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.

A pivotal time. The New Moon of January 1 begins a dynamic and intense lunar cycle. This lunation is powerful not simply because it falls on the first day of a new year. This New Moon also rings a bell that awakens a new stage in our evolution. Uranus and Pluto are the harbingers of this change. These two planets of cultural transformation have been moving in and out of an exact square aspect since 2012. This waxing square phase of the Uranus/Pluto cycle lasts for another year. It is unusual to have two planets take so long to move out of sync with each other. It is as if we are in labor and we’ve been experiencing the slow build of contractions. In April, this transit reaches a new peak with Mars and Jupiter and a couple of eclipses playing big roles in moving things along. This lunar cycle is a preview of more excitement this spring.

A challenge, a hope. We are poised to go to new levels of self-awareness, accountability, power, and transformation. The arenas for these changes are broad. From global arenas like politics, the environment, the economy, and international relations—to the personal arenas of love, home, work, and identity—everything is up for deep investigation and rapid transformation this month and through the year. Every realm has potent significance.

A new heroic vision. With core issues being affected, this coming lunar cycle and transformational spring season call for a new response. Our notion of heroism must shift. The old image of the rugged individual fighting alone, encased in armor, and discounting the costs of battle no longer serves. A new vision is coming forward to meet the challenges of change, and is part of the transformation underway. This new vision requires communities to support individuals. The new vision is community as hero. There are pitfalls. We’ve inherited very real shadows from past experiences of group mind. The challenge will be to look clearly at these shadows of exclusion and conformity, while at the same time rejecting the idea that we must remain separate and alone as we go forward.

A belief in transformation. It is human nature to fear change even when we know that change can also bring hope. It is also natural for fear to ebb and flow. Sometimes it can feel paralyzing and sometimes fade to a mere blip on the screen of our perceptions. The task is not to judge this response but to remember there is more going on. The current positions of Pluto and Saturn are inviting us to take transformation seriously. At times this will mean we will be afraid. But both of these planets offer us things that are more precious than security. Saturn offers the authority to manifest. Pluto offers rebirth after death. In the dark times, a belief in the power of transformation gives us reason to continue.

The bones of intention. This next New Moon occurs in the sign of Capricorn. At each New Moon, we begin a new cycle of dreaming and practicing mindful intention. As we pause at the beginning of a new year and new lunar cycle, what do we wish to invoke from the sign of the goat fish? Capricorn and Saturn, the ruler of Capricorn, rule the bones. Capricorn provides the skeleton for our intentions. This sign insists that we start with the basics, the foundations, in order to ascend to success. With Venus moving retrograde through Capricorn, we are called to remediate, to move back to those foundations and take a good look at the bones that will support transformation and growth. We develop trust in our knowing when each of us can name what that is. I ask you to join me in the journey into the bones of self and possibility as we follow the Moon through the Capricorn cycle.

Forecast December 29, 2013 – January 4, 2014

Moon enters Sagittarius 11:37 am CST
Sunday, December 29.
 Does it feel like a long time since we began the Sagittarius lunar cycle on December 2? The exuberance of Sagittarius led us into the deepening and wondrous dark of late fall. Now, at the very end of this cycle, the Moon returns to Sagittarius with a question for you: What did you discover? Every lunar cycle is about discovery, but the Sagittarius cycle is even more so about the quest for knowledge and truth, with lots of fun thrown in. The mutable fire sign offers a torch to light the way through times of doubt. Remember that flame. The Sun and Mercury come together to spark conversation, realization, and a hidden desire to understand our essential natures. The square of both the Sun and Mercury to Uranus make these things even more daring and potentially explosive. Sometimes, the biggest change we can make is to change our minds—not someone else’s mind—but our own. Notice the freedom this can bring.

Moon in Sagittarius
Monday, December 30. 
Quite likely, sometime today, you will be challenged to choose between conflict and resolution. Mars in Libra squares Pluto in Capricorn—a tense aspect at any time—is more significant this time because Mars is making this aspect to Pluto again after it turns retrograde on March 1. This is one of the transformative planetary exchanges that will occur at the New Moon and this spring when it will be stronger. (See the introduction to this week’s forecast for more about this.) Pluto in Capricorn wears the clothes of oppressive authority. Mars in Libra just wants fairness and equality; is that too much to ask? What if there are no bad guys in the solar system? How do we embrace powerful forces of responsibility with equanimity that doesn’t just roll over and acquiesce? Notice how you react.

Moon enters Capricorn 12:01 pm CST
Tuesday, December 31.
 New Year’s Eve. Not every thought and feeling we have is pretty or a source of pride. There, I said it. None of us are perfect. Today, Mercury joins Pluto and if we are brave enough, we get illuminating perspective on our imperfections that can actually lead to empowerment. What do you need to say? What are you not saying? And why? Sometimes the enlightenment doesn’t come from saying what hides in our hearts but in being able to actually look at what hides in our hearts without judgment. Mercury also squares Mars today increasing the likelihood that we will say something impulsively. Others are having the same trouble with their tongues too. The good news is that there is power in words; perhaps as a way to honor the cusp of a new year, you can set aside time to unleash words that will create the world anew.

Moon in Capricorn
January 1, 2014—New Moon: Dreaming. New Year’s Day. 
See the introduction to this week’s forecast for more context about this important lunar cycle. I used a metaphor, describing the transits of this New Moon as a bell ringing in a year of transformation. We are ringing in a new year and most likely a new paradigm too. Goodness knows, some things have got to change. The Sun, Moon, Pluto and Mercury are closely conjunct in Capricorn. There’s a lot of energy here to get to the core of what we want to manifest this cycle. Capricorn invites us to look at the bones of our vision for the future. There’s a lot of support for taking ourselves seriously. The stakes feel high and we can use the forward momentum of a new lunation and a new year to set strong intention. This line-up of planets in Capricorn is challenged by Mars in Libra and Uranus in Aries. This is not the signature of patience. Passion can help us get to the bones of what really matters and to let go of the externals that aren’t important. Whatever we can do to discharge stress or impulsivity will be helpful. This is not a time to squelch our feelings, but neither is it a time to act unconsciously. Remember the community as hero that I wrote about earlier. We can help each other. Sometimes it isn’t even necessary to know how we are helping. The important thing is to know that we matter to each other in ways that are not always visible. Jupiter in Cancer opposes the Capricorn planets and Mars, and there is a wide-orb square to Uranus too. This configuration of planets in the Cardinal signs will repeat with more force this spring when the aspects are more exact. The Cardinal signs rule the core areas of life: identity, home, relationship, and profession. It might feel like nothing is safe from upheaval. Personal practices that bring you to a calm center are very helpful. Taking action, even if it is symbolic, is also a way to greet these energies with vitality. If you aren’t certain about the direction you need to go, send out a plea to your allies for help. It may take several months before you really know.

It should be noted that Venus disappears from the visible sky by today. Venus is moving retrograde in Capricorn until January 31. Venus will appear again around the 20th of January as the Morning Star but still moving retrograde. During this time, we reflect on whether our relationships are serving our life plans. Capricorn means business and we want to make sure our partners align with important goals.

Moon enters Aquarius 11:03 am CST
Thursday, January 2.
 Did you feel the earth move yesterday? It was a powerful day, followed by another powerful one today. The Sun squares Mars. A square is an challenging exchange between the planets involved. Both the Sun and Mars feed a sense of purpose and vitality. When they challenge each other, that energy is off kilter. Perhaps we are trying too hard, or perhaps we reach a roadblock that makes us snap. Perhaps we need to learn to stand up for ourselves without blowing everyone else away. A needed adjustment between ego and will can be made today. The Moon in Aquarius feeds the energy to bring a different approach.

Moon in Aquarius
Friday, January 3. 
Mercury opposes Jupiter in the middle of the night, which may have disturbed your sleep. Are you waking up in a cranky mood? Resist the impulse to make matters worse by saying something you might regret later. In spite of this, you can improve communications today. Perhaps compassion comes when we realize that everyone else is in the same boat. A nap may be in order.

Moon enters Pisces 10:58 am CST
January 4—Crescent Moon: Beginning. 
The first few days of this year have not been very quiet. Even if nothing much looks different on the surface, a lot has been going on underneath. You may want to exhale today. Winter is a time to get in touch with our absolutes, which I am framing as the bones of my intention. At the Crescent phase of the Moon, we announce to the multiverse what we want. I recommend doing this out loud. When we tell the world what we want, the world is able to respond with gifts and challenges to help us manifest that intention. There are no short cuts on this journey, however an amazing amount of time can be saved when we get behind our own visions by proclaiming  them clearly. The Moon in Pisces invites us to come at this intention from another direction. Intuition and dreams play a big role. Don’t be surprised if your heart feels bigger and maybe more fragile as you dare to speak your heart’s desire.


Contact Teri at teri@starsdanceastrology and visit her website at