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 23, 2014 – November 29

The sky is a repository for collective truths, not just for humans, but also for many (perhaps all) creatures. Animals migrate by the sky. Plants orient themselves to the sky. Humans place their important stories in the sky and call them constellations. Truth is information, a meaningful story, which serves a purpose. As nights become longer (in the Northern Hemisphere) and the sky spreads out its stories in a blaze of starlight, we are called to look up and ponder truths. Sagittarius is the season of truth and night sky. The wonder of it all leads to the telling of truths.

Truth is a two-edged sword if there ever was one. It’s easy to see examples of the type of truth that destroys—the type of truth that is too tightly held because we fear uncertainty, the type of truth that conveniently filters out the conflicting truths of others, the type of truth that refuses to evolve and so becomes a crutch or a weapon. It is easy to see examples of these truths, which can deaden our spirits, becoming bludgeons instead of inspirations. But it doesn’t have to be this way. There is another type of truth that is as easily available to us and is indeed our birthright—the type of truth that creates expansion, possibility, and delight. This lunar cycle in Sagittarius* is an opportunity to cultivate the type of truth that frees us.

If cultivating the truth that frees us is a lunar intention for the Sagittarius cycle, then we can follow a series of steps towards this intention. As a suggestion, I offer these steps:

1) Remember how it feels, this liberating truth. I happen to find the night sky a perfect place to find this feeling. Whatever wonder inspires you, breathe it in. Notice the difference between the truth that imprisons and the truth that frees. Breathe that in and affirm that we have the ability to recognize this truth. Let’s not accept substitutes.

2) Develop discernment. Notice the difference between illuminating truth and fundamentalist truth. (Here’s a hint: this doesn’t mean the difference between my illumination and another’s wrongheadedness.) This is tricky. It is easy to be enamored by our own insight. “Yes, this is it! Now, everyone just do what I say!” It is equally as easy to criticize someone else’s truth for being idiotic or destructive. For me the real skill comes from noticing my own stories. Which of them create my freedom and which prolong my suffering? As the lunar cycle waxes, let’s develop practices or memory devices (a felt sense) that help us to know the difference.

3) Keep practicing and exploring. Perhaps at the Full Moon, a new insight and integration will occur that helps us even more to notice our stories and truths for the ways they affect us.

4) Celebrate the shifts. If the Sagittarian quest is to find the liberating truth, then don’t hold back when you experience it! Sagittarius is an expansive sign. The influx of life force energy is crucial for our health. Joy is a tonic.

5) Support others when you see them reframing their stories, when they tell a truth that inspires, when they add to the realm of possibility. We can help each other to escape our prisons. Let down the walls.

Forecast for November 23, 2014 – November 29

Moon in Sagittarius

Sunday, November 23. Yesterday’s New Moon is still in operation. What are you dreaming up for this lunar cycle of expansion? How will you broaden your horizons? How will you develop a better sense of what liberating truth feels like? We may feel strongly that we need to take on a learning project. Do you need to go back to school, get that certification, or network with experts in your field? Let the mutable fire of Sagittarius burn off some of the heaviness of the Scorpio lunar cycle. As the week goes on, we will feel more of this expansion. Today, the mood is mixed. Chiron in Pisces stations direct, increasing the tendency to take things personally. Vulnerability can feel overwhelming. We are sensitized to the suffering of others. Yet in the midst of this empathy we feel the grand fire trine between the Moon, Uranus, and Jupiter energizing us to take action.

Moon enters Capricorn 10:31 am CST

Monday, November 24. Is it yes or no? We feel the push and pull between Sagittarius and Capricorn today. Sagittarius says yes first and then thinks about it. Capricorn likes to immediately say no, and then reconsider. What lies between your yes and no? Mars in Capricorn is quincunx Jupiter (ruler of Sagittarius) in Leo. The quincunx aspect feels like we are yo-yoing back and forth between paradoxical stances. Paradox illuminates unexpected truths. Yes and no blend. Perspective expands when we accept limitations. Conflicts could occur around the tensions between external authority (Capricorn) and self-determination (Leo).

Moon in Capricorn

November 25—Crescent Moon: Beginning. The words of “To Dream the Impossible Dream” are running through my head right now. The song is about Don Quixote, a dreamer who was willing to do whatever was required for his dream.

“To dream the impossible dream …To fight the unbeatable foe …To bear with unbearable sorrow …To run where the brave dare not go …To right the unrightable wrong …To love pure and chaste from afar …To try when your arms are too weary …To reach the unreachable star”

The big Sagittarian dream, “the unreachable star,” feels just a little overwhelming right now, but the mood will lighten. Knowing that, can you acknowledge how important your dreams are? It makes sense that we care deeply and are willing “to fight the unbeatable foe.” The Moon makes a tense contact with the Pluto/Uranus square. We are more aware under the idealism of a Sagittarian lunar cycle that we must be the change we want to see in the world. Under the Crescent phase of the Moon, notice the strength of your dreams. They give us the impetus to begin again and again.

Mercury in Scorpio conjoins Saturn perhaps contributing to the feeling of being burdened by our dreams. But the reality check is good. It contributes to the goal of ruthlessly appraising the stories we tell ourselves. Let’s discern between a dream that imprisons and a dream that frees.

Moon enters Aquarius 1:23 pm CST

Wednesday, November 26. I said it would feel less burdensome as the week goes on and today is when we notice the shift. Tomorrow’s holiday may be contributing to the uplift, but we are also less conflicted about acting in alignment with our dreams. The trine between Venus in Sagittarius and Uranus in Aries invites in the allies who will support not only our dreams but also our awakenings. Connect with others who inspire you and bring inspiration to your gatherings of friends and family. What if we are the ones we’ve been waiting for? Fires need to be fed. The Sagittarian fire will feed our dreams if we feed its flame with joy. When the Moon moves into Aquarius, the focus becomes even more about revolutionizing our lives. As long as we can change, there is hope. The day ends (CST) with a square between Venus and Chiron. Compassion and joy can occupy the same heart. Perhaps this is the best way to begin our Thanksgivings.

Moon in Aquarius

Thursday, November 27. U.S. Thanksgiving. With the Moon in Aquarius, political discussions are on tap for this Thanksgiving holiday. This can create a delicious sense of righteousness if everyone at the table agrees with us, or a fraught sense of judgment if they don’t. What a perfect opportunity to expand beyond our limited truths to see more nuance and variation. In the introduction to the week, I suggested this Sagittarian lunar cycle would be a good opportunity to cultivate the truth that frees us. We’ve been spinning through the same cycles of conflict for a long time. What is a new way to create a world of liberating truth? Mercury leaves Scorpio for Sagittarius tonight (CST) leaving Saturn all alone in Scorpio to mull over the darkness. Thoughts become a little less obsessive and we feel infinitely more curious and social.

 Moon enters Pisces 4:03 pm CST

Friday, November 28. In the early part of the day (CST) the Moon forms a t-square pattern with Jupiter in Leo and Saturn in Scorpio. I’ll be honest; I am not a big fan of Black Friday. I never shop on the day after Thanksgiving. With this t-square, the mood in the malls could be both volatile and leaden. It is probably better to ally with the oppressed workers and leave your own shopping for later. With the entrance of the Moon into Pisces, we want to shut off social input and relax. Release could take the form of seeing a movie, going to bed early, enjoying a long bath or escaping in a TV show or book.

Moon in Pisces

November 29—First Quarter Moon: Manifesting. The angle between the Sun and Moon at the First Quarter phase represents an opening square aspect. A square presents a challenge to the status quo. Under the theory of lunar magic and mindfulness, this challenge is essential to the process of manifesting our intentions and becoming aware of our issues. Today the Moon in Pisces forms a square to the Sagittarius Sun. Pisces presents a new point of view that needs to be integrated for progress to occur. Pisces and Sagittarius have intriguing similarities and subtle but distinct differences, giving us a chance to broaden awareness and intention. Both signs are ruled by Jupiter and both signs have a tendency to move outward towards meaning and truth. The main difference is in style and impact—Pisces, following the path of water and Sagittarius, the path of fire. What does fire want to do? Shed light, transform, consume, give heat—these are a few of the instincts of fire. These instincts are part of this month’s potential, since this is the Sagittarius season. What does water want to do? Flow, dissolve, merge, sink down—these are a few of the instincts of water. How does the instinct of water challenge and help your intentions for this season? The graceful combining of water and fire is alchemical magic. What is the magic you are called to perform? As the Moon in Pisces forms a square to Venus in Sagittarius this evening (CST), the alchemical mixing takes place in social or interpersonal situations. How do we reach across differences?

* Read about the beginning of the Sagittarius lunar cycle (November 22) on my blog

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