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 December 1, 2013 – December 7

What if your life were a jigsaw puzzle whose pieces were scattered over a table? What if each piece represented a day in your life, and there was no photo on the box to guide you; how would you begin to put this puzzle together and what patterns would emerge as you sorted and tested each piece to find the right connections? What would you learn about yourself as the larger picture emerged before your eyes? Puzzles are everywhere and the shifting astrological season creates a desire to solve them.

We’re about to begin a new lunar cycle, infused by the dream of Sagittarius. This dream is inspired by the big picture and a quest to understand it. We see the constellation of the Sagittarian centaur pointing his arrow at the center of our galaxy—a symbol for core truth and, because there is a black hole there, a symbol also of vastness and mystery. There’s no quest too distant or too impossible for this sign. Other signs have quests. Capricorn must climb mountains to seek tangible success. The Sagittarian journey is about something hard to pin down—knowledge. Sagittarius wants to know more. Because Sagittarius is a mutable fire sign, truth is understood in a fiery way—instinctually and energetically. The equation could be thought of like this: movement plus distance equals truth. As long as we keep that equation in mind and give ourselves over to the adventure, we feel as if we are making progress.

Although it may be impossible to really see the complete picture of our lives, as long as we keep moving and believing, the flame of truth will enlighten us. We will know more than we knew before. After a month of embracing the dark in last month’s Scorpio lunar cycle, I am ready for Sagittarian illumination. I am ready to see the big picture and take a leap into the next step to get that vantage point.

The new lunar cycle, which begins with the New Moon on December 2, carries us through the holiday season and ends on News Year’s Eve. Any quest for knowledge we undertake will be impacted by many things, including our cultural expectations of this season as well as the starsdance of the planets. There is a mixture of old and new dance steps to consider. The old: Saturn remains in Scorpio—inviting soul-searching self-honesty. Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn are still in close square aspect—continuing the reorganization of paradigms. Jupiter in Cancer has just turned retrograde and will inflate cardinal sign conflicts over the next five months especially as it relates to needing security. The new: Venus in Capricorn and Mars in Libra step into the spotlight to elevate the role of relationship and ambition in our ongoing quest for self-knowledge. Venus will station retrograde in Capricorn on December 21. Balance, relationship, values, and self-worth are important themes of this transit. We have a longer time to focus on these issues through the Capricorn lens—hard working, ambitious, and possessing an innate understanding of mastery. We notice our own high expectations. Mars enters Libra the first week of December. In March, Mars will stage its own retrograde journey through this sign of balance, justice, and relationship. Do you see a theme here? Partnerships of all kinds, even those that are openly unfriendly, rise to the top of the list of what matters most to us. Retrogrades give us time to reflect and go deeper. Mars is about our passions. Even in the peace-loving sign of Libra, Mars answers to desire. This will impact how we relate. If mastery and desire had a conversation about balance, what would be discussed? On Christmas, Mars enflames our passions to be authentic through an opposition to Uranus. On December 30th, near the end of this lunar cycle, Mars forms a square to Pluto in Capricorn—time to be honest about the passions driving our lives and to bring this honesty to relationship in a healthy way.

What insightful intention will you hold for this cycle? Sagittarius offers illumination. I invite you to join me in seeing with new eyes the picture of who you are. I don’t know what gifts/challenges this vision will offer, but with the courage and foolishness of a New Moon, I am ready for the adventure.

Forecast December 1, 2013 – December 7

Moon in Scorpio
Sunday, December 1.
This is the last day of the Scorpio lunar cycle. Give thanks for the journey through the shadows. Who did you meet? Who are your allies? The dark of the Moon reveals to our hearts alone the true value of our experiences of the last four weeks, which may have felt like much longer in terms of soul growth. As the Moon contacts Mercury today, find a way to express, even if only to yourself, what is in your heart. Jupiter, Venus, and Mars are supportive. We feel optimistic, connected to others, and able to integrate mind and body to create wholeness. Notice these fleeting experiences and anchor them in memory. It is always good to recharge the batteries when things are going our way.

Moon enters Sagittarius 12:31 am CST
December 2—New Moon: Dreaming.
See this week’s forecast intro for more context about the lunar cycle that begins today. In the shifting pulsations of the zodiacal wheel, every water sign is followed by a fire sign. Water signs encourage interior experiences centered around emotion. Fire signs encourage expansion out into the world with a general mission to know who we are and how to express that self-knowledge in a new way. This shift from water to fire can feel big. Perhaps you are noticing that right now. Tap into a desire to know more about yourself. What are you noticing that feels like old patterns of response? What are you noticing that feels brand new? All of this is illuminating.

The transits at the beginning of this lunar cycle are less stressful than what is to come near the end of the cycle. Breathe into the flow that is supportive right now and make room in your plans to take care of yourself this month. Flow is happening in both fire and water signs. On the side of fire: We are feeling optimistic and expansive about change with a trine between the Sun/Moon in Sagittarius and Uranus in Aries. In the realm of water: the trine between Jupiter in Cancer and Saturn in Scorpio encourages productive emotional response. Notice how boundaries and compassion work together to bring the right amount of caring for others and self. Not everything is easy, however. Challenges arise around balancing the impulses of expansion and accountability. The opposition between Jupiter and Venus has us look at patterns around money and relationship. The goal is balance. A square between the Sun/Moon and Chiron reveals feelings of vulnerability. As we quest to know ourselves better this month, vulnerability can be a guide rather than a weakness. Self-love is the gift we may gain.

Moon in Sagittarius
Tuesday, December 3.
This is a day to express yourself! Communication has the green light. We are both empathic and pragmatic about getting our messages across. But there’s another side to getting things off your chest—the fallout could manifest as conflict. They say that there are healthy ways to be in conflict. I’m still learning that skill, but today may be a great day to practice expression and resolution even when it feels uncomfortable.

Moon enters Capricorn 12:49 am CST
Wednesday, December 4.
I hope you learned something about healthy conflict yesterday because today’s transit could provoke a little more of it. Once a week, the Moon triggers the ongoing square aspect between Uranus and Pluto. Today is that day. In Capricorn, the Moon is asking us cut the drama and be accountable. We may not know what that means, but we all can feel it. Perhaps it appears as a renewed desire to get something real done with your time, or a desire to be acknowledged for your hard-earned talents and skills. Perhaps it also manifests as a tendency to judge. I’ve found that the source of my own judgments is usually a projection of how hard I am being on myself. As we dedicate to self-discovery this month, what are you noticing?

Moon in Capricorn
December 5—Crescent Moon: Beginning.
For all the lofty ideals we can assign to the Sagittarian quest for truth, it must never be assumed that this adventure is motivated by anything less than having the most fun we can. Emma Goldman, who is sourced with saying, “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution,” had Saturn in Sagittarius. She had to master the art of fun and social change. We can all take a cue from her in this lunar cycle. The contrast we notice today is between the serious goals of a Capricorn Moon and the fun goals of a Sagittarius Sun. I like to think it isn’t an either/or situation. How will you make your revolution fun?

Here is a challenge for you: How can you conserve your resources, whatever they are from social capital to money in the bank, while at the same time not being too miserly with them. We need to expand today. It is good to exercise those muscles.

Moon enters Aquarius 12:53 am CST
Friday, December 6. 
Today, Sagittarian optimism really kicks into gear. It feels good, rather than threatening, to push the edges. We learn, we connect with others, and we are inventive about it too. In addition to these quick and fascinating encounters, there is strong possibility that we will traverse the terrain of spiritual longing as well. This longing could look like escaping into your favorite fantasy story, writing poetry, or reaching transcendental states. The way there may be diverse, but the place we are going is all about losing oneself in a bigger story.

Moon in Aquarius
Saturday, December 7.
Mars leaves Virgo and enters Libra today. Mars spent about eight weeks in Virgo (a normal time for Mars to transit through a sign). Mars will remain in Libra for about 33 weeks. The difference in length is that Mars will be turning retrograde in Libra in March, thus expanding its time in this sign. Every two years, Mars takes this retrograde journey. (Last time this happened in 2011 – 2012 the sign was Virgo.) The match up between Mars—the warrior planet of desire—and Libra—the sign ruled by gracious Venus—is not quite comfortable. This doesn’t mean we won’t learn a lot concerning these authentic desires: to be true to oneself and to be dedicated to collaborative partnerships. A lot of give and take is in store for us. Later this month, Mars will provoke the Uranus/Pluto square and we will notice all these contrary desires. For now, Mars asks us to mellow out just a little, listen just a little bit more, and find a way to be gracious as we quest for greater self-knowledge.

*To read more about the intention of this lunar cycle and the Scorpio intention, visit:

Contact Teri at teri@starsdanceastrology and visit her website at