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 racking my brain to find the key to the Capricorn lunar cycle that begins on December 29. It feels important to start 2017 in a good way. Capricorn is the winter sign in the northern hemisphere. It’s true that half the world experiences Capricorn as summer’s sign, and though I want to incorporate that counterbalancing piece into my astrology, I am also aware that right now, where my feet stand, it is dark winter and things look dim. Perhaps this is when I most need to remember the light of summer from the other side of the Earth. It is there. Remote. But there. I can connect to that.

The Capricorn season invokes the slow climb in search of the key, the glimmer of light, the reason we toil. As folks in the southern hemisphere uncoil into the warmth of summer, perhaps they too are aware that for them the dark increases every day until the next solstice. For them as well there is a search. What is the key, the glimmer, the reason we toil?

Capricorn is a serious sign. As cardinal earth, it can experience the weight of the world on its shoulders. It takes the mission of collective survival with utmost commitment. This is heavy. But thank goodness, Capricorn is up to the challenge. There’s a lesson here about strength and determination, even when I doubt that most in myself. I am not a Capricorn, but I do have a Saturn (the ruler of Capricorn) in my chart, as do all of us. This Saturn indicates how I at times carry the weight of the world on my shoulders, and shows the reason I toil. Saturn represents a key, won through commitment and determination, to mastery.

So, I’ve been thinking about Saturn’s key lately. Is there more to discover about this climb through life? Can I unlock a different relationship than burdensome oppression in regards to Saturn’s wisdom? Here are my thoughts as I approach my New Moon intention. In my search for Saturn’s key, may I embrace:

  • Good in the end—accepting my mortality, and with that, my limitations.
  • I am not alone—no one can carry the weight by themselves. It isn’t my heroism or my sacrifice that makes the work useful.
  • Work as legacy—acting on behalf of future generations.

These intentions may seem glum on the surface, but that is the way of Saturn. We may want to avoid work and mortality. But the secret is that life is richer and more pleasurable when we fully embrace that our work matters and we are finite. Something bigger is in play when we realize we are part of a greater whole that carries on beyond us. I hope to find inspiration in that realization this month.

The astrological highlights of the next lunar cycle are:

A change in direction for the agent of change—Uranus in Aries stations direct on the day of the New Moon. Look for a surge of action as we engage in the realities of the new year.

Momentum increases—Mercury in Sagittarius stations direct on January 8.

Inspiration to action—The Sun forms t-square aspect pattern with the opposition between Uranus and Jupiter in Libra on January 11. Tension creates desire for action. Use this transit to shine a light on injustice and understanding about balance in relationship to change.

Empathy increases—Venus and Mars will both be transiting through Pisces after January 3. Right before the Presidential Inauguration on January 20, Mars will contact Chiron, Jupiter, and Saturn. People may be more suggestible, impacted by emotion, desire for justice, and a fight for hope. Venus makes the same transits the week following the Inauguration. Our relationships take on importance. We seek connections of the heart. These connections may be necessary for the changes to come.

Forecast for December 26, 2016 – January 8, 2017.

Moon in Sagittarius
Monday, December 26
. With the energy of the waning Moon, we step into that in between place. We are on the threshold between the old and the new. Take this time to sink into your ground of being. It is hard to deny that change is coming, even if we aren’t quite ready to engage. The opposition between Jupiter in Libra and Uranus in Aries reminds us the fight for justice is far from over. Jupiter helps us ready for the changes ahead, especially if we are mindful of balance. Retrograde Mercury in Capricorn makes a dreamy connection with Neptune in Pisces. Open to the messages from unseen sources. Be mindful as you travel. Distraction is strong.

Moon in Sagittarius
Tuesday, December 27.
How strongly do you trust your gut? Spend some time discerning what it feels like to listen to your instinctual self. The psyche’s voice is strong today with the Sun in Capricorn making a sextile to Mars in Pisces. The messages may come in metaphors or in waves of emotion, but they are coming if we are available to listen and trust. As the Moon conjoins Saturn today, we want to get the right answers, but that isn’t how our souls communicate. Sometimes we have to surrender to the journey without any guarantees. That may be what we are meant to know at the end of 2016.

Moon enters Capricorn 9:12 am CST
Wednesday, December 28.
Mercury meets the Sun today. This is the peak of a Mercury retrograde period. Yesterday, the Sun made favorable contact with Mars in Pisces. Today, Mercury makes the same sextile aspect to Mars. The message comes in loud and clear in a sort of fuzzy way—we are supposed to open to unexpected sources for inspiration. The clue to whether to trust the source is this: Does it open your heart? Saturn in Sagittarius continues the focus on feelings as it makes a square to Chiron in Pisces. These heart-centered insights aren’t easy. We may want to curl up and hide from them, but it doesn’t really feel any better under the covers. Dare to come out and connect. Others are scared too.

Moon in Capricorn
December 29—New Moon: Dreaming. Here it is folks, our chance to plant some magical seeds for 2017. That feels so portentous, doesn’t it? The thought of 2017—a year that feels huge, alarming, confusing, and all the things—has been kicking me in the butt. I‘ve been dragging my feet writing this forecast because of the weight I am feeling about magic right now. It feels so big. Whew. Time to lighten up. Starhawk, one of my first and primary teachers about magic, has a great insight about disarming the feeling that everything surviving and thriving is up to my own personal magic. She says (parphrased) that if any one of us was that powerful, we’d have already changed the world. No one is that powerful, thank goodness. But—paradox alert—each of us, especially in connection with others, is vitally important to changing the world. None of us get to sit this one out, which does not mean we are supposed to succumb to incapacitating over-expectations of what our personal magic can do for 2017.

Crippling over-expectation is one of the hallmarks of Saturn influence when we haven’t fully integrated this planet’s lessons. Saturn rules Capricorn, the sign of this next lunar cycle. If nothing else, it would be tremendously helpful to use this lunation to release the grip of over-expectation and self-judgment. It is time to release the children! Let me explain. Cronus is the Greek version of Saturn. It was prophesized that Cronus’ children would kill him. So when Rhea, the mother, gave birth, Cronus swallowed each child. Rhea grew tired of losing her babies. This is the important moment! She gave Cronus a stone to swallow when Zeus was born and hid him away to grow up, give his father a potion that made him vomit all the children up, and then they killed him. Yay. This celebration isn’t about killing Saturn. We need a vital and alive Saturn to help us create masterful legacy. This is about stopping the swallowing of the children—our creative gifts. It is time to get fed up like Rhea did and do something about our incapacitating fears. It is time to accept our capabilities as they are, not as we think they should be. I’ve been thinking of this kind of realism as Saturn’s key and it is what I most want to discover during this lunar cycle.

Dismantling over-expectations for our value, our work, our impact on the world is radical work that also questions the over-culture programming that tells us if we can’t be perfect, we shouldn’t try at all. I suggest we all become more radical in 2017 by embracing our limitations, acknowledging that we can’t act alone, and holding fast to the work being about future generations. Now, more than ever, we need the magic of intention, mindfulness, imperfection, and vulnerability. We need wholehearted magic. What magic will you create?

The chart for this New Moon has a radical opposition between Uranus in Aries and Jupiter in Libra. Uranus stations direct on the New Moon and is raring for change, ready to ignite the Aries fires of daring and imperfect action. Jupiter in Libra is teaching that balance is not compromise. Balance, too, is a radical act that dismantles constant cultural messages that we must suffer to turn this world around.

The Sun and Moon are conjunct retrograde Mercury. What do you want to turn around? What fresh perspective would help you discover Saturn’s key this year? Be sure to sow an open mind that can pivot quickly and joyfully through the year ahead.

Mars in Pisces conjoins Neptune and the South Node of the Moon. Time and space are liminal. We are sure to follow after fantasies and get lost on our quests. But that doesn’t mean we’ve gone astray. What are you learning? Our hearts play a big role in guiding us. This can feel vulnerable. The North Node in Virgo reminds us to be discerning about the sources of our fantasies. Saturn in Sagittarius, the key of this lunar cycle, insists we learn the limitations of truth. Anyone can be lured into believing the over-culture stories that keep us incapacitated. Be Rhea. Release the children!

Moon enters Aquarius 7:29 pm CST
Friday, December 30.
How do you define the word “radical?” The square between the Moon and Uranus early this morning, along with the Moon’s ingress into radical Aquarius later today, maintains the pulse of radicalism felt throughout the day. The Online Etymology Dictionary says this about the word: “from Late Latin radicalis ‘of or having roots,’ from Latin radix (genitive radicis) ‘root.’ Meaning ‘going to the origin, essential.’” Rootedness fits in well with the Capricorn themes of this lunar cycle. Today, while dreaming of the change you wish to see in the world, remember our roots are just seeking radical reconnection. Change can be nourishing and stabilizing. The sextile between the Sun in Capricorn and Neptune in Pisces encourages dreams of such wonder.

Moon in Aquarius
Saturday, December 31.
The temptation to lose yourself in the moment has a strong influence on how we greet the new year tomorrow. Jupiter in Libra contacts Chiron in Pisces through a paradoxical quincunx. On one had, we value logic and rationality, and on the other we value unexplainable experiences of connection and compassion. The heart is not an interruption but is telling us something we need to know. The first aspect of 2017, right after midnight tonight (Central U.S. time zone), is a conjunction of Mars and Neptune in Pisces. This conjunction will influence some to overindulge in alcohol and drugs. It might feel good to escape the cares of the world, but another approach is to open even wider to complex emotions. There is grief, pain, wonder, joy, and love all mixed together. Be tender.

Moon in Aquarius
January 1—Crescent Moon: Beginning. We start the new year under a Crescent Aquarius Moon. Somehow, in this moment, things do not seem as bleak as they did at the end of the last lunar cycle. Beginnings have a way of infusing life with hope. Perhaps the challenges of this year will be just what we need to make lasting and effective change in how we live on this Earth. Perhaps we will discover Saturn’s key to staying in the work without being overwhelmed by it. The Moon mediates any stress we’ve been feeling between Uranus in Aries and Jupiter in Libra. There is a way to embrace change and balance at the same time. The puzzle creates new options. Be open to new paradigms. The encouraging sextile between the Moon and Saturn lifts our burdens briefly.

Moon enters Pisces 3:57 am CST
Monday, January 2.
The Moon flows into Pisces today creating a sensation that we have not quite landed yet in the new year. Go with the flow and be adaptable to shifting states of being. Mercury is still retrograde in Capricorn. Are we done with set backs and waiting for things to get back on track? Don’t give in to the frustration. The flow can be delightful if we can let go of those expectations. The Moon conjoins Neptune this evening (Central U.S. time zone). Let dreams and visions feed your desires for the coming year. You may get new insight, still, about what you wish to manifest.

Moon in Pisces
Tuesday, January 3.
Today, Venus joins the Moon, Mars, South Node, Neptune, and Chiron in Pisces. All this watery influence just snuck up on us, didn’t it? If you feel like having a good cry, then go for it. However, Pisces isn’t just about the tears. This sign’s gift is the ability to midwife our transitions. Pisces merges with the suffering as well as the joy in others. This sign gives the gift of recognition and understanding to those who may feel completely alone. Even if you have no Pisces in your chart, you get to tap into these gifts in your relationships as Venus enters the flow. Mercury (albeit retrograde) makes a favorable contact with Venus today. You can’t go wrong if you surrender to the tides.

Moon enters Aries 10:19 am CST
Wednesday, January 4.
Get out of your metaphorical bed, stretch, yawn and put on some clothes. It is time to get this year in gear. The Moon moves into Aries. We might surprise ourselves with unexpected decisions and actions. We can vision and hope all we want and then eventually, we will have to make a choice. Mercury, still on its retrograde journey, re-enters Sagittarius. Did you forget something really important to you? Perhaps it was a guiding belief. Perhaps you took a detour and needed to backtrack to find it. Perhaps that happens today.

Moon in Aries
January 5—First Quarter Moon: Manifesting. A challenge for this lunar cycle so far has been a tendency to drift off and lose focus. Rather than berate ourselves for dropping the ball, what if we reframed it as needing this time to check in with our souls. Perhaps we haven’t lost track of our New Moon intentions at all. They are ready to resurface today. The Moon in Aries makes firey contact with Pluto in Capricorn, Uranus in Aries, and Jupiter in Libra. These are in a t-square pattern that provides the jolt to wake us up. What will you do upon awaking? That is the question.

This lunar cycle I am tracking the question, How do I embrace Saturn’s lessons of mortality, limitations, and legacy? Remembering that the systems of dominance don’t want me to be comfortable with my imperfections, I must find ways to thwart that voice that tells me to give up before I’ve even started. The tense line-up of planets today reminds me that the stakes are too high to simply cave to false messages about my personal impact. I can do something, and it doesn’t even have to be brilliant. Will you join me?

Moon enters Taurus 2:18 pm CST
Friday, January 6.
After waking up, what are the first things you do? Coffee is usually on my list. My body needs it. We are waking into a new year, new challenges, and new energy for action. What does your body need to get that work on track? The Moon in Taurus today reminds us that our bodies are very important to the work ahead. Keeping with the theme of the Capricorn lunar cycle, we don’t have to be perfect about it either. Honor the living body, however it is showing up.

Moon in Taurus
Saturday, January 7.
Feel the boost of power as the Sun conjoins Pluto in Capricorn. Once a year, the source of life meets the dark, icy realms of death. Rather than repelling each other, both realms are infused with power by this contact. I find it ironic that Trump has been talking about draining the swamp. That is just what Pluto in Capricorn has been doing in the arena of toxic leadership and systems of governance since 2008 when Pluto entered Capricorn and the stock market crashed. Although Trump himself is making the swamp murkier, Pluto is still at work. Perhaps Trump is part of Pluto’s plan. The Sun today illuminates where we need to truly drain the swamp and let the regenerating light of the Sun grow new paradigms of leadership and governance. When you see it, send it support.

Moon enters Gemini 4:06 pm CST
January 8—Gibbous Moon: Perfecting. I’ve considered changing the keyword I use for this phase of the Moon. Perfection is such a trap. With the Saturn influence of this lunar cycle, it is a radical act to claim our imperfections and still show up to our work, our lives, our dreams. I keep the word as a reminder that there is a difference between incapacitating over-expectation and a desire to keep working until fruition. Let’s keep going. And let’s change what that looks like. Perhaps it means choosing once again the small step to go to the gym to work out, or to sit in meditation, or to eat something that makes our bodies feel good, or to be with a friend who supports us, or send an email to an elected official, or do something kind for another person. There is something we can do, that isn’t about perfection but is just perfect for today.

Mercury stations direct. That might make staying on any kind of plan more challenging. Then the Moon moves into Gemini. If you need joy, call up a friend who likes to talk. If you need a new perspective, open up to learning. There are many sources of wonder.

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