Dreaming with Mary Pat Lynch, USA
Mary Pat, when did you start taking your dreams seriously and why? Do you record them every day?
In one sense, I took my dreams seriously from early childhood. I had intense dreams and many nightmares. While I was not afraid of the dark, I was afraid to go to sleep. It was not unusual for me to wake in the night from a nightmare, but my parents were strict about not getting up once we were in bed, so I learned to stay put and cope with it myself.
I wrote a paper in high school about the new research on REM sleep and dreaming because I wanted to understand this better. But I did not record my dreams or work with them because I didn't know how.
This pattern continued until I ran across one of Robert Moss' books when I was in my early 40's. I was fascinated, found his website, and discovered he was giving a workshop only a few hours away. I took several workshops with him and learned ways to work with my dreams. At that time, I was also learning shamanic journeying, so Moss' approach resonated. I also discovered IASD and the PsiberDream conferences which really opened up a new world of dreaming and working with dreams.
At that time, I began recording my dreams every night and had many highly detailed and wonderful dreams. Almost as soon as I learned about dreamer-centered ways of working with dreams, my nightmares stopped. I still had (and still have) scary and uncomfortable dreams, but the frequent and intense nightmares ceased. I explored many ways of working with dreams.
Today, I am in a phase of not remembering my dreams well at all. I sometimes record the snippets I do remember, but compared to my earlier dream volume and recall, it feels like there is so little to work with. One of my goals for this year, as it happens, is to find ways to regain some of my previous dream recall.
You have a strong background in academia and research. How did you manage to reconcile dreamwork and your interest in astrology, both considered non-scientific, with your formal and academic side?
This has been a struggle! I began studying shamanic journeying, dreamwork, and astrology after a series illness that led to my leaving academia. Still, that academic background was such a strong part of my background and identity, I was hyper-aware that my former colleagues would think I was crazy--and some of them do.
In the end, though, science and the academic enterprise is supposed to be empirical. We are supposed to study things that happen, rather than pretend they are not happening at all. I never intended to pursue these areas so deeply, but I had such powerful experiences. I could not deny them. I could not pretend "nothing was happening." So, I work to integrate all the different parts of me even though it is not always easy.
In recent years you have become quite well known, especially in the dreaming community, for your Rising Moon Astrology. What attracted you to astrology and why do you find it so interesting? In particular, why are you interested in the Moon cycles?
At a dream workshop, during a shamanic journey into a dream, a being appeared who said he was Mercurius and that I needed to get to know him better. I have been following that thread ever since.
Astrology was a natural avenue for getting to know Mercurius better. When I got a copy of my birth chart and saw how important the planet Mercury is for me, I realized this was something I needed to explore more deeply. I didn't go in with the intention of becoming an astrologer, but I found it fascinating. There's always more to learn.
At the last PsiberDreaming Conference in September 2017, you offered a workshop in which you looked at people’s dreams in relation to the solar eclipse that took place in August 2017. Do you think that our dreams are influenced by the Moon cycles? If so, in what way?
This is a complicated question that can be interpreted in various ways, so I will offer a few different answers.
I do not believe the planets, the Sun and Moon, and the stars influence us through our birth charts in some kind of direct action. I doubt there are any astrologers who believe things work that way. Ancient, medieval, and Renaissance astrologers tended to believe this, but contemporary astrologers, not so much.
What seems to reflect our experiences with dreams as well as astrology and other practices, is to understand that we live in a cosmos that is much more complex than we can understand. The materialist model that cays that only the physical is real, there is no mind, there is no soul, there is no life beyond physical death, simply does not account for some many experiences so many of us have had. There must be something more.
In that framework, astrology reads the skies as a reflection of what is going on, not the controlling mechanism. As above, so below. Astrology provides an intuitive language we can read to tell us about the mix of energies swirling around us, and how and when it will change.
In that sense, yes, Moon cycles can affect our dreams. At the same time, the Moon is always part of a much larger picture. As I bring astrology to the PsiberDreaming conferences, I can see ways in which astrological patterns and how people experience their dreams are definitely related. At the same time, I also learn those relationships are not simple. They are nuanced and complex.
So, yes, I track the lunar cycle and it does seem to relate to dreaming. Certainly people report intense dreams around the Full Moon :)
Do you think that our dreams are influenced by the positions of other planets? Can you give an example of such connection?
I think I partly answered this in the last question, but one example would be Neptune. My explorations with the PsiberDreaming community suggests that how Neptune is placed in the birth chart relates to whether one is a strong dreamer and says something about the kinds of dreaming we do.
Neptune moves very slowly and so is a generational planet, which means that many, many of us will have Neptune in the same sign of the Zodiac, depending on our birth years. But Neptune can be placed very differently in each chart, by House and by aspect to other planets and points. A strong Neptune points to strengths in intuition and psychic abilities and interests, which can be expressed in dreaming (or other areas like spirituality and creativity).
Would you say that your life is guided by your dreams, by your astrological chart or a combination of both? Do you, for example, not sign any contracts when Mercury is retrograde? Do you make decisions on the basis of your dreams?
As I mentioned, I am not having good dream recall these days. Astrology is certainly a guide, although more in a general, goal-oriented way. It's important to learn which transits and planets will affect us the most. For me, usually, Mercury retrogrades are not a problem, so I don't worry about them too much. That said, I once went ahead and put a house on the market during a retrograde because I felt I couldn't wait, and it took months longer to sell than my realtor expected :)
Would you like to share a dream?
A recent dream illustrates where I am in my dream life, which feels "betwixt and between" to me. This dream includes a very old motif (a car that does not work) but is presented in a way that I cannot decipher. There is a sense of partial lucidity at the end.
I need to drive my car “home” and am having trouble. I notice one tire is very low, the right front tire, and I think, I should fill that before I go, but then I drive off without doing it.
The drive is difficult but I am not sure why. I forget about the tire, and there is no obvious sign that is the problem. I get to a parking lot and pull in, with great difficulty, wondering what is wrong and glad I made it.
I get out and see the right front tire is absolutely flat. I remember it was low before and I didn't fill it. I think, the tire and the rim are ruined now, it will be expensive, and my mother will be mad, why did I not have it filled before I left?
I get out a tire pump and start trying to fill the tire. I don’t think this will work because there is too much damage, but I feel I must do something to make this a little better, so it doesn’t look so bad and I can maybe get it to a shop.
As I fill it, it comes back up surprisingly well. It is easier to do than I thought it would be. I think, maybe the rim is not ruined.
Then I go into a partial lucidity as I think, this is not quite real, this would not really be this easy. I think, it's good I have this lighter car I used to have and not the bigger car I have now, because this would never work.