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.


I’m exploring the confluence of mythic and physical realities for this lunar cycle, which is grounded in Taurus (fixed earth) sensibilities. “Mythic reality” is the story, the meaning we give to our experiences. Myth does not refer to the truth or untruth of the story but to the urge to explain, understand, or support an idea or emotion with a story. “Physical reality” is the basis for those stories—what is actually happening in the here and now, on the earth and with our bodies. It isn’t always true that people see the ways these realities weave and support each other. Many times, we can be so lost in story, that we miss what is really happening. An ungrounded story can be destructive to our spirits, our relationships, and to the Earth. A story grounded in physical reality has the opposite effect. We show up whole for ourselves and our relationships, able to be curious, responsive, and open. The stories we tell from that reality are wondrous with possibility.

This lunar cycle, I am curious about the Earth’s intelligence*—what physical reality teaches me about my stories and how I can reground them back into the heart of the Earth. This feels important, even radical. Right now, a wildfire is raging in northern Alberta. Many choices, many ungrounded stories have led to this tragedy. The wildfire is a reality. And it is a story about how people are not paying attention to their relationships with the Earth. If I were to ground my own stories into the Earth’s intelligence, what different choices might I make? How might my realities be better intertwined? How would the story of the wildfire change?

Astrology is the confluence of myth and physical reality. Observable sky cycles inspire the storytelling part of human nature. What does it mean that Mercury can be seen moving across the face of the Sun, as it does on May 9? Or that if I look for Jupiter against the backdrop of the stars over the next few nights, I can see this bright planet appear to change direction? And what is the story of this perspective: If I were able to get a full 360 degrees perspective around the Earth, I’d see a triangle of planets (in earth signs) girdling our own planet?

For the next week of this lunar cycle, I plan to sense into physical reality, asking my body and the Earth, what is the wisdom you are showing me? What are the practices that help me surrender to the Earth’s intelligence? How does this change the stories I am telling?

Forecast for May 9, 2016 — May 15 

Moon enters Cancer 12:24 pm CDT
May 9—Crescent Moon: Beginning. The heart of each Mercury retrograde occurs when Mercury meets the Sun in an inferior conjunction. That happens today. To make it more significant, this conjunction can actually be viewed as the small dot of Mercury transiting across the face of the Sun. This is a somewhat rare occurrence, which will happen only 14 times this century, and warrants our attention. [Read more here ]. Mercury and the Sun conjoin in Taurus (fixed earth). Since April 28, when Mercury stationed retrograde, the mercurial planet of perception and communication has been broadcasting the importance of earth’s wisdom. What are we missing? How have the miscommunications and other mishaps of this retrograde cycle so far reminded you to slow down and reorient to earth’s gravity? Perhaps this means simplifying our lives. Perhaps it means remembering what is truly valuable. Insight is beamed our way with the power of the Sun and Mercury combining forces. This insight fuels our beginnings for this lunar cycle. Imagine you can break with the past at this moment. What would you leave behind to go forward with your intentions for the lunar cycle?

Venus in Taurus makes an encouraging sextile aspect with Neptune in Pisces. The living beauty of the Earth becomes inspiration for compassion and connection to others. Hearts expand. We can become more present.

Jupiter in Virgo (mutable earth) turns direct today. Jupiter stationed retrograde in early January. Since then, we’ve been internalizing Jupiter’s lessons from this earth sign. Now, we move those lessons out into manifestation. Jupiter’s optimism is being colored by Virgoan issues. The small details of our lives: our work, our health, our day to day routines have big impact on our effectiveness and happiness. Small is beautiful—this is another earth lesson. The Moon in Cancer reminds us to make a cozy place for listening to the Earth’s wisdom today. Don’t cover over emotions that need to surface. Give yourself space to feel.

Moon in Cancer
Tuesday, May 10.
Are you feeling lucky? A trine between Venus and Jupiter brings hope. Don’t let the optimism and opportunity of this day go to waste. Greet the Earth as a beloved. There is a grand earth trine aspect pattern with Jupiter in Virgo (powerful due to having just stationed direct yesterday), Venus in Taurus, and Pluto in Capricorn offering us plenty of support to listen to Earth’s wisdom. It is a good day to contemplate fully the concept of Enough. More is not better. The Moon in Cancer opposing Pluto in Capricorn creates a significant challenge to this perception. If I feel unstable or afraid, one response can be to think I need more things to provide security. I notice this reaction often and need to reassure the scared part of myself that I am actually OK. My needs are being met. Inspiration to sense a larger reality comes from encouraging aspects between the Moon in Cancer, Neptune in Pisces, and Venus and Mercury in Taurus. Be open to possibility. Luck can flourish.

Moon enters Leo 4:32 pm CDT
Wednesday, May 11.
Earth sign emphasis doesn’t always mean bliss. Problems can arise from inertia. We can get too stuck in one approach or too attached to ideas as well as to objects. The aspect between Venus in Taurus and Saturn in Sagittarius might nudge us out of such places. Conflict could surface concerning values and truth. The Moon in a fire sign (Leo) also challenges complacency. Where is the balance between keeping things just the way they are and changing what needs changing? How do you discern? What does that discernment feel like in your body? Remember that sensation. Then ask yourself again: How do I know? 

Moon in Leo
Thursday, May 12.
A retrograde Mercury in Taurus joins the other planets of the grand earth trine today. Mercury makes an exact trine to Pluto in Capricorn. Tomorrow Mercury’s influence gets even stronger. If Mercury’s function while retrograde is to get us to reconsider our assumptions, then we have an opportunity to notice what we think about power and immoveable forces. Is it better to stubbornly attach ourselves to what we think is right or do we tap into flexibility and curiosity about other choices? The Moon in Leo brings up a good but challenging point about creativity and personal impact. People are complicated. Communication is tricky if we forget that. Creative expression could resolve inner conflict or doubt.

Moon in Leo
May 13—First Quarter Moon: Manifesting. This week so far had been enormously supportive of the lunar intention to listen to the Earth’s intelligence and enormously challenging in discerning when to stick to our point of view and when to let it go. Under the stubbornness of the fixed earth and fire signs of the last few days, an undercurrent of mutability has challenged us to take in more information, to sort through complexity, and to adapt to shifting realities. Although not exact, the aspects between Jupiter in Virgo (mutable earth), Saturn in Sagittarius (mutable fire), and Neptune in Pisces (mutable water) have created a backdrop of unsettled energy. Mutable signs can bring out anxiety as we try to get on top of all the data of life—emotional as well as intellectual. At this stage of the lunar cycle, our challenges give us the greatest gifts. We are developing muscles for manifesting lunar intention by meeting these challenges. My lunar intention was inspired by Rilke’s poem: “If we surrendered to earth’s intelligence, we would rise up rooted, like trees.” Sometimes we try too hard to figure things out, to come up with the perfect solution, to constantly improve ourselves. What are you learning about surrendering? Without even trying, we can tap into knowing what we know.

Mercury, the planet of knowing, conjoins Venus, the planet of loving, in the sign of Taurus. A grand earth trine aspect pattern has been a big influence since this lunar cycle began on May 6. Today, that pattern is reinforced by the meeting of Mercury and Venus. Earth signs, like Taurus, are doers. Knowing what you know and loving what you love, what will you do today to honor this gift?

Moon enters Virgo 12:51 am CDT
Saturday, May 14. How can I help? The impulse of a Virgo Moon can be to volunteer our service to someone else’s need. The Sun in Taurus aligns with Chiron in Pisces to encourage an open heart and a willingness to bring compassion into action. Don’t let this desire become a burden to fix someone else’s problems. Everyone is imperfect, even you.

Moon in Virgo
Sunday, May 15.
The Moon in Virgo reinforces the strength of the grand earth trine aspect pattern of this lunar cycle but also activates the mutable t-square aspect pattern of this lunar cycle. In other words, we may have a hard time settling into the stability promised by the earth trine when we are distracted by anxiety, confusion, or frustration coming from Jupiter in Virgo opposing Neptune in Pisces and both square to Saturn in Sagittarius. We may be tempted to throw our hands in the air and go for a bike ride, or work in the garden, or lay in a hammock. Now that I think of it, these are great solutions. Find contentment. Earth will be your guide.

*Read about the seeds of the Taurus lunar cycle here:



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