Archive for Beginner’s

Learning Astrology Takes Time

By Sheridan Semple

It takes time to learn astrology. The undertaking cannot be rushed. No matter how hard we try, or how much time we devote to the task, mastering astrology requires time, lots of time… years of time. Give yourself space and allow the journey to unfold. Mindfully walk the path of initiation into the mysteries of the Sky and Earth. Be patient and let the Universe unveil itself to you.

Add to this, that we’re all mostly starting from a place of being completely disconnected. We didn’t learn any of this in school. Our elders didn’t have this knowledge to share with us. Society, our families, teachers, friends, barely any of us live in union with our ancestral roots, who lived and breathed their communion with nature. We are starting from infant-like scratch. Give yourself a break if it is coming slowly. Allow the mysteries to permeate your soul one drop at time, in your own time and no one else’s.

This massive undertaking of learning astrology is a marathon, not a sprint.

Astrology is a complex, infinite body of knowledge. Let’s be honest, we can never learn it all. Let’s pat ourselves on the back for even trying. It’s easy to compare our knowledge to others who have been on this path for decades. It’s also surprisingly easy to shame ourselves for what we don’t know rather than priding ourselves on how much we’ve learned.

As our founder Daniel Giamario says, “Astrology is the highest of the lowest mysteries.” Following that logic our next steps would be fully grasping grace or love (examples of the higher mysteries). We aren’t “should”-ing ourselves over our lack of expertise with these two, right? Why the harsh self-judgement if astrology is taking its own sweet time perfusing our consciousness?

Perhaps, you aren’t comparing yourself to others with more knowledge, but geez I sure have. Lately, I’ve been feeling like I’ll never really get it all. Or, what’s wrong with me that I don’t know everything yet? Jeepers, yes, it is hard inside of me sometimes. My Virgo Moon wants to understand the entire pattern – right now. Then, I got to thinking, I’ll bet I’m not the only one doing this. I am finally accepting astrology is just a really, really, deep, deep topic.

We’re talking about the movements and energies of the cosmos themselves.

Of course, it’s going to take a really long time to feel like we’ve got this stuff in our cells, in our DNA. The cool part is, is that it really is in our DNA, we just have to remember.

Take all these major transits going on right now. We’re in the midst of the Jupiter-Neptune conjunction. The Lunar Eclipse is here with the Full Moon, closing out this massive eclipse window. Mercury just went retrograde. If any of this is pressing into your natal chart then you’re probably feeling the juice. I am! I find there can be a pressure to milk the most out of this cosmic cow, but geez how do we do that?

A fellow student of Shamanic Astrology, Greg Knell, recently said to me, we’re going to understand these cycles with hindsight. (I’m paraphrasing as he said it much more eloquently.) His words really stuck with me. I realized in that instant, heck I don’t have to get it all right now. I’ll get it in the future.

The most important thing I can do right now, is 1. acknowledge the cycles occurring, 2. honor them with ceremony and 3. be present. That last one is a doozy, but it is always the most important. If we can simply (but difficultly) be present, then we are going to be able to follow where the energy is leading us, whether we get it now or not. In the future, with our 20/20 hindsight we’ll be able to connect the dots. Being present is challenging, but it truly is simple and requires no intellectual thought or knowledge. That takes the pressure off. And, we have Mercury retrograde helping us with this!

I’m learning to trust in my timing, rather than forcing a “should-shaming” timing.

I should know more. I should have a deeper understanding. I should study more. I should practice more. I should… should… should. Phew, that word is exhausting… and toxic. Trust in your unique timing. You’re being initiated into the great mysteries of life.

If this week you only want to watch the Hallmark Channel and let your mind rest, trust yourself. Soon enough you’ll want intellectual stimulation again. You’ll be better off for the resting. In our world of data overloading, endless schooling at our keyboard fingertips, and social media comparisons of our insides to everyone else’s outsides, we really need to learn to give ourselves a break, turnoff, and trust in our own timing.

Studying astrology is bringing back long hidden mysteries, where even our tried-and-true guides are ultimately stumbling around in the Kali Yuga darkness with us. They may be farther along in some respects, but we’re all just trying to expand and open our hearts as lines of communication again. In my mind, if we spend a nanosecond in our hearts, we deserve a Macy’s Day Parade.

Trust yourself and be present.

Know you are being initiated into the deepest mysteries of the cosmos and life itself. It’s ok it if takes decades and even a lifetime. You be you and I’ll be me. Together we’ll get to exactly what we came here to be. Blessings on your learning journey!

Is Aries the Beginning of the Zodiac?


Beginner’s Corner By Sheridan Semple

Recently, a friend of mine asked me, “Why does the signs start with Aries?” A valid question that many people ponder. I thought, “Does it start with Aries?” Why do we think Aries is the first sign? Is it really the first sign? Is Pisces the last sign then?

I’m no expert in traditional astrology, but it is my understanding that we say Aries starts the zodiac because its hemisphere-ily biased. Aries is first because it rises due east and starts the year with the spring equinox. Does it do that in Sydney or Rio? Nope. Libra rises due east as well and signifies the spring equinox in the southern hemisphere. Should we say Libra is the first sign? Is the beginning of the zodiac hemisphere dependent?

Interestingly, one of the only points that astronomers and many astrologers agree upon is starting their coordinates at 0 degrees Aries. Does that mean Aries really is the first sign?

Aries is the sign of individuation, thus is the beginning of becoming something new. But, couldn’t Pisces be the start where we are within the unity again? What about Scorpio or Aquarius? Could going into the depths be the start or consciousness itself?

The zodiac is a wheel of pie-slices through the sky, that the Sun, Moon and planets travel through repeatedly. It’s a circle. Where is the start of that circle? Where is its ending? There really isn’t a beginning or end to a circle. It’s continuous, never beginning or ending. Or it starts and finishes everywhere.

In Shamanic Astrology, we often say the new year begins with Capricorn, at the December solstice. Is that the start of the zodiac? It is the seed point of winter in the northern hemisphere, like the new Moon of the yearly cycle. Does that make Cancer the start of the new year in the southern hemisphere? Wouldn’t the Cancer solstice be the seed point of the year in Argentina or New Zealand?

Does the zodiac begin at each equinox and solstice point? 4 starts, 4 ends? Are the cardinal or householder signs the start of the zodiac and the mutable or in service to spirit signs the end?

There is no beginning nor end. Each sign is a natural progression or growth out of the one that preceded it. You could look at each archetype as a reaction to the previous one as well. Aries is individuating from Pisces unity. Is unification the ending of the cycle or really the beginning? Cycles are well cyclical, always repeating and continuing. The zodiac is the same.

From Aries focus on individualization, Taurus steps us into the vehicle of that individuation, the body, sensing the vehicle we’re traveling within. Gemini comes next as we notice ourselves, our thoughts and start to communicate and cry out our needs. Cancer responds by nurturing those needs. Leo follows, as once our needs are met, we are free to discover our power and creative force. We become more than our body, voice and nourishment needs, we make stuff happen. Virgo lets us use that light we’ve discovered in Leo to serve and see, to bring it beyond ourselves. Libra reacts by needing to get personal, moving us into relationship. Scorpio responds to the highs and hurts that only relationship can offer. It brings us into the depths of our feelings. Sagittarius has had enough of spelunking and looks outside itself and wants to explore what’s out there. It wants up and out. Capricorn desires to bring that Sagittarian knowledge back to the ground. It teaches us how to work with the energies we’ve discovered and use them here. Aquarius reaches out and up again from practical uses into an exploration of consciousness itself. Next, Pisces takes that vast awareness and brings it into the heart again, surrendering to and merging with Spirit again. Next the need to separate and individuate arises again, leading to the sensation of the body we’ve individuated into once more. Now we have to express ourselves and so it continues, no end and no beginning.

Fire takes us to new creations. Earth grounds us in the experience of the new creations. Air helps us to perceive and express the experiences. And, water brings us into the feeling, the heart of it. The cycle continues endlessly.

So, my friend asks me, “Why does Aries begin the zodiac?” And, I ask, “Does it?” I think not. The zodiac isn’t linear. It’s a circle. There is no beginning and no end. It is an infinite progression, a cycle that continues eternally. In the words of Meggan Watterson, “There is no hierarchy in the spiritual world. There’s just this circle where the first becomes the last, and the last becomes the first” written in Mary Magdalene Revealed

Equinox and the “Seasonal” Zodiac

Beginner’s Corner with Sheridan

December solstice sunset over southern “Mount Solstice”

We’ve got the March equinox in our sights now. For those of us in the northern hemisphere, this marks the kickoff to spring. Considering it was -8 degrees at my house this morning, spring isn’t coming fast enough! For southern hemisphere dwellers, you’re moving into autumn. As one cycle begins, another ends. We continue along the wheel of life.

Most astrologers refer to the tropical zodiac as “seasonal”. That’s not accurate. In the north our spring equinox occurs when the Sun enters Aries. In the south, the autumnal equinox happens when the Sun enters Aries too. The Sun is entering Aries for ALL of us earth beings. North of the equator that means spring, and south of the equator that means fall.

How can we call the zodiac seasonal if each hemisphere is experiencing a different season? Does Aries mean spring or fall? Neither. If you’re used to explaining Aries as a sign of spring, then how does Aries work in Australia? How does spring growth, bulbs pressing up from the earth, and the Sun growing in strength compare to leaves changing colors, falling to the ground, and becoming winter’s compost? Both are indicative of the Sun entering Aries.

Zodiac is directional, not seasonal

Let’s start with the March equinox. The Sun will rise due east and set due west… for everyone. That’s one of the magics about the two equinoxes. The Sun goes due east to west in March and September. That’s the only time it does that. See the image below courtesy of (an amazing free astronomy software). The Sun is rising due east. I’ve included the degree marks to better understand in the following pictures. See how the ecliptic (the yellow line) that shows the path of the Sun will set due west?

If you’re in the southern hemisphere, the Sun will rise due east and set due west as well, but you need to reverse the image… sort of. East will be on the right and west will be on the left, but you’ll be looking north, instead of south like in this image. The important part is we’re still viewing the same rise and set of the Sun directionally – east to west.

I encourage you as part of your Shamanic Astrology studies to go outside on the equinox and notice where the Sun rises or sets (whichever is preferred from your view). Take a photo and save it because the Sun is going to move from this location on its journey to the June Solstice. This is an excellent practice to deepen your orientation to the natural world around you.

The directional solstices

As we move toward the June solstice, our next marker in the year, the Sun is going to move to the north. See in the image below how far the Sun has moved to the northern side of east. From the March equinox to the June solstice northern hemisphere days get longer and the Sun moves higher in the sky. In the southern hemisphere the Sun gets lower as the days get shorter. But, both of us will experience the Sun moving north of east and west.

Again, let’s explore our erroneous “seasonal” bias with the signs. The June solstice occurs when the Sun moves into Cancer. Is Cancer a summer sign? Are we northern hemisphere chauvinists? Mostly we are. Cancer works in Brazil well as in Canada. It’s still a sign of mothering, nurturing and encouraging growth. If we’re used to explaining that by saying, “Cancer has nourished its seeds and now they’ve grown into summer flowers” how will a southern hemisphere resident relate to that imagery, when she’s scraping ice off her windshield? The signs work in both hemispheres, so it’s much more than a seasonal zodiac.

September equinox returns to east and west

After the June solstice the Sun begins moving south again, for all humans. It’s a returning of the light for the southern hemisphere and a lessening for the northerners.

Notice how the Sun will set due west, following the yellow arc of the ecliptic, the Sun’s daily path. We’re entering Libra season now. Is Libra about autumn, falling leaves, snuggling up for the coming winter? In the southern hemisphere, Libra marks spring. What is the essence of Libra without the seasonal bias?

December solstice – south of east and west

Lastly, we come to the December solstice, where the Sun rises and sets more southernly. See in the image below how far the Sun has traveled south of east on its rise? We’ve arrived at Capricorn season. Is Capricorn a summer sign? For people living in the southern hemisphere, it marks the summer solstice. How does Capricorn express itself in the summer vs the winter? Is it a different archetypal energy? No, right?

We need to examine our biases towards labeling the tropical zodiac as seasonal. It just doesn’t work, and it leaves the whole southern hemisphere out of the equation. What do the signs mean without layering the seasonal flavors over them? What does a Capricorn Sun that is south of east and west mean? How do the directional changes teach us about the signs?

To dive further, check out this video Daniel Giamario and Gemini Brett made in their series titled, “Further Adventures in Shamanic Astrology”. If you haven’t watched any, I highly recommend them. I learned this information from the two of them.

Happy March Equinox to you!

Sheridan Semple

Beginner’s Corner with Sheridan – 2/14/22

Dance of Venus and Mars

Image courtesy of

If you’ve been outside in the early morning recently, you’ve definitely seen Venus. If it’s been really early you may have seen Mars as well. I love the backdrop of Antares and Vega in a wide frame to this get-together. Perhaps, you’ve been blessed with a Mercury sighting too. It’s quite the lineup walking us into this Leo Full Moon, opposite our brilliant Aquarius Sun. We’re in the powerful cross-quarter time, signifying a lengthening of the Light for us northern hemisphereans and a deepening of the dark for those who reside in the southern half. Out of the stillness, or into the stillness, we go. How heavenly that our two Earthly halves mirror reflect each other. Simultaneously, we are graced to witness the Sacred Masculine and Feminine planets doing their dance in the morning sky. The seasoned Aries God is meeting the newly born Capricorn Goddess. Both are in Capricorn now but will be moving their slow encounter into the stellar rhythms of Aquarius soon. I love how this council of Venus and Mars begins in Capricorn and moves into Aquarius on the day of their next conjunction. What intentions are they reflecting for us at this time?

If Capricorn represents the Circle of Grandmothers, the wise ones who know how to live sustainably, smartly, correctly, then this gathering of the Masculine and Feminine principles in that archetype is our first clue. We are collectively striving to find union between these two energies within and without. Capricorn teaches us to work within the cycles of the Earth and to honor our Great Mother who feeds and nourishes us. We do this by loving on her, ourselves, and each other. That means EVERYONE. I’ve been thinking a lot about how the Gemini Venus cycle recently transformed into the Capricorn Venus cycle and what that’s teaching us. If Gemini is about moving beyond what the mind knows, beyond polarity and duality, then Capricorn comes in to show us how… for the sake of our survival. If we want to stick around, we have to unify, somehow, some way. Venus and Mars seem to be inviting us to do just that, find union between our Feminine and Masculine.

We all are clear on how the patriarchy hasn’t been healthy for any of us, male or female. Men are often misperceived as synonymous with patriarchy, taking all the heat. One could make a cogent argument for the damage patriarchy has waged on men. It’s undoubtedly been bad for women. We’ve all been in serious imbalance for thousands of years now. In some spiritual circles you’ll hear a call to swing back to matriarchy, for women to get control. But… shouldn’t our next step be no-archy? Isn’t it time to explore Gemini’s teaching to move beyond polarity? How about we try union and equality? Skip the rulership altogether. From the Shamanic Astrology perspective, aren’t we finally ready for the ultimate sacred marriage trip? That’s what Venus and Mars coming together demonstrates for me. Then, you throw in the Capricorn aspect of teaching us how to do things for the ultimate benefit of the community, especially those who aren’t even born yet, and it feels unmistakable that this is part of our current intention. (fingers crossed)

The Aries God gets a lot of the heat within the patriarchy – the military meathead, machine gun slung over his steroid-muscled shoulder, ready to blow down anyone in his path. Isn’t this Mars in Aries cycle helping us to compost this damaging stereotype of Aries and masculinity? His meeting with Venusian Capricorn feels like the Grandmothers and Grandfathers uniting to tell us what’s up and get us back on track. Sitting in council with Pluto confirms this desperate need for transforming our masculine and feminine into the empowered Sacred versions. How interesting the first Venus/Mars Capricornian conjunction occurs on this Full Moon on the Leo/Aquarius axis enlivening the themes of self-love and conscious awareness. We move into self-love through the union of all of our parts, through the sacred marriage, by honoring all of our creative aspects, and bringing this into our consciousness, into the light. The next exact conjunction occurs March 6, in Aquarius. Mars moves into Aquarius, followed minutes later by Venus and then the two meet exactly once again about 45 minutes after that, at the very beginning of Aquarius. First, we get some well-needed schooling by Capricorn and then we become conscious in Aquarius. That is my prayer for this Mars and Venus spin through the cosmos, both inside and out.

I love the Artemisia plants to support this union as these shrubs encourage us to find union between our Masculine and Feminine within. Leaders in the environment, the Artemisias literally lead the way and let us know an area is viable for us to live and set up shop. Mugwort is the most common Artemisia many know, but there is also Davana (known as Goddess in a bottle), Sweet Annie (Artemisia annua), Great Western Sagebrush, and Artemisia vulgaris – who helps us move from our minds into our hearts. If you’re struggling with making peace with one of these aspects within yourself or the world around you, try using an Artemisia, with intention, over these next several weeks, and see where it takes you.

Blessings and Love,

Sheridan Semple



Beginner’s Corner with Sheridan – New Venus Cycle in Capricorn part 2

Started January 14

Let’s continue our exploration into this important cycle that began a few days ago.

Part 1 is available HERE.

Venus started her new 584-day (or 19 month) cycle on January 14. The cycle begins when Venus rises in the Morning Sky, ahead of the Sunrise. This is the heliacal rise of Venus.  Depending upon your latitude and horizon line, you may see Venus sooner or later than the 14th. She is a beautiful sight to see whenever you get the opportunity!

Venus is the third brightest object in the sky (after the Sun and Moon). Every culture has followed her movements and created stories to go with her motions through the sky. Venus will stay in the morning sky, ahead of the sunrise, until September 14, 2022 – exactly eight months. At that time, she will fade into the horizon and become hidden within the Sun’s bright light. Ancient people said this was the time that Venus went into the Underworld for the transmutation of death into rebirth.

Moon/Venus Conjunction and the Chakras

Each month the waning crescent Moon will get close to (conjunct) the Morning Star Venus. These conjunctions signify Venus moving through a chakra gate on her descent into the Underworld. You can use each month to move through your own chakras.

The first chakra gate, the Moon/Venus conjunction, occurs on January 29 and is the crown chakra. Focus for this month on releasing blockages or biases that prevent the fullest expression of your crown chakra and your connection to the Divine.

There are many ways to do this. A simple Google search will give you more options than you have time to do. I’ll share what I do to kick off your imagination, sans the Google search. I start by getting up early to see the Moon and Venus conjoin with my eyes. It feels so beautiful to be a part of this alignment.

I feel it in my body and know I am honoring a long-forgotten ritual. I’ll speak to Venus and the Moon and share my intentions for this month. Something along the lines of, “Please guide me and help me to clear my connection to Spirit” will do. You may want to focus on addressing any misperceptions you picked up in childhood around God/Goddess that twist your communion. Anything focused on your crown chakra is the idea.

I add an object or picture to my altar that reminds me, on a regular basis, to keep cleansing my crown chakra. I like to wear amethyst. You might want to wear violet clothing, put up violet post it notes with your intention, do crown chakra toning or frequency meditations (there’s an abundance on YouTube). Let your imagination go wild!

All that matters is your unique communion with Venus, Moon and this chakra.

Next month, on February 27, Venus will continue her descent into the Underworld by moving through the third-eye chakra gate. What needs clearing for you to perceive fully? Or, conversely, is anything distorted in your perceptions? Start again, with going out to see Venus and the crescent Moon in the morning sky, ahead of the sunrise.

Share with them your intentions for clearing your third-eye chakra, over the coming month. Throw on some indigo tops, add a reminder to your altar, put up some notes to bring your attention to your brow chakra throughout the month. An image of an Indian woman with a bindi would help me remember.

Following Venus, like your ancestors did, is a powerful way to commune with the Sky and yourself. It inspires a journey to reclaim your connection to the Earth and Sky. Ceremonially participating with the cycles of the cosmos encourages a return to your ancestral roots, to the knowledge still present in your DNA that you are a part of the greater whole around and within you.

Following the Venus cycle is a powerful way to begin or deepen this voyage back into wholeness. Get up early. Find Venus in the Morning Sky. Talk to her. Share your secret longings for yourself with her. Consciously travel through your chakras with her, month after month, focusing on one at a time and letting go of one thing that distorts each chakra within you. By the time you reach the Underworld in September you will be a changed human.

Seeing these Moon/Venus conjunctions will fill you with awe and reverence. You’ll feel the power of your ancestors coursing through your blood and bones. It will be a remembering in your entire being of a time when you were profoundly connected to the universe around you. It will bring tears to your eyes, as you start the journey home again.

We all benefit from your guiding light when you begin to remember who you truly are. Welcome back!

Diving Deeper

If you feel inspired to learn more about Venus’ synodic cycle, as taught by Shamanic Astrology’s founder Daniel Giamario, check out the Synodic Cycles: Living Wisdom of the Inner Planets online class here. The Venus and Mars information is based on the research Daniel did back in the 1990’s, click here to read that article.

If you are interested in participating in an online Ceremonial Journey with Venus, I am co-teaching with Cayelin Castell beginning January 23 click here for more information and to register.

Sheridan Semple