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, July 27, 2014

Follow the Moon: Forecast–July 27, 2014 – August 2


Energy—what is it? A quick search for a definition came up with ideas involving the capacity for vigor, available power, intensity or forcefulness, a capacity to do work. In physics, objects are thought to have energy three ways: by virtue of their motion (kinetic energy), by virtue of their position (potential energy), or by virtue of their mass (see E  = mc 2 ). Mystics of all kinds sense energy as hidden forces that infuse all things with power. As an astrologer, I am using a language of planetary movement and seasonal experience to give language to energy—the capacity of all things to exert power and effect change. It is time to dive deeper into the mysteries of energy. I realize I can look up all the definitions in the world, but there is still something hard to pin down about energy. This exploration is timely right now under the influence of the current Leo lunar cycle* and Jupiter’s recent ingress into Leo for a year-long transit.

Leo is ruled by the Sun, an awe-inspiring example of energy. The season of Leo in the northern parts of the Earth is a golden-tinged time of first harvests. The gifts imparted by the Sun are in our gardens and bodies, which have fed on Sun-ripened food and spent more time under the rays of the Sun in summer activities. The Leo season invites us to honor the life force energy that the Sun literally is and also symbolizes. Each of us is born with a Sun in our charts—our own source of life energy and purpose—the season of Leo is a time to expand into that energy.

Power and energy are closely connected and this is where I begin to notice trouble with my relationship to life force energy. The question that arises for me: How comfortable am I with power? When I equate power with life force, the question tinges on the absurd: How comfortable am I with being alive? If I’m not comfortable with power, I’m not comfortable in my own skin. This is a problem. The Leo lunar cycle, amplified by the expansive energy of Jupiter, provides an opportunity to set intention around my relationship with power and energy to claim my birthright of life force.

As the Moon waxes this week, it is time to initiate the work of stepping more fully into life force. In the upcoming month there will be challenges of the best kind, the ones that strengthen our resolve and deepen our capacity—Mars and Saturn in Scorpio are by sign square to the Leo Sun. We wrestle with the relationship between dark and light. The invitation is to embrace both. Following an energy pattern of last month’s lunar cycle, the fire energy is complemented by strong water energy. This week, Venus in Cancer will create another grand water trine with Scorpio and Chiron. The relationship between fire and water seem antagonistic at first, but support each other in the right circumstances. I like to think of the creation stories that begin with the ocean in darkness as the primary force of creation. Fire and sky come from this source. We can invite the water to be our source of emotional and compassionate connection, which then encourages the fire of life force to flow. Perhaps this will inform our compassionate use of power and help us expand from that place into a larger capacity for energy.

Forecast–July 27, 2014 – August 2

Moon in Leo
Sunday, July 27. The day after the beginning of this new lunar cycle in Leo, we are still feeling the expansion. As you step into this new adventure, ask yourself what does the Sun’s energy give to you? What would it be like to let that gift expand just a little bit more into your life? Notice the edges where you might want to push back from these gifts and ask yourself, Why? Fear lives close to expanded power. As the Moon squares Saturn in Scorpio, notice where fear is a helpful teacher and where it is an old and outdated pattern. Let that discernment give you energy to move forward.

Moon enters Virgo 10:37 pm CDT
Monday, July 28. Venus hovers opposite Pluto. We may be encouraged to ask ourselves hard questions about the nature of our relationships. Do we feel supported or undermined? If the Leo intention is to more fully embrace life force energy, today’s interactions may show us where we give away power and need to take it back. With the Moon void-of-course in Leo until late tonight (CDT), the day may take on a mythical tone. Perhaps you will notice the between-the-worlds feeling. Let this be an opening to what this lunar cycle holds for you.

Moon in Virgo
Tuesday, July 29. The progression from Leo to Virgo is one of service to the energy that is released from the seeds of fire. How do you serve the sacred in your everyday life? There is plenty of energy and passion today to notice what your heart longs to serve. The Moon favorably contacts Mars and Pluto, two planetary guides who encourage our searching for passion and power. The Moon also opposes Neptune today. This aspect, which can cloud our minds if not used well, can inspire us if we stay grounded in the necessities of life. Late tonight (CDT), the Sun forms a quincunx to Neptune. We may wake from dreams tomorrow with a puzzle to solve. Can fire and water unite?

Moon in Virgo
July 30—Crescent Moon: Beginning. Paradox increases capacity. And since energy can be defined as the capacity to act, then welcome the paradoxes that show up for you right now. The day dawns with the energy of the Sun in Leo paradoxically interacting with Neptune in Pisces. The energy signature of this interaction is fire and water co-existing, finding a way to support rather than annihilate each other. How do these energies dance through your life? This phase of the Moon is expansive. We may not really know where we are headed but the adventure sounds like fun and away we go. With that sense of joy, can you begin to wonder about your life’s paradoxes? The Virgo Moon encourages discernment and pragmatism. How does that fit in with this adventure of stepping more fully into expansive life force? Holding both the exuberance of Leo and the grounded humility of the Virgo Moon, we can increase our capacity. Say yes to this.

Moon enters Libra 11:09 am CDT
Thursday, July 31. Mercury joins the Sun in Leo giving our words more energy. Does this bring more joy? More mistakes? More conversations about ourselves? Perhaps, but notice how energy affects our interactions. The energy flows more profusely as we communicate. What are you dying to say? The Moon in sociable Libra favorably contacts Mercury and Jupiter making these interactions sparkle even more. Too bad the geniality doesn’t last. Later this evening (CDT), Venus in Cancer squares Uranus in Aries. Who is infringing on your territory? Does this cause enough tension for you to do something about it? Some people have just about had it. Tomorrow’s transits push some closer to their trigger points. Give yourself space too.

Moon in Libra
Friday, August 1. One of the problems with opening up to more energy is the lack of preparation for running that energy through our hearts, minds, and bodies. It’s easy to get tripped up on inflated ego demands. Reactivity seems to crash our capacity to hold more energy. Notice reactions today. There are complex influences. Venus in Cancer forms another grand water trine with Saturn and Chiron. We might feel stuck in our emotions. However, there is an option to let emotional awareness increase our capacity for more energy. The courage of compassion helps when the more stressful transits of the day are noticed. The Moon triggers Pluto and Uranus. These two planets have been pushing us toward paradigm change and this may not feel comfortable today. The biggest energy may be a square between Mars in Scorpio and Jupiter in Leo. There is passion and a strong potential for mistrust and misunderstandings under this transit. What needs to be acknowledged and accepted?

Moon enters Scorpio 9:57 pm CDT
Saturday, August 2. Lughnasadh (or Lammas). Pagans celebrate our first harvests at this seasonal holy day. If possible stand in the light of the Sun and give thanks for all that the Sun bestows upon you. Enjoy a piece of fruit that has been sweetened by the rays of the Sun. Share your blessings with others. Energy needs to flow to stay alive. What energy will you share and what energy will you receive to preserve the flow of life force? What gifts are you harvesting? How are you the gift to be harvested?

The Moon in Libra for most of the day encourages exchange. Let beauty guide you and notice the energy that comes from this. Mercury in Leo joins Jupiter and squares Mars. Bitter words contain more sting than usual. Speak from your depths, but also speak from your heart. Generosity is a tangible energy that creates healing.



*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, July 20, 2014

Follow the Moon: Forecast for July 20, 2014 - July 26


If you find yourself wondering if your mood will ever lighten up, don’t be dismayed. There is good reason to wonder. Over the last few months, we’ve had a series of transits emphasizing stagnation, reversal, inward focus, high pressure, and second-guessing ourselves. No wonder, we might find ourselves in the last week of the Cancer lunar cycle* without much in reserve, wondering when life is going to pick up again.

Much of the challenge has been due to the retrograde transits of Mars (from March though May), Mercury (in June), and Saturn (from March till this week). All this backward motion has backed us up. The Mars retrograde has especially contributed to a pervasive need to wait before acting, and second-guessing the actions we did take. Although Mars turned direct in May, hesitation has lingered due to the nature of Libra, the sign of Mars’ retrograde journey. Mars likes direct action and has been uncomfortable during this extended stay in the balancing sign of Libra. This week, Mars finally moves out of the retrograde zone from Libra into Scorpio where Mars’ passionate and instinctual nature is much better supported.

The grand cardinal cross of April—involving Mars, Uranus, Pluto and Jupiter—added a lot of pressure, which lingered through this Cancer cycle. In some places the pressure got to be too much, causing explosions of all kinds. Just look at Ukraine or Gaza for evidence. In other places, the pressurized stagnation has felt uncomfortable and uncertain as we were left wondering when the lid would blow for the rest of us. This cardinal cross pattern is breaking apart as Pluto and Uranus find their greatest separation for now and Jupiter moves out of Cancer into Leo. This will shift the energy noticeably. The New Moon in Leo on July 26 will be a welcomed change in how we meet our challenges.

Saturn in Scorpio (fixed water sign) is not exactly an extraverted signature as it is, but as Saturn has been retrograding through this deep and introspective sign, we’ve taken things even more seriously. Scorpio touches on the places we try to hide even from our selves. Saturn has provided fuel for brooding, but this isn’t the only influence on darker emotions. There’s been a grand water trine in the sky recently that has contributed to feeling mired in a downward spiral. After all, that’s how water flows. Water’s healing force is rooted in emotional wisdom. Sometimes this means allowing all of our feelings to arise and fall away again. In my experience this Cancer lunar cycle, although at times overwhelming, has been an opportunity to make a home for more of my emotions. And I feel it is necessary to be clear. Sometimes we need extra help to get out of stuck emotional states like depression. This help comes in many forms, including medication and therapy. Asking for and getting help is an important way of making a home for our emotions, keeping ourselves safe. Isn’t this the purpose of a home?

Forecast–July 20, 2014 – July 26

Moon in Taurus
Sunday, July 20. Thud! That’s sound of hitting bottom. Saturn stations direct today and slowly we begin to climb out of a ponderous period of introspection. Saturn’s discomfort holds a hidden gift—our own authority. Since March, Saturn has moved backwards through a portion of Scorpio. The authority we get to claim now is through a commitment to self-honesty. We don’t have to be perfect. What kind of power does that give you? Uranus stations retrograde tomorrow. The planet of freedom and authenticity is quincunx to stationary Saturn. How are you feeling the stretch between freedom and obligation? What happens when you are completely honest with yourself about both?

Moon enters Gemini 11:36 am CDT
Monday, July 21. This is a very zippy day. Because Uranus stations retrograde today this planet is stronger, potentially causing disruption and chaos, especially in the areas of our lives that need awakening. The Moon in Gemini adds to the tone of changeability. Due to the speedy nature of these influences we can get ahead of ourselves. So, be careful and notice when you want to do too many things at once. Another influence: Mars leaves behind the zone of retrograde motion that it entered in December. Whew. If you are longing for more speed, then watch out, you will get your wish soon. Late in the day, you may feel a strong desire to get something off your chest. The opposition between Mercury and Pluto may reveal hidden power differentials.

Moon in Gemini
July 22—Balsamic Moon: Surrendering. Sun enters Leo. “Do I stay or do I go?” Quiet introspection is supported by the last few days of the waning Cancer Moon cycle. But with the Sun entering Leo, we may want to jump ahead of ourselves into the expansive fun of the Leo season. Paradox is great, isn’t it? Especially when we are aware of why we want two seemingly opposing things. To honor your soul—the home of your true self—stay tuned to emotional insight. To honor your gifts to the world, begin to nurture the fire of creative expression. If you aren’t quite ready to jump onto the stage of life, that is OK. Tendrils of sensitivity still lurk. It is appropriate to be unsure of your direction right now. Wait till the New Moon in Leo on July 26 to set new intentions using the emotional wisdom you’ve gained in recent months as a starting point for what you will do next.

The Moon in Gemini makes a favorable connection to Uranus. Activities that support ingenuity, learning, and doing something new are supported. Most likely we will feel more of the old Moon energy of this lunar cycle tomorrow night (CDT) when the Moon enters Cancer.

Moon enters Cancer 9:59 pm CDT
Wednesday, July 23. Most of the day the Moon is in Gemini. Be curious. Notice how the mutable air Moon colors this day for you. Remember that mutable signs are seeking to integrate, learn, and connect. Our feelers extend to pick up on the atmospheric information all around. How are you extending your feelers? Does this feel exciting or over stimulating? The questioning and curious Moon trines Mars in Libra this evening (CDT). How does the passion of Mars increase your desire to know?

Moon in Cancer
Thursday, July 24. The next two days are loaded with transits, and with the Moon returning to Cancer at the end of this lunar cycle, we may find ourselves brooding again on feelings. What have you learned about the importance of making a home for your true self? Metaphor is strengthened when we match it with concrete action. How have you made a real home for your true self? This solid base helps us move through big energies today. Where to start? How about with the transits supporting our watery natures? Another grand water trine forms with Mercury in Cancer, Saturn in Scorpio, and Chiron in Pisces. Are you feeling stuck or heavier than usual? Take the Mercury challenge to express through words what you are feeling. In addition, Venus in Cancer trines Neptune in Pisces. This transit supports finding that cozy spot where your heart can tenderly reach out to the world. We are more sensitive to collective pain, but also to collective compassion. On the more energetic front, the Sun in Leo joins Jupiter in Leo. Self-love is the beginning of generosity. This expansive energy contributes to a strong push for change from the Mercury square Uranus transit that also happens today.

Moon in Cancer
Friday, July 25. What could you expect from the very last day of the Cancer lunar cycle? Perhaps a need to be alone? Or to spend quality time with beloveds? Do you need to give yourself a some tender love? Are you spent with taking care of others? Cancer is linked to the tides. At high tide, we feel enormously confident that we can create the nurturing environment that is needed. At low tide, we need to restore that capability. If you are at low tide, remember you can nurture yourself too. The grand water trine of Mercury, Saturn, and Chiron takes us to the water once again. Mars enters Scorpio (fixed water) this evening (CDT). This hero of the internal places in our hearts is a champion for staying true to what we need in this moment.


Moon enters Leo 9:55 am CDT
July 26—New Moon: Beginning. This New Moon in Leo comes along right after Jupiter’s ingress into Leo for a year. The Sun and Moon conjunction is just one degree past Jupiter in the chart for the New Moon. The beginning of this lunar cycle is infused with the influences of this newly-initiated Jupiter journey through the sign of solar radiance. Lion-hearted Leo represents the ways we shine, wish to shine, and support each other’s shining. Each one of us has a Sun in our birth charts—the center of our personal constellations. Together we are a collection of Suns in a solar system of the one Sun. The sign of Leo reminds us that each of us emanates light from an essential Self. This light is life force. In the previous Cancer lunar cycle, the Moon helped us deepen into the fertile darkness of emotion. From that foundation, we expand outward into what the Sun gives us—light and life.

Mars in Scorpio squares the trio of the Sun, Moon and Jupiter in Leo. What are you fighting for right now? Is it to be seen, to be felt, to know that you matter? Are you fighting for life? The complex relationship between Scorpio and Leo provides a challenge, how hard will you fight for your essential life force? The easy reaction is to let this passion erupt as anger. To move deeper past anger you may want to ask yourself, What is my essential self and how will I serve this radiance?  Scorpio’s challenge is to dare to look under the surface to discover what is really driving us. This is a powerful way to see the light that radiates from each of us.

*The Cancer lunar cycle began on June 27 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, July 13, 2014

Follow the Moon: Forecast for July 13, 2014 – July 19


Water fascinates me. I write a lot about it. For me water is an endless source of inspiration and wisdom reflecting from the natural realms into the metaphorical ones.  During this lunar cycle (in water sign Cancer*), the starry wanderers have cooperated in encouraging my indulgent reverie. There’s been lots of water lately—symbolically through planetary transits of the water signs and literally through record rainfall in some places. Where I live in the upper Midwest along the Mississippi River, we’ve had more rain than ever. I am aware this is not true everywhere. A serious drought in California is impacting almost everyone in the U.S. as food prices go up. Although far from where I live, I sympathize with the pain of drought. It hurts to see the Earth suffer without this essential nourishment. Water is making an impact right now, both in its abundance in some places and its scarcity in others.

Perhaps there is an illuminating metaphor here for the Cancer lunar cycle too. What impact is water making in your soul at the moment? Through the abundance or scarcity of water’s sensitivity, power, and nourishment, what are you noticing? Cancer is a water sign; there are two others: Scorpio and Pisces. Last week, planets in all of these signs formed a pattern called a grand water trine. Saturn in Scorpio, Chiron in Pisces, and the Sun in Cancer joined together around the mid-degrees of the water signs to encourage a merging of soul transformation, tender compassion, and sustaining nurturance. The journey set in motion by the New Moon in Cancer has been one of sensing into all our emotions and welcoming them into the home of the true self. Water can feel slippery and formless. Sometimes it seems like nothing is really happening when we stop to notice and accept our feelings. The lesson of drought reminds me that this is far from true. The smallest welcoming home of water makes a profound difference.

The Full Moon on July 12 brought a cresting of water energy. Now, we begin to adjust to the tide moving out to see what remains on the shore. The waning part of the lunar cycle encourages assessment and surrender of the things left behind on our internal shorelines. Water encourages acceptance and can reveal hidden treasures and unexpected sources of nourishment.

Many things shift this week and early next week. Right now, both Saturn and Uranus are stationary (we feel them more powerfully). Saturn will turn direct on the 20th. Uranus stations retrograde on the 21st. These two planets are almost exactly quincunx to each other in the Mars-ruled signs of Scorpio and Aries. The tension between maintaining control and blasting away at our prison walls is very strong. It doesn’t have to be either/or. We can acknowledge the fear of change even as we invite change where it is needed. Both Mercury and Venus enter Cancer this week as Jupiter says good-bye to a year-long journey through Cancer. Comings and goings from the home front bring in new possibilities for tending the residence of our true selves. Jupiter entering Leo will bring a whole new focus where we embrace individual significance, personal creativity, and energetic charisma. Mercury finally leaves behind the retrograde zone this week. Enjoy the forward momentum of thought and travel. It won’t last forever.

Forecast–July 13, 2014 – July 19

Moon in Aquarius
Sunday, July 13. Venus and Mars in the sociable air signs of Gemini and Libra form a trine today. This is a wonderful day to gather with friends or follow the whims of inspiration. With the Moon in the third air sign—Aquarius—today and tomorrow, we notice a discernible lightening of mood after a water-drenched week. Air gives perspective. What is your big aha of the moment? We begin to move away from stagnant stalemates and find new avenues of possibility.

Moon enters Pisces 9:40 pm CDT
Monday, July 14. During most of the day (in the U.S. time zones), the Moon is in Aquarius still activating a grand air trine with Venus in Gemini and Mars in Libra. Yesterday’s airy perspectives continue. Let innate curiosity help you reflect on emotional experiences of this lunar cycle. Astrology demonstrates that the macro lives inside the micro—a smaller cycle can contain the impact of a larger one. Emotion stores memories in our bodies where we have access to wisdom. This emotion-filled Cancer lunar cycle holds wisdom about the entire year of Jupiter’s transit through Cancer. Feelings have been larger. We’ve felt the necessity of home and hearth for a secure and satisfying life. Many of us have experienced a strong need to protect and nurture beloveds. The air transits today help us see the big picture. What is the lesson you take away from this year?

Moon in Pisces
July 15—Disseminating Moon: Sharing. Yesterday I wrote about take-away lessons for this Cancer lunar cycle and the year of Jupiter’s transit through Cancer. This phase of the Moon is about sharing what we have learned. Cancer’s focus on hearth and home brings to mind an ideal scenario of nurturance and support. What is yours? I see a table filled with the bounty of summer gardens surrounded by beloveds who are sharing and receiving from each other in ways that sustain the whole. Water (Cancer’s element) gives a particular way of knowing. Intuition and somatic memory informs our understanding about the ideal hearth. We know more without even knowing what we know. This way of understanding is fraught with potential misunderstandings and projections. Are our feelings to be trusted? Yes and no. Hopefully, we have learned something about communicating through our emotions by clarifying our own assumptions and projections as Jupiter and the Sun have been transiting through Cancer. The Moon in Pisces (mutable water) blends the edges of where your emotion ends and mine begins. The blending creates a sense of transcendent oneness but also creates confusion at times. Where do you draw the boundary? And how?

Moon enters Aries 11:07 pm CDT
Wednesday, July 16. If you are keeping track, then yes, today is the day Mercury leaves the retrograde zone. Our work is done. Not really, but with Mercury free of the past, it signals a time for thought processes, communication, and travel to speed up. Mars is about to leave its own retrograde zone next week and then we will really be sailing along. Another important event signaling forward momentum is Jupiter’s ingress into Leo for about a year. Jupiter in Cancer has turned our attention to the interior spaces of the deep self. Leo’s focus will be more external and firey. Jupiter is the storyteller/guru. The story turns from hearth to hero, from emotions to ego. Energy sources, romance, creativity, and charisma all factor into the plots to be developed.  Late in the day (after 11pm CDT) the Moon moves into Aries and trines the Leo Jupiter. Perhaps you get a boost of energy that keeps you up way past your bedtime. This is only the beginning.

Moon in Aries
Thursday, July 17. Although you may not have gotten the most restful sleep last night, energy is still high today. Aries Moon aggravates Mercury in Cancer early in the morning. Breakfast conversations may not have been the most tactful or patient. Later in the day the Moon’s square to Pluto may have us hanging onto injustices, hurt feelings, or suspicions. A great way to release pent up anger is to get moving or begin something new and exciting. Embracing beginner’s mind helps us to forgive.

Moon in Aries
July 18—Last Quarter Moon: Evaluating. Cancer brings up a longing so deep for the ideal home that it is easy to slip into despair when we compare that to our realities. It never feels good to feel disappointed or hopeless, but those feelings are part of the journey and have value too. I’ll repeat the quote from Pema Chodron that I used a couple of weeks ago: “We think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don't really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It's just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy." ~ Pema Chodron (From When Things Fall Apart) How do we find healing in making room for our true and whole selves, which includes disappointment and even despair? The most significant lesson of this lunar cycle may be knowing how to nurture ourselves.

Today’s disappointments could arise from conflicts. We start out with the Aries Moon triggering stationary Uranus. If we resist waking up to change we will feel uncomfortable. Be careful. Be patient. The Moon and Sun square off too. Are we giving others enough emotional space? The opposition between Moon and Mars in the evening is further provocation. The balm in this day could be Venus’ ingress into Cancer. Find peace and beauty through hearth tending, through time by water, or by finding a bit of solitude and restoration.

Moon enters Taurus 3:42 am CDT
Saturday, July 19. Yesterday’s tensions spill into the morning. But conflict and defensiveness gives way to working steadily on finding comfort, delight, and inspiration through our senses. The Taurus Moon comes to the rescue! We enjoy slowing down to smell the roses. The Moon favorably contacts Neptune and Mercury, which are both trine to each other in water signs. The harmony of peaceful communication and mental states is a balm. Anchor these feelings; take time for this type of spaciousness. We need solid support for intuitive insight.  


*The Cancer lunar cycle began on June 27 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