Have you ever wondered what the colour black means as a dream symbol?
In this article I take inspiration from the bible to investigate the potential spiritual meaning in dreams.
We will dive into the mystery of its symbolism in positive and negative contexts, with some real dream examples too!
This year, for the first time in decades, my husband and I went blackberry picking in the fields near our house. I think being in lockdown helped us feel closer to nature, so out we went foraging, and then made blackberry and apple crumble: a good, classic, British pudding! The blackberries seemed more prolific than usual; the beauty and delicious taste of this berry prompted me to think about the colour black as a dream symbol.
Consider the context
As with any dream symbol, each colour can potentially have both positive and negative meanings in dreams. The context, feeling and atmosphere of a dream will give us clues to help us determine whether to interpret it in a positive or negative way.
See ‘Colours in dreams: Inspired by nature during lockdown‘ for more examples of positive and negative meanings of other colours.
The colour black sometimes gets given a negative context in films and media (just think of the Black Riders in The Lord of the Rings, for example).
However the colour frequently appears in a positive context in my dreams. This is what I want to focus on.
Positive meaning: Mystery
Most commonly, when the context is positive, the colour black in dreams represents mystery, in the biblical sense of the word. This is how God most often uses it in my dreams – and I love it!
Our modern idea of mystery suggests something unknown that cannot be understood or explained. It is ‘black’ because you can’t see it. However that doesn’t adequately describe what we are talking about.
Mystery has a deeper meaning in the bible. There is a sense that it means something secret and hidden, but it also carries the hope that God has hidden it for us to find. It tells us that there is something to be sought and discovered. It carries the excitement of a treasure hunt!
Mystery is black because you can’t see it now, but it carries a promise that you will see and understand in due time.
Biblical examples of mystery
Here are a few examples from the bible that illustrate this:
- Daniel 2:47. The king answered Daniel and said, “Surely your God is a God of gods and a Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, since you have been able to reveal this mystery.”
- Mark 4:11. And He (Jesus) was saying to them, “To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God.
- Colossians 1:26 ..the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints.
- Revelation 17:7. And the angel said to me, “Why do you wonder? I will tell you the mystery…”
In each of these examples, we can see that something was not understood initially, but at the right time it was revealed! There is a sense of comprehending something that was not understood before. How exciting!
I have included some examples from my own dreams in the table below, with the benefit of hindsight, so you can see how this works in practice:
Examples of black representing mystery in dreams
|I was walking through some woods, looking for a black bear and then suddenly I spotted one on the path right in front of me.||This dream was given at a time when I was seeking God about something, and feeling like giving up. The dream told me I should not give up, because the answer would be right in front of me in due time.||Our family had recently been on holiday to the mountains in the US, and I really wanted to see a black bear! So I knew that this was a positive dream symbol for me.|
|A scene at the end of a long dream – I was taken to a hotel and given a nice new black skirt to replace my old one.||I was going to be given a new role that I couldn’t imagine at the time of dreaming. It would be revealed in due time, so I could be patient and hold on to that hope.||Clothes in dreams often represent what we are called to do, and whether we are equipped for that task. The black skirt was positive, because it carried the hope of something nice and new.|
|I was given a necklace made of alternating deep pink and black coloured beads.||God was encouraging me that I would be given fresh insight and understanding as my relationship with Him deepened.||Pink can be about our relationship with God. The deep colour indicated that deeper intimacy would be linked to mysteries being revealed.|
Here are a couple of other positive uses of black that I found in the bible:
Song of Songs 5:11 says, “His head is purest gold; his hair is wavy and black as a raven.“ In this quote, black hair is a symbol of youth, attractiveness and vitality. There are no grey hairs here!
Psalm 97:2 says of God that, “Clouds and thick darkness surround Him”, so sometimes darkness can be positive and represent God’s presence. For example a black cloud in a dream could be God.
Negative meaning: Darkness
I think we sometimes use the word ‘black’ when we actually mean ‘darkness’. For example we use it to describe stormy conditions (as in black clouds), or to refer to night time. This is certainly true in the bible, and correlates with the idea of the absence of light rather than the colour itself. Consider the following verses:
- 1 Kings 18:45 In a little while the sky grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a heavy shower
- Proverbs 7:9 In the twilight — in the evening of day, In the darkness of night and blackness.
- Jeremiah 4:28 For this doth the land mourn, And black have been the heavens above.
From a dream perspective, black can also be used to represent something that is not of God. As we have just seen, this is more to do with a lack of light, or the lack of God’s presence. This could be when we find ourselves acting independently from God, or it could be from ‘the enemy’ in Christian language. This could be true of a black object, or the dream being set in a dark place or at night.
In the bible the colour black is also sometimes used to represent things such famine or difficult times (e.g. the black horse in Revelation 6).
Here are some more examples from my own dreams, where the context or atmosphere of the dream indicated to me that the colour black was being being used in a negative context.
However, do take note that the interpretation was still positive, and God used the dreams to give me courage, and hope. This is really important!
Examples of black representing darkness in dreams
|In the dream I was wearing a dark or black coloured costume in a dodgy feeling place. The whole dream was dark.||I was doing something I shouldn’t have been, because it was my idea, not God’s. The dream gave me the opportunity to change direction.||The place felt ‘dodgy’, which indicated that this was a negative context, and that God wasn’t in what I was doing.|
|At the end of 2019 I dreamed I saw a huge black cloud rising in the air behind Windsor Castle, then it came our way. A great battle ensued and I had to stop what I was doing to escape.||This indicated that difficult times were on the horizon for the UK, and would effect what I was doing. This turned out to be prophetic about COVID-19 affecting the UK.||Windsor castle, for me, represented England. Here the black cloud is a negative context. This dream later gave me courage, because I could see that God knew what was coming all along.|
|A number of years ago, I dreamed that a church leader rushed in and told me a storm was coming past, then I saw it pass by. It was pitch black.||This dream was warning me that our church was about to go through a difficult time, but it would pass.||Here black is being used|
to mean darkness, again indicating difficult or stormy times. But it gave me courage to know that we would get through it.
In a positive context black usually represents mystery (something good to be discovered or understood in due time). In a negative sense it generally symbolises difficult times.
Here are a few closing thoughts:
- The colour black in a dream could represent any number of things. The above ideas should give you a good starting point.
- I believe that only God can tell us what it means in a specific dream, so you could try asking Him!
- Consider the atmosphere and context of the dream to see whether the colour is being used in a positive or negative sense.
- In additional to the biblical meanings that I have shared, remember that it could mean something personal or culturally significant to you, that isn’t mentioned here.
Now go and seek out those treasures!