The colours WHITE, RED and BLACK have been used universally to refer to different stages of human life.
Alchemy refers to the three stages of personal development as moving from the nigredo, the blackness of unconsciousness, through the albedo, the whitening of awakening, to the rubedo, the gold of being fully awakened. Many cultures understand life for a man as moving from the red of passionate youth, to the white of growth and responsibility, to the black of age and wisdom, while a woman’s journey is understood as starting from the white of innocence, to the red of motherhood and worldly being, to the black of age and wisdom. The ‘Mahia’, the traditional cloths of Swaziland and many other countries, are only allowed by traditional law to be permutations of these three colours.
However, the most common associations of ‘white, red, black’ are the aspects of the ‘Triple Goddess’, found in the mythologies of many nations. According to this understanding, these three aspects of the feminine, as the ‘triple goddess’, refer to ‘heaven, earth, underworld’, ‘maiden, mother, crone’ or ‘birth, life, death’.
Red, the colour of earth, mother and life, is naturally associated with blood as a life-sustaining energy. In many cultures, when a person returns from undergoing a transforming ritual and re-enters the normal world, they wear red or paint themselves with red earth or paint to indicate their return to the world of the living.
The mystery of the fourth dimension of the feminine is the Queen, whose colour is royal blue.