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 28, 2013 – August 3

Gold. Sun. Life force. These are the words I associate with the middle to end of Summer.
I love this time of year when the tall grass forms golden seed heads, giving green fields a shimmer of sunlight. The earth is warm. Markets and gardens are full of fresh produce that has never seen a refrigerator. And when I bite into that slightly warm tomato or fruit, it is as if I am taking the Sun itself into my body. The Sun and life force are one and the same. This week, the festival of Lammas, or First Harvest, celebrates this season of life force. It marks the midpoint of the Summer season and is a good time to honor the vitality freely shared with us through the gifts of the Sun.

A mystery held within light-filled Summer is the significance of darkness and the soulful energy of the Moon. Summer begins with Cancer, the Moon’s home sign. The forward momentum of Spring’s emergence slows in the Cancer season, sinks down into the soil, gathers the power of nurturance, and then gives that over to the season of Leo, which is ruled by the Sun. Leo is the sign that represents our gifts and self-worth. I am intrigued by the necessity of first visiting the Moon on our way to reaping our precious first harvests. This reaffirms the importance of home, a dominant theme for this lunar cycle* and for the next year while Jupiter transits Cancer.

On the way to harvesting your precious gifts, what attention needs to be paid to your home? What structure allows you to be in touch with your deepest self? Where do you reside? How will you honor your home? May this season of gold, Sun, and life force bless your harvests.

Forecast July 28, 2013 – August 3

Moon enters Taurus 11:43 pm**
Sunday, July 28.
Yesterday was a fiery and dynamic day. Strong emotion may have provoked some of us into reaction and action. Today, we exhale and notice what happened. The Moon is still in firey Aries for most of the day, but it is void-of-course and so not as apt to spark intense responses. Venus in Virgo forms a sextile aspect to Jupiter in Cancer. The two benefics of the sky are offering blessings that impact our day-to-day lives—our homes and our work. Although, this is a Sunday and a day of rest for many, we feel industrious and ready to make improvements. Through Venus, Virgo’s desire to bring order and healing create a container for some of the emotional experiences of the last few weeks. Let this momentum create more harmony in your life.

Moon in Taurus
July 29—Last Quarter Moon: Evaluating.  
A beautiful pattern forms in the sky today. The Moon opposes Saturn this morning creating a somewhat rare aspect configuration called a Grand Sextile. A grand sextile is formed when planets are placed in two interlocking triangles (think Star of David). Each triangle is a Grand Trine, which means the planets are in a harmonious aspect to each other in signs with the same element. And by the way, the signs of any grand sextile will either be in the “yin” signs (earth and water) or the “yang” signs (air and fire). The elements of this grand sextile are water and earth. Every grand sextile also has three sets of planetary oppositions, which create the real potential inherent in such patterns. [Another note: astrologers use an evaluation system for deciding how strong an aspect is by how close to exact it is. One of the sextiles in today’s configuration is a little wider than I usually use, but I am allowing it because the energy of the other planets pulls that planet into relationship.] The three oppositions are: Moon in Taurus opposite Saturn in Scorpio; Venus in Virgo opposite Neptune (and Chiron) in Pisces; and Jupiter and Mars in Cancer opposite Pluto in Capricorn. These oppositions indicate core work for us. Coming at this evaluating phase of the Moon, we can apply this work to the intention of this lunar cycle: to find, heal, and reside in the home of our being.

What might some of this work be? Some possibilities: acknowledging the delight and wisdom of our bodies, committing to our own healing, honest and deep self-appraisal, noticing how vulnerability helps us connect intimately to others, and balancing empathy with boundaries and discernment. Big issues like these get a boost from the supporting elements of earth and water.

Moon in Taurus
Tuesday, July 30.
Invite your senses home. Put fresh flowers on the table. Cook something that smells heavenly. Add colors to your décor, textures to your bed, a work of art to your wall, any reminder that you are a sensual being housed in a home of beauty. Venus trines Pluto. Start with your senses and see what passions are awakened. Perhaps passion helps fuel the life force around us as much as the Sun’s light does.

Moon enters Gemini 10:42 am
Wednesday, July 31.
The Moon teaches that all energy is constantly shifting. So, we have to shift too. Yesterday’s grounded delight gives way to mental stimulation. There’s more input from others. Watch out for fantasies as you try to sort out the messages within these interactions. Others are also prone to seeing us through their own fantasies. The big energy today is Mars in Cancer square to Uranus in Aries. Prickly defensiveness could surface. This could be a sign that your deep self needs reassurance. Give yourself love.

Moon in Gemini
August 1.
We might be pushed and pulled in many directions today. Where do you want to go? The route may not be what you expected. Mars is still square Uranus, so the tension between expressing anger and stifling it is still influential. What is the healthy expression of anger for you? With Venus quincunx Uranus and opposite Chiron, we may be pushed through paradox or frustration to find holistic answers. Sun and Pluto are at odds with each other. Sometimes we focus too much on the light and forget how important the darkness is. Notice that edge between dark and light.

Moon enters Cancer 11:29 pm
August 2—Balsamic Moon: Surrendering. Lammas. Many Pagans celebrate the golden midpoint of Summer today. Join in and give thanks for your first harvests. The contrast between light and dark is strong as the Moon wanes into darkness while the Sun’s strength is celebrated. Most of the day, the Moon is void-of-course in Gemini, so we remain eager to socialize and learn. Gemini seeks connection and integration. The work of this lunar cycle has been to honor the home of body and soul. Has this work yielded a harvest for you? Make this harvest a lasting part of your life.

Venus is sextile Mars today. The Cosmic Lovers unite to bless our homes and our harvests.

Moon in Cancer
Saturday, August 3.
The Moon returns to the sign that began this lunar cycle. We come full circle. The line from T.S. Eliot resonates: “We will not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” The home is such a place—a place of beginning, of leaving, of returning, and of knowing again. Something is entirely new in this return, and something is the same as it always was. Like the tide that flushes the shore with nutrients and then retreats. We come home, and leave, and come home again. The Moon touches every outer planet today. Through a trine to Neptune and Saturn, we dream and transform. Through tense contacts with Jupiter, Pluto and Uranus, the Moon reminds us that whatever happens today feels more significant because it touches upon the deep places inside. What is the tide bringing?

* 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