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–September 14, 2014 – September 20

Reading Tara Brach’s “Radical Acceptance” this morning I came across a good insight about Virgoan perfectionism and striving. Although the root of Virgo’s desire is to be of service to self and others, it is easy to get sidetracked by perfectionism—continually striving to be better and do more. Brach writes: “When I feel insecure, producing—whether it is a finished article, a stack of paid bills or a clean kitchen—is my most readily accessible device for feeling worthwhile.” Have you noticed turning to some kind of busy activity during this Virgo lunar cycle* to avoid feelings of worthlessness or fear? This has shown up for me strongly. Even spiritual practice sometimes takes me away from being present with what is—including the fears and the self-judgments I carry. Last month, during the Leo lunar cycle, I worked with building capacity for energy. Now, in the waning phase of the Virgo lunar cycle, I need that increased capacity to help me witness, without flinching or causing myself harm, that it is sometimes uncomfortable to be me. Being perfect won’t change that.

The waning phases of the Moon are ripe with the fruit of our desires, practices, achievements, and failures—all produce of Virgo’s attention to the details. I am inviting myself to walk in this garden without overwhelming judgment this week. I wonder if I can unlearn just one way that I use striving to distance myself from worry and fear. I wonder if I can unlearn another level of self-judgment as I relish the garden as it is right now. The Moon gradually lets go of its light this week, what will you let go of in your life to support your wholeness?

This week, the Moon moves through the signs of Gemini, Cancer, and Leo. While in Gemini, mental activity increases. During this time we notice how actively are minds are working to understand, communicate, and sometimes distract us from being present. What are you noticing about the realm of ideas? When the Moon moves into Cancer, emotion becomes the predominant influence. Feelings of vulnerability can throw us off. This is an opportunity to practice compassion and forgiveness and to find the root of desire. What does that part of you need? When the Moon moves into Leo, we dance with the forces of ego. Ego can overwhelm intention when it is hungry, but the other side to Leo is creative delight. Liberating self-love lies in this dance. How will you share your brilliance?

The end of summer is a sweet and wistful time to savor the fruits of our harvests. The bounty and blessings of Earth’s beauty are reminders that we dwell in beauty. Virgo’s gift is to see the beauty as it really is without romantic gloss. Imagine your garden, all the experiences and choices that have led to the present. How will you mindfully walk through your gardens this last week of summer?

Forecast–September 14, 2014 – September 20

Moon in Gemini

Sunday, September 14. A strong thread of pragmatism fights with a desire to get away from it all. Let me know if you find a way to satisfy both urges. Venus in Virgo trines Pluto in Capricorn. This powerful alignment is not in the mood to suffer fools. We want order, a goal, and a plan. It is important to acknowledge this desire for productivity. And if you have any tasks to accomplish, you will be supported by this no nonsense alignment. However, the Moon in Gemini is highly distractible. Give yourself room, or at least tolerance, for losing track of the details, getting lost in daydreams, or unexpected diversions from the plan. Serendipity may help us achieve what we lost track of in the first place.

 Moon in Gemini

September 15—Last Quarter Moon: Evaluating. Is there a light bulb going off over your head right now? Today, gongs may ring, eurekas may be shouted, and final pieces of the puzzle may be found. This phase of the Moon encourages the mindset of taking things apart so we know how they are really put together. With the Moon in mental Gemini being supported by quicksilver Mercury and revolutionary Uranus, we want to tinker with what we know. Thought processes speed up. It is possible that a big aha comes from this excavation process. If we are unsatisfied with the progress we are making, we could get a little agitated. Gemini is an air sign and those signs are good at giving perspective. With the Virgo mission being about all the details, it can feel good to remember the big picture. How is your work of this lunar cycle coming? What surprises did you discover? What could it mean for the rest of the cycle? That is what we want to know today, and if we pay attention, we just might get some answers.

An interesting journey with communicating these insights begins. Mercury in Libra moves into the “shadow” zone for the upcoming Mercury retrograde (October 4 – October 25). Today Mercury reaches the degree where it will station direct on October 25. This is the first of three passes of Mercury over this segment of the zodiac. Soon Mercury will leave Libra, move into Scorpio for just a few days, and then spend the majority of its time retrograding through the balancing sign of Libra. It’s time for adjustments in thought and speech. Communication issues like net neutrality may come under review. Diplomatic alliances and messages will also see problems. Many decisions made from now till October 4, whether by the government, businesses, or individuals, will need to be reconsidered while Mercury moves retrograde. Libra is good at asking for the opposing position. We will be weighing all the data and needing to change our minds along the way. In the end, Mercury’s retrograde through Libra may encourage nimble mindsets and a need to listen better.

Moon enters Cancer 10:24 am CDT

Tuesday, September 16. Water signs encourage the inner experience. The Moon in Cancer invites us to pay attention to our souls. However, it is just as easy to let the autopilot take over and ignore our deeper feelings, so pay attention. Are you willing to sit with your emotions without managing them? Extra sensitivity can have us licking our wounds. What is the source of your emotional experience today? Cancer Moon and Virgo Sun have a special affinity for each other. They can help us be healers. Perhaps the best outcome of the work encouraged by these signs originates in self-awareness and forgiveness.

Moon in Cancer

Wednesday, September 17. Venus in Virgo is busy today. I suggest you get out of her way. We suddenly are inspired to sweep out the mess we’ve been living with and get it together. The Moon kicks up sensitivity and vulnerability. Venus quietly takes charge and tells us how to get over it. Pay attention to the goddess of beauty and love as she directs you to bring order and wholeness into your life. As we align with a renewed sense of wellness, thanks to the Virgo lunar cycle, we feel ready to inaugurate change into the world. On the 21st, the People’s Climate March will happen in New York City. As organizers and activists prepare for what is hoped to be the largest climate march in history, let us direct this Venus get-it-done energy towards cleaning up our acts in relationship to the Earth.

Moon enters Leo 10:10 pm CDT

Thursday, September 18. Did yesterday feel like an important day to you? The indications were good for getting down to business. Don’t lose track of new resolves to bring wholeness and healing into your homes and the world. Perhaps we get a better sense of how wellness in our homes is connected to wellness in the world. Perhaps all it takes is to realize we are connected and our actions do make a difference. Take advantage of the Moon in Cancer for most of the day to finish up home projects, whatever that means to you. What kind of environment best supports your wellbeing?

 Moon in Leo

September 19—Balsamic Moon: Surrendering. The Virgo lunar cycle is nearing the end. We have the opportunity to practice “good in the end”—a dedication to ending our practices as well as we began them. What is the best way for you to acknowledge the efforts, the lessons, the blessings, and the mistakes of this cycle? Virgo nudges us toward perfectionism but really wants us to find what else is behind our desire to do a good job. There is a paradox here. Good in the end acknowledges that we want to do our best even until the very end. During the Virgo season, we get a taste for how we can improve, but also how much we need to accept ourselves as we are. The Virgin archetype invites us to strip to our essential selves so we may build again from a state of purity. How have you experienced this over the last three weeks?

 The Moon in Leo invites playfulness in spite of diminished energy. The last few days of a lunar cycle are often not very lively. We’re in the shedding phase. Perhaps it will be a good day to shed inhibitions and let yourself step out in front of others. Perhaps, it is a good day to support the creative endeavors of your friends. Notice how your creative spark is vital to others.

 Moon in Leo

Saturday, September 20. Trust your instincts. The Moon in a fire sign helps us get in touch with energy. Sensing energy helps us to know what activities, people, and dreams hold life force for us. Experiment with letting that awareness lead you. Enjoy the last weekend of summer. The Fall Equinox on Monday, the 22nd, marks the day when darkness begins to exceed daylight until the shift at Winter Solstice. The Moon in Leo encourages us to honor the Sun, the ruler of Leo. There’s a little bit of revolution in the air and a little bit of working through accountability and responsibility as well. The ideal would be to spend some time changing the world through commitment to a cause that inspires you to expand into the joyful moment of now.

* Read about the beginning of the Virgo lunar cycle (August 25) on my blog.

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