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–August 10, 2014 – August 16

The season of Sun-ruled Leo calls us to acknowledge every person’s essential radiance. To answer this call I’ve been exploring my own capacity for experiencing life force/energy during this Leo lunar cycle.* So far I’ve noticed both highs and lows on the journey. This combo makes perfect sense considering the influence of dynamic tension between planets in Leo and Scorpio (the fixed signs of fire and water) this month. Astrological theory says the challenging aspects give us gifts as we learn to manage complexity. The Full Moon this week will give us more complexity. Another fixed sign, the Moon in airy Aquarius, adds itself to the mix.

Even in this complexity and shifting experiences, the goal remains: to remember my essential radiance. I’ve had the pleasure of having some amazing teachers who have challenged me to step more fully into my own radiance. One of these teachers is magical and spiritual practitioner, T. Thorn Coyle. In her book “Evolutionary Witchcraft,” she gives an exercise for increasing our access to power and energy by imagining stepping into circles of greater capacity and noticing how that feels. The exercise is both simple and profound. As I imagine moving into fuller capacity for life force energy my posture changes, I feel my feet firmly on the ground and connected to the earth, I see more clearly, I am more curious about my surroundings and less self-obsessed. The feeling is of one of confidence and connection.

Confidence is what we imagine every Leo Sun child must feel, and in my years of talking with Leos is very seldom actually felt. Leos, in their vulnerable confidence are showing us what we all feel from time to time—a need to shine that can be held back by self-doubt, shame, or fear. Projecting confidence onto others, thinking our own self-assurance must be fraudulent, fearing exposure of our self-doubt, needing approval, and more traps of the ego are the shadow side of capacity for life force energy. I know these traps well. The gift of the Leo season is this: With the generosity of the Sun’s own radiance, we have the opportunity to burn away a little more of these doubts and fears. Even if at first we are just pretending, we can step into a circle of greater capacity for power. We can practice stepping into confidence, which might seem like a sham at first, and find ourselves gradually living lives of more radiance and connection.

 Forecast–August 10, 2014 – August 16

Moon in Aquarius

August 10—Full Moon: Illuminating. Light, light, light! Before I get into the specifics of this Full Moon, I want to acknowledge the Moon, which is today filled to the brim with light reflected from the Leo Sun. I’m not one of those people who think light is better than dark, so don’t get me wrong. We aren’t being saved from the dark by standing in this reflected light. The dark needs light so it can be seen for itself. Therefore it stands to reason that the light also needs the dark. Complementary—sometimes seeming antagonistic—the forces of light and dark play around the edges of this Full Moon. If you are able, try to stand under the light of the Moon tonight and sense into the wonder of the light and the dark.

A powerful aspect pattern called a t-square is the predominant influence upon this Full Moon. T-squares create friction and some tension. The potential is that through this experience we gain new skills and awareness. The signs involved in this pattern are all fixed, so there can be entrenched resistance to other points of view. The reality is that we feel that important values are at stake and must take in the diverse wisdom of these signs to grow and learn. The planets in this pattern are the Sun and Mercury in Leo (fire), Moon in Aquarius (air), and Saturn in Scorpio (water). Other supporting cast members, Jupiter in Leo and Mars in Scorpio are not in the pattern but contribute to the issues. Remember that Leo provides the intention for this lunar cycle; the Moon from the opposite sign to Leo illuminates a hidden challenge for this Leo intention. This challenge centers around the relationship of the individual to the collective. The give and take between these forces helps to balance our ego needs with purpose and vision for our collective experience. When at odds, Aquarius can suck the flame out of Leo’s radiance; on the other hand, Leo can forget that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Saturn in Scorpio steps in with a reminder to grow up. Much is at stake right now. Saturn and Mars in Scorpio invite us to see ourselves truthfully. Sometimes we do have hungry egos. Sometimes we want to impose collective rules on individuals. Sometimes we are afraid. Notice the ways you hold back your flame. The impulse may be to squelch it because there are so many reasons you think you don’t matter. Can you find a balancing relationship between your own significance and insignificance? Perhaps this is true liberation.

Every t-square has a missing piece, the sign opposite the squared planet at the apex of the triangle. In this case, Taurus (fixed earth) is the missing sign. What are we missing from earth’s wisdom? Later this week when the Moon moves into Taurus we have the opportunity to notice this missing influence and incorporate it for wholeness.

Moon enters Pisces 7:55 am CDT

Monday, August 11. We step between the worlds for the next two days. The Moon in Pisces encourages us to take the experiences of this Leo lunar cycle into the ineffable place where we are all connected. My light is connected to yours. Your dream is dreamed by me. When the Moon contacts Neptune this afternoon (CDT) this dream-like consciousness increases. Sometimes the feelings that come from this awareness can be too much for our nervous systems. Notice without judgment. When the Moon trines Mars tonight, we gain strength to sit with this discomfort. Surprisingly, we are more optimistic when we face our fears.

 Moon in Pisces

Tuesday, August 12. Venus joins the Sun, Mercury, and Jupiter in Leo today. The next three days are the peak of Leo concentration for this lunar cycle. Mercury leaves Leo on Friday. Social interactions are sparked by the charm and charisma of Leo. The feeling of delight is welcomed respite from a troubled world. Venus is the planet that governs our relationships and our experience of beauty. As Venus remains in Leo until September 6, let this planet guide you to the sustaining flame of creativity and connection. It is good to invoke the blessing because Venus in Leo will also challenge us to look at the ways we need and seek validation from others. There is a balance to be found here too.

Moon enters Aries 8:00 am CDT

August 13—Disseminating Moon: Sharing Unpack everything you ever thought about the element of fire, both in the literal, physical sense and the symbolic one as well. The Moon in cardinal fire sign Aries makes a trine to Venus and Jupiter (both in Leo) today. Aries is the fire sign that uses this element to initiate new things. Fire is transformative and destructive. The fires on the west coast of the U.S. show us this tragically. Leo is the fire sign that protects this power. Paradoxically, Leo has a playful, childlike approach to very serious business. Do you see this connection and contrast in your life this month? In this phase of the Moon, we take the lessons we’ve learned and begin to give them the meaning that will serve us for a while. What do you want to take away from this lunar cycle? I know I want to increase my capacity to experience life force energy. Fire illuminates our fears about power. It also can transform shame into self-love. With support from the two benefics, Jupiter and Venus, it may be time to step more fully into that love.

 Moon in Aries

Thursday, August 14. Today might not be as pleasant as yesterday. The Aries Moon keeps showing us the challenges of fire while it makes a square aspect to Pluto and a conjunction to Uranus. These two planets, while currently moving away from an exact square with each other are still influencing world events and our attitudes around them. They return to another exact square in December. Uranus and the Moon light a fire that shouts: Wake up! Pluto keeps revealing the toxic structures that need transformation. The easy response is to blast away with firepower, but a deeper compassion can guide us. Today Jupiter in Leo forms a quincunx with Neptune in Pisces. The paradox involves how to be awake and alive to this desire for transformation while at the same time open and receptive in our hearts. My personal belief is that the more we can hold this paradox in ourselves, the more the world itself can move toward compassionate action.

Moon enters Taurus 10:58 am CDT

Friday, August 15. The day may start decisively for you. Mars made a favorable aspect to Pluto in the middle of the night last night and we might wake up with a clear idea of something we must do. Follow that instinct if you have it. The journey should be rich. When the Moon moves into Taurus we get to experience that missing piece I wrote about at the Full Moon (August 10). Taurus is the final fixed sign we haven’t heard from this Leo lunar cycle. Fire, water, and air have made a plea. Now earth brings it home. Our bodies and the earth’s body are telling us something. I find it easy to ignore the body’s wisdom (self-revelation: I have no earth planets in my birth chart). But every time I am forced to remember I have a body and it does know something, I am blown away with what I learn. This might be that kind of day for you too. In addition to the Moon entering an earth sign, Mercury moves into Virgo (mutable earth) until September 3. Virgo’s mission is to take the ripening of the Leo Sun into the harvest. Our minds are busy sorting information, just as we would sort grain from the stalk. Let discernment guide you through the rest of this lunar cycle. What serves and what doesn’t?

Moon in Taurus

Saturday, August 16. Passion must be accountable sometime. I believe in following our passions. We have gifts and depths that would never surface if we didn’t. The Taurus Moon reminds us that this discovery around our passion has an impact. That isn’t always bad. In fact, we need the realities of life to push back sometimes to know just what our impact is and how far our passions can go. Something today could tease out your passion and help you realize how important it is. Perhaps you are willing to risk commitment to that passion.

*The Leo lunar cycle began on July 26 at the New Moon. Read more about the beginning of this lunar cycle on my Starsdance blog.

Contact Teri at and visit her website at