Attributes of Color in Esotericism and Traditional Ritual Magic

Color plays an essential role in all forms of ritual magic, meditation and all forms of ritual practice. Colors are very powerful spiritual, emotional and physical energies which influence all planes. Colors gain their power as timeless elements of nature which are considered absolutes i.e. they apply to all entities of all realms.

The interpretation of occult color attributes varies widely among disciplines and cultures; this guide bases the attributions upon the spectrums of white light, primary, secondary and tertiary light. It is essential that the practitioner choose a color for a particular working based on their own level of comfort and intuitive sense for the color selected.

The following attributes can be used for focus, invocation and visualization during ritual and mediation. It is important to remember that the associations below apply to traditional Ritual Magic which is in itself a spiritual discipline. One is cautioned to avoid applying labels or assuming meaning of colors in mundane or ordinary reality as the perception of color is much different on the spiritual plane.

Spiritually colors are vibrations of Light, entities and energies with specific and distinct actions. With the exception of the color black, this in ordinary reality is a color, but spiritually is the absence of light or the absence of color, a shadow.

Visible color exists on a small area of the entire light spectrum, however spiritual color attributes exist both visibly (monochromatic) and spectrally (not seen by the eye).

Categories of Color

White: Light, all colors combined

Black: Spiritually not a color, but an absence of light.

Primaries: Red, blue, yellow

Secondary’s: Orange, Purple, Green

Tertiary’s: yellow/orange, red/orange, red/purple, blue/purple, blue/green, yellow/green


Spiritually white is the color of spiritual radiance that shines forth from the center of self and from the face of the All. White is clear and transparent, encompassing the attributes of all colors and none. White is pure and like pure water has no flavor, yet pervades all things. White is the spirit of the unmanifest, that which is everywhere and nowhere promoting seeing yet it is unseen. Perception of white invokes senses of creation, all things and white returns all things to this state.

White is frequently seen in traditional ritual magic to represent the force of divinity, unknown or divine intervention and invokes the energy of purity and creation to the intention of the ritual.


Spiritually black is not a real color but is the result when light is withdrawn. Black is the antithesis of spirit and can be best understood as a shadow, illusion or absolute darkness. The energy of black exists only because of the light as do all things. Black is hollow, emptiness, illusion without pretense. Black does not truly exist and therefore it cannot be destroyed but only banished by the Light. Black is always ready to return the instant the light is withdrawn. Due to humanity’s fall from grace the illusionary qualities of black appear real and is believed to exist and therefore it is able to manifest as cruelty, hatred, indifference, violence and the one quality that binds them together is emptiness (Tyson, 1988).

It is because of the illusionary characteristics of black that it cannot exist in the presence of the Light and thus divine agents associated with the Light such as Angels, deities or nature spirits associated with fire, sun or lightening energies banish darkness instantly and immediately for it is universal law that it must cease to be as the flame of a candle illuminates a darkened room.

Black serves as an ideal example of one of the differences between visible color and spectral or spiritual color. The visible color black serves as a symbol invoking the vibration or influence of what it represents according to the ritual or meditation. The visible color black is examined in color theory in relation to other visible colors of the light spectrum. Black does not exist on the spectral light plane, yet as a true paradox, it does in the form of emptiness, nothingness, shadow, illusion and absence of light.

Primary Color Associations:


The color associated with masculine energy, red is the Father, the color of will. Red is action and activity of command. Red is radiating and outward force. Red is fiery and explosive by nature.


The color associated with feminine energy, blue is the Mother, the color of reflection and inner emotion, secrecy, nurturing, creation and formation. Blue is the color of lakes, the ocean and the sky. Blue is passive and accepting by nature.


Androgynous, yellow is the Child, the color of intellect and learning of meditation. Yellow can give and take, can act immediately or wait according to the circumstances. Yellow is the color of artistic expression. The nature of yellow is best represented by the pathway of golden light reflected from the rising Sun on the surface of a tranquil sea.

Secondary Color Associations


The opposite of blue and is the combination of the energies of yellow and red. Orange is a bold color of material success and worldly triumph. Orange is victory, a champion. Orange is bold yet not impetuous. By nature orange is pervaded by positive feelings and good cheer.


The opposite of yellow and is the combination of the energies of blue and red. The least favorite of all colors in occult practice, purple is sickness, disease, putrefaction and corruption. Purple is futility and impotent rage.


The opposite of red and is the combination of the energies of yellow and blue. Green is loving, sharing and accepting, it is the color of natural magic and has strong associations with Pan, the powerful spirit of nature and fertility. Green is the color of all spirits of the forests and jungles, druidism, shamanism and Wiccan nature spell craft. Green is joyful abandonment, ecstasy, ravishment and the richness of spring.

Tertiary’s Color Associations

Tertiary colors are the combinations of the energies of the secondary’s; they are further removed from the Light and less potent in magical working.

Yellow-Orange: Calculation, diplomacy, mental achievement.

Red-Orange: Playfulness, mischief, uncontrolled energy but without malice.

Red-Purple: strength directed by cruelty and stupidity, waste, decay

Blue-Purple: Inaction, coldness, physical, mental and spiritual poison.

Blue-Green: mystery, depth, clean, life, concealment, wit, warmth, nurturing

Yellow-Green: new life, freshness, a potent combination of life force energies, potential for lethality if opposed pitilessly seeking inevitable revenge.

Note: Colors have varying esoteric associations depending on culture and spiritual discipline; however, they are essentially the same as color is a manifestation of light. Meditation on specific colors is recommended before a ritual to align oneself with these energies.


Tyson. (1988). The new magus, ritual magic as a personal process. Llewllyn publications, St Paul,MN.

Magic (paranormal). (2007, November 5). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 20:45, November 8, 2007, from