When I researched colour symbolism in Tarot, I came across information about how colour is perceived in different cultures. I realised that my perception of colours are based on the Western culture I have grown up in, whereas people from different backgrounds will link colours with different meanings. For example, in western culture the colour ‘white’ is associated with weddings, purity and innocence, but in Eastern cultures such as India and Japan it is linked with funerals and death.
Therefore, in the following table I have included not only my personal ‘western’ perception (including the correspondences of the Golden Dawn), but also the meanings of colours in different cultures.
However, when interpreting the cards, you need to establish your own view on colours, which thoughts and feelings they evoke in you, so you may disagree with some of the meanings suggested below. But that’s fine, because remember that there is no right or wrong; it’s all about your intuition.
When you look at a card in more detail and study its colours, you may find that some colours stand out at different times. That’s when you can pay attention to your understanding of the colour’s meaning and perhaps hidden message.
Watch out for shades and hues; lighter colours may be associated with the conscious mind, darker colours with the unconscious. Opposite colours indicate contrast. Complimentary colours in juxtaposition may suggest balance.
|Colour||Western Tradition||Other Traditions|
|Black||the unknown, mystery, hidden things, darkness, fear, death, funerals, emptiness, lack of insight||China: Colour for young boys|
|Blue||Spirituality, healing, depression, sadness, cold; colour of the fifth (throat) chakra; water; sky.Ruling planet: Moon. The suit of Cups.||Iran: Colour of heaven and spirituality|
|Indigo (Blue-Violet)||Intuition, creative insight, clairvoyance, psychic sensitivity, mystery, dream work; colour of the sixth (brow) chakra. Ruling Planet: Saturn|
|Gold||Masculine energy, luxury, success, material value, the sun, illumination|
|Green||Growth, vitality, nature, harmony, healing, Spring; colour of the fourth (heart) chakra, which can also be pink. Ruling Planet: Venus. The suit of Pentacles.||China: Green hats indicate a man’s wife is cheating on him; exorcism
Ireland: Symbol of the entire country
|Grey||Sadness, dreariness, cold, gloom; neutrality, integration, balance of opposites (a mix of black & white)|
|Orange||Energy, zest, vitality, fire, warmth, confidence, creativity; colour of the second (sacral) chakra. Planet: Sun.||Ireland: Religious (Protestants)|
|Pink||Love, friendship, femininity; colour of the fourth (heart) chakra, which can also be green|
|Purple||Wisdom, spirituality, power, healing, Royalty; colour of the seventh (crown) chakra.Ruling planet: Jupiter||Thailand: Colour of mourning (widows)|
|Red||Passion, courage, life, excitement, danger, blood; willpower; colour of the root chakraRuling planet: Mars. The suit of Wands.||China: Good luck, celebration, summoning
South Africa: Colour of mourning
Eastern: Worn by brides
|Silver||Feminine energy, the moon, spirituality|
|White||Purity, innocence, peace (white dove); truth, light||Japan: White carnation symbolizes death
|Yellow||Joy, vitality, health, rejuvenation, hope, summer, warmth; colour of the third (solar plexus) chakra. Ruling Planet: Mercury. The suit of Swords.||China: Nourishing
Egypt: Colour of mourning
The Major Arcana cards are also associated with specific colours according to their ruling planet or zodiac sign:
|Violet||Jupiter||Wheel of Fortune|
These are all Golden Dawn correspondences; useful if you work with the RWS (Rider Waite Smith), Crowley’s Thoth or the B.O.T.A. deck.
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