Follow the Moon: Astrology of intention and mindfulness

My 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. My 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 I 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.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Follow the Moon: Forecast for April 13, 2015—April 19

"I’ve ever heard wise people tell us that life is not about the success but about the buoyancy, the bounce back, the get-back-up-after-you-get-knocked-down.
What if it is not even the bounce back,
but the fall better, fail better, crack more whole,
break less, heal better, get up, fall again…."
Omid Safi from On Being blog 

In the springtime world of the Northern Hemisphere, we’ve been watching it unfurl leaf by leaf, growing bolder every day—life force is waking, green is regenerating. I admit my experience of spring from the perspective of Minnesota, where I live, is vastly different from the experience of other more temperate places. Undoubtedly this impacts my astrology and the way I understand the astrological season of Aries. The seasons are loud mouths here in the Upper Midwest. They make their points with little ambiguity. Life regenerates in the spring. One day, everything is gray and lifeless, the next there is a green glow, the barest hint that, in spite of the bleak outlook, life has a will of its own and has decided to show it. 

During the last week of the lunar cycle,* which has been a hybrid of Pisces (Mutable Water) surrender and Aries (Cardinal Fire) emergence, we can look at our experiences of regeneration—our expectations, our successes, and our failures and setbacks. The end of a lunar cycle is when we begin to unravel the hopes and dreams to look at what we really experienced. Some of it may have been the glorious promise of regeneration—the stone pushed away from the tomb, the miraculous resurrection. But not all of it ever goes perfectly. As the Moon wanes, we may be noticing the failures a little bit more. 

This morning, a friend posted the quote from Omid Safi, above. That got me thinking about expectations for regeneration. It got me thinking about regeneration as possibly not about conquering the darkness to overcome death, to do it better, to live life as a victor, but …. perhaps regeneration is the ability to forgive, to be present, to get out of the way of what needs to emerge into life at this moment. Whatever that is, even if it is failure. 

Mercury and Mars in Taurus (Fixed Earth) provide the perspective of sustainable regeneration. Taurus gives Aries a reality check. This theme becomes an important part of the next lunar cycle that begins on April 18. The momentum of spring’s emergence is undeniable when the Sun enters Taurus, so the focus moves from pushing outward to anchoring and pulling back a bit. The Earth itself is communicating forcibly. Pluto stations retrograde on April 16. This once a year occurrence is another profound opportunity to receive messages from the underworld. We hear about the relationship between death and reemerging life. To reunite these partners brings healing and vitality. 

Another energy—the Mutable signs of Gemini (Air), Sagittarius (Fire), and Pisces (Water)—snakes its way through the week. Venus, Saturn and Neptune are talking about information, truth, and sacrifice. The mission is to be adaptable, curious, and open during the final days of this Aries-inspired lunar cycle. Notice what triggers Taurean bull-headedness. Notice what triggers a Mutable desire to escape. The tension between these impulses will yield greater self-knowledge. 

Forecast for April 13, 2015—April 19

Moon in Aquarius
Monday, April 13. Yesterday, the favorable aspect between Mars in Taurus and Neptune in Pisces encouraged easy interactions. It probably felt so good that you let your guard down a bit. Perhaps you even overindulged a bit when given permission by sensual Mars in this Fixed Earth sign. Get ready for a cold entry into the new week. Monday starts off with potential conflict. Mars is now in a t-square aspect pattern with the Moon in Aquarius and Jupiter in Leo. All these Fixed signs have a strong point of view and don’t feel like backing down. Some of the tension may center around resources. Scarcity thinking can influence attitudes about money (Taurus), whether we are being appreciated (Leo), or whether we are being heard (Aquarius). In a way, it is all the same. What helps you step out of a destructive cycle of fear and attachment? 

Moon enters Pisces 3:12 pm CDT
Tuesday, April 14. One day can be so different from another. Yesterday’s potential for conflict is soothed. The Sun in Aries (Cardinal Fire) is supported by the Moon in Aquarius (Fixed Air) early in the day. Independence is encouraged. Mercury says good-bye to Aries and settles into Taurus. The edge between these signs will be a focus for the next lunar cycle. From fast and unpredictable Aries, we slow down to the speed of snails. Mercury in Taurus promotes solid speech and thought. Where’s the proof? Can you say that more clearly? More simply? Words are not to be wasted. Mercury will stay in this sign until April 30. In the afternoon when the Moon slides into Pisces (Mutable Water), it may be much harder to get a firm grip on thoughts or words. Emotions will run the show for the next two days. Some of us may feel bruised. The Moon forms an agitating t-square aspect pattern with Venus in Gemini (Mutable Air) and Saturn in Sagittarius (Mutable Fire). Mutable signs can be jittery and have a hard time focusing when under stress. Find the calm amid self-doubts, hard feelings, and too much information.  

Moon in Pisces
April 15—Balsamic Moon: Surrender. This is the phase a Pisces Moon was made for.  This lunar cycle began at the very last degree of Pisces with a Solar Eclipse. My image for this cycle has been: Emerging through the portal of change. Change has been made possible by our willingness to let go and stick our necks out into a new world. To complete the process of emergence, we are now encouraged to simply get out of the way and let regeneration happen on its own. 

Being human is a dance of adaptation. The imperative and strategy at the beginning of a lunar cycle is usually quite different at the end. What are you noticing about your own experiences of the last three weeks (since March 20)? Over the next three days, use your intuition, felt senses, and dreams to tell the story of this season’s emergence. The Moon conjoins Neptune in the early morning hours (CDT). Hopefully you were able to wake slowly and grab a feeling or image from your dreams. What does that dream tell you about change and surrender? Later in day, the Moon makes favorable contacts with Mars and Pluto. The Earth’s regeneration is felt and celebrated.

Moon enters Aries 4:00 pm CDT
Thursday, April 16. The day starts quietly, perhaps even too quietly. The void-of-course old Moon in Pisces doesn’t have much energy left in it. Don’t worry. That feeling won’t last. When the Moon enters Aries for the second time this lunar cycle we get a boost of energy. Where shall we leap next? Mercury in Taurus (Fixed Earth) makes a quincunx aspect to Saturn in Sagittarius (Mutable Fire) creating a strong desire to get the message just right. Saturn is aiming for truth; Mercury wants there to be no loopholes or fuzzy arguments. We can cut through obfuscation and get to clarity if we are patient and determined. Once a year, Pluto changes apparent motion to station retrograde. Today’s station can be felt in the ground beneath our feet. The Earth is alive. The connection between the hidden world below us and the living world around us is strong. Transformation is not only possible, it is likely.

Moon in Aries
Friday, April 17. Whenever a planet stations (slows down to change apparent motion), its influence is much stronger. Pluto, which stationed last night, is quite strong. That means we feel the intensity of power dynamics and the potential for complete transformation. Pluto, whose domain is the underworld, often evokes the kind of pressure that is felt far below the earth’s surface. Anything under pressure in your life may suddenly erupt as the Moon in Aries (Cardinal Fire) adds spark to Pluto, the transformer, by a square aspect and inflames Uranus, the awakener, by a conjunction. This isn’t the only influence to provoke us. Mars and Jupiter face off. The battle is between will and faith, between stability and influence. There is an edge to this day. Mars in Taurus can dig in his heels and not budge. Jupiter in Leo may demand to be seen and valued. These transits are a powerful way to end this lunar cycle of emerging through the portal of change. Tomorrow, another cycle begins. 

Moon enters Taurus 4:31 pm CDT
April 18—New Moon: Dreaming. For the rest of the year, the lunar cycles will be doing a little dance between adjoining signs. Because the New Moons will occur near the end of a sign, the lunar cycle immediately blends into the next sign. Adjoining signs are usually blind spots, places that we have a hard time seeing or integrating. But they are important steps on the road to manifestation. Each sign builds upon the one preceding it. These are the edges I will be exploring as I follow the Moon this year. The edge of this lunar cycle is the one between Aries and Taurus. I am naming this one: Grounding our beginnings into sustainable manifestation.

The previous lunar cycle was predominantly an Aries experience even though the New Moon occurred at the very end of Pisces. We emerged through the portal of change. The lunar cycle that begins today near the end of Aries is about how the next sign, Taurus, takes over the Aries mission of leaping into life. What needs to happen next? Aries is Cardinal Fire. It likes to begin the action but often loses interest in taking it to completion. This is where we need the stable energy of Fixed Earth to help us stay the course. Taurus keeps an eye on resources and values sustainability. The exchange between Aries and Taurus goes both ways, benefiting both. Taurus benefits from the last embers of Aries fire. In Taurus, the Earth blossoms into the season of the senses. Smells, touch, tastes, everything is swelling into plump juiciness. All that goodness needed Aries to get started. 

In the New Moon chart, Aries fire is furnished by the Sun, Moon and Uranus. The impact of the last square between Uranus and Pluto is still reverberating through the mind-boggling changes and speed of life we are currently experiencing. If you have stepped into the whirlwind, then this lunar cycle is a chance to take stock, slow down, and find the sustainable roots that will support you. Mercury and Mars in Taurus are allies for this stability. Mercury in Taurus aids clarity. Perhaps conversations move a bit slower and we have to be more comfortable with pauses, however silence is a gift to be discovered this month. Mars in Taurus is square to Jupiter in Leo (Fixed Fire). Jupiter has recently turned direct and will begin to move quickly through the rest of Leo. We have a chance to learn something about this transit right now. Mars in Taurus asks us to check our egos. Ego desires may distract us from the expression of our true gifts. When fire and earth collaborate, the exchange fuels transformation and sustainable creation. We know our place and who we are.

Moon in Taurus
Sunday, April 19. Important insights come from unexpected places. Neptune in Pisces (Mutable Water) influences the early hours of the day. This planet communicates as if by water to reveal unquenchable longing. Mercury the messenger god makes a favorable aspect to Neptune, enhancing intuition. Venus in Gemini (Mutable Air) makes a challenging square to Neptune. This aspect evokes sublime encounters that may be illusory. Think before falling head over heels in love today. These dreamy feelings are fleeting. The rest of the day is more solid as the Moon in Taurus contacts Mercury (come to your senses), Jupiter (get over yourself), and Mars (clean the house for pete’s sake). A solid, grounding Moon trine Pluto completes the day. 


*Read about the beginning of the Pisces/Aries cusp lunar cycle on my blog 


Contact Teri at teri@starsdanceastrology.com and visit her website at www.starsdanceastrology.com to learn about booking a reading of your chart.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Follow the Moon: Forecast for April 6, 2015—April 12


“The fire signs exemplify high spirits, great faith in themselves, enthusiasm, unending strength, and a direct honesty.” Stephen Arroyo in Astrology, Psychology, and the Four Elements.

When fire is unencumbered, well-fed, and at the same time, well-contained, our spirits soar. When fire isn’t supported or is burning too hot, our spirits can take a nosedive. The fire element represents a major theme of this Aries-fueled lunar cycle.* The opportunity is to shift or refine the way we “run our energy.”

The chakra system tells us a lot about our energy natures and our relationship to the elements. The third chakra or the solar plexus area of the body is associated with the fire element. When this energy center of the body is well balanced, it helps us to be vital and purposeful. This energy center connects us to our wills. With a strong will center, we can access our ability to say No as well as Yes. When we are deficient in this chakra, we may notice poor self-esteem or fearfulness blocking our ability to act on our own behalf. When our fire centers are excessive, we may try to dominate or blame others and we could simply burn out from too much activity or anxiety. Tending our wills through the third chakra is a conscious way to tend our flames. The transits this week provide a great opportunity to tune into the third chakra.

Where there is fire …  Not only is the entire lunar cycle dedicated to the first fire sign, Aries, but several planets occupy all the fire signs this week. The Sun, Mercury and Uranus travel together in Aries (Cardinal Fire), forming quick conjunctions to spark fiery reactions. Jupiter in Leo (Fixed Fire) stations direct, unblocking the fire response of self-expression. And the Moon spends two and a half days in Sagittarius (Mutable Fire) joining Saturn in the sign of the Seeker to create a Grand Fire Trine configuration on April 8th and 9th.

Encouragement/discouragement. This potent Aries lunar cycle began with a Solar Eclipse at the very last degree of Pisces and culminated at the Full Moon with a Lunar Eclipse. My guiding image for this month has been: Emerging through the portals of change. Big change has been happening on the personal and global levels. Choices have been made with Aries gusto, which means we may have acted first before fully considering the consequences. As the Moon wanes, we now take a more critical look at the choices we’ve made and the energy state we are left in. Are you feeling burnt out or renewed? Encouraged or discouraged? Your answer may help you take better care of your third chakra center of will and power.

Fire needs containment and a steady source of fuel. Venus and Mars in Taurus (Fixed Earth) provide access to these qualities. Will is supported by steady consistent effort. It may mean we have to scale back the speed or the scope of the changes we want to manifest, but it will help us get our overloaded and discouraged behavior patterns in better balance. This is critical because the triple conjunctions of Mercury, Sun, and Uranus in Aries is going to spark some big ideas this week. Thoughts (air) can be inspiring but can overwhelm the balanced fire we are trying to maintain. Venus will move into Gemini (Mutable Air) on the 11th further moving energy into our heads. We run the risk of discouragement about the changes we are making right now if we suddenly find ourselves with diminished will. Look for the balance between taking in more information and taking on achievable action.

Forecast for April 6, 2015—April 12

Moon in Scorpio
Monday, April 6.
The waning Moon in Scorpio might bring out the shadow side of will and power. Fire could show up as passion or as domination. The trine between Mercury in Aries and a stationary Jupiter in Leo should encourage bold thoughts and actions. We feel confident but may also need to look under the surface of things that seem too good to be true. Take a break from information overload. Physical movement can discharge excess thoughts. The Sun in Aries conjoins Uranus, giving an almost electric feel to the day. If you’ve been resistant to change, you might be pushed over the edge. The fire energy of will can be protective if we pay attention to how we manage our energy. The quincunx between Mars in Taurus (Fixed Earth) and Saturn in Sagittarius (Mutable Fire) helps us set firmer boundaries if we accept that change may not happen as fast as we’d like. Hearing, “no” can sometimes be a relief.

Moon in Scorpio
Tuesday, April 7.
Sharing power is a real skill. Most of the time we are forced into it by conflict. The Moon in Scorpio opposite Venus in Taurus gives us the opportunity to hone our skills at sharing power. The source of conflict could be around values. Everyone feels passionate about theirs. If we can acknowledge the charge we have around our own values then we may be better able to accept that same passion in others. Needing to speak truth to power is further emphasized by Mercury in Aries square to Pluto in Capricorn. Mercury in this sign is not very patient and with Uranus nearby egging him on, we may say something we could regret later. But don’t let this stop you from having important conversations. We need to get the truth out there.  

Moon enters Sagittarius 12: 08 am CDT
April 8—Disseminating Moon: Sharing. We’ve passed the expansive Full Moon stage of this Aries-inspired lunar cycle. Ordinarily, this would be a time to start slowing down to reflect on what we have experienced and learned from the Aries (Cardinal Fire) task of emergence into a brand new world. However, we are still on the verge of breakthroughs and may not feel particularly wise or thoughtful yet. Imagine that everyone is a dandelion seed cluster of ideas, experiences, hopes, and fears from this lunar cycle (indeed the last two months or so) and a big wind comes to scatter us into a wild, whirling mess of dancing seeds. Sometimes dissemination can be chaotic and uncontrolled. Let fly your seeds. Things will be sorted out later when the Sun enters Taurus.

We are sharing collective experience and connections even when we are yet unaware of the real lessons or gifts from this lunar cycle. It is good to remember our impact and connection, something that all fire signs may forget but secretly long for. The Moon in Sagittarius (Mutable Fire) makes a solid conjunction with Saturn and we get the barest glimmer of grounded insight and long-range planning. Then Mercury’s conjunction with Uranus blows through and gets us all dancing around once again. Mercury and Uranus connections encourage brilliant and unexpected insights and discoveries. With Jupiter in Leo (Fixed Fire) stationing direct today, we may feel an extra release of pent up energy. The directive is to create brilliantly and be noticed for it. Be generous with your light. The Moon makes a square to Neptune in the afternoon (CDT). Don’t be surprised if you have a strong need to nap after a very busy morning. Try to relax the mind as much as possible.  

Moon in Sagittarius
Thursday, April 9.
The Moon in Sagittarius (Mutable Fire) completes a Grand Fire Trine aspect pattern, which includes Uranus, Sun, and Mercury in Aries (Cardinal) and Jupiter in Leo (Fixed). In the introduction to this week’s forecast I wrote about the qualities of a healthy third chakra, our energy center of fire and will located around the solar plexus. What do you notice in this region of your body? What is the state of your will and power? This fire trine is activating this chakra. It may be time to make adjustments in the way we use and manage energy. Mercury and the Sun come together in a superior conjunction on the far side of the Sun from Earth’s perspective. Imagine the Sun (conscious intention) meeting creative ingenuity (Mercury) to make healing fire available to us. This is an important step in this lunar cycle’s intention to emerge with the life force of Spring.

Moon enters Capricorn 7:47 am CDT
Friday, April 10. Expansive fire energy of the last few days is focused into realistic plans for the future. What concrete step will you take today? With the Moon’s entry into Capricorn (Cardinal Earth) there is a distinct change in willful expression. In order to manifest sustainable change, we need to think long-range and strategically. This is an excellent day to get back in touch with your body, both its joys and limitations. The earth chakra belongs to the root where we gather sustaining energy to maintain our wills (third, fire chakra). Say goodbye to Venus’ transit through Taurus (since March 17). This is the last day we get to enjoy her sensual embodiment through this sign until she returns next Spring.

Moon in Capricorn
April 11—Last Quarter Moon: Evaluating. At the previous phase of the Moon (Disseminating) we weren’t really ready to reflect on the lessons and experiences of this lunar cycle. That is a bit different now. The Moon in earthy Capricorn encourages evaluation and judgment. We might even be feeling a little more self-critical. Try to resist self-hate and shame. If you are feeling depleted right now from a surplus of willful action, make a conscious effort to accept limitations. The earth signs are good for regrouping and recharging our physical forms. We might notice uncertainty, anxiety, and insecurity today as the Moon contacts Pluto and Uranus. Tension between dependable consistency and radical change fuels the dilemma. Venus enters Gemini (Mutable Air), to remain until May 7. Here, Venus needs social connections based on communication and learning. We become less content to draw comfort from our bodies and need to stimulate our minds.

Moon enters Aquarius 12:44 pm CDT
Sunday, April 12. Mars in Taurus (Fixed Earth) makes a supportive contact with Neptune in Pisces (Mutable Water). This may have the effect of softening a stubborn stance. Yes, we still want to fight for the things that really matter to us but we are a little more open to compromising when we empathize with another. Water issues are becoming important. The connection between Mars and Neptune may reveal more about the need to change our attitudes and behaviors with this precious resource. When the Moon moves into Aquarius (Fixed Air) we could turn this awareness to the things we need to learn and teach others. How we treat water reflects how we value the Earth and ourselves. Our choices matter. Educate yourself!


*Read about the beginning of the Pisces/Aries cusp lunar cycle on my blog


Contact Teri at teri@starsdanceastrology.com and visit her website at www.starsdanceastrology.com to learn about booking a reading of your chart.