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– April, 6 2014 – April 12

Are we having fun yet? Last week, I declared that the New Moon in Aries* is the true beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. A week later, it is time for a check in. What have you noticed? If spring is about beginnings, a fresh start, an undeniable impulse to join with the emerging life force, then what did you notice last week? Ninety-nine percent of astrology is paying attention to the present moment. Astrology is a framework for structuring this awareness. Certainly, astrologers spend a lot of time thinking about what the future transits will bring, but the only way we have any reference at all to the potentialities of a maybe future is to spend a lot of time noticing the present.

A conundrum for me as a prognosticator (love that word, which for me hints at another word, procrastinator, something I am quite good at) is to separate personal experience from universal. I can’t help but see the present moment through my own personal lens. What responsibilities does this incur? How do I account for what may be a skewed vision, depending on my personal situation at any moment? I am constantly pondering these questions. Sometimes I feel I need to be transparent about them. Now is one of those times.

Spring is stalled for me. My personal situation is living in the upper Midwest where we just received 6+ inches of snow on the 4th day of April. I can imagine that somewhere, many other somewheres in fact, spring is really happening. There is grass; there are flowers. Not here. I also happen to be an Aries. My birthday is coming up. With my ruling planet, Mars, retrograding through Libra, perhaps I feel more acutely than others how slow things are progressing. This retrograde Mars is slowly moving into a Grand Cardinal Cross with Jupiter, Uranus, and Pluto later this month. This aspect configuration looks like a cross. When we are on the cross, we are skewered by many challenges into a kind of freeze frame. If the tensions are just right, we don’t go anywhere. Until the dam breaks. This is the problem with being an astrologer. I am looking ahead to when the dam is going to break. Hypervigilance just creates more discomfort, confirming what I expected from this lunar cycle: a lot of tension and uncertainty, mixed with expectation for renewal.

So, here I am at the second week of the lunar cycle, waiting for the dam to break. This is where I am; where are you? One of my intentions for this Aries lunar cycle is to explore strategies for times of new beginnings. I’ve had a lifetime of Aries beginnings to reflect on the regrets and pleasures of being carried forward by life’s momentum. Is there a different way to still be an Aries and be more centered and mindful as life takes me for the next turn? I am still wondering.

Forecast– April, 6 2014 – April 12

Moon in Cancer
Sunday, April 6.
The metaphor of the moment for me is a dam breaking. Will something that is stuck be released today? The aspects between the Moon, Jupiter, Uranus, and Pluto could very well signal that something like this happens. Are you ready to give a nudge to release the tension? The ultimate goal of this release could fall anywhere, but with the Moon in Cancer, we are particularly attuned to safety, home, and family. Cancers are also nurturers. Have you been pushed to the max in taking care of others? What has to give to bring things into more balance? How do we share responsibility?

Moon in Cancer
April 7—First Quarter Moon: Manifesting.
Notice the obstacles that present themselves to you today. And then, notice your reactions. This phase of the Moon is created by a square aspect between the Sun and Moon. Squares are about tension and challenge. What was begun at the New Moon is being tested. This test is a necessary stage of manifestation. Although it can feel uncomfortable, we know something is really happening when the discomfort forces us to make a choice, a decision, take an action. We also get to notice our patterns when these types of challenges occur. The more familiar I am with my patterns, the better I can shift them to another resolution. It is all information. I am telling myself this as I notice that today may be challenging and impulsivity may be higher too. Mercury enters Aries today. This planet is our next instigator of change. Next week, Mercury will aspect the planets of the forming Grand Cardinal Cross: Mars, Jupiter, Uranus, and Pluto. Mercury’s quickness of thought and action is enhanced by being in the speed-loving sign of Aries. Isn’t faster better? This is a pattern I wish to investigate. Mercury in this sign is an ally of telling our truth. The telling may be impulsive and it could very well end by moving us farther on the path toward real change. Impatience is present. A good counterbalance to encountering the impatience of others is to take calming breaths and find the divine humor in our silly human responses. The calming influence today comes from a trine between the Moon in Cancer and Saturn in Scorpio. We may just want to hide out at home tonight. Nothing wrong with that.

Moon enters Leo 4:50 am CDT
Tuesday, April 8.
The crescendo of a Mars retrograde, if we can visualize Mars retrograde as even having a crescendo, comes at the halfway point when Mars opposes the Sun. That happens today. Mars in Libra is opposite the Sun in Aries. We are halfway through the backward journey with Mars, and today the Sun sheds light on what we have been experiencing and what it means to us. The story is a little more dramatic because the Sun is in the sign that Mars rules. The Sun is encouraging us to expand into the world through the green force of desire. Who knows where it will lead? And Mars isn’t making that easy at all. In fact, we are more reflective of our impact on others than is usual in this time of bold beginnings. Does this feel uncomfortable or just right? I am thinking about the ways we are being asked to look at privilege in our lives right now. In a sense, an unchecked Mars does represent privilege—an ability to act without having to consider the consequences. Perhaps this Mars retrograde is showing us that this privilege is a type of blindness. The Sun shines a light and Mars shines it back.

Moon in Leo
Wednesday, April 9.
The Moon in Leo helps us move forward. If you are feeling paralyzed by choice right now, consider doing the thing that brings the most spark to your life. This spark could be creativity, fun, romance, or anything that makes you feel just a little proud of yourself. Puff out your chest; toot your horn. Go where the light is shining. Life does not always have to be all sturm and drang. Hopefully, each of us finds the joy that supports the growth of this season.

Moon enters Virgo 5:07 pm CDT
Thursday, April 10.
If you are feeling a bit unambitous, don’t worry about it. The Moon is void-of course until the evening when the Moon enters Virgo (CDT), which will signal a renewed desire to get something accomplished. With the Moon in playful Leo, it may be a good day to find a bit of Sun to bask in. The fires of spring are rising; attune yourself to that warmth. Don’t let the sudden shift from driftless pleasure into earnest perfomance of tasks in the evening be a cause for self-criticism. We get plenty of time over the next two days to make use of Virgo industriousness.

Moon in Virgo
April 11—Gibbous Moon: Perfecting.
What if the last couple of days have been a respite from personal crisis? Wouldn’t that be great? If you have been able to let go of some of the cares you’ve been carrying around, then you are better poised to make good use of this Gibbous Moon phase in Virgo. If not, then don’t cave to the pressure of perfectionism. I fervently believe we accomplish more through imperfection. We need that fudge factor of chance mixed with our glorious mistakes to really get anywhere.

There are a slew of aspects today making it an interesting stew of possibilities. The Sun in Aries is quincunx Saturn in Scorpio. The quincunx aspect can be very determined to tidy up loose ends, to make sense of the nonsensical. Saturn tends to gravitate towards self-criticism, so we may feel the heaviness and pressure to be perfect. Beginner’s mind is a gift offered by the Aries season. Beginner’s mind encourages us to let go of being an expert. We are just beginning right now—a whole season of growth is before us. How do you wish to greet these possibilities?

Venus conjoins Neptune today in Pisces, giving us a great counterpoint to any sense we can create perfect order in our lives. Beauty and reverie guide us to balance. Open to your mystical side.

Moon in Virgo
Saturday, April 12.
A Virgo Moon on a weekend day has us wanting to do some spring cleaning around the house. How good does it feel to clean away the remnants of winter? I invite you to look at clearing away a remnant of winter in you deeper self as well. What has been holding you back? An adjustment can be made today to open up the channels. Perhaps the dam will not break, perhaps by steady attention and conscious release, we find ourselves flowing to a new place. Perhaps we are already doing the work.

*The Aries lunar cycle began on March 30 at the New Moon. Read more about the beginning of this lunar cycle on my Starsdance blog at:

Contact Teri at and visit her website at