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Dreaming About Red and The Meaning of the Color Red in Dreams

Updated on December 4, 2018
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Aisling Ireland, author of Dog Funeral Evangelism, writes extensively on dream symbolism, Jungian psychology, and Eastern Orthodoxy.

Dreams have a varied emotional tenor
Dreams have a varied emotional tenor | Source

Emotional Tone of Dreams

One of the best places to start interpreting the color red or for that matter, any other dream symbol, is on the emotional level.

How the dream makes the dreamer feel is of paramount importance because those feelings tap into the dreamer's own personal mythology and associations.

The dreamer's associations are always the most important because while symbols all have general associations, the personal ones are the ones the hit home, the ones that are most directly relevant to the dreamer.

Since it is the dreamer trying to find meaning to his dream, that's the place to start. The determination of how one feels on waking lets one whether to search for a negative or positive dream interpretation of the symbol.

The Range of the Color Red

When the color red appears in dreams, finding its meaning can be a complicated task as the symbolism of the color red is almost endless. Even within Western culture red is used to express many ideas.

When a day is great it ranks a red letter and one may be so happy as to go out and paint the town the same color. However, should things go awry during the town painting, that same person may see the color red when she becomes enraged.

Add to that the differing views other cultures have and red takes on yet another tone. For example, whereas an American bride would blush at the idea of wearing red to her wedding, in India it is the color of choice when walking down the aisle.

Red in dreams has a plethora of meaning and here are some ideas to get started interpreting it symbolically.

Red can symbolize the force of life
Red can symbolize the force of life | Source

Red As An Expression of Anger

Anger is one of the primary emotions red is used to symbolize.  Check the dream for other anger symbols and actions such as striking people or objects, lashing out verbally, or instruments that may be tinged with red or even canvasses being painted in red colors.

Red As the Life Force

Blood is one of the most obvious fluids colored red and as such red often symbolizes the very life force itself.  

Blood need not literally be present, just symbolically.  For example, seeing one's self behind the wheel of a red sports car might feel invigorating and may symbolize feelings of empowerment with the life force flowing freely and powerfully through one's veins.

By the same token, seeing red paint spilled on the floor, or even red Kool-Aid leaking from a cup might indicate feelings that the life force is being drained away from one's body and soul. 

Red and Alchemical Fire

The alchemists had a much more narrow interpretation of the color red. For them, red was fire. But in alchemy, fire was more than simply heat. Fire was the force of creativity, the force what allowed radical transformation in the fulminato stage -- the stage tha directly preceded the accomplishment of the "Great Work."

In dreams, red may be similarly interpreted meaning that the dreamer is engaged not only in a time of deep creative passion, but creativity that radically transforms one from the soul up and down and in and out.

So What Does Red in Dreams Mean?

Red can be associated with emotions such as anger or passion.  It can be associated with a sustaining life-force or feeling drained of such.  Red can indicate transformation or radical, soul-altering creativity.  Or red may appear to say simply, "Take careful note of this."  By taking careful note of not only the symbol highlighted by the color red, but also to pay close attention to the emotional feelings in the dreams and look to one's own personal mythology to find what meaning seems most applicable to one's own life.

© 2011 Aisling Ireland

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