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Dreaming in Color and the Meaning of Colors in Dreams

Updated on January 4, 2013

Looking Into Color's Meaning as a Dream Symbol

Gain insight by learning color symbolism
Gain insight by learning color symbolism | Source

What White Dreams Mean

The Meaning of White in Dreams
The Meaning of White in Dreams

How Dreams Use Color to Communicate

In waking life, color is used to symbolize everything from mourning to love wearing black to funerals and sending red roses for love.

Color is equally important in dream life where dreams use color to express spirituality and spiritual growth as well as the transformation of the psyche. However, many times that which is primarily communicated via color in dreams are emotional states.

Alchemists, who were actually concerned with the transformation of the lead of the base personality into the gold of the transformed psyche used color to symbolize the process and progression of the "Great Work."

Sometimes dreamers do not realize they dream in black and white until a bright burst of color lights up their dream world. Here is a guide to some possible meanings of colors that appear in dreams including alchemists use of color as expressions of spiritual growth.

White Dream Symbolism

White is a classic symbolic color of purity. Alchemists used white to symbolize the purity found after ego purification. For them, white symbolized that one had sacrificed all one had in order to attain all that truly needs.

In waking life, white is the color of choice in ceremonies that are centered on new beginnings such as baptisms and weddings in Western cultures. In art, the garments of the Christian saints are always the color of freshly fallen snow.

Since dreams can also reflect not only the inner psyche's activities but also those in the waking world as well, dreams, such as dreams about snow, can also symbolize a new, fresh start in that realm.

Perhaps one has a new career, relationship, or home. White can symbolize the feelings of renewal that come with such changes.

Orange Symbolism in Dreams

Eastern mysticism associates the color orange with the second, sacral chakra, the chakra associated with the emotions.

In Western society however, thanks to the orange fruit's amazing PR, orange has become associated with vitamin C and by extension, health.

As these are the two most prevalent waking life associations with the color, orange in dreams most likely indicates health, both physically and emotionally.

Orange lacks the overdrive of red and therefore when it appears in dreams it can mean that there is more balance in life than if a dream were flooded with red. Orange indicates that creativity is free flowing, yet not overwhelming the dreamer's waking life.

Dreams of Orange

Orange Dream Symbolism.
Orange Dream Symbolism. | Source

Orange Dreams of Creativity

Orange Can Symbolize Creativity.
Orange Can Symbolize Creativity. | Source

Black Dreams

As in waking life, black in dreams may be used to express depression, grief or mourning.

However, black can also be used to communicate spiritual states such as that state of seemingly infinite despair known as the "long dark night of the soul."

Alchemically, black represents the nigredo, the time when the false ego self undergoes a painful crucifixion and the time when the aspirant may feel much like the crucified Christ whose plaintive cry of abandonment epitomizes the feeling of abandonment one may feel.

Death in dreams is actually the beginning of transformation, not the end of physical life. However, while the hope of resurrection is assured, the color black is the perfect expression of the abject loneliness one may feel not only during a spiritual process, but during times of crisis in waking life.


Black and White Dreams

As previously stated, many people do not realize that they dream in black and white until they are surprised by a splash of color in a dream.

In waking life, thinking in rigid terms is described as black and white thinking meaning that one sees life only in extremes--things are either good or bad, right or wrong.

Dreams that feature the colors of black and white may be a bit different that dreams that are absent of technicolor features. Black and white figuring prominently in dreams can mean that the dreamer is think in rigid terms and refusing to allow anything to color the dreamer's opinion on a waking life matter.

Thinking in black and white is not necessarily a bad thing. For example, a dream that features predominantly black and white may simply be communicating that a situation that appears complex is actually being over-analyzed by the dreamer.

Red in Dreams

The use of red as a bridal colour illustrates the color's complexity. The same colour that would cause Western brides to cringe at wearing is the same colour that Indian brides prefer.

Not only does red have disparate cross cultural connotations, its symbolism is also diverse within a singular one.

Red may express exuberance or anger. A red letter day is great; red numbers, not so much.

In alchemy, red symbolizes the fulminato, the stage of near completion of the "Great Work."

The fulminato is the fire stage, but fire in alchemy symbolizes a transforming flame rather than a simple source of warmth.

Red in a dream can indicate that one's passion for life is returning, that one's lifeblood is heating up.

Alternatively, should one find red leaking or spilling from some source, the dreamer might check waking life to see if something or someone is acting as an energy drainer.

The Symbolism of Purple in Dreams

Royalty is often is associated with the color purple and royalty is in turn often associated with wealth.

Purple in dreams therefore, can indicate that the dreamer is experiencing a richness in life. This richness can be emotional, spiritual, or physical.

Alternatively, in the Christian tradition purple is the liturgical color associated with Lent and Lent is a time of contemplation and penitent thoughts.

Therefore, for those who are Christian, purple dreams could indicate a time in which the dreamer is contemplating life and life choices.

Blue Dreams Aren't Always Melancholy

Blue isn't always melancholy
Blue isn't always melancholy | Source

Mushroom Blues

Mushroom Blues
Mushroom Blues | Source


Just as many dreamers fail to recognize that they are dreaming in black and white, those who dream in color often fail to recognize the importance of the colors that light up their nights. Color is often relegated to little more than a backdrop for an interesting story line.

If one keeps a dream journal, it might be beneficial to record the colors that are making recurrent appearances in one's dreams because color can oftentimes be the key to deciphering a dream's message.

Blue Dreams

The skies are blue as are the oceans and both are symbols of that which is endless.

As the color of two primary symbols of the infinite, blue can symbolize high aspirations. If blue is showing up in dreams, it can indicate a time when the dreamer is feeling a great deal of self-actualization or at least striving for such.

As blue is the color of the sky and the skies are associated with heaven, the color blue is also a symbol of high spirituality. In the Christian tradition, the Virgin Mary is associated with the colours blue and white, symbolizing purity and spirituality.

Therefore, blue can indicate a time when the dreamer's thoughts are focused on that which is spiritual.

Blue is also an associated with healing and healing thoughts. The dreamer may be feeling especially calm and/or may be involved in healing one's self or others.

In the Eastern tradition, the colour blue is associated with the fifth chakra which is located in the area of the throat and which is associated with communication.

If one dreams of clear blue, then this can indicate that one's communications are clear and effortless whereas cloudy, dark, or murky blues might indicate interference in that area.

Blue may also be a play on words as "the blues" indicate feelings of sadness. If one has recently experienced a break up or other loss in waking life, then blue might show up as an expression of that loss and the emotional upset accompanying it.


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    • profile image

      khwaab 4 years ago

      i am dreaming everything white in my dreams, white peoples in white clothes, highted n tall,

      white horse,

      can any1 clarifies me abiut this dream.

    • profile image

      escobizzy 5 years ago

      what does it mean to see someone wearing a red black and white shirt in your dream

    • Danette Watt profile image

      Danette Watt 6 years ago from Illinois

      very interesting hub. Dreams are fascinating to try to interpret. I agree that we each have to build our own definitions of some symbols.

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 6 years ago from Minnesota

      I love the topic of dreaming and what colors and black and white mean. You did a great job explaining what it all means and I am going to bookmark this hub.

    • Alladream74 profile image

      Victor Mavedzenge 6 years ago from Oakland, California

      At one point I had a couple of dreams if plants in vivid green colour with a storm behind them, it always predicted death or an unpleasantness which happened shortly there after. I have not had these for years now. Great hub and congratulations on your nomination

    • Seafarer Mama profile image

      Karen A Szklany 6 years ago from New England

      Hello Esme,

      Yes, color dreams usually do stand out for me...and bright ones. So many of my dreams are misty and dark that a bright dreams will make me waken more happy afterwards.

      The other night I woke up from a dreams about having to walk in a road that was half blocked by machines cutting down sunflowers. It was so sad. I didn't pick one up, but just kept walking with my daughter...sad...never getting to where it was I was/we were walking to.

      Another dream was about picking up sticks in the woods, but woke before anything really "happened" in my dream. But seemed that I felt closer to nature. We have a wooded labyrinth where I live, so I must walk it more often than I do. It may help me figure out what some of my dreams are telling me. :0)

      Have a great day, and blessed be!

    • EsmeSanBona profile image

      EsmeSanBona 6 years ago from Macon

      I am sorry--I was ill and got way behind on my HubPages work. Thanks for all the great comments.

      SueB--I get all my photos from Wikimedia Commons. It's a repository of photos and media that are all in the public domain. You can find absolutely fabulous stuff there. I don't know what I'd do without it.

      I am of the opinion that dreams can mean all manner of things. I don't think they are one of life's great mysteries. I write what I write as a starting point for dream investigation, not as a bottom line meaning. I can't imagine anything worse than a one size fits all dream interpretation!

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 6 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      I enjoyed reading your hub and looking at the photos, awesome! I don't know if I will keep a dream journal but there are certain color dreams that I do remember in the morning. Now I will be more aware heheheh

      Congratulations on your Hubnuggets nomination from ripplemaker and the Hubnuggets team. To read and vote, this way please: Best of luck!

    • .josh. profile image

      .josh. 6 years ago

      Absolutely fascinating hub, Esme. For my writing, I often like to record my dreams, and will have to start consulting with your hub to determine the meanings of the colors that appear. I find the dreaming in black-and-white bit particularly intriguing - I'd never heard that before.

      Congrats on your well-deserved nomination! Very interesting, well-written hub.

    • FloraBreenRobison profile image

      FloraBreenRobison 6 years ago

      Congratulations on your hubnugget nomination. I studied the psychology of colour in a psych course-waking life. Colors are fascinating.

    • manthy profile image

      Mark 6 years ago from Alabama,USA

      WOW - I learned so much from this awesome hub

      voted up and useful,and I am following you now.

    • QudsiaP1 profile image

      QudsiaP1 6 years ago

      I enjoyed reading this because it meant so much. To learn new things even if you do not necessarily believe in them is what life is all about and I well, I am a dreamer, I believe in everything. :)

    • TheDailyMessenger profile image

      TheDailyMessenger 6 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      To Sue B.,

      So I assume you suggest a dream journal for me. I will from now on. and thanks for your brief history. very helpful.


    • Sue B. profile image

      Sue B. 6 years ago

      Hello TDM!

      I remembered my dreams here and there throughout my life. It wasn't until I started a dream journal that I improved my dream recall. Every morning I would type out what I could recall from a dream. Sometimes it was just one image, a color, a feeling, a sound other times it was a full dream. I noticed over time I recalled long dreams almost every night and what I could recall was becoming more detailed and the dreams were getting longer and longer. What I found fascinating is that there seems to be a physical reason why we forget dreams- recalling so much dream content was exhausting for me! Once I stopped typing them out routinely every morning I began to recall less and less. I journaled for two years and it taught me that our dreams are a lot richer than we realize and the dreams we actually recall are just the tip of the iceberg.

      Happy dreaming!

    • TheDailyMessenger profile image

      TheDailyMessenger 6 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      To Sue B.,

      That's very fascinating, I never really notice a dream unless it becomes a reoccurring dream. otherwise I don't really pay attention but, I like your idea. I must ask though, how do you remember your dreams?

    • Sue B. profile image

      Sue B. 6 years ago

      Hello and welcome to hubpages!

      I have written a similar article recently but hands down- yours has the best pictures! Where did you find such beautiful pics that do not require you to give the owner credit?

      As for dreams- everyone is correct since there are many different types of dreams and many different layers to our dreams. I personally am fascinated by dreams. They can be meaningless and just a processing of the days events although I do find meaning in my day! I tend to remember the dreams that are important to me. I work out problems in my dreams and it is a quite place where I find my creativity. Just like thoughts can be of many different natures so could dreams. We can have meaningless thoughts and we could have meaningless dreams. We tend not to talk about them though. When we discuss them, we are discussing the dreams that truly mean something to us. If it feels important it is. I find it interesting that throughout my life and day I choose to dream of specific events at specific times. Sometimes the most mundane dreams make me realize how I am approaching something and what I need to do next.

    • TheDailyMessenger profile image

      TheDailyMessenger 6 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      You know you both are right in many ways, I also, believe That the dreams we have, Could also symbolize things that have happened in our past lives, untraceable memories that will always remain in the past but, always interacts with us in the present and future. Does that make sense?

    • EsmeSanBona profile image

      EsmeSanBona 6 years ago from Macon

      I believe that the most important meaning to attach to any symbol is one's own. I believe that symbols have a broad generalized meaning that individuals can use as a starting point toward finding their own dream meanings. I believe that that on which we place a great deal of importance is how the Universe communicates to us. If we don't place importance on a subject, then that's not going to be the manner in which the Universe will communicate to us. For example, I adore the music of U2 and I endow that music with a great deal of importance. When I pray or meditate, I will many times hear a U2 song on the radio that seems to provide me with an answer that I was looking for. That is my perception. Does that mean that my perception is the only one or that if one doesn't listen to U2 then God can't speak to that person? Absolutely not! It means that that person has a different path to the divine. It is to me the ultimate paradox--how universal and personal the divine is for each of us.

      I write articles on dream interpretation that give broad strokes to a symbol. There are many people who have no starting point whatsoever or who rarely recall their dreams and I write what I do because I try to show how many many a single symbol can have just in the small space I have in which to write. I do this because I dislike symbol books that either use dreams to predict the future of that insist that a dream can only have one meaning. I like trying to, as much as I can in a limited space, show that symbols are far more complex than anything a single sentence can say about them.

    • kallini2010 profile image

      kallini2010 6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Isn't the symbolism borne out of our perceptions? What we see during the day, we see during the night - only scrambled, transformed?

      I cannot see in my dreams something I am not even aware of...

      I had a dream of myself dancing tango... (Badly) in a red dress and red shoes...

      I have a red dress and our teacher has red shoes which I like...

      Before I never dreamed of myself dancing tango in particular but since I started the lessons, it is another story.

      I met a friend and I had a dream about him - it was a continuation of the day... more or less...

      Don't we ascribe too much meaning to things?