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 am thinking about the journey to justice and the desire for a life of balance. The yearning to be in better relationship to the Earth and all beings is strong right now. Do you notice it too? I see it in the groundswell of support for the indigenous peoples standing together at Standing Rock to fight the Dakota Access pipeline and I see it in the Black Lives Matter movement calling out systemic racism in the United States. There are countless ways we can notice disharmony that keeps us from right relationships. The Libra lunar cycle, which began on September 30, is a perfect lens for viewing the ways we are out of balance and the ways we may return to proper relationships. Libra teaches us that relationship is core to living in balance. I cannot be in harmony with my environment if I am not in the give and take of relationship. This includes relationship with people, with ancestors and descendants, with water, with animals, with the Earth. Relationship is the fulcrum upon which the Libran scales maintains balance.

Being in relationship means being willing to change. And it means knowing when to stand steady. We need skills, discernment, and resilience to know what is needed in relationship. The transits of the next two weeks will test relationship skills and will ask us to be willing to change. Since 2010, Uranus, the planet of awakening and change has been transiting through Aries, the sign that opposes Libra across the wheel of the year. Aries energy is about selfhood, individual action, taking risks. Mastering personal impact and choice is a partner for the Libran values of compromise, collaboration, and co-creation. Uranus in Aries will be activated by Venus, the Sun, and Mercury over the next two weeks. The Full Moon on October 16 will be particularly powerful as it conjoins Uranus. The ways we are working or longing for change will be illuminated during these transits. Choices and discernment about our relationships are a major part of the experience.

Pay attention on October 11 when Mercury in Libra conjoins Jupiter. Big messages about balance and relationship will come from this meeting that will prepare us for the rest of the dynamic transits of this lunar cycle. On the same day, Venus in Scorpio, planetary ruler of Libra, makes a paradoxical quincunx to Uranus. The Scorpio influence takes us past surface concerns, opening the door to deep motivations around power and healing. The pathway to right relationship and reclaimed balance involves looking at our shadows. Pluto, one of the rulers of Scorpio, is also a strong influence over the next two weeks as Mercury squares and Mars conjoins Pluto, the planet of secrets and truth. The pathway to balance involves letting toxic secrets out into the open. A reckoning is coming. Look for intense moments on October 13 when Mercury forms a square to Mars in Capricorn, on October 15 when Mercury squares Pluto in Capricorn, and on October 19 when Mars conjoins Pluto. The next day, the opposition of Mercury and Uranus spurs action through word and thought. We seek to solve imbalances.

As injustice and imbalance become more apparent through these transits, we have the opportunity to establish the practices that help us become more quiet, to listen to the real actions we should take, and to reconsider acting in haste. My astrology and Tarot teacher, Cynthea Jones, helped me understand that balance is the ability to make small adjustments. If we are in right relationship, we listen and respond, just enough, just as much as we are asked to, and then we wait for the next signal. I am still learning how to do this. May the rest of this Libra cycle help me to practice the grace of balance with more skill.

Forecast for October 10, 2016 – October 23.

Moon in Aquarius
Monday, October 10.
Patience is not an easy component of this day. The challenging transits between the Sun, Moon, and Mercury with Uranus this week contribute to a field of anxious desire to act, change, and dismantle. The Moon in Aquarius doesn’t help with a calm approach to our problems. There is a desire to keep pushing for a new way. There is nothing wrong with pushing for change, but as we seek to regain balance with all life, it is important to not push too hard, only making more problems to correct later. The productive aspects of the day, trines between the Moon, Mercury, and Jupiter, as well as a sextile between the Moon and Saturn provides encouragement to trust that we can be active and balanced at the same time. 

Moon in Aquarius
Tuesday, October 11. Yesterday’s impatience may spill over today into erratic or exuberant activity. Mercury in Libra conjoins Jupiter. Jupiter only recently entered Libra where it will be for the next year. We are just beginning to pick up on the new signals emanating from the solar system’s guru—Jupiter. This planet boosts the Libra message. We are looking for balance and right relationship. Mercury’s role is to activate our minds and desires to communicate. There is a lot to share with each other. Perhaps it is good to be mindful that listening is as important as speaking when we truly want to communicate. Intuition and emotional awareness plays a big part in what we need to share. Venus in Scorpio (fixed water) makes a supportive trine with Chiron in Pisces (mutable water), opening the channels of the heart. Mars in Capricorn makes an encouraging sextile to Neptune in Pisce—the open heart channels encourage action. We want to lay foundations of support. The quincunx aspect between Venus and Uranus in Aries, today, pushes us out of comfort zones. We are ready to go deep in order to change. Start with your own shadows before you react to someone else’s. 

Moon enters Pisces 7:43 am CDT
October 12—Gibbous Moon: Perfecting
. By now, we know that we are in the midst of change and see the reasons that change needs to happen. Living out of balance is destructive and impacts the innocent beings of the world. This injustice needs to be corrected. If you are sensing injustice, you are noticing the call to right relationship. This Libra lunar cycle reaches a critical stage where we can’t see the outcome yet, but know we need to keep working. What renews your dedication to the work? Consider the Pisces Moon as a teacher and ally helping you to tap into that inspiration.

Pisces feels the feels. Sometimes this is overwhelming, encouraging practices of self-compassion. Go with that sensation. It won’t necessarily be easy to know what we need at this moment. There is a puzzling quincunx aspect between Mercury in Libra and Neptune in Pisces confusing the channels of communication, even with ourselves. We may see the ways we sabotage intention or disassociate when confronted with pain. This is not a wrong or bad response to trauma. It makes sense that when life is so strongly out of balance, we call upon many strategies to cope. Perhaps the best we can do is breathe and send love to ourselves and to the hurting world. Don’t underestimate this practice of reconnection.

Moon in Pisces
Thursday, October 13. Allow yourself to ask for healing. You may just be asking yourself to go a little easier with the self-judgment, or you might need to seek healing help from another person. With the Moon in Pisces, we realize that the healing we do for ourselves can be the healing that we send out to others. Pisces erases the separation between self and other. We sense into the vast web that holds all of us. The Moon’s square to Saturn may trigger self-criticism. There may be information that is useful but try not to dwell upon your faults. We need to be grounded in balance as Mercury in Libra creates a confrontational square with Mars in Capricorn. Tempers can get activated. If we are judging ourselves too harshly, it might come out as judgment of others. Watch for projections of blame.

Moon enters Aries 10:08 am CDT
Friday, October 14.
Ever since Chiron entered Pisces (mutable water) on the day (April 20, 2010) that the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig began spewing oil into the Gulf of Mexico, we’ve become more sensitized to the issue of water protection. We’ve also become more aware of the choice between shortsighted fossil fuel dependence and a future of clean water for the seventh generation. We may notice more about this issue today as the Sun in justice-loving Libra makes a quincunx aspect to Chiron. This may be a good aspect to look at ways our actions don’t fully support our values. No one is perfect, but perhaps we learn of a change we can now make. The Full Moon tomorrow will take this realization and run with it. When the Moon moves into Aries today, passion and erratic action may be more noticeable too. Aries often acts first and thinks second. See if you can switch that around and support your action with mindful intention. The sextile between Mercury in Libra and Saturn in Sagittarius can help us do just that. 

Moon in Aries
October 15—Full Moon: Illuminating. I don’t mean to strike up fear or drama. I don’t believe astrology forecasts need to keep telling us how powerful, how dire, and how important transits are. Kicking up adrenal levels isn’t really a good way to lead an intentional and magical life of transformation. So, when I say it feels like life is hanging in the balance, I simply want us (me) to be aware that this Libra lunar cycle is a brilliant opportunity to think about balance and what is at stake if we don’t act as if we revere balance in our lives. We need it. We need it now.

Urgency is a key signature of this Full Moon chart. Uranus, the planet of awakening to action, conjoins the Moon in Aries. Aries is the cardinal fire sign that sparks us to action. Sometimes these actions aren’t well thought out. Aries, as the first sign of spring, isn’t known for thinking things through before leaping into the fray. This is where the objectivity and balance provided by the opposing sign, Libra, comes in handy. Uranus in Aries has been stirring up revolt since 2010. Some of these reactions to injustice have been necessary and completely understandable. However, at this lunation, we might want to pause and reflect on the long-range plan. How do we keep living lives of balance and justice? What does it take to be in right relationship with all living beings?

If Uranus contributes the urgency, Pluto contributes the intensity to this Full Moon. Pluto is the planet of secrets and manipulation. But that is only one side to Pluto. This planet is also about transformation and rebirth. The process of healing comes from going through the shadows to understand ourselves better. Mars conjoins Pluto in Capricorn, and Mercury in Libra squares it. Mars and Pluto have a lot in common as co-rulers of the underworld sign of Scorpio. This is Pluto-squared intensity. Mercury, the small messenger god, is standing up to Pluto-squared and speaking truth to power with the force of justice behind it. Some righteous words are about to be spoken, and it probably won’t be by anyone who is in power or holds privilege.

Saturn is subtly but powerfully active through a square to the nodes of the Moon. Saturn represents among many things, a time of accountability. The bill is coming due. The nodes of the Moon show us past mistakes and present forms of healing. The south node in Pisces could reveal ways we deny our actions or responsibility. It could be about ways we pretend that everything is OK when it isn’t. The north node in Virgo could be about healing through service to an ideal. Being inspired isn’t enough, we must put action behind aspiration.

Moon enters Taurus 10:04 am CDT
Sunday, October 16.
Energy was stirred up yesterday at the Full Moon. Those big energies are not complete. Notice what you are thinking about balance and action. Questions to ask ourselves, do we value one over the other? Do we forget to ensure right relationships in all our actions? How might we slow down while at the same time remaining awake and working for justice and balance? When the Moon moves from Aries to Taurus today, we get the support of earth to remember our bodies and look at what it takes to make our desires sustainable.

Moon in Taurus
Monday, October 17.
Will this be a mellow Monday? It could be if we have moved on from the raucous emotion of the Full Moon on the 15th. The Moon in Taurus encourages going slower. This helps us tune into questions about sustainability and balance. The Moon trines Mars and Pluto in Capricorn. We tap into reserves that help us focus and plan for the future as we honor the lessons of the past.

Moon enters Gemini 9:30 am CDT
Tuesday, October 18.
Venus moves into Sagittarius (mutable fire) as the Moon moves into the opposing sign, Gemini (mutable air). The search is on for truth. We notice that others want to influence our opinions and we likewise may want to influence theirs. Words take on added importance. We’ve all got them. While Venus was in the shadows of Scorpio, Trump’s tape assaulting women was revealed. With Venus in Sagittarius, we’ll see people sharing their opinions and philosophies about rape culture and gender issues all around. In our personal lives, we may be drawn to partnerships that support our beliefs and feel less than excited by those relationships that don’t share our values.

Moon in Gemini
October 19—Disseminating Moon: Sharing. What does balance mean to you? Enough has happened in this lunar cycle to give a good idea of our answer to this question. What have we learned? What wisdom are we ready to share with others? I believe we are connected through a vast web. This web not only connects all people to each other but connects all people to all other beings. Balance is not simply about an individual’s experience of harmony, it is about the balancing forces of this web. For example, some people point out that global warming will not harm the Earth. The balancing forces of nature will ensure the Earth survives in some form. It is humans who may not last. If we want to stick around, it is helpful to understand our role in balance through this web of connection.

Mars in Capricorn conjoins Pluto today. At its best, Capricorn is the authority on survival, passing along the wisdom of our ancestors to ensure future success. We hear from the past today. There could be healing medicine in the history lesson, but there could also be a fight for who controls the messages of the past. Mercury in Libra makes a quincunx aspect to Chiron in Pisces. It is important for us to listen to our hearts, to hear the voices of those who are suffering and who need to be welcomed back into relationship. Can you soften a stance so you hear more and speak less? 

Moon enters Cancer 10:28 am CDT
Thursday October 20.
A major influence of this week has been the need to speak truth to power. Now, we are moved to act and innovate in response to those experiences. Mercury in Libra opposes Uranus in Aries early this morning. Under this influence we may feel like polarizing into an us vs. them mindset. This may be a test of the Libra intention this lunar cycle to find reciprocity and balance in our relationships, even the contentious ones. We may be feeling defensive as the Moon enters Cancer. If that is the case, spend some quality time at home nurturing yourself. Hopefully we reemerge ready to engage in the struggle to relate.

Moon in Cancer
Friday, October 21.
It may have felt to you like the world was moving too fast the past few days. The Moon in Cancer supports a brief retreat to recenter yourself. Check in with your feelings. What is coming up for you? This Moon digs deep as it opposes Pluto and Mars during the day, ending with a square to Uranus that isn’t exact until after midnight (CDT). You may be acutely aware that others need your help. Let’s practice balance in the ways we try to caretake others when we are feeling the stress. 

Moon enters Leo 2:34 pm CDT
October 22—Last Quarter Moon: Evaluating. Sun enters Scorpio. What have been the challenges to your balance this month? Balance is not a steady state. We are always in flux when we sense into our relationships. Every moment requires a new response. We are helped by mindful attention when these shifts occur. But with the strong passions of the last few weeks, you may have been challenged to find those mindful moments. That’s OK, what worked and what didn’t when you attempted to find connection through relationship? We have another week in the lunar cycle to notice and learn from the Libra perspective. The Sun’s ingress into Scorpio today only deepens this perception.

The Scorpio season is a time to go under the surface and beyond the veils to touch upon deeper mysteries of life and death. As this lunar cycle wanes, we turn to self-reflection and seek the wisdom of our ancestors and beloved dead. When it feels like we’ve run out of answers, this wisdom helps us continue our work. The Moon in Leo provides contrast. Scorpio and Leo are quite different from each other. At its most intense, Scorpio is dark and introspective. At its most extreme, Leo is shiny and extroverted. Somewhere between these urges, conflict can arise. But only if we get locked into either/or thinking. It’s time to break out of the box.

Moon in Leo
Sunday, October 23.
The journey to balance and Justice is not clear cut. Sometimes we need to follow our instincts, at other times it is better to stop and consider the consequences, perhaps waiting before doing anything. Balance is a journey, not a destination. Today’s confusing transit between Jupiter in Libra and Neptune in Pisces only muddies the waters even more. When in doubt, follow the Moon. In Leo, the Moon reminds us to be playful and generous. Hope that helps.

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


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