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 May 11, 2015—May 17

Way back in March, (Remember March?) a new astrological year got underway when the Sun entered Aries. The Vernal Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere begins a new wheel of the year. In the sign of Aries, we push out from hibernation into growth and change. In the following sign, Taurus, we set the roots that help us anchor intentions for growth. At the last New Moon,* that process of anchoring began. Now, as this lunar cycle winds down, it is time to reflect, evaluate, and transition to the next phase of the journey. Something new is coming. Something new is always coming–a refinement, an added layer of experience, another point of view to be folded into the journey. What is coming is Gemini (mutable air), an energy that is about as far as you can get from the solid rootedness of Taurus (fixed earth), and it’s just the next sign over. What I’m talking about are the moods of Spring—the way things get started, rooted, and dispersed into the burgeoning year.

Even though the Sun is still in Taurus and the lunar cycle still has one week left in it, a noticeable shift is coming. It will be more Gemini-like, more mutable, more of that thing we do when we get bored and need a change, something new to intrigue us. For the first part of this lunar cycle, we felt the delicious sensation of sinking into our bodies, drinking in the beauty of Spring, grabbing hold of the renewing gifts of the Earth. For the first part of the lunar cycle, we enjoyed Mars’ presence in Taurus alongside the Sun. On Monday, Mars moves into Gemini and it could feel like the bottom just dropped out of the solid grounding we’ve been working on. Is it our lack of focus or nature itself asking us to diversify our attentions? Gemini encourages pollination. There is so much yummy goodness out there and so little time to drink it all in. We get busier.

Another important factor is that Mercury is in Gemini, as well, and preparing to turn retrograde the day after the next New Moon (May 17). Mercury’s retrogrades encourage adaptability and nimbleness as we deal with unexpected disruptions in communication, travel, and systems of all kinds. So, the major dichotomy of the week is that we aren’t done with the Taurus experience yet we are already feeling Gemini tempting us to stray from solid intentions. Stay present. This next week, well actually, the next month will be a fascinating time to observe our busy minds. Don’t leave behind the roots you’ve placed under the important changes inaugurated in the Aries season (March and April). Imagine you are a breathing tree. Air (Gemini influence) is drawn into your leaves and travels down into your roots. The more rooted a tree, the better it can withstand the storms that blow it around. We’ll undoubtedly need that flexibility and rootedness in the next lunar cycle.

Forecast for May 11, 2015—May 17 

Moon enters Pisces 9:53 pm CDT
May 11—Last Quarter Phase: Evaluating. This is the wisdom phase of the lunar cycle. Wisdom is more than knowledge. Wisdom is being able to apply one’s knowledge skillfully to achieve a desired result. If this lunar cycle has been about grounding our new beginnings into sustainable manifestation, then what have you learned about your foundations and how will you apply that knowledge to your life? The Last Quarter phase is formed when the Moon makes a square aspect to the Sun. Today, the Moon in Aquarius (fixed air) is square to the Sun in Taurus (fixed earth). The wisdom of this interaction comes from discerning how to make room for very different agendas. The Aquarian agenda is forward-thinking and very much about the mind. The Taurean agenda is rooted in the here and now, and likes things very much the way they are. In the extreme, these viewpoints battle each other. But when there is compromise, they help us to be more balanced, centered, and open—the very best qualities that air and earth have to offer.

The relationship between earth and air is emphasized by Mars’ entry into Gemini (mutable air) today. Remember the grounding cord you’ve been developing (hopefully) this lunar cycle as Mars multiplies thoughts and distractions. The good side of this influence is we get to stretch farther and learn more. There may be a bump in the road this evening (CDT) when the Moon moves into sensitive Pisces (mutable water) and makes a square to Mars.

Moon in Pisces
Tuesday, May 12. “Picture yourself on a boat in a river with tangerine trees and marmalade skies.” The temptation to drift into fantasy and reverie is strong today. Mutable signs are the culprits. The Moon in Pisces (water) makes a square to Saturn in Sagittarius (fire), a conjunction to Neptune in Pisces, and another square to Mercury in Gemini (air). Mutable signs are the information synthesizers. With so much information bombarding our systems, some of us may need to tune out in that marmalade-sky way. Another option is to practice good self-care. Turn off the distractions (maybe even social media!) and see what new insights you can discover on your own. 

Moon in Pisces
Wednesday, May 13. Not a lot is happening today by transit. Good activities for a gentle Moon in Pisces day might be: feed your spirit, take a break from taking care of others, spend time in nature (especially near water), develop a deeper relationship with your intuition, or any activity which helps you focus inward. If your day won’t allow for this kind of dedicated self-care, still be gentle with yourself. As the Moon wanes into darkness, practice releasing stress and expectations. 

Moon enters Aries 12:13 am CDT
May 14—Balsamic Moon: Surrendering. This lunar cycle began on April 18 at 28 degrees Aries—near the end of that sign and the beginning of Taurus. During the previous Moon phases we’ve had the opportunity to root our fiery beginnings into supportive Earth. What did you notice about the relationship between these two elements? With the Moon reentering Aries again today, we come full circle. That is what the Balsamic phase is all about. T.S. Eliot said just as much in his famous line, “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” If we’ve been doing the mindful work of this lunar cycle, then we know the energies of beginnings and anchoring those beginnings a little better. However, we don’t cease the exploration, another cycle begins soon.

The Moon encourages planets in air and fire signs today, and there are several, giving a speedy, sparkly tone to the day. In the wee hours, Mars in Gemini (mutable air) is stimulated, we wake up curious and interested in what the day will bring. The Moon trine to Saturn in Sagittarius (mutable fire) helps us to feel productive and capable. Jazzed and ready to go, we may stumble upon the need to process emotion with a friend or partner. Venus in Cancer (cardinal water) is saying, don’t forget to connect with those you love. Air and fire energies can forget that. Later in the day, the sextile between the Moon and Mercury in Gemini (mutable air) helps us to talk it over. A significant opposition between Mars and Saturn builds to a crescendo tomorrow. We take our truths and our intellectual interests seriously. Conflict over belief is noticed. The planets in water signs right now (Venus, Chiron, and Neptune) help us soften hard stances and move into our hearts.

Moon in Aries
Friday, May 15.
Fire can spark glorious creativity and it can spark conflict. Fire’s job in the zodiac is to initiate, differentiate, and release potential. Today’s fire emphasis—the Moon in Aries (cardinal fire), Saturn in Sagittarius (mutable fire) and Uranus in Aries—provides the fuel for such experiences. Mars in Gemini (mutable air) opposes Saturn today. We may notice conflict around beliefs. With the Moon squaring both Pluto and Uranus today, there is a better chance that the conflict could be quite volatile, especially in areas of the world that are under a lot of pressure around beliefs, poverty, and injustice. We all feel a need to release pressure. What is your preferred method?

Moon enters Taurus 2:02 am CDT
Saturday, May 16.
Welcome the Moon’s return to an earth sign. Notice the edge between fire and earth—the theme of this lunar cycle. Tomorrow a new lunar cycle begins and a new edge will be explored. The Moon relaxes into supportive aspects with Neptune in Pisces (mutable water) and Venus in Cancer (cardinal water). Venus and Neptune fall into each other’s embrace with a trine. This could be a lovely day if we are able to shake off yesterday’s tensions. It is easier to think well of each other when we realize that everyone is in the same boat trying their best. 

Moon in Taurus
May 17—New Moon: Dreaming. (New Moon happens on the 18th in the Eastern Time Zone). It’s a new lunar cycle and a new edge to explore. Since the lunations for the next 12 months occur in the last part of a sign, meaning the Sun will move into the next sign before the Full Moon happens, we have the opportunity to explore the edges between conjoining signs. The edge for the cycle beginning today is between Taurus (fixed earth) and Gemini (mutable air). Every season begins with a Cardinal sign, is anchored by the Fixed and is mutated by the Mutable sign. By “mutated,” I mean the raw material of the season is alchemically transformed into a precious essence and then released so a new season can begin. Mutable signs are often passed over as not being as intense or impactful as the cardinal and fixed signs—this is especially true of Gemini—but I am proposing that this isn’t true at all. These signs of distillation, synthesis, and transmutation provide important transitions in the journey of life. These are the signs of the Magician. Their work is essential.

So what is the work of Gemini? The season gives us hints. Look around, nature has blossomed (in the Northern Hemisphere) into a plethora of forms. An incredible array of flowers are beckoning to the pollinators: “Visit me! Visit me! Visit me!” So much yearning to satisfy! Gemini complies by responding to all those enticing calls, being busy as a little bee. Gemini’s magic employs curiosity, an interest in connecting with as many others as possible, and a lightening of Taurus heaviness. Roots are in place. Now, to flourish, plants must share genetic material. Gemini is a sexy sign in that way.

 One of the ways Fixed signs and Mutable signs differ is in how they manage their truths. Fixed signs tend to hold fast. Mutable signs tend to change forms. The essence of the edge between Taurus and Gemini is to explore the ways we hold onto our certainties and the ways we evolve by letting them go. My intention for this lunar cycle is to reconsider my certainties, inviting the opportunity to refine what I want to keep and release what I don’t.

The most striking things about this New Moon chart are that Mars and Saturn are in opposition and Mercury is poised to turn retrograde tomorrow. As the trickster ruler of Gemini, Mercury will play hard with our certainties. Mars and Saturn are at a standoff. The more we dig into what we think is true, the harder it will be to flow into the pollinating potential of this lunar cycle. The trouble is we don’t want to be too wishy washy and give up our beliefs too easily. After all, the Sun and Moon are still in Taurus. So there is an edge. Flexibility is an asset, but so is standing firm. Find your edge and open to the possibilities.

*Read about the beginning of the Aries/Taurus lunar cycle on my blog


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