Color Series: Yellow

yellowSome of the attributes of orange overlap with yellow, because orange is a result of red mixed with yellow.  However, yellow has more associations with the mind and with intellect than orange does.  While red and orange are stimulating to the body, yellow is stimulating to the emotions and the mind.  It’s a very visible color and grabs the attention as much as or more than red and orange do.  Yellow is a color of joy, optimism, and happiness.  It often is uplifting and inspiring to those who see it, although yellow is a love/hate color.  Like orange, many people either love yellow or hate it.  Different shades of yellow may be more appealing than others to different people, and different shades can have different effects.  Pale yellow is softer, gentler, and less overwhelming while deeper shades can become overpowering.

Although red is the main color for fire, yellow is often associated with fire as well.  The coolest-temperature fires are yellow–just look at a candle flame–and the sun appears to us to be yellow rather than red because of the earth’s atmosphere.  And what is the sun but a gigantic ball of burning gases?  Yellow is the color of light and illumination, most likely because of the color of the sun’s light.  Even though it is often placed with fire, yellow is more commonly equated with air and mental faculties.

Various religions use yellow as part of a belief system.  In traditional Christian variants, yellow is the color for Greed, one of the seven deadly sins.  During the medieval period of Western Europe, and so a part of medieval Christianity, there were thought to be four humours used in medicine.  The humours were main bodily fluids, and were thought to have an effect on the body and personality.  Changes in humour were thought to be the source of sickness.  The humour associated with yellow was yellow bile, which was thought to cause bad temper and a touchy temper when out of balance. The theory of humours has now been discredited by  modern medicine, but it was very important to medieval and ancient medicine.

In many different variations of Paganism, Wicca among them, yellow is the color of the East quarter and Spring.  This color is generally thought to be the color of childhood and youthfulness.  Yellow is often associated with the Maiden Goddess and the Litha and Imbolc holidays.  For ancient Greeks, many goddesses were described as having golden hair, probably because it gave the goddesses a distinct look different from the typical physical characteristics of a Grecian.  Buddhist monks wear saffron yellow robes, and yellow is a sacred color for Hindus.  In Islam, yellow is the color of wisdom.

In the United States, yellow is used for school buses.  The particular shade of yellow used on school buses was proven to be the most visible color to the human eye compared to all over colors in the visible spectrum.  Since we want kids to be safe, it makes sense to use the most visible color to paint their transportation.  This color may also be associated with monetary wealth since gold is a shade of yellow.  For the Aztecs, yellow was the color for food since their most abundant food source was corn, which is yellow. Yellow is historically a very important color in China.  It corresponded with the earth and was the color of Ming and Qing dynasty emperors.  One emperor, Huangdi, is also called the Yellow Emperor and is commonly considered the founder of modern Chinese civilization due to the large number of inventions and technological advancements made during his reign.

For Greeks, yellow signifies sadness, while in France yellow is the color for jealousy.  In India, yellow is the color of spring and is worn during the Festival of Spring.  It is also the color of the Vaisya caste, which includes farmers and traders.  During 1930s and 1940s Germany, the Star of David on armbands and labels given to Jews was yellow.

yellow chakraOf the chakras, yellow is the color for the third chakra, the solar plexus.  The solar plexus is located at the midsection above the navel.  This chakra is commonly thought to govern willpower, self-esteem, and self-worth.  If the solar plexus chakra is closed, it probably means you feel a lot of fear, anxiety, and negativity toward yourself.  People with a closed or insufficiently clear solar plexus chakra tend to be passive, somewhat timid, and indecisive.  When it’s balanced, this chakra indicates a high self-esteem and a high regard for the self.  You are in control of yourself and your actions, and you are able to have confidence and appropriate assertiveness in group situations.  Too much of this chakra (meaning when it’s overactive) can result in aggressive and domineering behaviors.  Also associated with the stomach, liver, small intestine, and pancreas.


Like red and orange, yellow is not generally the best color to use for healing.  It excites the mind especially, and many people need rest and quiet in order to heal.  So I would not recommend the use of yellow for any healing purposes.  However, a touch of yellow in a room can help to lift a person’s mood and make them happier.  Taking yellow flowers to someone in a hospital, for instance, can help them heal by lifting their mood.  Yellow used in small doses can help a person to heal, but too much can be overwhelming.

Yellow can be used to enhance or activate memory.  Looking at the color yellow while studying could aid memorization and learning.  It can also spark creativity and raise self-esteem.  Yellow is associated with feelings of self-worth and high self-esteem.  This color can help to raise one’s self-esteem levels and improve a person’s opinion of themselves.

Yellow is an energizing color, so wearing a yellow shirt or jacket can help improve one’s energy level.  Yellow also works well as a compliment with other colors.  It can tone down overwhelming reds and oranges, and can add energy to the effects of blue, purple, green, and other cool shades.

Too much yellow can cause irritability, fear, depression, cowardice, and irrational thoughts or behavior.  Like the other warm colors, red and orange, too much yellow can overwhelm a person and cause anxiety or fear.

Element: Air, Fire
Emotions: joy, optimism, happiness, warmth, confidence, anxiety, fear, cowardice, deviousness
Animals: cheetah, canary, chickadee, golden retriever, (baby) ducks, bees
Astrology: Taurus, Air signs
Chakra: solar plexus
Flowers: yellow tulips, yellow roses, buttercups, sunflowers, black-eyes susan, daylily, coreopsis, yarrow, daffodil, marigold
Foods: bananas, lemons, corn, squash, curry, saffron rice, pineapple, apple, pepper, honey
Metals: gold
Stones: amber, citrine, flourite, topaz, cat’s eye, calcite
Season: Spring, Autumn

Resources About Yellow



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