Saturn and the South node conjoin on April 30, 2019, just as Saturn stations retrograde (the South Node’s primary direction). Usually, this once-per-twelve-year conjunction would only last about a week. But this time, they roll together in reverse, and Saturn is conjunct the South Node for six months! Thus, a short opportunity for karmic balancing becomes a major energetic influence.
I recently read the outstanding and revelatory book Of Water and the Spirit: Ritual, Magic, and Initiation in the Life of an African Shaman by Malidoma Patrice Some. The book is an autobiographical narrative which gives amazing details on Malidoma’s adolescence and initiation into adulthood in the Dagara tribe in Burkina Faso. As Malidoma begins his initiation, gathered around a fire with a group of other young tribesmen, a Dagaran elder offers the brilliant teachings of their tribal concept of the circle.
As I read this, I was immediately struck by the insights provided into astrology’s layout of the birth chart, and specifically the four angles or pivots around which the birth chart is arranged (Ascendent, Midheaven, Descendent, and Anticulminate). The elder’s teaching is paraphrased by Malidoma and then translated from Dagaran into English—an amazing feat in itself—and was delivered to the Dagaran initiates seated around this fire in the mid-1970s.
But first, Malidoma Some introduces the teaching. “What he said was this: the place where he was standing was the center. Each one of us possessed a center that he had grown away from after birth. To be born was to lose contact with our center, and to grow from childhood to adulthood was to walk away from it.”
Roughly, the birth chart is a circular astronomical map capturing a moment in space and time, with the center of the circle being the native in their birthplace. Imagine the native lying on her back, feet facing south. If she rolls to her left, she will see the eastern horizon, or the ascending point. Rolling to her right, she will see the descending point. All that is below the native is shown in the lower half of the chart, and all that is in the sky is shown above the Ascendent/Descendent axis, or horizon. When interpreted, the chart’s tellings are a reflection of the native in the center.