Beginner’s Corner – Orbs and Nodes – June 2021

Beginner’s Corner with Sheridan

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Questions on Orbs and the 144 Storylines

We have two questions this month! HUGE thanks go to N and C for submitting your questions!! I LOVE getting questions, so please fill me up with love by sending your Shamanic Astrology questions!

#1 What orbs do we use in Shamanic Astrology?

N asks: “What orbs are generally used in Shamanic Astrology for two planets or points to ‘dance with each other’? Are there differences between personal planets, outer planets and angles / nodes, as well as between natal and transit aspects? 

Great question N! 

Wondering what an orb is? It is the number of degrees used between planets where there is an impact between the two planets involved, or to use N’s words, where they “dance with each other”. For example, my Moon is four degrees away from Pluto on my birth chart. That’s a four-degree orb between my Moon and Pluto. 

In Shamanic Astrology, we generally use a 10-degree orb between planets, angles and nodes on a natal chart. It really all comes down to what distance does a planet need to be from the Sun to potentially be seen by our eyes in the sky. Remember in Shamanic Astrology we are all about the night sky and what we can see visually. There are some exceptions, in certain circumstances, but going with the 10-degree orb is our norm.

Adding another layer in for you more intermediate astrologers, in Shamanic Astrology we only focus on the relationships between outer planets (Jupiter and beyond) to inner or personal planets (Moon, Venus, Mars, Mercury and the Sun) as well as angles (Ascendant, Descendant, Midheaven and home and roots) and nodes.

For transits the orb degree is different and gets complicated beyond the scope of this article. Anyone questioning what transits are… they are the current planets moving through the sky that sometimes align with planets on your natal chart. Using the example above, I have my Moon conjunct Pluto on my natal chart. The Moon was four degrees away from Pluto at the moment of my birth. Currently, Pluto is at 26 degrees Capricorn (as of writing this) and is nowhere near my natal Moon, but it could be opposite your natal Venus or square your Ascendant. That would be a transit: a planet’s placement in the sky, right now, being in a dynamic relationship with one of your natal planets. Dynamic relationship means: conjunct (close together), square (90 degrees away from) or opposite (180 degrees away from). Also, the outer planet to personal planet/angle/node rule above applies here as well.

As a huge generalization, Shamanic Astrology uses a 1-degree orb. It’s really much more complicated than that. Here’s one simple example, say Saturn gets within one degree of your natal Saturn, which starts a Saturn return for you. It then passes over your exact Saturn degree and then gets one degree away and does not ever return to that degree. You think, whew, I had the shortest Saturn return ever. I got so lucky! Well… not so fast. Not diving into the technicalities too much here in our Beginner’s Corner, let me say that Saturn’s retrograde loops are going to come into play. Your Saturn return is going to be about nine months long, even if it appears to move out of that 1-degree orb. No one gets a one-month Saturn return. These outer planet initiation cycles are just too important for our evolutionary growth to get shortchanged in the time we need to understand their teachings. This depth of configuring the length of an outer planet transit cycle applies differently to each outer planet. To better understand the orbs and transit cycles I suggest you take a look at SAMS’ Shamanic Timeline Course here. It goes in depth into all of the cycles and orbs and all that good stuff.

#2 How do the 144 Storylines affect C’s chart?

If you missed last month’s article Drilling Down Deep into Your Chart Using Shamanic Astrology’s Unique 144 Storylines, you can read it here.

C asks: “I was very interested in the post on south node and north node in the houses. I have natal moon in Libra along with south node in Libra in the 3rd house. North node in Aries in the 9th joined with Chiron, Mercury, Venus, Sun and Saturn, all in Aries. I would love to hear more about these placements as discussed in the fb post today.”

Another great question because it’s all about what does this information mean for me? How does this help me understand myself and why I’m here better?

For starters, we say that C had the Gemini job (south node in the third house) in the Libra (her Moon) tribe. Another way we could say it is she majored in Gemini in the Libra mystery school. I’m using past tense because the Moon and south node teach us about her lineage and where she came from. With her Moon in Libra, she has been getting an advanced degree in personal relationships. This is the area of expertise she has come into this lifetime carrying. Having majored in Gemini, she was the person in that Libra tribe who liked to shake things up, push the envelope of their understanding of what relationship even means. She wouldn’t have been bound by any Libra rules and would have expanded the very definition of relationship within her Libra Moon group, challenging the status quo by sharing the messages she received from Spirit through stories or plays.

For the flip side of C’s 144 Storylines, we know her north node is in the ninth house. She has the Sagittarius job or major this time, but now in her Ascendant mystery school. She didn’t mention her rising sign, but based on knowing she has Libra in her third house and Aries in her ninth house, she has either a Cancer or Leo Ascendant (depending upon degrees and which house system she used). This means she majoring in Sagittarius in either a Cancer or Leo mystery schools. She’s learning to hold the Sagittarius job in her current life purpose. This is actually a great example to follow up from last month’s article because the Cancer and Leo mystery schools are dissimilar, so we can really see how this north node in the ninth house would play out differently for each.

The Sagittarius job is about being the adventurer, the explorer, striving to know the truth about and find the meaning of life itself. No small undertaking! Within the Cancer tribe, she would be a pioneer in what it means to nurture and unconditionally love her people. She would be exploring new ways to mother her children or community. For Leo though, she’d be on an adventure to discover what it means to be the Creatrix herself. How far can she go with her own creations and simply making up her life as she’s inspired day to day. She would also be learning the divine truth of radiantly loving herself. Reminder, the north node and ascendant are new things we are learning about, so it’s a journey to get there that lasts our entire lifetimes. One step, one day, one year at a time.

See how these expressions can make all the difference based on the players involved?

Send me some love, by emailing me your questions to and I’ll answer them next month.

Sheridan Semple

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