Meanwhile, Venus has moved into Libra, one of her two domiciles, and Mars will join her there by Thursday evening, just after the new moon. Also, Mercury is moving closer towards his conjunction with the Sun in Scorpio.
Let’s talk about the Mercury/Sun symbolism today. Specifically the ideas of worry and anxiety, as well as fear and authenticity.
When Mercury and the Sun come together in the deep water sign of Scorpio there is often an overwhelming feeling of fear, suspicion, and distrust. Something lurks or a generally ominous feeling pervades the atmosphere of our thoughts, words, ideas, and communication. It’s almost like something that you can smell or hear behind or within people’s words, word choices, unconscious slips of the tongue, omissions, and deliberate or unconscious pauses. The further Mercury goes into the rays of the Sun, in some ways, the more overwhelmed he becomes, and in the sign of the Scorpion, in the celestial house of mars, this might include worrisome, violent, chaotic, confrontational, hidden, secret, unconscious, or cutting/raw/unsettling thoughts and images. This isn’t to say that there isn’t some necessity at work in all of this…a good question might be, “What is within this, or what is at work by way of these images and fears” Why am I feeling so suspicious?
Resisting the need to literally decode or interpret anything, there is still an opportunity to make or locate meaning in the midst of these dark mental mazes. In fact, it’s sadly rare that we consider the benefits of fear and anxiety without any need for their elimination or decoding or excavation or purging, etc.
In fact, in a recent documentary called “Seymour: An Introduction,” director Ethan Hawke discusses his stage fright with a masterful Piano guru named Seymour Bernstein. Bernstein essentially says that more people should learn to value anxiety as learners or students of any craft. He suggests that without a certain amount of anxiety and fear involved in our performance or the “perfecting” of a craft, we’re not in it for the right reasons. In a number of other places in the film Hawke says that Seymour was a vital teacher for him outside the realm of Hollywood acting and film because Seymour taught him that the real rewards in his work have very little to do with his money or acclaim but more with the sacred anxiety of an eternal student inside of him. The one who is more eager to return to the drafting table and start again, or to learn something new. Hawke shares that this philosophy has helped him to retain his sense of meaning and purpose beyond material acquisition or success in the second half of his life. Hawke also suggests that Seymour’s ideas about eternal learning and its anxieties are a viable philosophy for people who are not going to devote themselves entirely to a religious or monastic lifestyle.
Sometimes we get so down on ourselves for not living up to the standards of some spiritual set of principles. We like the Buddha statues, or we like the cosmic Christ or the seven limbs of Patanjali, and so we commit ourselves to wearing certain elements of the faith costume. But then we feel simply awful when we can’t live up to it, or when we feel like cultural appropriaters, misfits, or deviants of the “true faith.” A dread or sense of falseness sets in and then a deadly cycle repeats itself. Instead of discovering where our authentic commitments lie (what we might loosely call our “real prayer life”), we try harder to defeat what we perceive to be our demons. Those deeply seated issues that we believe are the real reason we can’t live up to or accomplish the realization of our spiritual goals.
But spiritual goals are often like monetary goals. They don’t mean much to us once we’ve gotten them if they never resonated with our soul from the beginning. To realize this, sometimes we have to learn to see saints more like sources of inspiration and less like carriers of the universal way to do things.
Second to this, again, is the idea that any set of goals we have, no matter what they look like, require a certain amount of anxiety, dread, and worry. An ongoing tension like the strings of a musical instrument is necessary…taught enough to remind us that performance isn’t primarily about personal evaluation as much as it is about authentic participation. We simply don’t feel alive without authentic participation in SOMETHING in our lives. And one sign of this kind of participation is sacred anxiety. The tremendous fluidity of a great player goes hand in hand with the idea of stage and audience and fright.
The question becomes, “what is an authentic projection of my mind, voice, heart, and soul?” And it better be just a little bit scary!
Because the audience is you, and the audience is me, and the audience is God. And the best gift we are given and the best gift we give is nothing more than to act from that ongoing place of soulful worry. “This is it; I can feel it. I’m nervous. I’m here. I love it.” May these words increase, and along with them the Scorpionic guardian angels of our most profound spiritual worries.
Prayer: Help us to find the sacred anxiety of our authentic prayers; help us to play life from that place