Astrology, Dreams, and Poetry


Last Sunday morning I awoke with a dream fragment in my mind. I tried to write down the image, which I’ve done intermittently for the last 40 years, and I ended up with this. You will have to excuse it being in verse, but it arrived as a pictorial image combined with words in rhyme, and I tried to fit the image with the words.  

The beach in the moonlight
with children at play
hauling water in buckets
to make sand into clay; 
they uncover a crayfish 
in a pool left by tides
that ebb into darkness
as small waves subside.
These castles will crumble,
wet sand isn’t clay, 
what they build is a memory
for some other day.
The image was familiar to me. A mixture of The Moon in the Tarot deck and the degree of my natal moon and mid-heaven, the 14th degree of Taurus. The Sabian Symbol for that degree is:  Several children are splashing with delight in a receding tide, and at their feet are shellfish groping for shelter. At the time of the dream, this degree was on the descendant, as if to indicate that area of life as the one most dominated by my emotions at the moment. 
I’ve noticed before that the current position of my moon has offered clues to the content of dreams I’ve had. Not often enough to offer it as a rule, but enough for me to keep looking, just as these discoveries keep me returning to astrology. I use astrology primarily as a way to sort out what is happening within me. Sometimes there isn’t much happening and I don’t need it much, but at other times there’s more than I can sort out by myself.
Forty-two years ago, in 1965 or 1966, I wanted to learn astrology. I had never met an astrologer, had never seen it practiced except in newspaper horoscopes, and I was mainly prompted by astrological references I found in literature. I lived in Ann Arbor, a town that took pride in it’s number of bookstores, and I searched every one of them for a book on astrology without success. Finally, in the smallest bookstore, I found a copy of Astrology by Louis Macneice on a stack of unsold books waiting to be returned to the publisher. I bought it and it became my introduction to astrology. 
Louis Macneice was a well-known poet, though I had not heard of him, and though this book was obviously a commercial work and contained enough gaudy history and ornate illustrations to attract the mass market, it was also rather sensitive in the way it presented astrological thoughts to an objective, rational audience. At the time, I saw this as the way poets approach a work of poetry; they may eventually criticize and analyze it, even deconstruct it, but first they always try to experience it, to see how much life they can find in it. That was the manner I used as I began learning astrology and it remains the attitude that I try to use today.
I went quickly on to other books on astrology, some were opaque and some were transparent, and bit by bit I picked up the pieces of astrological technique that actually worked for me. I spent a few years doing interpretations in our bookstore, but I was never comfortable as a counsellor. When asked a question, I enjoyed answering it, probably in more detail than was asked for, but I never cared to invite questions. I found out quickly that unless there was some curiosity, some question coming from the person I was talking with, that I didn’t have the energy needed to make the symbolism work for them. This is much the same problem I am having in trying to write a blog. Before saying anything, I tend to look to the person who I am speaking to and if there is no one there, or no interest, I don’t say much. That sounds like a reasonable attitude, but in practice it isn’t. There are many times that the need to speak comes from within me and not from outside. 

That is what I see in my dream and why it was on the descendant instead of any other angle. The need, for me, is on the point of the “other”, whether there is anyone there or not, whether anything is permanent or not. Even if everything I say or do is washed away by the next tide, I still am being drawn to that point by something inside me. There are other things I see in that position as well, but I don’t need to try to say everything I see. Of course, seeing what I need is one thing, remembering it is something else.






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