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.

Venus will turn direct this week. If you’ve read my forecasts, or just about any astrologer’s forecast recently, you’ve heard about the current Venus retrograde. This is one of those subtle transits, not particularly rare (happens every 18 months), and easily overlooked. This time, however, it seems to have made its mark in people’s lives. I’ve been wondering why this time? Venus’ cycles are fantastically uniform and cosmically beautiful. Every 18 months, Venus stations retrograde. Over the course of eight years, Venus stations retrograde five times forming a perfect pentacle. The points of the pentacle slowly move through the complete zodiac, but currently the points are in these signs: Capricorn, Gemini, Scorpio, Aries, and Leo. Each of these signs gives a different flavor to Venus’ retrograde. The current retrograde, which ends on September 6, is in Leo. Leo’s mission is to transmit light to the world through creativity, play, and romance. The Lion is a noble sign that often can get befoibled (thanks Caroline Casey) by the ego’s need to be important, noticed, worthy. This has been an incredibly vulnerable-feeling Venus retrograde period (since July 25) due to this Leo-fueled drive to know we matter. Because it is Venus, the real desire becomes to know we are loved.

How do you know you are loved? The question I’ve been asking myself is how do I really and truly love myself? It isn’t so easy when Leo fears tell us we are only loveable when we are shiny and bright. Sometimes we are shiny and bright, but often we aren’t. Yet we can still we can love ourselves. We can still matter.

Self-love is not a simple thing. I’m not even sure I understand how to do it. Venus retrograde is an opportunity to get under something, learn a new and deeper lesson. I have been pondering something I read in James Baldwin’s brilliant book on racism, The Fire Next Time. The statement stopped me in my tracks, felt vitally important, and also quite mysterious. It feels like a new insight on self-love.

He wrote: “White people…have quite enough to do in learning how to accept and love themselves and each other, and when they have achieved this—which will not be tomorrow and may very well be never—the Negro problem will no longer exist, for it will no longer be needed.” By the “Negro problem” I think he meant white peoples’ problems with Negros, which could also be called racism. What an amazing statement this is. And what does it tell us about self-love? Baldwin was never a man to sugar coat reality. I don’t believe his self-love is about making ourselves feel good or numbing out from our choices and impact. I believe Baldwin was talking about a love that shines a spotlight on just who we are. When I don’t have to put a false front up, then true love is possible—the kind of love that will change everything. It is a fierce love. It is a love that brings justice.

In Sumerian myth, Venus is the goddess Inanna. She is a no-nonsense goddess, committed to truth. As this powerful expression of Venus stations direct this week (and conjunct Mars, by the way), we can invoke the power of fierce self-love. Perhaps it will change the world.

Forecast for August 31, 2015—September 6

Moon enters Aries 3:33 am CDT
Monday, August 31.
Venus and Mars are leaning in for a kiss. They exactly conjoin at around midnight tonight in Leo (fixed fire). This meeting, which happens at least once a year, is special this time because Venus is moving retrograde right now. In fact, this is the second of three exact conjunctions between Venus and Mars in this particular series (because Venus will station direct at the end of the week and make another pass at Mars on November 2 in Virgo (mutable earth) to complete the cycle. Last week, I wrote about the meeting of these two planets as “the end of desire.” This may or may not be your experience today, but notice the ways that beauty and passion intermingle in your life. Accept that you, like every living being, holds and shares light. We feed each other with this energy. Feed and be fed.

With the Moon in Aries (cardinal fire) for the next two days, we are even more likely to be moved by the heat of passion. A cooling influence is the Sun in Virgo opposite Neptune in Pisces (mutable water). The annual opposition between the Sun and Neptune is a chance to honor Neptune’s process of dissolution and convergence. Feel ego boundaries dissolve, wonder at the magnificence. (Caveat: things could seem too good to be true. Give important decisions a day or two for a clearer perspective to emerge.)

Moon in Aries
September 1—Disseminating Moon: Sharing. This lunar cycle* emphasizes the transition between Leo (fixed fire) into Virgo (mutable earth). Leo brings passion. Virgo brings devotion. When we combine these two we fuel our service with joy. What could be better? With Jupiter transiting through Virgo for a year, we get a chance to remodel how we do the Virgo thing. Subservience is a choice. If you make it, at least enjoy it. But we can be in service without it. Perhaps that is one of the lessons of this lunar cycle. Under the Disseminating Aries Moon (cardinal fire), we probably aren’t feeling like taking a back seat to anyone. Venus and Mars are still kissing (a conjunction in fixed fire sign Leo). Devotion is so much more fun when it is infused with joy. Find your joy. Share it with another.

The day gets off to a whizz-bang start and then might fizzle around noon (CDT) when the Moon goes into a void-of-course period that ends tomorrow. So, we get to practice being our own sources of joy. Pay attention.

Moon enters Taurus 4:02 am CDT
Wednesday, September 2.
The joys of earth are felt for the next two days. The Moon in Taurus (fixed earth) makes a trine to the Jupiter and the Sun in Virgo (mutable earth). Remember that the earth is alive. And I don’t just mean as a whole. All the embodied parts—soil, rocks, compost, earthworms, trees, animals, insects, all of it—is alive. I have a friend who informs me that the sidewalk, too, is alive. Today is a perfect opportunity to notice that all things are living. If we truly remembered that everyday, how would it change our relationships? How would it change our choices? 

Moon in Taurus
Thursday, September 3. It is funny. One day, devoting ourselves to the practice of self-love is just what our souls need, and the very next day, our souls need accountability and grounding in reality. You may notice that shift today. The Moon in Taurus (fixed earth) squares Venus and Mars, which are closely conjoined in Leo (fixed fire). The planets, through the signs they inhabit, help us make the necessary adjustments to be whole. A reality check on a romance or on our own egos may be such a necessary adjustment, today. We’ve got something to say but it won’t be easy to get clarity. Mercury in Libra (cardinal air) is quincunx Neptune in Pisces (mutable earth). The paradox has something to do with pristine equations of harmony meeting the messy states of merged beingness. Fertile ground.

Moon enters Gemini 6:48 am CDT
Friday, September 4.
On September 17 Mercury will turn retrograde. I tell you this because Mercury is at its greatest elongation from the Sun today. That means Mercury’s easier to see in the evening sky because it is as far away from the Sun (from our perspective on Earth) as it gets. Like a rubber band stretched to the max, Mercury will soon have to release that tension and spring back towards the Sun. With Mercury in Libra (cardinal air), perhaps we are stretching to bring harmony, balance, or justice into the world. Perhaps we need a new point of view to expand that desire into better effectiveness. Perhaps, that is what we will be learning during the upcoming Mercury retrograde. The Moon in Gemini (mutable air) increases the mercurial effect of this elongation. It may be hard to slow down our minds or just to focus at all since the Moon also squares Jupiter in Virgo (mutable earth) and Neptune in Pisces (mutable water), as well. 

Moon in Gemini
September 5—Last Quarter Moon: Evaluating. There is a sweet spot in the whole humility and service thing that we may be able to achieve today. If you discover that spot, where you don’t have to cave to perfectionism or feelings of inadequacy, then take a moment to notice what it feels like to be dedicated and empowered at the same time. The Sun in Virgo (mutable earth) makes a trine to Pluto in Capricorn (cardinal earth). This lunar cycle presents us with the opportunity to learn how to bring our whole selves into our work in the world. This work could look like service, devotion, apprenticeship, or craftsmanship. We could be healers, priestesses, or computer programmers, it doesn’t matter, all of us need work that includes making the world a better place. Pluto is a challenging planet but it also gives rewards in the power and strength department. Today, we get that side of Pluto. Use it well.

Favorable aspects between the Moon in Gemini (mutable air) and stationary Venus conjoined Mars in Leo (fixed fire) spark creativity and maybe even a little romance. The effusive Moon could help us to get out of the self-conscious shyness that Venus retrograde can induce. The sextile between the Moon and Uranus in Aries (cardinal fire) further reduces our inhibitions. Feeling feisty.

Moon enters Cancer 12:40 pm CDT
Sunday, September 6. If you are an early riser, you could try looking for Venus and Mars is the pre-dawn sky in the east. Venus stations direct today at 14 Leo (fixed fire) Mars is at 18 Leo. Mars will be closer to the horizon than Venus. The end of this Venus retrograde cycle, which began on July 25, has been punctuated by the close companionship of Mars this last week. May this event help us to infuse our wills with beauty and grace. And may we find the power and strength of self-love. The Moon enters Cancer (cardinal water). The place we long to be is home. May you find the end of desire in yours’.

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

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