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: Seeding
Crescent Moon: Geminating
First Quarter Moon: Sprouting
Gibbous Moon: Budding
Full Moon: Blossoming
Disseminating Moon: Fruiting
Last Quarter Moon: Re-seeding
Balsamic Moon: Composting

Come follow the Moon as we practice intentional awareness together.

“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.”
― C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

I am a small boat bobbing on a tumultuous sea. Perhaps you feel it too. Since the Inauguration, an onslaught of outrage and fear has me feeling everything—heaving waves push me towards the sky, sudden openings plunge me back down, my boat is spinning. I’m holding on for all I’ve got, and calling upon all my resources and practices to stay centered. The sensation of being adrift at sea falls right into the Pisces influence of this next lunar cycle, which begins on February 26. The Pisces season is molded by ocean currents. It starts by moving through layers of surrender to dissolve ultimately into connection and unity. This is a birthing process for the soul and sometimes the process is hard.

Pisces is the last sign of the zodiacal year. The zodiac, which means wheel of life, is the life wisdom of the year. Pisces concludes the cycle. Aries begins another one. During this season we release the bindings of the past so new life is free to emerge in the spring. As a mutable water sign, Pisces is extraordinarily sensitive. Mutable signs take in and process information to send back out along the elemental pathways most attuned to that sign. Information, especially emotional information, hits us in powerful ways under this influence. We can feel like that small boat bobbing on the sea with each new piece of input. People with Pisces influence in their charts need self-care practices. These practices are in place, not to keep us from feeling, but to help us be present to our feelings and know what is ours to take on and what isn’t.

This perhaps sounds easier or even more fun than it is. When layers of defense and binding come away, we may experience vulnerability, grief, pain, or confusion. To handle these feelings, people with Pisces influence may develop coping mechanisms ranging from elevated states of connection and compassion to numbing out. Most of us can’t maintain any one state permanently, so we naturally vacillate between effective and ineffective ways of coping. If we fall short of expectations, we might feel shame about it. These are habitual whirlpools. It is good to step off that cycle of overwhelm and shame. This is the season to truly love ourselves while staying present to our imperfections. Consider how important this courageous work of being present to our feelings is. I can’t help but think there are vitally important lessons here for dealing with the fear and grief of our times. As we go through this Pisces transformation, we remember to tend to our hearts as we meet current challenges. The Pisces season trains us to be peaceful warriors, compassionate healers, and resilient activists. At the end of Pisces transformation, we can feel cleansed of the past and open to connection.

I will be working with a brief re-grounding practice this lunar cycle when the ocean feels turbulent. You may use this or other practices that work for returning you to yourself.

First, with your eyes open, notice your breath. With a sigh, release tension, any amount is good, in your belly. Sigh out an ahh. Drop your shoulders with another sigh. Pause. Look around and pick out two colors you see. Name them. Notice the temperature on your skin. Keep breathing. Begin to feel your exhale leave your body in a wave traveling from your head to your feet. Keep breathing gently until you have that sensation. Take three more conscious breaths sensing this wave. Finish with an affirmation. It might be something like: I am not alone. Or, I listen to my needs. Or, I am grateful for this moment.

Forecast for February 26—March 11

Moon in Pisces
February 26—New Moon: Seeding. Solar Eclipse. Stress and tension have ratcheted up significantly since the U.S. Presidential election. Nervous systems are on high alert. The Pisces lunar cycle brings stronger awareness of the impact this stress is having but also brings the opportunity to re-regulate the ways we are handling current life challenges. We’ll have to modify our habits and patterns, because the battle ahead is a long one, and we need to pace ourselves and love ourselves through all of it. The very end of winter into early spring is a natural time to detoxify. The shift from winter’s inward focus to spring’s outward focus is big. This season invites us to let go of past patterns so we can flow with the shift. If our bodies are depleted now, we may experience illness or depression as the spring season gets underway. Self-care right now is important.

This lunar cycle gives us an opportunity to reset our panic responses. This doesn’t mean going back to sleep or into denial, a fear that can come up when we think of taking time for ourselves. It does mean that to continue, it would be good to resettle into our bodies to give ourselves as much love as we can. We will be challenged in this intention by a very dramatic New Moon.

This lunation begins with a solar eclipse. The defined darkness of an eclipse, brief put potent, can be imagined as a portal or a dark cauldron inviting us to brew our magic. The seeds we plant at this New Moon feel supercharged. The Pisces nature of this moment is enhanced by the conjunction between Neptune, Moon, and Sun. In addition, Mercury in Pisces conjoins the South Node of the Moon. The Nodes are always involved in eclipses, since they indicate the point where the Sun, Moon, and Earth align on the same plane. The South Node is karma. Neptune adds more mystery, more fogginess, more dream insight to the magic of this New Moon. Mercury invites us to dig deeper into the layers of the past, the things we need to release this Pisces season. Water is a vital teacher and ally in the process of release, purification, and re-commitment to spring emergence.

Be aware that as we shed our layers, feelings of vulnerability surface as well. I try to remember that vulnerability is linked to wholeheartedness and is powerful magic. But, if we aren’t prepared, the agitating exact conjunction of Mars with Uranus in Aries on this New Moon might feel too discordant to our more vulnerable selves. Mars and Uranus are like horses at the gate raring to go. Jupiter in Libra opposes them both, making it very hard to keep the horses under control. Under this influence, accidents and arguments are more likely if we aren’t aware of our energetic bodies. For me, this means, to notice feelings of vulnerability and overwhelm and to be gentle with myself. Such practices help me plant the seeds of this lunar cycle.

The strong contrast between Pisces and Aries at the beginning of this lunar cycle reinforces the work of letting go of one cycle to prepare for the next. At winter’s end, we assess our lives, looking at what remains from winter’s struggles and what needs cleansing to prepare for spring’s ambitions. For this reason, my intention for this lunar cycle is: Through self-care, I listen to my soul, releasing old forms and opening to my heart’s desire.

Moon enters Aries 10:51 pm CST
Monday, February 27.
You may have every reason to believe that this is the first day of spring, even though it doesn’t really happen for almost another month. This is because we are still charged by Mars conjoining Uranus in Aries yesterday and coming into opposition with Jupiter in Libra today. Aries is spring energy. Mars rules this energy. What do you want to pour your energy into right now? Aries with a mission is courageous and bold. Aries without one is reckless and ready for a fight. Jupiter may be the trigger that makes that happen. It could feel incredibly frustrating to compromise right now. If you’re feeling this, what is it telling you? How can you adjust, claiming your own direction, while listening to that other voice? Remember we are still in the fragile spaces of Pisces opening. When the Moon in Pisces makes a square to Saturn (mid afternoon in Central time zone) we may feel burdened by input. Ground extra tension if it feels like too much.

Moon in Aries
Tuesday, February 28.
On Saturday, Venus in Aries will station retrograde. This goddess is putting her foot down in the feistiest sign of all. Gender issues are at the forefront. Women are activated. None of us feel like playing nice. The Moon conjoins this planet today. Where are you putting your foot down? Feel the growing tide of others who are doing the very same thing at your back. Aries forgets they are not alone. It is important to remember that today.

Moon in Aries
March 1—Crescent Moon: Germinating. The complex contrast between Pisces and Aries that was felt at the New Moon is repeated today. If you set an intention for self-care for this lunar cycle, you get a chance to see how necessary it is to sustaining effort and presence over time. If Aries is the fiery pursuit of our heart’s desire, then Pisces is the self-care we do first to make sure we are ready for that journey. Do not doubt yourself if you are feeling pulled in two directions. Pay extra attention to the subtler messages coming your way. They want to reach your soul.

The Moon in Aries reminds us that there is a cardinal sign t-square pattern in the sky that is forcing decision and action. The planets in this pattern are Pluto in Capricorn, Jupiter in Libra, and Mars and Uranus in Aries. Pluto has been exposing toxic power structures. It is really out there for all to see. The opposition between the Aries planets and Jupiter could be about tactics in what to do about it. Jupiter in Libra is focused on justice, but also collaboration and compromise. Uranus and Mars are full of self-determination. The choice to go it alone would be a mistake. We need to see what others show us, even if it means reconsidering a path we want to take. Solidarity does not mean always agreeing. However, if we let differences divide us, we lose power. Conflict can be a teacher.

To contrast the dynamic energy of this t-square, the Sun in Pisces conjoins Neptune today. You may notice how easy it is to spin a tale, spread rumors, or get caught up in untruths. External truth isn’t the goal of this transit, it is about what feels right. Zealous beliefs can foment if we aren’t careful. The gift is the felt sense that we are all connected. All of us. What will you do with that truth?

Moon enters Taurus 1:42 am CST
Thursday, March 2.
I often think the day the Moon moves into Taurus is a good time to put on the brakes and take a breath. Momentum has been building. We are getting confusing messages about slowing down and speeding up. Take the day to sort all that out. Our bodies are smarter than we usually give them credit for. What is your body telling you, really? Try to pay attention. Jupiter in Libra opposes Uranus in Aries. This is the second of three times these two planets face off. The first time was in December. The last time will be in September. This is the “full moon phase” of the cycle between these planets that began in 2010. This transit brings illumination around the ways we seek to awaken into action. After the full phase, we get to work applying the wisdom we’ve attained. What will you do after awakening? Once we awaken, the world is never the same again. We can never claim that ignorance again. What is awake in you now?

Moon in Taurus
Friday, March 3.
The day is a bit quieter than we’ve had in a while. The Moon makes one aspect, a trine to Pluto in Capricorn. Silence can be powerful. Draw strength from beauty. Tend to your body. Create anchors to peace in your home. Listen to the wisdom of the Earth.

Moon enters Gemini 4:05 am CST
Saturday, March 4.
Venus puts her foot down today. Notice if you feel like following suit. Venus in Aries stations retrograde. The Venus cycle reflects the characteristics of this planet of beauty, harmony and balance. It follows a distinct and orderly pattern as it moves from Evening Star to Morning Star and back again. Every 18 months, Venus makes a retrograde journey. The retrograde cycle always follows Venus’ appearance as the Evening Star. Currently, Venus is shining bright and high in the western sky after sunset. It will quickly lose altitude over the next two weeks and disappear into the rays of the Sun. In early April, while still traveling retrograde, Venus will appear as the Morning Star close to the horizon. On April 14, Venus will station direct. Venus returns to the same retrograde degree on May 19 completing the entire cycle at that time. During most of this period, Venus will be in Aries spending only four weeks in Pisces. Nothing invites a good story better than this cycle of the bright planet Venus. The story of Inanna’s journey into the underworld was inspired by it. One burning question was asked of that goddess when she left her command center in the sky to travel into the land of death, Why, Inanna? A powerful goddess must have a good reason to put her foot down. Fast forward to the current state of affairs, can you imagine why a powerful goddess might want to take this journey now?

Perhaps Venus is taking the journey to learn more about resistance. In Aries, Venus has forgotten how to be conciliatory. There are battles to fight and new strategies to hatch. The arc of this retrograde back into Pisces tells us that it isn’t all about the bluster and the fight. We must also tend to our sacred selves. While Mercury in Pisces conjoins Neptune today, listen for messages from your soul. The blending of inner Pisces processes and outer Aries actions continues.

Moon in Gemini
March 5—First Quarter Moon: Sprouting. How has it been for you? Big transits involving planets in Aries have stirred the pot quite a bit during the first week of this lunar cycle. Do you find yourself more stressed? Are you overloaded? It could be time to check back in with your lunar intention for this month. The Pisces season is an opportunity to slowly cleanse and shed the things that will hinder springtime emergence. Now, more than ever, we need to detoxify fears and stress. Ideally, we’d have plenty of time to reflect, meditate, and process, but it hasn’t felt that way at all. The Moon in Gemini is probably not helping things either. We are stimulated by social interactions and innate curiosity to learn. You might find yourself clicking on story after story, wondering how to shut off the input. Turn off the electronics if you can and rediscover the power of breath to bring us back to ourselves. A harmonious trine between Mars in Aries and Saturn in Sagittarius helps us follow through on our projects.

Moon enters Cancer 6:54 am CST
Monday, March 6.
The Cancer Moon is here to help us slow down. This could be a good day to spend with family. Enjoy your nest, give your home some special love. Perhaps this means a vase of flowers or a home-cooked meal. The energy you expend on your space will soothe your soul. Mercury conjoins the Sun in Pisces, reminding of us this season’s work to cleanse, release, and ready ourselves for the spring. This transit could impact communications. It may be easier to have a mystical revelation than an ordinary business meeting today.

Moon in Cancer
Tuesday, March 7
. OK, the nice peaceful Cancer Moon of yesterday has turned on us. Today, the Moon completes a grand cross aspect pattern and the potential for tense outbursts increases. Uranus and Mars in Aries, Pluto in Capricorn, and Jupiter in Libra are the other components. In the face of conflict, we want security. That desire is so strong, it may even cause the conflict. Not all the cards are stacked against us. The Moon makes harmonious contact with the Sun and Mercury in Pisces. Gentle words may soothe tense situations. Mercury makes a sextile aspect to Pluto, encouraging effective communication that is heart-centered yet tough.

Moon enters Leo 10:45 am CST
March 8—Gibbous Moon: Budding. This lunar cycle, seeded in the season of Pisces, is an opportunity to notice how we lead two lives at the same time. While going about our external affairs, a rich internal story is also unfolding. There are layers upon layers of memory, sensation, and emotion that touch upon even the most trivial parts of our day. We only have to turn ourselves toward this deeper experience to notice a rich reservoir of inspiration and meaning. The contrast between these two states of being has been the theme and challenge of this lunar cycle so far. What are you noticing? This is about more than developing a broad awareness of reality, we need to be able to resource our inner world when external events become overwhelming. We are building resiliency. You may notice a bit of tension early in the day, when the Moon makes a square to Mars in Aries. We might feel argumentative or defensive. When the Moon enters Leo, energy rises again. Don’t let it carry you too far away from your internal world.

Moon in Leo
Thursday, March 9.
What else gets generated from the contrast between our inner and outer realities? We may get to find out today as inward-focused Mercury in Pisces makes a quincunx aspect to outward-focused Jupiter in Libra. As we build resilience around contrast, we may be able to notice that we have an easier time staying at our center while events take place around us. Both in and outside the world, are we freer to make better choices? Mars moves from Aries to Taurus today, and probably not a moment too soon. Mars is strong in Aries, but since the end of January, this planet has contributed to the agitation and stress we’ve been feeling. Mars in Taurus gives more access to the body’s instinctual wisdom.

Moon enters Virgo 4:07 pm CST
Friday, March 10.
It just might feel like we can achieve a little more balance today. The Moon in Leo supports action through a trine to Uranus in Aries and structure through a trine to Saturn in Sagittarius. This influence is good for finishing up projects. When the Moon enters Virgo, we could feel grounded enough to enjoy extending that sense of accomplishment into the evening by ticking off even more items on our to do lists. The conjunction of Mercury and Chiron in Pisces sensitizes us to suffering of others. If you can apply the industry of the day with compassion through service work, you may have found your perfect expression of this day’s potential.

Moon in Virgo
Saturday, March 11.
Don’t let anyone tell you that you are too sensitive. Wear your feelings with honor. Well, you don’t actually have to wear them, but do try to be present to them. Things are hard right now. If you’re paying attention at all, it can be downright overwhelming. The opportunity during this lunar cycle is to develop a little more capacity to notice our feelings and give them the space they deserve. Continue to deepen into the layers of memory and sensation, drawing protection around yourself when you need to. This inner work is important. The Sun in Pisces forms a quincunx to Jupiter in Libra. Jupiter is an expansive planet that can often blow things out of proportion. There is a temptation to do that today. Find your balancing point.

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.