We wear black to funerals to symbolize grief, send red roses to those we love, wear white to weddings to symbolize new beginnings--these are just a few of the ways we use color in waking life to express emotion.
Our dreams use color as well, and most often they too are using color as an expression of our emotional state. However, sometimes dreams use color as an indicator of spiritual progression or growth. Alchemists, who we now believe were actually concerned with the spiritual transformation of the Self rather than any material act, gave each stage of the transformation of 'lead' to 'gold' each own color.
Color is a potent dream symbol. Many people do not even realize that they dream in black and white until a bright splash of color shows up in their dreams. Here is a guide to some possible meanings of colors appearing in your dreams.
For alchemists, black symbolized the beginning of the process of spiritual development. Black was the color which symbolized confusion, and a feeling of despair. It might be thought of as the color of wandering in the desert, feeling like nothing good will ever happen.
But wandering in the desert allows us to give up those things we no longer need, it allows for old parts of ourselves to die off so that new life may spring up. Even the mighty oak must first spend time as an acorn lying in darkness before it can reach up toward the sky.
White is often a symbol of purity. In alchemy, white was the symbolic color of purification: the color of having stripped oneself bare of all that was no longer needed to move on to a higher level of existence.
In dreams white may symolize new beginnings. It may also be symbolically related to baptism which is another symbol of the beginning of new life.
Remember though, white is a beginning color--this is the start of something new, not the completion of the process.
Red has many different meanings as a dream symbol. It may indicate everything from the life force itself to intense anger. When red appears in a dream it is best to put it into context. Look at what is red in the dream and interpret the two symbols as one item. For example, a red car most likely symbolizes feelings of invigoration whereas something like a red mirror might be interpreted as something reflecting an unexpressed anger.
To alchemists, red was the color of the 'fulminato'--the time when all the forces were coming together to at last become the 'Great Work'. Red in this context symbolized the creative force of fire. As such, red dreams may suggest that a project or idea you have been working on is finally getting near the point of transformation. It is important here to be careful with yourself as fire can burn as well as transform!
In alchemy, gold is the symbol of the Great Work--it symbolized the completion of the process, the accomplishment of the work of transforming the ordinary human into a spiritual being. Gold in dreams is also associated with accomplishment, spiritual rewards, and feelings of satisfaction. Gold is also associated with the sun and masculine energy. As a symbol of sun/masculine energy, it may represent a feeling of being energized with creative energy or may indicate a renewal of spirit.
Orange is typically a color of well balanced, positive energy. Orange is sometimes associated with autumn and Halloween/Samhain. As such, in dreams it may signify the completion or fruition of plans or a creative endeavour. In Eastern mysticism, orange is the color associated with the second chakra, which is located just underneath the navel. The second chakra contains information about our emotions and our creativity. Dreaming of a clear orange color may indicate a well balanced emotional life while dreaming of a burnt orange color may indicate muddled emotions or a feeling that we've been 'burned' emotionally.
During Lent, the liturgical color is that of purple. Purple, therefore carries a dual message depending on its shade. The darker purple is associated with royalty whereas the reddish purple is associated with penance. Either way, purple is associated with deep emotions and a looking inward to oneself. Check your dream to see if you're feeling like the queen or if you're feeling you need to punish yourself.
Violet is one of the highest spiritual colors in dreams. It indicates a sense of the mystical, a union with all things. Nikola Tesla, the enigmatic inventor, used plates that are a violet color for the purpose of transmuting negative energy into positive. If you are dreaming of violet, it indicates that you are comfortable with yourself and are experiencing a great sense of peace within yourself and with Source.
Brown is the color of fertility and is associated with the earth itself. In dreams it may symbolize a period of creativity. It may also symbolize a business endeavor or other project coming to frution. It may also indicate a need for solitude, a time for hiding in the soil much like a seed so your ideas can sprout up.
Black and White
Black and white in dreams may mean exactly what it says: seeing things in black and white with no room for shades of grey. In this case, the dream may be indicating a need for more flexibility, a need to compromise and be more open. Alternatively, the dream may indicate that things really are black and white, that the situation is very simple but you are making it complex with too much ambivalence.
Grey is the union of black and white and may therefore represent a union of opposites or the balancing of male and female energy within oneself. Grey is also associated with depression, a feeling of fogginess, or a mental ambivalence. Ironically, grey is also associated with the resurrected Christ who appears in grey cloaks throughout art history.
Green is a color we associate with nature and therefore is often association with spring. Dreams involving the color green can indicate new beginnings, rebirth, or resurrection. Green can also be a color pun meaning 'go'--that you have the 'green light' to move on in your life. Green is also associated with the heart chakra and can indicate newness in your ability to feel affinity with those around you.
Blue can indicate calmness, spirituality, the heavens. It is also one of the colors associated with the Virgin Mary. When dreaming of blue, this may indicate a feeling of elation, of reaching high, of calming accepting life as it is. Alternatively, as a word play dream, blue may indicate feelings of sadness epitomized by the saying, 'I feel blue'.
Color in dreams is a powerful symbol that helps us understand our emotions. Check out the links below for more information on how color is used in dreams and what it symbolizes.
Until next time, sleep well and dream out loud!
*~Aisling Ireland~* is an ordained Spiritual Counselor providing dream interpretation and Tarot readings. To make an appointment check out her website at:
Paulo Coelho's "The Alchemist" is a simple, sweet story with a profound message. A true metaphysical classic. You can read it yourself or listen to Jeremy Irons read it to you on audio cd.