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.

At the New Moon in Taurus on May 6, a poem by Rilke, How Surely Gravity’s Law, inspired my lunar intention. This line,

If we surrendered
to earth’s intelligence
we could rise up rooted, like trees

evoked my desire to embody earth wisdom. Taurus is fixed earth. Each fixed sign anchors elemental wisdom. Leo has fire, Scorpio water, and Aquarius holds air. This lunation, I went to earth’s altar and asked, “How do I surrender to your intelligence? How do I know what my body knows? What is it like to be rooted and rising like a tree?”

With the desire stated. I began to listen for the answers. I often learn about a thing’s value by noticing what it is like to not have it. I have no earth in my own natal chart, so I am used to wondering what it would be like to have this element show up more strongly in my life. A funny thing happens when an element is missing, we learn to cultivate relationship with that element. Through courtship, we invite those qualities and honor the gifts that come with that element. This is in contrast to how often we take for granted the elements that are well represented in our charts. This isn’t to say we should not cultivate good relationship with those elements too. We should. This is the path to wholeness. I find there is always something to be learned from each element.

Yet, this season, in this month, I most wanted to know how to rise up rooted like a tree: How to stop frittering away my time and energy by worry, how to slow down enough to drink in the beauty and pleasure offered by this season, how to be present enough to adjust easily when expectations aren’t met or plans go awry, how to get in touch with a deeper level of wisdom to answer the perplexing questions of my life. It would seem that this thing I am missing could help me live a more joyful life.


What is it like to rise up rooted like a tree? I imagine that it feels like being supported in my aspirations to reach for the sky. I imagine that it feels like being both satisfied with the place I am and wondering what more there can be. The tree in my imagination is sure and solid yet flexible and rising. That feels just about right. The astrological weather lately has been challenging such a state of solid flexibility. Emphasis in the mutable signs has sensitized us to all the ways we want to understand and adapt to our complex world. We are more and more aware of trauma’s influences, seeing dysfunction in our governments and injustice in our systems. The recent Mercury retrograde through Taurus seemed like a hyper-charged experience of things going awry over and over. The ongoing Mars retrograde through Sagittarius (mutable fire) has simmered under the surface of emotional response. At times, it felt like living in a tinderbox about to ignite.

With such challenges, it’s easy to feel unsuccessful, completely not like a tree rooted and rising. Every thing that has gone wrong, every message misunderstood, every emotion feeling too big to handle—all these things have gravity too. Perhaps the key is to stop struggling against and surrender to their weight. Rilke ends his poem with this line:

This is what the things teach us:
to fall,
patiently trusting our heaviness.
Even a bird has to do that
before he can fly.

It is interesting that the poem ends with the image of a bird. The Sun has moved out of Taurus and now inhabits Gemini (mutable air). The Taurus lunar cycle is just halfway done. There is much more to experience about surrendering to the earth’s intelligence. Yet, the sky is calling. We get to meet that sky when we learn to fall. Gravity’s pull helps us soar.

Forecast for May 23, 2016 — May 29 

Moon in Sagittarius
Monday, May 23.
The reverberations of the recent Full Moon begin to lessen. The Moon in Sagittarius enters a void-of course period mid-morning (CDT) after making an energizing trine to Uranus in Aries. This lack of aspects today provides an excellent opportunity to enjoy Sag’s innate optimism. Feel for the uplift of spirit. Insights bring meaning. Trying something new brings wisdom.

Moon enters Capricorn 12:34 am CDT
Tuesday, May 24.
Serious and curious. The Moon in Capricorn encourages responsibility and determination. Venus entering Gemini encourages serendipity and an open curiosity. Combine these forces and you have the power to use chance encounters to further a long-range goal. Venus opposes retrograding Mars in Sagittarius. Be on guard for either/or thinking. Venus in Gemini sees a multitude of options, each of them enticing. Mars in Sagittarius feels passionately about a singular truth. If we can embrace both of these desires, without negating either, we’ve won the game. The sextile between the Moon and Neptune at the end of the day says kick back and dream a little. 

Moon in Capricorn
May 25—Disseminating Moon: Sharing. Mercury recently stationed direct while making trines to both Jupiter in Virgo and Pluto in Capricorn. In spite of potential upsets in thoughts, communications, and systems, the grounding influence of this grand earth trine has helped us find the ground beneath. Today, this grand earth trine is reinforced by the Moon in Capricorn. By next week, we will lose this support and have to grapple with planets in mutable signs squaring off and amping up stress levels; so this is a good moment to notice what you notice about earth’s intelligence. Do you take this source of wisdom for granted? Do you rely on it above all else? Will you make adjustments? Under this phase of the Moon, we begin to put together the value and meaning we’ve gained from intention. Pass it along to others. To honor the earth wisdom you seek, how will you give back to this intelligence? Earth encourages action. Tangible reality gives us feedback on which of these actions move us closer to our goals. The square between the Moon and Uranus in Aries at the end of the day (CDT) encourages actions that will bring change.

Moon enters Aquarius 9:27 am CDT
Thursday, May 26.
Jupiter and Saturn reach an important point in their synodic cycle today. A synodic cycle is the orbital relationship any two planets have with each other. Jupiter and Saturn conjoin every 20 years. In the time between these conjunctions, Jupiter separates, opposes, and approaches Saturn just like the Moon does in its cycle with the Sun. Today, Jupiter in Virgo squares Saturn in Sagittarius. This relationship is akin to the last quarter Moon phase. During that phase, we evaluate where we are at. This cycle began in 2000 in Taurus. Saturn governs realism. Jupiter governs optimism. They push and pull each other to create the paradigm we live within. What is possible? What work must we do to achieve it? This moment in their cycle aligns with this lunar cycle intention to surrender to earth’s intelligence. Where are we at in our relationship to earth (Taurus)? Adjustments are called for. Our beliefs can create a foundation for healing and alignment with earth intelligence. Our beliefs can also create the barrier to that foundation. We are at a choosing point. Let’s feed the enlivening choice with dedication to right relationship with the Earth.

Moon in Aquarius
Friday, May 27.
The square between Jupiter in Virgo and Saturn in Sagittarius colors more than the one day it is exact (which was yesterday). This is a signature aspect of this year. The ongoing square between Saturn and Neptune in Pisces is another one. All this mutable sign investigation can be unsettling as we extend antennas to take in more information and churn the data to try and come up with the right course of action. Add to this the fact that Mars takes a dive back into the probing sign of Scorpio today. Mars will be in Scorpio till the beginning of August. As the co-ruler of this sign, Mars is comfortable here. We may also feel the rightness of digging deeper to uncover the source and blocks around our passions. This energy is critical for meeting the challenges ahead. Much healing needs to happen around the right use of will. May this healing begin today. 

Moon enters Pisces 4:06 pm CDT
Saturday, May 28.
In case we weren’t paying attention yesterday when Mars re-entered Scorpio, the Moon’s square to Mars today will make sure we do. This aspect highlights one fundamental contrast that can throw relationships into turmoil. Aquarius wants transparency and Scorpio wants to be hidden. When we can expand to appreciate both strategies, we are able to trust and appreciate each other just a little more. You might notice conflicts sparked by different approaches today. When the Moon moves into Pisces later in the day we switch into receptive/perceptive mode. This might mean you get in touch with past wounds around conflict or act to be the bridge between differing sides. 

Moon in Pisces

May 29—Last Quarter Moon: Evaluating. Mercury hasn’t been moving very fast since turning direct last week. It is still holding down the grand earth trine from Taurus. Pluto in Capricorn and Jupiter in Virgo complete the pattern. Next week, this powerful earth influence will begin to break apart when Mercury starts to move more quickly. The grounding influence of this trine may come in handy as a grand mutable cross aspect pattern is activated by the Moon in Pisces. This pattern is stressful and conflict prone while a grand trine promotes access to an element’s strength. The planets involved in the mutable grand cross are Neptune and the Moon in Pisces, the Sun and Venus in Gemini, Jupiter in Virgo, and Saturn in Sagittarius. Mutable signs are seeking intelligence of all kinds. This is a gift and can be overwhelming when not balanced by a grounding influence. We can notice the support from earth as we expand in many directions today.

Today marks the last week of the Taurus-seeded lunar cycle. As we begin to let go of this intention, we first pause to evaluate what has been learned, what has been attempted. What worked, what didn’t. Another good idea for this phase is to create an energetic anchor to come back to the earth’s intelligence you may have received this cycle. The next lunar cycle could find us moving lots of energy, sorting our priorities, making our choices. Mutable signs learn, integrate, and mutate so we can start again with a clean slate. We will be doing lots of that in the next lunar cycle. The earth wisdom of this cycle is important to moving through these shifts with clarity and purpose.

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



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