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 19, 2013 – May 25

I am all in favor of giving ourselves a break this week. I suggest that when tension or stress arises, we just let it go because pressure is building. The metaphor for this Spring season is birth, and possibly the next few days could feel like that critical end-stage of birth called transition—the culminating waves of contractions that precede birth.

The current lunar cycle* is colored by Taurus—the Fixed Earth sign that anchors the Spring. Everything around us is fertile now. Life is popping out all over. Even though we forget it sometimes, we humans are creatures too, caught up in the fecundity. Regardless of our genders, our ages, our choices about actually procreating, we feel this pressure to produce when everything around us is getting it on. What do you want to give birth to this season? We are able to tap into some amazing energy this week, which could either sweep us away into the next chapter of our lives, or help us manifest an intention that matters most to us.

There’s no doubt that some of the pressure we may be feeling is about survival. If we look honestly at the tally sheets: comparing consumption to resource, truly noting the costs of our present lifestyles, forecasting how long we can go on this way, the outcome looks very bleak. Taurus is a sign that asks us to live within our means. It needs sustainability. This season encourages us to pay attention to the wants and needs of our bodies and to embrace pleasure and abundance. However Taurus also challenges us to develop awareness of knowing when we are satisfied, when we’ve had enough and don’t need any more. What a gift and what pressure this challenge can be!

As the Moon waxes into the Full Moon phase this week, we feel pregnant with this possibility. Potent transits, like the third exact square between Uranus and Pluto and another lunar eclipse on the Full Moon influence both the feelings of potential and of being overwhelmed. Getting back to the birth metaphor, perhaps the best we can do to encourage the transition is to let the waves wash over us this week. How we handle the contractions of birth is as important as what we are giving birth to. Really, I don’t see how we can separate them. If we want to develop understanding of living within our means, we must learn how to stay present, aware, and trusting that we have the all the resources we need to do so.

Forecast May 19, 2013 – May 25

Moon in Virgo
Sunday, May 19.
If any sign can help us to manage the details, it is Virgo. We are able to get organized for the coming week today, but be careful not to try for perfection. It isn’t possible. The best balance to achieve is between yielding to a desire to be entertained, either in fascinating conversation or a good book, while making sure we are productive enough to feel that we haven’t wasted the whole day. Congratulate yourself if you achieve that balance. Noticing this balance could set a pattern for approaching the rest of the week.

Moon enters Libra at 12:07 pm**
Monday, May 20.
The winds of change blow mightily today. First of all the Sun enters Mutable Air sign Gemini while the Moon also enters the Cardinal Air sign, Libra. If that’s not enough, Uranus squares Pluto for the third time since June 2012 and there are a whopping four more exact squares to come during the next two years. We are in the midst of a whole lot of change and transformation. Many astrologers, including me, have written extensively about this ongoing transit between these two planets. Astrologer Barry Perlman writes: “whenever Uranus and Pluto come together in any hard aspect (i.e., conjunction, opposition or square), we witness a period of increased societal unrest and turbulence, during which issues of human rights and social welfare are more loudly addressed.” This transit also rocks our individual lives, especially if you have planets or important points in your natal chart around 11 degrees of the Cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn).

As these winds blow, there is a forceful, but perhaps unconscious, desire to smooth things over and put on a pleasant face to cover our strong feelings. This represents a choice point. How do you want to handle conflict? Should conflict always be nicely resolved or do we sometimes need to live with messes for a while? Mercury, the communicator, is active in this dynamic too. Perhaps thinking outside the box helps us to welcome these birth pangs.

Moon in Libra
May 21—Gibbous Moon: Perfecting.
Pressure was present yesterday, and it hasn’t gone away today. My image for the gibbous phase of the Moon is a pregnant belly; so continuing with this birthing metaphor for the season, now is when we feel the complex and paradoxical emotions at the end of a pregnancy: excited, overwhelmed, industrious, disgusted, and blissful. The Moon exactly contacts the square between Uranus and Pluto. As the Moon represents our unconscious habits and needs, we may be surprised by fierce desires to create harmony, even when the world does not cooperate with us. Whatever tone is present in your life today—from highly chaotic to highly ordered—add the pleasing interval that sounds like harmony to you. Perhaps if we all tried better to harmonize with our environment, we might learn how to sense a proper balance between want and need.

Moon enters Scorpio at 3:55 pm
Wednesday, May 22.
This is a good day to exhale and regroup. The Moon goes void-of-course after making a pleasing trine aspect to Jupiter. The pause before the Moon enters Scorpio in the afternoon is a good time to reflect or wrap up loose ends. When the Moon enters this Fixed Water sign, we go deeper under the surface of our intention for this lunar cycle. What do think it is really all about? What agenda has your soul carried on as you were thinking that you knew what you wanted? Now, what do you really want? Under the Gibbous phase, we are able to make those adjustments.

Moon in Scorpio
Thursday, May 23.
The Moon contacts Neptune in Pisces and Saturn in Scorpio. It is OK to take things seriously today because we are encouraged by Neptune to apply our hard work to enormous healing. The hardships we’ve experienced recently are connecting us in ways we can’t fathom. Time to trust that there is a reason and that we have what we need to endure.

Moon enters Sagittarius 4:49 pm.
May 24—Full Moon: Illuminating. Today’s Full Moon is a lunar eclipse, the third eclipse we’ve experienced in this current eclipse season (lunar eclipse on April 25, solar eclipse on May 9, and this one). Usually there are only two eclipses in a row, so this particular cycle feels more significant and possibly more overwhelming. However, the Moon barely touches the Earth’s shadow in this eclipse so perhaps we only feel the barest breath of shadow in our souls this time.

The light of the Moon illuminates the visionary sign of Sagittarius. Look up to lift your spirits. Sagittarius is the sign of the explorer with a gift for believing that the journey is more important than the destination. A Sagittarian love for seeing the big picture balances the Gemini tendency to split things into parts. To make things more interesting, Neptune plays a powerful role. It is both stationary, getting ready to turn retrograde on June 7, and it is square to the opposition of the Sun and Moon. Neptune in Pisces encourages expansion as well, especially the expansion into heart and emotion. I recently read an article in an online science journal that described emotions as “survival circuits.” These circuits get us in touch with what we need to do. Emotions are automatic responses that give us important survival information. The author went on to propose that “every living thing interested in survival emotes in some form.” The circuits that we are running at this Full Moon carry information about hopes, wounds, illusions, and truth. Rather than worry about trying to sort it all out, accept what washes over you as what you need right now.

Venus and Mercury are exactly conjoined, very near Jupiter (all in Gemini). These planets should be visible at sunset in the west and will make an inspiring sight. If Sagittarius is about the unifying truth of the big picture, Gemini’s gift is an appreciation for the amazing complexity and delightful diversity of all things. Mercury, who rules Gemini, is happy as a lark sandwiched between the two benefics of the solar system. These three will grace our thoughts with inspiration.

Moon in Sagittarius
Saturday, May 25.
I find it hard to sleep on nights of a Full Moon. This might be the case for this particular one as well. However a square between Neptune and the Moon in the wee hours of the morning, invites us to step off into dreams. As you awaken, take a moment to remember what those dreams were. The square aspect may mean the dream is especially vivid or might be tense or confusing. Let all that be as it is. Neptune’s influence on us is about the need to surrender. That too is an important part of birth.

*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