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This is Part 2 of a 9-Part Series
from a previously unpublished article
Previous posts in this series include:
Dreams as a Portal to a Deepening of Astrological Symbolism
Another perhaps more familiar name for the territory in which the elusive mysteries of the unknown dwell is the unconscious. Ever since Sigmund Freud postulated the existence of the unconscious to explain a bewildering array of symptoms beyond the reach of his patients’ conscious volition, it has been this subterranean repository of strange imagery, mythopoetic themes and illogical imbroglio that has provided the motherlode for psychological investigations of all kinds – including those of psychological astrologers. Carl Jung postulated the existence of a collective unconscious that held various themes and archetypes universal to the human condition, as well those that were more idiosyncratic to each individual. Roberto Assaglioli spoke about the power of autonomous sub-personalities, each with its own psychological persona and function, and the complexity of interaction between these sub-personalities. Milton Erickson developed a set of tools for speaking directly with the unconscious and bypassing the usual guardians of the threshold with a kind of artful psychological aikido of acceptance and permission. Other psychological pioneers have found other points of entry into what is essentially a strange land in which the conscious ego is a stranger, yet in which the enigmatic mysteries that make each individual the unique being of quirky peccadilloes, internal contradictions and idiosyncratic anomalies that she is, co-mingle in endlessly fascinating ways.
Astrology at its best helps us to explore the mystery of this uniqueness. Astrology, however, has not typically been recognized as a pathway to the unconscious either by psychologists or by astrologers. Nor is astrology normally practiced as a point of entry into shape-shifting mysteries. Quite the contrary – most astrologers begin with something mysterious to the client and aim to render it a known quantity. If our goal instead is to show how a given life is rooted in the imaginal realms, where a bottomless vitality generates fresh meaning with each new turning of the wheel, then we need a different point of entry into the symbolism than what our tradition has to offer.
One such possibility – and an endless fascinating reservoir of fresh imagery – is the realm of dreams. Dreams were called the royal road to the unconscious by Freud – and embraced as such by nearly every approach to psychology that has arisen since. Is it possible then that by correlating astrological symbolism with dream imagery we can find a more astropoetic point of entry into the unconscious and the deeper mysteries of soul? As transiting Uranus opposes my natal Neptune, this has been my quest this past year, and in this article I wish to share some of my observations.
Just as my interest in astrology tends toward a non-interpretative, exploratory approach, so too does my interest in dreams. While there has been a strong interpretive tradition in the psychotherapeutic use of dreams that has evolved since Freud, there has also emerged in recent years a different school of thought[i] in which the object of dream work is not to figure out what the dream means, but rather to engage the dream on its own terms the way one might do, say, as a traveler visiting a foreign country where one does not speak the language, the local customs make no sense, and just about anything unexpected can happen. This in fact is no small part of the allure of travel. As a metaphor, this is also a much more alluring approach to dreamwork, in which the dream itself sets the agenda.
[i] See, for example, The Dream and the Underworld, Dream Animals or Pan and the Nightmare by James Hillman; Dream Tending by Stephen Aizenstat; A Little Course in Dreams and Tracks in the Wilderness of Dreaming by Robert Boznak; The Practice of Dream Healing: Bringing Ancient Greek Mysteries into Modern Medicine by Edward Tick; and Conscious Dreaming and Dreamgates: Exploring the Worlds of Soul, Imagination and Life Beyond Death by Robert Moss.