What Seeing The Color Black Means Spiritually & Psychologically

One of the world's most popular colors, psychology reveals the mystery behind the darkest of hues.

women in the color black Dean Drobot, popcorner, Cast Of Thousands  / Shutterstock

Black is quite a diverse color; technically, black is a shade, not a color. But not only does black stand for slenderness, power and poise, but also evil, death and emptiness.

Black is the color of funerals, and in religion it's the color of sin. Black colors are worn by food service personnel, hair stylists, creatives, and anyone who wants to look timeless and classy.

The color black is a symbol of both the highest and lowest experiences in life. When someone dies, black is worn for mourning; when someone is a judge, they wear black to symbolize the law.


But black means many things according to color psychology, literature, and spirituality.

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What does the color black symbolize?

The color black symbolizes resilience, control, refinement, evil, death and rebirth, and emptiness. The color black has both negative and positive attributes and meanings.


Black absorbs all colors, which creates an absence of light.

While black is something that is cruel and potentially violent, this shade also speaks to a higher level of power and strength; it's the conservator of energy.

Then again, in color psychology, black represents sophistication, mystery, power, elegance, and sex. However, it often evokes feelings of sadness and even anger.

How the Color Black Affects You

Psychologically, the color black can affect you positively and negatively.

Black holds heavy energy within it since it absorbs all colors, yet has an absence of light. Colors then stand out from their surroundings, making black feel aloof, mysterious, and almost suspicious.


The color is worn to mourn and when experiencing overwhelming emotions. This associated the color with depression and somberness, which we as a society adopted.

Black makes us more pessimistic and is associated with darkness, scariness, and fatality. This can have the effect of making people fearful for the future.

Though the color black has many negative connotations, there are positives.

Black makes us feel seductive. Women have a little black dress we wear when we go out. Men have black books to make them feel powerful. In fact, when we see black, we think of authority and feel protected.

It's believed that people whose favorite color is black may be holding things inside, not allowing themselves to find joy in life, looking for protection from the negativity around them, or wishing to create a sense of mystery.


This isn’t to say that having black as your favorite color means there’s something wrong with you. As a matter of fact, it speaks to your priorities in life — comfort, dignity, and stability — all of which are symbolic meanings of black.

Nevertheless, it’s important to recognize when you begin to have a pessimistic outlook due to being surrounded by so much black.

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Black Spiritual Meaning & Symbolism

1. Authority

Due to the formal authority black seems to hold, one can’t help but respect it. Similar to how we react to bad situations in life, black is an accepted part of society. We might possibly fear it, but it’s an inevitable color that will always be seen.


2. Death

In many countries, black represents mourning, death, and sadness. Generally speaking, if you're attending a funeral, you will probably wear something black. Its serious nature and revered status are used in times of heartache to display appropriate support.

In literature, black can symbolize or foreshadow the coming of evil. For example, Edgar Allan Poe used a black bird to symbolize death in “The Raven.”

3. Elegance

When it comes to events that require formal attire, black is always the go-to shade. A black-tie formal, for instance, means you must dress with elegance and class.

4. Power

The authority of black is never questioned and it makes way for sophistication to show. People of high status will often wear black to symbolize their power. It can also be worn to assert confidence and exude classic style.


For example, Audrey Hepburn is known for coining the term “little black dress” in her role in "Breakfast at Tiffany’s." While she appeared to be sophisticated, it also showed a sexy side to her, speaking to the multi-faceted symbol of the color black.

It’s ironic that black could depict both elegance and sex at the same time. Nonetheless, every lingerie store will have a section of all black.

Although it implies authority and control, it can also suggest submission to your partner. Then again, a black belt is the highest level in karate and equals power.

5. Mystery

Black absorbs all colors. Black would not exist without other colors. You can’t have black without white. Black symbolizes evil and bad luck. Black is the opposite of white, which symbolizes good.


6. Transition

Black is representative of a transition stage. Whether you remember wearing black in your teenage years or not, you can’t forget the feeling of trying to discover who you are.

During this stage of life, teens are maneuvering from childhood to adulthood. As a result, black allows them to hide from the world. They may also see black as a rebellious color that has no bounds.

7. Depression

Too much black often evokes feelings of depression and sadness with its dark atmosphere. However, when paired with other colors, it can be a well-grounded expression of emotion.

8. Comfort and protection

Wearing black can make you appear thinner. Similar to its representation of teenagers, black is able to hide weight. There are many who believe that wearing black boosts your confidence. In other cases, black symbolizes the need for fulfillment in various aspects of your life.


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Meaning of the Color Black in the Bible

In general, the color black represents suffering and death within the Christian Bible. It represents mourning, famine, and sin as well.

There are many passages that reference the color black and its association with darkness and sin.

Job 30:28: "I go about blackened, but not by the sun; I stand up in the assembly and cry for help."

Jeremiah 14:2: "Judah mourneth, and the gates thereof languish; they are black unto the ground, and the cry of Jerusalem is gone up."

Revelation 6:5: "When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, 'Come!' I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand."


Jude 1:13: "They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever."

Job 10:21–22: "Before I go to the place from which I shall not return, to the land of darkness and the shadow of death, a land as dark as darkness itself, as the shadow of death, without any order, where even the light is like darkness.”

Meaning of Black in Other Cultures

Black can mean different things depending on the culture.

Though it's often associated with mourning in western culture, in Egyptian culture, it represents life and rebirth.

In Chinese culture, the color black means immortality and power. In Korea, black symbolizes power, dignity, and authority.


In Latina culture, black means masculinity, along with mourning. This is also true of African culture, along with indicating maturity.

In the Middle East, black symbolizes mystery, evil, and mourning.

In Russian culture, the color represents night and death.

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Isabella Pacinelli is a former contributor to YourTango, features editor for Ashland University's The Collegian, and freelance writer for Medina Weekly News. Follow her on Facebook for more.