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, August 17, 2014

Follow the Moon: Forecast–August 17, 2014 – August 23


Fragile. Who would have thought that following an intention of expanding capacity for life force this month would bring up so many feelings of fragility? Vulnerability has been part of my experience this Leo lunar cycle.* I say only a part because, there have been other experiences too, the ones I would have expected from a focus on life force: expanded confidence, expanded engagement with creativity, and expanded appreciation for others who risk living more fully. But the force of the fragility has surprised me. And I don’t think it should have.

Leo is a fire sign, not water. Why all the emotion? Well, Leo isn’t the only influence this month; there is considerable influence from Scorpio (water) too, but really fire and water share a lot of characteristics when it comes to describing people. Both elements feel like they can take over our whole beings. There is no refuge from water or fire when they are strong. Both are necessary to sustain us and both feel like they can annihilate us when out of control. Vulnerability is the state of awareness that what I am reaching for may also overtake me. Can I want too much? Will this fire become too strong? How do I trust the container for these feelings?

Expanding capacity for fire energy means to burn away the smaller container I previously had built around this force and trust that my bigger container will hold it. It is a natural response, I think, to believe that a stronger container means a more invincible one. Ironically, and somewhat painfully, that isn’t so. Allowing myself to feel more vulnerable—to care more, to risk more, to love more—is exactly what having expanded capacity for life force is. Oh, no wonder it is scary.

What is your strategy when you feel this kind of vulnerability? I am encouraging myself to lean into the discomfort while also affirming the expansive life energy that wants to come in with the uncertainty. This week, we have an opportunity to look at these paradoxical feelings. Venus and Jupiter come together to elevate the possibility of living with expanded capacity for life force. These two planets are the benefics, and they invite us to dare more greatly (recommended book by Brene´ Brown, “Daring Greatly”). They also encourage gratitude practices as we take note of our blessings. Venus makes a quincunx aspect to Pluto this week as well. This is not a simple contact between these two planets and so we are encouraged to become more complex ourselves, especially in relationships. Let us expand what it means to be full of life force energy. Can we also be more accountable? More aware of collective complexity? More willing to feel uncomfortable as we hold more?

Another complex aspect forms at the end of the week between Mars in Scorpio and Uranus in Aries. Both of these planets are passionate about change and truth. What makes passion more trustworthy? How do we know we are acting in alignment with our highest values? The way we go about changing the world is as important as how we change the world. As we expand into more life force we can learn to trust the actions that feel both vulnerable and hopeful.

Forecast–August 17, 2014 – August 23

Moon in enters Gemini 5:41 pm CDT
August 17—Last Quarter Moon: Evaluating. It is sometimes the case that we don’t know the value of an experience until we get some distance from it. This may be particularly true of this lunar cycle. With Jupiter’s recent ingress into Leo (Jupiter will be traveling through Leo for the next year), the significance of the Leo journey is greater than usual. We are absorbing more about this sign, and from my perspective, we are absorbing more information about life force energy itself. This phase of the Moon asks us to evaluate the experience of this lunar cycle thus far. Without drawing firm conclusions, what experiences of life force will you put away into your backpack of Leo observations? Today is a great day to observe life force energy. Venus in Leo makes two important contacts over the next two days. Today Venus is quincunx Neptune; tomorrow Venus conjoins Jupiter in Leo. The aspect to Neptune invites us to evaluate our fantasies about life force. It is easy to fool ourselves, to project onto others a way of being that looks more engaging than our own. The other side of Neptune invites us to erase the barriers that separate us. There is no scarcity of life force when someone else’s brilliance inspires our own.

Moon in Gemini
Monday, August 18. Gemini’s superpower is curiosity, which is no lightweight power. Curiosity opens doors. The Moon in Gemini can help us enhance this power. The day sparkles with possibility. Venus and Jupiter are joined together in Leo infusing social situations with pizzazz, especially early in the day (CDT). I know, Monday mornings are not usually the time we want to sparkle socially. However, the good vibes can take us through the day. In contrast to this extraverted energy, Mercury in Virgo, ruler of both Gemini and Virgo, makes an opposition to Neptune in Pisces.  Mercury helps us ground into pragmatic approaches to mysticism. Remember that curiosity? Approach the day with your own questions about how you can bring it all together: life force, pragmatism, and a sense of wonder. 

Moon in Gemini
Tuesday, August 19. Yesterday sizzled with doors opening, profound insights, and just plain old fun in the right circumstances. There isn’t much going on today that will disrupt that flow. Continue asking questions and finding serendipitous answers.

Moon enters Cancer 3:45 am CDT
Wednesday, August 20. The mood shifts today and we really begin to notice the waning energy of this lunar cycle. With the Moon in Cancer, we are more likely to want to spend time at home or around those folks who feel like family. The Moon in Cancer soothes away any friction caused by the opposition between Mercury in Virgo and Neptune in Pisces. This friction may have felt like frustration with someone else who either wants you to be more practical or more inspired. From the resting place of Home, you find the right balance for yourself.

Moon in Cancer
August 21—Balsamic Moon: Surrendering The Moon, Venus, and Mercury aspect Pluto today, giving us the perfect energetic support for beginning to put this lunar cycle to rest. What needs to be done before you let go of this cycle? I’ve been noticing that as I expand my capacity to feel more life force energy, I am also feeling more vulnerable too. Feeling more energy also brings up more emotion. With the waning Moon in a water sign and with all these contacts with Pluto, the planet of death and transformation, these feelings may be strong today. I’m telling myself that this is a good thing. When I let down my shields, I can hold more of the radiant energy represented by Leo. Mars is right in the middle of Scorpio, giving support for going deep into our fears. Mars in Scorpio is fierce. When the Moon squares Uranus today, we may fiercely desire to make change happen, Now! I wonder how standing in our radiant life force energy will impact this passion? The final transit today brings us back to accountability and integrity. Saturn and the Moon form a trine. You can trust your honest emotions.

Moon enters Leo 3:49 pm CDT
Friday, August 22. Sun enters Virgo. Just as the Moon returns to Leo for the last few days of this Leo lunar cycle, the Sun moves into Virgo. Although we may want to get busy cleaning out the closets, buying school supplies, or generally going into worker bee mode, it may be best to put it off until the New Moon in Virgo (August 25) gives us the signal to go full steam ahead. Now, let the Virgo balsamic Moon help you to discern how the experiences of this lunar cycle have impacted you. What, if anything, feels a little raw still? What, if anything, feels healed? The middle of summer is over (in the Northern Hemisphere). We are headed into the fall before too long. What final piece of summer Sun do you wish to invite into your soul?

Moon in Leo
Saturday, August 23. We are being asked to go deeper in order to move ahead with the changes we need to make. That can feel frustrating, but when we are sure we know what we want, why we want it, and what we are willing to do for it, then we have the pleasure of moving ahead quite quickly. Mars in Scorpio is the force of looking underneath the surface before we impulsively act (energy furnished by Uranus in Aries). These two reactive planets are quincunx to each other. Watch out for short fuses and lots of frustration. The Moon’s contact with Jupiter and Venus in Leo may lighten things or make them more volatile. Leo is a fire sign after all. Take a breath into your expanded capacity for life force energy. How does that shift the situation? Keep doing it. 


*The Leo lunar cycle began on July 26 at the New Moon. Read more about the beginning of this lunar cycle on my Starsdance blog.

Contact Teri at teri@starsdanceastrology.com and visit her website at www.starsdanceastrology.com

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Follow the Moon: Forecast–August 10, 2014 – August 16


The season of Sun-ruled Leo calls us to acknowledge every person’s essential radiance. To answer this call I’ve been exploring my own capacity for experiencing life force/energy during this Leo lunar cycle.* So far I’ve noticed both highs and lows on the journey. This combo makes perfect sense considering the influence of dynamic tension between planets in Leo and Scorpio (the fixed signs of fire and water) this month. Astrological theory says the challenging aspects give us gifts as we learn to manage complexity. The Full Moon this week will give us more complexity. Another fixed sign, the Moon in airy Aquarius, adds itself to the mix.

Even in this complexity and shifting experiences, the goal remains: to remember my essential radiance. I’ve had the pleasure of having some amazing teachers who have challenged me to step more fully into my own radiance. One of these teachers is magical and spiritual practitioner, T. Thorn Coyle. In her book “Evolutionary Witchcraft,” she gives an exercise for increasing our access to power and energy by imagining stepping into circles of greater capacity and noticing how that feels. The exercise is both simple and profound. As I imagine moving into fuller capacity for life force energy my posture changes, I feel my feet firmly on the ground and connected to the earth, I see more clearly, I am more curious about my surroundings and less self-obsessed. The feeling is of one of confidence and connection.

Confidence is what we imagine every Leo Sun child must feel, and in my years of talking with Leos is very seldom actually felt. Leos, in their vulnerable confidence are showing us what we all feel from time to time—a need to shine that can be held back by self-doubt, shame, or fear. Projecting confidence onto others, thinking our own self-assurance must be fraudulent, fearing exposure of our self-doubt, needing approval, and more traps of the ego are the shadow side of capacity for life force energy. I know these traps well. The gift of the Leo season is this: With the generosity of the Sun’s own radiance, we have the opportunity to burn away a little more of these doubts and fears. Even if at first we are just pretending, we can step into a circle of greater capacity for power. We can practice stepping into confidence, which might seem like a sham at first, and find ourselves gradually living lives of more radiance and connection.

Forecast–August 10, 2014 – August 16

Moon in Aquarius
August 10—Full Moon: Illuminating. Light, light, light! Before I get into the specifics of this Full Moon, I want to acknowledge the Moon, which is today filled to the brim with light reflected from the Leo Sun. I’m not one of those people who think light is better than dark, so don’t get me wrong. We aren’t being saved from the dark by standing in this reflected light. The dark needs light so it can be seen for itself. Therefore it stands to reason that the light also needs the dark. Complementary—sometimes seeming antagonistic—the forces of light and dark play around the edges of this Full Moon. If you are able, try to stand under the light of the Moon tonight and sense into the wonder of the light and the dark.
A powerful aspect pattern called a t-square is the predominant influence upon this Full Moon. T-squares create friction and some tension. The potential is that through this experience we gain new skills and awareness. The signs involved in this pattern are all fixed, so there can be entrenched resistance to other points of view. The reality is that we feel that important values are at stake and must take in the diverse wisdom of these signs to grow and learn. The planets in this pattern are the Sun and Mercury in Leo (fire), Moon in Aquarius (air), and Saturn in Scorpio (water). Other supporting cast members, Jupiter in Leo and Mars in Scorpio are not in the pattern but contribute to the issues. Remember that Leo provides the intention for this lunar cycle; the Moon from the opposite sign to Leo illuminates a hidden challenge for this Leo intention. This challenge centers around the relationship of the individual to the collective. The give and take between these forces helps to balance our ego needs with purpose and vision for our collective experience. When at odds, Aquarius can suck the flame out of Leo’s radiance; on the other hand, Leo can forget that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Saturn in Scorpio steps in with a reminder to grow up. Much is at stake right now. Saturn and Mars in Scorpio invite us to see ourselves truthfully. Sometimes we do have hungry egos. Sometimes we want to impose collective rules on individuals. Sometimes we are afraid. Notice the ways you hold back your flame. The impulse may be to squelch it because there are so many reasons you think you don’t matter. Can you find a balancing relationship between your own significance and insignificance? Perhaps this is true liberation.   

Every t-square has a missing piece, the sign opposite the squared planet at the apex of the triangle. In this case, Taurus (fixed earth) is the missing sign. What are we missing from earth’s wisdom? Later this week when the Moon moves into Taurus we have the opportunity to notice this missing influence and incorporate it for wholeness.

Moon enters Pisces 7:55 am CDT
Monday, August 11. We step between the worlds for the next two days. The Moon in Pisces encourages us to take the experiences of this Leo lunar cycle into the ineffable place where we are all connected. My light is connected to yours. Your dream is dreamed by me. When the Moon contacts Neptune this afternoon (CDT) this dream-like consciousness increases. Sometimes the feelings that come from this awareness can be too much for our nervous systems. Notice without judgment. When the Moon trines Mars tonight, we gain strength to sit with this discomfort. Surprisingly, we are more optimistic when we face our fears.

Moon in Pisces
Tuesday, August 12. Venus joins the Sun, Mercury, and Jupiter in Leo today. The next three days are the peak of Leo concentration for this lunar cycle. Mercury leaves Leo on Friday. Social interactions are sparked by the charm and charisma of Leo. The feeling of delight is welcomed respite from a troubled world. Venus is the planet that governs our relationships and our experience of beauty. As Venus remains in Leo until September 6, let this planet guide you to the sustaining flame of creativity and connection. It is good to invoke the blessing because Venus in Leo will also challenge us to look at the ways we need and seek validation from others. There is a balance to be found here too.

Moon enters Aries 8:00 am CDT
August 13—Disseminating Moon: Sharing Unpack everything you ever thought about the element of fire, both in the literal, physical sense and the symbolic one as well. The Moon in cardinal fire sign Aries makes a trine to Venus and Jupiter (both in Leo) today. Aries is the fire sign that uses this element to initiate new things. Fire is transformative and destructive. The fires on the west coast of the U.S. show us this tragically. Leo is the fire sign that protects this power. Paradoxically, Leo has a playful, childlike approach to very serious business. Do you see this connection and contrast in your life this month? In this phase of the Moon, we take the lessons we’ve learned and begin to give them the meaning that will serve us for a while. What do you want to take away from this lunar cycle? I know I want to increase my capacity to experience life force energy. Fire illuminates our fears about power. It also can transform shame into self-love. With support from the two benefics, Jupiter and Venus, it may be time to step more fully into that love.

Moon in Aries
Thursday, August 14. Today might not be as pleasant as yesterday. The Aries Moon keeps showing us the challenges of fire while it makes a square aspect to Pluto and a conjunction to Uranus. These two planets, while currently moving away from an exact square with each other are still influencing world events and our attitudes around them. They return to another exact square in December. Uranus and the Moon light a fire that shouts: Wake up! Pluto keeps revealing the toxic structures that need transformation. The easy response is to blast away with firepower, but a deeper compassion can guide us. Today Jupiter in Leo forms a quincunx with Neptune in Pisces. The paradox involves how to be awake and alive to this desire for transformation while at the same time open and receptive in our hearts. My personal belief is that the more we can hold this paradox in ourselves, the more the world itself can move toward compassionate action.

Moon enters Taurus 10:58 am CDT
Friday, August 15. The day may start decisively for you. Mars made a favorable aspect to Pluto in the middle of the night last night and we might wake up with a clear idea of something we must do. Follow that instinct if you have it. The journey should be rich. When the Moon moves into Taurus we get to experience that missing piece I wrote about at the Full Moon (August 10). Taurus is the final fixed sign we haven’t heard from this Leo lunar cycle. Fire, water, and air have made a plea. Now earth brings it home. Our bodies and the earth’s body are telling us something. I find it easy to ignore the body’s wisdom (self-revelation: I have no earth planets in my birth chart). But every time I am forced to remember I have a body and it does know something, I am blown away with what I learn. This might be that kind of day for you too. In addition to the Moon entering an earth sign, Mercury moves into Virgo (mutable earth) until September 3. Virgo’s mission is to take the ripening of the Leo Sun into the harvest. Our minds are busy sorting information, just as we would sort grain from the stalk. Let discernment guide you through the rest of this lunar cycle. What serves and what doesn’t?

Moon in Taurus
Saturday, August 16. Passion must be accountable sometime. I believe in following our passions. We have gifts and depths that would never surface if we didn’t. The Taurus Moon reminds us that this discovery around our passion has an impact. That isn’t always bad. In fact, we need the realities of life to push back sometimes to know just what our impact is and how far our passions can go. Something today could tease out your passion and help you realize how important it is. Perhaps you are willing to risk commitment to that passion.




*The Leo lunar cycle began on July 26 at the New Moon. Read more about the beginning of this lunar cycle on my Starsdance blog.

Contact Teri at teri@starsdanceastrology.com and visit her website at www.starsdanceastrology.com

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Follow the Moon: Forecast for August 3, 2014 - August 9



Life force is about my own life and it is about life itself. This brings up more questions. Does life force require “life” to exist? Can there be life force on cold and apparently lifeless places like Mars and Saturn? Is everything alive with life force? I suspect so, although I have to fight my cultural conditioning at times to remember that. This leads to my real question for this Leo* lunar cycle: Why create greater capacity for experiencing life force? What happens if I connect more strongly to this energy? How might that impact my life? For me, it really isn’t about living longer, though that is good. My sense is that life force is a wellspring for joy, creativity, and connection to all other things that also emanate life force. Energy is a gift that reminds me that life is a gift to be cherished.

Energy is a gift and a resource. The sign of Leo is the guardian of that gift. Every fixed sign (Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius, and Taurus) has a stewardship thing going for it. Fixity’s desire is to protect a vital part of life. For that reason, we can think of each fixed sign as the guardian of its element. Leo’s is fire. Fire is energy. Energy is life force. The Leo lunar cycle invites us to explore energy and to answer our own questions about it. As the ruler of Leo, the Sun shows us how to shine: freely and purely. The Sun’s energy makes life possible. The varied expression of life on Earth is a beautiful reflection of what this energy can do. And it is generous. No one else is diminished when someone emanates their own light. There is no less energy, no less life force when we open to the flow. In fact, what I notice is that others also shine a little bit more when they are around someone who has expanded their capacity to emanate life force. 

Another question about why: Why would any of us shy away from experiencing greater capacity for life force? Why would any of us forget that our birthright is to shine? As the Moon waxes this week, taking on more light itself, I invite you to notice your questions about energy and the times you know your capacity for energy is enhanced. What caused that? The Sun and Mercury, both in Leo, are very busy this week contacting other planets. Perhaps the challenge and the gift of these contacts will be an increased awareness of energy. With both Mars and Saturn currently transiting through Scorpio, the guardian of water, we develop discernment around the necessity for darkness to complement what the light of Leo offers. Interactions could be surprisingly intense by the end of this week. We are helped by knowing that the dark and light are not enemies and make peace with diverse parts of ourselves.

Forecast–August 3, 2014 – August 9

Moon in Scorpio
August 3—First Quarter Moon: Manifesting. Paintings are so much more interesting when there is shading and shadow. This Leo lunar cycle is a chance to embrace the life force light of Leo. But that only works if we take in the shadows as well. Today, we have an opportunity to see the shadows around this light. Challenging transits from the Moon, Mars and Saturn in Scorpio provide more complexity. Today the Sun (ruler of Leo) is quincunx Pluto (co-ruler of Scorpio). This aspect of paradox shows how these two energies contrast yet contribute to each other. Both Leo and Scorpio are passionate, and feelings can be bruised by misunderstanding another’s passion. Conflict can help us build capacity for holding energy and intention if we are willing to be vulnerable and authentic with others. Sometimes this means speaking our truth. Sometimes it means listening to another’s truth. With the Moon contacting Mars and Mercury, after yesterday’s square between Mars and Mercury, we are still processing passion and conflict today.

Moon in Scorpio
Monday, August 4. Last night (CDT) Mercury in Leo made a quincunx aspect to Neptune in Pisces creating an atmosphere for interesting dreams. Our dreams are mostly about us, right? Last night’s dreams feel even more so. Mercury in Leo gives voice to our growing and sometimes hungry egos. Isn’t it all about me? Neptune challenges the ego to merge with a greater consciousness. How does that feel, exciting or challenging? What did your dreams tell you? The Moon’s contact with Saturn early this morning gives a serious start to the day. Later a trine between the Moon and Venus helps to sooth rough edges if we give emotions space to exist.

Moon enters Sagittarius 5:18 am CDT
Tuesday, August 5. While the Moon is in the mutable fire sign, Sagittarius, for the next two days, we get to experience a grand fire trine (Sun, Mercury and Jupiter in Leo, Uranus in Aries, Moon in Sagittarius). The Moon contacts Jupiter in Leo today setting off a round of fiery adventures. My astrology teacher, Cynthea Jones, often pointed out that fire was the most vulnerable element. It needed just the right conditions to burn sustainably. If fire is energy and energy is life force, this is a pretty important thing to pay attention to: What conditions do you need to sustain your fire? Today and tomorrow, notice what feeds your flame. The fuel can come from surprising places. Fantasy might play a role as the Moon squares Neptune; just don’t let that fantasy keep you from engaging with life force today.

Moon in Sagittarius
Wednesday, August 6.
How did you sleep last night? The Moon’s next contact in the grand fire trine was Mercury right after midnight. This transit may have stimulated your creative mind even if it was in the middle of the night. Then Moon next contacted the Sun and Uranus, all before 10 am CDT. What are you noticing about energy this morning? It is all information even if it isn’t what you expect. Remember that fire needs tending. Keep noticing your flame. Amidst all this energy, Mercury makes a quincunx (paradox) connection with Pluto. Communication may be difficult but rewarding.

Moon enters Capricorn 8:38 am CDT
August 7—Gibbous Moon: Perfecting. Astronomical Lughnasad (Lammas). The Sun reaches the exact middle of Leo today. This placement within a fixed sign signals the astronomical center of a season, which is attached to a cross-quarter Sabbath—Lughnasad, Samhain, Imbolc and Beltane. We are in the exact middle of summer and already the shadows are getting longer and the days shorter. This is a wistful and beautiful season where I live in the upper Midwest. The Moon in Capricorn increases a sense of needing to make good use of the remaining growing season because winter is on its way. How does this color your experience of life force energy? The gifts of the Sun are precious. Mars in Scorpio trines Neptune in Pisces. This aspect encourages the heartfelt journey. Inner experiences of ecstasy and expansive connection are potent. The Moon in an earth sign supports this experience by creating a strong container.

Moon in Capricorn
Friday, August 8. The Sun and Mercury come together at 16 degrees Leo to make their superior conjunction. (The superior conjunction happens when Mercury forms a conjunction with the Sun while on the far side of the Sun from Earth’s perspective.) Potent meetings are happening behind the scenes. This mythic image may strangely  reflect what is happening in your life. Behind the scenes, life energy is making itself known, encouraging us to take a leap into the unknown (a trine from the Sun and Mercury with Uranus), and challenging us to take responsibility for feelings that may not be altogether nice (Mercury and Sun square Saturn in Scorpio). Things are not at all simple and it takes finesse to make good use of all these connections. In addition to this influence, the Moon in Capricorn is quincunx to Sun/Mercury and sextile to Chiron in Pisces all morning. This configuration is called a Yod and signals a period of time that feels significant and probably stressful. Think of it this way, all of the gods have something to say today. When in doubt, remember that Mercury and the Sun are burning away resistance to a greater capacity for life force. Chiron’s influence gives a desire to use this capacity to help others.

Moon enters Aquarius 8:52 am CDT
Saturday, August 9. I might be wrong, but I suspect yesterday was a bit intense with so many aspects—some supportive, some not—between so many planets. I’d like to tell you that today will be calmer, but it probably won’t be. With the Moon entering Aquarius this morning we already feel the unpredictable energy of tomorrow’s Full Moon. Aquarius is the sign opposite Leo and therefore provides a great mirror for Leo’s journey. There are times when ego gets in the way of energy. Sometimes it’s easy to lose track of how life force is a gift freely given, to be freely given in return. Aquarius reminds us of the bigger picture, how we are connected in intricate patterns of giving and receiving. This pattern illuminates energy and emotion. The Sun squares Saturn and the Moon activates the Mars and Jupiter square too. All these planets are in fixed signs. We might feel serious and impatient, passionate and suspicious, detached and triggered all at the same time. The blessing comes from the Sun in Leo reminding us to step into joy even as we meet the challenges around us.


  
*The Leo lunar cycle began on July 26 at the New Moon. Read more about the beginning of this lunar cycle on my Starsdance blog.

Contact Teri at teri@starsdanceastrology.com and visit her website at www.starsdanceastrology.com