Follow the Moon: Astrology of intention and mindfulness

by Teri Parsley Starnes

me2-17Teri’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.


“A real love letter is made of insight, understanding, and compassion. Otherwise it’s not a love letter. A true love letter can produce a transformation in the other person, and therefore in the world. But before it produces a transformation in the other person, it has to produce a transformation within us. Some letters may take the whole of our lifetime to write.”
-Thich Nhat Hanh, Your True Home: The Everyday Wisdom of Thich Nhat Hanh

When the world looks bleak; when events conspire to force us into resistance and change; when the realness of threat to beloveds, to the Earth, to human goodness cannot be denied, love leads us forward. At the New Moon in Aquarius I planted the seeds of this intention: To lead with the love that unmasks, transforms, and liberates.

Love is transformation. The writers* I’ve consulted for my inspiration this month all stress that love is telling the truth. James Baldwin wrote about removing our masks. bell hooks takes up the same theme and encourages us to tell the truth about ourselves to ourselves and others. Communication is key. For love to transform, I must speak truth. Thich Nhat Hanh (above) asks us to write a love letter that will transform the world. But, he says, we have to write the letter to ourselves first. Self-love is hard. Just like self-honesty is. Shame silences. Breaking the silence of shame is worthy work. If we don’t speak up, we lose out on the transformative power of love.

Mercury is the planetary ally of communication. For the next two weeks, Mercury helps us communicate passion in its connections to Venus and Mars, vision in its connect to Uranus, and truth in its connections to Jupiter and Saturn. Mercury enters Aquarius on February 7. As the fixed air sign, Aquarius inspires vision and desire for authenticity. The balance this Mercury needs comes from water and earth—compassion and stability. When we remember these qualities, our minds are free to roam. Possibilities abound. We connect with like-minded instigators of change. If we dare, we can unmask ourselves in the pursuit of freedom. Perhaps, we learn a bit more about transformative love.

Aquarian revolution is tricky. This air sign is big on concept, and struggles to bring in the balance of heart and compassion. When the Sun enters Pisces on February 18, it is easier to feel the suffering of others and the ways we are more alike than different. The last week of the lunar cycle, which was seeded with Aquarian ideals of love, gives us a chance to feel what love means when we surrender control. A sensing into vulnerability completes the journey of the lunar intention to lead with love as we transform the world.

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.” — Brené Brown

We don’t know where this kind of love will take us. The Full Moon in Leo on February 10 is a lunar eclipse. The next New Moon in Pisces on February 26 will be a solar eclipse. Eclipses increase a feeling of uncertainty. Both the fears and the hopes we invest in the present moment seem bigger than normal. Another key component to vulnerability is self-love. Thich Nhat Hanh says it can take a lifetime to know how to write a love letter to ourselves. If we want to possess the kind of love that transforms the world, we will need to transform ourselves first.

Forecast for February 6—February 20.

Moon in Gemini
Monday, February 6.
Jupiter in Libra stations retrograde today. Jupiter has carried the banner of justice since entering this sign in September 2016. Today it is appropriate to pause and consider what has transpired since then. Jupiter represents belief and hope. It fills our questing hearts with a deep desire for truth. All beliefs and truths benefit from reflection and reconsideration during the retrograde cycle. Mistakes get to be reworked. We hone our skills at sharing our truths. This inward motion can strengthen our resolve and help us adapt. Jupiter moves retrograde from now to early June. Do not lose hope just because things are complicated.

Moon enters Cancer 1:02 am CST
February 7—Gibbous Moon: Budding. Mercury enters Aquarius today for only two and a half weeks. This spurt of Aquarian vision may be brief but it will be intense, and not necessarily in a bad way. Think: jolts of insight, new pathways of consciousness, sudden inspiration, and strong desire to speak truthfully and transparently. The lunar intention seeded at the New Moon in Aquarius on January 17 is almost ready to blossom. At this budding stage, we feel pregnant with possibility. Air and fire qualities are getting the green light right now. For some, this speeding up of thought and action is exciting, for others it can be overwhelming. As we make our adjustments to the lunar seeds we’ve planted, we learn more about our intentions. The Moon in Cancer (cardinal water sign) challenges us to slow down to tend to self and others. Where are you rooted? What will you defend? This sense of protectiveness runs through the day with the Moon making a square aspect to Venus and Mars in Aries (cardinal fire sign).

My intention for this cycle, offered to you as inspiration, is to lead with love. Today, we are reminded of those we love and cherish like family. Can we expand our notion of family to include those who are different from us? Mercury and Sun in Aquarius push us to erase divisions. The Venus and Mars in Aries are quick to anger, quick to action, but they also give us courage to break patterns of exclusion.

Moon in Cancer
Wednesday, February 8.
The Moon in Cancer completes a tense grand cross aspect pattern today. The planets in challenging relationship are Pluto in Capricorn, Uranus in Aries, and Jupiter in Libra. The least skillful of Cancer qualities may be hard to avoid due to intense feelings of oppression (Pluto), impatience (Uranus), and injustice (Jupiter). Cancer can feel defensive, victimized, and focused on managing others. Skillful Cancer encourages us to create supportive environments and is sensitive to the needs of others. Use this energy to focus on making everyone stronger by making the most vulnerable stronger.

Moon enters Leo 3:41 am CST
Thursday, February 9.
This lunar cycle was seeded in the sign of Aquarius at the New Moon. As the Moon enters Leo today, we get the full perspective from the opposite side of the zodiac. Tomorrow, this opposition culminates in a Full Moon lunar eclipse. Oppositions are expansive; we get the whole picture from a broader perspective. We are encouraged to account for opposing points of view, desires, and impulses. The Leo/Aquarius impulse is to find our authentic places in community. Leo seeks to know personal impact. Aquarius seeks to manifest collective visions of authenticity and freedom. Ego meets collaboration. Creativity meets revolution. This energy is electric. Because of the air and fire emphasis of these signs, the energy is also unsettling and impulsive. Other transits only emphasize these qualities. The Sun in Aquarius is sextile to Uranus (the co-ruler of Aquarius). We may have a hard time discerning the usefulness of our ideas today. Everything seems brilliant and we want credit for our ideas! The Moon is trine Venus and Mars in Aries, encouraging a desire to break down barriers and forge ahead. Leo rules the heart center. This is the heart that gives courage, the heart of loyalty, the heart of passion. Notice this fire and let it feed your creative endeavors.

Moon in Leo
February 10—Full Moon: Blossoming. Lunar Eclipse. This lunar cycle is about love, the fierce love of truth and transformation. Love awakens the sleeper. It clarifies what is important. It grounds us into life. To lead with love through tumultuous times is to be a warrior of the heart. This warrior will not be deterred by distractions or anything else that obstructs a clear vision of the beloved. This Leo Full Moon presents an opportunity to feel more deeply into whole-heartedness. Clear-hearted vision arises from the darkness that briefly crosses the face of the Moon. Shadows and light play together to reveal what matters most. Passions are high.

There are six “planets” occupying a narrow range of degrees from 21 to 25. These planets form a team, a cohesive force for change. All but one are in fire and air signs. Things could unfold quickly before we know what is happening. The key to tempering this momentum is Chiron at 22 degrees Pisces. Chiron as the wounded healer, the shaman who mediates the mysteries, stands at the apex of a yod aspect pattern involving the Moon in Leo and Jupiter in Libra. Chiron erases the division between self and others. As our hearts open to love, we are vulnerable to the pain and suffering around us. As Brené Brown reminds us, “Vulnerability is the birth place of love …” Creativity (the Leo Moon) and truth (Jupiter) develop soul and power when this vulnerability is welcomed.

The other planets on the love warrior team are the Sun in Aquarius shining a light into the future. Science, not alternative facts, helps create accountable relationship on Earth. Uranus in Aries is impatient for change and dares us to be fearless truthtellers. Saturn in Sagittarius asks us to be committed to uprooting the lies we tell ourselves so we may love who we are as much as we love the world. The Moon in Leo insists we stand up for ourselves, our identities, our love. The brighter we shine, the more we have to share. Many have been feeling depressed and overwhelmed by the political realities in the U.S. and around the world. Leo is here to reinvigorate. The mystery of energy is: the more we share generously, the more we have for ourselves. Test this formula for yourself. Love feeds love.

Venus in Aries is preparing for her retrograde journey beginning on March 4. At this time Venus is high in the western sky at sunset, inspiring us to bold actions. In this sign, Aries is ready to fight for beauty and justice. In this sign, Venus has an edge. We need to be careful in our intimate relationships to tamp down the flames of reactivity but in our struggles for justice, this Venus is an ally. She carries a torch, a lot like the Liberty Statue’s torch, illuminating the truth we stand for. Mercury in freedom-loving Aquarius strengthens this Venus by sextile. Love and truth are married.

Moon enters Virgo 7:52 am CST
Saturday, February 11
. When the Moon enters Virgo, our feet finally touch the ground. The last two days have been fiery. Now it is time to clean the house and organize the pantry—literally or metaphorically—you choose. Every prayer, every desire of defiance or intention, needs to be supported by action. What will you do today to support your dreams? The Sun in Aquarius makes a trine to Jupiter in Libra. Our dreams are large. Our hopes are enormous. Pragmatic action will help ground them into reality.

Moon in Virgo
Sunday, February 12
The Virgo Moon continues to help focus our passions in a pragmatic direction. Strength and support come from a trine to Pluto in Capricorn. Balance between fantasy and reality come from the opposition of the Moon and Neptune in Pisces. Pay attention to your health. Pull back from over-commitments.

Moon enters Libra 2:43 pm CST
Monday, February 13.
Brief roadblocks from a square between the Moon and Saturn in Sagittarius this morning (Central time zone) may discourage us, but optimism builds later in the day as we commit to working harder to overcome those setbacks. The Sun in Aquarius is approaching a sextile to Saturn. This aspect fuels our thoughts and visions for the future. The Moon in Libra for the next two days, reminds us that beauty and balance are vitally important to manifesting our dreams.

Moon in Libra
February 14—Disseminating Moon: Fruiting. Contrast the sentimental love of Valentine’s Day with the fierce love of transformation. This lunar cycle, I’ve been growing the seeds of love. This love reveals my true self, encourages self-love, and speaks the truth no matter how vulnerable it feels to do so. This love is the force that can change the course we are on right now. Do you feel it? This love includes complexity; acknowledging anger, frustration, and fear is part of the truth we feel. There is also compassion and desire for justice, as well as commitment and daring. This phase of the Moon bears the fruit for this lunar cycle. What have the seeds of love grown in your life?

Every day seems to bring new and alarming information. The Moon in Libra makes tense aspects to Mars in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn making it easier to see the cracks in the system and the need for action. Our nervous systems are suffering and yours may be crashing. Chiron in Pisces opens our gentle and traumatized selves. Jupiter in Libra bolsters our hope for better balance and justice. These two planets are in a paradoxical relationship that is hard to resolve. We may feel like giving up. Take the long view and step back from unrealistic expectations. How does love support you? What radical act of love is needed right now?

Moon in Libra
Wednesday, February 15.
As the Moon conjoins Jupiter today, try not to let problems become larger than they need to. Jupiter can push us over the top, but it can also remind us of our values. In Libra, we value balance, we value justice, we value beauty. Let these values guide you. As the Moon opposes Uranus, we may be tempted to panic or push ourselves too hard into change. One of the lies we are told is that if we don’t do it now, we will never get another chance. Whatever it is for you, there will be more chances. As we immerse ourselves in love, may our choices and actions gain power and wisdom.

Moon enters Scorpio 12:41 am CST
Thursday, February 16
How much do you want change? How far will you journey to create lasting change? The Moon in Scorpio asks us to commit passionately to our deepest desires. The journey through this desire will transform us. Today, Mercury in Aquarius, the instigator of awakened change makes a favorable contact with Mars in Aries, the willing warrior. We feel a sense of momentum building. The willingness to change ourselves is the first place to start.

Moon in Scorpio
Friday, February 17.
Messages come from many sources and in many styles. With the Moon is Scorpio, these message could seem dark, soulful or even frightening. Emotional awareness is communicating with us. With Mercury in Aquarius, the messages might contain brilliant insight and abstract analysis. With the Moon making a square to Mercury in Aquarius, the friction may be between our feeling natures and our intellectual natures. This friction creates the possibility for fascinating and meaningful synthesis.

Moon enters Sagittarius 12:52 pm CST
February 18—Last Quarter Moon: Setting seed. The seeds of intention planted at the New Moon on January 27 now yield seeds of their own. What wisdom has been gained from this journey? This phase of the Moon is about evaluating what we’ve learned and how we’ve evolved. As we continue to adapt to crisis and change, the pace of incorporating new information and responding to it is accelerating. Our bodies cannot keep up with a constant state of arousal and alarm. At this turning point in the lunar cycle, what are we learning that will help us maintain equilibrium as we continue to resist tyranny and injustice? The questing nature of the Sagittarius Moon encourages the search for meaning. The Sun’s ingress into Pisces shifts the focus from the cerebral understandings of Aquarius to the felt sense that our emotional experiences are shared. It is possible to feel another’s pain and joy as our own. This enhanced sense of connection is heart-opening. From this open state, what do we know now about the love that transforms? This question, and our answers to it, will only deepen as the Moon wanes through the last week of the Aquarius lunar cycle.

Moon in Sagittarius
Sunday, February 19.
The Moon in fire sign Sagittarius sets off Venus and Mars in fire sign Aries. This Venus is a warrior for love. She may be a little coarse and lacking in grace, but she is fierce when it comes to the love that transforms. We’ve been experiencing this daring Venusian energy since early February when Venus entered Aries. Venus will spend more time here than usual since Venus will retrograde back through Aries on March 4. During this time, we develop a better relationship with this ally of resistance and rebellion. Because Venus usually governs our instinct to smooth over the rough edges and play nice, this Venus in Aries tells us that we need to develop new instincts. It may not be easy, but love can include authentic anger, especially if it is the anger that motivates us to lead more boldly with love. Think of Mars in Aries as an amplifier for this energy. The Moon also contacts Neptune in Pisces by square. Perhaps today’s fire will illuminate confusion and allow our hearts to feel more fully the complexity and wonder of life.

Moon in Sagittarius
Monday, February 20
Events today seem to lead to one shining moment. Mercury in Aquarius makes an encouraging sextile aspect to Uranus in Aries. This is the planetary influence of eureka moments. Find a way to anchor your insights and breakthroughs. The Moon in Sagittarius adds sparkle and zip. Fire and air signs have predominated this lunar cycle. There have been pluses and minuses with this energy. Notice how quickly information is traveling right now. Notice how easy it is to inflame passion and anger. Fires can illuminate, purify, and transform. They can also burn out, just like our bodies and our wills, if we do not tend them carefully. With appreciation for fire and air, use the positive aspects today between the Moon and Uranus, Jupiter, and Saturn to assess and sustain your energy.

* To read about the beginning of the Aquarius lunar cycle visit Follow the Moon. Contact Teri at and visit her website at to learn about booking a reading of your chart. Like her Starsdance Astrology page on Facebook to receive these forecasts daily and learn of other offers and events.