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 October 27, 2013 – November 2

As the veil thins, we are reminded that everything dies. Death is the ultimate and inescapable force of transformation running through our lives. Perhaps you’ve already noticed the thinning. Sometimes I think the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead is really just the strength of my denial. It is easy to overlook death when the garden is in full swing of growth and productivity. When the growing cycle ends, it is hard to deny that we too will die someday. Death can be a heavy weight. That goes for everything that also feels like a death—a change of identity or a loss of relationship or role in life. These experiences can be described by one word: transformation. We are in the thick of transformation now. The dance of the planets and season affirms this process. The highlights of the week’s transits are: the 4th of seven exact squares between Uranus and Pluto; unpredictable retrograde Mercury contacting Saturn in Scorpio and then contacting Uranus and Pluto; and Mars and Uranus through a quincunx aspect forcing an adjustment to be made in our expectations—all while the Moon wanes into darkness and the season of Samhain deepens. It feels like a lot.

The more change there is in my life, the more I want to make it safe, make it comprehensible. The more I want to control everything around it. In delightful synchronicity, just as I was sitting down to write about this week’s challenges the following poem was sent to me. Gently, but with great humor, Hafiz pokes fun at the very thought we can outwit the inevitable. This is the message I need.

Tripping Over Joy

What is the difference
Between your experience of Existence
And that of a saint?

The saint knows
That the spiritual path
Is a sublime chess game with God

And that the Beloved
Has just made such a Fantastic Move
That the saint is now continually
Tripping over Joy
And bursting out in Laughter
And saying, “I Surrender!”

Whereas, my dear,
I am afraid you still think
You have a thousand serious moves.
-Hafiz trans. by Daniel Ladinsky

This lunar cycle is dedicated to an invocation of balance, and we need an extraordinary amount of it at this moment. Feelings of loss, grief, and anger over injustice and foolhardiness are real and serious. As co-creators of the possible, it is no wonder we feel the pressure of needing to make a “thousand serious moves”. Balance between the dire and the delightful is possible, but I know it will take a lot of grace. The best help may be to emulate the saint who laughs while saying, “I surrender.”

Forecast October 27, 2013 – November 2

Moon in Leo
Sunday, October 27.
Let go of self-criticism. Sacred fun is clamoring to be acknowledged. Read the poem, Tripping Over Joy, by Hafiz. Imagine you are playing chess with Mystery. What excellent chess move will you celebrate today? The Moon in Leo encourages our passionate involvement in the dance between life and death. Sense into this momentous exchange and find your joy. Uranus encourages risk taking. Underneath these passionate moments, Saturn and Mercury approach their second conjunction in the current Mercury retrograde cycle. Transformation is serious business. Paradox is present.

Moon enters Virgo 10:44 pm CDT
Monday, October 28.
Empathic connection is important during these transformative times. We are learning how to navigate the fears that arise when we open to the pain of others. Chiron’s transit through Pisces is inviting us to become more compassionate. Today, Pluto, the god of transformation and death forms a helping aspect with Chiron, the god of the sacred wound. These two have been doing this dance through a sextile aspect since May 2012. The dance doesn’t end until February 2014. We are learning to give and ask for support. Vulnerability is not a weakness. The Moon is still in Leo most of the day; we notice that everyone is essential. We all have impact.

Moon in Virgo
Tuesday, October 29.
Two conjunctions are asking us to take ourselves more seriously. This might sound dour, but embracing the work grounds us while we experience the closeness of death and transformation this week. The Moon in pragmatic Virgo joins Mars in the same sign. We open to change by putting our affairs in order. We remember the quest for balance while being mindful of our expectations for perfection. The step toward wholeness is more important than achieving it. Mercury retrograde joins Saturn in Scorpio for the second time in this cycle. (The first time happened on October 8.) Do you notice a thread of experience from that date? Remember that Mercury is known as the guide of souls. We may feel the touch of death today. Certainly we feel more serious about life. Give yourself time to notice what is coming up for you. What is transforming? Difficulty in communicating, travel, or technology may be trying to wake us up.

Moon in Virgo
October 30—Balsamic Moon: Surrendering. Tease free the cords bound around the fear of change. We don’t need to control what will happen next.  We simply need to be present. The Balsamic Moon phase is an excellent time to let go. This phase is most like the final stage of death when the body decomposes. We transform through the alchemical process of surrender. The day before Halloween/Samhain, notice the beauty of decay. Most people, myself included, recoil from death. But at this special time of the year, we can linger just a little longer, open just a little more. There are gifts here. How does the nearness of death impact your ability to flow with balance into a state of grace?

The day may feel fated. The Sun conjoins the North Node of the Moon at 7 degrees Scorpio. Astrologers say this is the beginning of the Draconian Year (the Dragon Year). How are you evolving? What new depths have you discovered? Is there a dragon speaking to you? Mars opposes Chiron. Perhaps there is an opportunity to integrate the division between the roles of healer and fighter.

Moon enters Libra at 7:21 am CDT
Thursday, October 31
Samhain. The Moon reenters Libra, the sign that began this lunar cycle, which is coming to an end. Notice the difference between the beginning and end of this cycle. Samhain is the holy day that marks the end of one year and the beginning of another. We are in a liminal space—a place between the worlds—where we have the opportunity to evaluate and set new intention. We also celebrate our ancestors in this season. As you remember those who have gone before, what is the message from the other side? Mars and Uranus are having a heated discussion today. Mars advocates for careful process—an unusual point of view for Mars, but the agent of desire is in Virgo, after all. Uranus, in impetuous Aries, has been urging all of us to take risks in bringing more change to our lives. Can you be careful and daring at the same time?

Moon in Libra
Friday, November 1.
Sheer numbers might describe this day best. There are 12 exact aspects today. It feels like we’ve reached a crescendo of significance. And with all this celestial activity going on, it may just feel like a very busy day. However, I believe we experience reality on many levels. Our daily lives may go on just as always, but there is a mythic reality that runs alongside it. I love astrology for its ability to help us tap into that mythic level. Pay attention for insights about the important themes of your myth. The most significant aspect is the square between Uranus and Pluto. The Moon in Libra plays a big role too by opposing Uranus and squaring Pluto. These Uranus/Pluto transits are presenting us with uncertainty and showing us how we are living right now. I am noticing that many of us seem to be in a permanent state of stress. Like with a bad fashion choice, can we just take off that outfit and slip into something more becoming? The mythic journey of Mercury retrograde reaches a pivot point as well—Mercury conjoins the Sun in Scorpio. Together, the Sun and Mercury form aspects with the Uranus/Pluto square. We are at the midpoint of this dance between Uranus and Pluto. With the Sun and Mercury joining in, it feels like we learn something important and notice a new paradigm. My favorite part of all these celestial coincidences is that these events happen on Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead. What do your ancestors have to tell you about living a life of joy and balance? How did they live? How did they adapt to their changing world? How can we together create the balance our world needs?

Moon enters Scorpio at 12:35 pm CDT
Saturday, November 2.
Be sensitive to a pervading desire to be alone. Find the time and the place to soothe your soul. Water is the healing element of the moment. If you feel called, the evening would be a great time to try water scrying. This is simply letting our gaze soften as we look into a bowl of water. This meditative state can bring peace and possibly significant insight too. Open to the next lunar cycle that begins tomorrow with a Solar Eclipse in Scorpio.

* To read more about the Libra lunar cycle that began on October 4, go to

Contact Teri at teri@starsdanceastrology and visit her website at