Symbolism of the Color Green

Green Dragon

The color green lies halfway between the classification of 'warm' and 'cool' colors. [4] In many cultures, green is considered a mystic color because it is a combination of yellow (the earth) and blue (the heavens), so green can be seen as the fruit of their union. [1]

Green symbolizes life and death because it is found in the newness of life in the Spring and in putrefaction after death. [1,5] In Medieval Europe, green became the color of criminals [4] and Satan. [3] It was also considered unlucky to wear green. [3]

In many traditions, green has had important implications with fertility and rebirth. [3] For its connection with plant life, green has strong associations with growth, awakenings, [2] and abundance. [1] Prominent in the springtime, green symbolizes hope in immortality, of things beyond the cyclical seasons. [4] Green envelops the negative aspects of newness, such as naivety, immaturity, and inexperience, even unripe foods. [1]

Ancient Egyptians feared cats with green eyes because of the color's relationship with superhuman power. [3]

In the Islamic tradition, green is the most important color. Mohammed's green cloak symbolized paradise and spiritual refreshment, [3] and green symbolizes perfect faith. [6] That is why, in India, the color green is associated with Islam specifically. [6]

For the Irish, green has been associated with the nation; it can be specific to Catholic Irish traditions. [6]

In Japan, green is a symbol of life [6] and the spring. [2] In China, green represents the spring. [2] One of the Chinese Animals of the Four Directions is the Green Dragon, representing the power of the East, [7] whose element is wood. [8] In other parts of the East, green symbolizes health, peace, and eternity. [6] In Western Europe, green represents the spring and money. [6]

Feng Shui utilizes green for its nurturing, balancing, healing, and growing energies. Green is associated with the element wood and is a part of the passive Yin aspect. [6]

Modern psychology utilizes green for mental and physical relaxation. [6] Green is proven to help with anxiety and depression. [6] In Jungian psychology, green symbolizes the sensation of immediate, tangible objects. [5]

Green Dragons

Green Dragon

Across the world, green is associated with the earth and its vegetation. Many reptiles and amphibians have green pigmentation (notably the crocodiles, komodo dragons, and alligators). As a natural color, many dragons across the world are green.

The association with green with nature draws a symbolic link between a green dragon and the mother goddess, a symbol of life, death, and rebirth.

The Green Dragon of the East, one of the Animals of the Four Directions in China, symbolizes the East and the spring. His element is wood, and the Green Dragon brings regenerating rains. The Green Dragon embodied the active Yang principle, a positive force of weather. [8]


All of the dragon graphics on this page were created by Donna Quinn.


  1. Stevens [Ariadne's Clue] 149
  2. O'Connell and Airey 114
  3. O'Connell and Airey 115
  4. Lanse 7
  5. Cirlot 53
  6. Visual Color Symbolism Chart by Culture
  7. Roberts [Chinese] 3
  8. Roberts [Chinese] 49

For more information on footnotes and references, please see the bibliography.