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 21, 2013 – July 27

One of the first things a child learns to draw is a home. You know the pattern, a simple square topped with a triangle. Usually there is a door in the center and two windows on either side. In the happiest scenes, there is often a tree to the side and the sun in the corner. I like the suns that have smiling faces in them. If you were to draw a home right now, what would it look like? What makes you happy, content, at home? One of my teachers and friends, Donald Engstrom-Reese has written a beautiful piece on his relationship to his home. His words transform the idea of home, basic as a child’s drawing, into the magical and potent place that it can be, and should be, for every person.

As I’ve been writing about home since this Cancer lunar cycle* began, I’ve struggled with the discrepancy between the beauty that having a home brings to me and the fact that not everyone has such a home. Not everyone has a physical home that functions as a source of safety and nurturance. That is sad enough. But the real injustice it seems is that not everyone has the sense of an inner home, a place of the deep self where they can find restoration and grounding. That is the home I wish for every soul. The other nagging thought I can’t escape is that as I extol the wonders of home, I must acknowledge the responsibility I have to ensure that home is available for everyone. With this as an intention, the world would be changed forever.

These thoughts of the homeless are strong right now for me, I believe, because the water trines (Neptune in Pisces, Saturn in Scorpio, Jupiter and Mars in Cancer) of the past few weeks have been working on me (and all of us) to expand empathic connection with others. This week, a new astrological energy inserts itself into this watery flow. The pragmatic energy of Virgo creates a counterpoint when Venus enters this sign. Water is most effective when it can be contained, given boundaries, and helped to flow through strong channels. We’ll be able to give our empathetic feelings more structure this week. Another brilliant piece of instruction coming from Virgo is the idea of small and steady progress. I’m often dismayed by the magnitude of the problems we face as humans in this world. It doesn’t help to let that feeling overwhelm the truth that even the smallest of actions can make a difference. Our homes teach us this too. Just sweeping the floor can change the energy in the home. How will you sweep through your own overwhelm this week?

Forecast July 21, 2013 – July 27

Moon in Capricorn
Sunday, July 21.
Energy is building to the Full Moon release tomorrow. That’s what a Full Moon often feels like—the culmination of building energy that must finally flow over the bounds. We can expect the unexpected at the Full Moon. No matter how much mindfulness we practice, there is benefit also to being swept away by the flow. Capricorn Moons aren’t often times of being swept away; but since Capricorn is the sign that is opposite Cancer—the sign of inspiration for this lunar cycle—we may be swept up into the unexpected today. To start things off, at dawn** the Moon contacts Pluto and then Uranus, once again triggering the paradigm-changing square between these two planets. There may be a jagged start to the day. Then the Moon opposes Mercury, which just stationed direct yesterday. This aspect encourages the quality of expecting the unexpected. We want order. We want home. We want to control the changes happening around us. Yet, all of that is not a given for any of us. The goal may be to honor those desires and develop empathy for self and others. This will help us understand a valuable piece of this lunar cycle’s work.

Moon enters Aquarius at 1:07 pm
July 22—Full Moon: Illuminating.
A new chapter begins today in this lunar cycle intention, which I’ve been framing as the Cancer mission to find, heal, and reside in the home of our being. Heralding this new chapter are Venus entering Virgo; the Sun entering Leo; and the Moon entering Aquarius to immediately oppose the Sun for the Full Moon. I imagine this crest of new energy will activate a desire to take action. If there is healing that is needed, we begin the work of taking care of the situation. If we need more inspiration or life in our homes, we invite in others to add to the vision. There is also a reaction to water and emotion that comes in with this new chapter. We want to get pragmatic and remember that boundaries can actually help us be more effective empathizers. There is an opportunity to achieve balance between commitment and joy. The differences between work and play might blur where it feels good to get things done and too tiring to just sit around and do nothing.

The Full Moon chart is full of interesting aspect configurations. Don’t get me wrong, the energy could be challenging, but given what we’ve experience so far in this cycle, I think many of us will enjoy having the work to do. If you aren’t there yet, know the opportunity will always come back again. That is the wonderful thing about these cycles.

Mars and Jupiter come together in an exact conjunction, supercharging the energy of the Grand Water Trine. Hearts open, we feel water taking us to new places of compassion and empathy. We may also remember experiences of wounding and sense more clearly where healing needs to happen. Jupiter, Mars, and a newly-direct Mercury all conspire to ensure we feel the significance that home holds for us. With Pluto opposing these Cancer planets and Uranus squaring them, there is a sense that this is very important. We have an opportunity to see and change old patterns that involve feelings of vulnerability. Approach these feelings with curiosity. The planets in water are supporting new patterns of love.

Another aspect configuration involves the Sun, Moon and Saturn in Fixed signs. Since October 2012, Saturn has been encouraging deeper self-knowledge, especially in the areas we usually don’t like to look. If you’ve been doing that work, this Full Moon feels like an opportunity to apply the lessons you’ve been learning to the areas of self-worth and community activism. All our parts are necessary, the parts harboring dark emotions, the parts dreaming of making brilliant contributions, and the parts that push the collective to change and evolve. All of these parts reside in the home of our being. Are you making room for them?

Moon in Aquarius
Tuesday, July 23.
The Moon is void-of course from 9 am till 1:22 pm tomorrow. A void-of-course period feels like a lull in momentum. It may be harder to complete things. This aspect of the Moon can be significant in choosing an election chart (deciding when to begin something astrologically) or a horary chart (using astrology to answer specific questions). As we go through the day, we may appreciate the calm and there is no need to stress over the dip in action. This is a good day to notice the energy of Aquarius—a sign that likes mental activity and abstract concepts.

Moon enters Pisces at 1:22 pm
Wednesday, July 24.
Did you miss the water? It’s back with the Moon entering Pisces today and activating the Grand Water Trine. However, now we get to use the contribution of Venus in Virgo to create realistic structure around those expansive feelings. Beauty and pleasant social interactions are key to invoking Venus’ help. Simple housework can create more beauty and balance. Friendships that share the same focus of devotion or service feel very rewarding right now.

Moon in Pisces
July 25—Disseminating Moon: Sharing. What small action can each of us take to share the gift of home with others? How do ensure that everyone has a safe nurturing place to reside? This phase of the Moon asks us to share the lessons and the benefits that we have incurred so far in the lunar cycle. So share! Let the expansive Pisces Moon lead you to moments of unexpected connection from your home to another. Intuition is a strong guide. Communication and heart-action are supported today. In honor of the watery signs, I plan to bless my home with water from a sacred spring today.

Moon enters Aries at 4:29 pm
Friday, July 26.
Before the Moon enters Aries today, Venus in Virgo opposes Neptune in Pisces and we have the opportunity to take our idealism and empathy into the real world. In order to do this, we might have to surrender a fantasy we were clutching tightly. We might have to see the work as menial. We might have to fight a sense of despair. But the rewards are satisfying in a realistic and grounded way. Get active when the Moon shifts to Aries.

Moon in Aries
Saturday, July 27.
This is a rather dynamic day. Early, we feel the tension of the t-square aspect configuration of Pluto opposite Jupiter and Mars with all of these planets being square to Uranus. In other words, we might feel triggered, reactive, ansty, impatient. We might encounter opposition from powerful sources. We might feel like we’ve had enough. The emphasis today is on individuality and action. Even though we each are different from each other and can act alone in some situations, it is also important to not feel that we have to act alone to change the world. Even if the connection is only energetic, find someone else who is acting in the world the way you also want to act. Now, there is a link greater than the sum of those parts.

The Sun contacts Neptune and Saturn today asking us to see ourselves more realistically so that we can be responsible to high ideals. This is a key lesson for all of us.

To read more about the Cancer lunar cycle that began on July 7, go to

** All times are CDT.

Contact Teri at teri@starsdanceastrology and visit her website at