Dream symbols: The colour yellow and what it means

Have you ever wondered what the colour yellow means as a dream symbol?

In this article we will take inspiration from the bible to investigate the spiritual meaning of yellow in dreams, and what that means for us in practical terms.

We will explore its symbolic meaning in positive and negative contexts, with some real dream examples too!

The symbolic nature of dreams

Firstly, if you have just come across this post and are new to dream interpretation, it is worth mentioning that dreams are symbolic in nature. You might find it helpful to read Dreams as parables and Symbolic language in dreams to give you a foundation.

Secondly, remember that dreams are personal, so the meanings that I suggest may not apply to your specific dream. But please feel free to use my ideas as a springboard to thinking and praying about dreams yourself. Don’t take my ideas as gospel, but rather let them help you start to think metaphorically.

I approach dream interpretation from a biblical perspective. My belief is that our dreams can come from God, and understanding them is best understood within the context of an ongoing relationship with Him.

Consider the context

At this time of year the colour yellow is all about us. Here in the UK, the daffodils have raised their golden heads; breaking through the dreary dullness of the winter soil to usher in spring – and warmer weather on the way. Yellow reminds us of sunshine, happiness, joy and positivity.

It is also a colour that has become associated with Easter! Although yellow may not be particularly associated with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, society has filled our shops with chicks, eggs and bunnies. Yellow seems to be the predominant theme! Maybe it is appropriate, for yellow seems to bring a glimmer of hope – and surely that’s what Easter is all about!

As with any dream symbol, each colour can potentially have both positive and negative meanings. 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.  The colour yellow seems so positive. But it can sometimes appear in a negative context too.

Positive and negative meanings of more colours

Symbolism of yellow in the bible

The bible is a great resource for dream interpretation as it contains so much symbolic language.

I carried out a search for the word yellow in the bible, but there are very few mentions – all of them were in Leviticus, relating to the appearance of leprosy: not very inspiring!

There are mentions of the colour gold which is similar to yellow. However in dreams gold has a symbolism all of its own and is worthy of an article dedicated to it – a subject for another time.

In my experience of dreams, yellow frequently represents the mind, which includes thinking, knowledge and understanding. Although I’m not sure why this is the case, it has been borne out time and time again in my own dreams.

The bible actually has a lot to say about our mind and thoughts – and can help us understand why God uses the colour yellow in our dreams and how to apply the interpretation to our lives.

Picture of bible and yellow mug with text: The bible has much to say about our mind and thoughts - and can help us understand why God uses the colour yellow in our dreams.

Mind, knowledge and understanding in the bible

The bible tells us that true understanding comes from God. So if our thinking is in line with God’s then we are in a good place. But if our thinking is out of line with God’s, then it needs to be adjusted in some way to come back into alignment with the truth.

We are encouraged to trust God; to trust that He has more understanding than us. If you think about it, God is the only one with the big picture – the true picture – so it makes sense to trust His understanding over our own.

  • Proverbs 2:6 For the Lord gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
  • Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.

Two potential sources of understanding

Our mind is neither a good or bad thing in itself. It is how it is used and where we are drawing information from that determines whether it is a positive or negative influence in our life.

If we are looking at the world around us and letting that dominate our mind, then our thinking may well be flawed. We have seen a lot of that this year through the Covid-19 pandemic. The news has been quite scary at times, and it would be easy for us to get confused or fearful if we focus on that.

If, however, we are focused on God and drawing our insight and information from Him, then we are getting the true picture. God always gives us hope. So a mind focused on the Spirit will be filled with life, peace and hope – a much better position!

  • Romans 8:6 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace

More ways God can speak about our thinking

Let your mind be renewed

The final bible-related point about our mind is that we need to constantly allow God to renew our thinking. Our life is a work in progress, and a big part of that is correcting any faulty thinking that we have adopted from our upbringing, culture and life experiences.

Dreams can help us identify when we have wrong thinking, so we can seek God’s help to change it. This is where the colour yellow can be so helpful.

Often the fact that yellow is about our mind/understanding is confirmed by other aspects of the dream, and the object that is yellow. For example it could be something yellow on our head, or reading yellow books or files.

  • Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

How God uses dreams to identify wrong thinking

Positive context: Yellow as understanding and hope

Yellow is naturally a very positive colour, reminiscent of the summer sun, happiness and joy. So from that perspective alone it can be a colour that invokes feelings of hope and positivity.

From a spiritual perspective, the bible tells us that hope comes from God. When we are listening to God and receiving from Him, we start to grasp the good plans that He has for us. We start to understand what He is doing in our lives and hope springs up within us! So godly understanding leads to hope:

  • Psalm 62:5 My soul, wait in silence for God alone, For my hope is from Him.
  • Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for prosperity and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
  • Hebrews 10:23 Let’s hold firmly to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;
  • 1 Peter 1:13 Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

When our understanding is in line with God’s, and flowing from God’s Spirit within us, then our mind is a tremendous blessing and helps us live out our lives well. It helps us to process things, organise our thoughts, and make informed decisions.

Positive examples of yellow in dreams

DREAMINTERPRETATIONEXPLANATION
I dreamt Tim Hughes (a well known UK worship leader) was leading a group of people in worship with his guitar, using my ipad. The words were highlighted in yellow on my ipad as he went along.This was last year and was encouraging me to start writing a blog. I could use my writing to share the understanding I have gained about dreams with other people.Tim Hughes was reflecting me. My writing is a form of leading worship, and I write on my ipad. The yellow was positive, indicating that my ability to process what God is saying and share it with others would be a blessing.
I dreamt my mum and aunt were wearing similar dresses. One was bright yellow and lovely but well worn. The other was wearing a co-ordinating blue flowery dress.This was affirming that I was very good at processing information with my mind, but starting to co-ordinate that with receiving spiritual insight from my times with God. Both would come together in my writing.These two dresses reflected aspects of my character. Blue represented heavenly revelation, and yellow my mind. So through this dream I was encouraged to use my understanding to process what God was saying and share that with others.
I dreamt I was at Niagara Falls and I saw men in yellow boats dangling over the edge of the falls on strings, – so they could pull them back up again without going fully over. It seemed totally crazy!I was about to make a big shift in thinking, but was not quite ready yet. This dream was encouraging me to seek God and be open to what He might show me – confirming that this idea would be from God.A waterfall is a move of God’s Spirit – something big that you can’t go back from. The following week I did suddenly realise what this was about, and this dream gave me the confidence to embrace the new idea when it came.

Negative context: Yellow as intellectual pride or fear

Sometimes yellow appears in a negative context. We can tell this from the context of the dream. It could feel unpleasant, or we might think it is a horrible shade of yellow, such as a dirty yellow. We might simply not like the colour in the dream. Or maybe the object has the potential to hurt us, like a yellow spider or snake.

There are two opposite extremes where our mind causes us trouble:

In one extreme we think too highly of ourselves and our own ideas. This is intellectual pride.

  • Romans 1:21-22 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their reasonings, and their senseless hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools.
  • 1 Corinthians 8:1 Knowledge makes one conceited. 

The other extreme is when our mind throws up all sorts of negative ideas and potential outcomes, leading to fear. This is also a cultural thing, because yellow has become associated with cowardice. If yellow appears in a dream in this sense, then the purpose is to encourage us to go to God – who will give us courage and help get things back in perspective.

  • Isaiah 41:13 For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’

Negative examples of yellow in dreams

DREAMINTERPRETATIONEXPLANATION
I dreamt I saw a little cat who was stuck in an industrial machine. I could see his eyes bright yellow with terror as he looked at me. He was paralysed. I went to the site owner to get the machinery turned off to help him out.This dream was about a friend who was stuck in a difficult work situation. The purpose of the dream was to confirm that I should support them as they made the brave decision to leave their job.The cat was representing my friend. The yellow eyes represented fear and the resulting inability to think clearly about their work situation. I was able to be supportive, and they did leave their job.
I dreamt I was trying to find what to wear but was unable to find the right thing. I saw someone called Mandy sitting on the bed wearing a horrible mustard coloured outfit. It did not suit her at all, as she had the same skin colouring as me.This was at the time when I was contemplating starting a blog. It alerted me that I was too worried about what people would think of me, which is why I was struggling to decide what to do.Finding clothes is about finding what we’re meant to do. Mandy means ‘lovable’, reflecting me wanting to be liked. This dream told me to stop worrying and overthinking things, and just make a start. Which I did.
I dreamt I saw someone on a yellow rollercoaster. They got to the top of the loop-the-loop, but slowed down too much to make it round the loop, and fell down to the bottom.This dream was reflecting me. There was something I had misunderstood and got upside down (my thinking was ‘loopy’!). This dream enabled me to seek God’s help and adjust my thinking accordingly.This sounds negative, but it was bright dream and a happy yellow colour. There was no condemnation here, just a heads up that I needed to rethink something. It was very helpful to know at the time.

More meanings of yellow

The redemptive gift of teacher (follow the external link for an article that explains this).

Objects that are normally yellow: If you dream of bananas, custard, lemons, or other naturally yellow objects, it’s worth asking yourself the following question: Is it in the dream because it is yellow (i.e. is yellow the main point), or is it is there for another reason and it just happens to be yellow?

Conclusion

Dreaming of yellow frequently relates to some aspect of our mind or thinking.

In a positive context yellow usually represents hope or good understanding. In a negative sense yellow generally symbolises fear or intellectual pride.

Here are a few closing thoughts:

  • The colour yellow 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 the colour 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 addition to the meanings that I have shared, remember that it could mean something personal or culturally significant to you, that isn’t mentioned here.

If you’d like to know more about the biblical model of dream interpretation, please do get in touch! You can also check out my Facebook group where you can meet other Christians who are learning about dreams.

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