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 21, 2014 – September 27

The Great Exchange happens this week. Here is how I imagine it: At the equinox, the two hemispheres of the Earth give gifts to each other. We, in the north, pass the light of the Sun to those in the south. They in turn, pass the fertile darkness back to us. There is order and balance in this exchange. I remember how much I longed for the light of spring at the end of the last winter and am happy the other half of the world will enjoy the growing light now. Even though winter can feel very long, I’m ready to welcome back the quieter, lengthening nights. Here is a blessing the southern folks: Enjoy the gift of Sun; may you grow wonderful things in your time of expansion. And a prayer for the northern folk: May we dream the winter dreams that feed the world’s soul. It’s now our turn.

The Great Exchange at the equinoxes is when I most powerfully feel whole-Earth awareness. I can sense this moment of equal light and dark acutely through my body. Do you as well? Perhaps this why we are able to balance eggs on end at the equinoxes. Sure, we probably could do this experiment at other times, but the equinoxes invite us to try. I think there is a reason for that. Being in exchange is a powerful linking between two sides, gift-givers and gift-recipients. The equilibrium of exchange blurs the lines between these sides and opens a channel helping me to feel the balancing of the world as a whole. The work of Virgo* (the lunar cycle that is ending this week) has been to create practices of wholeness. The work of Libra (the next lunar cycle to begin on the 24th) will be to use those newly honed practices to open to exchange.

Pay attention to the channels that are opening this week. A square between Mars in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces sets up diffused awareness and thinning of the boundaries between everyday and extraordinary realities. Pluto stations direct on the equinox on the 22nd creating another powerful exchange of energy from the underworld to the above world. The New Moon in Libra on the 24th invites us to work mindfully with the energy of exchange and balance. A trine between Jupiter in Leo and Uranus in Aries activates creative revolutionary forces. Waking up is fun to do. Mercury nears its retrograde station by the end of the week when the quicksilver messenger enters moody Scorpio. We will be uncovering deeper channels of exchange.

Forecast–September 21, 2014 – September 27

Moon enters Virgo 10:54 am CDT

Sunday, September 21. The day begins in wisdom. Venus in Virgo is in a favorable aspect to Saturn in Scorpio. The wisdom is centered in supporting our souls. What does this work look like to you? The purifying aspects of both Virgo and Scorpio allow us to let go of another layer of stress, or shame, or overwhelm if we are ready. The Moon moves back into Virgo today. By the evening (CDT) the Moon forms a challenging aspect pattern with Mars and Neptune. We may experience a pushback of anger or a sudden release of tension from the purifying work of the morning. Neptune lulls us. Mars energizes us. The Moon calls our attention to the intersection of dream and action.

Moon in Virgo
Monday, September 22. Fall Equinox. Here comes the Great Exchange. This is how the equinoxes appear to me. The Sun is changing sides, moving from the northlands to the southlands. Whole-Earth awareness is strong during this shift. Pluto stationing direct today, after five months of retrograde motion, strengthens our awareness of Earth energy even more. Though no longer considered a planet by astronomers, Pluto has no problem making itself known to us. In truth, the Lord of the Underworld doesn’t need to be acknowledged at all. He rules the potency of death and transformation. Rebirth depends on this. The Moon is in harmonious relationship to Pluto as it stations. This intensifies grounded pragmatism and clarity. However, another aspect challenges that clarity. A square between Mars and Neptune could present problems this fall. The problem is a tendency to not think clearly about conflict, which could influence decisions about escalating wars. We’ll need to question the predominant fantasies about the warrior archetype and find the real nobility in action that is life affirming. Other influences this fall include a Mercury retrograde journey that will have us reviewing our partnerships, which will include alliances between nations. There also will be a lunar eclipse in Aries and a solar eclipse in Scorpio. Eclipses move destiny forward quickly. Mars in Capricorn will be triggering the ongoing square between Pluto and Uranus. The friction moves us farther along the path of paradigm change. Then in December, right before the winter solstice, Pluto and Uranus form the sixth of seven exact squares. With this list of transits, the fall doesn’t appear to a quiet time for the world. Practices and intentions we set in place now will help us remain mindful through it all.

Moon enters Libra 11:59 pm CDT

Tuesday, September 23. On the last day of the Virgo lunar cycle the desire is to turn inward, rest, and release for the new lunar cycle that begins tomorrow. Do not be surprised if you have low energy. Follow what your body is telling you. It isn’t time to engage the mind or will. Jupiter in Leo quincunx to Chiron in Pisces has us feeling the edges between ego and selflessness. Too much selfless compassion isn’t healthy to a thriving and effective identity. Too much attachment to self-importance and we lose connection with others. This is just one of the balancing acts we will be asked to perform this Libra season.

Moon in Libra

September 24—New Moon: Dreaming. The Moon in Libra joins the Sun. The invitation is to dream about this next lunar cycle, aligning our intentions with the energy of the season. Libra is the sign of balance. Over the years, I’ve made a lot of commitments to finding/having/learning more about balance. It is as if balance itself is the goal, and a not very easily attained one, I might add. But is balance in and of itself what we need? Or is balance a tool that helps us to act powerfully, magically, with presence and effectiveness? If we think of the astrological year as a story that begins in spring, once we have reached Libra, we are halfway through a year of development. At the halfway point, we are finally able to see across the span of the year with perspective. This perspective is one component to acquiring the tool of balance. Libra shows us that every part of ourselves and every part of our journeys require the mirror of perspective and relationship to attain completion. It isn’t enough to journey alone through the adventure of life. At some point we need partnership—a balance of perspective between what we know and what we have yet to learn.

Thinking over your life at this moment, what is giving you perspective, even if it is hard to accept? What type of perspective would be good to invite into your life right now? How would the tool of balance help you? Dream on these questions during this phase of the Moon.

With Pluto recently stationing direct, we still feel the opened gateway to the underworld. The power of transformation is flowing. Venus has a few more days of transiting through Virgo, and we continue to find beauty in order and elegant practices. The separating square between Mars and Neptune has influenced our fantasies. What helps you to know what dream is worthy of your next adventure? Take extra time to discern. Mercury is slowing down to turn retrograde on October 4. This will affect our goals to hone the tools of balance since Mercury will be moving backward through the sign of Libra. Jupiter in Leo gives an extra dose of confidence and daring. Take a risk to be more childlike. Develop your sense of wonder while Jupiter is here.

Moon in Libra

Thursday, September 25. Yesterday I wrote, “Jupiter in Leo gives an extra dose of confidence and daring. Take a risk to be more childlike.” This pertains even more to today. Jupiter gets a kick in the butt from Uranus. Both these planets are in fire signs, trining each other and amping up the energy to dare, to discover, and to change. These two planets will trine each other two more times while Jupiter is in Leo (until August 2015). If we have been stuck or hesitating over a decision, this transit gives us the sudden certainty to just do it. Know what you need before you respond to this energy—is it a kick in the pants or another moment to reconsider the implications of hasty actions?

Moon enters Scorpio 9:29 am CDT

Friday, September 26. Yesterday was a firecracker, today the energy deflates a bit and that is OK. The Moon moving into Scorpio gives us a reason to retreat. The sidelines can be a comfortable place to observe others. The Moon and Neptune make a watery connection. Tears could be closer to the surface. Let yourself feel.

 Moon in Scorpio

September 27—Crescent Moon: Beginning. Have you been thinking about the tool of balance? Over the last couple of days, big fire energy was followed by quieter water energy. Was that shift easy or difficult for you? Could the tool of balance help you make these kinds of transitions with more equilibrium? What is your tool of balance? What gives you perspective? Begin a journey with those tools today. Dedicate yourself to noticing when balancing occurs, what caused it, what effect did it have?

Mercury moves into Scorpio for a few days before retrograding back into Libra. The questions we ask are more penetrating and may even push some buttons. What do you really need to know?

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

Contact Teri at and visit her website at to learn about booking a reading of your chart.