Dreams are always intensely personal. However, they also can’t be completely separated from universal symbolism and cultural context.
As a result, dream interpretation is a lot more complex than it sounds. If you aren’t sure where to start when it comes to dream interpretation, try starting with a color you vividly remember. If that color is orange, there’s plenty of meaning to be found in your dream!
What Emotion Is Orange?
Have you ever woken up from a dream feeling as though you were still in it? The fear from nightmares often hangs over us as we wake up. On the other side, happy dreams can buoy us through the mornings.
Orange is a bright, sunny color, but it’s connected to more emotional meanings than you might think. Here’s a little insight into the color orange and its emotional associations.
Lots of people consider orange to be a happy color. Some of that may be because of its warm nature. But that association also might come from some familiar orange sights. For instance, seeing orange might remind you of the sweet, refreshing taste of citrus. You also might associate it with beautiful autumn days or magnificent sunsets.
Orange is a mixture of red and yellow, both of which are highly energetic colors. So it comes as no surprise that orange is associated with energy and enthusiasm. That association is research-backed, too — at least one study has found that being in an orange room can increase energy levels and even make it harder to focus!
You might be surprised to see this emotion on the list, but orange has come to be associated with spirituality, compassion, simplicity, and meditation. That’s largely because Buddhist monks have worn orange robes for centuries. These robes were traditionally made from scraps of cloth, and the monks dyed them with saffron or turmeric.
Monks in India also wear orange robes, although theirs are dyed with clay from the soil. This ancient practice symbolizes their belief that our bodies are simply outgrowths of the planet.
It might sound odd to have a color associated with determination, but orange is. That might be because of its ability to increase metabolism, heart rate, and general energy. Orange can also make us feel more competitive — there’s a reason it’s often found on sports uniforms.
The Symbolism of Orange
Orange as a color certainly has its emotional effects. But you can’t ignore the many cultural associations with this shade! As you start interpreting orange’s appearance in your dream, it’s wise to be aware of possible symbolism.
Autumn and Changing Seasons
There’s nothing quite like the sight of a vast forest in full fall foliage. Leaves turn shades of red, yellow, and orange. But this connection is about more than just autumnal beauty. When you see orange in a dream, it may be a sign of a major change in your life.
Orange is also the color of flame. Whether you see actual fire in your dream or not, this association might still be there. This type of symbolism can be positive or negative. For instance, seeing orange might symbolize feeling on fire for something. It also might be a sign of turbulence, danger, or destruction.
In the United States, many prison uniforms are bright orange. That’s mostly to help prevent escape. Imagine trying to blend in anywhere wearing an orange jumpsuit!
Whether you have firsthand experience with prison or not, this association might impact your view of orange — if you see it in a dream, it might symbolize feeling confined, trapped, or hopeless.
The Sacral Chakra
In Hinduism and some other religions, believers hold that the body has multiple chakras, or energy centers. Each chakra has a corresponding color. Orange is the color of the sacral chakra, located right beneath your navel. This chakra is linked to both creativity and sexuality, so if you’re a believer or at least familiar with the chakras, seeing orange in a dream might be connected to one of these two themes.
Like red, orange is sometimes used as a color of warning. Some important road signs (like road work signs) are this color. So are some warning labels on potentially toxic chemicals. These associations become embedded in the subconscious, so seeing orange in your dream can be a sign of danger.
Black and orange together make up the colors of Halloween. If you start dreaming about jack-o’-lanterns, it’s a pretty good indication that you have Halloween on the brain. But dreaming of the color alone might also have some connection to the holiday.
Halloween can be fun and playful, but it’s also a holiday connected to death and the underworld. So depending on other things going on in your dream, these themes might be applicable, too.
Loss and Mourning
This association might seem at odds with orange’s seemingly cheerful nature. However, in many Middle Eastern cultures, it’s connected to mourning, grief, and loss. If you have this kind of cultural background, orange may give your dream a sad, heavy cast.
How Do You Interpret Orange in Your Dreams?
It’s one thing to understand your cultural and personal associations with the color orange. It’s quite another to decipher exactly what the color means when you see it in a dream. After all, as you saw above, orange has many meanings and associations, some of which are contradictory. The key to really understanding what orange means in your dream is to delve deep into the context.
But if you’re like most people, the details of your dreams start to slip away the second you wake up. Sometimes, you might forget a dream entirely.
An accurate dream interpretation starts with the right details, and the best way to get those details is to write them down in a dream journal as soon as you wake up. Here are some of the key things to include in a dream journal:
The General Chronology
Some dreams tell a story. Maybe you lose your dog, go on an adventure through the woods and meet a stranger, and then find your dog safe and sound, playing in a creek. Other dreams are chaotic and seem to have no beginning or end — just a series of strange and memorable pictures.
Getting down the details of your dream is certainly important (more on that in a minute), but it’s also critical to capture the general story arc (or lack thereof).
All the Details
Once you have the general gist of your dream, write down every little detail you can think of. The way you do this is up to you. For some people, it’s easier to write out the dream as a complete story, including every detail as they go. For other people, the best course of action is to write a quick summary of the dream and then list the details afterward. Write down scenery, people, animals, objects, locations, etc.
Of course, color is a very important detail to consider. And if you’re trying to figure out what a particular color (like orange) means, write down everywhere you saw it. Going with the lost dog dream, you may have noticed an orange sunset, an orange butterfly going by, and a few orange blooms on the edge of the forest.
One interesting thing about dreams is that very small details can carry a whole lot of meaning. For example, the orange butterfly was a tiny detail in the grand scheme of your dream. But since orange can represent hope or joy, that butterfly might have symbolized that you still had hope for finding your lost dog. In a broader context, it might mean that you have a resilient spirit and weather adversity well.
How You Felt
When you aren’t sure what a given color means in your dream, it helps to pay attention to how you felt when you saw the color. For instance, if you felt hopeful upon seeing the butterfly in your dream, that’s a good sign that orange stood for hope in that context.
But let’s say that you saw the orange sunset at the start of your dream. Orange can also symbolize danger. If you were panicked when you couldn’t find your dog and worried that something had happened to him, orange probably stood for danger.
Dreams are unique to each person. You and your friend could have the exact same dream, but thanks to your individual associations with different dream elements, that dream might mean two different things.
For example, say you and your friend both dream about climbing up to a diving board and jumping off. You have fond memories of going off diving boards as a kid, and you loved to try elaborate dives and cannonballs. So for you, this dream might symbolize excitement about a new phase of your life that you’re ready to jump into.
Your friend, on the other hand, is afraid of heights and can’t swim. For her, the same dream might symbolize a fear of impending doom or a sense that she’s not equipped to deal with a current situation in her life.
For each thing (person, place, animal, color, sound, etc.) you write down, jot down a few notes about any experiences or associations you have with that thing. These associations can be the key to cracking even the most mysterious of dreams.
An Example Dream
If you’ve never taken the time to really analyze your dreams, the whole process can seem daunting. To help you get the hang of it, check out this example dream:
You’re swimming through beautifully clear ocean waters, feeling the warm breeze and the sun on your back. You can see a school of bright yellow fish swimming above the white sand.
Suddenly, the fish seem nervous and swim faster. You sense a presence behind you. You turn and see a bright orange shark moving toward you at an incredible speed. You’re swimming as fast as you can, but the shark is gaining on you by the second. Then you wake up.
The first part of this dream is pretty straightforward: you’re in a beautiful, peaceful environment, which might mean you’re feeling happy and content with your life. The little fish you see are yellow, a color often associated with joy and vibrancy.
Of course, the orange shark changes things. The fact that the shark is an unnatural color is a further indication that it’s a symbol you should pay attention to. The symbolism of the shark itself is obvious: it’s a lethal predator headed straight toward you, so you might be feeling as though you’re running from something, or that an unknown event will soon disrupt your happiness.
In this case, the color orange only underscores that symbolism. When you consider the fact that the shark itself was orange, it becomes clear that orange is symbolizing danger.
Interpreting Your Dreams With Confidence
Dream interpretation can be a real adventure. It’s sometimes easy, sometimes frustrating, and often rewarding. But it’s more than just a fun pastime. When you take the time to regularly dig into the meaning of your dreams, you’ll start to gain a better understanding of your subconscious mind and of yourself. Happy dreaming!
Learn more about dreaming in color and discover what different colors mean in dreams.