Colors in Dreams


Have you ever had a dream in which a color stood out so strongly that it somehow felt important? Robert J. Hoss, author and host of a great newly designed website called DreamScience, says that’s because it is. A former scientist and applied researcher, Bob retired early to devote his science and management skills to dream studies. His Transformative Dreamwork protocol is based on a unique blending of research and psychology: Gestalt work, Jungian theory and practice, the neurobiology of dreaming, plus his research into the significance of color in dreams.

During the last few months I’ve experienced a wide range of emotions as I’ve tackled the myriad final details required by my publisher. And I don’t use the word “tackled” carelessly. Sometimes I’ve felt like I’m tackling this book. Other times it feels like the book has tackled me. And once in a while I feel like I might just win the game. I’ve had some interesting dreams related to all these emotions featuring vivid colors so I visited Bob’s site to see what new information I could find.

To illustrate, here’s a summary of Dream #5014:

I‘m in a big house filled with messes. I don’t think it’s my house, and they’re not my messes, yet I’m responsible for them. A mother marmalade cat is licking the carpet where two kittens have urinated on it. I hope it doesn’t smell. Whose kittens are these and why are they in the house? Who are all these people milling around looking for places to sit down and eat? And why is it my job to clean off tables and find chairs and china and silverware? It’s very frustrating and burdensome.

The scene shifts. I’m leading people on a tour down a stairway into a vast hall. The walls are painted a mixture of whitish rose smeared over a deep red. All the decorative touches, lamps, and sconces are gold. It’s beautiful and I feel very much at home in it, but I’m afraid the others will think it’s tacky and overdone.

Then I’m walking into a basement with a yellow/orange kitten lying on the floor. A determined-looking young man drives a green tractor straight through the room, hits the kitten, and blood spills out everywhere. The orange mother cat runs to it and licks it. One leg is bloody and swollen, but everything else is fine. The mother turns away and rushes toward a big open tote bag lying on the floor. With a fierce, angry look she attacks the bag and jumps inside it. I smile to myself thinking about how cats love to play in bags and boxes. It seems fitting somehow that in the midst of all this horror and mess, the cat is both attacking and playing with the bag at the same time.

Bob’s site is full of useful information, videos, online courses, and radio shows. It’s very easy to negotiate, so I went to the information tab and clicked on “Working with Color in Dreams.” There I found a wonderful color questionnaire  from his book, Dream Language, which you can download from his site for free.  It includes tables with associations to colors that you can use to see what statements and themes trigger your own personal associations to the symbols and events of the dream.

I had been puzzled by the huge red walled hall, but now I get it. Here are the themes for red that resonated strongly with me. Thrown out and attracted to the outer world. Activity. Disruption. Yes. My life has been totally disrupted by this book that has consumed my thoughts day and night. There are always messes to clean up. Emotionally determined action. For sure. And courage. It takes guts to put myself out in the world with this book. And I am, indeed, worried about how others will react to it.

What about the green tractor?  Two themes for green feel especially relevant to this dream. First, hard work and drive will gain me recognition and self-esteem. Drive? Why didn’t I think of that? Way down in the basement of my unconscious my writer animus is hell-bent on driving that tractor through the room and he’s determined to succeed. And second, detail and logic are important here. Anyone who’s ever had to locate sources, get permissions for images, compile bibliographical information, fill out a marketing spreadsheet, and write citations according to the Chicago Manual of Style knows exactly what I’m talking about. 

And the orange cat? Orange combines the energy of red and the happiness of yellow. It is associated with joy, and represents enthusiasm, fascination, creativity, determination, and stimulation. Yes, I’ve been feeling that too. That part of this process has been wonderful. It’s very comforting that the dream ends like this.

I hope you’ll check out Bob Hoss’s site. If you’re interested in dreams, you’ll love it.

Jean Raffa’s The Bridge to Wholeness and Dream Theatres of the Soul are at Amazon. E-book versions are also at KoboBarnes And Noble and Smashwords. Healing the Sacred Divide can be found at Amazon and Larson Publications, Inc. Her new book, The Soul’s Twins, will be launched next year.

Join 5,846 other subscribers


11 Responses

  1. Lovely post Jeanie thank you! I’m usually aware of colour in my dreams and if and when I dream and record it, I note the colour/s. I’ll definitely check out Robert J Hoss’ links thanks for providing them.
    Your dreams certainly are graphic and colourful. But lovely that you have the mother cat and kittens in them. Isn’t there an expression about kittens – something along the lines, I was so fearful, I nearly had kittens?
    Meanwhile good luck with the all the plotting and planning and publisher demands and so on. You’ll come up tops for sure after being in the basement –

    1. Thank you, Susan. Yes, I loved the mother cat and kittens too. And the way the mother’s attention seemed to make the kitten okay. And then, true to her nature, she couldn’t resist playing with the tote bag. I do hope this portends well for the continuing development of my mother archetype! Maybe she’s being truer to her instincts now than she was when I was a young mother and so new to nurturing myself and others.
      Hahaha. I’d totally forgotten about the “nearly had kittens” saying. And yes, I have carried around a certain amount of fear and trepidation throughout this process. It’s been a tough book to write.I just hope it’s relevant to the spirit of our times.
      Thanks for the good wishes. And yes, there’s been a lot of activity going on in the ‘basement’ of my psyche. We’ll see what comes of it. 🙂

  2. Hi Jean,
    Thank you for the website which I will definitely add to my list of resources for working with dreams. And thank you also for sharing your dream and the analysis. I have definitely had dreams in which a colour stood out, so I look forward to going back to them and seeing what else comes up. Best of luck finishing your book, and I can’t wait to read it!

    1. Thank you, Pamela,
      It’s a great site. There’s so much to learn about ourselves, and our dreams have so much helpful information about us if we can just get better at learning their language. It took me years of dreamwork before I truly understood the emotional content of my dreams and could see how it showed up in my waking life. We all have our blind spots. 🙂
      Thanks for the good wishes for my book. It’s been a long process and I can’t wait for it to come out!

  3. Thank you for sharing. See you soon. All the best as you finish this current project. XXQ
    Sent from my iPhone

  4. Interesting link on the dreamscience site and the pdf there on psychological triggers for colours. The night before I read this I had a dream where a large part of it I was lying awake in a large natural wood bed with wood grain coloured bedding. It just so happened that I’d been on the previous day receiving dna results which confirmed a long suspected bio father.
    Thenin the questionnaire I see 6) Natural wood brown (Jung) I am concerned about matters of family, home or roots!
    Bing! Home run!

    1. Wow. Jung certainly knew what he was talking about, didn’t he? Isn’t it cool to have that kind of immediate affirmation from your dream? You feel so…….known. And simply okay with who you are.
      It’s all about understanding the emotional language of visual imagery, and color has a lot to do with it. I’ve known that to a certain extent, but Hoss’s studies disclose so much more information I’ve never known about before.
      Congrats on the big score!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Recent Posts