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Tips on Interpreting Dreams With the Color Red

Updated on January 06, 2017

When you think of the color red, several things may come to mind, from hot lava to Valentine’s Day. In dreams, red is associated with just as many meanings and it can serve as a valuable interpretation tool when it appears in your dream’s imagery.

Because colors are so versatile, I’ve broken the potential meanings into three different categories.

Dante Rossetti drew inspiration for "Dante's Dream" from a poem by Dante Alighieri. In the beautiful painting, the color red represents the love Alighieri felt for a woman who did not return the feeling.
Dante Rossetti drew inspiration for "Dante's Dream" from a poem by Dante Alighieri. In the beautiful painting, the color red represents the love Alighieri felt for a woman who did not return the feeling. | Source

Emotional Meanings

The color red is one of the most primal colors in our world, thanks to its association with blood. It holds special emotional meaning for cultures around the world. Red is usually associated with feelings like lust, courage, passion, anger and fear.

So, how can you tell which emotion red represents in your dream? Context is everything in this case. A good example of a red fruit which may come up in dreams is the strawberry.

For some people, strawberries are associated with the innocence of family outings to the local farm for berry picking, or growing strawberries in their gardens. These images bring feelings of familial love, safety and achievement, which could all be things that you’ve surrounded yourself with, or need more of in your life.

On the other hand, others see strawberries as a very sensual fruit. If you dream of feeding strawberries dipped in cream or chocolate to a lover, the dream may be reinforcing the romantic love and lust you feel for a particular person or the longing you feel for that sort of relationship.

The quality of the color is also indicative of the emotions your dream is trying to tell you about as well. To stick with the strawberry example, if the berries are the rich, deep shade of ripened fruit, which could mean that the feelings they represent is healthy and fulfilling. However, if the red is mixed with the black or grey of rot, that means that the emotions have turned toxic, and it’s time to let them go.

Think about the types of red, too. Deep, rich crimson could represent darker sides of lust than the bright, playful scarlet of a cupid's heart, or the innocent pink of a child's room.

Facts About Red

In addition to being an important part of dream interpretation, there are some very interesting facts about it.

  • Red was the third color to get its name after black and white.
  • Red is the first color babies can see.
  • Gold is combined with chlorine to make the color red in stained glass.
  • As one of the primary colors, red is combined with blue to make shades of purple and yellow to make shades of orange.
  • Animals can't see the color red.

Symbolic

All things are symbolic in dreams, but the color red has a wider range of symbolism than many realize. Think about your every day life, for a moment.

When a street light turns red, it’s a warning to stop, so other cars can go by. If you donate blood, you may give to the Red Cross, which is in place to help people in need. The red light district in your town is where people seek an outlet for their lust. When blood makes an appearance, usually it’s because of some sort of illness or injury. Because the color has so many different meanings in the waking world, those same meanings hold true in sleep.

In addition to things like warning signs, it could also represent the need to pay attention to the feminine aspects in your life. Thanks to its association with menstrual blood and childbirth, red is also a powerful symbol of fertility, motherhood and all things involving women.

Again, context is everything. If you dream about blood, is it because you or someone else is wounded? Or is it connected to menstruation? Injury can be a warning that something is wrong, while menstruation could represent fertility in association with a project or ongoing process. Also, a bandaged injury indicates that the problem is being treated, while if the wound is free to bleed, it could indicate an urgent need for healthy intervention.

Is there a stop light in your dream?

When stop lights show up in dreams, they often act as warning signs.
When stop lights show up in dreams, they often act as warning signs. | Source

Metaphysical

Archaeologists have found traces of red paint in connection to religious ceremonies since before the written word was invented. Although cultures around the world have evolved long past those humble beginnings, the significance of red has lingered within the fabric of our varied customs and religions.

The Cardinals of the Catholic Church wear red as a representation of their deep devotion to their religion, while brides in many cultures wear red as an expression of marital joy. There are several African cultures which associate the color red with sorrow, evil and violence, while many European and American cultures associate it with romance.

In dreams, red could represent any of those things, depending on your individual beliefs.

However, it’s also associated with the planet Saturn, which represents new beginnings, sudden changes, cleansing and determination. It’s also associated with fire, which can be seen as a cleansing force just as much as a destructive force.

On the other hand, fire can also be a nurturing force, like the fire in a hearth or one over which food is cooked. The color red, like the fire it may represent, is a lesson in contradictions and the deeply spiritual experience human life can be.

Closely connected with fire is the Phoenix, the mythical bird which is reborn from its own ashes. In this case, red could represent great pain and struggle, but the promise of a brand new start and hope for a better time.

To draw another connection to the role of the Phoenix, red also indicates a cycle of life, death and rebirth. When this type of reincarnation is brought into the picture, your dream may simply be telling you that you're in a state of growth.

If you're graduating from school, for instance, your life of a student at that particular institution is ending, but your life in another school or in the workplace is just beginning.

Red Symbol
General Meaning
Blood
Life, injury, fertility, motherhood
Fire
Passion, cleansing, destruction, nurturing, heat
Robin Red Breast
New beginnings, spring, nature
Although different symbols have various meanings, some meanings are universal.
Writing your dreams in a journal will help you spot patterns and interpret the color red as well as other symbols.
Writing your dreams in a journal will help you spot patterns and interpret the color red as well as other symbols. | Source

What Your Dreams Mean to You

When it comes right down to it, the meaning of the color red in your dreams is heavily dependent on what’s going on in your life and what associations you have with it. The below technique has helped me decipher the stranger dreams I’ve had. It’ll work for most symbols, like water, the color green and characters in the dream.

Individual Symbolism
When you have a dream in which red factors strongly, take a minute to write down the first things that pop into your mind when you think of the color. Does red bring fun to mind for you? Is it an expression of romance?

Once you have the first five things that you think of down, jot down what was red in the dream or what caught your attention. From there, write what significance those things have to you down, and see if there are any connections to what you wrote down for the color red.

Context
Once you have the individual symbols written down, take a look at the context of the dream. How were you using whatever tools showed up? What was the emotional tone? Was there anything strange in the goings on?

It may take a little practice to get the hang of successfully interpreting your dreams, especially the stranger once, but using the rich symbolism that colors like red brings will help you figure out what your subconscious is trying to tell you more easily. Once you learn how to read your dreams, you may start noticing positive changes in your life because of those messages.

© 2013 ESPeck1919

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    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 3 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      I remember reading Freud's Interpretation of Dreams. It's fascinating how the mind works - most of which we are still trying to unlock.

    • ESPeck1919 profile image
      Author

      ESPeck1919 3 years ago from Minneapolis, MN

      So true! For such a common occurrence, dreams really are one of the most fascinating elements of the human experience.

    • Shirl Urso-Farmer profile image

      Shirley Urso-Farmer 8 months ago from Michigan

      Yes I agree :)

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