The Four Scales of Color

Color has always been one of the most significant elements of magickal symbolism. Many cultural associations are so ingrained as to be common clichés. We’re all familiar with phrases such as ”seeing red,” “feeling blue,” and ”in the pink.” We also have strong reactions to color that go beyond our cultural associations, affecting us on an instinctive level. Lighter colors stimulate the nervous system and metabolism; dark colors depress the nervous system and lower metabolism.

The four scales of color represent the most sophisticated use of color in magickal symbolism. The quabalistic Tree of Life, with its 10 spheres and 22 paths, is thought to exist simultaneously in the World of Emanation (Atziluth, the Archetypal World), the World of Creation (Briah, the Archangelic World), the World of Formation (Yetzirah, The Angelic World), and the World of Action (Assiah, the Material World). Just as each World is associated with a letter of the Tetragrammaton (the Divine Word or Name), the Four Worlds can be viewed as different phases of the manifestation of godhead, like different octaves in a scale (an interesting note: sound affects the perception of color. Higher pitched tones make colors appear lighter, while low-pitched sounds cause colors to appear darker.). Therefore, the 32 parts of the Tree of Life manifest a specific color vibration in each of the Four Worlds.

The four scales were developed for ceremonial magick use by the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and later revised by the Aurum Solis. The version below is the revision by the Aurum Solis, as it seems to make more sense. The use of the four scales is taught as part of the mysteries of the Bow of Qesheth, the ”Rainbow of leading from Malkuth.” This arc of letters on the Tree of Life is the bow. The path of Samekh, on the middle pillar of the Sephiroth, is the arrow. This is intended to mean that the initiate must balance the forces of the paths leading from Malkuth before ascending the Tree.

The visible colors of the scales are considered reflections of the more subtle ”akashic” energies represented by the Sephiroth. Each of the scales symbolizes the sephirotic forces in one of the Four Worlds. Using these scales, the Magickian can evoke the influence of a given sphere or path in that World most appropriate to the working.

Vestments, drapes, banners and similar ritual paraphernalia are usually colored using the Briatic scale. The Briatic scale is employed because the Archetypal World contains the sephirotic forces at their highest manifest level. Astral temples are also visualized in Briatic colors.

The four scales are also used as keys for astral travel, scrying, and the formation of telesmatic images.

Using the Aurum Solis procedures, archetypal images are constructed using the Briatic scale. Highlights are added using complementary colors, as well as overtones of the corresponding colors from the Atziluthic scale. It has been recommended that archetypal beings should always be visualized as luminous beings.

Yetziratic beings are visualized or represented using the Contingent scale. Yetziratic colors are also sometimes used as ”magickal vestments”—not worn, but visualized by the Magickian during ritual.

The Assiatic scale is used in advanced workings intended to manipulate forces in the material world.

World: Atziluth
Originative World
Element: Fire
Letter of YHVH: Yod
Tarot Suit: Wands
Aurum Solis Radical Scale
(King Scale)
Pantone #
1. Brilliance.
2. Ultra-Violet2665
3. Dove Gray422
4. Lilac217
5. Amber145
6. Pale Greenish-Yellow374
7. Greenish Blue327
8. Yellow Ocher129
9. Red-Purple2395
10. Purple-Brown5195
11. Pale Lemon Yellow107
12. Yellow Ocher129
13. Red-Purple2395
14. Greenish Blue327
15. Amber145
16. VernillionWarm Red
17. Yellow Ocher129
18. Red Gold139
19. Pale Greenish-Yellow374
20. Sulphur Yellow101
21. Lilac217
22. Greenish Blue327
23. Dusky Lilac679
24. Pale Olive5835
25. Lilac672
26. Red-Purple2395
27. Amber145
28. Petunia526
29. Copper Red484
30. Pale Greenish-Yellow374
31. Red-Amber1525
32. Rose Pink219
33. bis. Matt White.
31. bis. Yellow Flame1235
Intense Mid-Purple

World: Briah
Creative World
Element: Water
Letter of YHVH: Heh
Tarot Suit: Cups
Prismatic Scale
(Queen Scale)
Pantone #
1. White Brilliance.
2. Dynamic Nacreous
Vortex of all
Spectrum Colors*
Red 032, Orange 21,
Yellow 354, Process Blue,
2622, Violet 261
3. Indigo261
4. BlueProcess Blue
5. RedRed 032
6. YellowYellow
7. Green354
8. OrangeOrange 21
9. VioletViolet
10. Citrine, Olive,
Russet, Black
391, 4635,
456, Black
11. YellowYellow
12. OrangeOrange 21
13. VioletViolet
14. Green354
15. Scarlet186
16. Red-Orange172
17. OrangeOrange 21
18. Orange-Yellow151
19. YellowYellow
20. Yellow-Green376
21. BlueProcess Blue
22. Green354
23. BlueProcess Blue
24. Blue-Green3278
25. BlueProcess Blue
26. VioletViolet
27. RedRed 032
28. PurplePurple
29. MagentaProcess Magenta
30. YellowYellow
31. RedRed 032
32. Indigo2622
32. bis. Black,
flecked white
31. bis. Rich Red,
flecked gold
200, 87
Very Deep Purple2612

*Denotes colors that should be painted as if swirling or moving.

World: Yetzirah
Formative World
Element: Air
Letter of YHVH: Vau
Tarot Suit: Swords

Contingent Scale
(Prince Scale)
Pantone #
1. Shimmering White*.
2. Billowing Blue-BlackBlack 6
3. Soft Red-Brown479
4. Light Royal Blue2718
5. Fiery RedWarm Red
6. Pale Golden Yellow122
7. Light Turquoise3248
8. Light Apricot142
9. Lavender2716
10. Citrine, Olive, Russet,
Black, flecked Gold
391, 4635, 456,
Black, 872
11. Electric Blue801
12. Indian Yellow135
13. Mist Blue549
14. Bright Emerald Green3405
15. Scarlet Madder187
16. Coral Red170
17. Intense Lemon Yellow108
18. Aquamarine Blue2875
19. Deep Gold139
20. Deep Olive Green4495
21. Delphinium Blue631
22. Intense Green-Blue320
23. Sage Green623
24. Metallic Prussian Blue2758
25. Cobalt Blue549
26. Raw Umber4705
27. Burnt Orange471
28. Gray-BrownWarm Brown 10
29. Vandyke Brown,
rayed Yellow
30. Salmon Pink170
31. Cadmium Scarlet1795
32. Matt Black.
32. bis. Red, Blue,
flecked Black
Red 032, Process Blue,
31. bis. Deep Clear Blue,
flecked Gold
DAATH Midnight Blue2757

*Denotes colors that should be painted as if swirling or moving.

World: Assiah
Material World
Element: Earth
Letter of YHVH: Heh
Tarot Suit: Pentacles

Iconic Scale
(Princess Scale)
Pantone #
1. White, flecked Gold872
2. Black, flecked SilverBlack, 877
3. Gray with
fulvous shades
4. Nacreous Green-Blue
merging into Shell-Pink*
5. Mingled Pale Yellow &
Cerise; Green-Blue tinge
100, 220,
6. Intense Yellow-White,
rayed Scarlet
7. Luminescent
8. Yellowish-White merging
into Greenish-White
9. Pale Lemon Yellow,
flecked white
10. Seven Colors in
prismatic sequence
Red 032, Orange 21,
Yellow, 354, Process Blue,
2622, Violet
11. Cerulean278
12. Deep Red,
Brown tinge
13. Silver877
14. Vivid Deep Green348
15. Glowing Crimson,
flecked Black
16. Rich Green,
flecked Yellow
17. Swirling Yellow & Silver*306,
18. Shimmering Blue & Silver*306,
19. Brilliant Golden Yellow124
20. Very Dark Green350
21. Bluish Gray431
22. Deep Blue merging
into Turquoise
Reflex Blue, 3258
23. Silver GrayCool Gray 9
24. Ice Blue635
25. Quivering Blue
26. Gray404
27. Intense Fiery RedWarm Red 2x
28. Yellowish-Gray,
flecked White
29. Deep Blue with
swirling White*
Reflex Blue
30. Brownish Yellow4485
31. VermillionWarm Red
32. Deep Metallic BlackBlack 7 2x
32. bis. Seven colors in
Prismatic sequence,
flecked White
Red 032, Orange 21,
Yellow 354, Process
Blue, 2622, Violet
32. bis. Dark translucent Green,
flecked Crimson & Gold
1945, 872
Intense BlackBlack

*Denotes colors that should be painted as if swirling or moving.

Flashing Colors

Flashing colors are two complementary colors that appear to flash when placed side by side. This effect is said to help attract the subtle energies associated with the colors. Flashing colors are often used on temple objects or banners that are intended to act as attractors for akashic currents. The principle complementary colors are:
    White—Black and Gray
    Blue Green—Russet
    Reddish Orange—Green Blue
    Deep Amber—Indigo
    Lemon Yellow—Red Violet
    Yellow Green—Crimson