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.

Women are showing up, have you noticed? Currently, Venus is undergoing a retrograde period, which began on July 25. Every 18 months, Venus takes this backwards journey and we suddenly begin to pay more attention to women. The glyph for Venus looks like a mirror. Some would say this is appropriate for a planet that represents women. The cultural stories about mirrors and women reinforce sexist labels about women being vain, self-absorbed, self-conscious, focused on exteriors. These are stories women fight against daily. But I see this mirror as a symbol of women reflecting back projections that have been placed upon them; for projections always tell us more about the one doing the projection than the one receiving it. The amazing power of Venus’ mirror can show us all kinds of projections and assumptions. Over the last few weeks, and until Venus stations direct on September 6, women will wield the mirror of illumination. Venus retrograde periods often bring women’s issues and women leaders to the forefront. We saw women daring to break silence and disrupt the status quo when Marissa Johnson and Mara Willaford took the stage at Bernie Sanders’ speech in Seattle last week to protest white supremacy. This action provoked much criticism about these women crossing a line, being inappropriate, daring to question progressive goodness. These are common ways women are critiqued for taking action. What are these criticisms telling us about ourselves? Venus is holding up a mirror.

This week starts with a trine between Venus in Leo (fixed fire) and Uranus in Aries (cardinal fire). This is the second of three times Venus and Uranus come into this aspect. Uranus is about change and disruption. In Aries, this planet has encouraged daring (Aries-like) actions to move culture forward. Venus in Leo shows flashes of the strength of a lion, the carefree abandon of a child, and the willingness to take center stage, when necessary, to change the world.

Another major influence of the week is a square between the Sun in Leo and Saturn in Scorpio (fixed water), exact on August 21. Saturn made a brief foray back into Scorpio and this square from the Sun in a going away gift from that journey. Saturn reenters Sagittarius (mutable fire) in September to stay for two more years. This aspect between the Sun and Saturn puts a damper on energy. The standard sources of carefree joy might not be working for you. This is not a permanent situation if you are concerned about depression, though depression should never be ignored. Saturn is reminding us to take ourselves seriously. Sometimes this means giving ourselves a little extra self-care and love.

The week ends with the Sun’s ingress into Virgo (mutable earth) on August 23. This lunar cycle is influenced by the edge between Leo fire and Virgo earth. How do you experience the exchange between these elements? Given the Saturn/Sun square earlier in the week, we might react to this shift as burdensome drudgery. There is always another side to this influence, however. Earthy grounding is the basis for longevity and sustainability.

Forecast for August 17, 2015—August 23

Moon enters Libra 3:22 pm CDT
Monday, August 17.
The Moon in Virgo (mutable earth) makes a favorable sextile aspect to Saturn in Scorpio (fixed water) this morning and gets this Monday off to an industrious start. A lack of other transits means we don’t have a lot of distractions, either. This is a good day to make and begin to tackle your to do list for the end of summer. Perhaps we feel the need to take a break when the Moon enters Libra. Where do you find equilibrium?

Moon in Libra
August 18—Crescent Moon: Beginning. During this lunar cycle, we shift from Leo (fixed fire) to Virgo (mutable earth) influences. A primary part of the work of this cycle is navigating the shift between personal expression (Leo’s gift) to selfless service (Virgo’s devotion). I keep thinking about taking the flame into the temple. Leo helps us anchor life force energy. This energy, symbolized by the Sun, sustains our wills, creativity, and passions. I often think of storing up this light for the darker seasons ahead. After charging our batteries, if you will, it is time to initiate the industrious season of Virgo. We are at our peak, energetically, and we can sense that there is a lot to do. The caution is to not take on too much at once or expect perfection, which can undo so much of the Leo energy resource. As the crescent phase begins today, think about how you will tend your energy in the coming weeks. Virgo encourages us to find systems of holistic well being, and the best way forward is one day at a time. The Moon in Libra is supportive of finding a balanced approach to life. Mars in Leo is helping us along today; there is still plenty of solar light to store and enjoy. By the early evening, we may notice an edge creeping into relationships with the Moon forming a square to Pluto. Some will want to get things out in the open. Others will want to sweep them under the rug. Use your discernment about whether to push or yield.

Moon in Libra
Wednesday, August 19.
Watch out for women making a statement today. The trine between Venus in Leo (fixed fire) and Uranus in Aries (cardinal fire) encourages bold actions. Filters are low and what comes through may be fueled by long-held frustrations. The Moon in Libra (cardinal air, ruled by Venus) is getting in on the action too, opposing Uranus and encouraging Venus through a sextile. You may want to roar today. I say, “Go for it.” Chiron in Pisces (mutable water) is the undercurrent to this rebellious energy. This undercurrent is sensitive, compassionate, and feels the shared wounding of injustice strongly.

Moon enters Scorpio 4:24 am CDT
Thursday, August 20.
Yesterday’s energy was a little more impulsive than today’s. Perhaps you regret or want to reconsider something you did, or perhaps you see that with the release comes more work that is intentional and determined. Mercury in Virgo (mutable earth) is a diligent expression of Mercury’s thinking/communicating process. Today, that Mercury opposes empathic Chiron in Pisces (mutable water) and, more significantly, is quincunx Uranus in Aries (cardinal fire). Strange word, quincunx. It is the aspect of strangeness and being driven to resolve paradox or stress. Change may not happen smoothly but we are figuring it out. The Moon in Scorpio (fixed water) encourages self-honesty. Otherwise, we tend to project our stories onto others. Tonight, a square between the Moon and Mars in Leo (fixed fire) may show up as the last straw. Solitude is not a bad choice, unless you really need to get something expressed. There is a dual level to things: fiery insensitivity and watery woundedness may provoke misunderstandings.

Moon in Scorpio
Friday, August 21.
The pressure is on. This Leo season (mid-summer frolicking) has not felt as carefree as years’ past. Two primary reasons, Venus is retrograding through Leo (fixed fire), causing self-consciousness and internal processing, and Saturn in Scorpio (fixed water) has been forming squares to Jupiter, Venus, and the Sun in Leo. Today, the last of these squares occurs. Saturn square the Sun reminds us of our personal responsibilities and obligations. We remember that at the end of summer, we have work to do and may be feeling the pressure to excel. Scorpio, itself, is an internal sign of figuring out our deepest motivations, so we may not be feeling particularly extroverted during this transit. Best to use this time to set goals and reorient yourself to the next season ahead.

Moon enters Sagittarius 3:41 pm CDT
August 22—First Quarter Moon: Manifesting. I’ve been paying attention to the edges between signs, allowing each lunar intention to be influenced by this edge. Holding the edge takes a different way of perceiving. It stretches us to adapt to complexity and increases our capacity to sense into separate strands of experience. The current lunar cycle is influenced by the edge between Leo (fixed fire) and Virgo (mutable earth). There are a lot of opportunities to expand and stretch with this edge. Perhaps you are noticing the edge between ego and devotion to something outside yourself. Perhaps the edge is between creative freedom and commitment to service. Perhaps the edge is between judgment of self vs. judgment of others. Whatever your particular edge, notice what you feel passionate about right now. The phase of manifestation is about engaging with desire. Both signs (Leo and Virgo) can be allies for that journey.

Before the Moon turns to Sagittarius this afternoon (CDT), we notice there is work to do. The Moon contacts Saturn, reemphasizing the need for personal responsibility felt yesterday. The quincunx between Mars in Leo and Neptune in Pisces (mutable water) opens up intuitive channels if we just let go. The Moon enters Sagittarius (mutable fire) and makes a square to Jupiter in Virgo (mutable earth) this afternoon. The contrast between freedom and obligation is noticeable.

Moon in Sagittarius.
Sunday, August 23. The Sun enters Virgo (mutable earth) today. For many this is a time of going back to school, which is a good metaphor for Virgo energy even if you aren’t doing that. The desire to get our lives in shape is very noticeable. Virgo, the Virgin, is the priestess, devotee, servant, healer, accountant, computer programmer, and crafter of the zodiac. Virgo knits together unconnected details that then become a whole cloth. Industry meets perfectionism in a dance to learn discernment and balance. Today, that dance is influenced by two other mutable signs: the Moon in Sagittarius (fire) is square to Neptune in Pisces (water). When there is a lot of mutability, it can be hard to focus. Attention is easily distracted, especially under Neptune influence. Bring a diffused by gentle attention to the day. Tuning into our bodies helps us to know when we’ve drifted too far. The fiery Moon makes a trine to Mars and Venus in Leo. On August 31, Mars and Venus will come together in a conjunction. We feel that alignment of passion and joy today, too.

* Read about the beginning of the Leo/Virgo lunar cycle on my website

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