What do dreams in color mean?

Today I decided to share about colors in dreams.  While there is some debate about whether or not dreaming “in color” has some specific meaning, I know that the actual colors that have significance in a dream can be a powerful part of any interpretation.  In that spirit, I am sharing the term “Colors” from my dream dictionary Dream Sight (Llewellyn Press, February 2011).  In the term, I outline the fundamental symbolic meaning associated with the seven colors of the visible spectrum of light, as well as black and white.


Universal Landscape:  Universal creative, energetic and spiritual expression.

Dreaming Lens:  Dreaming in color is often viewed as a particular phenomenon that sets a dream apart from others you have.  There is an implication here that if a memorable dream is thought of as vibrantly filled with color, other dreams must be in black and white by comparison.  However, all dreams are likely to be experienced with various intensities of color and the memory of vibrant color is just one more way the unconscious is speaking to you.

This section deals specifically with the general meaning of colors as universally accepted in reference to the spectrum of visible white light.  Use this information to add texture to the meaning of a symbol if a specific color was indicated in your memory of a dream.  This can refer to anything, from the quality of light to the color of an object.

Personal Focus:  Light is experienced as white, but if refracted into separate wave lengths, the naked eye can perceive the seven distinct bands of color that make it up.  Seven is important numerologically, as it represents spirituality and higher thought.  One of the applications of this significance is the chakras, or energy points on the body that corresponds to a gland in the endocrine system.  By aligning the colors of the spectrum and the seven chakras, the foundational and universal meaning to colors is generated.

This is only a starting place, as many permutations and personal associations will alter the meaning of colors as you interpret your dreams.  However, consider the logic of even some of those permutations.  For example, green is the color of the heart center, but is also associated with jealousy or being green with envy.  Though these are very different emotions, love and jealousy are both products of the heart.  Yellow represents the emotions, but has come to signal caution in the Western world.  Again, very different life experiences actually have the same origins when examined closely.  It is in paying attention to our gut feelings that we are made aware of when to exhibit caution.  The following guide is meant as a foundation and starting place for symbolic interpretation.

Red:  The first color of the spectrum, red is associated with security and grounding.  This energy is connected with the base of the spine and the testicles in men.  Often thought of as a color of passion, red aligns with aggression and sexual expression in the masculine principle.  We stop at red lights, creating security for ourselves by avoiding the danger of oncoming traffic.  Blood is the essence of life force itself and therefore related to being grounded in our physical body.

Orange:  The next color of the spectrum corresponds to the area which is situated near the ovaries in woman and the lower belly in men.  Orange is also related to sexuality, but through the feminine principle of intimacy and transformation.  It is the color most associated with creativity.

Yellow:   Yellow is the color of emotions and gut feelings and is appropriately centered in the solar plexus, creating a relationship with this area of the body and the color of the sun.  This is where we experience our feelings and the rapid shift from one state to another.  Associated with the adrenal gland, yellow connects to adrenaline, the chemical manufactured by the brain that creates anxiety, sudden bursts of energy and the fight-or-flight response.  This is reflected in the use of yellow to indicate caution in signage and traffic management.  Of course, many emotional states are very pleasant, which is embodied by our experience of sunlight as warm and comforting.  This charka is also associated with self worth and how one relates in the world.

Green:  Green is the color of the heart center, which can be confusing due to the representation of the heart as red, made especially prominent in Western culture with Valentine’s Day.  However, green is the central color of the spectrum and the heart is considered the center of both our physical and our emotional bodies.  This connects the color green to love, healing and all matters of the heart.  It may be easier to understand the meaning of this color if you consider the earth and Mother Nature’s love affair with the color green.  Keeping with traffic signal analogies, if you go when the light is green, that is like following your heart’s desire to move forward.  When the heart is soured by hurt, green can turn to the menace of envy.

Blue:  Blue is the color of communication and connects to the body through the throat and the thyroid gland.  There is a connection between our metabolic activity which is regulated by the thyroid and the effectiveness of our communication.  Through our voice, we communicate with others, but it is through our energy levels that we commune with our immediate environments.  Other communication concepts associated with this color are the blueprints that communicate the structure of something not yet created.  The call of a hospital emergency is known as a Code Blue.  Before a brochure or magazine page is printed, the early version used to finalize the design and layout is known as the blue line.  When blood circulation diminishes due to a drop in body temperature, the lips will turn blue and communication is hindered.  These are but a few examples that may not relate to a specific image; however, when the color blue is prominent in your dream, incorporate issues of communication into your interpretation.

Indigo:  Indigo is an elusive color–many people would be hard pressed to describe it or identify it upon sight.  Since intuition shares some of these same indefinable characteristics, it is ironic that the two are linked.  Somewhere between blue and violet, indigo is the sixth color of the spectrum and vibrates with what is known as the third eye, the point behind the forehead that is the seat of inner vision.  The pineal and pituitary glands correlate with this color, which contains yet another irony: the first regulates all of our body’s rhythmic cycles and the latter stimulates growth and incites the onset of puberty.  They perform these functions at the right and perfect time, as if guided by intuition.

Violet:  Violet is the final color of the spectrum and is considered the most spiritual.  It is connected to the crown of the head and therefore not encumbered by the demands of the body.  In this way, it is the vibration that is connected to us, but reaches upward into higher realms of energy.  There are many examples of violet– more commonly referred to as purple–being associated with spirituality and high levels of consciousness.  Merlin, the wizard from the King Arthur tales, is often depicted as wearing a purple hat; the Purple Heart represents the ultimate bravery, and in Catholicism during the holiday of Lent, all images of the Christ are covered with purple.  People who mediate with discipline report seeing violet light as part of the trance experience.

Black:   Thought of as the absence of color to some, in the world of physics, black is actually the presence of all colors in the object that embodies it.  It is the color that absorbs the most light, retains heat and is associated with death as it is the opposite of life affirming white.  As the color of mourning, black clothing represents the social construct of receiving consolation.  When we are in mourning, we are surrounded by people who share in our sadness.  In the same way that a black shirt will absorb all wavelengths of sunlight, a person in mourning wears black in order to absorb the light from those who surround them.  In the world of fashion, black has a connotation of being trendy and sophisticated.  Nighttime is when blackness reigns, bringing secrecy and the ability to hide into this color’s symbolic meaning.

White:  Purity and wholeness is represented by white, as this is the unification of all the colors of light that are visible to the human eye.  For some, white is the color of highest spirituality.  For others it connects to the perfection that arises out of the absence of contamination as in virginity and chastity.  An object that appears white reflects the light back outward, absorbing none of the individual colors of the spectrum.  It is in this concept of reflecting the light that shines onto you back out into the world that embodies the high consciousness associated with the color white.