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.

Mars is putting on the brakes this week. On April 17, Mars will station retrograde at 8 degrees Sagittarius. After that, the red planet will appear to move backwards against the stars until June 29, when it will station direct at 23 degrees Scorpio. We aren’t done with the retrograde journey until Mars returns to 8 degrees Sagittarius on August 22. What happens immediately after that may be the signature transit of this retrograde cycle. Mars comes into conjunction with Saturn at 9 degrees Sagittarius on August 24. There is a Saturn theme to this retrograde journey. Figuring out Saturn will be useful as we follow Mars on the quest.

The retrograde journeys of Mercury, Venus, and Mars have a mythic quality. Both Mercury and Venus disappear into the rays of the Sun when they are retrograde, inviting stories of mythic meetings in the underworld. Mars, however, is seen opposing the Sun during retrograde. It is most visible in the evening sky at this time. It also appears brighter because it is closer to the Earth. The Mars mythic journey describes a journey of challenge—perhaps a hero’s journey—to discover a truth, receive a gift, turn our actions around to benefit the world. This could be a story of individuation, discovery of self, a reclaiming of one’s passion or fire. Mars is about passion, desire, and will. During this retrograde cycle, those qualities may be challenged and through that challenge be reborn.

The Saturn influence on this hero’s journey. Mars is mirroring the retrograde journey taken by Saturn last summer. During that time, Saturn stationed retrograde in the early degrees of Sagittarius and turned direct in the late degrees of Scorpio. Just like Mars is about to do. If Mars is on a quest, perhaps this planet is going back to re-experience Scorpio lessons in preparation for a meeting with Saturn in August. Perhaps, through this journey, we will learn more about what Saturn’s transit of Sagittarius is about. Saturn always directs us to the pointed lessons of the moment. Through contrasting experiences of obstruction and determination, Saturn offers the chance to build lasting structures that help us through life. Saturn can feel like a carrot dangling from a stick that keeps getting pulled away just when we get near. It can feel cruel. I’ve come to believe that with Saturn, the trick is not to play the game of unworthiness. We already deserve the carrot. If we believe that, then Saturn offers some excellent tips in how to enjoy that carrot to the fullest.

What is the Sagittarius carrot that Saturn dangles before us? Perhaps: That we can be bold in the pursuit of truth? That we can be both discerning and hopeful? That we can dream bigger? That all deserve freedom and agency? Sagittarius is the mutable fire sign. It lights up the sky with meaning. While Saturn is here, there is some truth we are meant to pass along. And perhaps, many truths we are meant to give up. When Mars joins Saturn in August, we’ll know better how we want to pass along this flame.

Forecast for April 11, 2016 — April 17

Moon in Gemini
Monday, April 11. The Gemini Moon brings a whiff of spring’s desire to reach out, connect, start something new. The day starts under the influence of Saturn opposing the Moon, however, so it takes a while for the light-hearted quality of Gemini to really get into full swing. Try to be productive earlier in the day. Inspiration is high. By early afternoon, the will to do anything burdensome completely disappears. May the actual weather mirror this energetic weather where you live. Enjoy the day. image

Moon enters Cancer 3:06 am CDT
Tuesday, April 12.
Water and fire dance today. The Temperance card from the Thoth Tarot deck is a good inspiration for how this can work. If we temper passion with compassion, enormous creativity is harnessed. For water, the Moon in Cancer enfolds us in the need to nurture. This Moon contacts Neptune in Pisces (mutable water) to open hearts and intuition to truly feel what others are feeling. Mercury in Taurus (fixed earth) forms a sextile with Neptune, providing grounded communication as we expand into feelings. The fire of the day comes from a trine between Venus in Aries and Mars in Sagittarius. Creativity is sparked by this contact. The contrast between empathy and impatience is a challenge to be more aware of energy and impact. Breakthroughs can happen today. Be alert to the possibilities.

Moon in Cancer
April 13—First Quarter Moon: Manifesting. The theme of working with the gifts of water and fire continue today. (See yesterday’s forecast.) The Moon in Cancer (cardinal water) forms a square to the Sun in Aries (cardinal fire). The opening square between the Moon and Sun is the point in a lunar cycle when challenge produces results. The challenge to work effectively with both water and fire (emotion and passion) allows the seed dream planted at the New Moon in Aries on April 7 to suddenly emerge from dream into reality.

At the New Moon, I wasn’t sure what my intention for this lunar cycle would be. All I knew based on transits and nature of the Aries season was that a dream was catching fire. Fire kindles new life. Passion helps us know how to follow the energy. Without temperance of some kind, fire can burn out too quickly or be misdirected. The dream may not have enough resources for the complete growing cycle of manifestation. Water, emotional connection and knowing, builds resiliency when balanced with action. At this phase of the Moon notice the pulsation between passion, which may show up as impatience or anger, and compassion, which may show up as grief or even despair. The dream catching fire for me this Aries season is a dream of passionate and compassionate resiliency. I am both impatient with the things that need changing right now, and compassionate about the fears that arise when such change is contemplated. You may feel like you are stuck between such a rock and a hard place today as the Moon moves from a confident connection with Jupiter in Virgo to challenging contacts with Pluto in Capricorn and Uranus in Aries. There is no shame if we vacillate between a desire to be bold and a need to be safe. Both are necessary to the emergence of this season.

Moon enters Leo 8:53 am CDT
Thursday, April 14. The Moon in Leo (fixed fire) gives an energetic boost to the waxing phase of this Moon cycle. This is a good chance to appreciate the joy of living. Life force flows freely. The positive vibes are enhanced by a trine between Mercury in Taurus (fixed earth) and Jupiter in Virgo (mutable earth). This connection is excellent for grounded, clear communication. Mental focus is strong and can be applied to any projects that involve the tangible world. The dreams of this lunar cycle become clearer. This is time to plan and manifest.

Moon in Leo
Friday, April 15. The day begins with a grand fire trine aspect pattern that infuses the day with more energy, more action, and possibly more impatience. The Moon in Leo, Mars in Sagittarius, and Venus in Aries are working together to ignite the day with creativity. Later in the day, the Moon trines Saturn in Sagittarius, which helps us feel productive and focused. A contrasting influence to the day comes from Mercury in Taurus (fixed earth). Mercury makes a square aspect to the confident Leo Moon, asking us to slow down. Mercury also makes a quincunx to Saturn. This aspect reinforces the subtext of the day to check and recheck impulsive actions and decisions. Although Mercury’s influence may feel frustrating, we benefit from thinking twice before acting.

Moon enters Virgo 6:23 pm CDT
Saturday, April 16. The Moon will enter productive Virgo later today. Before that happens, take the opportunity to feed your flames under the last few hours of Leo Moon inspiration. Fire needs tending. What is fire to you? How do you experience life force energy? Fire creates a generous and creative response to life. It is vital for life. Tend your fire by play, activities that inspire, physical movement, and joy early in the day to build up energetic reserves for the next three days of Virgo Moon influence. This is the best way to engage with Virgo’s desire to perfect and improve. The quincunx aspect between Venus in Aries (cardinal fire) and Jupiter in Virgo (mutable earth) further emphasized the contrast between the desire to leap into life full force and the desire to pull back, be careful and correct. Jupiter in Virgo has been encouraging us to take care of health concerns. Well-being may be understood today as an appropriate balance between fire and earth.

Moon in Virgo
April 17—Gibbous Moon: Perfecting. Fire impulses have been tempered this week by water and earth contrasts. At times you may have experienced this as discouragement or frustration. Other times, you may have wondered where all your energy went and if you could get it back. What have you learned through this tempering process? Fire is really the theme of this Aries lunar cycle. It is the element that fuels rebirth and helps us emerge from dormancy. Joy, excitement, and foolish daring are ingredients for the fires that get us going again. This phase of the Moon is often experienced as a tempering process. We are motivated to make small but important adjustments to perfect intention. With the Moon in Virgo, this need to adjust and perfect is more pronounced. I encourage you to step away from good/bad thinking and embrace the paradox of yes/and. Yes, fire needs free expression without constraint. And, earth’s pragmatic realism gives fire more freedom and focus. How does this contrast land in your body? How will it help you perfect your dreams of this lunation?

Mars in Sagittarius stations retrograde today. In the introduction to this week’s blog, I wrote that this mythic journey provides the opportunity to learn important lessons about the pursuit of meaning in our lives and the ways we hold our truths. Energetically, Mars moving retrograde for the next 11 weeks forces another tempering of fire and will. Resolve can strengthen as a result if we are able to discard the extraneous battles in our lives. Liberation may come from walking away from needless conflicts. Mars returns to Scorpio at the end of May. We will learn the deeper lessons about desire and will during the last portion of Mars retrograde.

The Moon in Virgo makes a square to stationary Mars, opposes Neptune in Pisces and conjoins Jupiter in Virgo. This pattern imprints the whole Mars retrograde journey. Over the past few weeks, these planets in mutable signs have opened the door to the ways we gather and process information. We’re in a fertile time of learning about ourselves and others. The mutable signs invite adaptation. Do you feel structures shifting? It is important to practice self-care for sensitive nervous systems at this time.

Today, Mercury in Taurus forms a supportive trine to Pluto in Capricorn. Use this transit to write or communicate, to clarify your thoughts, to declare your intentions for the spring season.
Read about the beginning of the Aries lunar cycle here

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