Excerpted with permission from "Sylvia Browne's Book of Dreams," written with Lindsay Harrison and published by Dutton, a division of the Penguin Group.

Let me say this right up front: I hope you won't read this expecting that I'm going to give you the

true, actual, one and only meaning of the symbolic entities and objects that appear in our dreams. Our minds, both conscious and subconscious, and our vast bodies of experience are much too complex and unique to reduce to simplistic, one-dimensional definitions of what things in our dreams really mean to each of us

. As we explore the various possible meanings of dream symbols, be flexible, always look first for something that might apply to and be a comment on some current situation in your life, and remember that interpreting our dreams is an art, not a science. There's no right or wrong. All that counts is what resonates in you as the truth.

I refuse to call this section a "dictionary" of dream archetype definitions. Instead, please consider it a guide

, nothing more, nothing less. Books in a dream usually represent education, learning, and wisdom but can also reveal an inhibited nature due to too much self-doubt and self-criticism. A circle usually indicates a sense of completion, as well as a growing connection with one's development of psychic gifts.

Garbage cans in a dream usually indicate an excess of gossip, either too much indulgence in it or the fear of being the subject of it. A lit candle usually symbolizes a connection to one's faith and spirituality. An unlit candle indicates a yearning for that connection. The moon in a dream usually indicates an especially strong connection with the power of one's feminine side, one's emotional side, and one's psychic, intuitive aspects. Moving hands usually indicate a concern about work and career-related issues. Pregnancy in dreams usually has nothing at all to do with biological pregnancy but instead indicates the impending birth of a new aspect of you, a previously hidden or inaccessible part of yourself that's about to be born. The frequent fear in pregnancy dreams that those around you will disapprove of the "baby" is usually an insecurity that this "new you" won't be accepted by loved ones who might be resistant to the changes in yourself you're about to make. A rose in a dream usually represents love, appreciation, and a sense of thriving, physically or emotionally. I know it can be frustrating to read the definition of a dream symbol and realize it doesn't apply to you by any stretch of your imagination. But look at it this way: if there were only one meaning etched in granite, for every archetype found in dreams, that would mean all of us who dream are nothing but mental, emotional, and spiritual carbon copies of each other, and that all the mysteries in our dreams were solved thousands upon thousands of years ago when humankind first began interpreting them. I'm not sure which of those two concepts would be more horrible, but I'm eternally grateful that none of us will ever have to find out.
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