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.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Follow the Moon: Forecast for October 19, 2014 – October 25


Astrologers have a curious name for the last phase of the lunar cycle—the Balsamic phase. From what I’ve read, no one knows who first chose this term for the waning days of the Moon’s cycle. If you look up the word in a dictionary, no mention is made of the Moon or astrology. Balsamic, rather, is defined as being like an aromatic ointment, a healing balm, something distilled over time to achieve a concentrated essence or perfume. Is this why the word was chosen for this phase? I like to think so. If it is true that a lunar cycle, which begins at the New Moon, is a journey through intention and awareness, then the last phase should be a distillation of that experience, the juicy goodness left over when all is said and done. This week during the Balsamic phase we contemplate this question, What is the perfumed essence of the Libra lunar cycle?* What will we bottle up like an aged and precious vinegar to be used for healing and savoring as needed?

Libra naturally draws our attention to Balance. During this cycle I’ve been paying attention to how my choices are affected by balance as it naturally occurs in nature. I’ve been wondering about how to bring my choices into better alignment with this force so that the things I hold precious in this life may thrive. As events in our world ask us to wake up to our choices, it is easy to be overwhelmed. I recognize that equilibrium—a state of calm and responsiveness—helps me make better choices. An essence I wish to distill from this lunar cycle is a better sense of how to achieve this state of equilibrium and awareness.

The last few days of this Libra lunar cycle just happen to correspond with the last few days of the Libra season (the Sun’s journey through Libra). The next New Moon begins on the same day that the Sun enters Scorpio. This rarely happens and it seems important that this quirk of timing is further made rare by being an eclipse of the Sun at zero degrees of Scorpio. I keep thinking about sliding down a slope into the dark time of the year (in the Northern Hemisphere), from the dark of the Moon into the dark of Scorpio, with the darkening of the Sun to mark the transition. A notable quality of balsamic vinegar is its dark, syrupy appearance. Something about the taste evokes the fall season as we cherish ripened and aged flavors. Again I wonder, What is the taste of this Libra cycle; what is the taste of the half-year before it from Aries to now? What is the taste of darkness?

 The Scorpio season holds Samhain, the witch’s new year and, more importantly, the season when the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead thins to allow potent connection. This is not a romantic fantasy but can be physically felt in these waning days of the year as leaves fall to the ground, as sap returns to the root, and as plants wither away to become compost for next year’s growing season. The Earth broadcasts the thinning veil by receiving the gifts of these deaths, taking them underground into another world—the world of the dead. Where I live, the ground will eventually freeze, cutting off connection to this hidden world. But until then, we honor our selves, the growing and dying cycles of life, and we honor those who have come before us. Due to its connection to death, Scorpio is an intense sign that can be off putting at times, but for these four weeks every one of us gets to appreciate the sweet flavor of darkness

Forecast for October 19, 2014 – October 25

Moon in Virgo
October 19—Balsamic Moon: Surrendering. What are you distilling about the Libra lunar cycle? This last phase of the Moon begins a process of moving into the darkness where we notice the impact of balance on the hidden places within. This dark phase of the Moon segues right into a New Moon in Scorpio, which is also a Solar Eclipse. The veils between the worlds separating life above ground and death below ground are thinning. This is not only a time to pay honor to the beloved dead but to listen for their wisdom. The challenges we face collectively and individually are more than we can solve alone. We need to gather our allies. With Mercury moving retrograde, we are encouraged to listen differently, to notice the states of consciousness that encourage this listening. Keep an ear open.

The Moon in grounded Virgo opposes the oceanic god of expansive connection—Neptune—while we slept (CDT). What did your dreams tell you about balancing between transcendence and pragmatism? This balance is important to making our insights and messages from intuitive realms more useful to our real lives. We are likely to opt out for the realistic choice with a trine between the Moon and Pluto also influencing us. The bright, sparkly hues of the day come from an encouraging aspect between Venus in Libra and Mars in Sagittarius that we’ll feel tomorrow too.  If Mars is our yang and Venus our yin, the easy flow between these two signals a day of knowing when to move forward and when to wait.

Moon In Virgo
Monday, October 20. What does being really organized and being really open to serendipity at the same time feel like? Is it the best of all worlds? The Virgo Moon provides the impetus to create something useful with our day. The Moon is encouraged by Saturn to give this desire a little more time and focus. Venus in Libra (beauty) and Mars in Sagittarius (adventure) pair up to encourage pleasant journeys. Discover something! You may be surprised by its usefulness. This isn’t all. Another connection between retrograding Mercury in Libra and Jupiter in Leo encourages us take a leap into creativity or risk being the center of attention. It could be bumpy, after all Mercury is retrograde, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth it.  

Moon enters Libra 6:12 am CDT
Tuesday, October 21. A quietness settles over the day. The only celestial event is that the old Moon moves back into Libra, the sign that began this lunar cycle on September 24. What balsamic wisdom can you find in this day? Balance, equanimity, choices. Beauty, partnership, dialog. These qualities hold gifts.

Moon in Libra
Wednesday, October 22. What challenges your inner harmony most? We get to notice what that is today. The Moon triggers the Uranus/Pluto square, dragging into the mix retrograding Mercury just to make sure we are good and annoyed. So that happens. This last day of Sun in Libra and Moon in the Libra lunar cycle is a great day to let go of the petty things so we know where to focus our dedications and desires. Tomorrow is the New Moon in Scorpio/Solar Eclipse. Everything feels significant.


Moon enters Scorpio 4:10 pm CDT
October 23—New Moon: Dreaming. Solar Eclipse. As you begin to steep your dreams of possibilities for the Scorpio lunar cycle, add these stories to your tea kettle: Inanna visits her sister—Queen of the underworld, Erishkegal—to learn from her the secrets of the dead; a dragon eats the Sun in an effort to attain the elixir of immortality; the guide of souls delivers the newly departed to the underworld and stops to listen before turning back to the land of the living. The sky is always full of stories. The stories activated by this New Moon are rich and mysterious. The veil between the worlds thins and we become attuned to the shift in focus. A solar eclipse creates uncertainty but not everything that happens under an eclipse is bad. Sudden realignments can get us on the right track. It is important to pay attention to the state of fear right now. Stories about Ebola are just one manifestation of pervasive fear that limits our real ability to think and solve. Scorpio’s natural gaze is upon the shadows. With the eclipse, these shadows take on a mythic importance. We have allies in the darkness. The Moon represents our deepest desires for connection. The Moon joins the Sun in the darkness helping us to realize we are all in the same boat. Rather than fear the unknown, can we develop compassion for our collective state of uncertainty? Venus is here as well, creating power through acts of beauty, transformation through erotic longing, and balance through acknowledging death. Another important guide through the dark is our trickster friend, Mercury, stationing direct in two days. The door is open as we move back and forth across the threshold. This is a kairos moment. What will you do with it?

Moon in Scorpio
Friday, October 24.
The sole aspect today is a sextile between the Moon and Pluto. We are encouraged to look below the surface, to acknowledge all our parts, and reclaim our power. Perhaps this is the mindful intent to follow for a month: Supported by your ancestors and the mysterious allies of the sky, will you dare to love yourself beyond all reason? This could change the worlds.

Moon enters Sagittarius 11:40 pm
Saturday, October 25. Most of the day (CDT) the Moon is in Scorpio, so don’t shake off your introspection too quickly. There is more to contact in the dark. Venus joins the Sun. In the first half of September, Venus disappeared from the morning sky, mythically to journey into the underworld. Today is the culmination of that journey. Perhaps you’ve noticed yourself turning away from the world a bit too. It’s good to give ourselves time to recharge, go deeper into the core. This fits so well with the Scorpio season, which encourages the downward and inward journey. The theme of underworld journeys continues: Mercury stations direct today. On October 4th, Mercury stationed retrograde at two degrees Scorpio, later to move back into Libra. Now, Mercury looks back toward the Scorpio terrain with more wisdom about Libra’s realm of balance. The Moon squares Jupiter and conjoins Saturn also tweaking the near square between these two giants of the solar system. Jupiter wants to expand; Saturn wants to contract. I wonder if the Earth will mirror these forces by contracting and expanding too. Although a square between Jupiter and Saturn can feel oppressive, it can also be a good time to bring reality to our dreams.


* Read about the beginning of the Libra lunar cycle (September 24) 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, October 12, 2014

Follow the Moon: Forecast for October 12, 2014 – October 18


The waning days of a lunar cycle invite reflection. What are we learning about Libra,* the sign of this month’s lunar journey? This cycle, so far has been infused with the dynamic flow of fire through a grand fire trine of planets feeding our passions, the quirky qualities of Mercury stationing retrograde, and the mystery of an enchanting lunar eclipse. There is a lot to process, which leads me to this Libra question: Does the force of Balance nudge us into forming relationships or does the dance of relationship evoke the powerful balancing forces of nature? This is a trick question. Even if we could answer such a question, it doesn’t much matter. Balance and relationship are intimately connected and seem to lead us to the same places. Places where we make adjustments, get new perspectives, and find wholeness. Balance and relationship are core qualities pursued by Libra. The celestial events of this month so far have created an opening; I am more receptive to Libra’s lessons and I am noticing how the Other—the being standing opposite me, both in my mind and in physical reality—is my teacher of Balance.

The balancing forces of nature act upon us all the time. We don’t have to do anything and we will still experience the push against our pulls and the shadows from our lights. Nature’s law: Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. It just is. Balance may be another word for wholeness and it is already everywhere. I notice that relationship serves as a balancing force when I need to adjust, compromise, look again at an issue through the lens of partnership. Relationship’s function for the evolving self just may be to bring us to wholeness. If this is true, what is the Libran desire for balance directing us to do now?

Mercury has reentered Libra, moving retrograde until October 25. This is an excellent to time to reflect on our relationships and notice the benefit of respect (looking again) in them. This week, Mercury joins the Sun—the core event of every Mercury retrograde cycle—in the inferior conjunction. This meeting, hidden from sight in the brilliant rays of the Sun, represents a transmission between the illuminating forces of the Sun and the clever, inquisitive, and inventive nature of Mercury. And it can be when we most want things to go another way and need to adjust to way it really is. Another meeting a few days later between Mercury and Venus will expand our learning curve concerning the nature of relationship and balance. Venus is the Libra expert. Both Venus and Mercury are so close to the Sun, they can’t be seen. Next week, in fact, Venus will join with the Sun in a superior conjunction—Venus is on the opposite side of the Sun from Earth’s perspective while Mercury is on the near side of the Sun. An electrical humming pervades throughout the week. Things are lining up. Feel that inevitable force of balance moving through, both in ways we desire and in the unexpected ways that a Mercury retrograde presents. If we are open to the change in plans, we might find the detours to be just what we need to bring balance and wholeness to our lives.

Forecast for October 12, 2014 – October 18

Moon in Gemini
Sunday, October 12.
Zippy. The aspects today encourage speedy connections and openness to new experiences and new ideas. The caution is not to get ahead of your self. Mercury’s retrograde motion means that even though we want to speed up, it may not always be in our best interests to do so. The great thing about today is that conversation sparkles. We feel creative, expansive, and social. Air and fire are the predominant elements for the tone of today. Perhaps a good counterbalance, if you are feeling too scattered, is to invite in earth as a solid foundation and water as compassionate connection. How does this balance of elements feel to you?

Moon enters Cancer 6:30 pm CDT
Monday, October 13. Moon opposes Mars right around midnight (CDT) perhaps disturbing our sleep and getting us off to a cranky start this morning. However, this could be a great morning to get up early and work out. Releasing tension through activity is a good way to begin the week. Later, the air trine between the Moon and Mercury encourages verbal processing. What do you want to say? What are you hearing? By the early evening, we notice a shift into self-nurturance when the Moon enters Cancer. Make a soup. Warm your home.

Moon in Cancer
Tuesday, October 14. The two benefics, Venus in Libra and Jupiter in Leo, encourage the better parts of those two signs—the give and take of partnership and the expansive creativity of the secret self. Venus is the muse that makes beauty. Jupiter is the optimist that sees truth in self-expression. What must be expressed today? Here is the warning: with so much enjoyment and expansiveness running through the day, we may overextend ourselves by spending too much or overindulging in some way. The Moon making a trine to Neptune doesn’t help an intention to stay grounded either. Fantasy wants to come forward. This is the starting point for what could be a rude awakening later in the day when the Moon sets off the square between Uranus and Pluto. There’s another edge to all this: For the next month and a half, Jupiter and Saturn are nearly square each other, but not quite. Saturn reigns in the exuberance of Jupiter. Jupiter creates impatience with Saturn’s slow progress. Notice the tension. We can use it to realistically move forward in our creative pursuits when we make realistic choices.

Moon in Cancer
October 15—Last Quarter Moon: Evaluating. What are you learning about balance? The transits of this Libra lunar cycle have pushed and pulled us in contrary directions. On the one hand, the grand fire trine of Mars in Sagittarius, Jupiter in Leo, and Uranus in Aries set the stage for reduced inhibitions, increased action, and an expansive approach. In contrast, Mercury’s retrograde has presented us with reasons to cool our jets as things move forward more slowly, especially in the realm of communication. Isn’t this what balance is all about, being able to sense into opposing forces and find the place where we feel equilibrium? The Moon in Cancer may have stirred up conflicts around the best way to approach differing styles. With fire and air being the most emphasized of signs this lunar cycle, some of us are left wondering how to incorporate emotional experience into the mix. Are you feeling unseen, unheard, and basically unfelt? If that is your experience what will it take for you to begin to find the balance you need? The Sun, Mars, and Mercury are joining forces today and tomorrow. This combination encourages the pursuit of truth and learning. Relationships bring us new horizons and perspectives. We are learning. We are doing. The urge is to act spontaneously now. When Mercury turns direct after October 25, we may need to return to these choices and reassess.

Moon enters Leo 5:29 am CDT
Thursday, October 16.
With the Moon’s entry into fire sign Leo, we have less reason to inhibit acting on our desires. While the Moon was in Cancer, we at least needed to consider emotional input, now we know what we want and we want to move forward. Mercury joins the Sun today in the inferior conjunction. This is the core portion of each Mercury retrograde journey. The retrograde through Libra has us rethinking what partnership, dialog, balance, fairness, and beauty really mean to us. Mercury is also contacting Mars through an energizing and supportive sextile aspect. The will to be free may be stronger than the desire to have equilibrium. If that is true for you, you might find yourself cutting some cords today. Be aware, drastic decisions we make during a Mercury retrograde period may need to be reworked when Mercury turns direct.

Moon in Leo
Friday, October 17. Mercury joins Venus today right after its meeting with the Sun yesterday. Both Mercury and Venus are near the Sun and can’t be seen. Both of these lights have left the sky to take a mythic journey. Mercury is transiting the Sun on the nearest side to the Earth. Venus is on the opposite side of the Sun, yet Mercury and Venus are at the same zodiacal degree. The illuminating force of the Sun is joining with these planets to send us a powerful Libra message. These words: Balance, Beauty, Exchange, and Justice may best describe what this message could be. Set your internal antenna to receive the messages from the goddess of love and beauty, the messenger god of ingenuity, and the mysterious one of solar life force. The contact of the Moon in Leo with Jupiter just makes this all the more resonant.

Moon enters Virgo 6:08 pm CDT
Saturday, October 18. We’ve had a week of encouraging contacts between the Sun, Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter. Not every choice we made under this influence has been perfect, some choices will need to be reconsidered or refined later. We may even be a little shocked by some decisions and actions we took. However, this isn’t a sign of doing the wrong thing. It can be about what we are learning too. This is a good time to reflect on balance. What creates sustainability? What helps us act when the time is ripe for action and wait when the time is ripe for patience? By the evening (CDT) when the Moon enters Virgo, we could find the answer to balance through creating more order around us. Clean the house, organize a closet, or focus on your diet. It is good to refuel. As the Moon wanes into its last phase, it is easier to burn out if we don’t pay attention. 


* Read about the beginning of the Libra lunar cycle (September 24) 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.