By Máire Malone
I wrote my debut novel about dreams because I believe passionately in the power of dreams to transform our lives and I was keen to explore this further in fiction.
“The Dream Circle” is a love story about a flawed hero, Fergus Doherty, and a feisty yet vulnerable heroine, Pearl Conors. Fergus founds the first dream circle in Ireland where once a week seven individuals come together to look for meaning in their unconscious visions.
So, what is a dream circle? In ancient Greece circles were considered to be representations of the divine and natural balance because of their symmetry. For the Native American Indians, the circle symbolized equality. A modern dream circle is a place where our dreams are heard and held by a group who support the dreamer towards wholeness and transformation.
Fergus is grieving for his fiancé who was killed in a car crash 18 months previously. Pearl is an enigmatic character and when she joins the group Fergus senses an instant and powerful attraction between them and the dream circle’s future is put at risk. Apart from the two main protagonists there are five very different characters who join the circle. Some of their dream themes involve snakes, lions, finding extra rooms in houses and, by working with the energy of an archetypal heroine, Grace O’Malley, the famous 16th century pirate woman who arrives in her dreams, Pearl finds her voice for the first time in her life.
Woven through the story it is my hope that readers will learn about dream symbolism and how to unravel the language of their own dreams. Having worked with my dreams over many years I’m excited to share this knowledge with my readers. Colleagues who have read and reviewed my book have said while enjoying the story they also deepened their knowledge about dreams. One example would be when we learn to own our Shadow (those parts we often deny in ourselves) we can stop projecting blame onto others, reclaim our true natures and become integrated, more whole. Jung called this Individuation. If we work with our dreams we will learn how to choose, to grow, to reach our potential. Dreams can, if we take them seriously and bring them to our awareness by recording them, pondering on their imagery and symbolism, teach us an enormous amount about ourselves.
Born in Dublin, I was the youngest of five children. As a child I had many dreams of falling, being chased by bogey men or stolen by gypsies, waking up in a sweat, confused and frightened. My parents were busy with five children to care for so there wasn’t much time for discussion about dreams. When I was 16, I came across Freud’s “Interpretation of Dreams” and read as much of it as I could understand. Later, I discovered Jung’s work about the collective unconscious and the idea that part of the deepest unconscious is shared by all human beings. According to Jung the collective unconscious houses many universal symbols for example The Great Mother, The Wise Old Man and The Tree of Life, to name a few.
While at home looking after our children, I studied and obtained an honours BA in arts and psychology. For over 20 years I followed a career in counselling and psychotherapy with a special interest in dreams. I have had short-story prize wins and many of my poems have been published in anthologies. I was selected for a place on the Novel Studio Course at City, University of London in 2017 where I completed a draft of my novel.
With the dream circle at its heart, the reader experiences the love story unfold through the eyes of Fergus and Pearl. The novel is set in Dublin in the1990s and includes scenes of Baggot St. and the canal bank mentioned in Patrick Kavanagh’s poem “Canal Bank Walk.” It is a poignant setting for a scene where Fergus and Pearl spend time before heading across to Searson’s pub which results in a night of deep intimacy. On other occasions they picnic on Sandymount beach and sup in the famous O’Donoghue’s pub. Some scenes are set in Cork; Skibbereen and Tragumna beach.
Set amid the boom years of the Celtic Tiger, “The Dream Circle” explores whether love can overcome ethical and social boundaries and if lives can truly be transformed through the power of dreams.
One of the main inspirations for writing “The Dream Circle” came from a quote I read when training in the work of counselling and psychotherapy. Liam Hudson, a social psychologist and author, wrote, “Dreams are our last wilderness, to be protected with the same fervour as the rain forests, the ozone layer and the whale. As the only natural oases of spiritual vitality left to us, dreams are among our most precious possessions and we must stand up to those who would diminish the value that we place on them.”
“The Dream Circle” by Máire Malone is available on Amazon and Kindle. For more information about the book and a radio interview with the author, go to her website: www.mairemalone.com.