It me :3 as the Ascendant and Descendant point in my astrology birth chart as part of the Self in 4 Directions self-portrait workshop (with Embodied Astrology, taught by Gabz404)
The ascendant marks the point in the sky that was rising above the horizon when you were born. It represents the physical body. The way I understand it, it can be the first thing that people notice about you when you meet. Mine is either at the first degrees of Taurus, or the last degrees of Aries (Although I mostly assume Taurus) I wanted to play with the way the rays of the sun are captured in the photo and it seemed to also reference Aries being "over my shoulder" which I think is fun.
The Descendant portrait was more challenging for me. The descendant marks the point in the sky that is setting, and it's opposite to the ascendant. If the ascendant is the physical body, than the opposite of that is the "other". It was explained that the descendant represents how you might experience others, or how they might experience you. Others in the workshop found it challenging to work with this point too. I don't remember who said it, but "it's hard to see your own ass" was uttered and I feel like that describes it very well.
Compounding the challenge, my descendant is in Scorpio, and while reading about the placement I connected with many things, but when it came to the decision of how to create a portrait about any of it, I found that I really didn't want to talk about many of those things. At least, not on a public platform. That seemed like a very Scorpio thought, so I decided to make a portrait about that! Where I landed was cryptic symbolism as a boundary or defense mechanism (that seems like a pretty Scorpio thing too).
The plant is a Locust Berry, an endemic plant to South Florida. It produces oil as well as pollen, attracting specialist oil-collecting bees like the beautiful and also endemic Centris Errans (also called Wandering Centris, which I think sounds so poetic, although I don't know why it's called that). The metaphor here is that, like plants attract certain bee species, I attract and am attracted to certain people. No matter how good I am at being a bee, if I'm an oil collecting bee and I go to a pollen-only plant, I won't get what I need and they won't get what they need.
This plant also "hosts" the endangered dusky-wing skipper butterfly, but butterfly-plant relationships are more parasitic and I figured that would be the wrong metaphor.
I like how in both of these photos I decided to sport a similar smile, connecting the two images. I also think it's interesting that although the DSC portrait was harder for me to do and involves hiding, the image is much clearer, while the ASC portrait was more obscured. Here they are side by side:
Below on the left is the first idea I tried out for the Descendant piece, referencing the "private" aspect. On the right is the original Locust Berry painting that I used! (painted in 2018)
Here's my chart, showing the Ascendant point (circled in green) and Descendant point (circled in blue)
Check out the other pics from this series: