The image of the starry sky could appeal to many people. Feelings of calm and a romantic atmosphere are just a few of the experiences that can easily be conveyed to us through the dark canopy of the sky full of bright spots.
However, not all people respond positively to this stimulus. Far from infecting romance, the starry sky can trigger panic in some people. We will see below what it is fear of the stars, which we call siderophobia.
What is siderophobia?
The word “sidereal” comes from the Latin “sidus”, which means celestial body. As such, “sidereal” is a term that refers to anything relating to the stars. In this sense, siderophobia concerns an excessive fear of celestial bodies, in particular it is an exacerbated fear of the stars.
Although not a clinical category described by psychologists or psychiatrists, the term “siderophobia” has recently been used to denote significant fear of exposure to the dark sky, as well as certain stimuli associated with it. .
In other words, siderophobia itself is not considered a disorder, but in all cases it is an experience associated with more complex symptomatology. Since the starry sky is a very difficult stimulus to avoid, siderophobia is not only related to the stars, but with other elements that accompany the darkness and open spaces.
For the same reason, siderophobia can be considered as one of the experiences that add to a wider spectrum of phobias which are indeed considered by specialists as a specific clinical situation. Among these spectra could be, for example, agoraphobia.
Other star phobias
The stars are not the only celestial bodies that can cause excessive fear in some people. In the case of a fear reinforced by the elements surrounding the stars, other related phobias are fear of the dark, Known as scotophobia or nictophobia; astrophobia, which includes fear of any heavenly body; or meteorophobia, which is the specific fear of meteors.
Are the stars harmless?
A star is a luminous sphere composed mainly of hydrogen converted into helium, and maintained in the cosmos by the action of gravity. Basically, it is from the reactions that have taken place inside the stars that the main chemical elements are released which, in turn, give rise to different particles. Subsequently, these particles allow the development of the different forms of life that exist on our planet.
Therefore, the stars are not dangerous in themselves but on the contrary, they are part of the chemical activity that allowed the existence of the universe. So what can be some of the causes why we might fear these luminous spheres?
As with other phobias, siderophobia can be caused by a series of learnings and individual perceptions which upon contact with certain external stimuli; they trigger major discomfort.
So fear in the stars can generate by the individual meanings which are so attributed to these heavenly bodies, As in the dark sky and the elements that surround it. In turn, these elements can be darkness, open spaces, a feeling of loneliness or danger, or a fear caused by the knowledge we have acquired about the characteristics of the cosmos.
The knowledge mentioned above can also be related to the idea of immensity, with the unknown, with the lack of control, Or with certain dangers associated with the larger celestial bodies.
All of the above is heavily fueled both by a lack of deep learning about how the cosmos works and by certain types of sci-fi found in film or literature. Likewise, a person can develop an irrational fear of the stars for any unpleasant past experience, which in the middle had some relation to these stimuli and perceptions.
As with other types of phobias, siderophobia can be the cause. physiological responses related to anxiety, Such as nausea, sweating, dizziness, hyperventilation, agitation of the heart, suffocation, dry mouth, etc. All this in the face of exposure, or the possibility of exposure, in the starry sky.
As long as it is not considered a specific clinical picture, there is also no special treatment for siderophobia. Generally speaking, how to accompany or alleviate fear of the stars may follow the procedure used for other phobias. As a first step, it is important to determine whether it is a specific fear, or linked to a more extensive and complex symptomatology, such as that which characterizes anxiety disorders.
The latter allows you to work with the deepest emotional responses that can affect the person on a daily basis, beyond exposure to the starry sky. It also allows you to explore the meanings and learnings related to the stimulus that causes fear and, in this sense, generate coping and relearning strategies for that stimulus.
- Etymology of the sidereal (2018). Spanish etymological dictionary online. Accessed August 27, 2018. Available at http://etimologias.dechile.net/?sideral.
- Isan, A. (2018). Why do we say we are stardust? UNCOMO. Accessed August 27, 2018. Available at https://ocio.uncomo.com/articulo/por-que-se-dice-que-somos-polvo-de-estrellas-47701.html.
- Siderophobia (2017). Common phobias. Accessed August 27, 2018.Available at http://common-phobias.com/sidero/phobia.htm.
- Siderophobia-Fear of the stars (S / A). Source of phobia. Accessed August 27, 2018.Available at http://www.phobiasource.com/siderophobia-fear-of-stars/.