Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Dream Circles

An Astrology-Plus Post

Article © 2013 by Joyce Mason
All Rights Reserved

A dream circle is a gathering of people who agree to listen to each other’s dreams in a safe environment and offer whatever feedback the dreamer wants.

Dream circles may consist of just a pair of people or several. I think they work best in small groups of no larger than six participants. I recommend that you convene your dream circle weekly at most, twice a month at minimum. Longer gaps in-between meetings make it difficult to maintain continuity in each other’s complex dream life. Think about how hard it is to find and follow the train of thoughts to make sense of your own dreams. Then take that effort times the number of people in your group.

The sustained effort to help the members of your dream circle grow in understanding about each other’s dreams is well worth it, but tackling this project for more than a half-dozen people on an ongoing basis risks drowning in the Sea of Subconscious. You'd have a too personal experience of the expression among astrologers, "Neptuned out."

In time, most people find they can wean themselves from this kind of group process, going to a former group member or friend who knows you and your dreams well for a second opinion, as needed. On the other hand, you might enjoy the group process and shared growth so much; you wouldn’t dream of leaving.

Anyone can start a dream circle, one of the easiest ways to find deep psycho-spiritual connection with like-minded people.

In either case, with time, you’ll become a whiz at panning for the gold of inner growth in your own night movies.


Sharing the content of each other’s dream life is a sacred trust. Dreams are an opening to a person’s soul. Accordingly, certain guidelines will help keep the circle safe and the members helping each other in the most positve way. Here are the guidelines that have worked for me when I’ve facilitated dreamwork groups:

1. Invite Trusted Friends Only into the Dream Circle. Highly personal information is exchanged through each other’s dreams. Invite only people you trust with this information to participate. Ask existing members to recommend only trusted friends as new members.

2. Keep Confidentiality. What happens in Dream Circle stays in Dream Circle. Regard your time together as having the seal of the confessional, for often it is confessional in nature.

3. Choose a Competent Facilitator. It’s good to have one person lead, getting things going at each session and doing the secretarial work to keep in contact. Consider a leader with experience in deciphering his or her own dream life. However, in dreamwork, everyone is equal. You could separate out the “secretary” functions and rotate facilitation among the group members. You can experiment with the length of time you’d like to stay with the same facilitator for continuity. Once you’re in sync with each other over a period of time, you may find that any one of you can lead without skipping a beat in the group's dreamwork-sharing rhythm.

Sometimes you can get dreamwork in a therapeutic setting, where the therapist is the expert. (Many psychologists and other helping professionals are trained in it). However, dreamwork is also a matter of spiritual growth. When approached from this angle, don’t expect it to be professional therapy. However, there is also great value in simply supporting each other’s personal and spiritual growth. You are the living expert on your own dreams. Like AA and many other self-help groups that focus on your relationship to a Higher Power, dreamwork can also be done as a peer-to-peer effort to improve your lives and relationship to Spirit.

4. Respect That the Dream Belongs to the Dreamer. While others may have ideas for the dreamer to consider, the only person who can get that gut-level feeling that an interpretation is right-on is the dreamer. We must never presume to know. Even if our thoughts don’t ring a bell with the dreamer, they may later on or provide a counterpoint for sorting. That is, others’ ideas may help the dreamer cross off on his or her mental list the things the dream doesn’t mean to him or her. Dreams are the spiritual experience of the dreamer. No exceptions, and keep strong boundaries on this point. Politely ask participants to leave the group, if they regularly attempt to force their ideas or interpretation on the other members.

5. Honor Time Constraints. Choose the amount of time you’ll meet in each session, say two hours. At the beginning, have each dreamer state whether he or she wants to share a dream at this particular session and the estimated time they'll need. Perhaps you can cover only two long dreams in one session. If you can’t get to everyone that night, quiz the circle on urgency. Who feels a need for guidance now, and who is OK with waiting till next session? The waiters can be first up next time. 

The dream world is timeless and formless. It’s the gauzy place of no boundaries ruled by Neptune and the flowing feelings of the Moon. This is where a good facilitator is golden to keep the members from drifting into tiring overtimes or the habit of over-serving some dreamers while not giving enough attention to others.

6. Do Your Dream Circle Your Way. Decide as a group how you want to run your dream circle, and revisit often how it’s working for everyone. Let your circle be a support system that considers everyone and the dynamics of change that take place as dreams stimulate personal transformation. 

7. Add an Astro-Spin. If the members of your group are conversant in astrology, bring your charts and look at how your dream content fits ongoing natal chart issues and current ones by transit. This Uranus-Neptune combo can be very powerful, a prescription for awakening the dreamer.

Breaking the Language Barrier

Dreams are a language unto their own. Don’t expect to learn a new language overnight. Immerse yourself in the culture of dreams, and you will learn better and faster! 

A dream circle is like a visit to Paris when you’re trying to learn French. You’ll get it by going there, where the language is spoken all around you, unlike my rusty high school French that had no real field testing. I can barely understand parlez-vous when it’s spoken to me, and if I ever had to construct a real French sentence, I’d pray it was one of the samples in my primer.

Pleasant Surprises

Dreamwork enhances intuition, for you are learning to work with symbols from the subconscious. I believe the act of bringing material regularly from the subconscious to waking consciousness is one of the strongest practices for increasing your own sensitivity and intuition or psychic skills. My closest friend and I even dream for each other!

You may find this pleasant side effect in your dream circle. Sometimes we are not open to see material in the same way our dream buddy will see it or report it. My dreammate and I have gotten a big kick out of  being each other’s mediums. Whenever a dream makes no sense, we have learned to check in with each other to see if it's hers or mine. If your dreams include your dream circle friends, there may be messages in your dream for them, too. Be sure to share them.

Dream on—and consider starting  a circle of sharing this powerful practice. Your dream circle will amplify all you’ll gain from doing your dreamwork.

Photo Credit: © Les Cunliffe -

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