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.

The phrase “harmony of the spheres” could not apply more to the celestial events of the week ahead. It’s as if a master choreographer was at work placing the planets in just the right places to orchestrate a perfect celestial performance. Consider these dance steps woven into the week:

First of all, Mercury is retrograde in the sign of Libra. This pirouetting planet takes just three retrograde journeys a year. The wonder is that Mercury only appears to be moving retrograde from Earth’s perspective. It is actually the Earth that has reached the right place in the solar system to cause this illusory dance step. Of course, we know that even though Mercury retrogrades can cause disruption, they also bring opportunities to review and reset our systems. We need these adjustment periods, and what better time than during the season of the Equinox. On September 23 the Sun crosses the Celestial Equator bringing spring to the southern half of the world and fall to the northern half. Harmony and balance are created for a brief moment when night and day are equal all over the world. Breathe into that harmony. But this isn’t all. The Full Moon right after the Equinox is called the Harvest Moon in the Northern Hemisphere. Due to the position of the Sun and Moon near the Celestial Equator, the first Full Moon after the Equinox brought more light for the workers in the field taking in the harvest and so earned this name. EarthSky has a great article explaining the Harvest Moon. This year’s Harvest Moon is even more special by being a supermoon Lunar Eclipse. Talk about dance steps. Do you hear celestial angels singing yet? A supermoon is when a new or full Moon occurs at the point in the Moon’s orbit when it is nearest to Earth. The Moon looks bigger, because it is closer to us. Supermoons have stronger influence on the Earth’s tides as well as our emotions. Eclipses are the ultimate in harmonic placement. The Moon, Earth, and Sun need to be just the size they are, at the distances they are from each other, to create solar and lunar eclipses. These three bodies also need to be on the same plane at the time of the New or Full Moons for eclipses to occur. Was it actually a celestial choreographer who set that up? If so, good job.

Whether it is by coincidence or plan, these celestial dance steps fill me with awe. It is good to step outside the concerns of our own lives and times to look up with wonder. This wonder is the source of astrology and fills the observation “As above, so below” with hope and harmony. We need that, yes?

Forecast for September 21, 2015 — September 27

Moon enters Capricorn 7:33 am CDT
September 21—First Quarter Moon: Manifesting. This lunar cycle began in Virgo and transitions to Libra this week. I’ve been paying attention to the cusps between signs in my lunar forecasting for the past few months. The cusp between devoted and industrious Virgo and the balancing and partnering sign of Libra describes the transition from the work we do alone to the work we do together. Under this manifesting phase of the Moon, these questions occur to me: How do I enlist others to help me do my work? How will I cultivate partnerships? What am I learning from my collaborations? How does the work change when I expand into inclusion?

Whatever you are manifesting right now, you may find you need the help of others now. The first two weeks of the lunar cycle have been about evaluating the changes we want to make. Now we apply commitment and integrity to the work. The Moon in Capricorn (cardinal earth) is focused and determined. The ruler of Capricorn, Saturn, has just re-entered Sagittarius (mutable fire), where it resides until December 2017. We seek to marry vision with integrity and responsibility. This could feel confining if we resist the hard work, but incredibly useful to making a better world.

The paradoxical quincunx between Venus in Leo and Chiron in Pisces today asks us to consider not discriminating between selfish and selfless desires.

Moon in Capricorn
Tuesday, September 22.
The Moon in no nonsense Capricorn will not put up with the shenanigans that happen today. First the Moon contacts Pluto in the early morning hours (CDT). Perhaps a dream about death puts you in a somber mood. Then the Moon squares retrograde Mercury (I almost wrote “renegade” because Mercury feels that way today). Then the Moon squares Uranus and we may really lose our patience with the fools around us. Venus in Leo (fixed fire) will try to soothe things as it makes a trine to Uranus in Aries (cardinal fire) later tonight. This may look like surrounding yourself with the people you like and trust to create the revolution you wished would happen. 

Moon enters Aquarius 12:51 pm CDT
Wednesday, September 23. Fall Equinox. What does it take to bring equilibrium into our lives? After many years of pledging to be more balanced at the Equinox, I wonder what it really takes. I like the word equilibrium. In mindfulness practice, the word implies a state of observation that is not swayed by whatever is showing up in that moment. Balance requires me to hold dual awareness. The Libra scales are perfect symbols of this. On one side, I am experiencing what I am experiencing. On the other side, I hold mindful observation of myself as I experience what I am experiencing. The ability to observe is key to balance. Astrology is a wonderful tool for observing. Today, the skill of observation is enhanced by the Moon in Aquarius (fixed air) trine to the Sun in Libra (cardinal air). Air signs bring detachment and perspective. This self-observation may even bring a desire to get more structured, start a new routine or cut something out of our lives that gets in the way of equilibrium as the Moon and Sun make favorable transits to Saturn, who loves to do such things. 

Moon in Aquarius
September 24—Gibbous Moon: Perfecting. At the beginning of this lunar cycle, I wrote about consecrating our temples. The idea came from the transition from Virgo’s devotion into Libra’s alliances. Consecration comes from the roots of words meaning making sacred together. We can’t do it alone, the re-sacralization of life. We need to collaborate to get out of the mess we are in. Remembering that everything is sacred is a start. We continue to perfect the potential of this lunar cycle. A key component to this work is remembering our grief and our fears. That yucky stuff is usually relegated to the planet Pluto. Pluto is powerful today as it is stationing direct right after midnight tonight. Pluto is powerful enough to be felt for a few days before and after it stations, reminding us how precious and finite life is, as well as how deep and dark it can be. Mercury (which is retrograding) in Libra (cardinal air) makes its second square to Pluto in Capricorn (cardinal earth) today as well. The third square between these two planets will occur when Mercury turns direct again. Mercury’s mission in this retrograde journey is to remind us how important our relationships are and to confront the unhealthy power dynamics that can get in the way of thriving relationships. We need to be honest with others, especially if we perceive them to hold power over us. Another important shift happens today with Mars entering Virgo. Mars is the ardent hero within each of us. Virgo’s ardor is for purity. Not the kind of purity that keeps us shut down from life, but the kind that burns hot with pure passion. Mars will be in Virgo until mid-November. Use this time to discover your pure passion.

Moon enters Pisces 2:43pm CDT
Friday, September 25.
Yesterday, I wrote about pure passion. Today’s challenge is to accept that with passion comes responsibility. However, if we accept limitations on our passion, we can access incredible inspiration today. The Moon in Pisces (mutable water) opposes Mars in Virgo (mutable earth) and both are square to Saturn in Sagittarius (mutable fire). The t-square aspect pattern forces us to combine idealism, passion, and commitment into one coherent whole. The tendency, with so many mutable signs involved, is to lose focus, space out or lose track of what we really want. While Mercury is retrograde, remember to include an extra dose of patience in your day as others around you are having a hard time staying focused too.

Moon in Pisces
Saturday, September 26. Dreamy, dreamy, dreamy, dreamy. That is the predominant energy of today. The Moon in Pisces (mutable water) conjoins Neptune and opposes Jupiter in Virgo (mutable earth), all before we get out of bed (CDT). Perhaps we just don’t want to wake up at all. Important integration is going on in all that dreaminess. Idealism is strong. Expectations for perfection are strong too. How do you get out of your own way?
Moon enters Aries 2:29 pm CDT
September 27—Full Moon: Illuminating. Lunar Eclipse. Supermoon. We are presented with an opportunity to re-pattern standard assumptions and responses during this lunar cycle. Both Mercury retrograde and a lunar eclipse today may help us wipe the slate clean for a new start. Mercury is retrograding through Libra, where the Sun is located. The eclipsed Full Moon is in the opposite sign, Aries. Mercury is working on our relationship assumptions. The Moon is working on our identity assumptions. It may feel that everything is up for grabs right now. Perhaps we can change who we are. Perhaps an unexpected encounter with another person will bring a whole new adventure. This is a magical Full Moon. A supermoon occurs when the New or Full Moon happens at the point of the Moon’s orbit when it is closest to Earth. The Moon is bending down to whisper something important. It may be to remind us about the importance of being authentic to ourselves while at the same time realizing that none of us can do this all alone. We welcome the friends, allies, and even foes who join us for the journey.

The lunar eclipse will be visible tonight in the U.S. Here are the times to view the various stages of the eclipse in the Central Time Zone. See more here

Partial umbral eclipse begins: 8:07 p.m. CDT on September 27
Total eclipse begins: 9:11 p.m. CDT
Greatest eclipse: 9:47 p.m. CDT
Total eclipse ends: 10:23 p.m. CDT
Partial eclipse ends: 11:27 p.m. CDT

Mars in Virgo (mutable earth) is square Saturn in Sagittarius (mutable fire) in the chart for the Full Moon. Both Saturn and the sign of Virgo may be trying to put a kibosh on the free flowing action that Mars likes to have. We are feeling frustrated in some way. Mercury retrograding through Libra (cardinal air) doesn’t help either. The opportunity is to apply that frustration to improving our health, our systems, our organizations, whatever you are passionate about right now. Saturn is telling us to work harder and smarter.

A separating opposition between Jupiter in Virgo and Neptune in Pisces (mutable water) are addressing the ways we idealize and fantasize. Vision is important, and grounded pragmatism is too. How easily are you able to combine both? There is ample inspiration at the Full Moon if we are also willing to stick with the mundane practices that help keep us accountable, healthy, and whole.

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

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