Many of us have felt closer to nature during lockdown – we have noticed the birds singing, rediscovered our gardens, and enjoyed pleasant walks. I have taken inspiration from these activities to explore the use of colours as dream symbols.
The natural speaks of the invisible God
The lockdown period has had many challenges, but there have also been some benefits. One plus for me has been having time to tend my usually-neglected garden. I have actually planted things in tubs, watered them, and viewed them daily! My husband and I have also been for regular walks in the countryside. We have watched the crops grow and get harvested, we have viewed sunsets, and we have listened to the birds singing. At times it seemed as though we had the world to ourselves.
Nature is stunning, and even the gentle beauty of the English countryside has taken my breath away at times. As we can see from Romans 1, the bible says that the natural world points to the invisible God:
For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. Romans 1:20
The natural world in its diversity also reflects the multifaceted glory of God. See how the prophet Ezekiel describes the colour of God’s presence:
“As the appearance of the rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the surrounding radiance. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD.” Ezekiel 1:28
This is helpful when we reflect on our dreams. If God is light (see notes under the colour white below) then it follows that the presence of colour in a dream is a strong indication that the dream is from God. So with this in mind, I have taken inspiration from the colours around me to discuss some of the different ways God uses colours in dreams, and what they might mean as dream symbols.
Some tips about my colour interpretations:
- These ideas are just suggestions to get you thinking metaphorically – dreams are personal, so a colour in your dream could totally represent something I haven’t thought of!
- Dream symbols can be positive or negative, depending on the context and atmosphere of the dream. Take notice of how you feel about the colour or object. Therefore, for each colour I have suggested both positive and negative meanings.
- The shade of colour is also important. Is it a deep shade or paler shade? Is it vibrant or muted? These all give clues as to the meaning.
So onto the colours themselves…
I hope you enjoy the pictures, and maybe some of the ideas will be helpful with interpreting your dreams.
The following are adapted from Facebook posts that I wrote over the past months while spending more time at home. It is a bit like my ‘garden journal through lockdown’ as well as talking about colours and dream symbols. Join my Facebook group to see the original posts.
Dream symbol: Blue
I am starting with blue because it is one of my favourite colours, and I enjoyed walks through the bluebell woods early on in lockdown, Blue makes me think of summer skies and open fields. I have seen a lot of those recently!
In a positive context, blue is most commonly the colour of revelation, by which I mean new understanding or realisation of a previously unknown fact. We have a saying that something comes ‘out of the blue’ for something unexpected, like a sudden idea or turn of events. Blue is the colour of the sky, which in symbolic language represents the heavens, so anything that comes from heaven and our relationship with God can be represented by blue.
In a negative context, blue could represent depression. This is a cultural thing, because we talk about having ‘the blues’.
Baby-blue or light-blue could be a new idea (i.e. revelation in its infancy stage). Baby blue could also be about a new leadership role, because boys can be about maturing leadership in dreams.
Dream symbol: White
I have these pretty white geraniums just outside my back door. I do love the way white flowers seem to become almost luminous at dusk during these summer evenings.
When we think about white in dreams, it is often really the concept of light than we mean rather than the colour itself. When white light shines through a prism, the light is refracted and all the colours of the rainbow are revealed. Therefore white is actually ALL of the colours combined.
This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. 1 John 1:5
In the bible, white is often associated with God, because of the concept of God being light and the light that is seen around His throne. So white in dreams can represent God himself (e.g. the Holy Spirit) or something that is of God. White is also associated with purity and righteousness, for example being clothed with white garments (Isaiah 1:18).
In the opposite and negative sense, white can be representative of religion or religious spirits (like a ‘counterfeit’ of the real thing). As someone who has spent many years in church, I have sometimes dreamt of white in this sense, for example being in an ice-house or a snowy landscape, or encountering people dressed in white. Usually there was a bad feeling associated with it in the dream, which alerted me to it being about a religious spirit rather than about God.
Read more, plus see some real dream examples: Dreaming of a white Christmas? The colour white as a dream symbol
Dream symbol: Yellow
I was arrested by the beautiful yellow colour of these gladioli in our garden, which prompted me to write about yellow. Yellow is usually thought of as a happy colour: the colour of sunshine and summer days. In dreams, as usual, it can have positive or negative meanings depending on the context.
In a positive sense, yellow is often said to represent hope. In a negative sense, it can represent fear. I have certainly had some dreams where yellow has represented fear.
I have come to the conclusion from my personal experience that yellow often represents my mind or my understanding, in the sense that it says in Proverbs:
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5
Our own understanding is fine and can be a good thing, it’s just that it needs to be submitted to God’s wisdom. I am a thinking/logical type of person and yellow often features in my dreams. I think that makes sense in relation to hope/fear. Usually we have fear because our mind is relying on our own understanding of the future, and projecting potential negative outcomes. We have hope when we put our trust in what God says and let that define our thinking.
Dream symbol: Orange
I’m lucky enough to be visiting my parents today – their garden is absolutely brimming with colour, and they have some different coloured flowers to those I have at home. So today I have included some flowers from their garden, and some juicy oranges for good measure!
When I trained under John Paul Jackson’s ministry, he taught that orange represents perseverance in a positive context, and stubbornness in a negative context. In both aspects there is a sense of something enduring, whether for good or bad! Perseverance is enduring in a good sense. Stubbornness is holding out longer than you should have!! This has borne out in my own experience of dream interpretation.
Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, For His lovingkindness is everlasting. Psalm 136:1
While writing this I was reminded of the above bible verse, that God’s love also endures forever. So I was interested to see an article in mydreamstories.com suggesting that orange is a fruit as well as a colour, and that love is the most important fruit of the Spirit. Love never fails, never gives up (1 Corinthians 13). Maybe that’s why orange represents perseverance and patience!
In a traffic light or hazard light, the colour orange (or amber as we would probably call it) would be a warning – maybe to take note of a situation and tread carefully.
Read more, plus see some real dream examples: A time for perseverance: the colour orange as a dream symbol
Dream symbol: Red
Today is ‘red hot’ temperature-wise, and our garden is also full of gorgeous red flowers. Red is a vibrant colour which is hard to miss, and I have found that it always seems to stand out and be noticeable when it appears in dreams. Its meaning mostly stems from red being the colour of blood.
In a Christian context, red reminds us of the blood of Jesus. Therefore in dreams it can represent anything that we associate with grace (which is the power of Christ). It suggests power and anointing, and the ability to do something – as the old song goes, ‘there is power in the blood’!
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
In a negative sense, red can symbolise anger or war. We sometimes talk about ‘seeing red’, and again this phrase stems from the red colour of blood. Red in a traffic light means ‘stop!’.
I am mindful that in other cultures red can have different meanings too. This is a good reminder that we always have to think about what a colour or symbol means to us personally and culturally. I have found that it’s always advisable to ask God what He is saying – we can never automatically assume that we know what a symbol means.
Dream symbol: Green
There is a lot is green around in the countryside at the moment, such as these magnificent barley crops. I have enjoyed following the progress of our local fields, all the way from first shoots through to near-harvest time.
Green in dreams is usually a symbol of life, health and growth. This has been my experience in my own dreams, and the meaning relates to the predominantly green colour of nature. Green in a traffic light means ‘go ahead!’.
In the opposite sense, a sickly green colour could just be indicating something that is unhealthy or not life-giving. I have dreamt this, and it was a horrible yellowish-green. Also we have a saying, ‘green with envy’, so in a negative sense it could represent envy or pride. I was observing my new tomatoes today, and remembered that we sometimes use the word ‘green’ to refer to someone who is new and inexperienced.
I think God could use any of these meanings of green in dreams, and there may be others you can think of!
Dream symbol: Black
I couldn’t resist writing about the colour black today, because of these amazing blackberries that I saw while out walking with my mum. I was so inspired that I made blackberry and apple crumble, one of my favourite desserts – yummy!
Sometimes in dreams it can represent something that is not of God. This is really related to the idea of a lack of light rather than the colour itself. In the bible it sometimes represents things such famine or difficult times (eg the black horse in Revelation 6).
“Behold, I tell you a mystery…” 1 Corinthians 15:51
In a positive context black can represent mystery. This has been how God most often uses it in my dreams and I love it! Mystery is a biblical concept which refers to something that you can’t see now, but that will be seen in the future. It carries with it the promise of hope that you will see and understand in due time, and a hint that there is treasure to be found. Also black can be a sign of health and vitality (eg black hair in Song of Songs 5:11).
As with any colour, we always need to consider the atmosphere and context of the dream to see whether the colour is being used in a positive or negative sense.
Read more, plus some real dream examples: Behold I tell you a mystery: the colour black as a dream symbol
Dream symbol: Purple
I don’t have many purple flowers in my garden, but I think you’ll agree that this one I do have is rather magnificent! This seems appropriate, because it reflects the significance of purple in dreams as a rare but important colour.
In ancient times purple dye was hard to obtain and very expensive, and therefore was usually worn as display of wealth, status and authority. For example in the bible, Lydia had become wealthy through trading purple cloth in Acts 16:14.
In a positive context purple is commonly used in dreams to reflect our true/royal identity and authority. It could be an encouragement to help us recognise who we are, or an official confirmation of our position.
In a negative sense it can represent false authority. This could be things like; trying to create an impression of importance, imposing our own will, or just being in a position we were never meant to be in! I had this in a dream once, and it was a horrible dirty-mauve shade of purple.
Most of the time I think purple is a great colour to have in a dream, and it is usually trying to help us believe in ourselves and our true identity.
Dream symbol: Pink
There is such a rich variety of pink shades at the moment, and I have been around my garden to take a look. There are the delicate pink cyclamen, the dark-centred geraniums, the striking salmon-pink gladioli and the rich cerise colour of the dahlias. This variety is also reflected in our dream language.
Pale pink is sometimes called ‘baby pink.’ In dreams this colour can reflect something new in our life that needs nurturing, for example a new gift/ability or ministry. I have never dreamt of pink in negative sense, but following the same train of thought as this, it could represent childishness or immaturity.
Pink also evokes images of romance, feelings and emotions (a magenta colour), and relationship. In this sense, as the pink colour deepens it can also represent a deepening intimacy, for example with God. This is the way God normally seems to use pink for me.
Dream symbol: Grey
I walked past this beautiful planter (above left) on our street today, and realised that I hadn’t thought about the colour grey! Grey often feels negative (like when we have a ‘grey day’). But I think my photo shows how it can be a fabulous colour too – particularly when set against the rest of the colours. Thanks to my mum for sending me the splendid birch tree photos too.
As always, the context of the dream will give us a clue about how to interpret it. In a negative context, grey can be uncertainty. We talk about something being a ‘grey area’ when it is unclear or we are not sure what to do. It is neither one thing nor another.
Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained in the way of righteousness. Proverbs 16:31
In a positive sense grey generally speaks of maturity. This comes from the image of grey hair (as I have found out during lockdown I have more grey hair than I thought – so I’m glad that makes me ‘mature‘!). In many cultures this is also associated with honour.
Dream symbol: Brown
So here we are at my last ‘colours in nature’ post. I have loved doing these! I think we have all felt a bit closer to nature during lockdown, and I have appreciated afresh the variety of colour in creation. It seems fitting to think about brown now, as we approach the end of summer in UK. The fields that’s were once green are now brown, and the autumn shades are not so far away.
Brown is the colour of the earth, the soil and natural things. It reminds us of our frail humanity, formed from the dust. Brown is also the colour we get when we mix all the primary colours together in a paint pot – the colour of mud maybe! But again, representing the physical colour spectrum rather than the light colour spectrum.
In my dreams, brown nearly always alerts me that this is something natural/human (rather than heavenly). Often I dream of struggling through mud, trying to do things in my own strength or lacking clarity. It can also represent compromise – everything mixed up!
Of course if the brown is lovely rich soil or fields ploughed for harvest, that would be positive, suggesting hearts ready to learn or receive (as in the parable of the good soil in Mark 4). In a positive context, brown can also represent compassion.
I hope you have loved this series as much as I have. What a privilege to have this wonderful rainbow-coloured world to enjoy! Our God is truly a God of vibrant light and colour, and He loves to use them in our dreams. Have fun exploring the colours in your own dreams, and please do share any good or intriguing ones!
Most of what I learnt about colours in dreams came from the research and teaching of the late John Paul Jackson. I have interpreted my own dreams using his colour insights, and it has proved to be accurate as I have tested them out over time. In other words, when I use his suggested meanings to interpret my dreams it normally makes sense.
Check out my links page to find out how to access training such as this, and to find other useful resources relating to dream interpretation and dream symbols.
Here is a helpful YouTube video where John Paul explains how he gained his understanding of colours in dreams: