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 8, 2013 – September 14

There’s a mountain of grain to sort. Last week*, I wrote about the how Psyche’s challenge to sort a mountain of grain seemed like the kind of work that Virgo often has to take on. Detail-oriented, sometimes overwhelming, and at times very mundane; it is easy to get off track when we encounter a mountain like that. What do you feel about your work? How do you approach the details? Have you lost the connection between your heart and your everyday actions? How impatient are you to see results from your labor? What gets to you most—the stress or the boredom? Many of us have a problem with work. The good news is that the Virgo season is ripe for reframing our attitudes toward work.

My friend Paul has coined a term that I love, “joyful obligation.” The words beautifully evoke the how and why of good work. Standing before a mountain of work, I ask myself, “Does this obligation bring joy?” If not, what must change? This lunar cycle I am exploring the balance of these points: Longing, Commitment, Work, and Surrender. I suspect that just focusing on the mountain of work that lies ahead of me isn’t enough to bring me joy. What does my heart want most? How committed am I? What are the next steps to take in the work? And in the end, what are the gifts found in surrendering attachment to outcome?

I am eager to see how the transits this week involving Mercury, Mars, and Venus influence my Virgo intention. Every planet is an ally if we meet them where they like to roam and approach them with the heart of a dedicant. Mercury is the ruler of Virgo. He is the Trickster god who is also a master alchemist. Mercury’s terrain is the mind in all its states from clarity to confusion. Perhaps he will share a secret to attaining balance and joy in my work. Mars is the Champion, the hero in us who valiantly throws himself into the fray. In Leo this month, Mars calls attention to our ego needs. That probably has something to do with work, wouldn’t you think? Venus also plays a role, perhaps as the Goddess who inspires us to beauty in all our work. Venus moves from Libra to Scorpio this week, encouraging us to go under the surface of pleasure and desire.

Forecast September 8, 2013 – September 14

Moon enters Scorpio at 8:44 pm CDT
September 8—Crescent Moon: Beginning. Sighting the first crescent curve of the Moon in a new lunar cycle always makes my heart leap. Beauty and hope are all tangled together in the moment. Beauty and hope are perhaps the best motivators for beginning any work. Invite in this energy as another cycle of mindfulness and intention begins. The sky is collaborating. Right after the Sun sets today, if the western sky is clear, we are treated to a beautiful conjunction of the crescent Moon and Venus. I dare you to be unmoved by the sight. No wait, I ‘d rather dare you to let this beauty inspire you to create more balance and joy in your work. I’ll join you.

Moon in Scorpio
Monday, September 9.
This is a richly complex day and because the Moon is in Scorpio, the complexity feeds the soul and creates possibilities for transformation. First of all, the master alchemist, Mercury enters Libra, creating an emphasis on mental balance that especially predominates when Mercury contacts other planets this week. What will you do to bring in more clarity? Mars, the champion for self-worth, squares Saturn. Doubt is present. But the idea is not to let that discourage us. How hungry is your ego? How does a healthy and satisfied ego help you in your work? We all need recognition. If that feels too vulnerable to you, lean into it and see what shifts. The Moon also plays into this square between Mars and Saturn, increasing the odds that we will feel this potential blockage on an emotional level. Self-love helps; is this your work?

Moon in Scorpio
Tuesday, September 10.
There are as many clichés about Scorpio’s moodiness as there are about Virgo’s perfectionism. I hate to feed those stereotypes but emotions are strong today with the Moon in Scorpio. This will feel really good to some of us who like these hidden and intense spaces. Others may be feeling reactive. Regardless, emotion is present and may be giving us important information about our desires for connection. These messages may be real or may only feel that way. Use your discernment and continue to practice self-love.

Moon enters Sagittarius at 1:35 am CDT
Wednesday, September 11.
Contrasts show more starkly today. On the one hand, the Moon in Sagittarius pushes out into the world from beneath that Scorpio rock we were under yesterday. On the other hand, Venus enters Scorpio and a quincunx aspect between Mars and Pluto push us back under the surface as we deal with strong feelings around power, ego, and self-worth. Who doesn’t appreciate you? That hurts of course, but the antidote is to cultivate more pride and appreciation for ourselves. Pluto makes sure we don’t get to rest in external validation. Starting today and ending on September 14, Mars is at the apex of a Yod aspect pattern with Pluto and Chiron. The Yod pattern creates tension to resolve paradox. This paradox involves having the right amount of ego attachment to stand in our power while being acutely aware of our vulnerabilities. Another quincunx between Mercury and Neptune emphasizes the need to understand these stresses intellectually and intuitively. Figure that one out! As the day progresses, the desire to get away from it all increases. This is the Sagittarius Moon contacting Mercury, Mars, and Uranus and whispering in our ears to get over it and have fun.

Moon in Sagittarius
September 12—First Quarter Moon: Manifesting. This phase of the Moon represents the challenge of differing desires meeting head on. Our responses to the challenge helps us manifest change and awareness. What are you noticing? Contrasts were present yesterday and continue today. The Sun in Virgo remains committed to finding right relationship to work. While the Moon in Sagittarius is a bit like the devil who tempts us to forget all this stuff about work and hightail it out of here. These two signs behave like quarreling siblings who really have more in common than they let on. Both signs are Mutable—they both are seeking understanding and integration. Virgo uses the element of earth to make sense of things, like work, and Sagittarius uses fire. There is a crucial bit of wisdom that Sagittarius shares with those of us who have a hard time finding the joy in our work. Cultivate the instinct for knowing when to stop trying so hard. Begin to know when to follow your bliss.

Moon enters Capricorn at 4:56 am CDT
Friday, September 13.
Capricorn presents another face to work. Virgo’s attitude to work is humble, motivated by service and holistic balance. Capricorn sees work as a means to achievement. We feel ambitious today. Planetary allies are Venus, Neptune, and Saturn. Venus and Neptune encourage us to be sensitive to the truth that honey attracts more flies than vinegar. Sweeten your work with harmony and empathy. Saturn helps us stay the course. It feels good to be responsible. Even though we get a lot of support, not everything runs smoothly. In the evening, the Moon contacts Pluto and Uranus, which could trigger frustration and impatience.

Moon in Capricorn
Saturday, September 14.
Since Wednesday, a Yod aspect pattern involving Mars, Pluto and Chiron has been tweaking our experiences just enough to create a little more tension. The crux of the transit has been to understand the value of healthy self-respect in our approach to work. If the work becomes all about us, we lose the connection to higher ideals that inspire our work. If we sacrifice self-interest entirely, we are in danger of becoming servants to someone else’s ideals. There may be good opportunity to notice this dynamic today. How do you find the balance point? Notice too, the desire to speak your truth to power. A trine between Mars and Uranus encourages us to take risks to bring about change. Coupled with the desire to confront abusers of power, we might find ourselves in arguments. The underlying desire is to be authentic. It can feel good to release the expectations that don’t fit who we really are.

* To read more about the Virgo lunar cycle that began on September 5, go to

Contact Teri at teri@starsdanceastrology and visit her website at