Color Series: Red


the color red

Red is often considered a very strong color. It’s a color that can overwhelm if there is nothing to tone it down. Many countries have used this color in their flags because it’s seen as a color of strength, honor, valor, and passion.

This is also the color of love. Red is the color of passion, lust, and romance. Pink is considered the color of new love or young love, but red is strong, passionate love. The most prevalent colors of Valentine’s Day, the day of love, are pink, red, and white: pink for shy, new, or young love; red for passionate or romantic love; and white for pure love. Along with red’s passion come other strong emotions and actions: anger, rage, aggression, courage and bravery, energy, power, violence, and battle/war.

Sometimes red is associated with danger or evil. Red is used for stop signs and stop lights not because it grabs the eye (studies have shown that school bus yellow is the color most likely to draw attention), but because it symbolizes the hazard of the intersection and offers a warning. Some animals have bright red skin or scales to warn other animals of their deadly poison. As a color of aggression, red is a warning and a symbol of violence. Although not necessarily a sign of danger (unless it’s danger to your wallet), red is the color used for sales because it’s a warning—technically speaking, it’s a warning to the consumer that a change has been made to the prices of items, and while it’s generally a “positive” warning, it’s a warning nonetheless. Color therapists say that red is such a strong color that it can stimulate brain wave activity, and for some the color can raise the heart rate or blood pressure just by looking at it. Often red is considered a stimulant.

In the United States, red is most often considered the color of either anger or love. The notion of red being symbolic of power or status is also prevalent in the States—we roll out the red carpet for celebrities and VIPs, for example, as a symbol of their status and power, and many sports teams use red in their team colors because of its powerful associations. In many Asian countries, red is the color of good luck, good fortune, and happiness, but for some it may also have the added associations of Communism (depending on your viewpoint, that may or may not be a bad thing). The traditional color for an Asian bride’s attire is red. A number of cultures and religions consider red to be the color of life because it’s the color of blood. Within Paganism, this color generally is thought to be the color of life or new life because not only is red the color of blood, but it is also the color most associated with reproduction and a female’s monthly cycle. In Christianity, red is associated with Christmas, martyrdom, and the blood of Christ, but it is also the primary color for the Devil. For some Middle Eastern cultures, red is the color of the Devil and evil as well. In South Africa, red is the color of mourning.

Red is the color of flame and the sunrise or sunset. It is generally not considered the color of the sun itself because we perceive the sun as light orange or yellow, even though satellite photos of the sun have shown it to be very red. Since flames and fire give us heat, red is the color of heat and is considered a “hot” or “warm” color. In Wicca in particular (and some other Pagan paths in general), red is the color of the Mother Goddess, the South quarter, and the Beltane and Midsummer holidays.

the root chakraOf the chakras, red is the color for the base or root chakra. This chakra is commonly thought to govern basic human nature and base needs. If any of you have studied psychology, this would compare to the lowest level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which is the level of basic human needs such as sleep, food, water, air, reproduction/sex, etc. Humans need this most basic level to be met and satisfied before any of the higher levels can be reached. In chakra terms, if your red base chakra is out of balance, you’re probably going to have trouble with the higher chakras as well. The root chakra is the link to the physical world and the physical body. Also associated with muscles, kidneys, arteries, and adrenal glands.

Uses
Red is a good color to use when you want an extra boost to your confidence level or if you want to attract attention. However, too much red can send the message that you’re coming on too strong and may overwhelm other people you interact with. Small touches of red, or red combined with other colors, can go a long way. For example, a celebrity may wear an all-red dress at a premiere to draw the eye and attract everyone’s attention, which in turn takes away from other celebrities around him/her. While I assume no one reading this is a celebrity, us regular folks can use the same principle—a red dress or suit to prom, for example.

Aside from a confidence-booster, red can also stimulate passion or romantic feelings. If you’re going on a date and want to set the tone in that direction, wear a red shirt or dress, or bring red flowers like roses. The image of a rose petal-strewn bedroom and red bed sheets is frequently used for a reason. As a stimulant, red excites us mentally and physically, and the outlet for that excitement is defined by the situation: a romantic red setting leads to passion; an angry red setting leads to anger, rage, and possibly violence; a violent red setting leads to battle or aggression; etc.

Wear red underwear or pants/skirts to stimulate the base/root chakra. If you feel too passive in your life and want to feel or be more active, try wearing red clothes, especially around the root chakra. It is NOT a recommended color for any kind of healing spells.

Associations
Element: Fire
Emotions: Love, anger, rage, passion, courage
Animals: cardinals, foxes, red deer, salmon
Astrology: Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
Chakra: base/root
Flowers: roses, carnations, poppies
Foods: peppers, red potatoes, apples, cherries, grapes, tomatoes, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, red cabbage
Metals: iron
Stones: rubies, garnets, rose quartz, carnelians, bloodstone, coral

Resources About Red
http://www.color-wheel-artist.com/meanings-of-red.html
http://desktoppub.about.com/cs/colorselection/p/red.htm

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5 responses to “Color Series: Red

  1. Pingback: Color Series: Orange | A Witchy Life

  2. Really interesting discussion of how correspondences for the color red influence even the most mundane of activities in different cultures. Thanks.

  3. hi, Sita! Hope you had a great start to the year:)
    I liked this topic about colors. And yes, Maslow’s hierarchy is familiar to me as well. Just to add, that red color is also the color of a married woman in India. The bride also wears red attire on her wedding. And sindoor (vermilion) spot or line put in hair partition by married women in India is also red of course.

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