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.

Sticking out one’s neck. Today I want to write about “doing it afraid.” My favorite description for Aries boldness comes from Cynthea Jones of Diana’s Grove Mystery School. She says that when people see Aries, they see courage and daring because Aries goes first. Aries people make a life of sticking out their necks over and over. What most don’t see is that Aries rarely feels confident about this. In fact, speaking as an Aries myself, we are often terrified. But the Aries season is about boldness of beginnings. Cynthea taught that Aries is continually “doing it afraid.” The image in nature is the first green shoot popping up above ground after winter recedes. This is literally sticking your neck out. Will the cold come back and kill me? Will a hungry animal make a meal from my tender shoot? Will I be stepped on? Where’s the guarantee that life’s daring is going to pay off? I wish I knew, because I would sign up for that guarantee.

No guarantees but a lot of potential. This Aries lunar cycle* elevates the sensation of risking one’s neck for a potentially big payoff. Yes, I’m talking about that Grand Cardinal Cross and Full Moon lunar eclipse that kicks into gear this week. I’ve been writing about this aspect configuration since this lunar cycle began. [If you are curious or want to know more, see my introduction to the Aries lunar cycle.] Other astrologers are writing about this event too. Ralfee Finn is an astrologer who isn’t prone to overstating things and has an interesting point of view. [Read what she writes about this transit ]. Essentially, a grand cross looks like the planets are forming a box. Is it wrong that I keep seeing this box as a guillotine waiting for us to stick out our necks this month? Here’s the thing, in the land of metaphor, getting your head chopped off isn’t the worst thing that can happen. It just feels that way. Hence, the anticipation of something dire soon to happen may be the worst part of this transit.

What is the benefit of sticking your neck out? The obvious answer is nothing new is ever achieved without some risk. The feeling of doing it afraid, in the right amount, is stimulating, approaching the feeling of joy for some. However, there are levels of fear that are in no way beneficial. I am in the process of noticing that kind of fear response in my life right now. What are the practices that help me retain joy as I stick out my neck once again? As I await the explosion of flowers soon to come, I’m drawn to working with a flower essence. Here is what I’ve learned from Flower Essence Society about the lovely blue flower that bees love so much, borage: “Borage, as a flower essence, is for heavy heartedness and lack of confidence when facing challenges. The remedy is said to bring courage to the taker, providing a condition of ‘buoyancy of the soul’. (Katz and Kaminski 1994)” That feels like a good remedy for fear of risk and for the season of new beginnings.

Let’s not squander this opportunity to stick our necks out in a big way this month. Nothing is gained from hiding. Perhaps daring is what we humans are really good at. Perhaps the interconnected web of all beings need us to stick our necks out from time to time. When we show up, exposed and hoping, perhaps we contribute to the green force of desire renewing the land.

Forecast– April 13, 2014 – April 19

Moon enters Libra 3:33 am CDT
Sunday, April 13.
The actual Full Moon occurs on Tuesday at 2:42 am (CDT). But don’t be fooled, for all intents and purposes, the Full Moon begins when the Moon enters Libra today and just gets more and more intense until the energy peaks with the lunar eclipse in the very early hours of Tuesday morning. All the Libra areas of life are key to the integration and illumination of this particular Aries cycle—relationship, balance, justice, beauty. Appreciate the mirrors in your life. By this, I don’t mean those shiny things that reflect exterior surfaces. I mean the kind of mirrors that show us what is really going on inside each of us. These can be our beloveds, our enemies, our aspirations and beliefs; even the yearning for wholeness can be a mirror. Mars retrograding in Libra is pulling us out of ourselves to get a new perspective on what is going on inside. This Full Moon promises to be surprising and illuminating.

Moon in Libra
Monday, April 14.
The actual Full Moon happens at 2:42 am CDT tomorrow. But this is the day of big balancing forces. First of all, Pluto stations retrograde today. For several years now, Pluto makes this annual station in the spring when the Earth is waking in the northern hemisphere and going dormant in the south. This means deep rumblings from the god of the underworld. Earth energy is potent. Planets become stronger at their stations. Since Pluto is also moving into position for the grand cardinal cross, we will feel the breath of the underworld on our vulnerable, extended necks (see intro to the week). Pluto gives us a choice, to stay in control but cut off from life force, or to let the wildness of transformation run through our lives so we may harness the power of regeneration. Risk is involved. Pluto is acting in the public realm as well. How do we negotiate with transformation? How do we encourage a rebalancing of power? By 11 am (CDT) the Moon in Libra will have aspected every planet in the cardinal cross—Jupiter, Uranus, Pluto and Mars. Then, even more significantly, Mercury in Aries begins to transit these same planets. We may try to release stress by communicating. Some of this communication may not be as graceful as we want it to be. In fact, we can all be a little more forgiving of misspoken passion. We could all be guilty of it. But this impulsiveness also serves a purpose—if we wait till we feel 100% confident before saying something, we may never get the idea off our chests. Before going to bed tonight, decide if you want to see the lunar eclipse that will be visible in the central time zone at 2:47 am. Here is a website to calculate when the eclipse will be visible where you live.

Moon enters Scorpio 11:20 am CDT
April 15—Full Moon: Illuminating. Lunar Eclipse.
This Full Moon is a day of extremes. The Moon brings illumination but also darkness. Just as we are ready to release some of the constricting energy of the grand cross that has held us in its grip, the illuminating Moon turns dark from an eclipse. The contrast between the desire to let go and the necessity to still hang on could be dramatic. How will you work with this paradox? Physical work and play could help with tension. Quiet meditation could help with impatience. Gratitude practice gives perspective and renews a sense of joy. Beauty is always a tonic and guide to return to what really matters. The signs of this cardinal cross remind us of the core areas of a happy life—knowing who we are, a home and hearth that nurtures us, relationships that support us, and work that is worthy of our aspirations. Pour blessings into these areas.

When the Moon enters Scorpio, we may need to turn inward to find restoring balance after a big expenditure of energy. Neptune encourages compassion for self and others.

Moon in Scorpio
Wednesday, April 16.
During an intense and powerful week, this day of a Scorpio Moon invites us to go deeper. Look under the surface for a source of power and transformation. People may want to spend more time alone or in more intimate settings. This isn’t a day for superficial social exchange. Be discerning. Interactions and conversations could be deep, healing, and illuminating if we are fearless about looking at ourselves and if we are able to find the right person to dialog with. Mercury in Aries is opposite Mars in Libra. This is a potentially passionate transit. Move past minor annoyance to value the mirror that is being held up for you. Mars is quincunx to the shamanic healer, Chiron. We may feel vulnerable but there is a potential to move past patterns of woundedness. In the midst of this intensity, Venus, Moon, and Jupiter encourage heart-centered feelings. We have support to be in this vulnerable place.

Moon enters Sagittarius 4:44 pm CDT
Thursday, April 17.
As the day begins, we feel earnest about our commitments and what we have learned from the last few days. Take that in and then let it go. Trust the process of transformation. The trine between Venus in Pisces and Jupiter in Cancer encourages watery expressions. We are better able to see everyone’s sensitive edges of growth. Conventional astrological wisdom could caution us to avoid feeling over-expansive, especially in the arena of spending money or falling in love too quickly. But, after the challenging transits we’ve been having, it feels good to indulge in a little fantasy. When the Moon enters Sagittarius in the early evening (CDT), the desire to escape pressure gets stronger. Do we always have to act like grown-ups? New adventures could reveal new truths. This is a day to enjoy synchronicities of all sorts.

Moon in Sagittarius
April 18—Disseminating Moon: Sharing.
What have you learned about yourself these last two and a half weeks since the Aries lunar cycle began? The Aries mission is to discover yet another truth about our identities. Who are we? The beginning of the journey sets a pattern for the whole experience. That pattern is a layer of self. Through self-awareness we can enhance or shift the patterns. As the Moon wanes through the rest of the cycle, we develop more perspective about our patterns. This is the fruit of this disseminating phase of the Moon. We are harvesting self-awareness.

The Moon in Sagittarius encourages storytelling. Tell the story of who you are right now. The lessons we are learning are not so hard to take with an encouraging aspect between Venus and Pluto. These two make passionate love today. Let that inspire you!

The winds of spring may be strong today. Notice what happens when you let go of control and let change blow through your life as well.

Moon enters Capricorn 8:28 pm CDT
Saturday, April 19.
Although some of the tension of this month may seem lessened by the release of the Full Moon, the grand cardinal cross is still very much in force and getting stronger. The quincunx between Venus and Mars today may ruffle our relationship feathers. The differences between us may reach an untenable stage or we may find a new way to resolve conflict. Big energies are moving through our lives. Give yourself a break if the pressure seems overwhelming. At the brink of big decisions, what actions serve your intentions? Who do you want to be as you start a new pattern in your life? Earth grounds us just in time. The Moon moves into earthy Capricorn and the Sun enters earthy Taurus this evening (CDT). The Aries lunar cycle isn’t over, but it has suddenly become more real, more grounded, and we see how our new beginnings can manifest in the world.


*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:

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