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.

Surely I have written about this before. I am thinking about the word “discernment.” I just had the luck to spend a week between the worlds with some amazing hags and edgeriders. As part of this week, I gathered around a kitchen table with folks who wanted to explore hag magic or kitchen table wisdom. We shared our tools, sought insight, and we gossiped about the choice between saying something and keeping quiet. We learned that a hag knows when to jump in with an opinion or healing potion and when to remain silent and see what happens next. This is discernment born of experience. The hard truth is that most of that experience comes from making mistakes. It feels uncomfortable to develop wisdom this way. I know I would really like to bypass the mistakes part. But that doesn’t seem to be the way of discernment.

The Online Etymology Dictionary says the root of the word discern comes from words meaning to sieve, sift, and sort. It goes further to say that the word crisis is related to this etymology. A crisis once meant a turning point in a disease, a judgment or decision, and that judgment came from distinguishing, sifting, and sorting what should be done. It seems to me that if there is an emergency remedy we need right now in our current states of crisis, it is discernment—to know what we know and when to act. Fortunately for us, Virgo takes center stage this week and this sign knows a lot about sifting and sorting. The Full Moon in Virgo illuminates the polarity between Piscean dreams and Virgoan pragmatism. Jupiter, the guru of the solar system, is preaching the gospel of Virgo all over the place right now. We have the opportunity to become wiser.

This week’s transits are especially attuned to the development of discernment and since making mistakes is part of that development, well then, that will happen too. An intriguing Yod aspect pattern sets off Jupiter in Virgo this week. A Yod looks like an isosceles triangle. It is comprised of two quincunx (150 degrees) aspects pointing to one planet and one sextile (60 degrees) aspect between the two “bottom” planets. Yod means finger of God, which gives us a hint about how this pattern feels—important and scrutinized. The sextile aspect encourages and creates potential. We hope to use this energy well. The quincunx aspect is such a strange connection (with a strange name) that I think of it as the paradox aspect. This aspect makes it is hard to reconcile differences, and so we just have to learn to live with them. One part of the Yod represents potential and the other represents surrender. What a great set up for discernment!

Jupiter in Virgo is at the apex of the Yod. Can we get what the guru is telling us? Pragmatic, holistic, humble, and discerning, Virgo insists we be thoughtful. The other planets involved in this pattern, which will be felt from February 26 through March 5, begins as a sextile between Mercury in Aquarius and Uranus in Aries and then switches to a sextile between Venus in Aquarius and Uranus in Aries. Mercury and Uranus are brimming with ideas and a zeal for change. Venus and Uranus carry this zeal into our art, our relationships, and our connections with others. If you are an Aquarian type of person, this is so much happy. If you are a Virgoan type, then it might feel stressful trying to rein in horses that went to gallop full throttle. Somewhere in between is discernment.

Imagine you are sitting at a kitchen table with a bunch of hags. What are they telling you about your own desires and choices around change and well-being? If you could ask a hag for advice, what would you ask? If you could apply your wisdom to one revolutionary act, what would that act be? Don’t forget, mistakes make us wiser.

Forecast for February 22, 2016 — February 28 

Moon enters Virgo 5:24 am CST
February 22—Full Moon: Illuminating. This lunar cycle began in Aquarius and culminates in the polarity of Pisces and Virgo. The Aquarian seed time of the New Moon was a chance to plant intention around the ideas of edges and centers. Aquarius pushes the edges of groups and structures, asking what is possible, what can we change? Have you done work around your own edges? What I have noticed is that any push toward the edge also pulls me back to the center. This pulsation is part of growing awareness. Rather than be attached to one place or another, both the center and the edge are vital places to inhabit. The work of this week and today’s Full Moon in Virgo is to develop discernment about where we need to be at any moment.

The Virgo Moon opposes the Pisces Sun. This polarity is about the edges and centers of our desires and obligations. Pisces water encourages dissolving of hard edges. Virgo earth encourages useful structures to channel the Piscean flow. Oppositions are the illuminating feature of any Full Moon. Oppositions help us notice extremes and find ways to balance them through integration. We are being invited to build more capacity for emotion with earthy common sense. The rest of the lunar cycle is not a time to ignore our feelings. Big, oceanic emotions are coming to the surface. The opposition between Jupiter in Virgo and Chiron in Pisces alongside the Nodes of the Moon, tells us to pay attention and be gentle with ourselves. Chiron has been transiting through Pisces since 2010. It leaves this sign in 2018. Chiron is an initiator offering the Piscean gifts of empathy and compassion. Much of this experience has been to feel more and recognize shared trauma. This moment when Jupiter opposes Chiron is an opportunity to learn how to integrate discernment and self-care into the softening Pisces experience.

The opposition between Chiron and Jupiter is widely square to Saturn in Sagittarius, providing more pressure on ourselves to get these lessons right. How ironic that we can feel pressure to get better at self-care and compassion, but then humans are infinitely amusing aren’t we? Saturn reminds us that we have important work to do individually and collectively. This moment illuminates the dreams of this lunar cycle.

Moon in Virgo
Tuesday, February, 23.
If your heart cracks open today, try to breathe past the desire to fix things. This opening is important. Chiron in Pisces opposes Jupiter and the Moon in Virgo. By making a square to Saturn in Sagittarius later in the day, the Moon draws together this sensation that if we can stand the vulnerability, we can also begin to master discernment and self-care too. It is critical to avoid self-shaming under this influence. It may be a day to practice loving yourself beyond all reason. Pluto in Capricorn helps by adding strong, powerful grounding to the day.

Moon enters Libra 4:41 pm CST
Wednesday, February 24.
Are you doing your work of discerning when to act and when to wait? Have you improved your ability to hold emotional honesty? Have you exercised the skill of drawing boundaries? Saying no? Congratulations. This feels like a productive day. Enjoy.

Moon in Libra
Thursday, February 25.
Commitment to justice and fairness in communication is strong today. Every vision needs a plan for following up. How do we implement our brilliant ideas? Mercury in Aquarius inspires the desire to break down the barriers. A sextile between Mercury and Saturn in Sagittarius provides just enough grounded support to formulate those plans. We desire to elevate our efforts to benefit the collective. The Libra Moon asks for balance and equity, and beauty. May our solutions be elegant. 

Moon in Libra
February 26—Disseminating Moon: Sharing. To recap, this lunar cycle began in Aquarian seed time and has transitioned into the Pisces season. The Pisces New Moon will follow the completion of the current lunar cycle. There have been so many influences on our desires to bring change and vision to the world—a core Aquarian initiative! I set an intention at the beginning of this cycle to learn more about my edges and centers. I’ve experienced peak moments in both places. Under the Pisces influences of the cycle, I’ve deepened (as water encourages us to do) into paradox and shared experiences of exclusion, marginalization, and the trauma of isolation (even when it is shared!). At this phase, we begin to harvest the wisdom of the experiences of the lunar cycle. And we share it.

In the introduction to this week’s forecast, I wrote about a Yod aspect pattern that influences the next few days. There is great eagerness to jump into change, to flip into the headspace of abstraction, and lose track of the felt experiences of this lunar cycle. Those embodied moments are asking us to see the bigger picture, remember the values of pragmatism and self-care. Small structured steps are the Virgo way forward and the Yod to Jupiter in Virgo (with Uranus in Aries and Mercury in Aquarius forming the sextile base) is forcing the issue. We must make choices. We will make mistakes. Discernment is the harvest. 

The Moon in Libra, for the most part, encourages compromise and collaboration. Balance is a virtue. However, the square between the Moon and Pluto in Capricorn early in the day (CST) creates an edge. We are more intolerant of power abuses. This may fuel the need to be discerning about our choices. The Moon also opposes Uranus. It will be difficult to be as patient as we’d like to be.

Moon enters Leo 5:26 am CST
Saturday, February 27.
The quincunx aspect between Mercury in Aquarius and Jupiter in Virgo brings up the need to surrender a fixed point of view. Conflicts may arise around values and methods. The pressure to be perfect could be strong. The gift of this paradox-filled day is more capacity to see diverse perspectives. With the waning Moon in Scorpio, the desire to be alone or with those we most trust is strong. We are sorting and sifting information.

Moon in Scorpio
Sunday, February 28.
Once a year, the Sun conjoins with Neptune. Today, the illuminating, conscious influence of the Sun blends with the transpersonal, diffuse influence of Neptune. Sometimes, it feels like these two forces are antithetic to each other. The Sun encourages our sense of self and identity and purpose. Neptune dissolves those things into transcendence. Rather than experience these things as opposite, we get a sense of how our conscious purpose can merge with something outside our own ego structures. This may not be a simple task, however. The Moon in Scorpio makes squares to Venus and Mercury in Aquarius. Fixed ideas and emotions need to be dealt with too. 

Reading about the beginning of this Aquarius lunar cycle here

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