Dreams and Astrological Psychology
The Way through the Maze of the Unconscious
by John D. Grove
Review by Sue Lewis
This slender but thought-provoking volume extends the scope of HopeWell publishers, which has, over the past ten years, made key texts by the Hubers readily available in English, and published helpful new manuals on astrological psychology and how to bring the chart alive by Joyce Hopewell and Richard Llewellyn.
In Dreams and Astrological Psychology, John Grove, recently retired from an American hospital for veterans, shares his insights into how to achieve levels of consciousness motivated more by ‘the courage to be’ than by those narrowly competitive and divisive drives to earn and possess to which most of us are encouraged to give priority, and he shows how techniques taught by the Astrological Psychology Association (APA) can combine with Jungian dream analysis to become tools ‘for reflective investigation of one’s own psyche and psychological and spiritual development’ (pp. 9 and 47).
The book opens by addressing the problem of personality disorders, usually brought on by particularly stressful circumstances and changing cultural norms. Such labels stigmatize and deprive a person of future job opportunities, perpetuating social dysfunction instead of facilitating the healing of psychological wounds and opening a way to social reintegration and psychosynthesis. Thankfully, the latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association (DSM-V) has at last dropped personality disorders from its diagnostic categories but much still needs to be done to bring about a ‘more holistic approach’ incorporating ‘humanistic considerations’ (p. 9).
Not only has Western society been hitherto too quick to adversely label individuals who stray from prescribed norms, but individuals have over-identified with specific career paths, thereafter suffering loss of ego when the identifying job comes to an end. The example Grove gives is from his own dream in 2014 (p. 88, dream 1/19/2014) in which there is hope for retirement by realization of the bountiness of life after work is done in the active world.
As we commemorate the centenary of the start of World War 1 and the 70th anniversary of D-Day – is that of troop demobilization and the difficulties of readjustment to civilian life. Dreams ‘can have a compensatory or balancing role in the psyche between the conscious ego and the Self which generates all dream content’ (p. 50), and many returning soldiers experience traumatic dreams re-enacting the fire fights in which their comrades were killed. Such nightmares are treated with Imagery Rehearsal Therapy, a visualization technique during which the subject reviews the images of the last dream, and then rewrites their tragic ending to create a positive outcome. According to Catherine Shainberg – with whom the Spanish Huber School have been working – similar techniques were ‘used by ancient prophets, seers, and sages to control dreams and visions’. Drawing parallels in astrological psychology, we frequently find the unconscious imagery of dreams in the Moon Node Chart and its eruption into present life is often signalled by Natal and/or Nodal Age Progression exacerbated by Transits.
According to Ira Progoff (1921-98), Jung’s ‘concept of synchronicity was originally suggested to him by his observations in studying the deep levels of the Self, especially as he noted the correlation between the movement of events within dreams and the style of interpretation that he found in certain ancient, especially oriental, scriptures and commentaries with respect to changes of destiny in the course of human life’ (Jung, Synchronicity and Human Destiny (1973), p. 3). Progoff, an American psychotherapist who trained with Jung, is best known for the ongoing Intensive Journal Method, and Grove attended two of his journal workshops at key turning points, the first whenhis Age Pointhad just crossed the Low Point in house 4, and the second as it emerged from the Low Point in house 9 at the time of his mother’s death. These intensive workshops assisted the processing of complex material from the depths in preparation for a new phase of life experience, and the journal provides the thread connecting dreams and symbols, showing a way through the maze of the unconscious, while the Age Point records their sequential order on the Life-Clock.
Jung’s posthumous Memories, Dreams, Reflections (1961) provided the Hubers with autobiographical data with which to illustrate the ebb and flow of the life cycle. Memories and The Red Book (2009) recount Jung’s visions of ‘rivers of blood’, symptomatic not only of personal crisis but also of impending war, and his example inspired Grove, many of whose dreams have ramifications in the social and global context stretching well beyond the critical personal moment, and their precognitive nature becomes clearer with later reinterpretation