What does purple refer to in Emily Dickinson's poem "Heaven - is what I cannot reach!"  symbolism of purple in this poem

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In many of Emily Dickinson's poems there is the symbolism of the color puple as a mystic and often sensuous representation of thought.  With respect to her poem "Heaven--is what I cannot reach!" there is a sense of the majesty of paradise with "Her teasing Purples" as well as a sense of something formidable breathing through this grandeur. 

Like purple which embodies a delicate dichotomy of red and blue, the attainment of heaven seems possible, but can be upset if the "teasing purple" changes its undertones.  For, while happiness and paradise seem possible--"credulous"--they can also be unattainable as it is only the believable "decoy" that lures one.  For, "the Conjuror," Heaven, spurns us instead. 

A color that is often well-liked by very creative or eccentric types, purple is indeed the perfect color for Emily Dickinson's very spiritual and mystic poem.  With a wonderful, extraordinarily intense message, the color purple represents well the metaphor of the connection between the consciousness with the spiritual as well as the formidableness of such an experience.