Sunday, May 20, 2007

Color Meaning

In the Western Culture:

Purple and gold are often associated with Royalty, wealth and opulence

Red, White and Blue reminiscent of the American flag, immediately convey notions of patriotism and, to some extent, conservatism.
Green has taken on a very strong connotation as the color representing ecology and concern for the environment, however, it also conveys meanings associated with money and the suggestion "to go ahead" which is obviously derived from traffic lights.
Colors represent holidays and seasons of the year.
The Fall foliage colors of Red, orange, yellow, and brown are clearly expressive of Thanksgiving. Halloween: Orange and Black. Red and Green represent Christmas. Purple and Yellow and other pastels colors represent Easter.
Blue, Red, White and Grey = Stability, Power, Trustworthiness, Conservatism
Yellow, Brown, Orange, Green = Nature, earthiness, warmth
Red, Orange, yellow = more warmth
Blues and Aquas = water and coolness
Primary colors (Red, Blue, Yellow) = Convey fun

Native American color symbols--Cherokee

The Four Directions
Colors were associated with the four directions.
Blue represented North which meant cold, defeat and trouble.
White was South representing warmth, peace and happiness.
Red was East, the color of the Sacred Fire, blood, and success.
West was black the color meaning problems and death.
Other colors also had special meanings.
Brown was good but yellow meant trouble and strife.

The circle was also a basic symbol for the Cherokees.
The council houses were circular and the fire inside was
built so that the fire would burn in a circular path.
The stomp dance and other ceremonies were performed
in a circular pattern.

Navajo Meanings of Colors

This information was posted to Getty Teacher Art Exchange by Christine Merriam

The Four Sacred Mountains and directions are associated with colors. The Navajos belief is that their Creator placed them on the land between the following 4 mountains representing the 4 cardinal directions:

White: Mount Blanca (Tsisnaasjini' - Dawn or White Shell Mountain) Sacred Mountain of the East near Alamosa in San Luis Valley, Colorado
Blue: Mount Taylor (Tsoodzil - Blue Bead or Turquoise Mountain) Sacred Mountain of the South north of Laguna, New Mexico
Yellow: San Francisco Peaks (Doko'oosliid - Abalone Shell Mountain) Sacred Mountain of the West near Flagstaff, Arizona
Black: Mount Hesperus Dibé Nitsaa (Big Mountain Sheep) - Obsidian Mountain Sacred Mountain of the North La Plata Mountains, Colorado.

The principal colors, white, blue, yellow and black are linked to the four sacred mountains as well as the directions- Red is often considered a sacred color and represents sunlight. (source for this is off line now)

White Mountain Apaches
Four sacred colors of the White Mountain Apaches in east central Arizona contrast
interestingly with the Cherokee colors:
White represents the north, source of snow
Yellow is east, where the sun comes up
Green is south
Black is west, home of the sun's setting
These colors are used in a variety of settings, from the tribal government
seal to the ribbons on the cane of Changing Woman (the girls' puberty

Medicine Wheel color symbolism:
EAST- dawn of new day-Yellow-illumination-inspiration-eagle
SOUTH- red or green-passion, heart, warmth-emotions-porcupine
WEST- black-introspection, self examination, reflection-bear
NORTH- wisdom of our elders-white-white buffalo

The Flag of the Flag of the Iowa Nation
The color of the streamers brings together the four primary
colors in Native American art, the black, yellow, red and white. These
colors are said to represent the four races of man and the four prime
directions of the compass. With its use of color and its chosen emblems the
flag of the Iowas may be the most typical of all Native American

Information below was from a site I would not go to with students (site is no longer online) I have omitted all of the pagan color symbolism from this page. Sources were not documented.

Native American Color Symbolism (varies by ethnic group - this source was not "authoritative")

Red (Faith): Communication
Yellow (Love): Overcoming challenges through unconditional love
Blue (Intuition): Using intuition to teach and serve
Green (Will): Living willfully
Pink (Creativity): Working
White (Magnetism): Sharing
Purple (Wisdom): Gratitude/healing
Orange (Learning): Kinship
Gray (Honoring): Friendship
Brown (Knowing): Self-discipline
Rose (Seeing): Motivation
Black (Hearing) Harmony; listening
Crystal (Clarity): Wholeness

Asian Color Symbolism

Red: Happiness, marriage, prosperity
Pink Marriage
Yellow: Against evil, for the dead, geomantic blessings
Green: Eternity, family, harmony, health, peace, posterity
Blue: Self-cultivation, wealth
Purple: Wealth
White: Children, helpful people, marriage,
mourning, peace, purity, travel
Gold: Strength, wealth
Gray: Helpful people, travel
Black: Career, evil influences, knowledge, mourning, penance, self-cultivation

Astrological Color Associations (this source was not "authoritative")

Aries -- White
Taurus -- Yellow
Gemini -- Red or Purple
Cancer -- Bright Green
Leo -- Golden Yellow/Orange
Virgo -- Pale Blue or Violet
Libra -- Violet
Scorpio -- Reddish Brown
Sagittarius -- Orange or Purple
Capricorn -- Brown or Blue
Aquarius -- Dark Blue
Pisces -- White or Purple

Color in Sacred Art
Color meaning in sacred art -- various cultures given -- research notes on religious art
by Dr. A.L. Marsland

Color Therapy - Color and the Brain

Specific colors have different effects (list copied from
Black: self-confidence, power, strength
Blue: calming, lowers blood pressure, decreases respiration
Green: soothing, relaxing mentally as well as physically, helps those suffering from depression, anxiety, nervousness
Violet: suppresses appetite, provides a peaceful environment, good for migraines
Pink: used in diet therapy as an appetite suppressant, relaxes muscles, relieves tension, soothing
Yellow: energizes, relieves depression, improves memory, stimulates appetite
Orange: energizes, stimulates appetite and digestive system
Red: stimulates brain wave activity, increases heart rate, respirations and blood pressure.....

From Princetonol