In my Dreamwork, I have really departed from the behaviorist interpretation of behavior and looked at the individual as the subjective source of truth. That departure has certain consequences. Below is an excerpt from my book Dreams and Astrological Psychology in which I know that one has to Believe in what one does and if not, it is not worth doing it because especially with dreamwork, there is a lot of perseverance needed as well as devotion to the task at hand: to find dreams, date them and find an Astrological Psychological correlate to them. Any psychology that proposes to cover the broad subject of the unconscious and its contents, and then refutes tenets of Americanbehavioral psychology that has been dominant in the 21st century, must have justification for its assertions. It is important for us to believe in working with unconscious symbolism through astrology and the self-study of dreams. For without this belief, we cannotrecommend the study of our discipline in a materialistic world. Inpsychological and physical health, belief plays a vital role. Just to prove how important it is to believe in and have a commitment to these disciplines is revealed by Herbert Benson who notes that it has been estimated that belief plays an important and primary role in theresolution of 75% of health problems that do not respond to specific treatments.
Belief in the importance of the interpretation of dreams as vital to good health, individuation and psychological well-being is essential. G. Jung proposed that dreams are an involuntary psychic process and emanate from psychological complexes in the unconscious. He believed and devoted his professional career to the belief that dreamsoffer compensatory functions to our ego identifications, emotionalcorrection and contributions toward problem solving in life.
Nowlin (1965) studied REM (rapid eye movement) sleep which is usually associated in dreaming with the emotional content of dreams. He monitored REM in dreaming subjects in a controlled study and discovered that chest pain is correlated with dreams involving strenuous physical activity and those involving fear, anger and frustration. We can surmise from Nowlin’s study that the subjects’ lack of awareness of the content of their dreams and their lack of ability to modify their behavior based on the knowledge imparted by their dreams led to health issues with chest pain.
Dream images have contents that are symbolic. As Jung explains,
“A term or image is symbolic when it means more than it denotes orexpresses. It has a wider ‘unconscious’ aspect – an aspect that can never be precisely defined or fully explained. This peculiarity is due to the fact that, in exploring the symbol, the mind is finally led towards ideas of a transcendent nature, where our reason must capitulate.”
So going back to Nowlin’s subjects, dream images of strenuous activity was what was experienced by the subjects and that correlated with pain in their bodies in real time.
We may assume that the subjects were being threatened and had to fight their way out or run away.
This is an activity that mobilizes the Central Nervous System. The archetype representing fear, anger, frustration and strenuous activity may be one that represents conflict between forces that would harm one: Attack by a Warrior, a Black Magician, and/or a Witch. There may be many more that would threaten, so I have limited myself to these few. Being unaware of these images or ones like them as they could build a tension and over time result in physical harm to the individual Thus, the importance of dream recall and working with images of dreams is vital to one’s health. But one has to believe in this process for it to work!