Saturday, May 8, 2010

Astrology and Dreams

© 2010 by Joyce Mason
All Rights Reserved

#1 of 3 in the Astrology-Plus Trilogy

As my post Boundaries 101: A Course for Neptunians illustrates, our dreams can enlighten us about our astrological profile. Dreams can dramatize natal aspects or transits.

“But wait—there’s more!” Even though I have worked with clients in both systems, I never thought before about how much astrology and dreamwork have in common and why the parallel is important.

Honoring the Dreamer—and the Astrology Client

Honoring the dreamer is one of the sacrosanct rules of doing dream circles, where people get together in a bond of trust to share their dreams. Feedback from others and their ideas about what “strikes” them in the dream of the person sharing it can help the dreamer sort the possibilities. If you’re the dreamer, it’s all about that “thunk” in your gut that says yes, that’s it. You and only you are the ultimate authority on your dream, gauged by that gut reaction. Sometimes you arrive at some sense of the dream’s meaning thanks to the suggestions of others. You may have sorted their ideas into categories: likely, maybe, or no way. Even sorting what a dream doesn’t mean gets you to what it does mean for you faster. Just as often, the conversation about your dream stirs things up in your psyche, allowing you to connect the dots and come to your own conclusions after letting the possibilities percolate.

I do astrology the same way I do dreamwork. I approach a reading as a facilitator who is exploring with the client the interpretation of the symbol set s/he got at birth as guidance—and in the case of transits, how that natal pattern is lit up now.

The natal astrology chart is much like the symbol set we get in a memorable dream. In the case of astrology, though, your birth chart is your one big dream of a lifetime!

I’ve had several dreams that are bigger than life. They seem to be pointing to lifelong issues and provide ongoing direction. I call them seminal dreams, after the definition highly original and influencing the development of future events. I always record them in detail for reference year after year. I review the seminal dream anytime I have a subsequent dream with similar imagery—or anytime life events evoke the images.

Back when—and why astrology still has a bad reputation in some circles—the astrologer used to be The Authority. The astrologer was often out to impress the client with his or her psychic and predictive skills. That’s one kind of astrology. I’m not comfortable with it because it leaves out growth and free will. One way I make sure people know my stance is by making a clear statement in my brochure and publications that I do not make specific predictions. I explain my philosophy and why I have it. There are plenty of astrologers who are happy to be the authority and give predictions, and if that’s what someone is looking for, I am happy to send them onto someone who works in the style they seek.

I see the natal astrology chart as one of those seminal dreams that keeps on giving, guidance that is fluid and helpful with different angles and interpretations depending on your personal growth cycle.

Interpreting the natal chart: It would be a shame to fence in that kind of perennial assistance, to box it into one conclusion you have to live with for the rest of your life.

That’s the beauty of symbols—their fluidity and ability to be there for us wherever we are. It’s why Jesus, Buddha, and I’d venture to say most of the great teachers spoke in the symbol systems of metaphor and allegory.

If the astrologer is not the authority and the natal chart allows for personal evolution and choices, an individual’s horoscope becomes a living entity. Even if all the planets in the birth chart are in the same houses with the same aspects to each other 20 years from now, the client who works with an astrologer from an evolutionary perspective is living that chart at a higher level by then—and hopefully learning astrology along the way. Transits light up certain issues from the natal chart for “inner growth work” stimulated by another planet’s or planets’ energies that beg reckoning. Progressions are another way of looking at the evolutionary spiral.

Symbolic Language

Just as I suggest people crack the code of their own dream symbols, ultimately, it’s important to learn to decipher your own astrology chart. That is, if you want astrology to be one of your important tools for psycho-spiritual guidance. With your night movies, it’s OK to use a dream dictionary at first. They often enlighten us on the universal meanings of many common symbols. Same goes for consulting astrology “cookbooks” where Venus, Jupiter or Saturn’s archetypal meanings are outlined for you. For both dreams and astrology, it’s fine to ask for help from friends or professionals. When those helpers can help you “find yourself” in the symbols, it’s the greatest help of all.

The most powerful aspect of symbols is how they can go from the universal meaning to something very specific, meant just for you.

Symbols in dreams and astrology charts are the Play Doh of the psyche.

They can be molded to fit your current level of spiritual development and needs for problem-solving.

Long ago, I discovered that all truths have some level of paradox. Both the power and paradox of symbols is their ability to be both universal and personal at the same time. Their greatest power lies in their personal interpretation in the moment.

Symbols are the ultimate mutable signs!

Chart Readings in My Dreams

Astrologers and astrology students are the only people able to notice astro-symbolism in their dreams because we speak the language of the stars. I had a recent pair of dreams that left me chuckling at how much I missed the boat about a certain transit. You’ll get the pun in a minute:

In Dream #1, my dad was ailing, living in a nursing home that had a dormitory set-up—beds everywhere. I couldn’t find him, and I was so frustrated.

In Dream #2, I was on a joy ride with my male cousin. We’d been estranged and just made up. We’d gone out for a spin in a red, sporty convertible. I was driving. Twice, I missed a bridge and nearly drove directly into the water, which came up to street level like a boat launch. The second time, I actually got my front tires wet. I did a U-turn, splashing myself in the process and a by-standing shop owner who wasn’t too pleased to have gotten baptized in my wake.

Being a Chiron fanatic, I immediately took the bridge symbol to mean Chiron. Once I entertained that association, the whole message fell in behind it. I was “missing the bridge” (Chiron). A couple of huhs? later, I realized how Dream #1 and 2 intersected. In #1, I lost my father in a healing setting, a Sun /Chiron, father/healing image. There was also healing involved with my cousin—not just regarding our relationship, but I was soon to learn he had a serious illness in waking life. The male characters in these two dreams were in Chironic situations, the pair echoing the Chiron/Sun message.

Taking the hint to look at my chart, I saw that T-Chiron was inconjunct my Sun, and realized I had hardly noticed. (I couldn’t find it like my missing dad in the dorm of hospital beds.) My dream was giving me the proverbial tap upside my dreaming head. (Hello!) With T-Chiron in my 11th and the inconjunct to my 5th House Sun in Virgo, all of a sudden a current situation was illumined. Chiron in the 11th, especially, speaks to vocation and gifts we give back to our community.

Some of the key words for the aspect quincunx or inconjunct are:

• Requires adjustment to
• Irritates
• Makes resourceful
• Makes uncomfortable
• Brings out problems of
I am entering a time that requires creative cloistering to complete several book projects. This means my contributions to the community, particularly the volume of my blogging, needs significant adjustment--downsizing. That makes me uncomfortable, because I love to blog and share my insights with others. It has certainly brought out the problem that I put others’ needs first—something I knew, brought home again as I nearly took a couple of dives in my dreams without benefit of a boat!

When you know more than one symbol system, they can do amazing dances with each other that both amuse and enlighten. If you’re not already a devotee of your dreams, I can’t recommend it enough. There’s tantamount to a free primer on dreamwork on my Writer Joyce Mason website. Stop by! Finally:

Both dreams and astrology as symbol systems have the same goal—to enlighten us in our waking state. With dreams, we wake up from our nightly unconsciousness called sleep. With astrology, we wake up from our waking unconsciousness or lack of awareness.
In both symbol systems, I find Neptune a great planet to visit, but I’m always happy to come back to Earth—to bring and use the tools I discovered in my latest trip to the symbolic realms. I just love that Robert Langdon in the Dan Brown books is a symbologist. Some of the current, most popular literary and film adventures on earth involve a guy chasing the mysteries behind symbols all over the globe.

It’s such a treat when art and life reflect each other … and how astrology, somehow, always manages to find its way into the mix.

Please comment, if you’re willing to share: Do you have astrology readings in your dreams, too?


Photo Credit: DREAMCATCHER © Saniphoto


Susannah said...

I love this post Joyce, it combines all my favourite things!

I love the symbolic language of the psyche/subconscious and marvel at the accuracy of dream images once they are understood - That is also the way I approach astrology too.

I wish I remembered more of my dreams but the ones I do remember are so OBVIOUS once I see the symbols! I love yours and I am glad they spoke to you.

Nice post Joyce. :-)

Joyce Mason said...

Thanks, Susannah! Dreams are yet another one of those yummy Piscean healing modalities that may increase in popularity while Chiron transits the sign. My Neptune/Moon is loving it, too!

Lana said...

Dear Joyce
I too love mixing Astrology and Dreams. I ask members of my Dream Pod to make a note of the time they had their dream if they wake up in the night, or failing that the time they woke in the morning if the dream seems fresh. Thanks for this post.

Joyce Mason said...

Lana, thanks for the tip to jot down the time of a dream. One thing I didn't mention in this post is how dreamwork impacts creativity and problem solving. By opening the door to the subconscious and bringing up content to waking life on a regular basis, we keep that portal high accessible. I find that I can grab intuitive information almost on demand, because it comes from the same place where dreams live. This alone is reason enough to keep a dream journal and those dives into the subconscious for buried treasure a regular part of life.

I always love hearing your take on a topic! Thanks, again.

LB said...

Hi Joyce – I loved this post! Dreaming has always been one of my favorite subjects – especially since I receive some of the most profound (and sometimes literal) messages through my early morning sleep sessions (ruler of my 3rd, Pluto, is in my 12th). But dreaming of astrological symbols is a fairly recent phenomenon for me; when I do have astrological dreams, I’m finding that the dream’s symbols usually represent qualities within myself. It’s pretty amazing.

Keeping a dream journal right by the bed helps keep me in the habit of writing my dreams down quickly, else I forget. Once I write them down or say them out loud, decoding the message becomes much easier. Sometimes I get the symbolism right away, and other times it takes me a while. I agree with you that our dreams usually speak to us in our own unique dream language, although occasionally I find that universal symbols do apply. Btw, I ordered Betty Bethard’s Dream Book just yesterday. Nice synch Joyce.

Joyce Mason said...

Hi, LB! I'm thrilled to learn that a number of regular readers go to astrology classes in their night movies! My friends call me The Queen of Synchronicity, and I apparently had a hotter than usual circuit going on yesterday. In addition to your buying Betty's dream book the day of the dream post; I met a woman at a seminar who shared so many "intersections" with my life story, it was boggling. So far I just love Chiron in Pisces. Keep up the good dreamwork, and share any other cool hints you come across in the dream state!

*Photographer Harjot Kaur * said...

I to love astrology...great site