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Sylvia Browne's Book of Dreams
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Sylvia Browne's Book of Dreams

4.4 42
by Sylvia Browne, Lindsay Harrison

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#1 New York Times bestselling author and world-renowned psychic Sylvia Browne offers a startling and revealing look into the world of dreams, illuminates a path to the beauty and truth that resides within everyone, and gives readers the knowledge to use their dreams to contact the world beyond.


#1 New York Times bestselling author and world-renowned psychic Sylvia Browne offers a startling and revealing look into the world of dreams, illuminates a path to the beauty and truth that resides within everyone, and gives readers the knowledge to use their dreams to contact the world beyond.

Editorial Reviews

Veteran psychic Sylvia Browne believes that dreams, even daydreams, can guide us. In this comforting and evocative book, she explains how these billowing messages from the Other Side can be deciphered and then utilized.
Library Journal
In Brown's previous works, we've visited past lives and the afterlife. Now this psychic takes us on a tour of dreaming. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.64(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One


There is nothing more fascinating, more intensely personal, and more uniquely ours than the voyages our minds and spirits take while we sleep. These dreams and other adventures confuse us, alarm us, preoccupy us, relieve us, amuse us, comfort us, inform us, enlighten us, and above all, keep us more sane and whole than we could ever hope to be without them. Our sleep journeys, even the nightmares, are gifts, our allies, to embrace rather than dread, and worth every effort it takes to unravel their mysteries and cherish every valuable lesson they have to offer.

I've been studying the worlds of sleep and dreams for more than thirty years. In the course of those studies I've read a lot of the same dream interpretation material you have, and often come away feeling more confused when I finished than I was when I started. Some "experts" swear that there's great cosmic significance in every dream, if we were only bright enough to figure it out. Others are convinced that dreams are nothing but meaningless little vaudeville shows to keep us entertained while we sleep. Still others strain to find sexual symbolism in each tiny detail of our dreams (I'd love to have met Sigmund Freud just once, just long enough to say, "What's wrong with you?"), while a few geniuses even insist that the minute we doze off, we disintegrate into any number of vapor blobs and go darting around the universe for reasons I can't figure out for the life of me.

I might have thrown up my hands and dismissed the whole subject of dreams as being too confusing to conquer if it hadn't been for some basic realities I wasn't confused about at all:

First and foremost, I grew up with my grandmother Ada, a brilliant psychic and teacher, who shared her passion for dreams, especially prophetic ones, with her adoring granddaughter and taught me that the subconscious mind understands their meaning whether the conscious mind can make sense of them or not.

Then there was my own passion for world religions, which led me to read and reread every great sacred work and to appreciate how prominently dreams are woven into the exquisite fabric of every one of them. If the Bible included those 121 references, how could I ignore them?

In addition, maybe because I was born psychic, I devoured the books of all the great psychics, from Edgar Cayce to Arthur Ford to Ruth Montgomery, in the hope of not feeling quite so out of place. At the same time, endlessly curious about exactly how the human mind operates (thinking I could learn to be "normal," I guess), I read and studied every book and course I could find on the subjects of psychiatry, psychology, and hypnosis, even becoming a master hypnotist in the process and forming lifelong friendships with some of the finest psychiatrists and psychologists in the country. I'm sure there are some members of the psychiatric community who won't appreciate hearing this, but the truth is, the psychic world and the psychiatric world have a lot in common, including a deep interest in uncovering and understanding the secrets hidden in dreams.

Once my career as a psychic was under way, more and more clients were asking for my help with interpreting their dreams. In most situations, I don't mind a bit saying the words "I don't know." But when a client wants and needs something from me, I owe them better than a shrug and a simple "Beats me." So it was for my clients' benefit as well as my own insatiable curiosity that I made it my business to unravel the mysteries of dreams as best I could, to the point where for many years I had the pleasure of teaching very successful dream interpretation classes to the growing number of clients who were as fascinated as I was.

And then one day I found myself so shaken by a dream that I went to one of my professors for help, and the value of decoding a message received in dreams hit home like it never had before. It was during a period of huge personal upheaval in my life, which, by the way, is when our sleep adventures tend to be more vivid, intense, and meaningful than ever. I was juggling my two full-time careers, as both a psychic and a schoolteacher, taking an advanced hypnosis class, and most of all, in the midst of a nasty divorce from my first husband Gary (technically my second, but that's another story for another book). There was no dispute over money or property, since neither Gary nor I had any money or property to fight over. But there was a huge, ugly dispute over the custody of our two precious little sons, Paul and Chris, and our beautiful foster daughter, Mary, and I wasn't about to let anyone on this earth separate me from my children, period. It was a painful, terrifying time that I can still feel in the pit of my stomach as I write about it now, thirty years later.

In my dream, at the height of my fear, I was standing in a classroom, tightly holding my three children Paul, Chris, and Mary, who were huddled beside me, the four of us in the center of a protective circle I'd drawn on the floor. Several androgynous, nonthreatening figures wearing faceless green masks were walking single file around the outside of the circle, chanting, "Beware of the three, beware of the three," over and over again. The figures themselves didn't frighten me, but their repeated warning did, and I woke feeling helpless and more afraid than I'd ever felt in my life.

I was awake and almost frantic the rest of that night trying to make sense of what "beware of the three" could possibly mean. What "three" was I supposed to beware of? Surely it wasn't the three innocent children I was trying so fiercely to protect. Was it an upcoming date for a custody hearing that wasn't going to go well for us, maybe the "third" of the month, or "three" months later? Had my estranged husband somehow manufactured "three" charges against me to try to convince the judge that I was an unfit mother? Most unthinkable of all, was I getting a premonition to emotionally brace myself because I was going to lose these "three" children, which I'm not at all sure I could have survived? I must have come up with a thousand possibilities that night while I paced around the house like a lunatic, but none of them felt quite right, let alone offered the kind of help a warning like that should give. I've always said, I'll vigilantly beware of an enemy, I'll bravely square off with an enemy, but I can't do a thing unless I know what or who the enemy is.

Luckily, I was studying advanced hypnosis at the time, and my professor was a genius about the workings of the subconscious mind, including the messages it sends through dreams, and I still count him among my most trusted and insightful colleagues. I was waiting outside his office when he arrived that morning. I was so frantic by then that I hope I didn't grab him by the lapels, but I can't swear I didn't. He patiently led me to the chair beside his desk and simply said, "Tell me what's wrong."

I filled him in on the fierce custody battle that was consuming my life and then described my dream, in all its disturbing detail. I don't cry often, especially in front of other people. I cried that morning.

"You wouldn't think a psychic of all people would feel this helpless," I told him, "but as you know, I'm not one bit psychic about myself. If that dream was trying to tell me something and I blow this custody case because I didn't understand the message, I'll never forgive myself. What am I missing, John? What could 'beware of the three' possibly mean?"

His smile was patient and compassionate. "Tell me," he said, "who's fighting against you for custody? Who's trying to take your children away from you?"

That was easy. "My husband, his mother, and believe it or not, my mother."

Instead of pointing out the obvious, he let me catch on all by myself. It took me a few seconds, but finally I added, "In other words, three people. Three people I need to beware of." I was hit with that wave of relief that comes when you know something right and true has just been uncovered. The dream wasn't some dire prediction. It wasn't teasing me with mysterious new information in a kind of infuriating guessing game. It was simply clarifying and reminding me to stay focused on the three people who were conspiring to use my children to hurt me.

I felt as if the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders as I left John's office that morning. The fear that had kept me awake and pacing most of the night was replaced by a sense of resolved power, like when you turn on a bright light and discover that the terrifying, shadowy monster in the corner of your bedroom is nothing but a pile of clothes on a chair. My lawyer and I paid even closer attention to "the three" from that day on and, because we did, we won. I was awarded full custody of my children. Thank God.

If any one event sealed my commitment to explore the world of sleep and make its magic more available and understandable to my clients and to myself, it was that dream, its aftermath and everything I learned from the experience.

I learned that there's valuable clarity to be found while we sleep if we can just master the vocabulary to translate it.

I learned firsthand how lost, confused, and often frightened my clients felt when they came to me for help with their dreams, and I promised God and myself I would do everything in my power not to let them down.

I learned how important objectivity is when trying to figure out the purpose of a dream, and how easy it is for the conscious mind to overcomplicate a dream's meaning when very often the simplest answer is the right one.

I learned, above all, that the sleep world is richer, more varied, and far more vast than I ever imagined and that, as we'll explore in the course of this book, dreams are only the beginning of that world.

The Basics of Sleep

We all know how to sleep, and we all know that sleep is a biological and psychological necessity. But in the 1950s, researchers began doing formal, well-documented, and exhaustive studies of the whole process of sleeping, and more than fifty years later the studies continue, proving how infinitely complex the world of sleep really is.

I've read the published results of most of these studies. Some of them are fascinating, and frankly, some are so boring, technical, and just plain badly written that I could barely get through them. Much of this research provides valuable information about sleep, though, and about when and how we dream, that can help us take maximum advantage of those luxurious hours when our conscious minds step back and let our subconscious minds and our spirits take center stage.

It's fairly common knowledge by now that there are two basic stages of sleep: REM, which stands for "rapid eye movement" and is the lightest stage of sleep, and Non-REM, which is the deeper sleep when eye movements and our other muscle responses become almost nonexistent. It's during REM sleep that we dream, and it's when we're awakened during or immediately after REM sleep that we're most likely to remember our dreams.

The Non-REM stage accounts for about 75 percent of our sleep, leaving 25 percent for REM sleep. Thanks to a lot of brilliant minds, tirelessly curious researchers, and great advancements in the world of medical technology, we also know that our brain waves fluctuate in approximately ninety-minute cycles while we sleep. Brain waves, measured by the EEG, or electroencephalograph, have been charted into distinct levels for those ninety-minute cycles:

Beta Level: We're wide awake, active, and alert.
Alpha Level: We're awake but relaxed, and our eyes are closed.
Theta Level: We're very sleepy or in the process of falling asleep, and usually in the REM stage.
Delta Level: We're very deeply asleep and in the Non-REM stage.

Once we reach the Delta level of the cycle, the order simply reverses, and our sleep becomes progressively lighter again. When we wake up feeling rested and refreshed, it's very likely that these ninety-minute cycles have been allowed to progress on their own without interference or interruption.

Scientists have become so specific in their studies of sleep cycles, and of REM sleep in particular, that they've discovered our eyes actually move horizontally while we're dreaming about viewing something from side to side and move vertically while we're looking up and down at something in a dream. Fortunately, this business of our bodies acting out the movements in our dreams pretty much stops with the eyes. The same parts of the brain that control our sleep cycles also inhibit our other motor activities. That explains why, in the relatively light sleep of REM, when we're still asleep but vaguely aware of our surroundings, we'll occasionally have dreams in which we desperately want to run but our legs refuse to move-it's a blend of the situation in the dream and the normal, temporary, sleep-induced inhibition of body motions. As frustrating as those dreams can be, the alternative, in which biology doesn't stop us and our bodies actually take off running while we're asleep, would be worse, not to mention potentially embarrassing, don't you think? In fact, there's a rare brain malfunction called "REM sleep behavior disorder" that causes those who suffer from it to physically act out their dreams without being consciously aware of it and end up injuring themselves and anyone around who might happen to get in their way.

Because successful sleep depends on the natural balance and flow of the REM and Non-REM cycles, and the various levels of brain wave activity, I can't stress enough how I hope that, unless it's prescribed by a qualified doctor, you'll resist the temptation to medicate yourself with drugs or alcohol to help yourself sleep. Chances are, self-medicating will make you fall asleep more quickly. But it's a guarantee, proven by countless experts and researchers, that it will also disrupt the balance of your sleep cycles. You'll either spend too much time in the Theta level, hit by a barrage of dreams that will make you wake up feeling as if you've spent the night in some sort of bizarre, relentless house of mirrors, or you'll stay too long in the Delta level, sleeping so deeply and dreamlessly that you'll wake up feeling hungover and emotionally flat.

And believe me, in spite of some ongoing debates among a handful of researchers who I think have buried their humanity under too many piles of data, there's not a doubt in my mind that dreaming is as essential to us as breathing. Whether we remember our dreams or not, whether we can even begin to understand what they mean, they're a release valve, an absolute survival mechanism, our minds' way of protecting and preserving some sense of balance in a waking world that often seems to offer very little balance at all. Sleep researcher William C. Dement once said, "Dreaming permits each and every one of us to be quietly and safely insane every night of our lives." I couldn't agree more. Dreams are so necessary that in clinical studies it's been found that after several nights of REM deprivation, the first thing the mind and body will do when allowed to sleep uninterrupted is indulge in a dramatic increase in the length and frequency of REM cycles to make up for lost time. They're so necessary that without them, we can experience everything in the cold light of day from disorientation to an inability to concentrate or be logical to anxiety to depression to hallucinations-in other words, those often disquieting indulgences we can freely express in private while we sleep.

So before we start this exploration together into the extraordinary, indispensable world of dreams, all I ask is that no matter what we uncover, no matter how dark or light or bizarre or joyful or scary or upsetting it might be, you remember to celebrate the fact that you do have dreams, and make a promise to yourself to dream bravely and without apology, starting tonight and for the rest of your happy, healthy, spiritual, inquisitive, God-given life.

—From Sylvia Browne's Book of Dreams by Sylvia Browne with Lindsay Harrison (c) July 2002, Dutton, a member of Penguin Putnam Inc., used by permission.

Meet the Author

Sylvia Browne is a #1 New York Times bestselling author who's appeared on Larry King Live, Good Morning America, The Montel Williams Show, CNN, and Entertainment Tonight, among other programs. Author website: sylvia.org.

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Sylvia Browne's Book of Dreams 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 42 reviews.
Jeanie88 More than 1 year ago
Sylvia Brown is really good. Her books are very informative. But if you like dream books and need miracles in your life look up Douglas Hensley on Barnes and Noble and buy his dream Meaning book. He also has a book called MIRACLE PRAYERS that is one book written for anyone needing a miracle in their life.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the best dream book I've read, because it is much more accurate than books that give a specific defition for something you see in a dream you have. For example, this book DOESN'T tell you if you see a big, yellow cat in your dream that it means you are scared of commitment or anything like that. It discusses the type of dreams we have and gives some interpretations of people's dreams. It gives advice on how to stop nightmares and confront the negative things you dream about. This is a great to learn about dreams and it makes a lot of sense. Another good book from Sylvia Browne.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've read several books about dreams, from analyzation to symbolic reference books. This book is really "out there"! While it would be awesome if it were all true, I have to admit that I'm skeptical........but it WAS very entertaining and thought provoking and I did recommend it to my husband who has very weird dreams(just in case)!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think that I own every book that Sylvia has written, Her books are so interesting and a joy to read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have a Native American back ground and this book was excellent. It goes along with our dream interuptation. I have recommended this book to several friends and co-workers. I did not expect less from Sylvia she is great.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have always had supernatural interests in things. It ranges from God, Heaven, Aliens, Lockness monster, Psychic ability, dreams. This book satisfies at least some of those. Great read. Also recommended: If you love to explore spiritual things then get the book called, I Talked To God And He Wants To Talk To You. Great books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If I could only buy three books this year they would be "Sylvia Browns Book of Dreams" "Child Abduction: How to protect your children" and "The Nanny Diaries" Sylvia Brown just keeps putting out gems
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was so helpful to me. It explained my reoccurring dreams so well. Every dream I have, I look it up now and it really is on the money about what is going on in my life! Check it out!!! It's awesome!!
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Amazing as all her books!!!
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This is the first time i ever read this book so yea but just the first few pages i read were fantastic
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