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.
A thread of attention I’ve been following this lunar cycle is the theme of rekindling life. The current lunar cycle, which began on April 7, was seeded by Aries (cardinal fire). Fire leads the way into this season. In the northern lands, the ingress of the Sun into Aries is the moment of vernal equinox, which is mirrored in the southern parts of the world as the moment of the autumnal equinox. As a fire sign, Aries renews the energy of life returning in the north and brings light for the journey into the darker seasons in the south. Aries fire is a “need fire.” This fire, coming after and before winter, depending on the side of the Earth you live, is a vital fire representing life force. Lighting a “need fire” was a custom of people in Northern Europe, practiced when they encountered a threat to life force. A need fire could purify, bring renewed life, and alert the gods that need was present. I wonder if this Aries lunar cycle isn’t such a time when our need is great, when the fires we are kindling serve a greater purpose.
I’ve noticed that transits this lunar cycle have had a tempering effect on fire. For every surge forward there has been something to check that flow. From the countering energies of water and earth signs to the retrograde of Mars in Sagittarius, there has been reason to pause and wonder about our fires. Fire is often associated with anger and passion. These emotions help us to know when we are in need and teach us to identify our needs. The 11 weeks of Mars retrograde is a good opportunity to really listen to anger and passion. You may notice these emotions are more present while Mars moves retrograde if your pattern is to gloss over anger or defer to other’s passions. If anger is fairly accessible to you, then this retrograde may ask you to temper those impulses. The opportunity is to find more depth and more balance in our fiery passions.
The Aries lunar cycle doesn’t complete until May 6 even though the Sun has now moved into Taurus. The fixed earth sign that follows Aries is another tempering influence that happens each year. First, Aries bursts onto the scene with impulsive daring, then embodied Taurus slows everything down. Attention is paid to sustainable growth and to our bodies’ desires. Earth tamps down fire’s excesses, but the fire doesn’t go out. We learn how to tend and nurture it. This week, Mercury stations retrograde in Taurus. The message from the messenger god is to slow down enough to avoid the common miscues of retrograde periods. And if we can’t avoid them, seek the earth wisdom to handle them with calm attention. On Friday, Venus enters Taurus and everyone lets out a big sigh. Venus rules this sign. Here, Venus lends the quality of attenuated sensual perception. Think of this as a release of endorphins. What effect will this have on our fires? Fire has other qualities, not just anger and passion. These qualities include joy, creativity, and generosity. Imagine this sensual slowing as necessary to sustaining the wonderful qualities of fire too. And for the need fire? Perhaps earth’s influence creates the steady burn, the clarifying focus, the signal that is strong and determined. There is need. Any number of things need our attention. Yet, with fire’s focus, we can know what is most essential to this moment. What needs your attention most? For the remaining days of this lunar cycle let earth and fire show you the answer.
Forecast for April 25, 2016 — May 1
Moon in Sagittarius
Monday, April 25. It may be hard to focus today. The day starts with an agitating influence from the Moon’s union with retrograde Mars in Sagittarius. It may be hard to settle on what we want or the direction we want to take to get where we’re going. Next, a mutable t-square aspect pattern messes with the ways we usually take in and make sense of information. And it doesn’t help that Mercury is stationing to turn retrograde on Friday, either. The Moon sets off the t-square pattern of Jupiter in Virgo opposing Neptune in Pisces and both planets square to Saturn in Sagittarius. Although the aspects are not exact, these three planets have been working on changing our ways of perceiving and understanding. The Moon reminds us that we are not done with this process. Overall, pay attention to the balance of mind, body, emotion, and spirit.
Moon enters Capricorn 6:54 pm CDT
April 26—Disseminating Moon: Sharing. Earth signs are exerting a big influence upon this fire inspired lunar cycle. On April 7, this lunar cycle began in Aries (cardinal fire). A seed was planted in the season of emergence. Fire is an ally of life force. In the spring season, it is impossible to miss the excitement of life returning. On its own, without any human direction, the green leaf unfurls on the branch. Nature gets busy reproducing and flourishing. Although earth rules the forms that nature takes, fire is the impulse to expand and grow. What are you noticing about the interaction and interdependency of fire with earth in the world around you?
Under this phase of the Moon, we naturally gravitate to sharing our wisdoms, the things we’ve learned from the lunar cycle journey so far. This sharing is generous, spontaneous, much like fire is. With the Moon in a fire sign for most of the day (Sagittarius) and making trines to Uranus and Venus in another fire sign (Aries), dare to share more of yourself.
Moon in Capricorn
Wednesday, April 27. The aspect between the Sun in Taurus and Mars in Sagittarius perfectly exemplifies the contrast and support that earth and fire provide each other. This quincunx aspect is a paradoxical blending of energies that have nothing in common. The Sun says, “Grow roots.” Mars says, “Let’s travel.” The two do not have to be mutually exclusive. The contrast forces creative solutions. The Moon in Capricorn (cardinal earth) tilts the argument to the earth side of things. Use the day to be practical and expect that to feel like an adventure.
Moon in Capricorn
Thursday, April 28. Mercury in Taurus stations retrograde today. Mercury’s mission is to help us reframe our assumptions. We have the opportunity to learn something about the way we humans process information. Taurus inspires careful but obstinate communication styles. It can be hard to break free of the ways we’ve always thought about things. The potential is to let go of that rigidity. The way to this breakthrough, however, may be the unsettling experience of familiar reality not working the way it’s supposed to. The transition into the Mercury retrograde period may not go smoothly today due to the Moon in Capricorn making stressful contacts with Pluto in Capricorn and Uranus in Aries. Be extra patient. There is plenty to be upset about.
Moon enters Aquarius 2:07 am CDT
April 29—Last Quarter Moon Moon: Evaluating. The body knows what the body knows. As we begin to evaluate the experiences and actions of this lunar cycle, remember to listen to what your body knows. The pattern of this season is the pulsation from fire’s initial burst of life to the steadiness of earth’s relentless support. Notice how this shows up in your life, in your passions. The seasons are teaching us.
The Moon in Aquarius gives perspective to individual desires. We ask, what is the greater purpose? How do my gifts contribute to the whole? What is the vision for the collective? Against this backdrop, Venus leaves Aries fire behind and enters Taurus, one of the signs that Venus rules. Feel that relentless support of the earth open up and welcome your desires. Our bodies are wise. Pleasure is important. The effort does not have to be large, but spend time honoring your body’s desire and wisdom for the next three and a half weeks while Venus is in Taurus.
Moon in Aquarius
Saturday, April 30. The tricky edge of this day is noticed in the contrast between feelings of efficient competency and out of control chaos. If we can surf the waves of the unexpected, we may be able to harness the good vibrations between the Moon in Aquarius and Saturn in Sagittarius to be brilliantly productive. The Moon, however makes a challenging square to retrograde Mercury in Taurus. This is where we need to be adaptable. The plans may be solid, the thought behind them may be inspired, but Mercury has other plans. Look for a teaching from the Trickster today.
Moon enters Pisces 9:33 am CDT
Sunday, May 1. Calendar Beltane. The cross-quarter holy day of Beltane has been traditionally celebrated on May 1. Another moment to celebrate the mid-point of the Taurus season will be when the Sun reaches 15 degrees Taurus on May 4. Those who celebrate this holy day, honor the Earth’s fertility. As the fixed earth sign, Taurus stands for embodied wisdom. Beauty is the messenger of this wisdom. What brings you joy? What does the Earth teach you today? Pisces influence is strong today. The Sun in Taurus forms an encouraging sextile with Neptune in Pisces. The Moon in Pisces makes another sextile to Venus in Taurus. We open to beauty and to expansive connection with others. The heart leads the way into a celebration of the renewing powers of the Earth. At the end of the day (CDT) the Moon makes a square to retrograde Mars in Sagittarius. Passions rise. There may be argument or conflict, but at the end of such a day, these conflicts can serve to remind us what we hold sacred and what we most care about.
Read about the beginning of the Aries lunar cycle here