In my last post I introduced the concept that the astrological energies at work in our charts can manifest their symbolism through our dreams. I personally believe that keeping a dream journal is a vital part of any spiritual and/or creative practice. Astrologers, healers, tarot readers, artists, writers – all these occupations and paths can benefit from gaining a greater insight into your dreaming life.
We spend one fifth of our lives in dream sleep and in the average lifetime we experience over 100,000 dreams. As both the secular and religious communities discuss the significance of these (or lack of it), there are countless stories across the world and across history that show dreams have a profound impact upon our lives. From dreams that warn us of health concerns to dreams of deceased family members to future lovers: our nightly adventures can lead us on a journey that we may never have thought possible.
I remember when I was young I was never taken in by the line “it’s only a dream”. My dream were as real to me as waking reality and I seemed to have an innate understanding that they meant more. I was born with my natal Sun in the 9th House along with Mercury, Venus (conjunct MC), Saturn and the North Node – yes it’s busy up there! It’s perhaps no surprise then that I should feel such a big pull to the world of dreams. The 9th House has been called The House of God and also The House of Dreams. I also have Jupiter in the first house (natural ruler of the 9th and co-ruler of dreamy Pisces) so I often seem to get the message across to people without even meaning to. My Mercury is at the apex of a perfect Finger of God (Yod) that connects Uranus and Neptune so it’s perhaps no surprise then I find myself writing and talking about dreams. I’ve often found people naturally open conversations about their dreams before they know I have a particular interest. It seems to be knitted into the fabric of my being that dreams will play a great part in my life (along with the other 9th house themes).
Whilst I was born into a certain pre-occupation with dreaming and the search for meaning through occult/spiritual studies, I believe we can all benefit from having a better undertanding of our dream lives.
We always need to look at the chart as a whole but I personally connect Jupiter and Neptune to dreams along with their respective 9th and 12th Houses. The 9th house is connected to prophecy and intuition and the search for meaning. The 12th House is where we become one and connect with the unconconscious and the archetypal entities that link the human race together.
Both dreams and astrology show us patterns that are at work in our lives. Over the course of time certain symbols become personalised so that we can recognise them when they appear. For example, I dream of spiders when I am fearful and wasps when I am angry. In fact if I’m very angry, wasps are drawn to me in waking reality too! It is certainly a strong incentive to explore my anger and deal with it rather than face one of these creatures!
The above are simple examples but if you keep track of your dreams (and synchronicity too) you will find that certain things speak to you.
A dream journal is an integral part of dreamworking. Dreams are notoriously evasive and even the most vivid adventure can rapidly recede into the depths of the subconscious. Memory can also play tricks over time, embellishing or subtracting details or confusing the order of events.
Writing down your dreams has a two-fold purpose. Firstly to accurately record details of dreams and secondly to bring the dream into conscious awareness. Even the act of writing down a dream may trigger immediate connections and understanding.
Buy a notepad and pen to use only for your dreams. Going out especially for these is like telling yourself that you mean business. You have the intention that you are serious about working with your dreams.
There are many beautiful dream journals to be found both online and in the high street, however if you are anything like me, writing neatly when you have just woken up may be quite difficult! It is nice to keep your dream in an attractive dedicated dream journal, but I would recommend a cheap notepad and pen for initial recording. This can then be copied into your dream journal.
You could also use a loose-leaf A4 pad and a ring binder to keep everything together. The advantage of this is that you can add in pages wherever you need to.
Having access to a computer means that you can choose to type all your dreams – keeping them neat and accessible. Don’t forget to back-up! Hard drives do fail (as I have learned to my cost) so don’t take the chance of losing all your dreams. Some may never be remembered. If you live with others, password protect your work to keep it private.
Another idea is to use a diary/journal website which can be private or public or of course a blog if you are happy to share.
I would recommend that you keep a journal of your daily waking life as well as a dream journal. Your waking journal needs to include an account of the day and your feelings and responses to those events. This can be very useful for when you start working with your dreams as you will be able to clearly see where some of your dream images or situations came from.
You may wish to share with others what you have written in your journals but do this through choice. Don’t leave journals where curious eyes can find them. Also, if you know they might be read, you may end up writing more for your audience than for yourself.
Some people choose a tape recorder rather than a notepad which can be very effective. Personally I find the power of speech beyond me when I first awaken, but for some it is the best form of recording.
These days I use iDailyDiary which is a free program to download. Simple to use, I write about both my life and dreams. At the beginning of the year I note at the top of each page any important astrological happenings. I use a blue font colour for dreams and black for my own thoughts. I also sometimes highlight the whole page in a bright colour when I’ve had a vivid dream so that’s it’s easy to see when I flick back over the days. There is also a full search function which will search for any word in your diary. On the last day of the year I create a list of my dreams, giving each a title that will jog my memory. By the end of the year I have an index to my dreaming year. Dreams are backed up year by year on a cd and I also print them out and keep them in a folder as well – just to be absolutely sure!
What do I need to Record?
Once you have a decided on a way to record your dreams, the next stage is to look at exactly what you need to record.
Make sure that you note the day, date (including the year), and the time you awoke. Sometimes we don’t remember dreams upon awakening – instead we experience a moment when the dream is broken by something that happens during our day. If this happens, then note the time that you recalled the dream as this is the moment it was ‘born’ into conscious awareness. I also include the phase of the Moon and any exact transits or progressions. Women may also wish to include their menstrual cycle as many women have noticed changes in their dream patterns which correspond to this.
Try to remain as relaxed and quiet as possible as you record and do it as soon as you possibly can after waking.
Don’t worry about the order of events in dreams at first. Just get down as many details as you can. It doesn’t have to be a logical process – just make a note of what you remember as you remember it. Sketch illustrations if you need or want to.
Everything in a dream is there for a reason. The subconscious has millions of objects, scenarios, settings and dialogues to choose from. Why this image or that person?
If you recall it – record it.
As well as noting what happened in the dream, make sure you include how you felt. This gives the dream context and depth. If you were just an observer witnessing a scene, say so. Did you feel like you were playing a part in the story?
I was floating towards a small island…
is very different from
I was floating towards a small island and I felt really scared
If you have any immediate associations or understanding as you recall your dream make a note of these too. For example did the person you argued with in your dream remind you of your brother/wife/mother? Did the house you found yourself in remind you of somewhere you used to live?
These immediate associations are likely to be valuable when you begin working with your dreams.
Recording your dreams is not only a necessary part of dreamworking but also a fascinating creative journey of personal discovery. I have kept a dream diary since 1981 and it is amazing to look over old dreams and see how certain themes and patterns emerged, changed and died away or how some symbols seem to have been with me for eternity. It also is amazing to see clues and signposts that pointed the way ahead. Dream journals also capture the essence of your waking life and looking back at dreams often prompts waking reality memories.
Astrological dreamwork is a intriguing process. The first thing to look at is whether there are any major transits and progressions occuring in your chart. Think about the images used in the dream and how they may relate to certain planets and houses. Do they connect with any major chart movements? Do they relate to any natal chart themes?
Another way of working is to erect a chart for the moment you remembered the dream. You can work with it in much the same way as you would with a horary or similar stand-alone chart.
Over time you may notice that you remember more dreams during Sun in Scorpio than you do at any other time of year for example or maybe you dream more at Full or new Moon. Perhaps eclipses trigger nightmares, or transits to the North Node lucid dreams. Maybe Saturn transits really seem to inhabit your dream worlds yet Venus transits don’t seem to touch you. Perhaps Chiron is calling out for some attention or you are connecting to the energy of one of the fixed stars or asteroids because they have something to teach you. All these things can be noted and pondered upon and give you an added dimension of discovery and new ways to connect with the energies represented in your chart.
Have you noticed any connection with your dream-life and your chart? I’d love to hear about it so please do leave your comments below.