What is the meaning of red?

Commonly, the meaning of red is associated with passion, activity, and excitement. Red is the most dominant and dynamic color. Some common properties of the color red include:

  • Activating
  • Stimulating
  • Passionate
  • Exciting
  • Powerful
  • Expanding
  • Richness / Warmth
  • Love / Sensuality
  • Transformation

Another common meaning of red is its association with the fire element. Therefore, like fire, red is a symbol of power and transformation. Red is an excellent color to use in the fame and reputation area of the feng shui bagua, especially if you are trying to improve your reputation or receive more acknowledgment and recognition.

Red also represents love, passion, and sensuality so it is a wonderful color to use in your feng shui bedroom and the relationships and love area of the bagua. If you use red in your bedroom, make sure it is a more earthy red since a bright red is much too active to provide a restful space.

Color psychology also suggests that although red elicits a feeling of warmth and richness, too much red can be over-stimulating and cause tension, anxiety, and even aggression. (It will stimulate your appetite too! So if you are trying to lose weight, don’t paint your dining room red. Although it is a very appetizing and beneficial color for restaurants.) For a more pleasantly stimulating color, consider using orange.

The meaning of red as described in “The Herder Dictionary of Symbols: symbols from art, archaeology, literature and religion” is as follows:

“Red is the color of fire and blood, and like these symbolically ambivalent. Ina positive sense it is the color of life, love, warmth, inspired passion, and fertility; in a negative sense it is the color of war, the destructive power of fire, loss of blood, and hate.

In antiquity there was a widespread belief that red protected one from dangers. Sometimes, for example, animals, trees, and objects were painted red to protect them from evil influences or to make them fertile.

In Egypt the meaning of red was associated with the glowing deserts and was regarded as a symbol of evil and destruction; the scribe, for example, used a special red ink for bad words. As the color of the crown of Lower Egypt, however, red had a positive significance.

Among the Romans, brides wore a fire-red veil, the flammeum, a symbolic reference to love and fertility. For the Romans red, also symbolic of power, was the color of the emperor, the nobility, and the generals.

High-level judicial officers have often made use of the color red (e.g., in the Middle Ages the executioner, as lord over life and death, wore a red garment; in many countries today, red is the color of judges, particularly those of high rank).

The cardinals of the church wear red with reference to the blood of the martyrs.

Satan, the Lord of Hell, and the whore of Babylon are dressed red; in this context the meaning of red is the expression of the devouring power of hellfire or of untamed desires and passions.

In alchemy red is regarded as the color of the Philosophers’ Stone, which is considered the stone that carries the sign of the light of the sun.

As a striking signal color that promises new life and warmth, red is the flag color of revolution, particularly of socialism and communism.”

 

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"Colour is uncontainable. It effortlessly reveals the limits of language and evades our best attempts to impose a rational order on it... To work with colour is to become acutely aware of the insufficiency of language and theory – which is both disturbing and pleasurable."
- David Batchelor