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 liminal space between signs provides a rich atmosphere for new insight. This gateway is a borderland of paradox. On one hand, these signs are as different from each other as possible. On the other hand, each sign represents a natural next step in the journey through the year. Bold Aries opens to cautious Taurus. Determined Taurus opens to noncommittal Gemini and so on. Each contrast forces us to expand what we expect from ourselves and others. It is important to recognize that we are in such a liminal space right now with the Virgo lunation* giving way to Libra at the same moment that Jupiter moves out of Virgo and into Libra. Jupiter spends about one year in each sign. This transition is noteworthy, giving us insight about where we’ve been and where might we be going next.

Jupiter alone is not the most significant influence on external and internal realities. However, Jupiter adds a lot of weight when it interacts with other planets. While in Virgo, a mutable earth sign, Jupiter added weight to the ongoing square between Saturn in mutable fire Sagittarius and Neptune in mutable water Pisces. With Jupiter entering the cardinal air sign, Libra, this expansive planet adds considerable weight to the effects of Uranus in cardinal fire sign Aries and Pluto in cardinal earth sign Capricorn. Even though the square between Uranus and Pluto (sparking change and revolution from 2012 to 2015) is no longer exact, the square relationship between them is still very much influencing current events. Jupiter will add to that impact. While Jupiter was in mutable Virgo, we spent a bit more time processing information and sorting out what we believe. With Jupiter going into a cardinal sign, contemplation is over. With this cardinal sign emphasis, get ready for more action.

So what does the gateway between Virgo and Libra look like? The step between these signs is bigger than between most. Aries through Virgo—the first six signs of the zodiac—focuses on the development of self. The next six signs—Libra through Pisces—focuses on what the self will develop in the broader world. Virgo is a sign that prepares us for a bigger arena of influence. Through the diligent pursuit of meaningful work and pragmatic solutions, Virgo adds the final touches to self-awareness. The handoff to Libra is about taking this refinement to the next level. The wisdom of the year’s wheel says, in order for the self to make a bigger impact, we need to reach outside ourselves. Partnership is crucial. The give and take of relationship, so important to Libra, helps us to make a more positive impact.

You may feel the desire to expand at the lunar cycle beginning on September 30. This New Moon in Libra will offer opportunities to initiate projects that require collaboration and balance. We will be more acutely aware of disequilibrium, the situations missing qualities of justice, fairness, harmony, or reciprocity. Already, we see a tipping point being reached with social justice issues. Activists are calling for the next level of protest and reform. Cardinal signs don’t wait around for a better idea. Expect to see a multiplicity of actions and reactions.

The last few days of the Virgo lunar cycle (September 26 – 29) gives us a chance to pause in the space between receiving information and acting upon it. What has the Virgo cycle showed you about devotion and service? What information do you have now, that will help you expand into collaborative action that insists on fairness and reciprocity?

Forecast for September 26, 2016 – October 9

Moon in Leo
September 26—Balsamic Moon: Surrendering
. OK. What have we learned? This Virgo lunar cycle is winding down with a bang. Today, the Sun conjoins Jupiter in the early degrees of Libra. Pluto, lord of the underworld, stations direct. And the Moon in Leo doesn’t encourage taking a back seat, either. Humility is one of Virgo’s gifts. Virgo teaches us about service, devotion, and hard work. As one of the harvest signs, Virgo takes great satisfaction in reaping humble rewards from such efforts. I may be painting Virgo as too saint-like. That would be a mistake. Virgo also gets very annoyed by fools and those who would waste their time or don’t do their fair share of the work. Contrast these Virgo qualities with the dramatic transits today. Are you calmly problem solving or extremely annoyed?

Jupiter and the Sun come together to initiate action to correct disharmony. Pluto stations seem to reverberate through the Earth. Something is going on under us. A change is coming our way. Pluto reminds us of death and the kind of transformation we have no control over. Pluto has been moving retrograde since April, that locomotive is headed our way. Do you feel it?

My Virgo lesson. I learned this cycle how important devotion was to sustaining my work. Perhaps you notice that too. As the Moon wanes to darkness again, perhaps it is time to honor what inspires us to keep trying.

Moon enters Virgo 4:43 pm CDT
Tuesday, September 27. Mars finally moves out of Sagittarius today. You might remember that Mars stationed retrograde in Sagittarius in April, moved back into Scorpio for two months and re-entered Sagittarius at the beginning of August. Even though Mars hasn’t been retrograde since June, we still haven’t yet gotten to full steam ahead with Mars. Until now. Now, with the cardinal force of earth behind it, Mars is ready to take some action, preferably action that strengthens foundations and insures longevity.

Moon in Virgo
Wednesday, September 28.
The Moon returns to Virgo at the end of this lunar cycle, which was seeded by Virgo at the New Moon. You may notice that you aren’t as excited about Virgo’s attention to detail and concern about order as perhaps you were at the beginning of this cycle. Jupiter has moved into Libra, along with the Sun, and Mars is in Capricorn, another cardinal sign. We may be less interested in taking in small details and more interested in forming opinions to base our next actions upon. Notice that tension today as the Moon forms a t-square aspect pattern with Neptune in Pisces and Saturn in Sagittarius. With mindfulness, we can remember that not every message is true or needs to be acted upon right away. The waning days of the Moon are more appropriate to practicing this type of awareness than rushing into action. With patience, we might be able to discern who to believe and who to tune out. 

Moon in Virgo
Thursday, September 29.
The Moon makes only one aspect today when it conjoins Mercury in Virgo at the end of the workday (CDT). This Mercury is making up for lost ground in the recent retrograde period. It feels good to get things wrapped up. Since this is the last day of the lunar cycle, try to put off initiating any new projects until tomorrow or during the next two weeks of the waxing phase.

Moon enters Libra 2:52 am CDT
September 30—New Moon: Dreaming. The stars are lining up, finally, to support new endeavors. It feels like we’ve been in a long period of absorbing information and dealing with setbacks. Now, we get to move forward again. This Libra New Moon is marked by Jupiter in Libra near the Sun and Moon. Jupiter adds an extra boost of energy. With Mars in Capricorn in a square aspect to these Libra planets, impatience or frustration could be pushing us forward as well. The impetus comes from the conflict between the established order (Capricorn) and a desire for justice and freedom (Libra). We might be feeling annoyed by heavy-handed authoritarians. Libra insists on beauty and grace. The elegant solution is the best. When authority uses these Libra tactics, more can be accomplished.

Jupiter recently entered Libra for the next year. This lunar cycle will foreshadow what we might expect from this transit. The last time Jupiter was in a cardinal sign (Cancer) was in 2013 while the exact passes of the Uranus/Pluto square were occurring. Jupiter intensified this transit at that time. 2013 was a year of change and awakening. The Black Lives Matter movement began when Trayvon Martin was murdered by George Zimmerman. Edward Snowden leaked NSA secrets. The Supreme Court decided in favor of same-sex marriage. This year, Jupiter will stimulate the still potent square between Uranus and Pluto and we could expect more activism and change.

Each lunar cycle is a chance to practice mindful intention supported by the sign of the New Moon. If it is true that this year will bring much action and change, what request would you make from Libra’s graceful approach to justice and balance? What intention supports your desire for beauty, balance, and grace?

In the New Moon chart, Saturn in Sagittarius is still closely square to Neptune in Pisces. This aspect will begin to dissipate soon leaving behind tendrils of meaning. Saturn and Neptune vie for who gets to define the paradigm. Are dreams more powerful than realism? Do they have to be at odds with each other? How do we mindfully use our dreams to create new realities? This investigation is also important as we ready ourselves for a new cycle of growth and change.

Moon in Libra
Saturday, October 1. The trine between Venus in Scorpio and Neptune in Pisces adds a touch of idealism and fantasy to the grace of this day. The opposition between Mercury in Virgo and Chiron in Pisces stimulates effective action in response to pain. These planets conspire to expand awareness and open our hearts. The testy aspects between the Moon in Libra, Uranus in Aries, and Pluto in Capricorn ensures that we have to work to attain the peace and harmony we desire.

Moon enters Scorpio 2:43 pm CDT
Sunday, October 2.
Question everything even if you want to believe in everything. The Sun in Libra helps us rein in a tendency to escape into fantasy while it makes a quincunx aspect to Neptune in Pisces. The great thing about Libra is that even though it values beauty, it does not have to romanticize it. We get to feel that edge between the maudlin and the pristine aspects of beauty. Another quincunx between Mercury in Virgo and Uranus in Aries encourages thinking outside of all boxes. Quirky and possibly brilliant insights may come. The Moon entering Scorpio ensures we settle down when real emotion shows up.

Moon in Scorpio
Monday, October 3.
Intuition is strong with a trine between the Moon in Scorpio and Neptune in Pisces. Venus in Scorpio adds probing insight. We are sure of the signals. We know what the subtlest of expressions or phrases really means and we feel it deeply. This is the kind of day to expect to receive messages. Be courageous enough to listen. 

Moon in Scorpio
October 4—Crescent Moon: Beginning. What might happen if you trusted your gut more? This lunar cycle has the potential to move us forward into new areas of commitment, choice, and action. We notice a longing for justice and balance. Another part of ourselves can be claimed, but first, we need to trust ourselves. The Moon in Scorpio challenges us to listen to our guts. This phase of the Moon challenges us to dare to make the changes our guts are telling us to make. The good news about this is that the Sun in Libra makes a favorable connection to Saturn in Sagittarius, giving us a solid basis for our beginnings. Commitment and focus are strong. 

Moon enters Sagittarius 3:26 am CDT
Wednesday, October 5.
There is nothing shy or reticent about this day. The Moon in Sagittarius pushes us to new experiences. A sextile between Venus in Scorpio and Pluto in Capricorn gives support to authentic expressions of desire and instinct. But most of all, a square between Mars in Capricorn and Jupiter in Libra has us choosing sides and standing up for what we believe in. There may be little patience for explanation. There may be a lot of passion about fairness and foundational values.

Moon in Sagittarius
Thursday October 6.
In spite of a conjunction with serious Saturn in the early hours, the day is more jovial than saturnine. There are few impediments from the stars today. The Sagittarius Moon invites us to explore new territory, take an adventure, find a new truth.

Moon enters Capricorn 3:40 pm CDT
Friday, October 7.
Mercury leaves Virgo and the shadow of its recent retrograde today. Now in Libra, Mercury encourages diplomacy and tact. This skill may come in handy as the Sun in Libra makes a square to recently stationary Pluto in Capricorn. Pluto may show the shadow underneath our desires to be nice. Don’t deny your resentments; they’ll just come out sideways if you don’t address them. In world events, we might see underhanded actions exposed. Mercury encourages speaking up for justice. 

Moon in Capricorn
October 8—First Quarter Moon: Manifesting. A lot of the challenges of this lunar cycle so far have been about the contrast between a Libra approach and a Capricorn approach. Mars, Pluto, and today’s Moon in Capricorn have created stress for the Sun, Jupiter, and Mercury in Libra. Both of these signs are cardinal leadership signs. They forge ahead, but in very different ways. Libra’s approach is through balance. Relationship is core to maintaining balance. Capricorn’s approach is through exercising judgment and authority. Both signs have their value and the real test of this phase of the Moon is to integrate both of these qualities to manifest our lunar intentions. Capricorn makes sure we know what we want, what we mean, what we intend. Consequences matter. This gravity helps the Libran desire to create harmony. Today’s Moon contacts Jupiter, Mars, Pluto and the Sun. We are asked to up our game.

Moon in Capricorn
Sunday, October 9.
Embrace your ambitions. Commit to your excellence. Claim your authority. The Moon in Capricorn makes a favorable aspect to Venus in Scorpio. Self-assurance is sexy even if it can also be intimidating. None of us is better by diminishing our power. Claim it.

* Read about the beginning of the Virgo lunar cycle here.

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