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– May 18, 2014 – May 24

What does it mean to be in love with the Earth? I’ve been finding a mixture of joy and sadness in this Taurus cycle.* Mary Oliver, who writes so beautifully about her love of nature, wrote in her poem In Blackwater Woods:

To live in this world

 you must be able

to do three things:

to love what is mortal;

to hold it

 against your bones knowing

your own life depends on it;

and, when the time comes to let it go,

to let it go.

Am I able to do these three things? I wonder. There is letting go, and then, there is letting go. Everything dies, including me. That is not the heartbreaking loss that I fear at the moment. The heartbreaking loss for me comes from preventable death. It is the crises of bee colony collapse, inevitable climate change, or economic systems that are so destructive and out of balance that wholesale discounting of life happens daily. Is this also part of the letting go? I want to trust that the world of animal, plant, water, and sky will heal itself. I want to think that the forces of regeneration are so powerful that in spite of all that humans do to this world, it can still become whole again. I want that very much.

The season of Taurus—a time to fall passionately back in love with the Earth—is a time of being comforted and awed by nature, and it’s a time to be broken open by grief and concern for the Earth and its inhabitants. Last week, the Scorpio Full Moon reminded us of the unbreakable link between life and death. At times, knowing that death is part of Taurus beauty is powerful and inspiring, at other times, it is overwhelming. When those waves of emotion become too large for me, I am tempted to numb the pain. I wonder as we approach the final week and a half of this Taurus lunar cycle* whether I will be more prone to the numbing, the sadness, or the inspiration of this season. I suspect all these responses will move in and out of my experiences for the rest of this cycle.

The waning phases of the Moon can be wistful. We feel a natural turning inward and a desire to seek understanding or meaning from our experiences. It is good to realize that even though the events of our lives over the last month may have been quite normal, our experiences of them may not have been. The dissonance between reality and emotional experience can make us question our perceptions or react more extremely than we intend. In evaluating our progress through the final days of this lunar cycle we can ask ourselves, What helps me remain aware and centered through these feelings? Am I making the choices I want to make?

The transits of this next week add a different emphasis from the tension of the grand cardinal cross of the last few weeks. Those planets are still within orb (distance from an exact aspect that still allows connection) but are moving away from each other. Jupiter is beginning to move more quickly through the last part of Cancer. Mars is stationing direct—out of orb of Jupiter, Uranus, and Pluto—but after turning direct will make a connection with these planets one more time (from mid June to mid July). This final part of a retrograde journey wraps up the experience. Anything that we haven’t acted on but really should, will start to feel more imperative. Mars is impetuous. Expect reactivity to increase.

Saturn in Scorpio plays a big role this week as well. If Saturn is transiting your natal chart in some significant way right now, you will undoubtedly feel the pressure of Saturn’s expectations breathing down your neck. Venus in Aries and Mercury in Gemini form a yod to Scorpio on Sunday and Monday of this week. A yod pulls us into paradox. Venus and Mercury are certain of their instincts. They want change and want it fast. Saturn puts a brake on that energy and says, “Go a little deeper. Don’t settle for the superficial fix. Work harder on the changes you want to make.” Water is emphasized in the progress we desire. Saturn and Jupiter form an exact trine to each other, both in water signs. Chiron in Pisces is within orb to create a grand water trine with Saturn and Jupiter. Feelings are flowing. Follow water’s wisdom to allow those feelings to take you where you need to go.

Forecast– May 18, 2014 – May 24

Moon in Capricorn
Sunday, May 18. The general tenor of the day is influenced by the serious nature of Capricorn and Saturn. This influence helps us to identify the really important stuff so we can let go of the other stuff. Embrace the desire to accomplish something meaningful. Saturn helps us achieve mastery. This is a long-range endeavor. Mercury and Venus provide the vision for what we’d like to do: Continuing to learn and share what we learn while validating everything that is unique about each of us. We can pull in the same direction, just not in the same way. Justice for women and families is on our minds as well. We can do better.

Moon enters Aquarius 4:58 am CDT
Monday, May 19. The Moon in Aquarius may be just the push we need to get more active in our communities, to work toward change, or to come up with brilliant solution to a problem we’ve been facing. The yod to Saturn (see introduction to this week’s forecast and yesterday’s description) formed with Venus and Mercury continues to put the pressure on. Are you frustrated by how slowly change is happening? Anger and frustration may pop up unexpectedly. Mars stations direct today in Libra. Mars turned retrograde in March and has contributed to slowing the process of resolution. We begin to wrap up the insights and lessons concerning relationship and negotiations. Mars won’t leave the retrograde zone until July 21, so we have plenty to mull over. I expect life to speed up due to this change in motion.

Moon in Aquarius
Tuesday, May 20Sun enters Gemini. Although we’re still finishing the Taurus lunar cycle, the Sun moves into Gemini today. The Gemini New Moon on May 28 signals beginning or working with a Gemini intention for one lunar cycle. But that doesn’t mean we won’t feel the shift. Mutable air of Gemini will blow us hither and yon like dandelion seeds in the wind. With the Moon in another air sign, Aquarius, we notice the impact of thought and shifting degrees of focus. One minute, we’ll feel the square between the Moon and Saturn and notice all the obstacles around us. Then the next moment, we suddenly get a new idea or intriguing thing to learn and forget all about them. We stir the pot today. Notice what the wind blows into your life.

Moon enters Pisces 7:18 am CDT
May 21—Last Quarter Moon: Evaluating. Water emphasis from the Moon and the planets in a grand water trine—Saturn, Jupiter and Chiron—return us to our feelings about this lunar cycle’s journey. For me, I am noticing the grief that comes from falling in love with the Earth again. I notice the times I’ve wanted to numb this pain, and times, when in spite of it, I am in awe of the power of life and death. This isn’t a day to judge yourself in whatever ways you cope with life’s hardships. Trust the depths of your heart. If you need time to grieve, do that. If you need to time to express your joy and wonder for life, don’t hold back. Surf the waves of emotion. Let the solid ground of the Earth hold you as you “feel the motions of tenderness around you, the buoyancy” [Rumi] of all within you.

Moon in Pisces
Thursday, May 22. Guess what? A new Mercury retrograde period is on its way. Mercury won’t station retrograde until June 7, but today it enters the “retrograde zone,” the area of the zodiac it will retrograde back though until it stations direct on Jul 1. This isn’t a big deal, but you might notice themes over the next two weeks that will be important to you for this period. I feel that Mercury’s main concern is to make sure we use both sides of our brain. Sometimes, that causes a disruption in the flow. Mercury will mostly be in it’s own sign of Gemini during this retrograde period. We could expect this retrograde to be trickier than usual. Mercury is the nimble trickster. How will you be nimble in the ways you adjust to new ways to think? The Moon in watery Pisces connects to the planets of the grand water trine today—Jupiter, Chiron and Saturn. Intuition and compassion create a contrast to mental pursuits.

Moon enters Aries 11:01 am CDT
Friday, May 23. The weekend gets a jumpstart from the Moon moving into Aries today. The only aspect today is a favorable one between the Sun and Moon. This exchange between the Sun and Moon favors our exchanges with others as long as we really respect everyone’s unique point of view. We are motivated to express our identities. As long as we give each other enough room for that, everything should go well.

Moon in Aries
May 24—Balsamic Moon: Surrendering. Contrary instincts are present. We are not quite sure if we want to fight or make up. Spring weather can be fickle, just like this energy. One minute, the weather is placid and the next brings a storm. We begin to surrender the intention and lessons of this lunar cycle. Working with the Taurus energies of earthiness, the idea of letting go into a decaying process feels quite natural and helpful. All the emotional experiences of this lunar cycle, however toxic they may have felt in the moment, can become powerful life-renewing compost. Are you willing to let it all go? The Moon in Aries gives us the will to dare. This Moon confronts a newly-direct Mars, as well as Pluto, Uranus, and Jupiter today. Shades of the grand cardinal cross return. How do you feel about things now? Perhaps we are all a little more emboldened and ready to embrace whatever life gives us next. May that be so. A waning trine between Jupiter and Saturn today marks an important moment in the 20-year cycle between these two planets. Jupiter is expansion and pursuit of meaning. Saturn is contraction and pursuit of excellence. We need both of these energies. Right now, they are complementing each other nicely from water signs. Emotional wisdom and the gifts of emotional connection are apparent.

*The Taurus lunar cycle began on April 29 at the New Moon. Read more about the beginning of this lunar cycle on my Starsdance blog

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