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 for November 16, 2014 – November 22

If this month of Scorpio has been a journey to the underworld, then in this last week of the Scorpio lunar cycle* we may ask ourselves, what is the treasure I bring back from the journey? Down and up. The imperative in the Scorpio season is to touch the other world of shadows, death, and depth. A magnetic pull draws us down, however the journey into that world is not finished until we return. The return is important. The return is the valuable integration of insight and transformation that we receive in this experience. The return is the gift to ourselves and others.

How do we know the gift? In my experience with these underworld journeys, my gifts aren’t always nicely wrapped and labeled upon my return. Heck, sometimes I‘m not even aware that I’ve made a return. And that can be a problem. I’ve learned it is good to bring attention to the end of a transformative experience. It is good to give my thanks and find my way back to the world that I live in. I invite you to use this last week of the Scorpio lunar cycle to consciously return from your journey. Think over the last three weeks. Where have you been? Then notice the change in direction. Notice the change in emotional awareness; what are you drawn to now? Give thanks. I thank my ancestors and the underworld realm itself. I thank the process of exchange between death and life. I am grateful to be part of that profound dance. Finally, act “as if.” This last piece is secret magical advice. Sometimes the magic happens because we act “as if” it already has. Acting “as if” is a commitment to something you’ve learned or felt during this lunar cycle. Act as if the Scorpio lunar cycle was a gift from the underworld and act as if it can change the world.

Mercury in Scorpio is actively contacting other planets this week, which is just about perfect. Mercury, aka Hermes in Greek myth, is the psychopomp, or soul guide to the underworld. Hermes and Persephone are the only ones in Greek story who can make the journey down and back. Mythically, Mercury is a major player in the story of return. Astrologically, Mercury represents thought, communication, travel, and the inventive spirit. Mercury in Scorpio splits our attention. A big part of this attention goes to the inner experience and we notice that there are people we feel safe with and others who may be a threat in some way. However, when we do reach out under this influence, we want the contact with another to be honest and deep. Superficial experiences seem pointless. This is a quality that will aid our focus on the return—deepening to truly listen to ourselves, taking time to remember where we’ve been, and feeling the gratitude that rises up naturally when we are ready to rejoin life.

When we are ready, when we’ve made the return, the Sagittarian impulse takes over (the next lunar cycle). Venus enters Sagittarius at the beginning of this week and the Sun and Moon join together at the very beginning of Sagittarius on November 22. The motion from Scorpio to Sagittarius is down and then up and out, really far out. The gifts of the underworld journey are spread throughout the starry night, illuminating the darkness with meaning and purpose. And that is a story to be developed in the next lunar cycle.

Forecast for November 16, 2014 – November 22

Moon in Virgo

Sunday, November 16. Pragmatic contact with the right people today encourages a sense of empowerment. It feels great to be understood. It feels empowering to get our message across. Mercury in Scorpio is sextile Pluto in Capricorn. This favorable aspect between these two planets gives strength and substance to our thoughts and words. Notice when you feel connected to your own strength. What insights arise? Remember your return journey from the depths of your soul (see introduction to this week’s forecast) that the Scorpio season offers. What understanding do you bring back? Venus enters Sagittarius. There is a distinct shift away from introversion to expansion. Suddenly, we want to plan holiday parties.

Moon enters Libra 1:30 pm CST

Monday, November 16. The quincunx between Uranus and Mercury has us stretching to understand strange new ideas. Ideas are powerful, just as the words we use to express those ideas are important. What challenges your perception of reality? Uranus’s prime directive is to wake us up to change. Are you ready? Mercury in watery Scorpio also contacts Chiron in watery Pisces. What role does compassion play in helping you welcome uncomfortable new ideas? Identifying with someone else’s pain supports open mindedness. Thoughts turn to justice with the Moon entering Libra. Is it possible to apply the sensations of empathy and enlightenment to this desire for fairness?

Moon in Libra

November 17—Balsamic Moon: Surrendering. The “surrendering” of this phase of the Moon isn’t about giving up or diminishing the value we have gained from the experiences of the lunar cycle. The surrendering I am talking about is the last bit of magic we perform in any effective spell—letting go of attachment to outcome. The journey has been taken. We’ve attained the gifts and lessons. We’ve tried our best. Now, it is time to move on. This process also prepares the ground for laying new intentions at the New Moon on November 22. How good are you at letting go? The Scorpio journey gives us ample opportunity to experience the continuum between extreme attachment all the way to a dramatic purging and cleansing. When faced with the uncertainties of transformation, how do you respond? Where is the healthy balance point for you?

The Sun in Scorpio conjoins Saturn today. This once-a-year transit is a time to check in with Saturn goals. We are in the mood to take things more seriously and we may notice how we react when asked to let go. Self-compassion helps us to relax the grip just a little. The Moon in justice-loving Libra contacts Pluto and Uranus by stress-producing aspects today. Late tonight the Moon squares Mars in Capricorn also feeding into the tension and reactivity. As I write this, I am aware that we are waiting for the grand jury decision in the Michael Brown shooting. Injustices have created a tinderbox of volatile emotion. Whether that tinderbox is inflamed today or not, this is the kind of tension associated with the square between Uranus and Pluto. Untenable structures are being revealed (Pluto in Capricorn) and we become more and more ready to make profound change (Uranus in Aries). The next exact square (6th of 7 in total) happens on December 14. The way we approach the change we want to see in the world is as important as the change we wish to see. Using the wisdom of the Scorpio journey, how will you be part of this change?

Moon enters Scorpio 11:31 pm CST

Wednesday, November 19. It may be hard to find the harmony that a Libra Moon craves as the day starts. Even with a favorable contact with hope-inducing Jupiter, the Moon’s contact with Mars puts a damper on our hopes. Anger could be present. The last days of a lunar cycle can leave us feeling uninterested in starting anything new. However, if you are feeling anxious or frustrated, it may help to break up the day with exercise or physical activity of some kind.

Moon in Scorpio

Thursday, November 20. The temptation to fall in love today is strong. Venus squares Neptune and a little bit of each of us is ready to cast good sense to the wind and believe this new love (whether it is a person or an idea) is the best ever! The heart is a muscle that needs to be exercised. Feelings of expansive connection to others is necessary to keep our hearts toned, even if the new infatuation turns out not to be that good for us. Venus has just entered Sagittarius and this transit is her initiation into this fire sign. Begin to dream big and notice how attractive adventure, truth, and meaning can be. Freedom is the Siren’s call.

 Moon in Scorpio

Friday, November 21. On the last day of the Scorpio lunar cycle honor the deep journey, give thanks for the unseen world, and return to the living world. Mercury, the guide of souls, makes an encouraging contact with Mars in Capricorn. We feel energized by deep release. Transformation is possible and we can use this experience to build strong foundations. The Moon in Scorpio touches Mars and Mercury as well, adding a level of emotional satisfaction. Remember this when the Moon squares Jupiter and conjoins Saturn later today. Self-doubt and negative self-talk could creep in. This is not why we took the underworld journey. Find another way to honor your soul.

 Moon enters Sagittarius

November 22—New Moon: Dreaming. Scientists just successfully landed a spacecraft on a comet. Do we really have to accept the tired, old limitations of the past? Sagittarius is the sign of expansion, exploration, and freedom from confinement. Imagine an impossible goal—your own comet soaring through a frozen darkness—and leap towards it. There is a distinct possibility you could nail the landing.

This is the second lunar cycle in a row that begins at 0 degrees (the very first degree of a sign). The pattern will hold for the Capricorn and Aquarius lunar cycles as well. What this means is that the Sun and Moon enter Sagittarius at the same time. This doesn’t happen often and it feels like a supercharging of the lunar cycle and the sign’s season all at the same time. We felt this last month with Scorpio. The same is true this cycle. Supercharged Sagittarius is fun! Really, if you happen to be a person who is suspicious of fun this could be the challenge for you—to dare to embrace joy as we seek life’s meaning and purpose. It takes all types to complete the human family. The Sagittarius type can be criticized for having too much fun, but this isn’t fair. There is purpose here too. One that I can think of is the renewal of fire’s energy after a somewhat gloomy, waterlogged Scorpio season. We need to re-kindle joy. It helps us move forward.

 Jupiter is the ruler of Sagittarius. In the New Moon chart, Jupiter in Leo is square to Mercury and Saturn in Scorpio. Perhaps we feel the push and pull between joy and somber realities. Rather than make anyone the bad guy, how do we make room for both as we transition into the Sagittarius season? Truth sometimes feels simple but is actually quite complex and contradictory. When we latch onto a too-simple truth, a bit of us knows we are only fooling ourselves. This is a good way to look at the dynamic between Jupiter and Saturn right now. Saturn and Mercury are making sure we don’t settle for the simplistic truth.

Complexity doesn’t end there. The square between the Sun and Moon to Neptune in Pisces represents another possible dead end on our way to fun and meaning. I’m just going to share Neptune’s bad side here (squares can bring that side out). Neptune has a tendency to melt everything together. Yet, we need boundaries and definition. We are not all alike, nor do we have to devolve into one gloopy mess in order to find The Truth. Diversity is good. Challenge to my beliefs can lead to more meaning and even more fun. Are you up for this type of challenge to your worldview?

Begin to dream about your own personal comet right now. How will fun play a role in daring to begin your next adventure? Opening our minds can be so liberating!

* Read about the beginning of the Scorpio lunar cycle (October 23) on my blog

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