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What Do Your Dreams Mean? Dream Analysis Author Explains 4 Common Dream Scenarios

The simple definition of dreams — your brain running amuck while you’re unconscious — isn’t always enough for us dreamers. It’s in our nature to interpret the things we see and experience during sleep, and sometimes, those interpretations and hidden meanings can help us in our conscious lives. Bestselling author and renowned dream expert, Kelly Sullivan Walden, believes that interpreting your dreams helps you unlock healing messages and improve your relationships, career, health, and wealth prospects.

Here, Kelly decodes four common dream scenarios to help you start your dream interpretations. Find the dream that rings a bell for you, then read on to tap into the transformative power of your subconscious.

Meet our expert.

Kelly Sullivan Walden has been analyzing dreams for 20 years and is the author of seven bestselling dream books and two oracle card decks, including her latest, The Hero’s Journey Dream Oracle. If you’d like Kelly to decode your dream, email her at or message her at

A Loved One Vanishes

The Dream: Your mother died a few years ago, but you dream that she appears to you as a little girl. You are so excited to see her…but as you reach out to her, she fades away, leaving you feeling lost and sad.

Kelly’s Insight: “Please take heart knowing that when our loved ones pass on, they often visit our dreams the way they want us to remember them — so your mom coming to you as a child signals her vibrant, joyful spirit. My hope for you is that you can focus on the fact that she appeared to you because of the strong bond you still share, and that you can begin to let go of the disappointment you felt when you couldn’t touch her. The spirit of your mother is always with you, transcending time and space to cross over into the stuff of dreams.”

Your Car Rolls Down the Hill

The Dream: You’re driving up a steep incline and the brakes fail. Your car starts rolling backward and is eventually stopped by something soft behind you, but you can’t see what it is.

Kelly’s Insight: “Dreaming of driving uphill reflects that you’re doing your best to advance in the world but may be facing a few roadblocks. Your subconscious is likely helping you find a better way to overcome these uphill battles. For example, instead of feeling the need to power through, consider stepping out of the driver’s seat and asking for a helping hand. Just as your car was stopped by something soft as it rolled down the hill, trust that when you run out of steam or can’t go another inch, you’ll be ‘caught’ by the supportive hands of friends and loved ones, who will help you overcome any challenge life may put in your path.”

You Keep Finding Money

The Dream: You’re walking up the stairs, and on each step, you keep finding money. When you reach the third floor, a fortune-teller is waiting for you — but she refuses to tell you your future and instead urges you to keep going.”

Kelly’s Insight: “In our dreams, money is symbolic of power and independence. And the fact that you’re finding so much cash means that you’re discovering intense empowerment, akin to winning the lottery — materially and spiritually. I love how the fortune-teller doesn’t simply give you the answers you seek. This is your dream sending you the message that in order to continue accessing higher levels of abundance, you need to trust yourself and seek your own counsel as you do the ‘legwork’ and keep striving. Most of us wait until we get to the top of the ‘stairs’ to feel a sense of accomplishment — but I believe your dream is encouraging you to celebrate every step you take.”

You Broke Your Phone

The Dream: You dream you are on your cell having an argument with your husband, when you accidentally drop your phone. It shatters into a million pieces, and you wake up in tears.

Kelly’s Insight: “Dreams that feature a cellphone reflect communication issues. Your phone being destroyed might suggest that it’s time for a radical new ‘upgrade’ in the way you and your husband express your feelings. I believe your dream is showing you that the sadness you woke up with is more about the broken rapport between you and your husband than about losing your cellphone. In short, this dream is a wake-up call encouraging you to let your husband know how you’ve been feeling — remember, a breakdown always precedes a breakthrough, if you open yourself up to the possibility.”

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First for Women.

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