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.

Here’s where I’m at. Do I start with the general or the personal? I am stuck between these places, noticing that the world is screaming out for attention, while at the same time realizing that the personal is political too. There is a scream coming from both places. I think this scream is a wake up call. See this! Look here! Wake up! As an example, in the political world, we only have to look at the recent violence condoned and encouraged by Donald Trump at his political rallies to hear the scream. When he discussed his penis size in a nationally televised debate, we had to know as a country, we’d crossed into new territory. What is this place? How did we get here? On the personal side, this lunar cycle I am exploring this intention: to break down old myths through vulnerability and allow myself to be seen. I realize I am in a process of dismantling myths that I have believed to be true and that feels vulnerable. It also feels like a waking up. Dismantling personal and cultural myths isn’t easy but there is so much at stake. What do the planetary allies say? How is this moment ripe for this work?

Over the past few months I’ve written about the mutable sign emphasis of this year. The big transit overarching our transformative steps is the square between Neptune in Pisces (mutable water) and Saturn in Sagittarius (mutable fire). But that’s not all. This year, there are three eclipses in mutable signs (we just experienced one last week in Pisces). In September there will be a solar eclipse in Virgo (mutable earth) and a lunar eclipse in Pisces. In April, Mars will station retrograde in Sagittarius (and spend most of the retrograde journey in Scorpio, but that tells a story about Sagittarius too). Jupiter has been transiting through Virgo (August 2015 – September 2016) and will square Saturn twice this year. There is a lot to unpack with all this, but one of the primary missions of the mutable signs is to receive and integrate information. This information comes in all forms: energetic, emotional, conceptual, intellectual … you name it. Integration of information feels to me like waking up. I can’t perceive what is going on until I open my metaphorical eyes. I can’t integrate until I understand the impact. And this, for me, feels vulnerable.

I just read a brilliant article about waking up to Whiteness, and I’m going to plug it here because it was excellent and it describes the journey of vulnerability in the waking up process. This is why the political and personal are so linked at the moment. The Pisces symbol is of two fish tethered together, appearing to swim in separate directions. How can they, when they are tied? This symbol is a reminder that our polarities are linked. We really can’t get too far in one direction without acknowledging the other one. So is it personal development or political awakening that we must pay attention to? The fish remind us that there is not real distinction.

I came across this quote from Pema Chödrön as I was preparing to write this week’s blog. “Interrupting our destructive habits and awakening our heart is the work of a lifetime.” from The Places That Scare You: A guide to fearlessness in difficult times. This is another thing Pisces prompts us to remember. Awakening is a life long process. We swim in one direction until we are pulled by the other; we see with fresh vision, only to recede back into habit; we let the current take us, until the next tug at the rope—the next remembering to awaken. This is an ongoing work.

Forecast for March 14, 2016 — March 20

Moon in Gemini
Monday, March 14.
Venus and Mars play the roles of Neptune and Saturn this week. Sort of. Venus in Pisces (mutable water) forms a square to Mars in Sagittarius (mutable fire) today. The Neptune/Saturn square playing out this year happens in these same signs. There is something going on between water’s methods of knowing and integrating and fire’s methods of knowing and integrating. There isn’t a whole lot of difference sometimes, both tend to bypass reason and logic, both can lead to grandiose expressions of belief. Both can be inspired, charismatic, and idealistic. Which sides of these signs will we see today? Notice what is attractive in others and what turns you off. Notice the assumptions that get in the way of authentic connection. Break a pattern and ask for the truth. This is not the only influence. The Moon in Gemini (mutable air) forms a grand mutable cross aspect pattern with Jupiter in Virgo, Saturn in Sagittarius, and Mercury in Pisces. All the ways of knowing and integrating are showing up to perhaps bring illumination but could easily confuse. There is a lot to pay attention to. And once again, practice checking out the stories you are telling about others. Notice how you feel when you are the subject of someone else’s story. 

Moon enters Cancer 7:56 pm CDT
March 15—First Quarter Moon: Manifesting.
We’ve got another day to sort out the mutable sign puzzle. We’ve reached an important point in our journeys. This point could feel like a waking up. We’ve been in this process for a while. An important stage was the Uranus/Pluto squares of 2012 through 2015. These transits came as jolts, calling many to revolution. This year, the wake up occurs in perception. What do I perceive? How do I know the truth? How do my perceptions frame my possibilities? How do I shift the ways I perceive to reconnect to the living world? These are just a few of many questions we can ask under this influence. But the work seems to be pointing us to sensing more clearly, communicating more deliberately, discerning the best course of action, breaking down barriers to understanding. These are mutable questions.

At this phase of the Moon, we reassess how the journey of intention is going. What action needs to happen next? The call is to get going, no matter the obstacles. Obstacles are present in today’s transits. A tight t-square aspect pattern of Mercury in Pisces opposite Jupiter in Virgo with both making a square to Saturn in Sagittarius forces us to look, look again, and then look once more at our understandings of the world. This could be in the personal as well as public realms of life. This looking and relooking will help us break down old myths and paradigms. We may need to resource parts of ourselves that we don’t often use. For some this resource will be emotional understanding, for others a sharper discernment, and for others perhaps more tolerance. The tendency towards judgment is strong. A favorable aspect between Mercury and Pluto in Capricorn gives strength to the quest for new understanding. This reaching and wondering can increase vulnerable emotions running through this lunar cycle. As the Moon enters Cancer this evening (CDT) remember to nurture self.

Moon in Cancer
Wednesday, March 16.
A trine between Jupiter in Virgo and Pluto in Capricorn gives firm support to whatever is wavering in your life right now. With so much to adapt to recently, this couple of planets remind us that we have more resources than we may be aware of. To honor this gift, how will you commit to showing up in your life? Take away the incessant demands for perfection. Accept that you are powerful. The Moon in Cancer forms its own trines today as well with Venus and Neptune, encouraging heartfelt appreciation of others and being tender with your own needs.

Moon in Cancer
Thursday, March 17.
Does the calming trine between the Moon in Cancer and Mercury in Pisces help ameliorate the tension between the Moon, Uranus in Aries, and Pluto in Capricorn? Mercury in Pisces encourages words from the heart. If you are feeling tension remember this resource. Mercury conjoins Chiron today as well. A deep lesson is learned from our wordless places of pain and hope. Compassion blossoms. The trine between Jupiter in Virgo and Pluto in Capricorn, exact yesterday, is still influencing the field. This gives us a strong container for heart openings. Two thoughts: Jupiter encourages pragmatism, doing what needs doing. Pluto encourages stepping fully into our own authority. Believe in what you have to give.

Moon enters Leo 2:54 am CDT
Friday, March 18.
Moon in Leo trine to Mars in Sagittarius seems to give permission. Maybe too much, but it also is a relief to break through doubt and confusion. With this fire sign emphasis, we begin to feel the turning of the year’s wheel to the Aries ingress tomorrow, otherwise known as Spring Equinox in the northern lands. We are on the cusp of the astrological new year. Are you ready to emerge? The journey through the Pisces season has softened harsh exteriors and exposed new possibilities. Feel the childlike exuberance of Leo as you open your arms to the Sun.

Moon in Leo
March 19—Gibbous Moon: Perfecting. Equinox. Today the Sun enters Aries. Day and night are equally split. The Earth hovers at this perfectly balanced point of exchange between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. For a moment, it is as if a space opens when we hover between all possibilities. Then the moment passes, the light of the Sun increases a little everyday in the North and the South dives deeper into darkness till the Sun enters the sign of Cancer.

This moment of Aries ingress is the astrological new year. Beginnings are important. Patterns are put into place that will influence us for the next year. Mundane or political astrologers use the Aries ingress chart to look at trends and issues for nations. The chart set up for Washington D.C. shows Mars on the Ascendant. Mars needs to prove himself in this position. This could mean there is need for the nation to assert its will and keep its agenda forward. Jupiter in Virgo at the top of the chart implies that if we are pragmatic and disciplined, good luck will follow in national status. However, Jupiter is square Saturn in Sagittarius meaning we are at a critical stage in our history. The decision point is between progressives (Jupiter) and conservatives (Saturn). The distinction between these two extremes is clear. Since Jupiter is more elevated, this could mean that we come out of the coming elections with a more progressive government. The Moon in Leo could mean that ego plays a big role in political behavior. The Moon represents the people of a nation. The quincunx aspect between Chiron in Pisces and the Moon points to a choice: Do we continue to give our attention to reality TV style politicians or do we look for heart-centered solutions to our problems?

There is still considerable Pisces influence in this chart and in the year ahead due to the continuing square between Neptune in Pisces and Saturn in Sagittarius. With all the gifts that Pisces offers there are some challenges too. As a nation, we benefit from knowing this. Pisces falls under the spell of hypnotic trance easily. It time to look at cultural entrancement. What serves our awakening? What connects us to each other? Knowing the answer could break the spell. There seems to be growing tide of people who want to break the dominant cultural stories to claim just and accountable relationships. Part of this work is about waking up and breaking spells of illusion. Our personal awakenings of heart, a Pisces gift, can help us do this collectively.

Moon enters Virgo 12:39 pm CDT
Sunday, March 20.
There is nothing wrong with a little infatuation. There really isn’t anything wrong with full-fledged infatuation. It feels good to give ourselves to another, to an idea, or to a work of art. We are primed to fall deeply in love by the conjunction of Neptune and Venus in Pisces. The experience may be only a passing fancy or something that takes root today will be deeply significant to your life. You can never tell with Neptune. This planet puts illusion and truth on the same plate. We take our chances. The Moon moving into Virgo gives some temperance to the emotional overlay of the day. If you swing too far into needing perfection, you may be denying your heart’s call.

Read about the beginning of the Pisces lunar cycle here

Contact Teri at and visit her website at to learn about booking a reading of your chart.