What Does The Color Red Represent Spiritually? Here's What To Know, From Color Experts
All of us have our own personal associations with colors, and when it comes to red, it could remind you of passion—or intense rage. Curious what the color represents spiritually? Here's what experts and research have to say.
Simply go out into the world and you'll immediately find red symbolism everywhere. From red stoplights and stop signs, to red restaurant logos, and even red-light districts, our associations with the color are obvious. It's sexy, it stops you in your tracks, and phrases like "seeing red" also indicate we link this color with anger and frustration.
As Nina Ashby, psychic and author of Simply Color Therapy, tells mindbodygreen, red is considered the densest and slowest moving vibrational wave, and that includes everything from very dark red shades of red to light pinks. And being the color of the root chakra, she says, it also represents the material world.
"It represents blood; It represents life force passion; its slow-moving molecules create friction, which creates heat, so it represents heat and fire as well," Ashby explains, noting that this is a super-stimulating color. After all, when we're "fired up," so to speak, we may become flushed with red, and that's no coincidence.
Color therapist Walaa AlMuhaiteeb previously told mindbodygreen that red is related to lust, passion, energy, and material things. And as Ashby explains, Mars, the masculine planet of action and war, is literally nicknamed "the red planet" and rules the fieriest sign of them all: Aries.
Red is even considered a "power color," frequently worn by politicians, royalty, and anyone of high status—and research proves1 that we recognize it as such.
And this color's rich symbolism isn't anything new, with a long-standing reputation throughout history. As world history and Western symbology expert Michel Pastoureau writes in Red: The History of a Color, the symbolism of red can be found in the Bible (think the fires of hell and the Devil), while the ancient Greeks and Romans associated it with excellence, and the Red Cross uses red in its signature cross logo.
Not only that, but red may alter perceptions of time and even impact our metabolism. One study published in the journal Scientific Reports2 found that when men saw a red screen, their perception of time slowed down compared to when looking at a blue screen. Research published in the journal Management Decision also notes that red stimulates appetite because of its effect on the metabolism, making it a popular color for restaurant design.
Positive symbolic meaning of red:
Negative symbolic meaning of red:
- Rash behavior
What does red mean spiritually?
In a dream:
When it comes to interpreting any dream, context always matters. That said, according to Ashby, you could dream of a red tomato, red clothing, or a completely red room. What matters is how you feel in the dream and what the color evokes in you.
"For example, it could mean irritation or frustration—but it could also mean to light a fire under your tail and get going," Ashby tells mindbodygreen, adding that one would have to look at the range of different meanings of the color red and then interpret your dream in relation to how red appears.
Check out our full guide to dream interpretation for more information here.
If red seems like it's a pervasive color in your love life or relationship, it's likely you or your partner have a lot of sensual or sexual energy. This can be a great thing, so long as it's not all lust.
It could also be that you or your partner have a red aura, and in the context of love and relationships, aura reader and stylist Susanna Merrick previously told mindbodygreen that people with red auras are some of the most passionate lovers around. Red is all about connection to the physical, after all, and a relationship with someone with a red aura will be anything but boring.
And according to Megan Michaela Firester (aka Mystic Michaela), "Red people love a challenge and like someone who's fun to watch. They don't want boring. They're also very sexual, and sexual chemistry is important."
In feng shui:
Red is considered a very lucky color in feng shui, and a good one to incorporate into your house. As feng shui expert Katie Rogers previously wrote for mindbodygreen, it represents the element of fire and because of its intensity is considered lucky and can help redirect energy around the home. She does, however, recommend avoiding it if you're stressed or having trouble sleeping.
And as feng shui expert Anjie Cho previously explained to mindbodygreen, red is also a color of protection and vitality. Monetary gifts at special occasions like weddings or Chinese New Year are even given in red envelopes, she adds, "as a way to invite more luck and protection with that exchange."
We already touched on red auras a bit, but the main thing to understand is that if someone has a red aura or red personality, they're going to be full of physical energy, passion, and courage. "It's an actionable energy—you're rooting down and being courageous, calling in actionable change," Merrick explains.
And shades of red are relevant too, with Firester noting that people with bright or true red auras are upbeat, teamwork-oriented, fair and just, and respected leaders. On the other hand, darker shades of red can indicate rage. "They might get into fights, have road rage, or be very confrontational or angry people—they tend to go from zero to 60 kind of quick," she says.
Ashby echoes this point, telling mindbodygreen that red people are often "very reactive." She adds that they can be naive as well but also vulgar and aggressive.
The root chakra:
As aforementioned, the color red represents the root chakra, our foundational chakra. It develops in our first seven years of life and deals with survival and security needs. When the root is out of balance, we may feel insecure, unsafe, and even disconnected from reality.
Here's how to balance your root chakra, in case you're curious.
How to work with the color red.
If you feel like you're lacking a bit of intensity, sexual energy, or groundedness, incorporating more red into your life is a great way to work with this color's energy.
For one thing, Ashby says, you can simply wear more red or decorate your home with it. When you wear red, she explains, you're sending a message that you have vigor and vitality, and are welcoming attention. "If you went to a party and wear a red dress, you'll get noticed. Look at the red carpet, right? If you don't want to stand out, don't wear red," she adds.
And beyond that, Cho notes that red is magnetizing and can illuminate you when you need more passion or recognition. "My favorite way to bring in fire energy is with fresh red flowers," she previously wrote for mindbodygreen.
Lastly, AlMuhaiteeb previously told mindbodygreen that red candles are great for calling in material things. "If you've had all these goals and concepts and ideas, a red candle and a red frequency can help you materialize that and make it happen in the physical," she says.
Why is red such a powerful color?
Red not only grabs our attention but is associated with powerful figures like politicians and royalty, as well as big emotions like passion and anger. As such, it is considered a "power color."
What emotions does red symbolize?
Red symbolizes many emotions, both positive and negative. Namely, it's associated with anger, rage, lust, passion, high energy, stimulation, and fear.
Does red mean anger or love?
Red is typically more closely associated with anger than love, though it is a sensual color so can relate to lust, love, and sex.
Every color in the rainbow has its own symbolism and associations, and red is no exception, with a variety of spiritual meanings. A color of intense passion—but sometimes rage—there is much nuance to this color's history and plenty of ways to tap into its more beneficial qualities.
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, a registered yoga instructor, and an avid astrologer and tarot reader. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from State University of New York at Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.