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.

Capricorn has a special mission in the wheel of the zodiacal year. Capricorn’s bottom line is about survival: survival of traditions, survival of the family group, survival of values, survival of forms and structures that maintain survival. Because this deep-winter sign is so concerned with protecting these things, Capricorn is the master of judgment. This doesn’t mean that people and planets in Capricorn are shut tight in survival mode. It means that their actions are directed towards the long view, from the past’s values through to the various scenarios of the future. This long view creates a unique way of coming at life. This perspective fits in well with the impulse to set intentions for the year ahead in January, when the Sun is in Capricorn. The New Moon in Capricorn, which occurred on January 9, is another perfect time to look with Capricorn eyes to the past and the future that we are willing to work for.

Each New Moon I suggest an intention that fits with the astrological weather for that cycle. This lunation, I gravitate towards the Capricornian image of climbing a mountain: slow and sure and determined. Each lunar cycle intention opens up inquiry, which is what each of the phases of the lunar cycle is about. We notice the challenges and the gifts of holding an intention. As I begin noticing my intention around climbing the Capricorn mountain, questions come to mind. What gets in the way of slow, sure, and determined action? When does impatience or frustration arise? How do I judge myself? How does this judgment influence how I judge others? Insuring survival is a heavy responsibility. What helps me lighten this load?

In the coming week, Jupiter, Venus and Mercury are star players. Jupiter in Virgo has recently stationed retrograde conjunct the North Node of the Moon. Right now, we are deep in the heart of this year-long transit of Jupiter in this sign of the worker, the priestess, the apprentice, and the healer. The Node influences our choices by directing us to the growing edges of our evolution. Good ways to respond to this energy could be to cultivate a more holistic approach, to fill in the gaps of knowledge, to commit to service and devotion. While Jupiter conjoins the Node, until moving away on January 19, open to this influence. Venus in Sagittarius is providing more spark to diminished fires of inspiration. While Saturn is in Sagittarius (until December 2017), the usual exuberance of this sign is diminished. Venus teaches that beauty and love are primary ways to kindle our fires. Venus also demands that we return to our bodies’ wisdom. This week, Venus trines Uranus in Aries creating exciting spark for change. Venus squares Chiron in Pisces reminding us of the challenges to stay heart-centered while we pursue individual inspirations. On January 17, Venus will square Jupiter and the Nodes of the Moon. Venus often represents women in the public eye. Perhaps women will remind us of the importance of bringing fire to our devotions. Since the aspect is a square, there could be stress surrounding this insight. Mercury, moving retrograde in Capricorn, will conjoin the Sun on January 14. This moment is the heart of the retrograde journey. Mercury and the Sun will also be trine to Jupiter. Meaning and purpose are revealed in surprising ways.

Forecast for January 11, 2016 — January 17

Moon in Aquarius
Monday, January 11.
The Moon in Aquarius is doing happy things with Uranus in Aries and Saturn and Venus in Sagittarius today, creating more optimism and fun. The Aquarian ideal is to forge ahead into the future. Given that the Capricorn Sun is more concerned with applying the lessons of the past to the evolving present, there may be a bit of tension created between those who value tradition and those who want to break with tradition. This dynamic tension helps us develop the lessons and skills required by the Capricorn lunar cycle.

Moon enters Pisces 5:53 pm CST
Tuesday, January 12.
Trines give the “go ahead” signal. A release of unimpeded energy, however, doesn’t mean there won’t be any problems. A trine between Venus in Sagittarius (mutable fire) and Uranus in Aries (cardinal fire) diminishes checks and balances in relationship. With Mercury retrograding, we can expect that miscommunication might feel more frustrating. Something is trying to get through our barriers and defenses. Embrace change and seek inspiration for the changes you want to make even if you can’t control the process. Perceptions are enhanced by the ingress of the Moon into Pisces preparing the way for a much more sensitive day tomorrow.

Moon in Pisces
January 13 — Crescent Moon: Beginning. For the last couple of days, the message has been to go for it. Yes, there is much work to do and we are most likely feeling the delays and setbacks of Mercury retrograde, but the Moon has also been pushing us forward while in the visionary sign of Aquarius. Now, we reach the expansive phase of the lunar cycle when our intentions seem doable. Naiveté can be useful at times! The image and intention I am holding for this Capricorn cycle is the slow, sure, and determined march up the mountain. Use this phase of the Moon to visualize your mountaintop. It is time to gather inspiration because the Capricorn equation says that a valuable outcome requires hard work. Inspiration can be the fuel.

The Moon in Pisces encourages diffused awareness to envision our goals. Feelings come first. The square between Venus in Sagittarius and Chiron in Pisces increases that sensitivity. Feelings of vulnerability or strong compassion are not meant to discourage us. Feelings flow with the watery Moon making a trine to Mars in Scorpio and conjoining Neptune in Pisces. While Mars is in Scorpio, we are meant to act on emotional understanding. All this flow meets the stern judgment of Saturn in Sagittarius. This reminds us of the prime mission of this lunar cycle to keep climbing our mountains. Encouraging our grounded ambitions, the Sun’s trine to Jupiter reinforces the need to attend to the details of our lives like housework and health concerns. This brings luck and creates a container for the emotions flowing through the day.

Moon enters Aries 8:48 pm CST
Thursday, January 14.
The inferior conjunction between the Sun and Mercury is the real heart of any Mercury retrograde period. We reach the heart today with these planets in Capricorn in trine aspect to Jupiter in Virgo. Perhaps the meaning we take from this time of needing to rethink and redo is that we can’t be too careful with the details, and when we slow down enough to attend to those details, we succeed in taking another step up the side of that Capricorn mountain. Enjoy tending to the details of your life. (It is possible!) And when things go awry, as they often do under a Mercury retrograde, reassess your attachment to perfection. Jupiter has been conjoining the North Node of the Moon since turning retrograde last week. We can use this opportunity to listen more closely to the messages we receive about health, service, work, and devotion.

Moon in Aries
Friday, January 15.
Antsy is one way to describe this day. We emerge from Pisces dreaminess of the last few days into the Aries desire to take charge and get it done. We are helped in our effectiveness by a trine between the Moon in Aries and Saturn in Sagittarius. This aspect helps to lend energy to our Capricorn lunar intentions. The square between the Moon and Pluto in Capricorn could expose more shady dealings in the world. Righteous rage could be the outcome. Don’t just focus the laser light on others, each of us could benefit from looking deeper at our own motivations.

Moon enters Taurus 11:48 pm CST
January 16 — First Quarter Moon: Manifesting. The expansive Crescent phase gives way to the challenges presented by the quest to manifest intention. The conflict is expressed by the qualities of Capricorn (cardinal earth) and Aries (cardinal fire). Remember, Capricorn holds the long view, valuing the lessons of the past to ensure that we thrive into the future. Aries challenges the long view with immediate concerns about identity, action, and leadership. This challenge can help us move forward. However, we don’t want to lose track of why we want to move forward in the first place. What does your mountaintop look like? What role does passion play in taking another step toward it? Don’t be discouraged by the need to reassess. Mercury retrograding in Capricorn continues to ask us to do just that.

Moon in Taurus
Sunday, January 17.
Mars in Scorpio has been relatively quiet this week. Today’s Moon in Taurus may change that. Mars in Scorpio can brood and it can sting. The Moon opposing Mars brings out the stinger. None of us want to be pushed too far. The need for security is strong, so is the need for justice. Passion is a important ingredient to this dynamic. Today, Venus in Sagittarius forms a square to Jupiter and the Nodes of the Moon. At the least, this aspect encourages excesses in spending or flirting. However, this aspect could also be the trigger that releases energy to return us to state of balance and equilibrium. The desire for freedom could be the match that starts the fire.

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

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