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.

A climate accord was signed in Paris on December 12, which could mark a real shift in the ways we think about our choices and impact on the Earth. Reactions to the agreement span the continuum of thinking the plan is too much to not enough. According to the New York Times, a leading American climate scientist, Christopher B. Field said, “I think this Paris outcome is going to change the world. We didn’t solve the problem, but we laid the foundation.” In the current Sagittarian/Capricorn lunar cycle,* when we are so acutely aware of the paradox of simultaneously holding despair and hope, this assessment feels both somber and like good news. There is plenty of evidence to support the belief that collectively, humans are incapable of tempered, wise decisions. To hold out hope that we can change the course of our relationship to the Earth feels rather foolish right now. And yet, if ever there was an astrological signature that encourages us to find the silver lining, believe in the impossible, and aim for the stars, it is Sagittarius. We have one more week to lift our hearts in hope; the next sign to influence this lunar cycle, Capricorn, demands more realism.

Every sign is necessary. Those astrological signatures that feel inaccessible to us are especially important to integrate into our lives. Those signs expose blind spots and invite wholeness. If you have a problem with hope, spend more time observing Sagittarius. If you have a problem with sober reality, spend more time with Capricorn. This isn’t to say we should be satisfied with the climate agreement or think our work is over. The question I am holding is, What role do hope and despair play in making my next choices in creating the world of beauty and justice? What keeps me stuck? What moves me forward?

The ongoing square between Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces colors our perceptions right now. Saturn brings that sober reality right into our dreams for a better world. Neptune continues to weave its spells, offering both illusion and greater empathy. Jupiter in Virgo (until the summer of 2016) invites discernment. This week, the Sun in Sagittarius makes a square to Jupiter, inviting a confrontation between pragmatism and wild hope. If we step away from either/or-good/bad thinking, all kinds of new states of awareness open up for us. These mutable signs encourage integration and flexibility. To integrate paradox—hopes and despairs—we need to make more room in our minds and hearts. I tell myself, “Cultivate wonder. Be curious rather than attached to outcome.” If I can achieve that this week, I will be doing good work indeed.

Forecast for December 14, 2015 — December 20

Moon enters Aquarius 6:49 am
December 14—Crescent Moon: Beginning. Aquarius (fixed air) is another sign that can give way to bold thoughts of hope. To be accurate, this sign can also be incredibly cynical, but I think cynicism is just the disappointed side of hope. Belief that the future holds hope is still an Aquarian foible. The Moon in Aquarius catches the fever of hope in this phase of the lunar cycle. It’s OK; every sign is necessary, right? Hope is sometimes scary for those of us who think disaster lurks around every corner. The Sun in Sagittarius (mutable fire) forms a square to Jupiter in Virgo (mutable earth). This square intensifies current tension and conflict in the realms of hope and despair. Jupiter itself is all about hope (ruler of Sagittarius), but in the very pragmatic sign of Virgo, this Jupiter is confused about which aspect of his personality to exhibit. More confusion, more stress, more anxiety about choice and direction could result. On the other hand, another option is to discover a workable way to hold your hopes and despairs in balance. Mercury in Capricorn (cardinal earth) is making a favorable aspect with Neptune in Pisces (mutable water). These two planets work together to help us stay both grounded and expansive in the realm of thought and inspiration. Heart-opening insight can come your way.

Moon in Aquarius
Tuesday, December 15.
The square between the Moon in Aquarius (fixed air) and Venus in Scorpio (fixes water) may get us started on the cranky side this morning (CST). Venus is not in the mood to suffer fools. Welcome the challenge of authentic emotion as you plan to change the world today. Later the Moon makes favorable aspects with Uranus in Aries (cardinal fire) and Mars in Libra (cardinal air), creating an eagerness for change that is hard to stifle. 

Moon enters Pisces 11:45 am CST
Wednesday, December 16.
The Moon enters Pisces (mutable water) around noon (CST) and makes no aspects with any other planet for the whole day, in the CST time zone. Use this time to recharge and release tension. The concerns of the world are still happening but we have the opportunity to refocus where we place our attentions. Pisces invites softening our focus. Not everything needs to be done immediately. Sometimes we need to unplug and exhale. Take those moments today. Self-care pays dividends. We may notice grief or despair arising when we slow down. Stay present and enfold yourself in compassion.

Moon in Pisces
Thursday, December 17.
An adjustment between sober reality and fantasy is made today. Neptune is one of those planets that has so much to give and represents so many of our shortcomings. What I mean is that we have the opportunity this year to reclaim Neptune’s power to connect us through our hearts and spirits by dispelling the myths of isolation, escapism, and disappointment. Accepting the vulnerability of grief is important work while Saturn in Sagittarius (mutable fire) forms a square to Neptune in Pisces (mutable water) this year. These themes may be noticeable today as the Moon in Pisces makes a connection to Neptune and Saturn. A lot of planetary energies are woven together. Venus in Scorpio (fixed water) forms a sextile aspect with Pluto in Capricorn (cardinal earth). Venus demands honesty and authenticity around emotions and especially in the area of relationship. The power of healing and transformation is strong if we are willing to show up completely. Mercury in Capricorn is an intermediary in negotiations. Be grounded in your values and aspirations as you speak. 

Moon enters Aries 3:26 pm CST
December 18—First Quarter Moon: Manifesting. In the practice of holding mindful intention for this lunar cycle, I have committed to holding the paradox of hope and despair. Under this phase of the Moon, we have the opportunity to begin changing our realities through manifestation. The result of holding the paradox of hope and despair begins to show up in choices and attitudes. How am I different? How has the world changed as I begin to tell a new story? We reach a turning point today, not just because the Moon in the last degrees of Pisces (mutable water) forms a square to the Sun in the last degrees of Sagittarius (mutable fire). The Sun also forms a square to the nodes of the Moon, which are currently in Virgo (mutable earth) and Pisces. This point is potent. The nodes describe a growing edge of evolution. With the North node in Virgo and the South in Pisces, we are given the opportunity to reframe our beliefs, our wounds, our despairs into pragmatic service. In other words, we have a choice—learn from grief and act in accord with those lessons. Wholeness does not mean perfection. Virgo wholeness means we accept ourselves wholly and get on with our work, whatever that is. Be gentle with yourself as this is a big integration and we have several more months of the nodes transiting through these signs to figure out what it means to each of us. Today’s transits could reveal a lot about our healing and integrating journeys.

This afternoon (CST) the Moon enters Aries (cardinal fire). Later, Venus in Scorpio (fixed water) makes a quincunx to Uranus in Aries. Tension and irritability may be present in our relationships. On one hand, righteous rage creates certainty about our actions; on the other, we have to negotiate mistrust and power dynamics in order to get clear about how best to make those changes. Quincunx aspects remind us of complexity. Nothing is simple. That is good.

Moon in Aries
Saturday, December 19.
Cardinal signs push agendas. That may be why squares and oppositions between cardinal signs can be fraught with conflict. Today’s transits include a lot of such aspects. The Moon and Uranus in Aries (cardinal fire) push the agenda of bold action. Change for the sake of change, conflict around identity, even aggression can be part of the Aries agenda. The other side is courage to act, taking responsibility for leadership, and encouraging self-expression for everyone. Mercury and Pluto in Capricorn (cardinal earth) join forces to communicate expectations, claim authority and power, and frame reality through stories of legacy and tradition. The shadow side of Capricorn exudes judgment, disapproval, and a need to control. As these planets trigger the best and worst in each other, we see the dynamics between individual action and collective expectation. Is there a way to find balance here?

Moon enters Taurus 6:13 pm CST
Sunday, December 20.
Yesterday, the communication planet, Mercury conjoined Pluto in Capricorn to bring structure and power to our thoughts. Today that Mercury forms a square to Uranus in Aries, taking the power of structure into the innovative realms of possibility and change. The Mercury/Uranus energy can feel like uncontrolled electricity. How do you channel your overactive mind into productive insights? The Moon in Taurus (fixed earth) provides grounding for this electric transit. It is good to remember that the body has ways of knowing too. Listen.

* Read about the beginning of the Sagittarius/Capricorn lunar cycle on my website



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