Dreams Explained: 5 Reasons Why You Dream In Black & White


There are two types of people who dream: those that dream in color and those that dream in black and white. While most people report remembering colors in their dream, some people say they can never see color. And then there are those that normally dream in color, but every once in a while have dreams in black and white. 

So, what do black and white dreams mean, and are they significant? Black and white dreams generally represent your lack of emotional participation in the dream. If you are dreaming in black and white, it means that you are viewing the dream as an observer, and not experiencing the events first-hand. It represents distance from you and the emotional events you see happening. Black and white dreams may also mean that someone is controlling the narrative of your life, and you have little freedom to express yourself in your waking life. 

Black and white dreams are more significant if you normally dream in color. If you normally dream in black and white, then this is your normal dream state, and having a black and white dream can be interpreted differently. This article will go over  5 different meanings of black and white dreams. 


Is Dreaming In Black and White Normal? 

The common dream narrative is painted brightly with colors, which adds the bizarreness of the dream. The colorful objects or scenery plays an important symbolic role in understanding the meaning of your dream. We often remember our dreams because of the vibrant colors. 

Because of this, it is not common to have or remember black and white dreams, yet some people do. Some people report only dreaming in black and white, while others have half colored dreams and half black and white dreams. 

So, do most people dream in black and white? Most people do not dream in black and white, they dream in color. And those that dream in color often forget dreams that are in black and white, so it is hard to say how often they actually have black and white dreams.

But to put a label on what is normal or not can’t be done. Whatever colors are appearing in your dream is normal for you. Everyone is different, and therefore it makes sense that everyone’s dreams vary in color and complexity. 

The more appropriate question should be “why are my dreams in black and white?” 

Regardless if you have colorful or black/white dreams, there is a reason for it, and that can tell you a lot about how you are processing information and emotions in your waking life. 


What Do Black and White Dreams Mean? 

If you don’t typically dream in black and white, this dream carries significant meaning. It is important to look closely at the events unfolding in the dream, and the people that play a part. Below are 5 reasons why you may be dreaming in black and white. 

Meaning #1: Your Dream Is Devoid of Emotion

Black and white dreams can be a sign that you are devoid of emotion regarding the events you are dreaming about. Our emotions are what give color to our dreams. Colors represent vibrations, and vibrations are a communication device for the spiritual and energetic realm. 

Seeing a red dress, or a yellow bird in a dream is providing you with a symbol that can be decoded to find a hidden meaning into our subconscious and spiritual realities. 

If the colors are absent from your dreams, this means that you are not accessing or processing your emotions in that dream. For some reason, you feel emotionally detached from what you are trying to process. 

It could mean that the event you are trying to process is too emotionally difficult to handle. For example, losing a loved one is extremely difficult to process, and many people shut down emotionally. During their periods of grief, they may have black and white dreams. 

Another example is people may suffer from PTSD after a traumatic experience. To protect themselves, they compartmentalize their emotions, sometimes resulting in black and white dreams. 

Dreaming in black and white is not bad, but it may be a sign that there are some deeper emotions that should be addressed in your waking life. Discussing this with loved ones or seeing a professional could be healing. 

Meaning #2: You Have Given Up Control Of Your Life Path

Another meaning of black and white dreams may be a sign that you have given up control of your life to someone else. You are not being allowed the freedom to express your true colors, or to express yourself creatively. 

Colors and dreams is a way to connect with ourselves and our environment on a vibrational level. If you feel that you or your environment is not a safe or free place to explore, energetically you can feel very limited. This may result in black and white dreams. 

It can be powerful to ask yourself if there are people or situations that are stifling your freedom. Did you start a relationship with someone new? Is your current relationship unhealthy? Do you have a family that is putting expectations on you that limit your freedom? Are you working a job that is taking advantage of you? 

These questions can give you a clue as to where and why you feel you have lost emotional freedom in your life. Once you identify that you have lost your emotional freedom, you can start cutting things out of your life that make you feel suffocated or depressed. 

Meaning #3: You Feel Like An Outside Observer In Your Dream

There are certain dreams where you feel like a stranger stuck in a strange land. During these dreams, things may happen to you, yet, you feel they are happening to someone else. It may feel like you are watching your dream from the sidelines, instead of actually being the one in the game.  

I like to call this a “Momento” dream. Just like the film, there are bits and pieces of things that you are trying to remember, but can’t fully put together the pieces. In that film, there are scenes that are black and white, which seem to be the real story; however, the colored scenes, although running in reverse, tell the story with more clarity. 

You are watching events to try to solve the puzzle, rather than partaking in the actual dream. Because of your role as an observer, rather than a character, the dreams are in black and white. 

These dreams are very important to pay attention to because they are trying to get you to figure out the real story. The dream is letting you know that you don’t have enough clarity on the situation, and need to investigate further. 

The dream may be telling you to take a step back and to seek out an outside perspective. Be cautious with who you trust, as they may be trying to manipulate you. Get some distance before making decisions that you can’t take back. 

Meaning #4: You Are Empathically Exhausted

For some people, dreaming in black and white is a time to take a break from feeling emotions. For these people, they spend so much time taking on other people’s emotions that they can’t emotionally connect with themselves or other characters in their dreams. 

These people are usually extremely empathic and are referred to as a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP). For them, their entire waking life is devoted to the ups and downs of their emotional environment. Their subconscious appears in black and white dreams so that they can have a break from the emotional rollercoaster. 

With some self-care and learning how to manage your empathy, you may begin to dream in color once again. 

Meaning #5: You Are More Of An Analytical Person, Not An Emotional Person

But, what about those who never dream in color? There is a small percentage of people that have never had a dream in color. 

What does it mean if you ALWAYS dream in black and white? Always dreaming in black and white means that you process your emotions in your waking life, and not in your dreams. You may feel emotionally unattached to events happening in your dream life. 

This is often the sign of someone very analytical, who doesn’t get emotionally ruffled easily. While most people process emotions in dreams, you are processing information in your dream.

Your dreams are a time for you to lay everything out, look at your options, rationally choose the best one, and have a solution by the time you wake up. 

It could also mean that you have difficulty feeling a wide range of emotion, or don’t easily let your emotional response guide your decisions. 

In this case, if you usually dream in black and white and have a dream in color, then this is a very significant dream and you should seek out someone to help you interpret it. 


What Does Black And White Symbolize in A Dream? 

There are people (myself included) that dream in color, but there are aspects of their dreams that are black and white. For example, they can dream of a black and white snake in a green tree. 

In this case, what does black and white symbolize, as a set of colors in a colorful dream? 

Dreaming of a black and white object or person is all about balance and duality. It can show up in a dream if there is something that you need to take a step back from and get a different perspective. The message from a black and white object is saying: not every situation is black and white. 

Often, it appears when there are dualistic ideologies that are preventing you from seeing the whole picture, such as religion and politics, or anything that puts you in the mindset of good vs. evil.  

Black and white can be seen as the yin-yang symbol. Not everything that seems negative stays that way for the long term. Many people have terrible experiences, but it caused them to seek a new way of life, which led to lifelong happiness. 


What Does The Color Black Represent In a Dream? 

One of the most terrifying movies I saw as a child was in a scene in a cartoon called Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland. In his nightmare, there was a black ooze that swallowed people whole.

This is such a good portrayal of an actual nightmare because there is seriously nothing worse than dreaming of something being pitch black consuming people around you. 

The color black in dreams is very frightening and often causes emotions that seem like we are fearing for our lives. 

So what does black represent in dreams? Black in dreams is so terrifying because it represents our shadow selves. The shadow self is a fundamental part of your identity that you have rejected, therefore, it represents your blind spots or deeply repressed parts of your ego that are causing self-sabotaging behaviors. 

The shadow self often shows up in false belief systems, limiting thoughts, addictions, lying to oneself or others, etc. It can be so scary because the reason we have buried it is that we feel shame or guilt about that side of ourselves. It is the imperfect parts of who we are. 

Dreaming of black often represents a part of yourself that you are not acknowledging, and is causing you to run away from your true potential. 

Facing your shadow can be life-changing. When you become aware of the hidden parts of yourself, you can finally shine light on it and step into a more embodied version of yourself. 

If you are dreaming of black, and feel lost or unsatisfied in your life, you may want to explore shadow work. Below is a great course that can get you started. (Disclosure: This is an affiliate link)

Sounds True – The Shadow Course
ANDREW HARVEY , CAROLINE MYSS

What Does The Color White Mean In a Dream? 

Dreaming of white can feel refreshing and invigorating. There is something about white that just feels safe, which is always a nice feeling to wake up to. 

So, what does it mean to have white in your deam? Dreaming of white objects or animals often represents the relationship between your physical reality and the spiritual world. It often appears when you are getting a message from your higher self or from Source about the spiritual consequences for actions you have taken in your life. It shows you the universal law of karma. 

Your actions always plant a seed that leads to a consequence. White represents that your actions and thoughts are pure, leading to positive outcomes. If you are afraid of a white animal, it may mean that your negative thoughts, actions, and words will lead to negative outcomes. 

In this way, white may symbolize the spiritual law of cause and effect that takes place in the physical world. 

White animals are often a sign of good luck, especially if you are unafraid of a white animal that is usually threatening, such as a white snake or white bear. 

If you feel positive after seeing white in a dream, the message is that you should trust yourself should feel confident in your decisions. You are in tune with your higher wisdom and should act on your intuition. You have clarity on the consequences of your actions and make good choices. 


Summary

Black and white dreams can seem dull and in important, but they can give you a lot of insight into the dynamics of your relationships, and how you process emotions and energy in the world. 

The most important thing to remember is that you are your best resource when it comes to interpreting your dreams. You know the truth as to what your dreams mean, you just have to sit still and listen. The stronger your relationship is to yourself, the more clarity you will get on your dreams. 

Like everything on the internet, use your intuition to determine what is right for you. Take what works for you, and disregard the rest. 

This post contains affiliate links. Please see our Privacy Policy for more information.

Rose Putnam

Rose is the owner and founder of Crystal Clear Intuition and the author of the blog. She is a trained Intuitive Coach and does intuitive readings, coaching and healings. She is passionate about meditation and is a meditation teacher and mentor.

Recent Content