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 recently attended a gathering of seekers looking at questions surrounding activism and mindfulness. The teachers proposed that the roots of mindful activism are:

  • Knowing and integrating our cultural/spiritual traditions as a base of action
  • Community as a place to heal and restore
  • Developing self-awareness and discernment and a willingness to address our own hatred, judgment, and otherness. To see and sit with self first.
  • Self-care and regulation, being grounded and aware of our “ground of being” so that our mind/body is not hijacked by energy

Looking forward to attending this session since the beginning of the month, I began practicing with a lunar intention to deepen connection to my ground of being. I am curious about this place where I can be in right relationship and know myself to the extent I am not hijacked by strong emotions like fear or despair. This seems like a very necessary survival skill for the present moment.

Sagittarius—the sign of this lunar cycle—is a mutable fire sign (moving fire). One doesn’t often think of grounding when one considers the primary qualities of this excitable and adventurous sign. How can moving fire direct me to my ground of being? In the group conversation seeking to define this ground of being, I heard people talking about values, beliefs, ancestry, essence, awareness, and connection. The ground of being is a knowing of the essential components of our selves. Sagittarian fire seeks to discover the essential truths. This search is motivation for adventure. There is a desire to share this fire with others even as we accept the paradox that my truth and your truth may be different and still true. If indeed this ground of being can help us take care of ourselves through tumultuous times, then what are the effective practices that help us hold our ground, both in strength (knowing ourselves) and in gentleness (without attachment)? This week’s Full Moon in Gemini is an opportunity to expand awareness and learn more about this ground.

We are under the influence of Mercury transitioning to a retrograde period (December 19 – January 8). The few days before and after a planet changes direction is called the station. The apparent motion of the planet seems to have stopped. It is stationary. Mercury’s stationary period runs roughly from December 16 till December 22. This period is tricky. We may notice that our thoughts, communications, and ways of doing our work and traveling about the world don’t go as planned. This is a time to reconsider. What role will your ground of being play as you encounter these opportunities and lessons? On December 19, the same day as the Electoral College votes on the presidential election, Mercury turns retrograde in Capricorn conjoining Pluto. I am uncertain that this coincidence predicts that the election will be overturned, but I am certain that this transit is a potent time to reconsider systems of power. Importantly, we are encouraged to reconsider our attitudes and beliefs about power.

The Sun enters Capricorn on December 21, Winter Solstice in the northern hemisphere. Even so, there is plenty of time in this Sagittarian lunar cycle to contemplate our ground of being. The deep, dark of winter is a good time to embody this ground. With quiet attention, what are you noticing? How do you define your ground of being?

On December 24, Saturn in Sagittarius forms the first of three trines with Uranus in Aries. This transit signals a time of structural change. There is a sense of being effective in creating the change we desire, but we also need to be careful. Recent announcements about the denial of a permit for Dakota Access Pipeline to drill under the Missouri River near Standing Rock seems to be a positive step towards protecting water. However, with Saturn, it is good to slow down and not get ahead of ourselves. Inattention could create setbacks. The idea is to consider what we want to accomplish in the long run. It is good to be aware that under this transit that everyone, both progressives and conservatives, are feeling radical and eager for change. Perhaps this transit, in place for most of 2017, will teach us about sustaining the visions we have for the world. Saturn creates foundations. This could look like the ground of being that helps us not be hijacked by the stimulating energy of Uranus demanding change immediately.

Forecast for December 12, 2016 – December 25.

Moon enters Gemini 4:41 am CST
Monday, December 12.
We begin to feel the stretch of tomorrow’s Full Moon today as the Moon enters Gemini (the sign of the Full Moon). I say “stretch” because Full Moons are always about opposite signs pulling at each other. This time, the Sun is in Sagittarius and the Moon is in Gemini. But these particular signs feel particularly stretchy. Sagittarius is aiming for something in a singular, pointed fashion. Gemini keeps us vacillating between our options. Do I want this? or this? or this? If you notice this today in your thought patterns, what helps you find the center of your being? The Moon makes a favorable aspect to Venus—we enjoy the company of others. Later tonight, the square between the Moon and Neptune could fog any clarity we’ve reached. This is still preparation for the Full Moon’s illumination. What confuses you about your ground of being? What makes you lose touch?

Moon in Gemini
December 13—Full Moon: Illuminating. Gemini and Sagittarius are deceptively disarming signs. They are good-natured (usually). As mutable signs, they are flexible, so we don’t think of them as threatening. Both signs possess a healthy dose of wonderment. Frankly, they are easily entertained. And open-minded. Most of the time. This easygoing, fun quality can fool us into thinking there isn’t profound depth here. Yet, for me, no other signs invoke the mysteries of paradox as these signs do. Opposite signs, as Gemini and Sagittarius are, are parts of a whole. The parts that these signs represent have to do with the nature of parts and wholes themselves, the microcosm and macrocosm relationship. Every time Sagittarius finds the one truth to aim for, Gemini introduces duality and complexity. Every time we incorporate more and more complexity, we suddenly see a universal truth hidden within. We swing back and forth between universal and multiversal awareness. Each year, I look forward to the Full Moon in Gemini during the season of Sagittarius because I know my consciousness will expand. The night sky of winter is full of mystery and wonder. The corresponding sky of the southern hemisphere is no less enchanting. Both of these signs are mingled into the Milky Way. This starry road goes to the edge and center of our galaxy. How can we not be amazed?

How does wonder and paradox fit into my ground of being? This phase of the Moon brings illumination to mindful intention of a lunar cycle. My intention this month has been to anchor myself in my ground of being so that I may aim for greater possibility. The more I know what my ground of being is, the better I can stretch into action and manifestation.

Gifts and challenges abound in the chart for this Full Moon. There are two challenging t-square aspect patterns. There are also plenty of supportive trines and sextiles. We’ve got a lot to work with. First the t-squares: The Sun in Sagittarius conjoins Saturn and opposes the Moon in Gemini. This axis is square to Chiron in Pisces. What is extremely interesting about this t-square is that it falls perfectly into Trump’s and Clinton’s natal charts. Trump’s Sun in Gemini is where the Moon is at the Full Moon. And his Moon in Sagittarius is where the Sun is today. Clinton’s Moon is only two degrees away from where Chiron in Pisces is today. Something is really up for these candidates and the choice they represent for the American people. Full Moons illuminate and release pent up tension. The election does not feel concluded yet, but may after this Full Moon. Chiron’s placement reminds of the wound or flaw in the system. Even if we don’t solve the problem overnight, the awareness of the flaw urges us to awaken.

Taken outside of the election, this t-square reminds us that all our flaws and wounds have potential to awaken greater compassion and wisdom within us. With Gemini/Sagittarian expansion of awareness, imperfection becomes a teacher.

The other t-square challenge is an opposition of Jupiter in Libra and Uranus in Aries, both square to Pluto in Capricorn. Shadows of power attempt to pull us off center. Jupiter’s cause is justice. Uranus’ cause is authenticity. Passions are high. It may be impossible to stay on the sidelines any longer. The repeating question, “How can this be happening?” forces action, perhaps even destruction of structures that do not serve a vision for a balanced life.

There is plenty to inspire us at this Full Moon. The Moon and Uranus form a partnership that encourages learning and visionary thinking. Jupiter and Saturn have a similar support team. They encourage an effective blending of responsibility with bold hopefulness. Do not hesitate to take actions, both magical and pragmatic, at this time. Much is in flux. Mercury will be stationing retrograde in a few days. Fortunes can shift. Be a tipping point.

Moon enters Cancer 6:09 am CST
Wednesday, December 14.
It is time to calm down from the Full Moon energy of the last couple of days. The Moon in Cancer turns us into homebodies. Go with the flow if you need to spend time alone. It is perfect day to make cookies or a pot of soup. Sometimes after a lot of mental stimulation, our emotions need to catch up with us. This feels like that day.

Moon in Cancer
Thursday, December 15.
The Moon fills in the empty leg of a t-square pattern that has been in place for a few days. This means the t-square has become a grand cross. The Moon in Cancer opposes Pluto in Capricorn, which is square to the opposition of Jupiter in Libra and Uranus in Aries. These are all cardinal signs. Cardinal signs like to take charge. Are you in conflict about whose vision should be followed? Any vacuum will fill with a visionary who says they know where we should go next. Rather than be hijacked by the energy, practice observing from your ground of being.

Moon enters Leo 7:15 am CST
Friday, December 16.
Tonic practices to consider for the next two days: giving thanks, playful creativity, taking risks, wearing your heart on your sleeve even if it terrifies you, spreading appreciation for others. All these practices are encouraged by a Moon in Leo. Be generous and that energy returns to you. It would be a terrible waste to devolve into narcissism or jealousy.

Moon in Leo
December 17—Disseminating Moon: Sharing. The Moon makes a brief grand fire trine with Saturn in Sagittarius and Uranus in Aries today. Saturn trine Uranus is one of the core aspects of this lunar cycle and will be felt for the next 11 months. Structure and change are cooperating as best they can. That doesn’t mean they are under control, however. Much is changing at a rapid pace right now. The Moon points out that fire needs a container, or to use the metaphor of this lunar cycle, this fire is only useful if we are in touch with our ground of being.

This phase of the Moon is an opportunity to notice what you have learned or manifested through following your intention this cycle. What have you learned about your ground of being? How handy is it today with all this fire energy going on? The trine between Saturn and Uranus asks us to pay as much attention to the forms of change as we do to the need for change. Put that in your bonnet as you think about what you are learning.

Moon enters Virgo 11:52 am CST
Sunday, December 18.
Sometimes conflict stimulates creativity. This may happen today as the Moon in Leo opposes Mars in the last degree of Aquarius. Right after this aspect, the Moon moves into Virgo where we love to problem-solve. Although the world’s troubles feel overwhelming, the last few days of the Sun in Sagittarius emphasizes what is possible. Mercury stations retrograde tomorrow. You may feel the unpredictable aspect of this transit already.

Moon in Virgo
Monday, December 19.
This may be the most anticipated Electoral College vote in my memory. Most of the time, this quietly happens. With so many concerned about the impact of a Trump presidency, we are tuning into this arcane and controversial aspect of electoral system in the U.S. Today’s Electoral College vote will be impacted by Mercury stationing retrograde. This may cause confusion or delays. Certainly, there will be people who will refuse to accept the eventual outcome. Mars moves into Pisces for the next 5 weeks. We wear compassion on our sleeves. It is all about the underdog, the oppressed, and the pained. Idealism spurs us to action. Today’s Moon in Virgo spurs us to service.

Moon enters Libra 8:39 pm CST
December 20—Last Quarter Moon: Evaluating. For most of the day, we are under the influence of a Virgo Moon. It is important not to turn our natural inquisitiveness into feelings of inadequacy. This phase of the Moon is about evaluating what we could have done better, not why we suck so much. Virgo can get stuck in perfectionism and then we lose touch with our ground of being. Notice these shifting sands. In my own enquiry into my ground of being, I have discovered that this ground does not always feel like a happy place. When grief arises or even shame, from my ground of being, I do not have to identify with those feelings. They are not me. They are simply present. It is as if, the ground of being is not only a place where I know my truth and values, but is also a place to be witness for myself in compassion and patience.

Moon in Libra
Wednesday, December 21.
Winter Solstice. The Moon in Libra makes no exact aspects today. This seems fitting for the longest night of Winter Solstice (in the northern hemisphere). Perhaps this lack of agitation from other planets helps us to relax into the fertile darkness. The Moon is in Libra. Reflect on balance—true balance—that creates right relationship to all of life. Jupiter is transiting Libra for the next few months, giving us the sense that balance is crucial if we are to survive the choices ahead. In this darkness, commit to relationships that support you and that you are willing to support in return. Open to the dream of justice. Open to the dream of beauty.

Moon in Libra
Thursday, December 22.
Did you find commitment and inspiration at yesterday’s Solstice? This next year, we are going to learn more about balance than ever before. Pay attention to your choices. These range from the choices of how you run your life to the choices about how you think about yourself. All these choices impact the whole. That is what balance is about—every act, every thought, influences others. It even influences the probabilities of the future. The practices we do from our ground of being, help us to see these connections without being paralyzed by them. Today is active and inspiring. The Moon in Libra connects to the antagonizing t-square pattern of Uranus in Aries opposite Jupiter in Libra and both square to Pluto in Capricorn. Dissatisfaction, impatience, and oppressive power structures could throw us off balance. It is important to not give up while finding balance that creates resilience. The Moon also makes favorable aspects to Venus in Aquarius and Saturn in Sagittarius. Commitment to our truth and like-minded friends help us stay on track.

Moon enters Scorpio 8:32 am CST
Friday, December 23.
The Scorpio Moon invokes a bit of darkness into this “season of light.” That is OK. Be sure to feel what you feel. Holiday pressures can be intense. Scorpio encourages us to protect ourselves before we give too much away. Self-preservation is a good instinct. The Moon makes a trine to Mars in Pisces. We are more interested in authentic feelings and crave the safety of those who do not expect us to be any different than we really are. May you find that safety and sense of belonging. If you have the resources to offer that to others, it will surely be appreciated. If you are doing any traveling this holiday weekend, be mindful that Mercury is retrograde. That doesn’t mean things will go wrong, it just means that if they do, find a way to go with the flow. Be prepared for detours.

Moon in Scorpio
December 24—Balsamic Moon: Surrendering. Now, more than ever, I need to have access to my ground of being. As this lunar cycle wanes into darkness, I will not give up that connection. Through all stages and states of life: the bright and joyful, the dark and sorrowful, the perplexing, the exciting, may I know this ground of deep witness and connection. May it help me sustain my activism and my relationships. May this ground of being remind me I can never fully know my own impact (as none of us can) and that I am needed in this work (as all of us are). Small and large it is time for each of us to show up. Activism is daring to be awake and engage in the healing of this world. This takes many forms. The trine between Saturn in Sagittarius and Uranus in Aries (exact for the first of three times today) is about sustainable change, structural evolution, and holding true to the vision.

Moon enters Sagittarius 9:19 pm CST
Sunday, December 25.
There is a good chance that family gatherings will go well today if we remember to appreciate our differences. Venus in Aquarius is good at appreciating a diverse group of people. This Venus is making favorable aspects with Jupiter in Libra, Uranus in Aries, and Saturn in Sagittarius. We come together more than push each other away. The source of conflict, if any, could be around comfort levels with emotion. Venus wants to keep things on a social and cerebral plane. The Moon in Scorpio for most of the day is impatient with emotion avoidance. Give others room for all kinds of expression and everyone will come out learning something new.

 To read about the beginning of the Sagittarius lunar cycle go here

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