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.

Last week I ran across a short blog post written by Thorn Coyle, author and magic worker, which has really stuck with me. I wrote about this piece last week and I am still thinking about it. She writes about living an intentional life. This resonates for me now because Capricorn, the sign of the current lunar cycle,* activates the determined journey towards the mountaintop. This month, there have been twists, turns, setbacks, and challenges on this Capricorn journey. If you have been able to keep the mountaintop in view this whole month, then good for you. It hasn’t been easy. That is Capricorn determination. Thorn’s piece has me thinking about the merits of intention and the possible difference between a goal and an intention. A goal is an outcome, achieved or not. It is a mountaintop, a desire. Intention is the path itself. It is the way we keep on the path. It is the mountain, not the mountain’s peak. Capricorn sees the mountaintop, but this sign’s real gift is the commitment to keep it in focus. That is intention.

The merit of staying on the path is the satisfying cohesion of a life lived with purpose. The road—even when it twists and turns, even when there are dead ends and detours—is the contiguous arc that Thorn writes about our lives needing. Without intention, our lives can become fragmented. Fragmentation, losing focus, wandering off are signs we need to cultivate Capricorn determination. In the last week of this lunar cycle, give honor to your path. What have you learned about sticking to it?

This lunar cycle began with the Sun and Moon coming together in Capricorn. Now, the Sun has moved into Aquarius as the Moon wanes through the signs of Scorpio, Sagittarius, and back to Capricorn. Aquarius, as the fixed air sign, brings vision to Capricorn’s journey. Our intentions need inspiration. Aquarius is here to breathe life into them. Imbolc, celebrated this week, is the cross-quarter holy day that honors intention and inspiration. A common practice at this time of year is to commit to a creative intention for the year. Aquarius breaks with the past and sees forward into possibility. It offers a chance to start over, something else Thorn wrote about. The mid-winter sky sparkles with inspiration, and transits this week sparkle with many sextiles, an aspect that gives us the go-ahead signal. Take advantage of this infusion of positivity to make glorious plans for your year ahead. What I am learning is that it isn’t where you get to that matters most, but returning again and again to the path itself.

Forecast for February 1, 2016 — February 7

Moon in Scorpio
Monday, February 1.
Yesterday’s square between Mercury in Capricorn and Uranus in Aries is still very influential today. Erratic mental states and behavior could be prevalent. There is an electrified field around things, which could also spark breakthroughs in thought and communication. The Moon in Scorpio brings this energy to the emotional realms as well. Mars and the Moon join forces to add to the penetrating nature of this Scorpio influence. Hidden agendas are hard to keep hidden. Secrets may come out of the closet. It could all turn out well in the end, however. The Moon makes encouraging aspects to Pluto, Mercury, and Jupiter as well. Clearing the air could bring a fresh start.

Moon enters Sagittarius 9:50 am CST
Tuesday, February, 2.
Imbolc. The cross-quarter holy day of Imbolc has been traditionally celebrated on February 2 (aka Ground Hog’s Day). Many also recognize the powerful turning point of “Astronomical Imbolc”, which will happen on February 4, when the Sun reaches the mid-point of Aquarius. My We’Moon calendar has this to say: “The name, Imbolc, comes from ‘I mbolg,’ Old Gaelic for ‘in the belly.’” This seasonal celebration with Celtic origins, is about the stirrings of spring, which are felt like the first kicks of a growing fetus in the belly of their mother. Although we are only halfway through the season of winter, spring’s rebirth is coming and we begin to feel it. What plans, ideas, desires are stirring in your belly? The Moon in firey Sagittarius gives spark to those seeds of potential. No other exact aspects today allows us to focus on those plans for the future. Be in-spired. Kindle the light within.

Moon in Sagittarius
Wednesday, February 3.
Sparkle, sparkle, sparkle. The glyph for the sextile aspect is a six-pointed star. They sparkle with encouragement. Aspects between planets are a result of their spatial orientation to each other. Each aspect type tells us how the planets are communicating. Sextiles give an encouraging nudge. Sextiles are formed between signs that hold the same charge, either a positive/yang charge or a negative/yin charge. Today, Mars in Scorpio is sextile to Pluto in Capricorn; Mercury in Capricorn is sextile to Chiron in Pisces; the Sun in Aquarius is sextile to Saturn in Sagittarius; and the Moon in Sagittarius is also sextile to the Sun. Today, sextiles are giving the thumb-up signal to go for it. The Moon colors the day with affirmations about freedom and authenticity. In spite of a difficult lunar cycle, we are able to believe that a positive change can happen. The Sun/Saturn sextile allows us to focus without feeling burdened on ideas and visions for the future. The Mars/Pluto sextile opens the channels for sex—the life force energy that revitalizes. The Mercury/Chiron sextile gives voice to the power of compassion. This could be a highly idealistic day. The best way to approach this opportunity is to take nothing for granted.

Moon enters Capricorn 6:44 pm CST
February 4 — Balsamic Moon: Surrendering. Astronomical Imbolc. The Sun reaches the mid-point of Aquarius, making this the astronomical Imbolc. The mid-point of the fixed signs—Aquarius, Taurus, Leo, and Scorpio—are powerful anchors and turning points of the year. In the northern half of the world we are at the mid-winter point. We feel the quickening of life force as the days are noticeably lighter for longer. We take the rich lessons of the winter dreamtime into the emerging spring. Now, we begin to plan our gardens in earnest. What will you plant, tend, and harvest this year? As the fixed air sign, Aquarius supports the visioning process.

Although, the emphasis on this holy day seems to be about the future, the waning cycle of the Moon turns our attentions to the lessons of the past in order to discern which visions we will choose. The Moon returns to Capricorn, the sign that began this lunar cycle on January 9. Capricorn climbs the mountain of intention. What has your journey this cycle taught you about your true intentions? What helps you stick to your path? What helps you return to it? These lessons will come in handy as we move into spring’s awakening.

Moon in Capricorn
Friday, February 5.
The next two days mean business. The Moon in Capricorn will conjoin with Pluto, Venus, and Mercury, and then make a square to Uranus. Although not all exact today, it will be felt today and tomorrow. So let’s engage with it. Capricorn is the business sign. Perhaps this will be your focus, but it could go deeper and impact relationships, too. Venus in Capricorn conjoins Pluto; the Moon is nearby. How committed are you? Venus invites us to go all in. She entices us to fully enjoy our responsibilities. Whining is so unattractive. The more pleasure we take in our commitments, the more we attract others who are turned on by that. We get to enlist those people in helping us succeed. Venus draws attention to women and women’s issues. Hillary Clinton may be coasting on higher popularity this week due to the dynamic force of Pluto and Venus coming together in a leadership sign.

Moon enters Aquarius 11:59 pm CST
Saturday, February 6.
The solid structures that Capricorn loves so much are blessed by the Moon today. Before entering Aquarius one minute before midnight (CST), the Moon in Capricorn contacts the Pluto/Venus conjunction. Serious is sexy. Then the Moon forms a square to agitating Uranus in Aries. This mirrors the same square between Venus in Capricorn and Uranus later in the day. If the status quo doesn’t satisfy you, your inner goddess may revolt. The Sun in Aquarius forms an encouraging sextile with Uranus, diminishing control over impulsivity. We want change now, and why not? Mercury in Capricorn forms a harmonizing trine to Jupiter in Virgo. After a confusing period of Mercury retrograde, things become clear. Discernment is easy when we know where we want to go.

Moon in Aquarius
Sunday, February 7.
Mars in Scorpio receives interesting mixed messages today. The Sun in Aquarius forms a challenging square to Mars, which could spark conflict around transparency or power dynamics. Secrets could seem threatening to some. However, Venus in Capricorn encourages this same Mars to stand up for itself. We need all kinds of people—those who want to bring everything into the light and those who respect the shadows. Notice your preference and see if you can honor both in yourself and others.

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

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