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 15, 2013 – December 21

… a night that seems like a lifetime when you’re waiting for the Sun.
So why not sing to the nighttime and the burning stars up above?
Maybe peace hides in a storm.
Maybe winter’s heart is warm.
Maybe light itself is born
in the longest night of the year.

from the song, Longest Night by Sara Thomsen on Winter Wanderings

This week, for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, we experience the longest night of the year—the Winter Solstice. That is the moment the Sun moves out of Sagittarius and into Capricorn. We leave behind the expansive and questing fire to enter the cave of long sleep and deep dreams. So much of this season seems to tell us to slow down, but paradoxically, Capricorn is probably one of the most industrious and hard working of all signs. As a Cardinal earth sign, Capricorn does not usually respond to the dark by doing less. This sign wants a plan for getting through the lean times. This sign wants to identify the absolutes. This sign means business. So, even when our bodies may be telling us to rest, our instincts are telling us to plan and work. The tension between the two poles of desire can be difficult but also filled with lasting satisfaction, not to mention ensuring our survival through the cold. Finding our own sense of balance in this season is the gift we give ourselves.

Perhaps paradox lives in winter most of all. The song I quoted above has been part of my soundtrack as the days shorten. I think there may be a core of wisdom in this song that pertains especially to what I need this winter. The transits for the remainder of this lunar cycle could very well illicit intense experiences of storm, cold, and darkness. Perhaps these times will be when I need to remember that peace, warmth, and light are hiding here too.

Mars, Uranus, and Pluto provide the drama through the rest of this cycle. Indeed, these three, with the addition of Jupiter next year, will continue to create a drive toward change and transformation in our world that peaks in April. Most likely this will be a tumultuous time. In preparation, it is good to ask ourselves now, how we find peace in the storm and light in the darkness. Our choices make a difference, not only in our own lives, but to the whole as well. A tantalizing guide into the heart of this winter will be Venus in Capricorn. Venus turns retrograde on Solstice. Does she hold the key to paradox in this season? If so, we need to pay attention to relationship, values, self-love, and beauty to give us insight.

Forecast December 15, 2013 – December 21

Moon enters Gemini at 12:40 am CST
Sunday, December 15.
If you are noticing huge waves of inspiration, a restless urge to change, or frustration at conventionality, you are picking up on the Uranus station. [A planet is said to station when it slows down to change apparent motion, either retrograde or direct.] When planets station, their influence is stronger. Uranus will station direct on the Full Moon in a couple of days but we feel this mental energy strongly now with the Moon in Gemini.

Moon in Gemini
Monday, December 16.
With the Moon in Gemini opposing Mercury in Sagittarius and Mercury forming a quincunx to Jupiter, it will be easy to have our thoughts get ahead of themselves today. It is fun to exchange witty remarks, make surprising new connections, or to get lost in a book, movie, or hobby. Enjoy the fresh approach that a Gemini Moon brings, just be aware that flow can sometimes disguise a missed connection or make it too easy to say the wrong thing unintentionally. However, we often overlook the importance of fun and flow in our lives. This is a good day to cultivate that quality, with just a bit of caution thrown in too.

Moon enters Cancer at 12:17 pm CST
December 17—Full Moon: Illuminating.
The last two days have felt like the Full Moon even though technically the Full Moon doesn’t happen until early this morning. The Moon in Gemini has been reflecting back onto the Sagittarius Sun giving us an illuminating perspective on things begun at the New Moon* The energy is about to shift and it’s a good idea to take this moment to notice what you have been learning. It might come in handy later.

I like to think of the differences between Sagittarius and Gemini as macrocosm meeting microcosm. Through the small perspective Gemini achieves the same thing that Sagittarius does through its big perspective. It is all about learning and sharing what we are learning in these big and small ways. Both signs are nimble and expansive. Both are optimistic. This hopefulness prepares us for the winter season ahead. If there is any fault to be found in either Gemini or Sagittarius, it is that they sometimes are so busy with the next thing, details can be overlooked. It is easy to leave the serious work to more pragmatic signs. But now is not the time to critique Sag or Gemini. Now, we need to affirm the quest for knowledge and the joy of discovery. Yes, the starry night sky is filled with wonder and we are blessed to gaze upon it. Is it possible to fold that emotion into a small packet and put it in our pockets for a rainy day? I hope so. I want to remember this.

Over the next two weeks the energy shifts. For one, the Sun will move into Capricorn with its emphasis on hard work and accountability leading us to respond in our own ways to long-term realities. For another, today Uranus stations direct releasing pent up frustrations about change. Mars in Libra will be opposing feisty Uranus on Christmas Day. We’ll need to look for peace amidst the storm during this transit. On the Winter Solstice, Venus in Capricorn will station, moving retrograde until January 31. This transit of Venus has the potential to bring us into the powerful and beautiful center of winter. We will want our relationships and our values to be blessed by this journey. At the end of December, Mars squares Pluto. We are about to get a lesson in authentic conflict. This is an opportunity to practice generosity as well as truth-telling.

Thinking of what could be ahead, how will you bring the joy of this Full Moon into your heart? What does this illuminate in you?

Moon in Cancer
Wednesday, December 18.
I admire people who can acknowledge their fears without letting those fears tell the whole story of who they are. There is courage in this authenticity. We get to aspire to that type of strength today. What helps you to remember a bigger story? Our homes and families may play a big role in helping us remember who we are today and what we really want for the world. We are not alone, even when we are afraid. And when we embrace that larger story, we strengthen others.

Moon in Cancer
Thursday, December 19.
Yesterday’s mood was a little tense. Try to spend some restorative time at home tonight. Home and hearth become very important in the darkening days of winter. Gratitude for our hearths and reaching out to those who do not have a welcoming hearth is a wonderful way to honor this day.

Moon enters Leo at 12:48 am CST
Friday, December 20.
The upbeat Leo Moon arrives on the scene just in time for the weekend. We feel like letting off steam, dressing up in something sparkly, and kindling the warm fire of social interaction. We’ve almost reached the longest night of the year. Where do you find the spark of light within that darkness? Creativity is another way to access the light. Enjoy.

Moon in Leo
December 21—Disseminating Moon: Sharing. Winter Solstice.
Whatever light you’ve discovered in this lunar cycle dedicated to self-knowledge, commit yourself to sharing just a bit of that flame with another today. This phase of the Moon encourages sharing the merit, the journey, the understanding we’ve received. On the longest night of the year, each of us has a spark to share.

Venus stations retrograde in Capricorn today. Venus will station direct on January 31 and then will move back over the same area of Capricorn until early March. During this period, Venus will rapidly descend from high in the western sky at sunset. Venus will disappear from the sky around New Year’s Day. This is the short disappearance however, and we will be able to see Venus as the Morning Star near the end of January. The change in direction and disappearance of Venus has been mythologized by many cultures. The Sumerians told a story of Inanna leaving her heavenly throne to visit her sister Ereshkigal in the underworld. We can frame this journey in similar ways if we choose. Do you hear a call? Is there a reversal that you need to make in your life? What needs to be reinvigorated by a visit with your dark sister? What is your soul telling you about this winter season? How will you honor this journey within?

The Moon in Leo encourages celebration as well as serious reflection since it squares Saturn in Scorpio today too. May you find peace, warmth and light in this season of paradox and wonder.



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

Contact Teri at teri@starsdanceastrology and visit her website at