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 July 7, 2013 – July 13

Home is such a basic necessity, such an absolute part of life, that it is easy to overlook its meaning. The New Moon in Cancer beginning this week is a call to return home—the place that serves as the touchstone of deepest self, the framework for the most precious parts of our lives, the rhythmic awareness of life’s pulsations, and the place we are fed and feed our beloveds. The busy, expansive spring season is now past. In summer we pause to sync back with the interior world of soul. It is time to tend to our hearts and hearths and anchor our selves in home.

Home is a basic necessity, and not everyone has one. Not everyone’s home is the place of refuge it is meant to be. Not everyone’s home is a place of nurturance. This truth is tragic, since everyone deserves a home where those things can happen. This tragedy contributes to the protectiveness of Cancer, which in part comes from the awareness that home is not a given for every person. Not everyone has one, even though everyone should.

The mindfulness work of this lunar cycle is related to acknowledging the importance of home and tending to the home within. Even if your external home does not meet all your requirements, all the functions of home can be tended to and healed within each of us. This is the promise of this lunar cycle. Each of us can identify what we need our homes to be and claim the home we deserve. This radical act can change our lives entirely.

The crab, one of Cancer’s totem animals, exemplifies the hard protective shell that covers a soft core of a Cancer’s heart. Hard and soft, these qualities touch each other within the essence of this sign. Each of us can feel these places in ourselves—the hard place of protection and the soft place of caring. Often these two places, both important in their own right, become stuck. Then our default, or home base, becomes a constant attitude of defensiveness or a repetitive experience of victimization. As the Moon lures us home, begin to notice your own default positions. When we examine them, they start to look a lot alike. Feeling victimized, we respond with defensive posture. Yet an impenetrable defense creates isolation that further weakens us. What allows you to be both open and strong?

The work of the Cancer lunar cycle is healing work. What creates the best framework for your healing? Let that framework become home. Let that wisdom come from your self. This is where we rest in intention. This is where we change the worlds.

Forecast July 7, 2013 – July 13

Moon in Cancer
Sunday, July 7.
Technically, the New Moon does not begin until 2:14 am* tomorrow. But for all intents and purposes, the Cancer mission to find, heal, and reside in the home of our being starts today. Both the soft core and hard shell of Cancer is stimulated. Encouraging relaxation into the soft core of our beings, the Moon contacts Neptune in Pisces and Saturn in Scorpio to form a Grand Water Trine. The ongoing trine between Neptune and Saturn for the past few weeks has functioned as a stable underpinning of emotional understanding, compassion, and courage to look more deeply at our own hearts. For those whose natural realm is the waters of emotion, you are being encouraged to dive deeper. For those who feel awkward in these realms, you find that there are resources to support deeper emotional understanding. The hard protective shell of Cancer is provoked by the Moon’s opposition to Pluto and square to Uranus. If change is happening too fast for you or you feel challenged by a power outside your control, the crab goes into defense mode. Think of this as an opportunity to notice the qualities of home you cherish most and what you instinctively will do to protect it.

Moon in Cancer
July 8—New Moon: Dreaming.
The chart for every New Moon lays down a pattern that influences our experiences of the whole lunar cycle. If we are called to do intentional work with the Moon, these patterns, or stories, show the challenges and possibilities inherent in this cycle. Yesterday’s forecast outlined some of the important dynamics to consider.

Jupiter in Cancer is now forming the Grand Water Trine with Saturn and Neptune. Today, Saturn stations direct after a six-month retrograde journey and Neptune is still stationary after turning retrograde only one month ago. Both of these planets have strong impact. Saturn encourages us to work harder. The commitment in Scorpio is a dedication to transformative healing, no matter where it takes us. Often Saturn feels like a burden, but with the trines coming from Neptune and Jupiter, there is help if we maintain focus. That is the problem with trines; sometimes we let opportunities pass by because we think the support will always be there. It won’t. Neptune in Pisces offers ecstatic and meaningful connection to others and more empathy and spiritual insight. With Saturn’s support we are able to ground these experiences into reality. Jupiter, having just moved into Cancer for a year, offers the opportunity to know the value of home in our lives.

Sometimes the best way to reap the potential of a trine aspect is to let the more challenging aspects wake us to our real desires and our real work. There are two challenging patterns in the sky at the New Moon. Jupiter opposes Pluto and squares Uranus to highlight a choice between defensiveness and vulnerability. Emotions are high when we feel threatened and events may move rapidly this month to challenge our ability to remain centered and self-aware. It is time to notice our default patterns.

The second challenging pattern takes us in another direction than the focus on heart and hearth. As a counterpoint, Venus in Leo at the apex of a Yod triangle with Pluto and Chiron presents an interesting paradox. Joy in many forms, from play to flirtation to creativity, releases healing potential too. Yet the path to joy may be through the shadows of fear. Learn to recognize when you need to lighten up and who encourages you to have fun. Take a chance on joy.

Another important component to this lunar cycle is the fact that Mercury is transiting retrograde in Cancer. The trickster aspect of Mercury is working on us. What gets you through frustration? Who/what do you call on when you are ready to give up? What does this teach you about home?

Moon enters Leo 5:48 am
Tuesday, July 9.
It is a relief to feel lighter today. The Venus challenge for this lunar cycle is to enjoy life in spite of the extra sensitivity we are feeling. Enjoy the thrill of the creative process, a romantic encounter, or the company of playful friends. Find your inner child. The Sun and Mercury come together in the core of this Mercury retrograde cycle. This may mean we learn something really important about home through the unexpected behaviors of this trickster god.

Moon in Leo
Wednesday, July 10.
Suddenly all the fascinating people in your life are showing up. Enjoy the diversity. Wouldn’t it be boring if everyone were the same? You may also be ready to take your relationships in new directions; mix it up and see what happens. This could get you into trouble, but it could also be just what you need to rekindle a flame that felt extinguished.

Moon enters Virgo 5:12 pm
Thursday, July 11.
The morning still sparkles with Leo shenanigans and then the solid energy of Virgo kicks in. Do you need to clean up any messes made in the last couple of days? It actually feels good to put a little more order in your life. This is a good way to honor your sense of home. Notice how picking up the pieces can feel like a return to self. Everyone has a different comfort level with chaos and order. Notice where the balance lies for you and bring that into your life.

Moon in Virgo
July 12—Crescent Moon: Beginning.
Home is both a place where we feel the sensitive, soft core of vulnerability and the place we feel strongest and most grounded. I suggest opening to all that, the strength and the vulnerability, as we begin the true work of this lunar cycle. The Moon teaches us through the waxing and waning of light to be responsive to the flow. Sometimes we need to retreat and sometimes we need to move forward into the world. Begin to notice your own pulsations of awareness. How do you know what you know?

The Moon in Virgo encourages much of what we need for our journeys. Invite order, discernment, and devotion into your home without falling into the trap of perfectionism. There is no such thing. The grounded energy of tending to the details of our lives can give shape to the nebulous longings for emotional wisdom.

Moon in Virgo
Saturday, July 13.
You might be tired of the water theme of the past few weeks, but it is far from over. Surrender to the flow as Mars enters Cancer for the next month and a half. Mars is a passionate and reactive energy. In Cancer, we can expect to notice more defensiveness in ourselves and others. It may also be a challenge to express anger and frustration directly, as we have to carefully navigate the terrain of sensitive emotions. Find the restorative place of home where you can sort out how you really feel and what you want to do about it.

* All times are CDT.

Contact Teri at teri@starsdanceastrology and visit her website at