One of the exercises I used to do with my art students was to list a dozen or more colours and ask them to write down at least one object or tangible thing and one emotion or feeling that they associated with each colour. Then we’d read out some of them in class; we’d always find a bunch of similar meanings and a bunch of personal, individual ones. If asked what their favourite colours were, most would have at least one preference – the reasons why they liked their colour were varied, anything from I’m an “emo” to silver for “bling” or Red for sexy, pink for girly-ness, brown for naturalness. Some seemed like just personal preferences, others like moods, some like general emotional states, some like statements. My goal was to get them to understand that colour can be used to send a message, to portray the mood or meaning of something, that it can also be used to define your personal style and that in the end, the viewer will see it with their own colour vocabulary – which may vary according to culture, social grouping and also personal interpretation. So we agreed colours has meanings but they’re hard to pin down.
My interest was raised recently while listening to a radio interview with an holistic healer visiting Barbados, when he mentioned having people wear glasses with lenses of a certain colour, chosen to help them balance an imbalance he’d observed in them. So I took a little look around the Internet (repository of all knowledge) and found that the use of colour therapy is quite a popular thing. Most sites seem to be about using various wavelengths of light in a form of “light acupuncture”. I also found what I had heard about – seems an Edwin D. Babbitt was one of the first to “document” the effects of colour in this way in the west – selecting the colours of light patients see. I can’t say I’ve read up enough about it to explain it here, but if you’re interested do the Google – there’s loads out there. The Eastern concept of Chakras – energy centres also believes colour has both meaning and ability to influence your balance of energies and therefore your mental, emotional and physical wellbeing.
The Wikipedia article on Color Symbolism and Psychology gave me an overall outline of the various schools of thought and pointed out that scientific analysis tends to show that the results of tests are too varied to prove these theories. But I know I’m influenced by colours; if I’m feeling stressed, I’ll look up at the blue sky to be calmed (what direction we look when we feel different things is also a technique you can use to influence your state of mind – that’s another chat), I love orange, it makes me feel re-energised physically and mentally, lavender and lilac are like blankets of comfort. But I can’t imagine that sun-yellow would feel the same to someone from Alaska and someone from equatorial Africa – the geographical variations of colour meaning are not hard to fathom and it’s easy to figure that some of our cultural colour values came from geographical influences too. Maybe some also came from particularly influential persons – kings, queens or gurus own use of a colour too. I don’t know, but it’s an interesting train of thought. We all live in colour.
When I put all this together I think I have my own theory – wholly scientifically unproven – If our auras are made up of all the colours in the rainbow in our own varying proportions, then the colours that we meet along the way will interact with our own colour collection in our own peculiar way. That’s why you find colours have different powers for and over each of us.
Colour your day your way.
Alphabet Attitude for Monday: H is for Harmony