Bewitched by a 2-millennium spell, we sleep. But the inky black night is not
forever. Unbeknownst to us, the earth continues to rotate and the nighttime
thrall gradually loosens its hypnotic hold. We start to stir. In the dim
light of the approaching day, we are roused to consciousness. When full
awareness returns, the enchantment of slumber is broken. We wake to a whole
new perspective of our previous preoccupation. We were dreaming! For two
thousand years, we were dreaming.
There's a quiet revolution lying dormant in the land of sleep. As earth
progresses along the path of the Vernal Equinox through the astrological
cosmos, the Age of Pisces rolls over in bed and turns to face the dawning of
the Age of Aquarius. Dozing obliviously, we may not know we're due for a
wake-up call from Uranus, the revolutionary ruler of Aquarius. The light is
beginning to glow, as the earth turns ever onward. There are already signs
of the coming day, should we care to raise our heads out of the covers and
look. But when sleep paralysis remains an impediment, we're likely to
misconstrue a false awakening for the real thing. As we struggle towards
lucidity, we will still have to traverse the era of the false dawn.
Is the Age of Aquarius going to be a Utopian fantasy or an Apocalyptic
horror? How about neither? The first idea is wrought with rosy Piscean
idealism; the second is a projection washed with the black and blue of
Piscean pessimism. The Apocalypse was John the Evangelist's biblical vision
of the End of Days. It occurred at the beginning of the Age of Pisces, as a
fixed prophecy of a fated future, and has been haunting us ever since. It's
an old repeating nightmare designed to panic us into submission to a
dictatorship of fear. Only now are we wakening to the testable fact that
such stress mongering is neither just nor healthy.
During the Christian era, the world has been dominated by a god with
Piscean qualities and values: sacrifice, denial of the physical and
denigration of the flesh. A hallowed saint could raise nightmarish suffering
to an ecstatic art, where the only dream of worth was communion with that
god. But the average person had to trade the bleak possibility of big dreams
for the hope of bliss in the afterlife. In the meantime, her normative dream
was yet more confirmation that life is a battle between good and evil. There
was nothing to do but lie down and take it, then stumble to her feet to
relate tales of sleep time trauma turned folklore and myth.
Pisces, the fish, is an apt symbol for the age. The constellation consists
of two fish, tied at their tails (their tales?) and pulling in different
directions. The path of the Vernal Equinox first traversed the fish looking
backwards and Pisces has truly been fixated on the past. The Equinox is
currently positioned below the belly of the second fish. Since Pisces #2 is
pointing forward, in the direction of Aquarius, we are beginning to feel his
pull, right down to our guts. Yes, there's a new fisherman above the waves,
luring us in his direction, but we're still very much living below the
surface. This about-face in fishy orientation is what we call the "New Age."
But it's not the Age of Aquarius yet. It's actually a new phase of the
Piscean Age a stage I call the Neptunian Transformation.
For the most part, the "New Age" is a long way from being truly Aquarian,
except in subtle influence and developing structure. Most of the ideas and
activities are still very much Piscean. They may seem new to us, because
they've been hiding in the murky deep for so long and we're just uncovering
or re-discovering them. All over our watery globe, the liberating energy of
Aquarius is bringing traditional ideas to the surface. The detection of the
historical and mythical past of dreams, the disclosure of the secrets of the
occult, the revelation of new religious views, the realization that there's
an entire world of many diverse dream cultures these are the lights that
are starting to illuminate the dawn. But this still-hazy dream recall is
only a review of the previous dark night, an overview of where we've been.
The more innovative Piscean notions are a result of a revolution instigated
by Uranus, whose eccentric orbit revealed the existence of the planet
Neptune. Previously, Pisces had been "ruled" by Jupiter (a stand-in for
Jehovah and other patriarchal gods). But with the discovery of Neptune,
Pisces was reassigned this new ruler, and Pisces took to it like a duck to
water. You might say that, in terms of dreams at least, Pisces finally found
her footing. She's beginning to stand up and reveal what she's been hiding
for more than half the age. The Neptunian Transformation allows her to
display more of her real self than ever before. And this is the amazing
renovation-in-progress that Pisces feels in the depths of her soul. When
Pisces is energized by Neptune, dreams are no longer idolized or ignored. We
recognize that they live within us, swimming below the surface of our daily
Neptune, the god of the sea, is a much better match with the fish. When
Sigmund Freud proclaimed dreams the royal road to the unconscious, dreams
became linked with the undercurrents of human psychology. Carl Jung
metaphorically linked it with the sea. Suddenly, the idea of the great sea
of unconscious was born into our social awareness. There's resonance with
mythic stories, folk tales like "The Little Mermaid" and poetry like
"Winkin, Blinkin and Nod" in which the nocturnal sailors go trolling for
dream fish. The notion that dreams are linked with story, myth and art is
very Piscean, as is the idea that a dream has a "meaning" that can be fished
out of the unconscious sea.
Ironically, the tools for this fishing expedition provided by Jung, Freud
and their contemporaries aren't dream tools at all. Pisces is slippery,
fragile and allergic to analysis, so she tends to keep it at fin's length.
Thus, Freud and Jung had to provide waking tools, like free association and
amplification, which depend on the exercise of non-sleeping imagination.
This post-dream work occurs when the dream is already done. It really
doesn't have anything to do with the process of dreaming but rather prods
and expands and analyzes dream "reports". That is, it relies on verbal
memories and written records of dreams long after the original event has
happened. It's a very "hands-off" approach that keeps the dreaming at a safe
distance (in the past, of course) and keeps our waking egos in our "comfort
zone." Supposedly we need this witness inhibition to deal securely with our
unconscious demons. We aren't encouraged to take a first-hand view and get
into the action, for that is contrary to the passive Piscean perspective.
Neither are we encouraged to develop a first-hand relationship with the
dream. Rather, we treat it as a "thing" that's supposed to come to our aid.
This attitude is in for a big modification when Aquarius rises above the
The Aquarian revolution is about a switch in values, from a dominator
paradigm to a partnership paradigm. No more can Pisces be a passive follower
with her head stuck in story; now she's being called to be an active, voting
member of the Aquarian community council. An effective council member needs
to know what's actually happening in both the physical world and the world
of dream. Suddenly, the link between the dreaming and the waking life of the
dreamer becomes crucial, as is the link between dreams and the link between
In the meantime, during the Neptunian Transformation, we sleep as fish
floating dreamily beneath the surface of the sea of unconscious. Round and
round in mandala circles we drift in the current, washed wherever the
undertow takes us. We only seem to stir from our liquid lethargy to flee the
monsters of the id.
As Piscean fishermen and fisherwomen, we gaze back from the waking world
into the mysterious murk, looking for omens and signs in the dim remembrance
of slumber. "What does this mean?" we question, hoping to catch sight of an
animated jewel slipping between the waves.
And so we weave our dreamwork nets with the warp of theory and the woof of
technique and cast them into the ocean, dredging up day residue and fish
fragments. Taking symbol snapshots, we freeze them in a perpetual moment of
time. Former living creatures transform into memory clips and written
recordings. In our ignorance, we call them "dreams." As dead objects, we can
work on them as we please. We slice and dice them, seeking understanding in
their skeletal remains. How strangely colorless they appear, here in the
glare of daytime bias. Greedy for mystical meaning, truly needy for
nutritional narrative, we pick over the remnants and quickly, intuitively
decide it isn't enough. It's not okay for these sorts of "dreams" to just
lay there, raw, staring at us out of dead eyes.
When these fillets don't fulfill our needs, we must expand the menu. And so
we dress up the Piscean pieces with the produce grown on the dry land of
waking imagination. We garnish them with mushroom myths and lemon wedge
legends. We drown them in the sauce of free association, archetypal
amplification and Oedipal illusion. And should we invite other diners to the
feast, the opinion onions and potluck prejudice of their after-words simply
adds weight to the groaning table.
What can we call the concoction created at this banquet?
Waking-work-on-dream-reports, perhaps. This sort of "dreamwork" assumes that
"dreams" are mere afterthoughts about the event and not the events while
they are happening. Likewise, a "dreamer" is the person who reacts to the
incident in the waking state, not the one who acts within the dream world.
"Dreaming" isn't in-dream activity but the imaginative embellishment of a
poorly remembered and poorly recorded sleep time event. Or maybe it's just
waking imagination, no sleeping dreams need apply.
There's an old saying that goes, "Whoever discovered water, it wasn't a
fish." I think we've yet to discover our dreams! We'll have to stop swimming
in self-absorbed circles in the waking state to realize that dreams aren't
what's left after we embellish them with waking imagination.
Or maybe they are, and we should just leave them be. Then call what goes on
before and during sleep something else entirely. A new Aquarian term without
the old Piscean baggage. A term to indicate what we do ahead of time and
during the dream to keep us aquatic creatures active and alive, rather than
apathetic and oblivious.
This way, we find significance not in symbol fragments washed up on the
shore. We don't ask, "What does this mean?" at arm's length. Meaning is
enmeshed in the very sea life that surrounds us. We live life in sleep as we
act life in the waking state. And in the acting, in the living, we don't
have to talk endlessly about meaning. We actually experience it, first-hand.
The Aquarian waking is not going to be easy for Pisces, and she knows it.
It's far easier to continue to slumber than to get out of bed. At the
moment, she identifies with being a sensitive soul who requires gentle
handling. Her hope is that she can rouse herself to the situation without
dashing hopes or diminishing ideals, but I'm afraid this delusion is a pipe
dream if Pisces thinks she can continue to swim in the tsunamis of old
beliefs. It's not that hopes and ideals will disappear, just dependence on
the old tales and myths.
Out in the fresh air, we can see clearly that we don't "have" dreams, like
having a common cold, nor do we "own" dreams to manipulate as we please, nor
do dreams "serve" us like slaves to our waking passions. The dream isn't a
personal tidal pool or merely an oceanic feeling. It is a vibrant reality of
distinct, yet networked individual entities. It is an ongoing story we
continue to live from the inside-out, a virtual adventure while we sleep.