In part two of this series on dealing with astrological anxiety, I'll be taking a look at sacred anxiety and understanding the quality of a good astrology reading.
Hi everyone this is Acyuta-bhava from Nightlight Astrology. And today I'm doing part two of my series on dealing with astrological anxiety. So in today's second episode of the series, we are going to take a look at sacred anxiety and the quality of a good reading. So what do I mean by sacred anxiety? That's the first thing. If an astrological reading provokes anxiety, as in it gets us more attached or let's say obsessive about ourselves or about the future, it's not doing its job. But at the same time, some people believe that that means that there should be no anxiety involved in astrology whatsoever. And that's also not true. So we need to talk about what sacred anxiety looks like what healthy astrological anxiety looks like in order to contrast it with unhealthy astrological anxiety. So that's what we're going to do today.
So for thousands of years, mystics and wise men and women from all different religious and spiritual traditions have talked about anxiety as a feature of what is holy or sacred, not just as something to be rid of at the same time, the same traditions and same luminaries and all different traditions have told us not to be afraid. So it seems like there's a contradictory message here. On the one hand, don't be afraid, don't live in fear, don't live in anxiety, don't be obsessed about the future. On the other hand, there is a way in which we are purified by and should stay close to a quality of existential anxiety or a kind of sacred or holy fear and trembling. What is that? And what's the difference between that and just garden variety, fear or obsessiveness, or anxiety about the future that might tear us apart? Anxiety is okay, if... and here's a list we can think about. If we have an anxiety in our lives, that increases our ability to appreciate and to be in the present moment, then it's probably a good anxiety, for example, the anxiety that I feel as a parent, I think this is probably the best example that I could possibly come up with from my lived experience. If you're a parent, you know what it's like, people say that having kids feels like your heart is outside of your chest, walking around in the world, that's a very vulnerable place to be. And I would say that every day, there are spaces of time that I go through where I feel that my children are very vulnerable. They're very precious to me, I think about the vulnerability of my own life, and my own mortality, my wife's mortality, my children, my kids mortality. And those thoughts are real to me, because my love is real. And so what I do with those feelings is very important. If I were to become obsessive and to hover and to try to control everything and to respond as if I could possibly be in control of their lives or our mortality, or be in control of the forces of the universe. If I don't trust that God or the divine has my children and loves them even more than I do, then that anxiety could quickly turn into something that was really debilitating. But if I can take that anxiety and feel it or bring it into the heart centre, it becomes sacred, it becomes a kind of fragility or tension that allows me to appreciate and and hold in the spirit of gratitude the time that I'm given, and what I'm given. There's a quote from Prince Caspian. If you guys know, the Narnia Chronicles, I'm going to read it.
It's at the very end of the Voyage of the Dawn Treader. And it's one of my you know, it's definitely one of my favourite quotes, because Caspian is considering whether or not he wants to cross over to the other side to Aslan's country. And he is very tempted to do so specifically because his, his father is has passed and he really misses his father. And he thinks, well, maybe I'll go, and I'll see my father in as lambs country, which is sort of like heaven. But he also has his responsibilities as a king. And so at the very end, when he's facing this big wall of water that he could walk through to go to as lands country, he says, he stops and instead of going, he turns back and he says, I've spent too much time longing for that which was taken, rather than taking care of what I have been given. And I love that quote, it's a really simple quote, but I love it for a few reasons. The first reason that I love that quote is because it's very easy to be afraid What could be taken from us, and astrological anxiety that is unhealthy typically constellated around either fear of past traumas, and no one's denying the reality of them, but fear of past traumas, repeating undesired things that have happened before happening again, or things that we have not yet experienced happening to us. In either case, what we're worried about is either the repetition of something being taken away from us, or the future fear of something being taken away from us. And that's not healthy anxiety.
But as Caspian says, I have not, I've spent too much time longing for that which was taken from me rather than taking care of that which has been given. And sacred anxiety has to do with understanding our tentative position in the world, our vulnerability, and the great charge of responsibility that we have to care for what's being given to us. And similarly, if I can look at the future, and I can say things are going to come that I have no control of. But for everything that's taken from me, every joy, pleasure, desire, or happiness that I may not achieve, or that may be taken away from me somehow, there will be something that's given, there'll be a different kind of experience that's given or there'll be different kinds of results that are given to me. And I may have anxiety about that. But in that anxiety, if I allow that anxiety to be something that prepares me for the task of caring for whatever is given to me, and what is given is not just a thing or a person, but an experience itself. And if I can approach my future, and see that anxiety as a way of preparing me, yes, thank you, universe, Thank You, Lord, I know that something is going to come to me that I'm going to have to care for and it's it's going to be difficult because I will be tempted at times to feel like I'm more bummed out or disappointed by that which was taken to that which didn't go my way than I am excited to care for what is given to me. And so it's that little adjustment of recognising it's not the anxiety that's bad. It's how we're framing it, and how we're understanding what it is.
For example, sometimes people will say when they're nervous that they have butterflies in their stomach. And I once heard someone say that when you feel anxiety about the future. Imagine that the the tremors and all of the feelings that you feel are the presence of angels with their wings swarming around you. And imagine that they are heralds of things coming into your life from the divine, that are going to challenge you test you grow you and that they're there through because of mercy, compassion and love. And that if you can feel the anxiety as the coming of a divine gift that you're about to receive, your anxiety changes, it's not that the anxiety goes away, we don't want it to go away, we want to change how we're perceiving it, and what it inspires within us, which is okay, I can't control if my kids are ever going to die, I can't control everything, try to protect them, but I can't control everything, I can't control them, my wife will won't die before me or that I won't before my wife and she'll be all the things that we worry about, or will my health do care? Well, my mom's healthy, okay? Or will the How will this go? Or how will that go? And if we obsess about it, and and in terms of detachment outcomes, that's problematic if we have those worries and fears, and we feel within them the presence of the Divine messengers coming in. And we say, yes, there is the approaching of my destiny. And I My heart flutters and races, and then in that space, we pray for acceptance. We pray for wisdom, and it may put us on our knees sometimes because it's very strong. But the more that we recognise that these feelings aren't mine that I have to solve, but they're the presence of angelic information about the contours of my destiny, filling my mind and my spirit. It's it's, we just make that subtle shift and dare to meet the anxiety from a space of of acceptance wrestle with our angels a little bit, then that anxiety is it's glorious.
Because then it becomes when the actual promised events come to pass. There's a deep, deep knowing we don't feel defeated, we don't feel toppled by something that was out of our control. Instead, we have met our destiny because we've been meeting it prior to it even coming here. And the anxiety is like a sacred form of preparation. So if we can turn anxiety in that way, which takes practice, you can't just not just an intellectual switch. It's something that requires the metaphorical taking off of sandals and getting down underneath. When anxiety comes in. Think of it like a burning bush that's there to tell you something and take off your sandals. Maybe hit your knees a little bit, get out your journal, pray, go for a walk, open up your heart, for me, it's chanting, it might be a yoga practice, whatever it is, don't try to heroically master it or control it, try to think of it as the these divine butterflies. And when we shifted that way, it really does become the way in which our mind becomes purified. If you want to be a diviner, if you want to be an astrologer, you have to work with that anxiety because you're working with it on behalf of your clients every single day. So the other thing is that in bhakti, in Sufism, and all different kinds of bhakti like sects, different kinds of Christianity and so forth, we talked about love and separation, which means that there are, if we're going to frame our life in terms of a communion with God every day, however we achieve that whatever form of God is most pleasing to our heart, that if we are framing our life in terms of a path with God, then there are going to be natural ebbs and flows that we feel in terms of closeness, proximity, harmony, that space of feeling just in tune, and all good. And then they're going to be spaces of time where we feel separate, unsure, tentative, lost in the wilderness, walking through the valley of shadows. And it is so important that we learn to have communion in those spaces, and to perceive the divine union in those spaces as much as the ones that feel like, you know, we're back in the cosmic womb.
So our ability to cultivate love in separation is tantamount to saying, we have to be able to deal with the the tentative existential anxiety that we experience every day when we don't always feel close to God, or we don't always feel close to that internal, higher self. So if we lived through our anxiety, we develop a relationship with it, we develop the ability to, it's like lovers, you know, a really well seasoned veteran relationship, if two people are a part, they will develop a taste for the periods in which they are apart, if I travel, my wife will say, it was so sweet, being able to experience the anxiety and love and missing you, it's made me appreciate you all the more versus let's say, you know, my wife goes to some other on a trip or something like that, another country or something, and I just sit and obsess, she's gonna die, Does she love me, she hasn't talked to her for a while, or, you know, like that. So if we can see separation as a part of the ongoing experience of communion or union, then that's sacred anxiety, that's love in separation, where even in apartness, we feel together, we it's a different kind of together. But we're still connected. So anxiety is like that. And it's takes a practice and a conscious way of looking at our experience of anxiety through a different lens, you can't really do that unless you have some way of getting some distance from it, which is why meditation or prayer or some kind of daily mindfulness is almost essential.
You can also think of the shift from sacred anxiety, or from maybe negative or damaging anxiety is sacred anxiety like this. All of life is trembling, and filled with anxiety and instinct and fear in this in this material world. Everything is eating one another, everything is pursuing and that's very predatorial. Here, you can't really even walk on the street, as the Jains will tell us without killing bugs, or organisms, or enzymes, little bacterias or something. You can't even be a vegetarian without killing life. So the point is that everything is always in a process of trying to defend and protect its life in this world, while amplifying its happiness while it is alive and protecting against unknown things that could strip it of its happiness or even kill it. And like everything's doing that all the time. Well, there's two kinds of trembling in this world. And I'm reminded when I was in graduate school, my parents had built a little retirement cottage on my grandfather's land he had he had about 80 acres in rural Michigan. They had this little cottage and I lived there while I was doing my master's degree by myself out in the woods. And that was where I wrote my book. And every morning when I would go out into the back porch, there'd be deer back in the woods or in sometimes right in the backyard, lots of them. And in the early morning, I would approach them with like a very sacred and I don't know an endearing kind of anxiety because they're really really sensitive creatures. And that that just that the the gentleness but high sensitivity, high sensitivity but gentleness. That's sacred anxiety, as opposed to when a predator is chasing a deer or when, let's say a rabbits just completely freaking out because of foxes after it or something like that. There's this gentle space, there's nothing, there's nothing potentially assaulting or attacking the deer. And they're peaceful, but they're, they're so sensitive and so gentle. If you've ever spent time with cows, by the way, I think I think of cows as very similar, very, very sensitive creatures, even though they look really big and they're very, very sensitive and gentle. And also, um, you know, in that space, it, it helps you drop into a space of sort of gentleness. So there's certain animals that are like that, I don't know if you guys are animal lovers, but you get the point.
A good astrological reading should help us drop into the space where, yes, life is full of uncertainties, but our sensitivity is not merely about the predatorial forces of time, space and karma chasing us down. It's also about how we maintain peace, and how we maintain love, there has to be a high instinctual sensitivity, almost an anxiety that's there in order to maintain that. And that's why most people who will cultivate that kind of sensitivity, that kind of consciousness will be very careful about what they take into their mind and the environment because they don't want to change that sensitivity into the fight or flight or into the desire or aversion that try to keep it as a presence. And so I was always reminded of how if I really wanted to be present with the deer in the morning, I had to approach with like a little bit of anxiety, but it was so exciting. It was exciting to like creep toward the window sill where I could sit down with my tea and like just watch them for a little bit.
Now in an astrological reading, what should an astrologer do? Or kind of what are you looking for in a reading that could deliver that kind of experience? Well, a) an astrologer should not whitewash the reading, trying to make it very positive because that reinforces the underlying fears and anxiety and control complex. On the other hand, they shouldn't fill it with anxiety and gloom or doom. So if astrology reading is, is tapping into fear or desire, desire being let's make it all positive. Fear being I'm going to predict things as realistically as possible, but it's super heavy handed and it makes you feel really anxious. Okay, so we need some good bedside manner. And this is something that doesn't come right away. So it's impossible to be an astrologer without having to go through the bumps and bruises of figuring out how to land in that space of sacred anxiety where it is as sensitive, as the deer. It is as gentle and soft. But also tentative. It gets right to the existential situation that we're in. It speaks truth to it, but it doesn't amplify fear or aversion, or desire. To my mind, it's impossible for an astrologer to do this unless an astrologer has a spiritual practice. Maybe some astrologers have the natural ability to walk that line. And they're just talented in that way. But I certainly didn't. And I have noticed that most of my students and other astrologers that I admire or appreciate that have that ability, typically have a very good personal care practices, or they lead a rich inner life. So how do you do that? And you need to know that your astrologer is doing that, if possible, in my opinion, or you need to feel even if I mean sometimes you're not going to know exactly what an astrologer is, is like, prior to going, it's a little easier nowadays, because of social media, you kind of get a feeling for what an astrologer is like, but I think a good astrologer should have cultivated that kind of space within themselves. How could we help create that for a client unless we've learned how to create that for ourselves as astrologers. A good astrologer should be able to deliver the astrological news without making us anxious about what's coming. That's a gift because anything that's coming could be anxiety inducing, the astrologer has to find a way of delivering that news by degree. And offering a range of possibilities and suggestions for how a person might respond or react and also suggesting different kinds of spiritual practices that a person might take up. I personally believe that's really how to help someone with the anxiety of a reading. Don't ask things that you don't want to hear about. It's not a sin to say I want to hear some positive encouraging things about these subjects, because I have anxiety about hearing about the difficult things if you say that an astrologer can run expect that and give you exactly what you're looking for, you could go in very brave and say, I'd like to hear whatever you have to say. And as long as you're prepared for that, that's not bad either. But just knowing what kind of information you want or don't want. And I don't think it's bad to say I just like to hear some encouraging news about this, or that one, or the maybe more exciting periods that you see or something like that. I don't think that's a sin.
At the same time, I do think you'll get the most out of a reading, if you take it as an opportunity to practice kind of this detachment. It's an amazing thing, what we do if we welcome those angels of sacred anxiety in just a little bit. And if we're in the care of a good reader, and we can say, I just I want to know what's coming, whatever it might be, because I want the purification of meeting that anxiety and preparing for my future with courage and acceptance and surrender. I want to go through that, to me, that's, you know, I have so much respect for that. Um, when a person drinks ayahuasca, for example, is a big part of my life for a long time. You kind of you take your cup, and you're looking at it, you're going I have no clue where this is gonna take me tonight. I know it's going to be healing, but it could be very intense and scary. And it takes a lot of bravery. As anyone who's drank ayahuasca will tell you to tip back that cup the first time you kind of don't know what you're getting into. But anytime after that, you're like, Okay, I know what, where this could go. I have no idea where it will go. But I know where it could go. And this is medicine that I know I need. There's also no, I don't feel like there's brownie points in heaven for people who are trying to force themselves into, you know, like, I'm just going to go on some anxious thrill ride here. But the truth is that anxiety is really purifying at a certain level, for example, many people I think, like, the most positive readings that I usually do, are, like, I'm not, if I see things that are really extraordinary, extraordinarily difficult. I'm not going to hit people over the head with them. But if people are like, no, I really want to see what you know, whatever, you have to say, what is the assumption I'm operating under, that tells me that it's okay to do that? And it's that I believe that if you know, and astrological transit is coming, let's say in a year or two years, and you have a year or two to meet, and work with that anxiety when the events unfold, and you see what you've been given, it's almost impossible to see whatever happens is something that's being taken from you, and, or a disappointment of your expectations or attachments. And instead, if you have prepared for a year or two for an astrological transit and gone through that anxiety, the gauntlet of that anxiety, and kept trying to make peace with it, acceptance with it, opening your hands to it, whatever comes at that time, you will be so mind blown to see what it was compared to what you thought it was that astrology is so real, that the gods are so active in your life, that divinity is clearly at work in the universe and in your soul. It's almost impossible to not look at what happens and go, this is something that's been given to me. And like Caspian says, "I've spent too much of my life focused on what has been taken from me, rather than taking care of what has been given." So at the end of the day, some amount of preparatory anxiety with astrology, when an event does come about then it's almost impossible to not see it as something that's being given to us. So that's what I have for this episode. I hope you guys enjoyed it. And I hope you guys are able to make peace with astrology and have the right relationship with it. And I hope that this series is a positive part of that. Alright, take it easy, everyone. Bye