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 January 11, 2015 – January 17

What is your essential nature? Have you ever given any thought to such a question? If you are reading an astrology column, most likely you have. Astrology is a good system for exploring the essence of who we are. My dictionary defines essence as “the intrinsic nature or indispensible quality of something.” It comes from the Latin verb “to be.” I am my essential nature. I am that I am. This lunar cycle*—which finds its intrinsic nature in the qualities of Capricorn—is well suited for digging deeper into exploring our essence. Capricorn rules the bones; it governs foundations and systems. That feels like essence to me. Capricorn is often linked to the symbol of a mountain. This cardinal earth sign reveals who we are from the beginning of the climb and who we aspire to become at the end. It isn’t always easy to see ourselves this clearly. Most people I know have a few blind spots; I sure do. But during this Capricorn season we have an opportunity to look a little deeper and bring illumination to hidden places in our essential natures.

At the beginning of this week (January 11), there are nine days left in the Capricorn lunar cycle. The Moon is waning. As we let go of this cycle over the next few days, we are reaching the essence of wisdom that this lunar cycle offers. We have a chance to look at the essence of our hopes, fears, self-judgments, and strengths right now. The first flush of the new year is beginning to subside. What if we bypass the usual judgments about whether we are being successful with our resolutions and look instead at the patterns behind those pledges? Within those patterns is the essence of what we are aspiring to become, not only as individuals but collectively too.

The mutable signs, Pisces and Sagittarius, add to the exploration of essence and patterns and become very important this year. Saturn recently entered Sagittarius and will be close to squaring Neptune in Pisces for the first few months of the year. The exact square will happen three times near the end of 2015 and twice more in 2016. The Saturn/Neptune cycle brings about adjustments in our ideals. These two planets come together to start a new cycle every 35 to 36 years. The most recent conjunction was in 1989. Now these planets are in a waning square aspect to each other, just like the Sun and Moon in the Last Quarter phase of the lunar cycle. We have the opportunity to evaluate how the natures of Pisces and Sagittarius help and hinder us in our aspirations. Neptune and Pisces lend compassionate idealism and also the possibility of delusion and fantasy. Saturn and Sagittarius bring a focus on “the foreigner” and fundamental beliefs. We are seeing once again in world events the clash between fundamentalism and “othering” of people who are not like us. There is a stronger possibility of mass hysteria under the influence of Neptune in Pisces square to Saturn in Sagittarius. This is something to look out for as we are tempted to make snap judgments about entire groups of people. Pisces influence increases this week with Mars moving into that sign for six weeks. Mars is passion. Mars in Pisces can be the heart-centered warrior. It can also be the desire to escape from pain-filled reality. The key to staying present may be to find the path of forgiveness for self and others.

Forecast for January 11, 2015 – January 17

Moon enters Libra 5:56 am CST

Sunday, January 11. The day is colored by the Moon moving into justice-loving Libra and the Sun in Capricorn making a paradoxical aspect with Jupiter in Leo. The Sun reminds us of the systems that influence and govern us and Jupiter reminds us of the value of individual expression and impact in the world. Some of us may feel that we are being unjustly confined to systems we don’t agree with. Some of us might also be involved in struggles fueled by ego. The way to change the system may be to acknowledge our passion around injustice and to work to create a system that affirms creativity and personal impact. We might have to make compromises to fit it all in.

Moon in Libra

Monday, January 12. Mars enters Pisces today. Be careful out there, our responses are shifting. We may not have the same filters as we are used to having. In other words, we might be triggered more easily and forget to shield against unwelcomed input from others. Mars is passionate expression. For the next six weeks, while Mars is in Pisces our passions will be influenced by idealism, compassion, with a dose of escapism and fantasy. We hate to hurt someone else’s feelings when Mars is in this sign, which could inhibit expression of will. With the Moon in Libra demanding justice, equality, fairness, we may have a hard time standing up for ourselves when we most need to. The Moon triggers the square between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn early this morning (CST). The day in the U.S. could start with tensions, conflicts, and fuzzy boundaries.

Moon enters Scorpio 5:44 pm CST

January 13—Last Quarter Moon: Evaluating. This Moon phase is an important turning point in a lunar cycle. The reality of it is we are evaluating the intentions we set at the beginning of this cycle (December 21). Before the Moon moves into Scorpio, we are evaluating through the lens of a Libra Moon to see what is out of balance. With the Sun in Capricorn, we could be especially self-critical about our efforts. We can use the evaluating perspective to see the patterns of our emotions and behavior. Time to let go of what doesn’t serve you in the long climb up the mountain of life and to make adjustments in what can be improved.

Venus is making a creative connection with Uranus. This aspect primes us to truly enjoy diversity, our quirky friends, a fresh point of view. Inspiration is coming from unusual sources. Be open. The changes we long for in the world depend on these types of connections. Later in the day, the Moon moves into Scorpio (fixed water sign) and makes a trine to Mars in Pisces (mutable water sign). Suddenly, emotional intelligence is the best kind to have.

Moon in Scorpio

Wednesday, January 14. The day begins with all kinds of possibilities opening before us, but as the day goes on we encounter more and more roadblocks. First, the inspiration: Mercury in Aquarius is sextile to Uranus (co-ruler of Aquarius). This connection sparks curiosity, inventiveness, and innovations. This detached, scientific approach could rub Scorpio Moon the wrong way, leaving some of us with hurt feelings and frustration. We really need to use both our rational, problem-solving side and our intuitive, empathic side to best approach many different challenges today. The mood could turn into repressed anger as Mars begins to form a square to Saturn (exact around midnight CST). A couple of days ago, Mars entered Pisces and we noticed a new shift in how we react. The opportunity with Mars in Pisces is to enhance emotional connection with others. The frustration comes from Saturn showing us the limits to wishful thinking. The obstacles we encounter could be valuable information for making realistic choices that ultimately serve our ideals.

Moon in Scorpio

Thursday, January 15. I won’t lie to you, this could be a downer of a day. Mars in Pisces square Saturn in Sagittarius starts the day with a sense that wishful thinking isn’t enough. This may be good news for some of you realists out there. A good use of this energy is to go back and clear up misunderstandings, refine some projects, possibly making them smaller and more doable, and seek integration of hard work and lofty dreams. The Moon in Scorpio squares Jupiter in Leo and this doesn’t much help. There’s some conflict brewing around egos. We might feel overly criticized or misunderstood. The Sun in Capricorn reminds us to honor our essences. Struggles can be part of the learning.

Moon enters Sagittarius 2:01 am CST

January 16—Balsamic Moon: Surrendering. Capricorn (the sign of this waning lunar cycle) is all about solid structures. We’ve had an opportunity to notice and influence the structures in our lives during this lunar cycle. Now we begin to truly let go of that to make room for the next cycle that begins on January 20 in Aquarius. The transition between building a structure and letting that structure go can be challenging. We have an opportunity to observe our transitions today as the Moon moves into the mutable fire sign (Sagittarius) joining Saturn there and squaring Mars and Neptune in the mutable water sign (Pisces). The mutable signs are shapeshifters. They aren’t much concerned with creating forms as they are with understanding and adapting to them. Forms change. If you are willing to accept that, this last phase of the Capricorn lunar cycle could feel profound and even welcomed.

The conflicts we may experience today are nuanced. Notice whether you are leaning too far in the direction of wishful thinking or if your tendency is to be really critical of yourself or others. Sometimes we throw up the shield of judgment when we don’t know where we stand. Getting used to shifting ground may be a good exercise to help you through the coming year of Saturn in Sagittarius square to Neptune in Pisces. We need our wits about us to avoid collective illusion but we also need courage to dare the vulnerability of caring a lot about this world. If there is only one way to be, I know the one I’d rather err on. How about you?

Moon in Sagittarius

Saturday, January 17. The fog of self-doubt lifts today (I hope). The Moon in Sagittarius contacts Mercury, Venus, and Jupiter in favorable ways. The signal is full steam ahead on the journey fueled by idealism, discovery, changing the world, and having good old-fashioned fun. These things can co-exist happily. Detoxify from some of the hard emotional places you’ve been lately. Those experiences are valuable but they aren’t the only truths we know. Soon, the next lunar cycle will begin in Aquarius. Notice how important community, collaborators, and visions for the future are becoming.


Read about the beginning of the Capricorn lunar cycle on my blog


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