Philosophy of Color  

Philosophy of Color


    Cosmic manifestations of the One Life-Principle are sent forth in the form of Light-waves, and surround us all in a symphony of color, as the visible expression of our Creator and the Divine Mind.  Each of these super-physical Rays of Great White Light which emanate forth from Eternal Being holds within itself all the range of color-vibrations.  These in turn act as streams of vital force of immeasurable and infinite power, each having both a particular and a general function.


    Color is a quality of light, a mode of light-vibration, defined as luminous radiant energy, and does not exist apart from light.  In the Cosmic Force are light rays of a much higher order and power than those reflections which are visible to us in the form of colors, though color is itself a cosmic force of certain power.  Radiating as it does from the Central Sun like a great ocean of light, it has been called the Soul of the Universe.


    On the spiritual level, all the potentialities of the Higher Being are said to dwell within Seven Rays, which break forth from the pure White Light of the Divine Mind made manifest.  These are called the seven spirits of Light, and each ray has its subordinate rays.


    The seven major color-rays fill space and permeate the soul and being.  They are the manifestation of the seven great cosmic periods, corresponding as well to the seven major glandular centers in the body.  The color rays are also related to the seven planes of manifestation.  There is both an esoteric and exoteric meaning to the outward and visible rays of light comprising the spectrum..


    The sun radiates white light-waves capable of being resolved into seven main constituent parts of different wave lengths.  The white light of the Spiritual Sun enters the consciousness of the soul through the aura and is diffused into its seven component colors, each one infusing the appropriate soul-center with power and vitality.


    The rays are forces of infinite power and purpose, emanating from the great White Light of the Supreme Source, and guided and directed by all-powerful intelligences.  Color is thus a seven-fold force branching out into numerous channels and currents.


    Each wave projected through space creates a certain rhythm and harmonious vibration, so that different wave lengths excite different color sensations.  A wave length of light is not a color; rather it is related to a sensation of color.


    Color has seven aspects, seven primary rays, each of which in its own way heals, enlightens, inspires, animates, vitalizes, and supplies or fulfills.


    The first is the red ray which mainly influences the physical body, while at the other end is the spiritual color violet, and its purest ray, amethyst.  The three primary colors symbolize:  red – body; Yellow – soul, or mind; Blue – spirit of man.



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     The so-called warm of “advancing” colors – red, orange, and yellow – are said to deal with processes of assimilation, activity, and intensity.  The second group of blue, indigo, and violet are called cold or “retreating” colors, and these correspond with processes of dissimulation, passivity, and debilitation.  Between the two groups, and spanning them, is the intermediate, transitional color, green.


    Applications and aspects of color are: 1) in their medical or healing aspect, dealing with color treatment and ray-therapy; 2) their psychological aspect – the study of the influence of color on mind and emotion; 3) the esoteric aspect, symbology and attributes of colors, or the color aspects of the aura.


    Used for healing, the color vibrations work through the charkas or cosmic centers of the body.  The color-healing is not just a psychological process.


    All flow of color-forces are consciously regulated and absorbed as needed. The use of color soon becomes a subconscious functioning, color being one of the fundamental elements in the universe which acts directly on the subconscious mind.  This is turn strongly affects the health, vitality, and harmony of life.


    There are two views as to how light affects or influences the body.  One states that a permeation of the cells takes place, as in ordinary osmosis.  A more favored view is that light and color influence the body by arousing sympathetic vibrations within the organism.  Light and color work according to the Law of Attraction and need or assimilation through the vital body.


    If an opposite rate of vibration is used to that which the body can conduct, or if the incoming current of power is too strong, an abnormal reaction may occur which may produce reaction.  It is important that the counselor know the nature of the light or color he uses, as to quality, quantity, or intensity.  Color balance is intended to cause certain molecular reactions in the organism or vital centers, through the medium of the rays.


    Part of the success of color treatment depends on the principle that all healing is a change of mental attitude or belief.  The subconscious mind aided by the restorative vibration of color carries into outward manifestation the ideas impressed upon it, although color treatment is on a spiritual plane.  Color treatment uplifts the physical, structural vibration and creates a fitting atmosphere, but must be done under direction.


    William Blake wrote: “what is now proven was once only imagined.”  To reach the highest part of the spectrum, the blue, we must transcend the red of physical action, the yellow of mental reasoning, and enter the realm of feeling.  Thought and imagination are not the same thing, for the one implies reasoning and the other a degree of emotion.


    It is hard to write (a yellow function) of this plane, for we must leave science and turn to art – music, poetry, love and faith, all of which must be felt to be appreciated.  A symphony, a

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poem, a prayer, a look are the “words” in the language of feeling.  Here belongs, especially in the highest, the violet end of the spectrum, “The Voice in the Silence,” the inner eye which is the bliss of solitude, the individual matter of meditation – prose cannot describe poetry.


    To function on any plane of consciousness one must use the medium of that plane: one cannot think with one’s hands, nor write a letter without them.  Physical and mental expression demand physical and mental medium, and to express one’s feelings is often the problem of conveying the inconveyable, a task that sorely besets every lover, artist or man of God.  This is a test of individual evolution.


    Happiness depends on the complete control of the individual spectrum, the higher colors controlling the lower, the linking together of all planes.  Unhappiness is the reverse.  Generally we suffer a lack of coordination of colors: we can think of something but not do it (yellow-red), feel something but not express it.  It is those who can feel, express and put into action, who are equipped to forge ahead in history in whatever field is theirs, be it to a prominent place in the arts, philosophy, statesmanship or the unsung magnificence of a quiet, good life of brotherly service.


    Mastering the spectrum is the preliminary discipline of all who seek to make themselves prisms of the Light.  The test comes when the Divine Ego or Will takes over, for the Power can be used for good or evil.


    We have dealt so far with the three primary colors, which ascend to white.  The function of the secondary colors – orange, green and violet – is equally significant, for these constitute the lines between the planes.


    Orange therefore, is thought translated into action, thus to become the realm of instinct and habit.  All habits initially were thought out consciously, until they became unconscious.  This plane by reflex action is an indicator of the quality of the yellow.


    Green, being a blend of feeling and thought, is the color of self-revelation and growth.  We vibrate to green when we become conscious of motive, and test ourselves, often to our dissatisfaction.


    Violet, the mixture of feeling and action, is the spiral’s turn, when the highest does service to the lowest: Its rays are the shortest, the closest to the light.  This fact is recognized by many churches, whose ceremonies incidentally are filled with color symbolism.  The gorgeous cathedral windows are an example.  Royal purple, a physical counterpart, was originally the color symbolizing not only power, but service and devotion to the people.


    The primary colors tell of the resurrection of the light of spirit from the physical through discipline.  The secondary colors tell of the descent of the light of spirit to the physical through application.  This action and reaction involve the self and evolve the Universe.


    It shall be remembered that all color is an aspect of Light.  The spectrum in proper proportions produces White.





Color Preferences

Individual and General


    There is a modern hunger for color as seen in textiles, clothing, furnishings, advertising and many other mediums.  Many are turning to painting as a field of delight for their own satisfaction even in later years.  Sir Winston Churchill is perhaps one of the most notable of these.  He has said of color, “I cannot pretend to be impartial about color.  I rejoice with the brilliant ones and am genuinely sorry for the poor browns.  When I get to heaven I mean to spend the first million years in painting and so get to the bottom of the subject.  But I shall require a still gayer palette than I get here below.  I expect orange and vermilion will be the darkest, dullest colors upon it and beyond them there will be a whole range of wonderful new colors which will delight the celestial eye.”    


    Sir Winston should recognize the celestial eye as a possession here and now, not just after death.  The eye of the spirit is possessed by all at least in germ, if we would but learn to use it.


    Utilitarian education tends to starve out the creative faculties, but everywhere there are individual awakenings.  Sometimes these come from therapy to treat an illness due to starved soul-life which was given no expression in the arts.


    Illnesses affecting the breathing such as asthma, hysteria can be helped most through the arts; through color, music, rhythmic movement and rhythmic occupations such as color weaving, speech or rhythmic breathing.


    Health is a mobile condition in which all these systems have to find and keep their balance.  The soul must balance between head and metabolism, thinking and will, light and darkness, past and future.


    But out of healing an illness may come a new consciousness that re-establishes its balance in health.  Life radiates color.


The Four Temperaments and Color

    There are four temperaments in relation to color: sanguine, melancholy, phlegmatic and choleric.  One who is decidedly of any of these temperaments will not be able to stand much of the color indicated by that temperament.


    The choleric temperament is red and generally rejoices in seeing fiery red colors.  The complementary color will develop tranquility.


    The phlegmatic temperament may have muddy and dull colors. 


    The melancholy temperament enjoys the deep blue and violet, sympathizing with fellow-suffers, and should employ some bright cheering color accents in his surroundings.


  The sanguine temperament restlessly enjoys all the colors from time to time flitting from one to another in indetermination.

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    The colors worn in dress and used in surroundings should be selected according to our temperament type and our soul needs.  Each person can help his own well-being by giving regard to these color frequencies, and finding his own color.


    Each human body, even though it is an aggregate of many radiations and vibrations of energies of the Cosmic, has its own specific frequency or vibration.  Just as each tuning fork has a natural vibratory rate; that is, a rate of vibration to which it responds particularly and white constitutes its pitch, so has the body.  This particular vibratory rate, which we each have, corresponds to some hue of color in the vast spectrum of colors.


    That there are such colors which correspond to the vibratory rate of our being is a discovery the individual makes himself by the effects which the specific hue of color has upon him.  When he is in its presence, he finds it very beneficial, soothing, quieting, and rejuvenating.


    Each of us as a vibrating unit of matter in this universal cell of existence has a natural color value which is our individual color, just as each of us has a definite musical note and a definite polarity of vibration.


    A color might seem to harmonize with the coloring of our hair and eyes, more with our objective appearance than another, and yet another color may be preferred because of its salutary effect upon our inner self.  When you select a color or hue that harmonizes with your inner self in this manner, you are really fitting yourself into the great Cosmic spectrum, in the same manner that the bands in the spectrum of light are all in proper order and relationship, making for a harmonious whole which manifests as personal satisfaction and imperturbability.


    It is difficult for an individual to discover which is his color except from experience.  All of us sooner or later learn the color, or the precise shade of color, which is not only most attractive to us but most pleasing, satisfying, and helpful.


    Every woman has discovered that a certain shade of color is best for her clothing because it makes her feel more vital, soothes her nerves, gives added contentment and in many other ways is most appropriate for her.  Of course, she has to seek for modifications or even opposites of this color because she cannot wear one color continuously.


    In a more general way, psychologists have shown that most individuals of the same sex have about the same favorite choices in colors, and there is really very little difference in the choices of the sexes.  This information is now being used by industry to make the surroundings of people at work as pleasant as possible.  Color preference have been found generally in the following order beginning with the favorite:


Men:  1. Blue,  2. Red,  3. Purple,  4. Green,  5. Orange ,  6. Yellow.


Women:  1. Red,  2. Purple,  3. Blue,  4. Green,  5. Orange ,  6. Yellow

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    The nerves of the eye can be shocked by color as readily as the nerves of the ear by sound.  Poor color-schemes can shock the nerves of the eye, and fatigue results.  Too strong color often irritates.  Nature expresses the greatest harmony of colors.      


    Color can truly become a part of living environment.  The artful use of this knowledge contributes a powerful influence upon vital forces.


    Color can be used in business to arouse interest, create atmosphere, stimulate action, bring social contacts, when scientifically applied.


    The poorly considered use of color may cause physical, mental and emotional reactions that affect personality through fear, worry, anxiety or inferiority complex.


   Red, yellow and orange fatigue and irritate sooner than the other colors.  They are heat producing and exciting. A quiet, relaxed person will be excited or irritated by bright colors not properly handled.     


    Blue, green and purple are cool and soothing.  A nervous, quick moving person is calmed by blues, greens, purples.


    Anglo-Saxons and light races generally prefer subdued color.  Latin and dark races generally respond to bright color.  This may stem too from the fact that they look better dressed in such hues.


    The eye demands balance of color.  Color has force, action, positiveness or passivity, warmth or coolness, and weight.


    Advancing colors, which make a room seem smaller, are orange, red and yellow.  Receding colors, making a room appear larger, are blue, green, violet.


    Blue can be a real emotional sedative.  Some hospitals have found that patients recover more quickly if they are placed in blue rooms following major surgery.  Blue rooms are sometimes used to quiet violent inmates of mental hospitals.


    The right shade of yellow can produce a sensation of sunlight and warmth, but just a slight change in shading can cause a feeling of nausea.  Commercial airlines many years ago abandoned interior decorations in yellow because certain shades encouraged air-sickness.  For the same reason yellow foods should be avoided during air or ocean voyages.  Yellow is an excellent color, however, where food for thought” is concerned.  Research has shown that the grades of school children rose noticeably when their study rooms were redecorated in yellow.


    Whether we realize it or not, color can lower our sales resistance, make us feel hot or cold, gloomy or gay.  It can affect a man’s personality and mental outlook quite as definitely as a sleepless night, a cold in the head or a good square meal.

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    There is the story of a New York manufacturer who redecorated the cafeteria of his factory in light blue.  The women employees soon began to complain that the cafeteria was chilly.  Some of them even started wearing their coats to lunch.  The plant engineer protested that the temperature was thermostatically controlled and that the cafeteria was just as warm as the rest of the factory.  The complaints continued, however, and a color engineer was called in.  He ordered the baseboards repainted orange, had orange slip covers placed on the chairs and the complaints ceased!  The average person is inclined to underestimate the temperature of a blue-room and overestimate the temperature of a red room.


    The importance of color in business and industry was shown when a Chicago packing house tripled its sales after changing the yellow walls of its display rooms.  Aware that each color has its specific after-image color engineers discovered that the yellow created a gray after-image which robbed the meat of its natural redness.  Sales leaped after they advised painting the walls green because the contrasting after-image made the meat look redder than ever.


    Green and red seem to have psychological effects.  Dr. Gilbert Brighouse of Occidental College in Los Angeles recorded the muscular responses of several hundreds students under the influence of red and green lights.  He found that their reactions were faster than usual under a red light, while green light actually retarded their reactions.


    Most people tend to overestimate the passage of time under the influence of red and underestimate it under the influence of green or blue.


    The athletic director of the University of New Mexico wasn’t trying to be funny when he decorated his football team’s dressing in bright red and their opponent’s quarters in pale blue pastels.  Alonzo Stagg, while head coach at Chicago, employed similar strategy when he had two dressing rooms for his players – one painted blue for rest periods, and the other painted red for fight talks.  Both men were simply using smart color psychology.


    Studies have shown that dark-colored objects will almost invariable be adjudged heavier than light-colored objects.


  Selecting the proper colors to suit your changing personal moods is a more difficult matter. Suppose you feel depressed and in need of a bright environment for an emotional life?  Then suppose by tomorrow you’re brimming over with exciting plans that require the sedative effect of pale blue?     


Blue is more visible at night; red is more visible in the daytime.



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