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The Psychology of Colour

by: Tracy Porter

Copyright 1999

Colour is an integral part of our existence. Everywhere we look, we find it - in our clothing, furnishings, natural settings, and even our own personalities. The world would be a pretty drab place if we only perceived varying shades of black, white and grey to reveal a somewhat monochromatic view. Colour is actually a vibration of light and what we see is a reflection of that essence to reveal a wide variety of hues to add flavour to our visual perceptions. We can perceive many colours, to include the hues that we wear, the shades reflected through the rainbow, and even the energy field which envelops our bodies. Even those who are visually impaired are able to perceive the vibratory rate of colours, often in their mind’s eye or through the sense of feel.

The psychological preference for certain colours is evidenced by the traditional meanings we associate with the shades as in the case of where brides wear white, mourners wear black, and authority figures wear blue or black. The reasons why we subconsciously select one colour over another are influenced by psychological implications which transcend conscious awareness because colour carries archetypal elements dating back to antiquity.

While colour does appear to carry with it superficial applications to include the selection of cosmetics, clothes and accessories, or decoration of buildings or objects, it should be remembered that we subconsciously select the hues which we need to add balance to our overall being. Holistically, colour has much therapeutic significance as there has been an upsurge in alternative healing techniques which use its principles, such as colour therapy, crystal healing, and even various forms of hands-on healing to include REIKI, therapeutic touch and shiatsu. Because colour does have such a paramount influence in our daily lives, it is worth understanding a bit about the relevance of the hues in our light spectrum, approximately one sixtieth of which we are able to perceive as light and colour:-

Red is the first colour in the light spectrum which can be seen by the human eye. It is representative of survival instincts, action and security. As a rule, red represents our sex drive because it governs the sexual organs. A lesser known fact about this colour is that it actually rules a person’s ability to feel secure with herself and is associated the base of the spine. People tend to wear red when they desire energy, would like to make an impact or attract attention. Some of the softer shades, such as tomato red, actually promote a sense of well being because they have a grounding influence and can be worn by practically anyone.

Orange is the second colour to be seen in the spectrum and represents liveliness and happy memories. Because of its vibrancy many young people are drawn to the warming influence it projects. Orange governs the kidneys and brings about an emotional release of energy by those who wear it. People choose this colour when they want to have fun, draw attention to themselves, and project an air of authority amongst their peers.

Yellow is considered to represent the intellect because it is associated with mental imagery. It governs the solar plexus and, like the Sun, is a vibrant life force. It is happy, lively, and gives the wearer a sense of self confidence to help her cope during stressful situations.

Although when jealous one is said to be ‘green with envy’, this colour is actually a principle hue used for healing because its calming, soothing properties help to promote health and well being. Green governs the heart and is therefore associated with love and harmony. People tend to choose green when they want to feel calm, stable and closer to the earth. Ironically, this colour has traditionally been associated with uniforms in the armed forces but it is quite possible that the grounding influences prevalent provide stability which is needed to maintain order and preserve peace.

Pink is a colour of love, compassion and femininity. It co-governs the heart with green and represents understanding and admiration. People tend to select pink when they want to appear friendly, approachable and in touch with the receptive side of themselves. Pink is often associated with happy memories because it brings the wearer in touch with good times of long ago.

Turquoise is a colour of deep compassion and inner healing, and relates to our ability to love ourselves as well as others. Turquoise governs the thymus and is therefore related to the immune system of the body. People will select turquoise when they want to appear friendly and approachable, with just a hint of sophistication.

Blue is universally considered to be the friendliest colour in the spectrum and people who wear this shade are seen as approachable and socially aware. Because blue governs the throat, it corresponds with our ability to communicate with others. When we have colds and sore throats, this may be an indication that we need to be more conscientious of how we relate to others. Blue is selected by those who would like to appear knowledgeable, responsible and still exert an aura of credibility.

Purple has long been considered to be the colour of royalty, dating back to a time when the monarchy was considered to have a direct link to God. Purple is associated with the brow, or third eye, and represents insight, wisdom and our ability to see beyond what is considered to be the normal span of visual perceptions. People will select purple when they want to stand out in a crowd or appear different.

Magenta is a mixture of red and purple, and is considered to represent universal harmony. It governs the crown of the head and deals with our ability to transcend the here and now to experience a sense of higher cognition. This colour is strong, bright, and carries with it a sense of vivacity which more timid souls might find uncomfortable to wear. Because magenta is a strong colour, people tend to select it when they would like to draw striking attention to themselves.

Indigo is a mixture of blue and purple, and contains much depth which dates back to the attire of early spiritual leaders. Because this colour is associated with the crown, it is considered to be one of the most inspired colours in the spectrum. People tend to wear purple when they wish to make a strong impact on those around them as well as project an aura of psychic depth.

Lavender is a calming colour which is approachable and puts others at ease. Because it is harmonious, it is popular for weddings and other similar occasions.

White is a combination of all colours within the light spectrum. It is considered to be a colour of truth, knowledge and illumination, and people tend to select white when they would like to make a dramatic impression on others. Because any speck of dust can easily be seen, those in the medical or therapeutic professions choose this colour as a symbol of cleanliness and hygiene.

Brown is a combination of the three primary colours red, yellow and blue. It is an earthy, practical colour which is sincere in nature but may be considered to be a bit too conventional for some. Although many consider brown to be unsuitable for business, its friendly approachability will help put people at ease in stressful situations.

Black is considered to be the absence of colour and is often misunderstood. On many occasions this hue represents unresolved, thwarted ambitions which have resulted in disease, and at other times it symbolises a profound forgetfulness as in the case of when people loose sight of their purpose in life. Although this colour has been given much bad publicity throughout the ages, deep velvety black can actually bring about an intense sense of healing which cannot be penetrated by the other colours and it is for this reason many in mourning choose to wear it. People select black when they want to appear authoritative and make a strong impact on those around them.

Grey is a combination of white and black, and has the unusual distinction of being a combination of all colours and absence of colour at the same time. It is considered to be a colour which is appropriate when a person does not wish to make a stand, but merely desires to remain unnoticed.

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I wrote the above article several years ago and submitted it to several newspapers. Although the Daily Mirror did not publish the article word for word, they paid me for the information contained therein. Except for the money that I have made writing the Tarot Companion, I have earned more money from this article than any of the other articles I have written. Some of my more complicated works, however, have never been published because the material in them is considered too advanced for the average reader and publishers are not willing to take a chance that they will sell.