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 timing of the New Year on January 1 seems arbitrary, but there’s a seasonal resonance too. Maybe it is because I am culturally programmed to think of this date as the beginning of a new cycle, but it also makes sense to reflect on the past and dream about the future at this time of the year. In the north, we’ve just past the date of the longest night, a time of reflection. The hint of light returning infuses our winter dreams with anticipation for the future. In preparation for this last forecast for 2015, I’ve spent the morning looking at past transits—reflecting on the profound changes that occurred in my life and also in the world—and beginning to wonder what 2016 will bring.

A huge influence this past year was the Uranus/Pluto square—a three-year transit that technically ended in March 2015. We are still under the paradigm-changing influence of these two planets in challenging aspect to each other. Check out the vision of the Great Turning  for a clear description of this point in history. Many ecologically-minded thinkers, notably Joanna Macy, name the end of our dependence on oil and misuse of the Earth as the great turning of our time. To turn toward a more balanced way of life, we have to radically change the way we do business, the way we privilege certain people and ideas, the way we relate to all beings. These planets of revolution and transformation are not done influencing the ways we are rethinking these very things.

Under such revolutionary influence, even mild transits like the conjunction of Venus and Mars in Aries at the end of February 2015 sparked dramatic change in my life as I began to leave a 30-year relationship. What radical personal changes did you initiate in the spring? Venus and Mars traveled together this year for quite some time. A second conjunction occurred in August in the sign of Leo and a third in November in the sign of Virgo. These two planets have been working on changing the way we relate, the way we desire, and the way we value ourselves. The final conjunction in Virgo reminds us to bring our passions into service. Step by step, we change the world.

Looking ahead, the essential transit of 2016 is the square between Saturn and Neptune. This aspect first perfected in November 2015 and will be exact two more times in 2016 (June and September). I’ve been thinking about this transit as an opportunity to dispel myths. Neptune governs our ideals and our illusions. Both are due for an overhaul. Saturn governs reality. The challenging aspect between these planets represents an opportunity to look at our stories. Stories can entrap us in false visions. As we encounter each other’s realities we wonder whose stories are valid and whose aren’t? Conflict over belief and who controls the stories is a result. Jupiter will square Saturn in March and May, these may be peak moments of conflict and integration of what we are learning about our cultural stories.

 In the year ahead, mutable sign emphasis means we are eager to integrate, resolve, understand. We may also experience a lot of fluctuation. Mutable signs are the shapeshifters who adapt to their environments. Nervous systems can get overstimulated by the input. While Jupiter is in holistically-minded Virgo (until September), it is good to pay attention to wellbeing and health matters as we go through the transmutations of this year.

Forecast for December 28, 2015 — January 3

Moon in Leo
December 28—Disseminating Moon: Sharing. The waning phases of the Moon encourage reflection on the past—a perfect mood for the end of the year. The disseminating phase looks for the benefits of the past. What did we learn that we want to pass along to others? The Moon in Leo (fixed fire) reminds us to think about our creative lives. What did you create? Not everything we try is successful but everything can be meaningful. What did your failures teach you? What are the rich rewards of this past year and this current lunar cycle? The Moon trines Uranus in Aries (cardinal fire). How have you changed the world? How have the changes in the world changed you? This favorable aspect encourages celebration. The current lunar cycle has been a complex blend of hope and sorrow. Wherever your heart is right now, begin to share your wisdom.

Moon enters Virgo 12:58 pm CST
Tuesday, December 29.
Mercury is preparing to station retrograde on January 5. Today, Mercury in Capricorn (cardinal earth) makes the first of three squares to Mars in Libra (cardinal air) that will happen in this retrograde cycle. Communication may be charged. Mercury means business; Mars is more concerned about how we are relating to each other. Signals will get crossed; relationships will be stressed. This aspect between Mercury and Mars is one of the signatures of the upcoming retrograde. (Dates to remember: Mercury stations retrograde on January 5, stations direct on January 25, and leaves the retrograde zone on February 14.) As the Moon moves into Virgo (mutable earth), the desire to bring more order could add to the stress. On the other hand, bringing a bit more order into our lives could bring more calm. Balance is the key. Venus, the bringer of balance, is moving out of Scorpio into Sagittarius. We feel more balanced when we see the big picture and can align with our values.

Moon in Virgo
Wednesday, December 30.
Don’t be so hard on yourself. The Moon in Virgo (mutable earth) supported by the Sun and Pluto in Capricorn (cardinal earth), and challenged by Saturn in Sagittarius (mutable fire), influences our expectations for improvement. They are big. We are already thinking about our resolutions for next year. It isn’t about perfection.

Moon in Virgo
Thursday, December 31.
New Year’s Eve. The Moon in Virgo (mutable earth) contacts stationary Jupiter conjunct the North Node of the Moon today. Jargon, I know. This means that things feel larger. Events in our lives and in the world carry a stronger sense of destiny or fatedness. The Nodes of the Moon are about our evolving lives. Right now, Virgo is an important sign because the North Node and Jupiter both occupy this sign of virtue. Virgo’s virtue is about making a difference, being of service, healing, finding the pragmatic solution to life’s mundane problems. Virgo is a humble sign, usually, but today we may see the reason there are no unimportant signs, especially this one. All this influences the way we will greet the new year in the morning. Let’s get it together and make this a year that counts!

Moon enters Libra 12:41 am CST
January 1 —Last Quarter Moon: Evaluating. The waning phases of the Moon encourage reflection on the past. What did that experience mean? We are feeling especially nostalgic as this new year begins. The first day of the New Year is a chance to look over the past year and create intentions for the year ahead. The Moon in Libra (cardinal air) has us thinking about balance. Justice, grace, and beauty are influences as well. 2015 began with the Moon in Taurus. What did you notice about the substance of your life? Did money, values, resources play a big role in your year? Did you seek stability? Did you stand for something important? Another year brings another point of view. How are you a different person than the one who greeted 2015? How are you a different person than the one who greeted the New Moon on December 11? The impetus to move out of the past and into the future comes from Mercury’s ingress into Aquarius (fixed air) today. Mercury is preparing to station retrograde on January 5. As a fixed sign, Aquarius, can get stuck on ideas. Mercury may be planning to shake up some of our entrenched thoughts during this retrograde period. What happens when we free our minds?

Moon in Libra
Saturday, January 2.
The Moon in Libra (cardinal air) forms a tense t-square aspect pattern with Uranus in Aries (cardinal fire) and Pluto in Capricorn (cardinal earth) bringing a potential for upheaval. We need to be engaged in the world to create lasting change. Libra’s themes are noticed—equity, rebalancing, justice, weighing the choices, finding the harmony (if possible). Uranus has just stationed direct and is as close to an exact square to Pluto as will happen for a very long time. These two planets are a reminder that we are not done with the transformations needed right now. The holidays are over; time to get back to work making sure those changes happen.

Moon enters Scorpio 1:36 pm
Sunday, January 3.
The Moon and Mars both move into Scorpio (fixed water) at almost the same exact moment today. This could go one of two ways: you feel terribly excited to sink deep into whatever drives your passion right now, or you are feeling so overwhelmingly annoyed with everyone that you better spend the day by yourself. A channel to those deeper passions opens up. Mars is co-ruler of Scorpio. The planet of desire and will is so happy to be out of Libra (cardinal air) that we may be surprised by intense emotion as well as desire. Mars remains in Scorpio until the beginning of March. But there is a bigger story brewing. Mars will return to Scorpio through retrograde motion from May until the beginning of August. Passions will deepen. We will discover much that is hidden from us now.

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

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