Book Review

Review excerpt by Sue Lewis published in Conjunction Magazine/Newsletter November 2014, Issue # 62  by   http://astrologicalpsychology.org/

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 – familiar to him and topical in 2014 is that of troop demobilization and the difficulties of combat soldiers’ 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.

A review by Marilyn Burnett:

Dreams and Astrological Psychology

 

John D Grove

 

Published by: HopeWell

Price:  £9.98 (paperback)

 

Reviewed by Marilyn Burnett, Dip. APA  .  This review was published in the magazine of the Astrological Association of Great Britian.  Link:  http://www.astrologicalassociation.com/

 

I was thrilled when I heard of the publication of this new book which combines the interpretation of dreams with astrological psychology. I had been keen to read anything that would further enhance the Huber Method of Age Progression as a means of understanding the journey of psychological and spiritual growth. This book has done just that with the bonus of being both fascinating and clear, although I did occasionally find the phrasing a little convoluted. John states that the “purpose for writing this book is to make us all our own psychologist” and by using these twin tools we can “begin to understand the puzzle of our own psychic existence.”

As far as I can determine, John has no previous published writings, but he has practiced for 40 years in a conventional, professional environment of empirical psychotherapy. He says he has spent much of his life living in two contrasting worlds – his professional psychotherapy, based on Jungian theory and his more private interest in astrological psychology. He had felt it difficult to integrate these owing to a perceived threat of professional marginalisation. However, now retired, he feels able to reconcile these worlds and combine the two approaches. Consequently, we are now able to benefit from his vast knowledge and experience.

The first chapters review the predominant psychotherapies, particularly in the US, which emphasise ego development. These, he says, are helpful in strengthening the ego to deal with the world, but do not take account of psychic disturbances triggered by the search for the spiritual and meaning in life.  He believes, on both a global and personal level, that this “ego world is waning and the ego may, in its present form at least, have exceeded its evolutionary purpose” and a new holistic approach is needed.

Drawing on personal experience and that of clients over many years, he has learnt that there are developmental crisis points in a person’s life when problems seem to intensify. Having used Jungian dream analysis in his work, he discovered that significant dreams coincide with these crisis points. He believes dreams contain vital information, that they are important for self-understanding and that they can guide us towards both inner and outer goals.

More recently, he discovered that the Huber Age Point transits to significant points in the birth chart signify these same crises. He explains, using splendidly illuminating examples drawn from his own dreams and those of close acquaintances, how these methods used side by side can shed light on current dilemmas. From these, inspiration and direction can be gained on how to handle these crises allowing us to move forward more positively. Although John explains the Huber Method of Age Progression sufficiently to allow understanding, I feel it worth mentioning that this method of timing in the chart can only be successfully used with an accurate birth time and the Koch house system.

How to keep a dream journal for interpretation is covered, as are the various types of dream: precognitive dreams, messages from deceased persons giving us valuable information, teleological-healing dreams that help to resolve neurotic complexes, and dreams that reveal personal unconscious structures that compensate for one-sided complexes. Also covered, are dreams involving both the animus and anima and how these can be recognised in our birth chart. I found these particularly helpful as he explains the various developmental stages and how they appear in dreams as conflicts and tensions. These conflicts, he declares, are necessary in guiding us towards individuation and wholeness.

For me, this was a thought provoking book and I consider that, for anyone interested in psychological and spiritual development in the context of astrology, this is a must read!