Hi everyone, this is Acyuta-bhava from Nightlight Astrology, and today I am making the eighth part of my 10 part series that I have called 10 things I've learned in 10,000 in 10 years and 10,000 charts. So most of you who have followed along with this series already know the story I realised this past summer had been 10 years of doing professional astrology. And so I decided to kind of mark the occasion by trying to figure out how many charts I'd done. I calculated to be somewhere over 10,000 and a lot of different charts a lot of different settings over 10 years. And then I decided to sit down and try to reflect on what I'd learned and see if any insights would crystallise. And then I took those notes and shaped it into 10 insights and 10 videos that I'm doing in this series. So I hope that you guys have been enjoying this series and getting a lot out of it. I think one of the main reasons that I'm doing it is just to, in a sense, I'm helping myself to integrate and sort of receive some of the insights, for sure, but then sharing it with others. I wanted to also give other people the opportunity to hear words put to some of the realisations that I think a lot of us have, but maybe never take the time to formulate. And I think it's really helpful, like when I hear teachers or friends, you know, on the yoga path kind of share an insight that they've had, most of the time. It's like, oh, that that is if it resonates with me, it's because I've experienced something like that within myself and then their formulating it helps me to sort of gain the same benefit. So hopefully that this this series is doing that for some of you. But also my hope is that this series would help you to generate your own insights as well.
Before I dive in, if you like this series, and you like learning about the philosophy of ancient astrology, don't forget that my new class, Ancient Astrology for the Modern Mystic starts on November 14th. It's a year long class in ancient Hellenistic astrology. You are learning the philosophy, metaphysics, astronomy, and the really deep symbolic roots of Hellenistic astrology. And then as you go through the course over the, over the course of a full year, together, there's 30 classes and we have guest lectures that come in and there's tonnes of bonus material optional homework and reading. Everything's held by live webinars, as well and we have breakout study sessions and things like that. So it's a really great class if you're feeling like, "I really want to go deeper with this I'm really feel like astrology is calling to me," especially if you're interested in astrology, not just in terms of reading charts, but of understanding the spiritual roots of astrology and bringing astrology into your life as a spiritual practice. I think that's the way that my courses that that's how my course best serves people I think, anyway, so check it out on my website, nightlightastrology.com. There are payment plans, need based tuition if you're hurting for any reason. And obviously, we have an early bird payment as well you can pay up front and save about $500. So that is on my website, nightlightastrology.com you can email me if you have questions, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alright, so today, what I'm going to be talking about is the eighth inside of this series, which I have titled, "Being special, or healing your wounds are not the goal." And there's some things that some of my talks have in common with other talks that I've done in this series. So there will be some insights you may have heard me say before, but there's some really a few really unique things that I want to mention here as well. So if I think back over 10,000 charts over 10 years, one of the things that I recognise is that people come to astrologers, sometimes with a very particular set of needs, right? If I had to make up a number in my head, I'd say probably 60, maybe 70% of my clientele come in wanting astrology to address some either some very particular pain or suffering that has happened in a very particular area of life. Maybe it's very mundane, it's money, or maybe it's your kids or your spouse or your job or your parents or your health. But people usually come in really concerned about some particular history of suffering in their life. Or maybe more generally, they feel like their life has been marked by mental psychological, just deep existential, suffering and difficulty. And oftentimes what people are looking for is they want to understand and come to terms with that history of pain or suffering. People want an astrologer like myself, generally, to either tell them one one of two things usually. This is the Ask, "please help me understand how my suffering has made me unique or special." Okay, that's the first one. And the second one would be kind of different it would be, "please tell me what the source of this suffering is, and how do I fix it or change it." So it's either I need help validating that what I have been through has somehow made me special or sets me apart, or maybe there is some sign of promise that this suffering has some greater purpose that will be fulfilled in my lifetime, or is an indication of something very unique about me, maybe that's yet to be realised. Or maybe that's just inherent to who I am. Then the second one would be the opposite. There's something really wrong here. And I'm trying to get to the roots of it. And you tell me, what are the roots of it, and how do I fix it or solve it. Now, this particular way, this dichotomy of approaches that astrologers face in a session is actually very, very old. It's as old as the dawn of Hellenistic astrology, there's a great book that I want to recommend to you, I pulled it out just for today, called Saturn and Melancholy. The subtitle is Studies in the History of Natural Philosophy, Religion, and Art. This book is a gem. And I want to read you something that comes from a little section of this book. And it kind of explains the mood during the Hellenistic era, which is the era during which astrology was born Natal Astrology, and it it gives us a sense of how astrologers were tackling the problem of suffering, especially as it would exist, for example, in the birth chart in relation to Saturn. Saturn was the planetary deity and symbol of the astrologers that was associated with melancholy. And melancholy was increasingly a word that was being associated with the recurring appearance of great suffering, whether it was anxiety, or whether it was depression, whether it was mania, or whether it was sleepless nights, visions or nightmares, insomnia, or, you know, people becoming sort of crazed, so it's associated with madness. And then there's this conversation happening in the Hellenistic world, between different schools of philosophy. All schools that would have been familiar with astrology, that is debating whether or not the melancholic temperament or humour or the the afflictions of Saturn, are actually afflictions, if they're actually diseases or imbalances that need some remedy or treatment. Or if they were the sign of being touched by the gods, if they were, if perhaps these symptoms were the sign of genius, or if they were the sign of some special elevated state of consciousness. And there was quite a debate happening about this in the ancient world. So let me read you something from this book, which is one of my favourites again, it's called Saturn and Melancholy.
"Problem 30," This comes from Aristotle, "stands there for at a point in the history of thought were platonism and Aristotelianism, interpenetrate and balance one another. The conception of frenzy as the sole basis for the highest creative gifts was platonic. The attempt to bring this recognised mysterious relationship between genius and madness, which Plato had expressed only in a myth," and I believe it was in the Phaedrus that he presented it by the way," into the bright light of rational science was Aristotelian as was likewise the attempt to resolve the contradictions between the world of physical objects and the world of ideas by a new interpretation of nature. This union led to a shift of values through which the many were acquainted with the average and which stressed the emotional be different, rather than the ethical be virtuous. And this subjectivism is characteristically Hellenistic, which perhaps accounts for its peculiar peculiar colour. I can't even say the word peculiar modern flavour, divine frenzy came to be regarded as a sense ability of soul, and a man's spiritual greatness was measured by his capacity for experience and above all for suffering. For the first time, the dark source of genius already implicit in the word melancholy was uncovered. Plato's divine frenzy was the recollection of an otherworldly realm of super celestial light, now recaptured only in moments of ecstasy."
So, what to draw from that? Well again, let's go back into the Hellenistic world. And remember that Saturn, the great malefic is sort of the placeholder for the very basic problem of suffering, of disease of winter, of death, of degeneration, of decay, of old age, and of darkness. Saturn sits in the signs opposite the lights in the Zodiac, the Sun and the Moon. Saturn was the farthest, dimmest, distant planet, but then you have this debate: Does Saturn represent a kind of temperamental imbalance, an excess of some substance in the soul that should rightly be understood as a disease, as perhaps a marker of people who have very troubling vices or problems or, you know, issues that are brought on through their own ignorance or through their own problems in past lives perhaps or in this life? In which case, then Saturn is a disease that's treated in a sense, medically, it has to be addressed in the imbalance has to be compensated for. Some medicine might be needed or some form of therapy or what have you. On the other hand, you have people saying that no, no, it's very tricky because, on the other hand, Saturn or melancholy, the darkness, is also symptomatic of someone who is closer to the gods who is closer to heaven. We know this is true because Capricorn, one of the home signs of Saturn was literally called the gateway of the gods. And we know that in Aquarius, the other Saturn ruled sign that Aquarius, who the constellation of Aquarius, of course, was the water bearer, and this is Ganymede. And one of the things that's interesting about the story of Ganymede, of course, is that you know, Zeus is jealous, in a sense of Ganymede and abducts him, comes down as an eagle and a duck's him and brings him up to heaven, Olympus. And in doing so there is a story about those who are the mortals who receive the burden of the gods jealousy. Because there's something very special and unique about them. But this incurs the wrath of the gods, it incurs being taken away from normalcy from the civilization of the world, you're brought closer to the gods, but you're alienated in the process. And this is something that's also unique to Saturn and to Aquarius, that the gods could could literally be jealous of a person and so they are both both blessed and cursed with the you know, the melancholic temperament, which is a sign of their greatness, but a sign of their cursedness, which was associated with the jealousy of the gods. And we have that connection between Zeus and Ganymede implicit in Saturn's sign of Aquarius.
So these are issues that run through the ancient world that have to do with how do we address suffering? Is it a mark of someone's genius, or spiritual elevation or closeness or proximity to the other worlds to subtle realms or dimensions? Or is it a sign of an affliction? So now, that has not changed in 2000 plus years, when someone walks in to speak with an astrologer. Essentially, what's happening is the person comes in with one of the two asks that I mentioned before, "dear astrologer, please help validate my suffering and help me to understand how it is the mark of some blessing from the gods? How is my suffering some mark of my having been chosen? Or set aside select or unique? And and how does it How does my suffering make me important? perhaps more important than others?" Though, I don't have clients who come in usually thinking of themselves in some, you know, condescending manner, but still, there's a sense that this must make me special or important somehow I must have a special mission or something like that. Now, do I have reason historically, anecdotally, and just philosophically to believe that suffering can and does set people apart, that there is this archetypal sense in which our wounds are often the mark of genius or the the pathway through which spiritual growth and development happens? That we're often blessed by these things? Yeah, of course. Of course, that's really real. I'll never forget, you know, when I was just getting into Ayahuasca shamanism. I read Mircea Eliad's Shamanism, a great book if you have never checked it out. And one of the things that is pretty common all around the world is that the carriers of the medicine in different groups of people are often set aside in some way from the rest of the community. They may live, for example, outside of the community. And part of this is because they are wounded, and they're mad men are mad women. And there's a sense in which their role as healer has happened, because their consciousness has been peeled open or struck by the gods in some way. And when I went to the Amazon and drank ayahuasca, I saw this firsthand, like, you know, people who shamans in Amazon who work with ayahuasca full time are, you know, they're normal people, I'm not trying to make them into Gods here. But there is a sense in which their consciousness, the story of how they've come to adopt a lifestyle that is often deeply immersed in an intense altered state is really extraordinary and different. And we're not talking about like your normal person here. And their presence can be almost disturbing. And there can be states of consciousness that vary, and are quite extreme, and people who have those kinds of gifts, okay, so I've seen that firsthand and experienced that and can tell you that I think that that's a real thing.
On the other hand, it's tough because as an astrologer, sometimes there's also this trend that I've noticed, especially in kind of new age, modern Western psychology and spiritual philosophy, to think of our suffering as a kind of merit badge, that the different extreme things that we've experienced or that we regularly experience are, you know, it's not a nervous breakdown, that was like my Kundalini awakening that wasn't a nervous breakdown, or that wasn't a sign of my own neurosis. That is, because I'm a shaman, right. Another way in which you have to be really careful as an astrologer because if someone comes in and they've got a boiling cauldron full of psychological problems and their real problems they're in oftentimes they're brought on by ignorance or delusion or self aggrandisement, or a combination of all of the above, plus some real trauma in their background. The last thing that I may want to do right is to toss into that culture and the idea that you're actually Jesus, you know, you're actually some kind of healing Messiah for others or that there's something about you that is fundamentally more evolved than other people because you went through this. So although there is a very real sense in which our suffering can be a boon and can, indeed be a sign of some of the things that may make us really unique, innovative, ingenious, spiritually perhaps more advanced than others, that is a thing. But there's also this really tricky line, you have to walk because sometimes you can drop a you can drop a bomb of false aggrandisement right into someone's psyche, if every single thing in a chart that's difficult or in a life that's difficult is only is being spun in terms of this extraordinary giftedness.
Now, on the other side, we have to recognise that, there is a very real sense in the history of astrology, where problems or problems are problems, and people need to try to find solutions to problems not a way of of spinning problems to aggrandize themselves. And a lot of the problems that we most want to spin in order to aggrandized ourselves are the ones that are most brought on by ourselves, and that are most difficult to address because we're terrified underneath the surface that our problems are a reflection of our value as a being. And so, it's really hard because sometimes the real message that needs to be delivered in an astrology session is who you are, is separate from and eternally valuable in relation to the problems, the patterns of difficulty, of depression, of anxiety, of breakdown of trauma and of suffering. And what will be most liberating for a person is to take the weight off from their shoulders, it's only when we do that in a kind of very basic ontological sense that who you are as valuable just as who you are. It's like real cosmic Mr. Rogers stuff, that it's only from that starting point, paradoxically that someone can begin to take responsibility for the patterns that are afflicting them and recognise them as actual problems that can be solved. And the innovation to solve them comes directly from the ability to recognise that they aren't just white light, they aren't just the evidence of your greatness. They're the evidence of problems. And so then, if we can separate our self worth from the problems, we get really innovative, and we get really creative, and we get the confidence and gracefulness and forgiveness that we need to address them. That's hard to do as an astrologer. Right, when you're sitting with someone, and you have 60 minutes, 90 minutes, and they're coming in, and they're like, "hey, please validate the existence of my suffering, tell me that it makes me special in some way." Or on the other hand, again, if someone's big ask is they're saying, "No, I know it's a problem. But I need you to fix it." Well, that's in some ways even harder, because then I've got to figure out well, where did it come from? Does an astrologer know where it comes from? Astrologers aren't God. One of the amazing things about astrology is that I could probably sit down and look at a chart and tell you what problems a person has. But I couldn't tell you where they come from, or necessarily what to do about it. Not specifically, right? Astrology is, in many ways, much better as a descriptive art form than it is as a prescriptive one. That's why I tell most of my clients, when they start asking me what do I do about such and such problem? I'm like, "Well, do you have a spiritual practice?" Because most of the changes and reforms that we need to fix problems come through the insights that are generated within the soul when we give time for the soul every day to speak, to come forth.
The way that I tried to help people fix problems in a session is like this, typically. I don't tell people where it came from, because I don't know because most of this stuff also has its roots in past lives, and in complexities that I will betray, complexity is where beauty is, and, you know, complexity, subtlety, nuance intimacy. And when we try to peg a problem on just one thing, just one cause just one source, just one, you know, just one element. Most of the time we betray the soul in the process, we are more concerned with solving a problem than we are in revealing the soul when we do that. And so I can't just tell someone where the problem came from, or what to do about it. But what I can do is say, here's where I see the problem, I can describe it, I can try to describe it from several different vantage points, so that a person can start to diversify their relationship to that suffering. And then I think the best thing that I can do is say, "Here's when the transits are coming to open that particular karmic package back up or when that particular flower is going to once again, blossom in your life, and to treat those moments as opportunities for healing and insight and participatory growth." That's probably the best way to help people solve the literalness of their problems. Okay, so that's how I would do it typically, in a session, but I always have to straddle the line. Because, you know, we have to, we have to be careful, again, there's the two things. One is that sometimes problems are just problems, they're not an evidence of your uniqueness. But on the other hand, sometimes your problems are and should be understood and realised in the light of something bigger that has made your life path more unique or special, or that has set you apart in some way. So it's having to hold the tension between those two realities that exist in relation to our suffering.
Now, I want to mention a few more things about how I've handled this. I also believe that it's really important and this is just a kind of insight overall, I guess. I believe that it's really important to normalise uniqueness. I think that sometimes, not all the time, but sometimes that the appealing thing about "my suffering makes me unique" is that this is essentially a way of putting ourselves in relationship to suffering in a way that feels very comfortable to our egos. It feels it feels like yeah, "I can get down with that, if suffering is in service to my ego, then that's I have now I have a comfortable relationship with the existence of suffering." But have you ever had anybody do that to you personally? Try to categorise you in a way that makes a relationship with you comfortable for them? It doesn't feel good, right? And it tends to not provide any inroads for real knowing of one another. And I think we don't like it when we do that to one another. And I think we only do that to someone, at least I only do that to someone, when I'm made really uncomfortable by them, right? And then it's like, well, I have to, I have to put you into a box that works for me. Normalising uniqueness, it's sort of like just saying like, if life is like a subway ride, then unique, mad men, artists, visionaries, crazy mystics, you know, suffering, you know, people who are neurotic, they're all just, they're all just passengers on the subway right of life, right. And in some ways, if we can understand that uniqueness itself is just one of the cast of characters in the world, and not elevated above any other character, then what we get to see is we get to see one of the possible ways in which we can relate to suffering, one of them, but it's not the only one. And suffering also doesn't need to be redeemed or saved. Suffering can just be allowed to exist allowed to be worthy and valuable in and of itself, not because it has served us in some way not because it's gratified us in some way, just because it's part of it's part of life, and it's part of reality. And so one of the things that I've learned over 10 years of doing astrology is to just let suffering be suffering, and to let the uniqueness that is sometimes born out of suffering to just be another one of the characters on the bus ride, because if I get enamoured with those characters, and I want to be that character and everything else, for it's like I've then I've objectified suffering, I've made it something that's comfortable for me. And I have no chance of having a real intimate experience with suffering, which is one of the aspects of God, and I'm interested in all of God, because I want God to be interested in all of me, you know what I mean?
On the other hand, the other realisation that goes in the opposite direction with trying to fix problems is that I also believe it's important to let suffering not just be a unique thing, because it can be, but also to let it be a problem, to call a spade a spade and try to help people solve problems rather than whitewashing them. That's really important that I look at my own problems and go, you know, you're not a feather in my cap, you're just a problem. And I need to find out creative ways of solving or alleviating this problem. And then third, is that I also believe it is important to see our lives and our pain as the crack through which the light of God comes pouring through. And that is something all three of those things are things that I find that over 10 years of doing this, I'm constantly learning how to balance and bring all of those aspects of our relationship to suffering into a reading, which is very hard to do. And I find that it's more about, you know, tone of voice, it's more about quality of listening. And it's more about the ability to, if I'm fortunate enough, to connect with someone on the level of the heart. If I can do that in a session, then somehow all of these dimensions of suffering and problems and uniqueness, they all come in. And then I go back. And I understand why this was such a beautiful, difficult, diverse conversation in the ancient world is Saturn and melancholy, the mark of special mystics who are closer to God, was the nervous breakdown, a Kundalini awakening? Or on the other hand, was it a mark of a problem? Somehow I find that life is just a little bit better if it can all be there simultaneously. If it can be yes, yes, and yes. I just find that life is a lot more interesting when it's like that.
I want to leave you with a story. When I was living in New York City, and I first started my astrology practice, I was a social worker, and I was working with adult schizophrenia folks or people who had like a schizo affective behavioural disorder, and I was working for the Franciscans at a residence home that was responsible for helping a lot of schizophrenic, homeless adults get off the street and have some place to live have their medications managed to have a meal programme and supplemental activities, I was an art activities therapist. And I would oftentimes interact with some of the clients and some of the residents very intimately. And some I didn't know very well at all. I had the story one time that I'll never forget, there was a guy, and he was a very big guy. And from his outside appearance, he just looked like a really tough kind of like, bad guy, like not bad, not bad as a mean, but like, someone you wouldn't want to mess with who maybe was a biker, or something like that, right? He just kind of had that look. Real gristled and like tough and always had kind of like a penetrating, scowly look on his face. And what I found interesting about is that after I kind of got to know him better, over my years of being there, I realised that, in addition to, of course, being deeply tortured, really suffering from real problems. And I mean, not very literally, because I don't like it when people as a social worker, worked with schizophrenia adults, I couldn't stand it when people would just say, oh, they're our world's misunderstood shamans, like, I'm not that simple, right? It would really bother me. On the other hand, there were insights that were so rare, you know, like, standing up someplace very, very high. And being able to look out at a landscape, you know, very vast, the sublime. And I remember one that he shared with me, and I'll never forget it, because of the contrast between what he was sharing and what we were doing.
So he trouble taking care of himself, sometimes, like hygienically. And I was literally helping to, like, scrape crustified faeces off from his legs, in kind of like a shower stall, it was like, kind of like a utility janitorial place. And I was trying to like, sort of clean him up, because they didn't have that particular service. And he was kind of on the edge of maybe needing to go to a nursing home, or someplace where he could have more of that kind of care. But he wasn't quite there yet. And sometimes you would have these accidents. So anyways, I was literally having to use this brush and water to like scrape, like really bad crustified faeces, like off his legs, and, like pulling off his pants, and like it was, you know, a big mess. So while I was doing that, he was telling me a story about how he was at one point when he was homeless, he was living kind of like, under a bridge near a, like a state park or something. And he said that, you know, there was another person who was there, who was also homeless, and that this person was having a conversation with Jesus that they were walking around and talking and having a conversation with Jesus and he said that while he was listening to their back and forth with Jesus, which, you know, what kind of state of consciousness was this person in? Who knows? You know, delusion real, I have no idea. He didn't he didn't say that either. But he said that the presence of Christ jumped from this person into him, and that he had a conversion experience. And he said that he got down on to his knees, and he, for the first time in his life, realised that God was real. And he was on the verge of tears, not crying. But it was not he wasn't making this up. And I could tell this had been a real moment and a real experience for him. And I'm listening to this story. I was listening to the story, literally, as I was, you know, scraping off crap. I guess what I got from that story, because I was very, very touched by just how he explained it and his mood. And what I got from that experience was that the sacred and the mundane, the way in which pain and suffering is a problem. You know, and then the way in which it's not. The way in which it's something more, it has the ability to be the gateway to something more. And the way in which, you know the shit of problems and the blessing of the light, they're right there together, they're not, they're not apart from one another, they're not duelling opposites. It's not God and the devil. Somehow they're right, they're on the same body of creation. They're there in our lives, like every single day. And they're, they're a part of how we raise our kids. And they're a part of how we love, and they're a part of how we lose. And they're part of how we get better. And they're a part of how we never get better. And so that's the insight that I try to stick with, throughout my practice of astrology is that the sacred and the profane, or the, you know, the, the literalness of problems and the the way in which problems make us these rare, special people. They're both there together at the same time. And that's why I look back at my Christian upbringing. And I think one of the most valuable images of the Gospels is the fact that here's an incarnation of God, who's in Jesus, who is spending a lot of his time with the, you know, kind of in the slums of creation, so to speak, he's spending his time with those who are poor, those who don't have much he spending time with the shit stains of life, why? It's not just because that's where it's really messed up. Somehow that that place is also very close, always proximately very close to the light. So we have to keep them close together and not fall into the temptation of trying to relativize suffering in a way that's comfortable to us, let me solve it, or it makes me special.
So that's what I have for today. I hope that this was interesting. And I hope that it helps you to crystallise some of your own insights about astrology. I'm very happy to you know, to be doing this series. It's been really fun. And I look forward to I guess we've got two more left. A couple more to share. So please feel free after you listen to this to leave your own reflections, stories and insights in the comment section. I always enjoy listening to what you guys have to say and what this moves in you and sometimes those reflections help other people more than you know. So do feel free to share it. And I hope to see some of you guys in my new class soon. Again, it starts next month. Check it out on my website, nightlightastrology.com. Alright, that's what I've got for today. Take it easy, everyone. Bye.