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.

[This forecast is for two weeks.] A new lunar cycle begins February 8. This one takes its seed potential from Aquarius, a sign that knows about both the center of community and the edges of possibility. Right now, I’m curious about edges and centers. I am interested in understanding their partnership, their tension. This tension is like an engine that drives the evolutionary bus. Aquarius is the driver. “The only constant is change,” is an Aquarian truism. This sign is dedicated to the edgy mission of revolution, pushing against the status quo, claiming radical difference. But not entirely. Aquarius also has an interest in the center as community and collective action help manifest the changes they envision. The community is what the desire to change is about. Thus, as a fixed sign, Aquarius is concerned with anchoring the center yet pushing the edges. The dynamic tension inherent in this sign is influenced by the signs preceding and following it. The preceding sign, Capricorn, maintains form through monitoring the status quo. It defines the values of form and cohesion. Pisces dissolves form through transcendent experiences of release and expansion. Standing between form and formlessness, Aquarius is the midwife helping us through the portal from the known to the unknown. This is an edge held by the center.

I’ve noticed that Aquarians have a love/hate relationship to community. Loving the edges but not so sure about the centers, community can begin to feel confining and conforming. On the other hand, as an edge dweller, Aquarius can feel isolated and estranged from the center, craving the embrace of community. Seesawing back and forth between the extremes of this polarity, the mission is to be aware of which point of view we are choosing and why. Both the center and the edge hold vital places for us, I think. There is power in both, especially when we acknowledge our own assumptions and stories and wounds around inclusion and exclusion.

This lunar cycle begins in Aquarius. That’s the seed. However, when the Sun enters Pisces on February 18, followed by the Full Moon in the signs of Pisces/Virgo on February 22, the Aquarian seed is transformed by Pisces influence. This influence challenges ego structures. Whatever we think now about community, will change under this influence. I view each lunar cycle as a chance to hold intention and practice mindful awareness through the 8 phases of the lunar cycle. By the middle of the lunar cycle, the Aquarian intention will be observed through the Piscean lens. What I am noticing about the center and the edge will also change. Following the Moon teaches me to hold my truths lightly. The changing face of the Moon constantly reveals a new point of view. What do I believe right now about edges? What do I believe right now about the center? Aquarius as a fixed air sign, feels fairly certain about what it thinks. That confidence is both a gift and an illusion. For now, what are you certain about? How does certainty create a center that excludes the edge, and an edge that discounts the center?

Forecast for February 8, 2016 — February 21

Moon in Aquarius
February 8—New Moon: Dreaming. Aquarius is planting a seed. Right now, we simply need to open, listen, and wonder what can grow from it. Opening, listening, and wondering are great ways to embrace an air sign influence on this lunar cycle. Aquarius is the fixed air sign. Fixity adds its own influence on the air energy of this lunar month. Aquarius is an anchor to the gifts of air. During the Aquarian season, we celebrate Imbolc, which is a holy day dedicated to dedication. Dedication begins with a thought, an inspiration, a spark of insight. Air is hard to hold onto, just like inspiration and insight can sometimes be hard to hold onto. We can create an anchor to that insight by dedicating ourselves to some manifestation of it. Think of this lunar cycle as an opportunity to dedicate yourself to a dream.

I know I will be exploring edges and centers this cycle. Aquarius has a way of pushing edges and then, coming back to the center of community. The edginess of this cycle begins with a square between Mars in Scorpio and the Sun and Moon in Aquarius. I think of the contrast beween Aquarius and Scorpio as the archetypal tension between darkness and light. Neither is better than the other. Neither can exist without the other, yet we often feel the conflict between them as ultimate battles. This influence may provoke some battles and gives us a sense that this lunar cycle is important. We want to pay attention. Mars doesn’t let us coast through it.

The separating conjunction between Venus and Pluto in Capricorn influences this cycle as well. This is another indication that we feel the shadows surrounding our inspirations. Things are not perfect. Shadow work includes looking at our own stuff. Venus says that there is beauty under the emotions we may fear. Honor that beauty.

Moon enters Pisces 2:31 am CST
Tuesday, February, 9.
The Moon entering Pisces invites us to exhale. Be where you are. The Moon conjoins Neptune in Pisces, and Mars in Scorpio is trine Chiron in Pisces. All this Pisces influence asks us to surrender. Perhaps we need to acknowledge the stress we’ve been carrying, perhaps we need to pay more attention to our vulnerable hearts. Perhaps we need to believe what our intuitions have been telling us for a while. Listen, open, and invite a greater connection to others. This lays a good foundation for the brand new lunar cycle.

Moon in Pisces
Wednesday, February 10.
The trine between Venus in Capricorn and Jupiter in Virgo creates an expansive and hopeful energy, especially around earthy things. Capricorn and Virgo are both earth signs. Venus and Jupiter are the benefics of the solar system. Blessings are abundant if we engage with the energy rather than let it distract us into complacency. That is the nature of a trine. We can take them for granted. The earth is speaking. We can listen for wisdom and for ways we can be more responsible. Jupiter in Virgo has been inviting us to develop the Virgo gift of discernment. It feels good to engage in our whole bodies and minds to use this gift well. The Sun makes a challenging aspect to Jupiter. It is important to pay attention right now to Virgo themes. With the Moon in Pisces opposing Jupiter today, we have a chance to remember that perfectionism is not the answer.

Moon enters Aries 3:55 am CST
February 11— Crescent Moon: Beginning. The Aries Moon lifts our energy levels considerably and that fits in well with this phase of the Moon. The seeds of this Aquarius cycle begin to tremble and awaken. What inspires you? Embrace that inspiration with acts of devotion and manifestation. There is a fire in our bellies. For this Aquarian cycle I set an intention to work with my edges and my relationship to the center. Even though I don’t know where it will lead, I leap into inclusion of the excluded parts of myself. At the same time, can I stand on the edge of this unknown and be fully present? Aries energy can be courageous and foolish at the same time. Be willing to be willing.

Moon in Aries
Friday, February 12.
The Moon is busy burning a path through this day. In Aries, the Moon first activates a productive and energetic morning with a trine to Saturn in Sagittarius. You might find yourself initiating action that will yield results and growth. Keep the faith, as tension and conflict could also arise. This may happen in the greater arena of world events as the Moon makes a square to Pluto and Venus in Capricorn and conjoins Uranus also. For the last few years, the Pluto/Uranus square has symbolized an awakening to the need for deep and profound change. We must respond. The Aries Moon could create impulsive reactions to things we deem unjust or plain wrong. However, fire can burn away complacency and confusion. How do you discern the just and right action?

Moon enters Taurus 5:35 am CST
Saturday, February 13.
Yesterday’s fiery energy finds solid grounding with the Moon’s entry into Taurus. It could feel like someone is putting on the brakes, and that is good. Take time to let the lessons of the past few days sink in. If you are noticing the relationship between the edge and center, then take time to listen to what your body knows about the dynamic tension between what we accept and reject about ourselves. The encouraging sextile between Mars in Scorpio and Jupiter in Virgo helps us know what we know. Trust your instincts, especially those that give a sense of wholeness, whatever that means to you. Mercury re-enters Aquarius where it was at the beginning of the recent retrograde period. The Capricorn lessons about intention and form provide a foundation for our imaginations.

Moon in Taurus
February 14
—First Quarter Moon: Manifesting. A grand earth trine of the Moon in Taurus, Jupiter in Virgo, and Pluto in Capricorn both supports and challenges the growing intentions of this lunar cycle. Aquarius planted some seeds about inspiration and change. As an air sign, Aquarius can be big on ideas and not so great about follow through. Here come the earth signs to hold us accountable for our visions. What ingredient does earth supply to your lunar intentions this cycle? Do you need a steady practice? Realistic expectations? A plan? Time out for pleasure and wellness? The relationship between Taurus and Aquarius can be strained but also very helpful. The dynamic tension here invites us to accommodate a broad range of approaches—the concrete and the conceptual. Which is your edge? How does this help you manifest intention?

Moon enters Gemini 8:34 am CST
Monday, February 15.
The Moon’s entry into Gemini stirs up verbal processing. The trine between the Moon and Mercury only increases the need to communicate. Again, we notice the influence of air on the Aquarian themes for this lunar cycle. Even if you aren’t the community type, you might find yourself gravitating towards a group that both inspires and offers you a chance to change the world. Optimism is high.

Moon in Gemini
Tuesday, February, 16.
The Moon in Gemini activates unsettled energy. A mutable grand cross (not exact, but close) forms in the afternoon with Jupiter in Virgo, Chiron in Pisces, Saturn in Sagittarius, and the Moon in Gemini making up the intersecting axes of this cross. Mutable signs are after information, taking it in via the element associated with it. Chiron in Pisces feels everything. Emotions are large. Jupiter in Virgo processes everything. Details are overwhelming. Saturn in Sagittarius expounds on everything. Fanaticism is strong. The Moon in Gemini wants to experience everything. Distractions are everywhere. All these possible challenges also contain gifts. Compassion, service, curiosity, and connection are inherent in these signs too. What helps you reframe your point of view?

 Venus enters Aquarius for the next three weeks. Chance encounters from out of the blue can help us stay connected to intention this lunar cycle. Look for support from diverse and unexpected places.

Moon enters Cancer 1:24 pm CST
Wednesday, February 17.
We welcome a place to land. The airy mutable emphasis of the last couple of days may leave you overwhelmed, especially if you are an introvert. The Cancer Moon says, make a pot of soup and take a long bath while you think over the things you have learned and the things you have still left to do. This pause in the lunar cycle is only temporary, but much needed.

Moon in Cancer
February 18—Gibbous Moon: Perfecting. Sun enters Pisces. A seed was planted by Aquarius at the New Moon on February 8. This seed has trembled, pushed out roots, emerged from the ground, and is beginning to flower. What have you noticed about the relationship between inspiration and dedication, the edges and the centers? What is flowering in you? This phase of the Moon reveals the contrast between the seed and the budding flower. Aquarius seed time is very conceptual. We can get lost in our heads, yet at the same time not really care because the sky holds wonders. Air helps us begin, but has a hard time bringing completion. It is useful to engage all the elements in our projects. With the Sun’s ingress into Pisces and the Moon in Cancer (both water signs), the teacher becomes our emotions. With the revolutionary zeal of Aquarius still resonant in this lunar cycle, we also tune into the revolution of self-acceptance. Water helps to dissolve false barriers. The exploration of edges and centers takes on a new tone when we see the illusion of false polarities and dichotomies. This can be even more revolutionary. The Moon opposes Pluto in Capricorn and makes a square to Uranus in Aries. This contact reminds us that we need these revolutions to succeed. Sorrow is not a distraction.

Moon enters Leo 8:17 pm
Friday, February 19.
Most of the day (CST), the Moon is in Cancer inviting us to remain in touch with our feelings. A grand water trine with Mars in Scorpio, Chiron in Pisces, and this sensitive Moon asks us to pay attention to the subsurface layers of emotion running through our hopes and dreams for the world. Venus and Mercury in Aquarius hold down the fort of Aquarian intention for this lunar cycle. We don’t have to split off between what we think and what we feel, although that is a temptation. Noticing our own paradoxical impulses helps us tolerate inconsistencies in others.

Moon in Leo
Saturday, February 20.
Aquarius and Leo need each other like a performer needs an audience. The Moon in Leo reminds us how innovative the Aquarian mission is when we celebrate individual creativity. The Moon in Leo sparks a desire to shine through our own creative gifts, whatever they are. The performer is fed by the audience, but it doesn’t just go one way. The audience is fed by the performer too. The Moon opposes Venus and Mercury in Aquarius. We get a chance to notice this healthy exchange today. If we aren’t generous with our gifts and generously appreciate others, we all suffer just a little bit.

Moon in Leo
Sunday, February 21.
The elemental layers of this lunar cycle continue to develop. From air to earth, to water, to fire, we are feeding the seed planted at the New Moon on February 8 in the sign of Aquarius (fixed air). Concepts were informed by emotions. Now, we are encouraged by fire to energetically sustain our Aquarian dreams and ideals with action, creativity, and passion. There is a grand fire trine in force today. The Moon in Leo, Saturn in Sagittarius, and Uranus in Aries encourage self-expression and self-awareness. The square between Mars in Scorpio and the Moon in Leo helps us to not overlook the gifts of fire. We will have to earn them through self-honesty. If we don’t see our own foibles, someone else will be happy to point them out.

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