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

This last week of the lunar cycle, seeded by Aquarius at the New Moon on February 8, presents the opportunity to make offerings on the altar of our hopes and dreams. Each new moon is a seed, a planting of hidden desires. This particular lunar cycle, the one seeded in the season of Aquarius, is even more so. This fixed air sign, anchoring mid-winter in the northern lands and mid-summer in the south, has a special relationship to planting hopes and dreams. Mid-winter is a time to begin a plan for the growing year*. This literally means planning our gardens. What seeds will we order from catalogs? What new structures will enhance the garden? What new technologies will we try this year? Aquarius is the sign of the visionary, looking to see what next thing needs to be tried, what innovation will create a better world. But first, it begins with a dream, a desire, a hope—a seed.

The final week of a lunar cycle is a time to reflect on the cycle as a whole. What visions, hopes, dreams caught your imagination this cycle? What challenges did you encounter? What insights have you harvested? The arc of this cycle has stretched from Aquarian abstraction (visionary insight) to Piscean connection (compassionate vulnerability) as the Sun moved into Pisces before the Full Moon. The Sun’s light draws our attention, asking us to expand what the lunar seeds contain. Theory is fine for visions about a better world, but it isn’t enough. Heart, complete with wounds and fears as well as hopes, continues the work that mind alone can’t accomplish. Whatever we began at the New Moon has been transformed through the Piscean experience of surrender.

For me, the work has been about the Aquarian focus upon groups and communities. This cycle, I worked on my understanding of inclusion and exclusion and the power of riding the edge. Because I was able to do this work in a community setting (Winter Witchcamp), I began to learn about other shared experiences of the edge, such as the wounds of erasure, isolation, and marginalization. The Aquarian dream for me is to create a new world where we support each other and are able to recognize each other’s authentic identities. The reality, I discovered, is that this is difficult work when trauma keeps reactivating isolation. Perhaps this is the gift of the pairing of Aquarius and Pisces this lunar cycle. Without Aquarius, we’d never try to create that new world. Without Pisces, we’d never know the pain that keeps us from it. Somewhere between is the wisdom I am reaping from this lunar cycle.

Pisces is the mutable water sign that mutates and merges through emotion. Mercury will join the Sun, Chiron and Neptune in Pisces this week. Sagittarius, the mutable fire sign, adds its own flavor to the reaping of this lunar cycle. Saturn and the Moon will inhabit Sagittarius together for a few days this week, and Mars will temporarily leave Scorpio behind and enter Sagittarius until May 27, when by retrograde motion it re-enters Scorpio for two more months. The effect of the stressful aspect between Pisces and Sagittarius planets will be to expand how we know what we know and to develop the discernment to know when to act upon what we know. There is a fine line between watery intuition and fiery instinct. When both ways of knowing are emphasized, passion takes over reason. Emotion can fuel impulsive action. Fervent beliefs can drive a wildfire of passion through our relationships. As the week leads up to the next lunar cycle on March 8, which also happens to be a solar eclipse, we may notice the effects of uncontrolled passion. This is a perfect moment to sink into reflection about what you have learned this lunar cycle from tending the seeds of your hopes and dreams.

*I imagine that in southern lands, the vision in this season is about the harvest.

Forecast for February 29, 2016 — March 6 

Moon enters Sagittarius 5:56 pm CST
Monday, February 29.
The last aspect the Moon makes in Scorpio is a conjunction with Mars. Intense, defensive, probing, sexy, these are all appropriate words for this energetic signature of the day. But it doesn’t stay that way. The Moon moves into freedom-loving Sagittarius and then Venus in Aquarius makes a pass at Saturn in Sagittarius improving our moods considerably. I suspect that we become even more aware how women, especially women of color, are leading the way to cultural change. Saturn’s structure supports this mission. Let truth be your guide.

Moon in Sagittarius
March 1—Last Quarter Moon: Evaluating.
The clash between Pisces way of knowing and Sagittarius way is pronounced. (The Moon in Sagittarius is square to Neptune and the Sun in Pisces.) What will that feel like? How will this affect the lasting wisdoms we take away from this lunar cycle? The challenge may come from the cumulative effect of compounding emotion with passion. The Yod aspect pattern in today’s chart points to Jupiter in Virgo as guide to discernment and wisdom. Small steps may be more powerful than grand gestures, even though we may want to make really grand gestures. Since Yod aspect patterns take their energy from paradox, the best way to approach either/or thinking is by inviting in rather than excluding those who are different. This is actually much easier said than done. I am thinking about how polarized people are politically in the U.S. right now. Further distancing may be dangerous. How do we pull towards each other without losing our truths (a strong Sagittarian value). I really don’t know the answer. Stay tuned for clues, today.

Moon in Sagittarius
Wednesday, March 2.
A mutable existential crisis is brewing. There is only so much data one can take in, especially when it keeps changing. One moment the message is clear, the next everything is in flux again. Mutable signs are absorbing information and synthesizing the message. They are ready to adapt but perhaps can’t decide in which direction to go. Is it stalemate or overwhelm that we feel today? A lot is flowing forward. Venus in Aquarius is in a very encouraging aspect with Uranus in Aries. Forming connections with people who think the way we do and want to make the same kinds of changes in the world is strongly supported. Both these planets are quincunx to Jupiter in Virgo, creating a Yod aspect pattern. The Yod pattern invites us to take the third path between two choices. Perhaps this choice involves people we work with to create change. On one hand, we feel energized by similarities and shared values. On the other hand, too much agreement means we may be missing something important. What is the third way telling you?

Moon enters Capricorn 4:01 am CST
Thursday, March 3.
We are feeling more decisive today with the Moon’s ingress into Capricorn. There is a greater emphasis on reliability and effectiveness. Theory is fine, but we want a clear path to follow. Venus in Aquarius is quincunx Jupiter in Virgo. We are aware of the differences between ideals and realities. It is easy to get judgmental. The teaching could be that we need a little radical idealism mixed in with our pragmatism and vice versa. A focus on productivity helps us over any confusion about discernment.


Moon in Capricorn
Friday, March 4.
Today, Mercury in Aquarius and Mars in Scorpio form a square aspect from the last degree of their signs. Fixed opinions and fixed desires are ready to shift to the mutable plane. The process for releasing stuck places may be to get really, really stuck first. Where are you stuck? Fixed signs are necessarily pretty attached to their points of view. Passion fuels the cause of standing up for what we believe in. But then a change in perception (mutable sign emphasis) helps us get over our differences. Mutable signs are the teachers this year. Perhaps we are meant to learn discernment about when to stand firm and when to soften. The transits today may challenge receptivity and trigger reactivity with the Moon’s conjunction with Pluto and square to Uranus.

Moon enters Aquarius 10:22 am CST
March 5—Balsamic Moon: Surrendering. Why spend time crafting and following mindful intention only to let it go at the end? Surrender is both about releasing attachment and about offering up our experiences to something larger than ourselves. This phase of the Moon consecrates the work of the cycle. The work is made sacred by letting it go. This letting go happens every cycle and it particularly resonates with the Pisces season of the year. In the astrological year, which begins in the spring under Aries influence, Pisces is the last sign—the season of surrender. Pisces influence is strong now with Mercury, Neptune, Sun, Chiron and the South Node of the Moon all occupying that sign. In three days a New Moon begins the Pisces lunar cycle. It also happens to be a solar eclipse, making the next cycle even more potent. Pay attention to the themes of surrender and consecration. This may guide you to your work of the next lunar cycle.

As for this lunar cycle, we need to reach back into the Aquarian vision from the New Moon of February 8. A seed was planted that has the potential to grow into change, to push the edges of what is known. Now that we surrender this work, the seed takes on a life of its own. We get to practice letting go.

Mercury and Mars move into mutable signs today, Mercury into Pisces and Mars into Sagittarius. People are constantly telling stories about what they think is going on around them. Humans are storytellers and with this latest addition to the large number of planets in mutable signs, we see this aspect of human character play out even more. Stories are powerful, so powerful that if we can change our stories, we can change the world. First, we need to notice the stories we are telling. What frames your understanding of the world?

Moon in Aquarius
Sunday, March 6.
I propose we all try to be nicer to each other, starting with ourselves. How radical is that? We are being flooded by emotion heavily tinged with collective trauma. A heavy emphasis on Pisces right now just exacerbates this sensation. Many are highly sensitive to the trauma of others and to the necessity of changing how we interact with each other. From addressing racism to environmental decline, there is much to do. Opening to the pain of the world is an immense offering of connection and it can actually be harmful to carry too much of this pain. What if we just decided to treat each other as well as we can and let go of expectations of perfection? Give it a try. The square between the Sun in Pisces and Saturn in Sagittarius tells us the stakes are high and we expect a lot from ourselves. We may reach a crisis point of taking on too much of the world’s burdens. Mars in Sagittarius is probably giving us messages to hightail it out of town to escape the pressure. Find the balance point. Jupiter in Virgo quincunx Uranus in Aries tells us to adapt to paradox and let go of duality. We can change more by being still.

 Reading about the beginning of this Aquarius lunar cycle here

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