big as death, as big as life force, as big as vision. These big words describe essential gifts we receive from all the Fixed signs: Taurus, Scorpio, Leo, and Aquarius. No wonder worshippers of earth-based religions have marked these seasons with important rituals for who knows how long. These zodiac signs anchor us to a sacred pattern living within the wheel of the year, hence the appropriate word—Fixed—to describe them.

With the recent New Moon in Taurus,* we begin a lunar cycle dedicated to an intentional and mindful relationship to what Taurus offers. The power of rebirth is one gift. Our earthy senses give us so much wisdom. How does the instinct to rejoin life feel to your body? It is time to pay attention to our animalness. How does rebirth smell? What foods give it pleasure and health? How does rebirth like to work, play, or rest? The body’s wisdom does not need to be invoked. We simply pay attention to what it is already telling us.

In Taurus, and especially this week, there is a tension between expansiveness and sustainability. The guiding question, “How do I know when enough is enough?” Can our animal senses also tell us about this? What sensory pleasures remind us that more isn’t always better?

I recently read a great interview with Frans de Waal, a biologist and primatologist, discussing ape culture. [The Cosmopolitan Ape, by Steve Paulson]. In speaking about empathy, one statement really intrigued me: “More than any other animal I know, chimps seem to have some understanding of their community as a whole. They seem to worry about the level of harmony in the group.” How do animals pay attention to the whole this way? I wonder if humans can reclaim this ability? If so, can our animal senses tell us what is most needed for our happiness? We live in a consumerist culture that is constantly repeating the message that more stuff equals more happiness. We’ve lost touch with understanding how that mindset affects the whole. We’ve lost touch with knowing how the happiness of the whole creates more stability for each of us.

As the Moon waxes into the Crescent phase and then the First Quarter phase this week, we feel the expansiveness of rebirth. Possibilities abound. We can welcome in this hopefulness while at the same time being aware that there are boundaries to expansion too. Let’s give ourselves the gift of living in the whole, aware of the necessity to sustain life in the ways we live.

Forecast May 12, 2013 – May 18.

Moon in Gemini
Sunday, May 12.
A very young Moon contacts Jupiter today. Look for these two together in the western sky at sunset. This should be a beautiful and inspiring sight. Both in Gemini, these two lift our spirits by encouraging new connections with others, new ideas, and new projects. Adding to the expansive nature of this transit, Venus is nearby but may still be too close to the Sun to see with the naked eye. However, even before we can actually see it, we sense that this emergence of Venus as the Evening Star in Gemini will bring much-needed inspiration. As May progresses, it will be easier to see Venus, and we will be treated to a close conjunction of Venus and Jupiter the last week of May. Another bonus is that Mercury will be joining them. We have the opportunity to link lofty aspirations (Gemini) with Taurean groundedness.

Moon enters Cancer at 4:57 am**
May 13—Crescent Moon: Beginning.
After an airy weekend of Gemini expansiveness, the knowing of heart, hearth, and home calls us back into our senses and our emotions. The two are linked. Both emotion and sensory input give us immediate information on which we can base our instinctual knowing. We are laying down new patterns. Our homes and hearths are precious. When we feel secure there, we have the flexibility to adapt our responses to complex situations. The trick is to avoid over protectiveness. Time spent sprucing up our homes will give us a sense of rootedness.

There is a tinge of self-deception present today. We are always telling ourselves stories; some of which are true and some of which aren’t. What stories are you telling yourself? What purpose do these stories serve? Compassion towards self leads to compassion for others.

Moon in Cancer
Tuesday, May 14.
This day may be awash in emotions. It is good to acknowledge how fear can rapidly escalate reactivity. This awareness helps us to be patient with ourselves and others. The real desire is to honor our roots and care for our beloveds. Later in the day, we get to the bottom of conflict or misunderstandings. It may be a struggle to communicate how we are feeling but the effort is worth it. The dialog can open up a whole new perspective if we open to it.

Moon enters Leo at 5:37 pm
Wednesday, May 15.
The protective emotions of the last few days give way to the desire to be seen for our gifts. Mercury enters Gemini where this planet of mind and communication feels strong and frisky. The Moon in Leo makes a sextile contact to Mercury at the same time. We feel brilliant, and maybe we are. Tend your creative fires tonight.

Moon in Leo
Thursday, May 16.
Mars reaches the same degree as the Solar Eclipse of May 9, which may trigger unexpected events. It’s as if the eclipse has another moment of rattling the cages to make sure we’ve truly begun the next phase of development. Astrological events like transits and eclipses are opportunities for integration and evolution. Perhaps what we thought this lunar cycle was going to be about for us changes to something deeper, more intense or more meaningful today. The Moon squares Saturn also and we remember this task of living sustainable, joyous lives is also very serious. Our survival as a species may depend on it.

Moon in Leo
May 17—First Quarter Moon: Manifesting.
The friction between earth and fire creates the possibility of manifestation for this phase of the Moon. This lunar cycle, begun in Fixed Earth sign Taurus, holds a great deal of fertile possibility. To tap into this fertility, we commit to earth qualities like pragmatism, accountability, persistence, and embodied awareness. Earth energy is slow and flows towards the center of our planet. Fire is heat and movement. It moves quickly in all directions. The instinct with fire is to seek fuel and release energy. Leo is the Fixed Fire sign ruled by the Sun. The Sun is a great metaphor for what Leo brings to the table, which is creative life force. Although Taurus is the potential of rebirth, we need the solar fire of Leo to fuel the potential. Cosmically, these forces support each other. In humans, they can cause conflict—between individuals as well as internally within each of us.

Notice your own tendencies. Do you lean toward earth or fire? Do you resent others who need attention or act impulsively? Are you impatient with those who change slowly and seem to think too much about limited resources? Do they squelch your creativity? Do they squander their opportunities? These conflicts teach us about balance and how to nurture precious resources of substance and creativity.

Moon enters Virgo at 4:33 am
Saturday, May 18.
Take a deep breath; not everything can be accomplished in one day. The Moon in Virgo, the Mutable Earth sign, feeds into the Taurus desire to manage our resources wisely. The Virgo way is through work. Home chores take center stage, but we might also be very busy in service to others. Idealistic Neptune squares Mercury. The messages we receive may be mystical or just plain confusing. Better to wait for more clarity. Mercury’s connection to Saturn today adds a sense that the message is important. Don’t forget to look for Venus and Jupiter at sunset; they are closer than at the beginning of the week. If you get a chance to see Venus, take time to notice this bright energy moving in your relationships. There is a sense we are able to change old patterns if we confront fears about power.

*See to follow along with the themes of this lunar cycle that began on May 9.

** All times are CDT.

Contact Teri at teri@starsdanceastrology and visit her website at