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

I live in Minneapolis, in the Upper Mississippi River valley. Before European colonization, this land was home to the Dakota and Anishinabe peoples, who still live here. This land, seen through the urban structures that have been built over it, is edge of prairie. There is oak savanna, the Mississippi River. And more water: lakes, rivers, springs, marshland. Where I live, this season—mid-Leo in astrology’s language—is ripe with berries, golden grasses, acorns, and prairie flowers. The bees are going bananas on the sage plants. Summer is humming. Yet, I live far enough north that I know even in this summer abundance, the Sun isn’t getting as high in the sky as just a few weeks ago and the days don’t last as long. Eventually, winter will return with its delights. But, if we want to remember the magic of summer, now is the time to harvest this nectar. The bees know this and teach me how to join ecstatically with the blossoms of this season. Later, these riches will yield even more sweetness through the honey the nectar becomes.

The fixed fire sign—Leo—gathers the nectar of life force that flows from creative idea to creative idea, from my performance to your applause, from your joy to our joy. Before this brief and beautiful season ends, we have the opportunity to taste and preserve the nectar of the Sun. That is the work of Leo. At the New Moon, I set an intention about my magic. I wondered about its flavor, how to steward my magic as if it were a precious gift, how to find my creative center in a healthy exchange with others. The Full Moon this week is a chance to see this intention illuminated by Aquarius—the sign opposite Leo. Every sign is challenged to find balance with its opposite sign. Leo, which can tend toward self-absorption, is relieved of this obsession by the communal focus of Aquarius, the sign of mid-winter in the northern hemisphere. Deep velvety nights balance mid-summer’s excess of light. These signs show us two sides to creativity. Leo is moved by sunlight to shine and be seen. Aquarius is moved by starlight to envision better worlds.

This week could feel like a give and take between self-confidence and vulnerability. At times we feel bold while other times shy, perhaps too exposed. The Sun in Leo is boosting self-assurance, however the quincunx between the Sun and Chiron in Pisces could make us feel too exposed when we move outward. The opportunity to empathize with others is great through these experiences. At the Full Moon, that empathy expands to a sense of how we belong to larger communities. The trine between the Sun and Uranus moves our communal connections into activism. A desire for change is strong. Later in the week, Mercury in Virgo prompts us to fine tune the bold actions we took earlier, returning yet again to feelings of vulnerability and second-guessing as Mercury opposes Chiron and makes a quincunx to Uranus. A few steps forward, a few steps back, stopping to reassess, then moving forward once again, notice the dance between heart and action, all the while gathering nectar from the Sun.

Forecast for August 15, 2016 – August 21.

Moon in Capricorn
Monday, August 15.
Make a to do list to start off the week. Earth sign emphasis encourages organization and productivity at the start of the standard work week. The Moon conjoins Pluto in Capricorn to start. This helps us get past any waffling about what is important today. Seize the moment. The trine from the Moon to Mercury and Jupiter in Virgo adds the desire to take small deliberate steps towards our goals. A square between the Moon and Uranus in Aries puts a fire under us to get going, now!

Moon enters Aquarius 6:52am CDT
Tuesday, August 16.
Exuberance and daring fluctuate with feelings of shyness and overwhelm. The quincunx between the Sun in Leo and Chiron in Pisces stretches us between extremes. The beneficial outcome is a bigger heart and a willingness to go beyond self-consciousness. If we can navigate that span of emotion the trine between the Sun and Uranus in Aries sparks action and a desire to bring change to the world. The Moon in Aquarius brings visionary focus. Mars in Sagittarius boosts altruism. We feel the momentum building to a Full Moon release on Wednesday night or Thursday morning. 

Moon in Aquarius
Wednesday, August 17.
Technically the Full Moon occurs tomorrow, but we might as well consider it starting today. (Read tomorrow’s forecast to get a complete picture of this illuminating phase of the lunar journey.) The Moon in Aquarius gives Leo a healthy dose of ego perspective. It feels good to remember that a realized Self is not the end of consciousness but just the beginning. We exist in an interlocking Web of Being. Aquarius is the visionary sign that perhaps sees this web most easily. Venus in Virgo forms a powerful trine to Pluto in Capricorn today. This aspect creates an opportunity for another kind of social connection—sexual attraction. Sex is about more than sex. It is the life force energy that gives beauty, meaning, and zest to our world. This powerful feeling of life force is fed, due to Venus’ placement in Virgo, by devotion, discernment, and service. 

Moon enters Pisces 11:34am CDT
August 18—Full Moon: Illuminating. From your mind’s eye, look up and around. At this Full Moon in Aquarius, begin to see the web connecting all things. Everything is part of the web: thoughts, emotions, the buzzing bee, the death of that flower. This web thrums with life, death, movement, stillness. This web can be an abstract notion and as real as a beloved’s embrace. Aquarius is guardian of this web, if any sign can be. This lunar cycle began in the fixed fire sign of Leo. All fire signs tend to see life through the lens of the Self. The awareness that I am a self—individuating, creating, seeking meaning—is a fire sign experience. All fire signs are opposed by air signs, which add relationship, connection, and multiplicity to a point of view that can feel isolated or lonely. At this Full Moon, we realize we are not solitary beings. There is a vast web that holds us. This awareness doesn’t counteract the Leo experience of gathering the nectar of life force energy. It deepens it, broadens it. The realization that none of us are significant to the web but all of us are essentially part of it is the gift of Leo/Aquarius integration. 

I ask myself, how does this realization change my understanding about my magic? Full Moons bring release. This release can create enlightenment. What do you know now about your creative gifts and their place in the web of connection? What is the web telling you? When it is no longer about me, what is illuminated?

The predominant influences of this Full Moon come from planets in a Boomerang Yod aspect pattern. (The “boomerang” part comes from an opposition to the apex planet of a Yod pattern. This opposition is an important release and it can keep returning, like a boomerang.) The apex planet is Jupiter in Virgo. It is opposed by Chiron in Pisces. The Moon in Aquarius and Uranus in Aries form the base of the triangle. We are trying to get it right, perfect even. There is a great awareness that change must happen, and we want to join that movement. The Moon/Uranus connection creates a strong desire for collective action. Uranus in Aries has been providing a constant drumbeat for revolution, both personal and collective. The Aquarius Moon draws our focus to communities, groups, organizations that are about this change. We want to come together, but for a purpose. Jupiter, in Virgo for the last year, has been offering the viewpoint of the Healer/Servant/Mystic. This influence has been very helpful in molding our desires for a healthier world. Health is a big topic within the culture of change and innovation. We are broadening the concept of wellness to include diversities of all types. Who gets to define health? Who sets the norm? If those old ways of thinking are rejected, then how do we define wellbeing for ourselves? Change, change, change is being fomented within the mutable earth (Virgo) of pragmatic actions. This seems new and very old at the same time. There is tension between extremes. The opposition of Jupiter and Chiron could bring a severing of perfect expectations surrounding the desire to be a healer in this changing world. We do what we can. 

All this happens within the context of the Leo New Moon intention: What is the magic I bring? Can I trust the web to make use of it in the best way possible at this time? Can I be enough and celebrate that?

During the last half of the lunar cycle, Mars will conjoin Saturn in Sagittarius and square Neptune in Pisces. We shift from passive mode to active. Neptune/Saturn influence has been about the beliefs that form our realities. Saturn has been dredging up the assumptions and myths that don’t work for us. What feeds life? What creates better relationships? Mars in Sagittarius invites us to take the journey of discovery, and from discovery to fight against stories that do not feed life.

Moon in Pisces
Friday, August 19.
The Moon in the mutable water sign stirs up the rest of the planets in mutable signs (Saturn, Neptune, Venus, Mercury, and Jupiter). The question is about information. What are you noticing? What are you learning? How are you sharing the message? Perhaps we are learning to handle complexity better. Perhaps we are listening to our bodies better. Further discernment is called for as Mercury in Virgo makes two aspects: an opposition to Chiron in Pisces and a quincunx to Uranus in Aries. Intuition, compassion, self-love play an important role in the decisions we make right now. Yet under the Uranus influence, a sense of urgency is so strong we may forget to care for our whole selves. 

Moon enters Aries 2:18pm CDT
Saturday, August 20.
Lingering reverberations of yesterday’s dilemmas influence this day’s beginnings. Not everyone processes information in the same way. Some get active, some get quiet, some write, some listen. There are so many forms. When your way is different, how do you to trust that you know what you know? The Moon while still in Pisces opposes Mercury and Jupiter in Virgo. Don’t get caught up in right/wrong thinking. There are so many more options. When the Moon moves into Aries, we are less conflicted. The way gets clear for a while. 

Moon in Aries
August 21—Disseminating Moon: Sharing. The Leo lunar cycle seems at first to be about the discovery of personal impact, yet that is only the starting place. The Leo journey begins with a flame, a spark of creativity or joy, spends a moment wondering about personal gifts and impact, then becomes a realization that we are all lights of energy sharing a web of interconnectivity. Each time we repeat that journey from self-significance to collective possibility, we gather a bit of nectar. Soon the hive is full of honey, more than we need. The sweetness flows outward to feed the world. I want to keep that image in mind at this phase of the Moon. How do I share the magic created collectively? How does my life become the gift that brings healing to the web? The Moon in Aries feels like an opportunity to take fire into connection once again. Be warmed by the joy of discovery as the Moon trines Mars and Saturn in Sagittarius. The shadows that arise from the Moon’s square to Pluto later n the day are brilliant counterpoints to self-assurance. There is always more to learn about being in right power.

Read about the New Moon in Leo here.  Contact Teri at and visit her website at to learn about booking a reading of your chart.