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.

The signs of spring in the Northern Hemisphere are Aries, Taurus, and Gemini*. The energetic coding of these signs are Cardinal Fire, Fixed Earth, and Mutable Air. This trio moves us into the growing year. They tell a story. The story can be about spring, it can be about initiation, it can be about the relationship between fire, earth, and air. There are so many stories; that is one of the reasons I like astrology so much. The basic story pattern is fire sets the theme. We can ask, What needs kindling? How will we tend our energy? What is beginning? What will we dare? This flame rises up, improbably after the season of winter, and the Sun returns. Slowly, the Earth warms, and then the earth, as element and storyteller, takes over for the flame. What will sustain this fire? What will contain and focus it? Sometimes there is conflict between the impulsivity of cardinal fire and the solid, slow process of fixed earth. All stories need some kind of conflict, don’t they? Antagonism leads to resolution. That is the mutable sign’s job. For spring, Gemini, the air sign, light, floating, hard to pin down—as much contrast as possible to Taurus—is in charge of this season’s resolution. This must be a cosmic joke, surely, because Gemini is considered such a lightweight, not serious enough to bring the story to a conclusion. But like all cosmic jokes, there is an incredible amount of wisdom to find here. Gemini is a stealth sign, accomplishing more than we think by flittering here and there, with a wink and a trick.

This story is unfolding right now. There is complexity in it. The Sun has already moved into Gemini, yet the lunar cycle, which was seeded by Taurus, has one week to go before the New Moon in Gemini on June 4. Complex stories are good stories. The solar part of us is already in the floaty world of mutable air. The lunar part of us has our roots in the dirt with our hearts surrendering to memories of loss as the lunar cycle wanes into the dark of the Moon. That dirt is essential for the next phase of the story. My intention for this lunar cycle was to “surrender to earth’s intelligence.” Whatever wisdom I’ve gained will give me the grounding for the next plot development.

Complexity creates dynamic tension. I believe it is what humans are meant to incorporate more and more of as we evolve. But we’ve got to figure out a way that complexity does not also mean stress and anxiety. We need to soothe the part of ourselves that needs simple. We must be OK with imperfection and messy emotions. We also ought to get better at understanding that truth comes in many forms even when our own is a guiding light. These things that we need for resolution and evolution belong to the realms of mutable signs: Gemini – complexity, Virgo – imperfection, Pisces – messy emotion, and Sagittarius – multiple truths. Are you noticing these themes in your life?

Complexity rules the day right now. Influences include the differences between Taurus and Gemini at the end of this lunar cycle, Mars returning to Scorpio, and the complexities of the relationships between all the mutable signs. Planets in mutable signs are forming a grand cross aspect pattern through first part of June. I recognize my need for simplicity—the quiet calm of a zen garden, the spare tones of a bell ringing, soft touches of rain, the smell of freshly dug dirt. What calms the part of you overwhelmed with complexity? Here is one practice I can wholeheartedly recommend: Bhramari breath or the bee’s breath. The vibrations of this humming exhale can bring great calm. I find that it helps me experience more of the world’s vibrations without becoming overwhelmed by them. Here are instructions.

Forecast for May 30, 2016 — June 5 

Moon enters Aries 8:09 pm CDT
Monday, May 30.
Got your seat beat buckled? No, it really isn’t that bad but it might be helpful to have a plan or practice in place when things start getting a little jittery out there. A mutable grand cross aspect pattern is in place for the next few days. It comes and goes actually, strong at the New and Full Moon of this lunar cycle. A grand cross means that planets are in each of the signs of the same modality (cardinal, fixed, or mutable) and at nearly the same degrees of those signs. A grand cross includes four squares and two oppositions. It is generally thought of as stressful or provocative. There is a lot of one kind of energy—in this case mutable—and that can be overwhelming. To top if off, the Moon will be in a mutable sign for most of the day (CDT), too. The grand earth trine (another aspect pattern that can create harmony) is in effect. This pattern is waning but present. Mercury in Taurus, Jupiter in Virgo (one of the mutable signs), and Pluto in Capricorn are offering a grounding cord. Take it. The trine between Mercury and Pluto is exact today. This is the third time Mercury and Pluto make this contact with each other due to the recent Mercury retrograde. Thought and power come into right relationship. Our words make a difference. In Taurus, Mercury teaches that silence can be as powerful as speech. What are you communicating?

Moon in Aries
Tuesday, May 31
. Aries’ fire can clear away the underbrush or it can set the whole forest aflame. The Moon can act as a trigger unleashing pent up energy. The mutable grand cross of Sun and Venus in Gemini, Jupiter in Virgo, Saturn in Sagittarius, and Neptune in Pisces may have laid the fuel for a fire today. This grand cross is nothing to fear but mutable energy can be unsettling because there is so much to do and the nature of a cross makes it hard to focus on just one thing. The Moon in Aries encourages freedom. Free yourself from worry and enjoy the fascinating influences coming together under this grand cross. Big ahas are on their way. 

Moon enters Taurus 9:46 pm CDT
June 1—Balsamic Moon: Surrendering. I have a confession to make. Each year, I approach the Taurus lunation as the solution to all problems, or perhaps to all of mine. I have no earth in my own natal chart and this fixed earth sign seems to hold the answer to everything for me. Perhaps because I am sensitized to the gifts of earth, this season, when the world turns green and bursts into bloom, seems to hold more wisdom than others. For this reason, I dedicated my lunar intention to this line from a Rilke poem: “If we surrendered to earth’s intelligence, we would rise up rooted like trees.” Yes, I do believe this is the key to lively wholly and justly in the world, to living with grace as trees in a forest do. This is why I am Pagan. This is how I practice my astrology—grounded in the wisdoms of the Earth.

This Taurus lunar cycle is coming to an end. In fact, it might be hard to feel that deep grounding of Taurus now that the Sun and Venus are in Gemini activating a grand mutable cross. Mutable signs seek resolution to complexity. They are information processors. If we’ve had the chance to surrender to earth’s intelligence this month, then there is quite a bit of wisdom to integrate with all this mutable influence. I can’t stay in the Taurus season forever. It is time to move on as the wheel of the year turns.

The Sun in Gemini makes a square to Neptune in Pisces, while the Moon in Aries forms an agitating conjunction with Uranus. Intuition may be telling us to make huge changes, quit the job, leave the marriage. It could be a good idea to give these impulsive thoughts a couple of day’s reflection to see if those insights are real. Neptune can dissolve barriers that need to come down and it can lead us deeper into illusion. Best to keep that in mind.

Moon in Taurus
Thursday, June 2.
Mushy boundaries could instigate romance, infatuation, or vulnerability hangovers (thanks to my friend Uncle Bear for that concept). Venus in Gemini makes a square to Neptune in Pisces today and we really want to believe that these feelings are the real deal. All feelings are real, but the ecstasy might not last. Neptune leads us into beautiful states of transcendence. Venus invites us in a little closer. This kind of seduction is hard to resist, especially under a sensuous Taurus Moon. Open to sensation and inspiration. We are meant to learn something. The lesson may be that letting down our guard won’t really kill us and vulnerability makes us beautiful.

Moon enters Gemini 10:01 pm CDT
Friday, June 3.
The Sun and Venus in Gemini have been working their way through the grand mutable cross this week. Today, both oppose Saturn in Sagittarius. Tomorrow’s New Moon in Gemini will again set off this aspect pattern. The Sun and Venus oppose Saturn once a year, but not always on the same day. Venus’ influence invites an opening into new understanding. Relationships are involved. Perhaps it is time to look again at your commitments. This is a time to check in with what Saturn is teaching us. The integration of the opposing signs of Sagittarius and Gemini is a step towards wholeness. Saturn in Sagittarius brings order and accountability to this freedom-loving sign. On the world scene, Saturn is revealing the karma associated with sloppy thinking, fundamentalism, and easy answers. Perhaps the Donald Trump phenomena may be Saturn showing us how seductive the invitation to not think is. Saturn wants us to sharpen our wits. The Sun and Venus in Gemini want us to be curious and open to ever more complexity. Exercise your mind through connection with others. 

Moon in Gemini
June 4—New Moon: Dreaming. The potential of this New Moon resembles a dandelion seed head, a perfect sphere paused in readiness for the smallest breeze to send its seeds flying through the air. The chart for this New Moon shows a mutable grand cross aspect pattern. This pattern has been influential all week. Today, a seed—a dandelion seed—is sent aloft to influence the whole lunar cycle with this energy. Mutable energy is about seeking to understand, integrate, and move us forward to the next beginning. Mutable signs occur at the end of season. Their job is to resolve previous contradiction or conflict. But they are tricky, these mutable signs. They seldom leave the resolution alone as immutable truth. No, mutable signs are constantly adapting and mutating, sending out a multitude of options. It is up to the next cardinal sign to take one of those options and make a plan. I am trying to paint a picture of the unpredictability of this lunar cycle, yet give an idea that there is a reason we are here, and there is a lot to get from it. The month will be interesting. Hopefully, there will be breakthroughs. A grand cross, even with the flexible energy of mutability, can feel stuck at times.

The chart for the New Moon shows a perfect conjunction of Venus, Sun and Moon. This feels like a blessing by the goddess of love. Lunar intentions about flexibility in love, curiosity about partners and friends, finding pleasure amidst the constant fluctuations of life are well supported. This trio is opposite serious Saturn in Sagittarius. This influence challenges us to apply the frivolous lessons of this lunar cycle to support long-range plans. The other planetary opposition is Jupiter in Virgo opposing Neptune in Pisces. Mutable flexibility will influence our beliefs and ideals too. Perfectionism is a trap; Jupiter points out that we can reach beyond mere improvement to a better understanding of the healing we need. Neptune encourages the messy emotions of grief and vulnerability.

This is not the only influence of this lunar cycle. Mars has just returned to Scorpio in its retrograde journey. Just like Taurus provided an earthy grounding cord last month, Mars provides grounding through opening to the depths inside. Soul is activated when we are uncertain but willing.

I am trying to stay as open-minded as a dandelion in seed as this new lunar cycle begins. For my intention, I want to cultivate readiness and curiosity. I desire the presence of mind to pause before reaction, to reflect before decisions, to wonder before I know. Life can change when we change our minds. This month could be about that.

Moon enters Cancer 10:41 pm CDT
Sunday, June 5. 
Gemini can be delightfully carefree or frenetically overwhelmed. Yesterday’s New Moon may have stirred up some energy, so notice what you need. In the introduction to this week’s forecast I recommended a breathing practice that helps me de-stress. Find an explanation here . The single aspect today is a supportive sextile between the Moon in Gemini and Uranus in Aries. Learn something new. Let curiosity lead you to discovery.

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



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