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 24, 2014 – August 30

We are moving into the harvest season where I live. The Sun has gloriously infused the Earth with life-force energy during the growing season and from this pulsing and expansive energy, the Earth produces countless gifts. These gifts, the harvest of the alchemy of fire and earth, are the source of vital energy and wellness for all living beings. Virgo is the alchemist who takes the life force energy of the Sun and helps transform it into wellness. This is no small task! Virgo may at times be humble, but it is never unnecessary.

The lunar cycle in Virgo begins this week. We have the opportunity to align ourselves with this seasonal energy to become the alchemists of our own wellbeing. I get a sense that this work is essential. I know I need firm practices of wellness to maintain my joy and vitality as we move further into the changing times ahead. Virgo qualities are called for, and if I am truly to achieve a better level of wellbeing in my life I’ll also need to look with clear eyes at the ways Virgo powers can devolve into perfectionism and anxiety. This is the double-edge sword of Virgo’s excellent attention to detail and its desire to cull the best from the season’s harvest.

Virgo’s archetype is the Virgin. This word has a lot of baggage. However when we unpack it, we come to understand more about Virgo’s gifts and alchemical powers. There once was a time when the word virgin did not mean simply never having had sex. It meant the ability to renew one’s sexual sovereignty through dedicated practices. This is an alchemical process of transformation if there ever was one! I wonder how and why this practice was crafted? As the Virgo lunar cycle begins, these questions are prominent for me: What is purity? Why renew sexual sovereignty? What kind of dedication and practice helps one to achieve this type of sovereignty? What is the potential of this power? Sexual sovereignty is a potent concept that extends into all arenas of life, not just the bedroom. As I think to other Virgo archetypes: the Priestess, the Hermit, the Apprentice, the Dedicant, the Healer, I wonder how sexual sovereignty is linked to these aspects of this sign. When the Moon joins the Sun in Virgo on the 25th, I invite you also to dream and wonder about the power of the virgin. What do you need for wholeness? What practices will renew your sovereignty?

This week Mercury in Virgo, one of the two signs that Mercury rules, is actively stimulating our desires to be alchemists. Can we find just the right formula to fuse the life-force gifts of Leo with the healing gifts of Virgo? A distinct challenge will be learning how to discharge anxiety that may come up this week. Mercury is part of a potent aspect pattern called a Yod for the first three days of this week. All things Virgo kicks into hyper drive with the quincunx between Uranus and Mercury. Daily practices that calm and gently energize the body and mind will help us maintain presence, as we are stimulated to respond quickly to change. See the forecast for the August 25 New Moon for more about the planetary influences of this lunar cycle.

Forecast–August 24, 2014 – August 30

Moon in Leo

Sunday, August 24. Let the taste of this last day of the Leo lunar cycle linger on your tongue. The Sun is dipping closer to the southern horizon every day (in the Northern Hemisphere). Summer is sailing into fall like a setting Sun. Perhaps this sweet taste of summer will help us with our alchemical processes of achieving well-being. Mercury in Virgo, which can sometimes be prone to nervous anxiety but also prone to pragmatic solutions, is quincunx to agitating Uranus. The benefit of this transit can be to shake us out of a stupor. We need to be proactive in creating systems of wholeness and health in our lives. Mercury is also opposite Chiron in Pisces, further illuminating a need to find those anchoring practices that reach into our vulnerable hearts to create compassionate healing for all.

 Moon enters Virgo 4:33 am CDT

August 25—New Moon: Dreaming. The animating dream of this season involves the alchemical power of Virgo. This power combines the life-force energy of the Sun with life-sustaining energy of the Earth. The elixir created by this fusion gives us the ability to renew ourselves, to gain wholeness, and to dedicate ourselves to worthy work and service. This power exists and Virgo suggests the ways to achieve it. No wonder so many Virgos seem like they are driven to improve everything—including themselves. The first thing to be addressed with such potent possibility is self-care, self-acceptance, and practices that can help us maintain these qualities. This lunar cycle I am going to pay extra attention to my daily practice. Virgo’s sphere of influence are the ordinary events of everyday life, including daily practice. Virgo’s desire for integration gives great support for ascertaining which practices will actually help us achieve wholeness. One of my teachers offers this list of qualities for a daily practice. They can be combined into one practice or several depending on the time available. She suggests that every day one’s practice should include: 1) something that brings stillness; 2) something that is active; 3) something that is inward gazing; 4) something that engages with life-force energy; and 5) something that is devotional. I like this list, as I can vary what I do daily but still cover all the requirements of my body, mind, and soul.

The chart for the New Moon shows us what we can align with to support our practices and what to look out for as challenges to them. Mercury in Virgo is strongly placed as an ally. Mercury rules Virgo and operates as the master alchemist. This stimulates us to come up with systems and solutions. The warning is that too much mental agitation can create stress, especially since Mercury is quincunx Uranus (agitator planet extraordinaire). The aspect between Mercury and Uranus is part of a more complex pattern called a Yod. Uranus is at the apex of the triangle with Mercury in Virgo and Mars and Saturn in Scorpio as the base. Mercury, Saturn, and Mars invite us to slow down even as we also register the Uranian need for immediate change. This is a paradox and not easy energy to hold. Daily practice can help. With so many overwhelming events and changes happening in the world right now, we are invited to listen to what our bodies and our nervous systems need to maintain wellness. Mars and Saturn conjunct in Scorpio is a picture of determination. Some people will be entrenched in negative behavior but we all have the choice to use this energy for transformative healing through practices of stillness and observation. We have support for setting firm intentions.

Moon in Virgo

Tuesday, August 26. Over the next two days Venus in Leo is square to Saturn and Mars in Scorpio. The confrontation between passion, commitment, and self-worth may impact our relationships. Some relationships are being scrutinized. The issue may be that we don’t feel supported in our creativity and expression of life force. Other intense relationships can form under this transit, however. With Saturn as the glue, Venus and Mars find passion through the fascination of opposites. The Moon in Virgo encourages getting deeper with our desires. A misunderstood quality of the Virgo virgin is to think there isn’t any passion beneath that purity. Where do you find the intersection between the two?

Moon enters Libra 4:54 pm CDT

Wednesday, August 27. See yesterday’s forecast. Venus in Leo is square Mars in Scorpio. Interactions of all kinds, romantic to social, include the spark of passion. Notice your own and notice how others around you are expressing theirs. Part of the passion is being driven by a strong need for validation. We might have issues with powerful people today. There can be excitement in the friction or we may just need to get away from others to quiet the anger. Passion can be a healer. Look for those opportunities. When the Moon moves into Libra in the early evening (CDT) the desire may be to diplomatically process hurt feelings.

 Moon in Libra

Thursday, August 28. Do you still need to make up for some impetuous behavior from the last few days? The Moon in Libra encourages us to work it out. We may still feel some friction however with the square between the Moon and Pluto. Are you holding on to resentments? What helps you to let go and see the big picture; after all no one is perfect.

 Moon in Libra

August 29—Crescent Moon: Beginning. The first three days of a lunar cycle is about dreaming up an intention for the entire month. This phase encourages us to support our intentions with action. This may involve breaking away from lethargy or a stuck pattern. Right after midnight last night, the Moon opposed Uranus. Uranus is all about waking up and breaking old patterns. Are you eager to get underway or is the lack of restful sleep making you cranky? The Moon in Libra, which is an air sign, may help us if we let a balancing influence give us perspective on the whole picture. My intention for this Virgo cycle is to dedicate myself to daily wellness, balance, and joy. What is your intention? Do one thing to break an old pattern that keeps you from manifesting your intention. Today, the Sun in Virgo opposes Neptune in Pisces. This transit encourages expansion—from the possibility of grounded integrated practice that sustains well being to the transcendent awareness that, no matter how good we are at maintaining these practices, we are connected and whole already. Share at least one personal insight with another person. Social media is OK, but better that it be face to face.

Moon enters Scorpio 3:53 am CDT

Saturday, August 30. Labor Day weekend under a waxing Moon means we are eager to get ready for the fall. Even if you are on vacation, much of your attention is on the future and how to bring more functionality into it. The Moon in Scorpio could encourage purging unnecessary things from our lives. This is a great way to make room for wellness practices. What gets in your way? Is it really necessary? Listen to your intuition. You know more than you realize about what is serving your intentions for this lunar cycle. I like to think of small steps as being like a homeopathic dose for big change. What small step of letting go can you take today?

Contact Teri at teri@starsdanceastrology.com and visit her website at www.starsdanceastrology.com to learn about booking a reading of your chart.

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