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 15, 2013 – September 21

I’ve been cringing a little when I walk outside my door. It’s the last week of summer and my garden is looking tired. We’ve had a drought for the last month at least. Many plants are starting to turn brown and lose their leaves. I’ve got a nice crop of weeds and some plants need pruning and staking. The theme of this Virgo cycle* is work. My garden is great at showing me how much work I’ve done and how much I’ve postponed, right out there, for all the world to see. And that is one of my problems—a tendency to equate this very visible lack of perfection in my garden as a judgment of my essential nature. The faulty logic goes: If my garden is a mess, I must be a mess. Once again, I am reminded that the work of this cycle isn’t about my work; it is about my assumptions about my work.

Where did all this come from? After all, one person’s mess is another person’s glorious experiment. It is all terribly subjective. And even if my garden doesn’t live up to my expectations, why does the imperfection cut so deeply? How did I come to believe that the quality of my work was an evaluation of the quality of me? This assumption is a myth that needs retelling. I certainly don’t want to cringe when I look at my beautiful and imperfect garden anymore.

Mess is present. I am not a mess. If I want to change a personal story, it helps to get in touch with physical reality. The best way I know to do this is through mindfulness practices. Jon Kabat-Zinn, a meditation and mindfulness teacher, defines mindfulness as “paying attention in a particular way; that is, on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.” This practice is particularly appropriate for the Vigo cycle where our expectations for the work we do (or don’t do) is high. When I become mindful, I see the mess in my garden as physical reality. Yes, imperfections and messes are present, but it isn’t a judgment on my worth to the world. That is a story I can shift. When I do, I can get up in the morning and begin the next project, not because I will ever achieve a perfect garden, but because the work of gardening is also an act of devotion that feeds me.

Devotion and work have a close relationship. When I take the judgment out of it, my devotion to what I love leads me to my work, and my work leads me to deeper devotion. We can notice this relationship between devotion and work this week as the Moon waxes into fullness. The Virgo intention is enriched by the waters of Pisces and Scorpio this week and deepened by Venus, Saturn, and Pluto connections.

Forecast September 15, 2013 – September 21

Moon enters Aquarius 7:05 am CDT
September 15—Gibbous Moon: Perfecting. OK, here it is, the ultimate Virgo challenge: trying to perfect our intentions without succumbing to perfectionism. I am thinking about redefining perfection as the state of being entirely present to the moment. Present to the work I’ve done, to the work I am doing, and to the possibility of the work that will surely come? At this phase of the Moon, I invite you to be present, non-judgmentally, to what is present concerning your work.

With the Moon in Aquarius and the Sun in Virgo, the potential for innovative, ordered thinking is quite high. Computer programmers love this type of energy. The downside is a tendency to become over stimulated mentally or to lose human connection. Mercury, the planet of mind and communication, is also active. Mercury is in a quincunx aspect to Chiron today and will more significantly oppose Uranus right after midnight (technically tomorrow). The Chiron connection could bring paradoxical insights, especially concerning healing and compassion. The Uranus connection brings a questioning of assumed truths. Since this happens late, this could be a night of little sleep.

Moon in Aquarius
Monday, September 16.
The day begins with loads of questions and insights, but perhaps at the expense of a good night’s sleep. The Aquarius Moon may have kept you up last night as it contacted Uranus, Mercury, and Mars. None of these planets are known for being mellow. So what are you going to do with all those ideas? Because the Moon is void-of-course all day, don’t let listlessness frustrate you. It may be a good day to journal so you don’t forget those creative thoughts.

Moon enters Pisces 8:58 am CDT
Tuesday, September 17.
I hope you got a nap yesterday because Mercury and Mars were eagerly engaged as you attempted to sleep last night. The energy could inspire active creativity or a burning passion to express something. Listen to your passions. Then let go of urgency and sense into your feelings when the Moon enters Pisces this morning. This shift feels like a welcome respite and a time to remember what dreams inspire our devotion and work. Venus, Saturn and Pluto are aligning over the next two days to favor us with beauty, commitment, and deep transformation. Today, the Moon nudges us to open to the gifts.

Moon in Pisces
Wednesday, September 18
:  The conjunction of Venus and Saturn is visible at sunset. [See EarthSky: Saturn is known for cutting away extraneous things, especially in the sign of Scorpio. Since Saturn entered Scorpio in October 2012 we’ve been on the plan of purging unnecessary bits and pieces from our lives. Joining with Venus, Saturn asks us to trim away the extraneous in our relationships and in our habits of consumption. We need less, but the quality of what we need is much higher. This purging encourages better relationships and a better handle on our resources. Venus also connects with Pluto today by an encouraging sextile aspect. Pluto is the planet, in all signs, that encourages release and transformation. We are in a deep process that offers more rewards than sacrifices. This energy is present for the next few days, do your relationship/money work!

Moon enters Aries 11:58 am CDT
September 19—Full Moon: Illuminating. At the New Moon*, I noticed an aspect pattern that spoke to these qualities surrounding a Virgo intention this lunar cycle. The qualities are Longing, Commitment, Work, and Surrender. There is just enough tension in these qualities to urge us to develop a new understanding of self and action. What gets you out of bed in the morning? Is it a desire to do good work? Or is it a desire to follow your devotion? Do you see these two things as vastly different or do they seem to be the same thing? Another way to look at this: Work is mundane, it is what we do each day to fulfill our obligations. Devotion is spiritual, it is what we do to serve our ideals. How far apart are the notions of work and devotion in your life? The Full Moon offers a chance to bring them closer together by illuminating just how far apart we’ve let them grow.

In the chart for the Full Moon, support for devotion and emotional understanding comes from Venus and Saturn conjunct the North Node of the Moon encouraging us to evolve through commitment to high-quality relationships and resource responsibility. Pluto adds the support of soul development. Chiron adds the support of integration of our vulnerabilities with compassion.

The tension present in this chart creates dissatisfaction with meaningless action. We want to push the edges and are more and more ready to instigate change, whatever the cost. The relationship between Mercury, Uranus, and Jupiter—called a t-square—evokes an increasing frustration.

We can’t ignore the desires of the ego either. Mars in Leo is square to Venus, Saturn and the North Node. Each of us wants and needs affirmation. If you feel particularly hungry for this, find an honest way to get it. The danger is to let that desire take precedence over everything else.

Try this: Meditate at this Full Moon on opening the shields and barriers erected around your heart. Put aside the voices that say work and devotion can’t be united. Be aware without judgment what comes up. Let thoughts and feeling dissolve back into the waters of being. Dwell in your longing, your commitment, your surrender, and your work.

Moon in Aries
Friday, September 20.
Twice a year Pluto appears to come to a standstill and changes direction. Although Pluto has been demoted to dwarf planet status, the impact of this planet is immense. Perhaps it is because this god is called Lord of the Underworld. When Pluto changes direction, it is as if the god of the dead sends a vibration through the earth into our souls. Today that happens as Pluto stations direct. I suspect we will need to be alert to intense feelings today also. The Moon in impatient Aries is contacting the Jupiter, Uranus, Pluto t-square today too. I’d say, don’t make any rash decisions but you might have to take your own advice on that one. If we are resisting change, then we might need to surrender to impulsivity. But I recommend figuring out how to make conscious change that is in alignment with soul, in honor of Pluto.

Moon enters Taurus 5:33 pm CDT
Saturday, September 21.
Saturn encourages Pluto through a sextile aspect. The changes we make right now have the possibility of being sustainable and long lasting. This could feel like pressure to do it right. Perhaps trust in your deep self is all you need. As the Moon enters Taurus, it would be a really good thing to listen to your body. What gives comfort? What gives pleasure? What helps you be present?

* 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