The characters in Once Upon a Time who can do magic all have their signature colors associated with their magic. In Wicca, colors symbolize different aspects of our character and lives. What do the colors of the characters symbolize and do they really match the character on the show? Please keep in mind I am going off mostly Western pagan and witch beliefs, so the colors may mean different things in different cultures. My conclusion is that some of them were actually fairly spot on, while others were obviously used in a different way.
Regina’s magic is purple: Purple is the color of nobility, and that alone could be why they chose it for the Evil Queen’s magical color. However, there are other aspects to the color purple that represent her character’s journey throughout the series. Purple is actually a color for driving away evil, as well as relieving emotional hurt. Both of those are the essence of Regina’s journey as she struggles to get past both her addiction to dark magic and her need for revenge over her first lover’s murder. It’s also one of the colors that symbolizes transformations, and Regina’s transformation from good to evil and to good again is one of the cornerstones that defines the show.
Emma’s magic is white: White symbolizes what most people believe light magic encompasses. Some common words that white symbolizes are purity, divinity, peace, healing, transformation, and freedom. This does seem to describe Emma’s role as the Savior. Since the word Messiah also means Savior, I can see why they used a color commonly meaning divinity. Emma’s magic in being the savior also brought peace, healing, and freedom to a population devastated by the Evil Queen’s curse.
Dark Swan’s magic is black: Black is the opposite of White, as Dark Swan is the opposite of Light Swan. However, using black to represent Dark Swan represents Emma’s journey as the Dark One even more than just that. Black does not symbolize evil as many monotheists would have us believe, and it doesn’t symbolize evil in Once Upon a Time either (otherwise they would have made Regina’s magic black instead of purple). It does however, symbolize unions of opposing forces, which Dark Swan definitely is (especially in the revelations of the last episode, where we discover the Savior is still part of the Dark Swan). It also means dramatic, and committed, both of which the Dark Swan is.
Rumpelstiltskin’s magic is red: The sources I’m using aren’t distinguishing between different shades of red, so while Rumple’s magic is more a maroon color, I’ll use red as the example. Red is often considered a color of anger, one of the seven deadly sins. However, in magical practice the color red is seen differently. It is seen as the color of fire, and represents strength, vitality, and courage. This is interesting considering Rumple is a coward, and they used a color that symbolizes the opposite for his magic. Some also see red as the color of deals, which is exactly what Rumple is most famous for! It also stands for ambition and desire, some of which are a part of Rumple’s journey, if you consider his determination to spend hundreds of years working on a curse to get him to his son.
Cora’s magic is blue: This is one where I at first thought they missed the mark completely until I thought more about the different aspects of the color blue. Blue is the color of love and devotion. Cora ripped her heart out so she couldn’t feel real love, even for her daughter, but she thought what she was doing to Regina was out of love. In that aspect, it seems like they chose strangely. However, blue also represents tranquility and patience, which I could see both sides of an argument on when it comes to Cora. She’s not someone who I would immediately think of as a tranquil or patient, considering her penchant for ripping out peoples’ hearts, and her constant irritation with her husband and daughter. However, if you consider that she was plotting revenge against King Leopold and Queen Ava for many years before she succeeded when she killed Ava and forced Regina to marry Leopold, she’s more patient than I would have initially said. She can be patient if she believes she will eventually get what she wants. And while she is cruel and cold, she does it tranquilly. Even when she is angry with Regina, she hardly raises her voice at all, although her anger is still obvious. Blue is also the color some believe represents political power, and Cora’s greatest ambition was to have that power by becoming a Queen, and when that didn’t work making sure her daughter became King Leopold’s Queen.
Zelena’s magic is green: Now, their choice for Zelena’s magical color has a more obvious source than the others. One, she’s the Wicked Witch of the West, famous for being green. Two, they took it a step further and made her a very envious person and that’s why she turned green in the first place. However, green means very different things in magical practices. It can mean prosperity (it is the color of money, at least in the US), which is something to be envious of. Zelena definitely sees her sister Regina as having prosperity, and is envious of that. The color green can also be used in magical practices to counteract envy and greed. It’s the color of generosity as well, and generous people are not typically also envious at least in my experience.