Interview with Anthony Ashworth WRITTEN BY KYLIE TERRALUNA for Well being magazine
How safe do you feel in your home at night or when alone
Fear results from living out of alignment with the natural world; a loss of awareness and connection with oneness. All vedic sciences — including Vastu Shastra, hatha yoga, Ayurveda and Jyotisha — aim to “align individuals with their own prana(life force) and the prana of their environment”, his new book, Vastu: Breathing Life into Space. Dr Svoboda says harmonious homes facilitate rasa(the essence or juice of life), and unhealthy ones do the opposite, including manifesting bhayanaka (the oppression of fear). If you feel fearful at home there is definitely a disturbance within the balance of natural elements (earth, Zre, water, air and space) within it, creating a tamasic energy, or dark, inert energy, on a subtle level.
Leading Sydney Vastu consultant Anthony Ashworth says “like attracts like”: fear will bring about more of the same if you don’t address the issue directly with sattvic(pure) solutions. You need to feel deeply safe and protected within the comforts of your home, and fear is a debilitating emotion that impacts significantly on your outlook and participation in life. You can address home security by creating a sacred, convivial space through Vastu Shastra, beginning by opening your “Vastu eyes”.
Open your vastu eyes
The fiveve great elements of nature interact and impact on your life, and vastu teaches you to become conscious of them and develop a positive relationship with them for harmonious living. When the natural elements are balanced and well expressed in their residing quadrants of your home, auspiciousness, harmony and sukha (happiness) are your fortune.
In his book, Dr Svoboda includes a beautiful, honorific ritual on the Five Great Elements and suggests being on the lookout each day for messages to open sentient interaction with them, such as a gale blowing from the air element. It will “open your Vastu eyes” in a way that is suitable for your personal philosophy and darsana, or way of seeing the world, he writes. Dr Svoboda explains that aligning your awareness with that of Earth, for example by walking barefoot on the grass, “will allow the stability and weightiness of the terrain to ‘ground’ you, to make you more stable and substantial”.
you are alone? Implementing increasing levels of security within and around your home might initially make you feel safe, but does this also create a deeper level of fear, conscious or not, about your relationship with the world as well? Using the ancient vedic science of Vastu Shastra, you can create a safe and protected abode on a spiritual level and eliminate fear-consciousness in your home, while making it feel deeply secure and supportive for you and your loved ones.
Vastu shastra applies a mandala grid to your home based on the best direction for different activities in line with the elements. Within the grid lies the Vastu Purusha, the “Cosmic Man”, or consciousness that presides over the home. Honouring and revering the elements is honouring the consciousness of the vastu purusha. Ashworth states that, when you awaken the consciousness that pervades the home, it becomes great psychic protection in itself and moves you towards oneness, where fear cannot enter.
The purusha is lying face down: his head in the northeast, the sattvic place for puja or meditation, where the water element resides, and his feet in the southwest, the tamasic, heavy place for holding energy and restful sleep, with the earth element.
Vastu encourages stationing guardians at the front door as a general safeguard, suggesting a statue of a deity as the most powerful option. Dr Svoboda says, “Any image that you respect — a yantra, a geometrical form or an anthropomorphic image — can [also] serve this purpose, provided you have sincere faith in it and you treat it with the same respect that you would treat a valued family member.”
If you’re comfortable using deities, Ganesh is often the favourite because he is the lord of the earth element, protector of children and guardian of the Divine Feminine — there to protect the feminine qualities of your home. Guardians at the front door act like witnesses on a subtle level, explains Ashworth, and ward off intruders. Alternatively, Ashworth suggests you can place two juniper or bay trees there to give protection in a similar way.
Ashworth likens moving into a home without performing a space clearing to jumping into someone else’s dirty bathwater. “Our homes may already be full of fear- consciousness lying just below the surface via predecessor energy,” he explains. “The residual negative thought-forms and the negative pain body impressions are left in the very walls, doors and structure. All ancient societies practiced space clearing in some way, and certainly when moving into an existing home for the first time.” He suggests space clearing your home at least once a year or after any traumatic event.
The author of Vastu Sastra Guide Book, Dr T Selva, suggests clearing your space every morning by burning incense, starting at the main door then moving in a clockwise direction throughout the house, getting into the corners and pushing out the negative energy and recharging with positive energy. This prevents quarrels and sickness developing in the home and, if you are in fear of your safety, performing this ritual with intentions of removing all fears is tremendously effective.
Southwest quadrant: the spiritual anchor
The southwest contains the earth element and is the spiritual anchor in your home. “It is all about the physical, holding energy that passes into the home before it circulates and moves on or settles,” explains Ashworth. “The southwest is the key principle for physical, psychological and subtle energy, comfort and reassurance in your home,” he says.
When addressing home security with vastu, ensure the southwest quadrant is not missing, as it can leave you feeling ungrounded, insecure and unsafe. Dr Svoboda explains you can add “virtual walls”, such as fences and hedges, to compensate for missing physical walls, or expand the vastu purusha outwards and enclose it with a symmetrically shaped verandah.
Strengthen the holding direction by strengthening the earth element of this area, and balancing vata’s air element. Ashworth recommends employing yellow and earth tones in the southwest, and to place heavy, square and cubic furniture in this quadrant so you can “protect your back”. This is the place for the main bedroom and the heaviest bed in the house, and creates stability by promoting deep, tamasic sleep.
Are there symbolic spears in your home such as small aeroplanes hanging above a child’s bed?
The southwest is also about ancestry. Ashworth says your ancestors can iniuence subtle energies from the other side, so acknowledge and honour them with photographs and peaceful symbols in the southwest.
Vastu advises that wealth, which is about physical abundance, be held in the southwest as well. This is the place for your actual safe or to store your wealth, as it is less likely to dissipate or move in any way, including through theft, due to the tamasic nature of this part of the home.
Dr Selva asserts that thieves will only target houses that have their main door located in the inauspicious southwest entry. “A main door located in the southwest of a house is unfavourable and will attract negativity and ill luck,” he says. “Out of the eight compass directions, the only direction you must not choose the entry into the house is the southwest.” South-oriented homes promote moksa (liberation), a disengagement from worldly life, which Dr Svoboda says could be useful for retirement cottages, retreat cabins and hermit huts.
Northeast: let Sattva in
The quality of fearlessness you seek in a peaceful home is one of sattvic, pure courage, reminds Ashworth. As fear relates to darkness, open the windows in the northeast and let light and air flow through. Here, directly opposite the southwest, is where you instill peaceful, positive intention and bring loving energy into the home. You then stabilise the southwest to hold this sattvic energy in your residence.
Next, look at the amount of air coming in through the northwest. Too much air in this area will create instability, restlessness, fear and anxiety, so you can address not feeling safe through the northwest as well. Drafts through lack of proper insulation will also create imbalance with the air element, upsetting your own dosha balance within, which can lead to fear and anxiety at home.
The brahma sthana
Move furniture away from the middle of your space and keep the brahma sthana well lit and pure. An “unsullied inner space” within protected boundaries encloses order, peace and concinnity, says Dr Svoboda. This space, insulated from energetic pollution, offers a well-sheltered refuge where life can flourish, he asserts. “It acts as a conduit for prana, light and other positive energies, ensuring their smooth flow to residents within.”
When designing a home, Ashworth often recommends a courtyard around the home to create that sense of secure privacy. Alternatively, consider creating a space such as a front porch or front room to greet door-knockers without having to bring people into the privacy of your home unless invited.
Are there symbolic spears in your home such as small aeroplanes hanging above a child’s bed? If so, remove them. The body, mind and prana perceive them as weapons and impact on your sense of safety and nurturance, explains Dr Svoboda. Vastu also objects to the display of any weapons because of their unsettling, violent nature, including displaying knives on a metallic knife board in the kitchen.
If children have night-time fears, look at their bedrooms with “vastu eyes” to understand the balance of elements within it and declutter, adding earthy tones for stability as well. Their space should be well ordered and nurturing.
Ashworth suggestsconnecting them with a guardian for protection, such as Mother Mary, Archangel Michael, Hanuman, Shiva or Durga, depending on what resonates with your family.
Ashworth notes that poor construction of your home and fake Znishes are unsettling, as their pretence can contribute to fearfulness. Homes should be made of real and natural, non-toxic materials and be constructed well. Aim for a sattvic home of a higher vibration and your home will be pervaded with love, he says. Use good-quality, natural light and try not to overuse air-conditioning and heating. Natural and sustainable materials are less interfered with and better for your health, harmony, vibrations and the environment, connecting you with the natural world.
Ashworth also recommends meditating with the Durga mantra to remove fear: Om Hreem Durge Durge Rakshani Swaha. Ma Durga is a powerful protector and eliminates suffering. Alternatively, focus on Mother Mary and Archangel Michael to bring protection to your home.
Dr Selva says that, if you can learn not to identify with danger or be lured to such situations, it will help you feel secure. If you do not feel safe alone, he suggests reminding yourself that you are never alone in any suffering because a divine force, God or oneness is always with you.
Over to you
Implement what changes you can to create a stable, protected, comforting home. Learn how the elements are expressing themselves using your “vastu eyes” and create harmony in all ways possible. Bring in sattvic intentions through vastu, place guardians at the door and honour them, keep the center free of furniture, your home clean, and honour the five elements through ritual and blessings. Clear the space. Practice yoga in the northeast, honour your ancestors in the southwest, sleep there, paint earthy tones in the house, hold the positive energies through the southwest, play yoga chants and meditate on Durga for protection. Awaken to your potential by allowing the Vastu Purusha to support you through your efforts of alignment. Choose love over fear, sukha over dukha(suffering), feel protection from the subtle planes and align for divine connection, starting with simple yet profound changes that honour your home and support your life.
“Every time we acknowledge the divinity and influence of the natural world, salute the vibrancy of our connections with nature and celebrate our uniqueness — by using beloved possessions selected and placed with a judicious eye to define that external space — we are living the Vastu life.”
Om shanti. (Om peace.)