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 September 1, 2013 – September 7

Lackluster. A perfect word for my present emotional/energetic state as I sit down to write about the last part of the Leo Moon cycle. At the New Moon,* full of Sun-inspired hopefulness, I wrote about unabashed self-love, sharing my gifts, and daring to live wholeheartedly. My intentions for this cycle sparkled with luster. So why do I find myself on the shores of the waning Moon, wondering where the sparkle went?

This is a critical point—I can just tell—a revelatory moment, a juncture of mindfulness where I am asked to choose between what is showing up and what I think should be showing up. And how do I feel about this? And what can I write about it?

So I went for a walk to think about it more. As I walked, feeling sort of fed up with myself, the words, “Lean in,” came to me. I haven’t read the book with the same name but when it was being promoted the words intrigued me. They felt like a new choice. In any moment, whether I’m wildly happy or feeling the lack of luster, what if I chose to lean into it? This is also mindfulness. I realize I often lean away from the moment. For many reasons. I lean away because what is happening either doesn’t fit my fantasy about what should be happening or I am afraid of what is happening. Or I lean away because I don’t understand or I don’t feel ready for the moment. Sometimes I lean away when the moment isn’t as neat and tidy as I’d like it to be. And sometimes I lean away when I think I don’t deserve the moment.

What does it feel like to lean in? I think it is about getting closer to the moment—really knowing it. The sensation of leaning into something creates more intimacy with that thing, like leaning into a kiss. How can I truly know my heart’s desire in an intimate way, unless I am willing to lean into it, no matter how it is showing up?

Lacking luster at times is part of the journey of self-acceptance. Looking over this lunar cycle, I fulfilled my intentions. I did it! Why doesn’t it feel more significant? Why aren’t trumpets blaring? Sometimes the revelatory moment comes when I lean into “ho hum.” Sometimes, in those moments when I almost choose to lean away, the voice of a god begins to speak to me telling me new and deeper truths. Sometimes that could be the whole point of the journey.

Forecast September 1, 2013 – September 7

Moon enters Leo at 7:01 pm**
September 1—Balsamic Moon: Surrendering. A complete lunar cycle is like a growing season. At the New Moon, a seed is planted. We’ve tended that seed through its whole life cycle. At the end, the plant is left to compost; the seeds of future cycles lie waiting in the cold soil; and we surrender to the darkness. This phase of the Leo Moon cycle may not sit well with you if you’ve become attached to the sensation of encouragement that the light of the Sun gives. It could be confusing to let go. As I wrote in the introduction to this week’s forecast, “Lacking luster at times is part of the journey of self-acceptance.” As you lean into this moment, do you hear the voice of the god who wants to speak deeper truths to you?

The Moon returns to Leo in the evening (Central Time Zone). Dissonance may come from the contradiction between the belief that self-love should feel bold and confident and the tender self-doubt that can arise as the Moon wanes into darkness. Notice your expectations. Wisdom and strength come from the earth with a trine aspect between the Sun and Pluto, both in earth signs.

Moon in Leo
Monday, September 2.
Labor Day. Let’s remember and honor the debts we owe to the collective activism of organized labor. Lessons from the Leo Moon cycle help. Acting collectively we can change the world, yet only if we also harness the creativity of the individual. The trine between the Moon and Uranus encourages revolutionary zeal and appreciation for change. The square aspect between the Moon and Saturn asks us to reconsider hasty impulses. Mars in Leo, the champion of self-love, meets Neptune in Pisces, the god who takes us beyond ego. Their meeting may cause a few bumps in the day, especially if we are feeling insecure or inpatient.

Moon in Leo
Tuesday, September 3.
Full circle. This is the last full day of the Moon in Leo for this lunar cycle that began in Leo. Saying good-bye to this lunar cycle is a bit like saying good-bye to summer. It can be bittersweet. Part of us may be eager for the fall season and part of us may want to hang onto the last of these carefree days. Honor the gifts of summer, whatever that means to you. They are also the gifts of Leo. The Sun in Virgo opposes Chiron in Pisces—look for the balancing point between self-sacrifice and survival. We may be tempted to give too much or to freeze up and not give at all. There’s got to be a middle ground. The aspect between the Sun and Uranus could trigger a spell of anxiety, especially if expectations are too high.

Moon enters Virgo at 5:43 am
Wednesday, September 4.
If you are looking forward to the fall, this will be your day to take the reins. Sorry, if you belong to the group who doesn’t want summer to go yet. However, eventually all things must come to an end; today may feel like that day. Tomorrow begins another lunar cycle, this one dedicated to Virgo, and it feels like a brand new beginning in lots of ways. Today’s positive aspects between the Moon/Pluto and Moon/Saturn help prepare us for stepping into that new cycle with purpose and strength. The Moon also opposes Neptune today, which presents another opportunity for integration. The integration of these two opposing signs, Virgo and Pisces offers a satisfying way to add pragmatism to our highest ideals. The potential is to have Virgo bring a bit of earth to heaven and Pisces bring a bit of heaven to earth. What could be better?

Moon in Virgo
September 5—New Moon: Dreaming. In the story of Psyche’s quest to reclaim her true love, she is given a challenge by Aphrodite: to sort a mountain of mixed grains into their separate piles by morning if she wants to see Eros again. It’s possible we may feel a bit like Psyche at this New Moon in Virgo. The astrological year, which begins in Aries, is a mythic journey. Along the way, we encounter everything you can expect from such a journey: revelations and challenges, gifts and rewards, and moments of self-awareness and doubt. The potency of the journey is building to the half-way point—that happens after the Virgo lunar cycle in Libra. The half-way point begins the integration of the experiences of the first half of the year. We are almost there, but not yet, and that feels like a longing similar to Psyche’s. Like her, we find ourselves on the cusp of reunion with the beloved, but first we have to sort this mountain of grain.

Her longing was so great that Psyche immediately applied herself to the impossible task but ended up falling asleep before it was finished. When she woke, she found that ants had done the sorting for her. There is an equation here that could help with our own Virgo tasks this month. The parts to the equation seem to be finding the right combination of Longing, Commitment, Work, and Surrender. If any of them are missing or out of balance, we don’t receive help from our allies to complete the impossible task.

If we apply ourselves with the diligence of Virgo, the potential for success is great, but the real challenge isn’t really the mundane work of sorting that mountain of grain; the real work is to find the “just right” combination of work and surrender that matches our longing and commitment. The chart for the New Moon offers guidance for achieving balance between these qualities. At the New Moon there is a unique aspect pattern called a Mystic Rectangle, which is comprised of a blend of both helpful and challenging aspects between the planets involved. These are: the Sun and Moon in Virgo representing work, Chiron in Pisces representing surrender, Jupiter in Cancer representing longing, and Pluto in Capricorn representing commitment.

In this phase of dreaming about your Virgo intention, consider these qualities: Jupiter in Cancer contributes a longing that connects us more deeply to home and family. Pluto in Capricorn contributes a commitment to excellence that will ask us to confront our deepest fears. Chiron in Pisces contributes an awareness that our redemption may come from surrendering to our imperfections. The New Moon contributes a desire to apply ourselves to the task because we know that we are on a journey of becoming.

Moon enters Libra at 2:12 pm
Friday, September 6.
The morning resonates with Virgo attention to getting work done. By the afternoon, we want to slip into Libran pleasures. Take in an evening of the arts, pleasant social interactions, or simply being lazy at home to cast off the cares of the workweek. What helps you balance effort with pleasure? Do that.

Moon in Libra
Saturday, September 7.
The Moon moves into a grand cross aspect pattern with Pluto, Uranus, and Jupiter. This won’t feel particularly good if you want a mellow, carefree day. Find the still balance-point in the midst of storms if you can. Yes, conflict is present. Yes, stress is present. Yes, impatience is present. But what choice do YOU want to make about it? The sextile aspect between the Sun and Jupiter supports our plans to create more peace and balance at home. Start there.

* To read more about the Leo lunar cycle that began on August 6, go to

** All times are CDT.

Contact Teri at teri@starsdanceastrology and visit her website at