Dreamwork and 4 Ways to Get StartedAug 02, 2023
Welcome to Pisces Season!
What is Dreamwork?
It never ceases to amaze me how the symbolism in astrology and Jungian psychology go hand in hand. Jung (who, might I add, conducted extensive research on the use of astrology) believed that dreams are an extremely important part of ‘individuation’, a term he coined to describe the process of integrating shadow and coming home to the authentic self - a returning to wholeness if you will.
Shadow work is a practice of making the unconscious conscious, and dreams are a direct gateway to the unconscious realms. The beauty of dreams is that although they are incredibly abstract, they never lie. They expose our most intimate and vulnerable parts, showing us the truth of our hearts, minds, and perceptions. They portray how we are relating to ourselves and the outer world, helping us to sort through complex emotions. They reveal exactly what we need to see in order to evolve and call our attention to important messages through powerful or startling visuals, sometimes taking the form of nightmares. Dreams can even be prophetic, or otherworldly. For this reason, dreamwork allows us to be active participants in our individuation processes, spiritual evolution, and connection to the divine.
When we do dreamwork, we’re saying ‘I’m interested in my evolution and I’m listening’.
Jung believed that we are always trying to return to a state of wholeness, whether conscious of it or not. We’re always doing individuation work (though doing it with conscious awareness catalyzes the process). Whether asleep or awake, we’re evolving as we work through our ‘life problems’. Our dreams are manifestations of this.
As a former scientist myself in the medical field, I have come to see this as a sort of psychic homeostasis. Just as the physical body employs a variety of mechanisms to keep us in a state of equilibrium or harmony, our psychic bodies do the same. I believe that ‘wholeness’ and ‘authenticity’ is a psychic homeostasis that we long to return to (this gets into the philosophy of Harmony and symbolism of Venus).
Pisces and Dreams
At the time that I am writing this article, we’re navigating through Pisces season, an ethereal sign that is deeply connected to imagination, fantasy, spirituality and dreams.
Like dreams, astrology is a language of symbolism and reflects the evolutionary journey of the human experience - once we master the lessons of one sign, we move on to the next. However, Pisces is the last sign of the zodiac. Thus, it is all encompassing - it carries the weight of every single sign’s experience. This is reflective of Pisces associations to oneness….and also, the collective unconscious.
Jung believed that we access the collective unconscious (as well as the personal unconscious) through dreamwork. The collective unconscious being the parts of our unconscious minds that are tapped into ancestral memory. The symbols and archetypes (like the mother, father, child, trickster, etc.) that played important roles in our survival, and appear in our dreams as metaphors for our evolution. This is a collective knowledge that is shared by all humankind and unites us all (again emphasizing the Piscean theme of oneness).
So, you can see that dreams are SO much more than fantastical and nonsensical babble. Dreams reflect our own individuation processes as we integrate shadow and connect us to all human beings through a common language.
As we navigate Pisces season, here are 4 ways to get started on doing dreamwork…
How to do Dreamwork
Set Intentions for Dreaming
You can do a ritual before bed, sit in meditation, or simply set intentions for dreaming and remembering your dreams. To solidify your intentions, say them out loud or write them down. You can also make a sachet of herbs, crystals, or anything else that represents the dream state and infuse your intentions into the bag. If you’d like to get specific, you can think about a situation you’d like to gain clarity around or work through. Ask for symbols and messages pertaining to shadow work and individuation. Lastly, you can create an altar specifically for dreamwork.
Record your dreams
Keep a dream journal and regularly record your dreams. It’s best to give yourself space in the morning when you wake up to remember your dreams by meditating and refraining from looking at your phone right away. Record them in your journal when your memory is most sound. As you make a habit of recording your dreams, you may find that you’ll remember more of them. As you record them, notice if your body is naturally registering connections with ‘aha moments’ or a general state of familiarity. This can help you connect the dots to certain situations or experiences you’re moving through.
3. Explore emotions, textures, and symbols
Textures and emotions felt during dreams are incredibly important. They reveal how we’re feeling about ourselves, others, and the world. This can help us gain clarity around current perceptions or stories that are no longer serving us, and reveal the ways in which we need to evolve - what we need to let go of or cultivate to return to a state of wholeness or homeostasis. The language of dreams is symbolic, so if a snake appears in your dream, it carries both universal symbolism as well as personal meaning. First, explore what the symbol means to you and personal associations. You can refer to collective symbolism as well archetypal analysis. Pay attention to what stands out, whether that’s certain colors, symbols, characters, emotions, textures, or imagery. Also, take note of the characters that play important roles in your dream and their traits or qualities. They too serve as symbols.
4. Journal or Meditate
After you’ve recorded the dream and have let it sink in, journal about it. Write down possible interpretations or questions you have around the dream. Record any realizations or dots that you have connected, and contemplate on the underlying messages of the dream as an attempt to bring you into homeostasis. You can also meditate on the dream, and even incorporate active imagination by interacting with the characters from your dream. You can ask them questions or create a dialogue about what you are experiencing. Meditating on the symbols and textures can also help you gain clarity as well. Take care to put insights into practice by taking action and altering your behavior, choices, or mindsets.