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The Psychology of Colours ~ The Colour Purple


“Listen, God love everything you love – and a mess of stuff you don’t. But more than anything else, God love admiration.

You saying God vain? I ast.

Naw, she say. Not vain, just wanting to share a good thing. I think it pisses God off if you walk by the colour purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.”

~ Conversation between Shug and Celie, as told by Celie to her sister Nettie in a letter. From the book The Colour Purple written by Alice Walker.

If I were asked to pick one colour as my most favourite of all colours, I know that I would not choose the colour purple, yet I can totally relate to the quote above from the book “The Colour Purple”. I’m sure my heart skips a beat when I see a purple flower, or anything in nature showing the colour. I even love to see purple in the sky, although it is usually a sign of imminent, or earlier, bad weather.

After wild weather, as the colour purple shares the sky with some orange.
After wild weather, the colour purple shares the sky with an orange sunset.

As a child, one of my girls absolutely loved purple, everything she owned had to be purple, there were no if’s or but’s about it, so I did a bit of research on purple to find out, if anything, what a love for the colour signified. The one thing that struck me the most all those years ago was how purple was regarded as a spiritual colour. My daughter, who was crazy for the colour, could look deep inside a person’s soul. Even today, at age twenty, she “feels” her way through life, like no other young person I have ever met.

In the Catholic Church, the colour purple is worn by cardinals and bishops and during lent is regarded as the colour of pain and suffering. Up until the mid twentieth century, purple was regarded as the colour for mourning in England.

Thought of at one time as a regal colour, purple fabric was so expensive that only the rich in society could afford clothing made from purple, therefore purple became a status colour, worn only by the wealthy or privileged.

Buddleia's are also known as the Butterfly Bush. If I were a butterfly I'm sure I'd love to sit in the sunshine on this flower, enjoying the colour.
Buddleia’s are also known as the Butterfly Bush. If I were a butterfly I’m sure I’d love to sit in the sunshine on this flower, enjoying the colour.

So having established that purple has enjoyed quite a colourful history throughout the centuries, what effect does the colour have on our personalities?

Besides being a spiritual colour, purple, and the lighter shade of violet, are both connected to the imagination and intuition. Lovers of purple will want to run their own race as individuals, are often surrounded by mystery, can be psychic and can live in a world of fantasy, needing to escape the realities of the world. Purple lovers are often the daydreamers among us and being around the colour has a calming effect on the person.

The negative aspects of the colour purple, especially a liking for the darker shades, can be that the person is possibly immature, can be cynical and arrogant and can at times be seen as a social climber. It can also represent loneliness and mourning.

I love the plum coloured beading on this lamp.
I love the plum coloured beading on this lamp.

But lets not dwell too long on the negative aspects of this most distinguished of all colours. Something that you may not know about the colour purple, being a combination of the colours red and blue, it possesses the strength of the colour red, combined with the integrity of the colour blue.

And here’s another thing you may not know about what I have written here, and the photos I have added showing The Colour Purple in my life ~ this is my contribution to Karma’s “Colours of Your World” photo assignment. And it gets even better, after Karma red read my last post here, “The Psychology of Colours ~ Featuring the Colour Red”, it gave her the inspiration for her latest photo challenge!

It's lilac, and it features nature, so this picture gives me great enjoyment.
It’s lilac, and it features nature, so this picture gives me great enjoyment.

Karma has set the deadline to get the assignment in by April 28th (but she’s pretty cruisy about deadlines!) so if you too feel inspired, why not join in the challenge and add a post with photos of some of your favourite, or not so favourite, colours.

I’m enjoying learning about the psychology of colours so much, and there seemed to be quite a bit of interest in my findings on the colour red, so I’ve decided to feature a new colour each week, (until I run out of colours!)

How do you feel about the colour purple, do you love it, or loath it? It could be fascinating to look at the reasons why you feel the way you do. 🙂

These tiny violets are a beautiful ground cover in my garden.
These tiny violets are a beautiful ground cover in my garden.

The Violet ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Written 1773)

A violet blossom’d on the lea,
Half hidden from the eye,
As fair a flower as you might see;
When there came tripping by
A shepherd maiden fair and young,
Lightly, lightly o’er the lea;
Care she knew not, and she sung Merrily!

dark purple in excess can be strict, foreboding, lonely, mournful or even pompous. – See more at:

20 thoughts on “The Psychology of Colours ~ The Colour Purple

  1. What interesting posts about the meaning and influence of colours, red first and now purple.
    I am like your daughter, Joanne, I love purple and a darker shade like aubergine (love to eat them too;) or violet. In fact today I am wearing an aubergine kind of twin-set. In the range of colours, I am a “Winter” type, deep purple is part of it. Your series of pictures depict so well the variety of purple shades. I especially love the tiny violet. Thank you.


    1. I’m glad you find these theories interesting Isa, it’s a topic that has always fascinated me and I’m really enjoying doing the research too.

      During winter, one of my favourite colours to wear is plum, which is really a mixture of deep red and purple, and I’m also drawn to plums (the fruit) when I see them in the grocers and simply have to buy them! The twin-set you have described sounds lovely, I can just picture you wearing it. 🙂


    1. That’s an area of the psychology of colours that puzzles me Carol and I haven’t as yet come across any explanation for ~ why we choose, and like, certain colours in one area of our lives, yet steer clear of them in another! I have very few purple shades around my home, yet absolutely love all shades of purple in the garden. Fascinating…. 🙂


  2. Must admit – I loathe it. What you said makes sense, though (represents mourning) – when I see the color purple, it reminds me of death.

    I’m going to take your challenge and write a post about my favorite color! ❤


    1. When you made the comment on my “red” post, saying how you disliked the colour purple so much, I immediately thought that would be the reason why and just had to follow up my red post with the story of purple for you. 🙂

      I’ll look forward to your post on your favourite colour! Don’t forget to link it to Karma’s photo challenge post too. 🙂


      1. What I remember reading was that in the Victorian age, black was the first colour worn during mourning; then it was purple, as the person began to move back toward healing and re-entered daily life. They were a bit rigid about the timeline, but at least gave people enough time to heal naturally. None of that rushing you to ‘move on’, a phrase I very much dislike. ~ Linne


        1. During my research I read something similar Linne, although it didn’t seem conclusive enough to add that information into the post. I have found a few discrepancies between websites and have already decided to search further afield than Google on this topic!

          Thanks for dropping by Linne. I’ve visited your website too and it seems that we share quite a few common interests. 🙂


  3. As you already know, purple is my favorite color. I’ve always been drawn to it. Lately I feel a lot like this: “…needing to escape the realities of the world.” Change the word “world” to the word “move” and it would be spot on. lol! Perhaps I need to go immerse myself in purple for a while.

    Lovely post, Joanne. That sunset of orange and purple is stunning. Have fun with the colors. They’re fascinating. 🙂


    1. Robin, I hope you are finding your world filled with purple right now and that it is working its magic for you. I’m remembering the lilacs you found in the garden at your new home right now. 🙂


  4. Hi Joanne. I’m finally coming around to check out color posts! Purple is the chosen color of the first two posts I’ve read. I love it too. The sky you’ve featured is stunning! It has been fun learning about color on your blog, and I found out a little about my chosen color as well. Thanks so much for the inspiration!


    1. I’ve been doing the rounds of those who joined in the colour posts this morning too Karma. It’s great to see that so many people enjoyed finding colour in their world and learnt some more about the meanings of the colours.

      I’m looking forward to your next photo challenge now. 😉


  5. Why is it that Purple always just comes up in my life ie. I get a gift, its wrapped in purple wrapping. I go buy linen, I come back with purple linen and curtains. I buy flowers purple is the dominant colour ! And I don’t realise this until after ? I would be very interested to know why ?
    Thank you.


    1. Marge, we seem to be drawn to colours that hold meaning in our lives, so with purple being a spiritual colour, I would think that you are either a spiritual person, or drawn to spirituality, or even a religion. I hope that helps, and holds some meaning to your own circumstances.


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