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Astrology and Dreams

In many ancient societies, a significant dream was shared with the whole village, it was then decided if the dream was a personal dream or a group dream. In early Mesopotamian times medicine dreams were studied to learn the intentions of the gods.

In 770 BCE the first Aesculapian sanctuaries or temples were built with the serpent symbol adorning the entrance. Treatments were of a holistic nature with bathing and fasting helping to restore the patient back to health. Patients were also given sleeping draughts to encourage them to have healing dreams. This was known as the ‘incubation dream’ and it was believed that Asclepius, the Greek God of Medicine, would appear to the patients in their dreams and prescribe cures for their ailments. Patients dreams were analysed by the priests who were also healers and known as the ‘Asclepiades’. This appears to be an early form of psychotherapy.

All through history and across many cultures, man and women have tried to read their fate in the night sky. Spellbound by the motions of the heavenly bodies, every major civilization has developed its own way of associating them with the mystic powers that determine our destiny.

Dreams about the heavens often convey a sense of the timelessness and unchanging nature of ultimate reality you can feel at one with the stars and your very being absorbed into the far reaches of the universe via journeys in your dreams.

Rarely, do the stars and planets carry pessimistic connotations although some dreamers interpret them have emphasising the triviality of human life in the face of the immense distant force of the universe.

Sometimes the dreaming mind is able to use planets to convey metaphorical meaning, drawing upon their associations with mythology, history and the universal consciousness. For example; Mars is linked with war, passion and rage; Venus with love and eroticism; Jupiter with completeness, pleasure and well being; Saturn with intelligence, masculinity and sometime with Pan or the Devil.

Planets normally appear individually in dreams, but if there is more than one it may be their juxtaposition that is important. The sun and moon together may signify the relationship between the conscious and unconscious minds, rational irrational, while Saturn and Venus can stand for the bond between male and female.

Dreams are riddled with paradoxes, and to look out, is also to look within. Thus, gazing into the night sky can be a symbol for exploring the unconscious, where the unlimited possibilities of the imagination make the everyday concerns of the conscious mind seem trivial and insignificant in comparison.

Over the centuries the interpretation of dreams seems to have been largely the domain of fortune tellers and astrologers. But Sigmund Freud investigated the dreams of the unconscious mind in his book Interpretation of Dreams. He maintained that dreams are largely due to wishes that remain unfulfilled in daily life and become actuated in our dreams. He indicated that dreams have a function and purpose. He stated that dreams came in two types; ‘the manifest content’, the story line, and the ‘latent content’, the underlying meaning of the dream.

Later Carl Gustav Jung suggested that we should ask what conscious attitude the dream offsets. The dream may then show us the direction the unconscious is heading. He also suggested that we discern whether the dream was ‘personal’ or ‘collective’. This is somewhat reminiscent of early tribal thought, Native Americans and Senoi people for example. Humanist psychology looks to the dreamer for the best understanding of their own dreams with the aid of a trained counsellor off course?

Emotions are exaggerated in dreams to present a deeper impression so that we are urged to do something. In sleep the inhibitions of the cortex of the brain are cut off so that the emotional centres are unrestrained, and thus emotions become more compelling and vivid. But are these dreams really our own. Esoteric thought assumes that they may not be.

Dreams, according to Alice Bailey’s work, fall into the following broad categories.

  • There are dreams which deal with problems and stresses of every day which probably do not have much significance and could be due to the fact that the person in not sleeping soundly enough.
  • Some dreams can be a register of true activity, the dream relates to the continuance of the day’s activity carried forward on the astral plane.
  • When we dream we are in another dimension, the astral or emotional plane, and act as observers. That dimension is people with their dreams and we can observe that is going on with other people and sometimes we remember this when we wake up. We think it is our dream but it is only an observation?
  • People on a more advanced level of consciousness, who are primarily concerned with the welfare of others, have dreams which take them to the ‘Halls of learning’ here they receive advanced teaching in the hours of their dreaming sleep.

Teaching as well as dreams and prophecy are all associated with the 9th house. Prophecy has of course, always been allied with dreams. Could it be that the predictive quality of dreams is based on the superior alertness of our unconscious minds? Whilst our conscious mind is busy with everyday activity the unconscious mind may well be adept at observing more subliminal phenomena bringing it to focus through a dream. To dream about astrology could indicate a cry for help in your waking life?

William Lilly in Christian Astrology helps us to understand the mechanics of astrological interpretation of dreams. Although he seems less than fascinated with the subject himself, he said, “I hold it vaine to be more large upon this discourse”. Nevertheless, he suggests that in Horary questions, (a chart drawn up when asking a question of an astrologer) planets in the 9th house will yield a description of the dream. Here planets seem to remain on the symbolic level, this sounds analogous to Fraud’s “manifest content” of dream theory. Further Lily suggests that the house/s ruled by the 9th house planets should pin-point the area of life linked to the dream. This could be Freud’s “latent content” of the dream?

Lily gives two examples. If the planet ruling the dream (the planet in the 9th) is lord of the 2nd house it might refer to “money or personal estate”. “The matter proceeds from kindred, neighbours of bad reports”. What effect the actual dream has upon the Querent is due to the aspect between any planet in the 9th house) or Lord of the 9th) to the Lord of the Ascendant. The Querent will be affected in a prejudicial way if the aspect is a square or opposition. For instance the 2nd house ruler afflicted, the Querent receives prejudice from the estate’.

The Querent need not fear a prejudicial interpretation of his dream if there are “good planets in the 9th house” as well as in the Ascendant. The Querent will also fare well if the Lord of the Ascendant is trine to sun, Jupiter or Venus. These might be mitigating factors to other more stressful combinations. For instance, if Saturn is in the 9th, especially when accompanied by the South Node this could indicate a nightmare quality. The house ruled by Saturn should describe the worry that has disturbed the dreamer, thus causing fretful dream or a nightmare?

It is probable that if the outer planets are positioned in the 9th house, this might describe what Jung called a ‘collective dream’. Remember how the ancients divided dreams into the ‘personal’ and ‘collective’, though not necessarily using those terms.

The planets significant of the dream may be the ‘messages of the gods’, but we have to interpret the Gods meaning. For instance, Lilly tells us that dreams of gold, money, a person in high esteem and place of preferment are significant of the Sun. Could the Sun also indicate a Mandala symbol pointing the way towards wholeness for the dreamer? The Moon tends to stir up dreams of waters which refer to our emotions. Mercury dreams describe young people or books heralding fresh news perhaps. Venus rules sweet smell, love, fine garments and banquets but is this perhaps the anima (the feminine) making an appearance for the dreamer? Mars might describe wars and violence but this just could be the stirring to animus (the masculine).

A Jupiter dream tends to indicate the gentry or church matters and happily, this might indicate an expansion or improvement in some area of life. A dream of digging up the ground, finding treasure in cave, dark places and evils are Saturn dreams. Are such dreams referring to obstacles? Uranus might join to bizarre or futuristic type dreams and could herald an unexpected change. Neptune tends to describe foggy dreams and bring dissolution of some situation for good or ill. Pluto might be significant of dreams of oppression, revealing a message or importance. With Chiron a wound may be surfacing and Lilith will deny goals and aspirations.

In his Nativities’ section of Christian Astrology Lily gives some more helpful hints to dream interpretation. He suggests good effect will arise from dreams when Venus and Jupiter are in the 9th or any other house signifying the dream. However, the aspects are all important. If the planets are afflicted; it appears there is some ambiguity in the situation. If the in fortunes are in the 9th house this point to ‘scurvy’ (shameless, scurrilous) dreams and ‘wholly deceitful’.

Directory of Dream Meanings for Astrological Figures

  • Comets: Throughout history comets have been a warning of misfortune or disaster. The modern dreamer is more liable to associate them with a danger signal; the possibility of a dazzling but temporary success followed by rapid fall and ultimate destruction. They also stand for inspiration, ideas and insights that are flashing luminously from the unconscious mind.
  • Moon: The Moon often symbolizes the feminine aspect, the goddess, the queen of the night and the mystery of veiled secret things. It is also associated with water, the tides and with imagination. A full moon may be a sign of serenity and stillness, representing the dreamer’s potential for meditation, a new moon is an obvious symbol of new beginnings.
  • Stars: As well as signifying fate and the celestial powers, the stars can stand for the dreamer’s high states of consciousness. One single star burning more brightly than the rest can suggest success in opposition with others, but may also serve to prompt the dreamer of his or her responsibilities to those of lesser capability. The brightest star could also be the one that is closest to destruction as it could be closest to burning itself out.
  • Sun: To dream of the sun has a strong implication of the masculine, the world of unconcealed things the conscious mind, the intellect, and the father. A fiery burning sun can indicate the intellect’s power to make a desert out of the dreamer’s emotional life or can indicate fame and renown. Conversely, the sun hidden by clouds can suggest the emotions overruling irrationality.

Extract from Dreamtime. (A History, Mythology, Physiology and Guide to the Interpretation of Dreams.) By Linda Louisa Dell

Published by Capall Bann, spring 2008, at £17.95 (Web page: www.capallbann.co.uk)