What Are Orbs? And What Do Orbs Mean?

Have you ever been on holiday with your family, or been with friends huddled around a campfire? To then take a photo and see a spec of light you can’t explain in the background? Nobody knows what this is. There is a lot of speculation about what these orbs of light might be. Many speculate and believe that this may be an indication of the presence of an angel or spirit. There may be zero evidence to back this up. The theory that spirits can be understood by learning more about the common beliefs within the paranormal world. If you would like to learn more about these specific orbs of light, read the rest of this article.

Orb of light captured at night in Wombwell Woods, Barnsley, UK

What are orbs?

Orbs, in the context of paranormal phenomena, are typically referred to as “ghost orbs” or “spirit orbs.” These are terms used to describe unexpected, typically circular anomalies that appear in photographs or videos, and are often associated with hauntings or spiritual presences. Here’s a closer look at the concept:

  1. Appearance: Orbs usually appear as translucent or semi-transparent circles of light. They can vary in size and colour and are often seen in still photographs or video footage.
  2. Paranormal Interpretation: In paranormal circles, orbs are often thought to represent the presence of a spirit or ghost. Some believe that orbs are the manifestation of a spirit’s energy, with different colours indicating different types of spirits or conveying specific messages from the spirit world.

Are all orbs caught on camera paranormal?

If you find an image with specs of light you can’t explain, it may be one of two things. The camera technology works by the light bouncing from objects. Then it retracts and creates the image of you that you will save and cherish in the form of a photograph. These “light orbs” may appear when particles of dust in the air float around. Or maybe the camera lens isn’t clean. If that’s the case, the speck will be blurry, undefined, and won’t have an “orb” shape.

Spiritual orbs of light could be identified as electromagnetic fields with their individual energies. Which allows them to materialize as a very enervated light source. It is often said, spirits use orbs, almost like a means of transporting from their world into ours. Normally, they are travelling too promptly to see with our naked eyes. Which is why we often catch them on camera.

If the orb is a spiritual or angelic force visiting the physical world. You can tell by the shape of the orb. Most angelic orbs have geometric shapes woven inside the structure, kind of like how a snowflake would look. They are also unique, as snowflakes are, which may help you identify a spirit if you encounter the same individual spirit more than once. The circular structure is not shaped like a spherical orb but looks like more of a flat disk. Some people think that the circle represents the eternal nature of ghosts and spirits. As these shapes are associated with angels for the same reason.

How do you know if the orb is dust or paranormal?

Understanding the paranormal often relies on your own experiences first hand. The best thing about cameras is that we don’t need to wait, and we can access the photos instantly. This puts you in a good position if you’re lucky to catch a glimpse of a spiritual orb through a viewfinder. If you find an orb of light, that spirit might still be in the area with you. There are a couple of things you can prepare for and focus on, to take full advantage of this opportunity.

The first is your emotions. You might want to think about how you were feeling when you took the photo and the energy of your surroundings at the time. You may have felt calm or at peace, or even a little joyful. Or you might have felt some anxiety or uneasiness that at the time could not be explained. Look at the emotions and reactions of the people who were around you. A chill running down a spine, maybe hair standing up at the back of a neck was spoken about. Spirits can pick up on our emotions, and some may even heighten them. These are things that can help us identify if what is in a photo was a spiritual orb. Additionally, you could turn to using ghost detectors to see if you can pick up any electrical disturbances. If the cause of the orbs are due to a paranormal nature, the scientific equipment will help to back that up.

Different coloured orbs linked to different locations

How to identify orb types by location

The next factor would be location. If you and your friends head out on a ghost hunt to a location you believe to be haunted. You are already susceptible to discovering some paranormal evidence. However, this isn’t always a bad thing. Your presence and energy might attract spirits, especially if a significant event happened at your choice of location. For example, if you visit a battlefield from any war. You may encounter spirits of men who fought still roaming the area where they and their comrades died fighting.

These types of locations have a lot of residual energy, which may attract spirits in the form of light orbs. To perhaps ask for help with unfinished business or moving on. You don’t need to be at a haunted space or historical location to see spiritual activity. On another note, it’s believed that spirits enjoy attending celebrations. So the orb of light in the photo of your child’s first birthday might be a relative joining you to celebrate.

What do the different colours of orbs mean?

Those who can sense auras from the people around them describe the experience as seeing a certain colour, or more than one colour. This is applied when describing orbs of light. Again, you’d better make sure you’re viewing a spiritual orb and not a dust particle. But colour can also help you make a perception of the spirit. The colour of an orb can be understood as the ambiance or emotion the spirit felt when leaving the physical world. As well as their emotions they wish to present to you as a part of their message. There are many interpretations regarding what the colours represent regarding the spirits. But most are in agreement there are friendly and malevolent spirits.

All the orb colours and their meanings

Orb colours and their meanings


White orbs generally represent the holiest, pure, and wholesome spirits. Many believe a white orb is a sign of your guardian angel being present. It’s speculated that angels teleport to earth using beams of light. White orbs have also been interpreted as being spirits that are trapped in our physical world. Spirits could be asking for your guidance in crossing over to the spirit world.


Blue orbs of light seem to indicate power or protection. The colour Blue can be referred to as a calming, which can be interpreted as a spirit at peace. Some believe blue orbs materialize to show that spirits are watching over you. Or even that you have a spirit guide giving you direction at that moment.

Pink and Red

Pink and red orbs are usually misconceived. Seeing red orbs might initially seem intimidating or malicious due to our perception of the colour red being angry. But it is quite the opposite. Pink and red orbs of light are warm colours that can be associated with love, peace, and safety. They are often seen around children, perhaps acting as a parental figure from another dimension.


The colour yellow is often interpreted as a happy, cheerful aura. Yellow orbs similar to blue orbs are known to usually be guiding spirits. These spirits wish to offer you wisdom and guidance. Perhaps if you need to make a harsh decision or simply need some sort of encouragement.


A green orb of light is mainly known to be a spirit that wishes you healing and prosperity. Maybe you or somebody close to you need some extra support while healing from a disease or illness, mental or physical. Green orbs are indicative of nature, meaning a spirit may be trying to show its appreciation for nature. For the natural world. Usually, green orbs of light are spirits of the deceased that have once lived on earth.

Gray and Brown

Gray or brown orbs might conjure some feelings of fear or malice at first sight. Brown orbs have been known to show signs of hazards. Whether that be referring to the area surrounding you or your actions. These are not known as bad or evil spirits. But paying attention to your feelings and thoughts and heeding their warning is probably in your best interest.

What should we do in the presence of an orb of light?

Becoming aware you’re in a spiritual orb’s presence. Whether you find out by film or you’ve seen it yourself, it can be a lot to process. It all depends on whether you’re comfortable or not when deciding if you want to communicate. Or acknowledge the spirit making the orb of light visible to you. Weaker spirits cannot materialize in this way, so, if you’re witnessing an orb, it is likely to be a more powerful spirit. Based on the breakdown of different coloured orbs, you might be able to see what the spirit is trying to communicate. Most of the time, spirits are just passing by to let you know they are there with you. And they have no messages to pass along.

The secrets of orb photography infographic

Feelings of fear linked with some orbs

The only time you may feel the need to do anything is if you feel any uneasiness or fear. This would usually tell you to vacate the premises. No matter the colour of the orb, you should always focus on your senses, thoughts, and feelings before all else. Malevolent spirits may occasionally show up as white orbs. Which is why your own experience is so important to consider. If you ever feel scared or uneasy in the presence of an orb, you can close your eyes and visualize the orb disappearing. You should also try to minimize feeling uneasy. As a stronger, malevolent spirit may use that to their advantage of your fear, which strengthens them. By leaving the location and following these steps, hopefully, you’ll feel a sense of peace as the orb disappears.

Final thoughts on orbs

Experiencing a spirit from the spirit realm is not something we encounter many times in our lifetime, if at all. Whether a loved one visits or a soul gets trapped within our physical world. Understanding our personal experiences will help us and possibly others interpret our lives in different ways. Now that you know what orbs of light are and what they could mean. You can have fun wondering what your orb of light could look like to others once you pass over. You can use the knowledge we’ve given to help you possibly communicate with the ones you love from the other side. Which may help all souls and spirits become closer than ever. If you feel there may be spirits manifesting as orbs and trying to teach out to you, you can read more here about signs a spirit is trying to warn you. It’s a great article and really breaks down the signs.

Sam Ashford
Sam Ashford - Author

Hey, I'm Sam Ashford! I'm a ghost-hunting expert, writer and founder of SpiritShack. My mission is to help people like yourself learn about spirituality and how to hunt ghosts!