Educational Color Therapy
to Rudolph Steiner and others)
The healing power of color can be exerted either from without or from within. When colored lights are used the healing is generally from the outside. The inward healing comes from awakening the consciousness to color.
Colored lights are used either directly on the skin above the affected parts or the patient is suffused with he color by having the space all around filled with it. This is called by some a color bath.
Many conditions that do not respond to ordinary medical treatment are healed by this method of using color, especially inflammatory conditions and other sensitivity.
The clinics and curative homes which have been
established following Steiner’s suggestions
use methods which act upon the organs of
consciousness rather than on the bodily affliction.
Experimentation in these treatments has been
conducted at the Rudolph Steiner Camphill Children’s
Contrast of colors is usually most effective in treatment. In treating the eyes, for instance, a rhythmic treatment of red and blue alternately will benefit either short or long sight, ending with the color most needed.
Blue will be helpful in short sight as it draws the vision outwards. Long sight is benefited by red which drives the individual back into himself. Activity in the eye will be stimulated by this rhythmic and balanced alternation of the two colors.
The healing of spastic children has been greatly enhanced by color treatment combined with music. Moving colored shadows are thrown on to a screen in a room appropriately colored while string music is played. The disordered or undeveloped soul condition of the defective child is beneficially affected by this use of color with music.
In some schools backward children are placed in yellow rooms to stimulate their mentality. The Montessori educational system uses color develop the latent powers in its pupils. Color is being used also scientifically in churches so that the congregation may not only be surrounded with colors that soothe and heal but be spiritually uplifted.
The colors blue and red affect different parts of the organism. Blue deflects the forces from the head downward. Red sends them from the lower part of the organism upward. Alternate experiencing of these colors is of great value. In doing this the patient is placed in a room entirely in blue, walls and furnishings, then transferred to one in red. The contrasting reactions through the changing of rhythms will help to restore a healthy balance in functional activities.
Psychologists have found that the illness of a patient may sometimes be diagnosed through his paintings. The colors that he uses and the forms that he draws are indicative of the state of his soul. If the colors he chooses are clouded and dull, the color treatment will be of less benefit until he takes himself in hand and makes an effort to enliven his soul consciousness.
Philosophical and Educational Color Therapy, page 2
The inner effort of the self to “hold itself erect in its environment” is the first step in healing. In this, painting can be most helpful as a curative and later in an artistic way, the individual will begin to awaken to the beauty in the world around him. The soul’s response to color is a renewed joy in living.
Through learning the esthetic laws of painting, color harmony, balance, rhythm, the individual learns balance in himself. When he creates out of color he discovers his inner creativity, along with imagination.
In using color about the person or surroundings it is necessary to learn discrimination. One individual, for instance, was unable to sleep under an orange quilt, but slept peacefully under a blue one. Colors can be used this way for definite purposes, colored reading lamps, hangings, etc.
But painting with color has the advantage that the individual is alone with the color and himself. When he takes courage and begins to paint he reveals himself to himself. He may be astonished at the creative imagination which he finds within and what is negative becomes positive as the individual persists.
Quoting Rudolph Steiner:
“When painting the inorganic, the painter must always be aware that a certain source of light, a dull source of light, lies within the things themselves. In a sense he must think of his canvas or paper as such a source of light. He needs this shining light present I the surface on which he paints. When he paints anything lifeless and inorganic he must never forget that something like a source of light lies behind it and that the surface is in a way transparent and whines out at him.
“Yellow must be painted more intense at center, more pale at edges. Blue must be painted heavier at edges, lighter at center. Blue shines inwards.”
Goethe endeavored to build up a physical science of color including that seen by the physical eye and the subjective experience, and Rudolph Steiner carried the study further. He taught how to understand color through the feeling, raising them above the personal.
He divided colors into those which have luster and those with image, the luster colors being active and the image colors having form. Red, blue, and yellow are active luster colors; green, peace-blossom, white and black he called image colors.
Again, quoting Mr. Steiner:
“Yellow blue and red have a luster character - something shines from them. Most other colors have an image-character, they are ‘pictures’ of something.
Philosophical and Educational Color Therapy, page 3
“Yellow is the luster of the spirit,
Blue is the luster of the soul,
Red is the luster of the living.
“Starting with the luster red, the luster quality gradually diminishes until we reach an image, or shadow, in green.”
Green he defines as the image of life, and peach-blossom or flesh color as image of soul; white is the image of spirit, and black the image of lifelessness. Through these images of life, soul, spirit and death the borderland of sense perception is reached.
Color is at once a call to awaken the senses to a more acute perception and a gateway to the more subtle consciousness beyond the physical world.
Color may be said to be created by light shining in the darkness.
Mr. Steiner goes on to say:
“We now arrive at that point in painting when we fix a color to a surface and have to imbue it with the quality of reflected light, of something which shines back to us; otherwise we merely draw and do not paint.
“We must continually be attempting to penetrate the essential nature of color, or impelling an image color to take on the character of a luster, to become inwardly shining. Otherwise we shall not be able to create a painting of inanimate nature which will be bearable.
“When we approach the living plant we must not forget how sunlight and moonlight bestow on it the colors which shine from it as luster and the green which becomes “fixed” to the surface. But if we wish to understand what shines out from the inner nature of material objects and how the once fluctuating colors of the spectrum have now become set within solid bodies, we must remind ourselves that what is out in the cosmos today was once within the earth and is the origin of everything on earth which has a fluctuating quality, even if this is to some extent weighed down.”
Sickness nearly always indicates a rift between the earthly consciousness and higher perception. An illness is often accompanied by a sense of darkness and depression; there is a kind of psychic darkness which affects even those around the ailing person. The healer has to be strong enough to break through this cloud. A patient expressed this when he said, “The world is growing gray for me. I long for color and can find no color anywhere.” This was previous to a severe illness which attacked him a month or so later.
Philosophical and Educational Color Therapy, page 4
The soul lives always in color, between light and darkness. Man also lives in fooling between thought and will. He is an air-being, inhaling and exhaling rhythmically; and he is also a light-being, unfolding in the light of thought, or thinking.
Thinking is living in the Light, according to Steiner; will is unconscious. Man can understand himself only as a seed germinating in the future, enclosed in the past. Steiner has said, “Light shines out of the past; darkness leads into the future. In will is revealed the continually beginning, the continually germinating world.”
The balance between thinking and will is maintained through feeling. In the same way the balance in the physical body is maintained between the head system and the metabolic or limb system, through the rhythmic interplay of breathing and blood circulation.
Health is a mobile balance between two opposing forces. The head and nerve forces are continually destroying nerve substances during consciousness. Too much activity in the mind in childhood deprives the limbs of development. It may produce an intellect without imagination and feeling. Art in education is a corrective for these conditions.
Substance is continually built up by the metabolic activity. Too much of such activity produces sluggish thinking, bodily corpulence and false growths as in tumors. A corrective for this condition is also the development of the creative enthusiasm in the arts.
Migraine is caused by an unbalance between the digestive and head natures. The clairvoyant would see colors about an individual after he eats a heavy meal. The digestive system creates colors. When one is suffering from migraine it means the digestive activity is extending upwards into the head. A symptom sometimes noted is the seeing of brilliant colors moving rhythmically. It can also be caused by meditating too soon after a heavy meal. Concentrating on one color strongly will banish the many colored lights.
Sleep has a great spiritual significance as it is the individual’s entry into the world of the spirit. When outer occurrences disturb us it is especially essential to realize the inner life of the spirit, and sleep then is often most difficult. Establishing the rhythm of sleep will prove to be the first step in healing. A dark blue lamp beside the bed will help induce this sleep.
Meditation on a color is another way of inducing it. Meditation begins by emptying the outer self of all thought and sense impressions except the one color chosen. In this case it would be blue. If it is found difficult to visualize the color, call up the imagination of an object or a setting that is deep blue, or imagine a deep blue cloak wrapped around one, covering even the ears and the eyes.
There are two elements in this meditation, one separating the consciousness from all unwanted thoughts by holding to the one selected thought; and second, entering into the blue consciousness and letting it life you up and up beyond the confines of earth to the greater worlds beyond, which are the worlds experienced in sleep. Insomnia is an earthbound condition. One should always prepare for sleep through thought, prayer and meditation. Imagining oneself lifted up to the blue vault of heaven and the immensity of space is a help.
Philosophical and Educational Color Therapy, page 5
The following meditation given by Rudolph Steiner can lead on to some understanding of what is behind sleep, helping one to reach out to the true “I”:
I gaze into the Darkness
In it there arises Light,
Who is this Light in the Darkness?
It is myself in my reality.
This reality of the “I”
Does not enter into my earthly life.
I am but a picture of it.
But I shall find it again
When with good will for the Spirit
I pass through the gate beyond.
Using this meditative saying again and again one faces the Darkness and realizes through oneness with the Spirit, a light can dawn in the midst of the Darkness and the realization come: “This Light am I myself in my reality.”
Anyone Can Paint
One gains reality by working for it. The individual who has had no schooling in art can learn the joy of creating in color. All that is needed is a pot of water, some brushes, tubes of paint and sheets of white paper. We can start with color as the subject of the painting, disregarding form or any object. The artist works between the visible and invisible worlds, bringing one to life in the other. When we know this creative power lies within us we can courageously steep ourselves in one color after another, learning to feel each color as it flows upon the paper, radiating and breathing outward with yellow, inbreathing and condensing into form with the warmth and vitality of red, growing courageous with orange, soothed with green.
The discovery of the creator within us may not come at once; it comes with effort sincerely made. It is only one of many paths to the Spirit, bridges across the Great Divide. Long and patient effort is needed.
The path leads through knowing to wisdom, through sensibility to love, to awareness of the worlds of soul and spirit which are entered, otherwise, only in shadowed consciousness at death.
Through the celestial eye, the eye of the spirit, man perceives these worlds. Joy, strength, certainty and the power of healing come to us. Then the shining Christ-light, the Sun-Spirit of Healing can turn the darkness into color, life the personal life to the Christ-life, and the body to wholeness.