(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "The symbolism of colour"

JN VERSITY OF CAL FORNIA. SAN DIEGO 



n 



3 1822017063066 




LIBRARY 

UNIVERSITY OF 
CALIFORNIA 

SAN DIEGO 



Central University Library 

University of California, San Diego 
Please Note: This item is subject to recall. 

Date Due 



JUN 06 t99b 



Cl 39 (7/93) 



UCSDLb. 




/Scrrzr 



A t^e A *- 



A 




RS.TYOFCALFORNASANDEGO 




31822017063066 



Central University Library 

University of California, San Diego 
Please Note: This item is subject to recall. 

Date Due 
AUG 1 1995 



Cl 39 (7/93) 



UCSD Lto. 



THE SYMBOLISM OF COLOUR 




BY 

ELLEN CONROY, M.A. 



"Speak to the earth and it shall teach you." JOB. 



LONDON 
WILLIAM RIDER & SON, LIMITED 

8 PATERNOSTER ROW, E.G. 4 
1921 



CONTENTS 



CHAP. PAGE 

1. COLOUR A TRUE SYMBOL . . . . .1 

2. THE OLD LANGUAGE OP RED . . . .6 

3. THE OLD LANGUAGE OP YELLOW . . . .14 

4. THE OLD LANGUAGE OF GREEN . . . .21 

5. THE OLD LANGUAGE OP BLUE . . . .27 

6. THE OLD LANGUAGE OP PURPLE . . . .36 

7. THE OLD LANGUAGE OF WHITE . . . .40 

8. THE OLD LANGUAGE OF BLACK . . . .46 

9. THE OLD LANGUAGE OF BROWN AND GREY . . 50 
10. THE OLD LANGUAGE OF THE RAINBOW . . .53 

APPENDICES 

1. SCHOOLS OF COLOUR 61 

2. THE COLOURS OF THE PLANETS . . .62 

3. CHROMATICS OF THE SKY . . . .64 

4. YELLOW . . . . . . . . 64 

5. COLOUR AND FORM 65 

6. THE GROWTH OF PLANTS UNDER COLOURED RAYS 65 



THE SYMBOLISM OF 
COLOUR 

CHAPTER I 

COLOUR A TRUE SYMBOL 
" The great below clenched by the great above." E. B. B. 

" GOD made the country ; man made the town," says 
William Cowper, and almost everyone will agree 
that it is the deprivation of the colour of the 
country that makes our towns so sadly depressing, 
for nearly all people appreciate colour, though perhaps 
in a general way. They realise that colour helps to 
beautify the world. 

Other people, however, look upon colour as one of 
the greatest joys in life. The colour of the woods, 
the flowers, the sunrise, and the sunset are sources 
of the very deepest emotion, exalting them above 
mere interest in external things into the very 
highest realms of vision and beauty. The colours 
of an artist like Titian make them realise the joy 
of living. Even the word-pictures of the poets do 
the same, so that they become firm believers in the 



2 THE SYMBOLISM OF COLOUR 

poetic fallacy that what is beautiful in nature reflects 
what is beautiful in the mind of man. Thus Buddha 
watching the sun rise seems to clothe Nature with 
his own luminous soul, which is striving to make a 
new age begin on the earth. 

Edwin Arnold, in his Light of Asia, tells us that 
the Buddha rose just before the False Dawn and 
stood 

" Watching the sleeping earth with ardent eyes 
And thoughts embracing all its living things ; 
While o'er the waving fields that murmur moves 
Which is the kiss of Morn waking the lands, 
And in the East that miracle of Day 
Gathered and grew. At first a dusk so dim 
Night seems still unaware of whispered dawn, 
But soon before the jungle-cock crows twice 
A wlute_jerge clear, a widening, brightening white, 
High as the herald star, which fades in floods 
Of silver, warming into pale gold, caught 
By topmost clouds, and flaming~on their rims 
To fervent golden glow, flashed from the brink 
With saffron, scarlet, crimson, amethyst ; 
Whereat the sky turns splendid to the blue, 
And, robed in raiment of glad light, the King 
Of Life and Glory cometh." 

As we read the passage the whole scene arises 
before us, of the lonely watcher and the glorious 
Eastern sky. In other versions of the same event, 
whoever, we have more definite teaching concerning 
these beautiful sunrise hues. The Buddha plays his 
vina and the colour of the sky changes according to 
his seven notes yellow, blue, violet, green, pink, 



COLOUR A TRUE SYMBOL 3 

white, and cream ; not colours given by chance, but 
of deep esoteric meaning. 

Did we but know it, no doubt the seven strings 
on the lute of Apollo had once the same significance ; 
and though we know these seven strings had other 
meanings as well, yet we must not therefore dismiss 
our theory, for " Is not God able to say many things 
in one ? " That is the whole essence of the under- 
standing of symbolism, that there are planes of 
interpretation. 

There has always existed a belief in the essential 
connection between colour and sound. That is why 
in everyday language we say " a colour clashes " or 
"a colour harmonises" both terms from the sister 
art of music. The scientist has now worked out this 
connection, 1 so that we have the following facts : 

Vibrations per second. 

A tenor voice produces ..... 400 
Red light . . 400,000,000,000,000 

A soprano voice ..... 700 

Violet light . . 700,000,000,000,000 

Thus light gives a finer vibration than sound to 
the extent of a million million times, and this is one 
reason why, when the mind is so tired that even 
music seems wearisome, it can be healed by means 
of colour. Professor Wallace Rimington of King's 
College made a colour organ in which colours were 
thrown on a screen when the organ was played. 

1 Dr Mount Bleyer of New York invented the vibrograph to 
give the connection between colour and sound. 



4 THE SYMBOLISM OF COLOUR 

Few people recognise that colours are powers, 
forces, vitalities, and vibrations. 1 Yet such they are, 
and on the physical plane we are now learning to 
enlist them in all kinds of occupations, as varied 
as that of the physician, the gardener, the brewer, 
and the baker. Every year we are finding out more 
clearly how we can use these vibrations for the 
benefit of man. Every year new hospitals are being 
opened for colour healing. Every year we are find- 
ing out how we can obtain better crops by means of 
the application of coloured rays. 2 The meteorologist 3 
has taken up the colour of the sky as an indication 
of weather, and is making exhaustive tabulation of 
facts in order to make more definite the lore which 
we learnt as children in such rhymes as : 

" Evening red and morning grey 
Sets the traveller on his way ; 
Evening grey and morning red 
Brings down rain upon his head." 

When we think of colours and read into them 
some of the wonderful truths with which they have 
been associated for many centuries, we are astonished 
to find that there is a direct correspondence between 
the value apportioned to a colour on the physical 
plane and the value given symbolically. Swedenborg 
was continually insisting that there was no true 
symbolism without a direct correspondence. Thus, 
if we take the lions at the base of Nelson's column 

1 See Appendix V. 

2 See Appendix VI. 3 See Appendix III. 



COLOUR A TRUE SYMBOL 5 

and substitute any other animals, our minds would 
be instinctively offended. Why ? Because Nelson 
and his men had in them the same quality or 
qualities that we associate with the lion. 

Elizabeth Barrett Browning grips this great truth 
and expresses it in her poem of Aurora Leigh : 

" Verily I was wrong, 
And verily many thinkers of this age, 
Ay, many Christian teachers, half iu heaven, 
Are wrong in just my sense, who understand 
Our natural world too insularly, as if 
No spiritual counterpart completed it, 
Consummating its meaning, rounding all 
To justice and perfection, line by line, 
Form by form, nothing single or alone ; 
The great below clenched by the great above." 



CHAPTER II 

THE OLD LANGUAGE OF BED 

" The Holy Grail, rose-red, with beatings in 't, as if alive." 

TENNYSON. 

CONSIDERING first the colour red as being the lowest 
in the spectrum, how is this correspondence manifest ? 
Red is the colour of the blood ; hence, is it surpris- 
ing that red is the colour denoting life and action, 
cheerfulness and enthusiasm ? Red is used by healers 
as a powerful stimulant and tonic, thus it has the 
meaning of health and vigour. This is why nearly 
all red stones are said to have health-giving and 
disease-preventing properties. The ruby in China 
and Japan is said to give long life, health, and 
happiness. All the imperial decrees of China have 
to be written or printed in red as a sign that there 
is the power behind to force them to be carried 
out. Children's clothing must contain some part of 
red. Usually this consists of a piece of red material 
twisted together with a pig's-tail, thus making a 
talisman of great power against sickness. 

In India and Persia the garnet is said to bring deep, 
abiding health to its possessor. The Romans used 



THE OLD LANGUAGE OF RED 7 

the red coral as a talisman to protect their children 
from all manner of diseases ; while in India, China, 
and Japan it is used to-day as a safeguard against 
cholera. The red carnelian was used by the Hebrews 
to prevent attacks of plague, and in China it is worn 
to prevent stomach troubles. 

Again, we find the healthy man is inclined to be 
more cheerful than the sickly man; so we instinct- 
ively think of Mr Greatheart as a man with rosy 
cheeks. The garnet has nearly always been said 
to bestow the gift of cheerfulness upon its wearer. 

Then we find that the healthy man is usually 
more courageous and daring than the weakling ; 
hence red often means courage. In fact, the lack 
of red in the face is taken as a sign of the lack of 
courage as in Macbeth, where the page-boy is told : 

"Go prick thy face and over-red thy fear, 
Thou lily-livered boy." 

Courage was said to be the gift of Mars, the god 
of war; hence red is the colour of war, whether in 
its most barbaric, cruel form or in its chivalrous 
form. 

Astrologers assign this colour to the planet Mars 
from its symbolic value, and not merely because Mars 
looks red in the heavens. Mr Alan Leo writes thus : 

" The planet Mars, which is known by its red colour, is 
said to be hot and exhaustive in its influence. It presides 
over all adventure, enterprise, and heroic acts. It makes 
the mind daring, combative, courageous, fearless, and 
venturesome. In everything where pluck, force, and 



8 THE SYMBOLISM OF COLOUR 

energy are required, the Mars man will be foremost. He 
will be first in any acts of bravery, and often regardless 
of his life and of the consequences of any noble act where 
courage is required." 

So it is that the brave man is known as the man 
of self-sacrifice. Thus the colour of red takes on this 
added meaning of self-sacrifice, sorrow, or suffering, 
which at first seem contradictory meanings to those 
of enthusiasm, life, and cheerfulness. 

In art the martyrs are often clothed in red as a 
sign that they have suffered, and also as a sign that 
they had the enthusiasm for the cause, so that the 
sorrows and cruelties they endured were accounted 
by them nothing ; for red is pre-eminently the colour 
of enthusiasm, of the fire which inspires a man to 
fight his way through all obstacles or perish in the 
attempt. It is thus most fitting that Moses should 
receive his life. work when near the burning bush, 
which is surely the most appropriate symbol of the 
quality necessary before one can become the leader of 
a nation or change it from one of slaves to one of 
freemen. Red is the colour of the leader, the colour 
of the kingly robes. 1 Then we may remember that 
pretty legend of the Christmas Rose, when the 
shepherd's little daughter, having no other gift to 
offer the infant Christ, gave him a fragrant white 
rose, which was no sooner touched by the Babe than 
it became a deep glorious red, emblematic of his 
future suffering. 

1 In ancient Wales red robes showed honourable rank. 



THE OLD LANGUAGE OF RED 9 

Red is also the colour of the flame of love. As 
Robert Burns sings gaily : 

" Oh, my Love is like a red, red rose, 
That's newly sprung in June." 

Perhaps you remember that picture of Rossetti 
called " Dante's Dream." where Beatrice lies cold and 
still, clad in white, while Love is seen clothed in 
rose-red robes leading Dante to her side: 

" Then Love said, ' Now shall all things be made clear ; 
Come and behold our lady where she lies.'" 

Based on very much the same thought there was 
an old legend that a red carbuncle was placed at the 
prow of Noah's ark to give light and guidance. 
This legend no doubt grew out of the appropriateness 
of red as a symbol for the burning love that directed 
the boat and brought it safely to Ararat, and also 
from the fact that the carbuncle gives off a faint 
phosphorescent glow in the dark. Psychics see this 
very clearly indeed, but it is visible also to persons 
of normal vision. 

Among nearly all primitive nations red berries, 
such as those of the mountain ash, symbolise the 
Spirit of God. They have been called by such names 
as "holy seed" or " fructifying honey dew." 

In front of the high altar of a church or cathedral 
is seen the red lamp burning perpetually as a sign 
of the deep, intense, sacrificial, all-enduring love of 
the Creator. 

The communion wine also partakes of this mystic 



10 THE SYMBOLISM OF COLOUR 

symbolism, when the joy, the fervour, and the uplift 
of the spiritual life is imparted to man. There is a 
beautiful passage in Tennyson's " Holy Grail," when 
this mystic cup is seen by Sir Percival's sister floating 
down into her convent cell on a shaft of silver light, 
making wondrous melody in its passage : 

" And down the long beam stole the Holy Grail, 
Rose-red with beatings in 't, as if alive, 
Till all the white walls of my cell were dyed 
With rosy colours leaping on the wall ; 
And then the music faded, and the Grail 
Passed, and the beam decayed, and from the walls 
The rosy quiverings died into the night." 

Or we may like to call to mind the esoteric order of 
Rosicrucians, in which all the glorious symbolism of 
the Rose and the Cross blended. 

Or again, we may think of the red carnelian buckle 
of Isis which was attached to the neck of the deceased 
while these words were chanted : 

"The blood of Isis, and the strength of Isis, and the 
words of power of Isis shall be mighty to act as powers to 
protect this great and divine being, and to guard him from 
him that would do unto him anything that he holdeth in 
abomination." 

You will find that in all symbolism there is an 
exalted meaning given to the symbol and a debased 
meaning ; e.g. a dog may mean all that is noble and 
full of devotion, or it may give the meaning of all 
that is mean, low, and despicable. 

In the case of red it may, as we have seen, be the 



THE OLD LANGUAGE OF RED 11 

sign of the sublime, strong love of the Creator ; but 
at the same time it can refer to debased love and 
carnal passion, i.e. love without the sacrificial ele- 
ment. Thus we have in Revelation xvi. 3 "the 
great red dragon who seeks to destroy the woman 
clothed with the sun," i.e. the woman or soul who 
is clothed with the Sun of Righteousness. The 
dragon is frustrated in his attempt by Michael, whose 
name means " Like unto God," for what is ignoble 
must ever yield to the noble. 

Sometimes red may be used as a sign of exuberant 
animal spirits, e.g. in the expression " to paint the 
town red." 

Lastly, let us remember that the name Adam means 
red, and so he symbolises man unregenerate, i.e. of 
the earth, earthy. 

Perhaps it would be wise to consider the colour 
pink next. Pink is hardly a colour so much as a 
tint ; but as it has a definite symbolism, I have placed 
it next to red. It is a most useful colour in healing. 
In the human aura it often denotes the healer. 
Certainly in its esoteric meaning it denotes the man 
who wishes to use his life for the healing of others, 
and the man who receives inspiration how he can 
help to uplift humanity. Unfortunately, our poets 
do not often use the word because of its ugly sound. 

When Buddha sat under his Bo-tree (Ficus 
religiosa) to meditate how he could save the world, 
it is said that his whole body became enveloped in 



12 THE SYMBOLISM OF COLOUR 

a most radiant blush-rose colour. Edwin Arnold 

describes this scene : 

" There flew 

High overhead that hour five Holy Ones 
Whose free wings faltered as they passed the tree. 
' What power superior draws us from our flight ? ' 
They asked, for spirits feel all force divine, 
And know the sacred presence of the pure. 
Then looking downward, they beheld the Buddh 
Crowned with a rose-hued aureole, intent 
On thoughts to save ; while from the grove a voice 
Cried, ' Rishis ! this is he shall help the world. 
Descend and worship.' So the Bright Ones came 
And sang a song of praise, folding their wings ; 
Then journeyed on, taking good news to God." 

The colour pink is said to be the esoteric colour of 
the mystic number five, which is the number of 
power, inspiration, and love-healing; e.g. five is the 
number of points in King Solomon's seal, which was 
a talisman of power and inspiration. The Pool of 
Bethesda, we may remember, had five porches, and it 
was there that the sick were healed. We see from 
this connection that similar truths are wrapped up 
in other groups of symbols. In fact, we find that 
whether we take colours, or numbers, or trees, or 
animals, or mountains, or rivers, we learn the same 
deep truths. The mystics knew that each was an 
expression of the heavenly mind : 

" Earth's crammed with heaven 
And every common bush afire with God, 
But only he who sees takes off his shoes." 1 

1 E. B. B., Aurora Leigh. 



THE OLD LANGUAGE OF RED 13 

Carlyle used pink in its debased sense when he 
speaks "of the rose-pink hue of sentimentality," 
meaning a hue that lacks full virility. 

When we come to the colour orange, however, we 
find that the ancients hardly ever refer to it. If it 
had very much red in it, it came under the symbolism 
of red. If it had very much yellow in it, then the 
symbolism of yellow was considered to embrace it. 
They did not know it as a primary colour. 



CHAPTER III 

THE OLD LANGUAGE OF YELLOW 

" Into the yellow of the Rose Eternal . . . 
Me Beatrice drew." DANTE. 

YELLOW is one of the most interesting colours. Being 
the colour of the sun, all the attributes of the sun 
were given to it. 

Like red it was considered a masculine colour, 
while green, blue, and violet were thought of as 
feminine. Like red, too, it is used by healers as a 
tonic. As it is of such healing value to the brain, 
we are not surprised to find that amber has been 
used as an antidote to insanity. Yellow stones are 
said to bring happiness to their owners, for yellow 
was said to be the colour of unity unity in affec- 
tion, unity with the spiritual powers of the universe, 
unity with the Sun of Righteousness who comes with 
healing in his wings. 

This old meaning of the colour yellow was well 
known .and understood in the old Roman Catholic 
Church. Therefore Dante, who wrote much of his 
great Divine Comedy consciously or unconsciously 
to interpret these old ideas and to enshrine them in 

14 



THE OLD LANGUAGE OF YELLOW 15 

poetry for evermore, says when he has reached the 
highest part of heaven and is once more with 
Beatrice : 

"Into the yellow of the Rose Eternal . . . 
Me Beatrice drew." 

The Pope (on the fourth Sunday in Lent) presents 
a golden rose of jewels to any person greatly beloved 
by the Church. 

One can notice in the world at present a deep and 
increasing love for all yellow colours, 1 for it is a colour 
that gives the appearance of sunlight to the most 
cheerless rooms. May we not also hope that it is a 
sign that the world is now striving after unity, and 
the desire to understand the other person's point 
of view ? 

The yellow robe donned by the Buddhist is a 
symbol that he is now on the path that is to lead 
to spirituality. The Light of Asia tells us that 
Buddha taught his supreme truths " to his own, them 
of the yellow robe." He taught them to practise 
"yoga." What is "yoga"? To the Western mind 
it usually means a kind of magic even charlatanism, 
but the real meaning of the word is "union." The 
belief of these yellow-robed men is that they have 
within them a spark of the Godhead, and that, by 
suppressing the bodily desires and by concentrating 
their whole mental and psychic energies towards 
trying to understand this higher part of their nature, 

1 See Appendix IV. 



16 THE SYMBOLISM OF COLOUR 

they will become united with the Supreme Spirit 
and will understand how to do many things and 
see many things that the ordinary man cannot do 
or see. 

Vishnu is clad in yellow for the same reason. In 
the vision of Ezekiel, God is seen in the colour amber ; 
at least, the amber colour is the outward sign of the 
presence of God. 

In the ceremony of making a child become a 
Brahmin a piece of saffron cloth is bound to his 
arm with a yellow cord. The Mexicans gave the 
name Kan to the god who supported the sky. The 
same word meant yellow. 

Yellow is the royal colour of China, and the 
privilege of wearing yellow is most jealously guarded, 
for does it not show that its possessor is a Son of 
the Sun ? Similarly the saffron robes of the ancient 
Irish nobility were a sign of their rank. 

Yellow is the marriage colour in India, and the 
bride stains her hands yellow as a sign of the 
happiness and unity she expects in her married life. 
The Roman bride wore a crocus-coloured veil and 
yellow shoes. Among the Jews marriage may be per- 
formed under the Talis, an orange silk robe stretched 
on four posts. The bride and her maids walk round 
it seven times, which is said to be in memory of the 
siege of Jericho. 

It might also be noted, in Calderon's picture of 
Ruth and Naomi, that Ruth, who wishes ever 
to be with Naomi, wears a yellow robe perhaps 



THE OLD LANGUAGE OF YELLOW 17 

by chance, perhaps by design, or perhaps by 
intuition. 

Among the Mayas and Egyptians the great serpent 
of the universe (who symbolises Eternity and Wisdom) 
was said to be blue in colour but to have yellow 
scales. In China the golden cock proclaims the dawn. 
The golden hawk, the golden eagle, the golden ass, 1 
and the golden calf were all symbols of deity. 
Athena, who represented union with the mind of 
Zeus, had a robe called the " peplus," a crocus-coloured 
garment with figures woven into it of the gods con- 
quering the giants. It was suspended to the mast of 
a ship when it was to be carried in procession, being 
too holy to be carried by hands. 

The mundane egg which is to be met with in nearly 
all ancient religions, whether of India, Egypt, Phoenicia, 
Japan, or the South Sea Islands, was said to have 
been a golden one that is, it represents the sun or 
deity. Probably our children's tale of the goose that 
lays the golden eggs is a survival of one of these 
ancient beliefs. 

We must remember, too, that the colour of gold 
not only partook of the meaning of the colour yellow, 
but also of the symbolism of the metal gold, which 
is the metal of the sun. Thus the colour began to 
mean all that was pure, all that had been refined, 
and hence glory and wisdom. Thus the halo of saints 
and of God is often made of gold leaf. Similarly 

1 Read the Golden Ass of Apuleius, where the hero only regains 
his real shape by eating roses, wliich are symbols of prayer. 



18 

the gates and doors of heaven are nearly always 
represented as being of gold. 

We may remember, too, that among the emblems 
attached to St John are the eagle and the River Pison. 
This River Pison is mentioned in Genesis as flowing 
through Havilah, where there is much gold. It 
therefore became the river of inspiration and the 
wisdom of God; and since St John received the 
greatest vision, it was considered his most appro- 
priate emblem. 

The ladder which Jacob saw in his dream at Bethel 
or the House of God is described by Dante as being 
of gold : 

" I saw reared up, 

In colour like to sun-illumined gold, 
A ladder, which my ken pursued in vain, 
So lofty was the summit." 

For it is by the ladder of wisdom that we attain 
wisdom and receive inspiration. 

The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood made it their par- 
ticular joy to replace this beautiful symbolism into 
art. Thus Dante Gabriel Rossetti speaks very beauti- 
fully in "The Blessed Damozel" of a golden thread 
of life that is woven into the robes of the spirits 
who arrive in the next world after having lived 
during earth life in unity with God: 

" We two, she said, will seek the groves 

Where the Lady Mary is, 
With her five handmaidens, whose names 
Are five great symphonies : 



THE OLD LANGUAGE OF YELLOW 19 

Cecily, Gertrude, Magdalen, 

Margaret and Rosalys. 
Circle-wise sit they with bound locks 

And bosoms covered, 

Weaving the golden thread 
To fashion the birth-robes for them 

Who are just born, being dead." 

This golden thread is spoken of by the mystic 
Blake : 

" I give you the end of a golden string, 

Only wind it into a ball ; 
It will lead you in at heaven's gate, 
Built in Jerusalem's wall." 

The Greeks also had a legend of a golden thread by 
which Jupiter drew up souls to heaven. Here we 
might mention the Golden Bough given to ^neas in 
order that he may visit the dead and yet retain his 
life (jEneid, bk. vi. 29). 

In the Kalevala, the great Finnish epic, Ilmater is 
invoked : 

" Ancient daughter of Creation, 
Come in all thy golden beauty." 

And as Ilmater stands for wisdom, we are not sur- 
prised that Ecclesiasticus should say, "Get wisdom, 
and get much gold by her." So also Keats writes : 
" Much have I travelled in the realms of gold." 

In Babbit's book on colour there is an illustration 
of the aura seen round the head of a man. Above 
the top part of the head is seen the colour yellow. 
Now, the phrenologist locates this as the seat of 



20 THE SYMBOLISM OF COLOUR 

spirituality ; thus we see that once more two studies 
agree in their conclusions. Yellow was thus to the 
ancients the greatest of all the colours, and had the 
most exalted meaning. 

It is perhaps to be expected, then, that in its 
degraded meaning it is the saddest of all colours, 
for we recognise the deceitful Judas very often in 
ancient pictures from the fact that he is given dingy 
yellow robes. The Jews in Venice formerly had to 
wear yellow hats, to show the scorn in which the 
Venetians held them. Yellow is the colour of decay- 
ing vegetable life, of the poorness of life. Thus it 
means separation instead of unity. 



CHAPTER IV 

THE OLD LANGUAGE OF GREEN 
" Hope rules a land for ever green." WORDSWORTH. 

" HOPE rules a land for ever green," says Wordsworth. 
He means a land where nothing dies, for green is 
the colour of plant life, the colour of spring and 
of all that is fresh and young and joyous. 

When looking at Watts' picture of Hope, we see 
that she sits almost like a picture of Despair, but 
she is trying to obtain music from her one last 
string. We notice that the green Watts uses is 
of a particularly hard, bluish character, so unlike 
the joyous green of spring. When Rossetti in 
"Dante's Dream" depicts the two maidens lifting 
the veil from the face of Beatrice, we notice what 
a full rich green he uses for their robes, for he 
wishes to make his colour proclaim the fact that 
he feels no despair, but a sublime Hope and Faith 
which will go with him until the time that Beatrice 
will draw him into the " yellow of the Rose Eternal." 

Shelley understood that green meant hope and 
gladness, for he wrote: 

" Many a green isle needs must be 
In the deep, wide sea of Misery, 
21 



22 THE SYMBOLISM OF COLOUR 

Or the mariner worn and wan 
Never thus could journey on 
Day and night, and night and day, 
Drifting on his weary way, 
With the solid darkness black 
Closing round his vessel's track : 
Whilst above, the sunless sky 
Big with clouds hangs heavily ; 
And behind, the tempest fleet, 
Hurries on with lightning feet, 
Riving sail, and cord, and plank, 
Till the ship has almost drank 
Death from the o'er-brimming deep, 
And sinks down, down, like that sleep 
When the dreamer seems to be 
Weltering through eternity." 

Among the ancient Druids of Wales, green was 
the colour of the robes of the " ovates," that is, the 
men who were hoping to become bards or Druids 
later. 

The colour green was used by the people of the 
East with a much deeper significance, however. 
The Hindoos said that Om, the Sun, drove across 
the sky in a chariot drawn by a green horse with 
seven heads, and preceded by Aruna, the Dawn. 
As we have no green horses in nature, the state- 
ment must be highly symbolic. Horses are always 
a sign of knowledge. 1 In the old Hindoo zodiacs, 
instead of the constellation Aries or the Ram, 

1 Cf. Sanskrit "harit" = (l) a horse, (2) the light, bright, 
shining. Cf. Pegasus, the winged horse of the Muses, in poetical 
imagination. 



THE OLD LANGUAGE OF GREEN 23 

we often have a horse. Aries is the sign govern- 
ing the head or "mentality. The horse is used 
in exactly the same way. The number seven 
means what is complete in both body and spirit, 
for it contains the basic four (which is the number 
of man, who has to perfect his fourfold nature 
body, mind, soul, and spirit), and also it contains 
the three, which is the perfection of the Trinity, 
for every great religion has contained a Trinity. 
Thus we see that seven refers to perfection in all 
things, whether of heaven or of earth. What, then, 
do we mean by a seven-headed green horse ? This 
that the knowledge and wisdom of Om are eternal, 
everlasting, all-enduring, and that they comprehend 
the whole universe. 

In Palestine St George is sometimes called "the 
everlasting green one," for the fight between good 
and evil is never-ending, but to the true St George 
the victory is ever assured. 

Time was addressed by the Egyptians as the 
"everlasting green one," for the main experiences 
of life are the same to everyone, whether born 
now or hundreds of years ago. External circum- 
stances alter, but each person has the same lessons 
to learn. The Fortunate Isles of the Greeks and 
the Islands of the Blessed of the North American 
Indians are said to have been green. Nearly all 
evergreen plants were considered especially sacred. 
Edgar Allan Poe addressed his love as 
"A green isle in the sea." 



24 THE SYMBOLISM OF COLOUR 

The Hindoos say that the emerald gives the gift 
of knowledge and memory. It also gives the ability 
to tell the future, even as the green laurel tree of 
Apollo did. The emerald also confers immortality 
on the soul, and enables it to gain faith. This belief 
will surely explain why greenstone amulets are so 
common in the tombs of the Egyptians, for faith 
would bring them safely to the Fields of Peace, 
where immortality was enjoyed. 

Isis, the goddess of the crescent moon, which often 
mystically means the pure soul, is sometimes called 
the "Lady of the Emerald" that is, she whose 
soul is pure enough to gain immortality. 

When Pizarro went to Mexico he found that a 
goddess there was worshipped as the Goddess of 
the Emerald. 

The emerald is often seen on the breastplates of 
Pallas and of Minerva, for both these goddesses 
stand for the Divine mind the all-enduring Wisdom. 
The Virgin Mary is often represented clothed in a 
green mantle and standing on the crescent moon. 
She has faith and hope until the Day-star awakes 
in her heart. The walls of the New Jerusalem are 
seen by John in Revelation to be made of jasper. 
The New Jerusalem, like the Ark and the Temple, 
is said by mystics to be a soul symbol ; hence, how 
appropriate that the green jasper should be the 
material of which it is said to be made ! Among 
the Chinese, Tao is said to have been miraculously 
born of "the excellent Virgin of Jasper." 



THE OLD LANGUAGE OF GREEN 25 

Green is sometimes said to be the colour of the 
planet Mercury, 1 which is the planet governing 
the mind and conferring knowledge knowledge 
not only of the kind essential to material success, 
but also inspirational knowledge and celestial wisdom. 
The god Mercury had assigned to him nearly all 
the main attributes of Hermes, just as Hermes in 
the same way received the main characteristics of 
Thot and his companion Anubis. The "green hill 
of Anubis," where the good souls were directed, is 
the hill of everlasting life and of Eternal Wisdom. 
Thot also had green hills dedicated to him. It is 
probably due to the Phoenicians that we have place 
names perpetuating this fact, e.g. Toot's Hill in 
Epping Forest, Tothill Street, Tooting, and Tewkes- 
bury. In Christian times the archangel Michael 
was given the work and attributes of these gods; 
and surely it is marvellous the number of hills and 
rocks sacred to St Michael, while in ancient pictures 
we often see him conducting the souls of the departed 
to the green hill of Zion. 

When we think of the great gifts symbolised by 
green, how full of meaning seems the green turban 
of the Mohammedan who has visited Mecca ! We 
can also realise what great truths could have been 
taught, and no doubt were, in the " Green Schools " 2 
of the Persian sufis. 

Green in its degraded sense gives us "the green- 
1 See Appendix II. 2 See Appendix I. 



26 THE SYMBOLISM OF COLOUR 

eyed monster jealousy," which is the direct opposite 
of celestial wisdom, for jealousy is always due to 
the intrusion of the desires of the self, while celestial 
wisdom wishes to give rather than to receive. The 
colour green is often said to forebode death. This 
idea may be a survival of the ancient worship of 
Mercury, and even of St Michael l in Christian times, 
both of whom were messengers of death. 

1 See picture of St Michael presenting taper of death to the 
Virgin (Fra Filippo Lippi). 



CHAPTER V 

THE OLD LANGUAGE OF BLUE 
" Blue, 'tis the colour of heaven ! " KEATS. 

IN the spectrum we ought to be able to recognise both 
blue and indigo, though many people find difficulty 
in recognising the indigo ray. Blue belongs to the 
cooling end of the spectrum, and thus it is right and 
fitting that symbolically it should be the colour of 
Truth, which is the result of calm reflection and 
never of heated argument. Even in everyday 
language we speak of "true-blue." 

Blue is the colour of the heavens that is, blue is 
the colour of the abode of God : 

"Then went up Moses, and Aaron, and Nadab, and 
Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel ; and they saw the 
God of Israel : and there was under his feet as it were a 
paved work of sapphire stone, and as it were the very 
heaven for clearness." 1 

Ezekiel has very much the same vision, not because 
he copied from an older version, but because it is 
given to every great seer to realise for himself 
any real basic truth, such as that God dwells in 
Truth. Clairvoyant visions often repeat themselves 

1 Exodus xxiv. 9-11. 
27 



28 THE SYMBOLISM OF COLOUR 

to different people in different countries and in 
different ages. 

" And above the firmament that was over their heads 
was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire 
stone : and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness 
as the appearance of a man above upon it. And I saw as 
the colour of amber." l 

A. wonderful vision truly that within Truth dwells 
the amber of unity and the divine Spirit. 

The Egyptian judges wore a breastplate of blue 
covered with symbolic figures. The blue was to show 
that they would reverence truth in their judgments 
and not stoop to bribery. 

Moses was commanded to make the robe of the 
ephod of blue, and on the skirts of it were to be 
pomegranates of blue. This was to symbolise that 
the true priest of God was to abound in Truth not 
in mere facts and formalities. Truth is ever greater 
than mere facts. Facts may sometimes give the 
appearance of an untruth, but Truth is ever one and 
indivisible. As said previously, it contains unity. 

Again Moses was commanded to 

" Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that 
they make them fringes in the borders of their garments, 
throughout their generations, and that they put upon the 
fringe of the borders a ribband of blue . . . that ye may 
remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto 
your God." 2 

Here we might mention that the Rabbins considered 
that blue was the colour of the two stones on which 
1 Ezekiel i. 26. 2 Numbers xv. 38. 



THE OLD LANGUAGE OF BLUE 29 

the Commandments were written. Plato tells us 
that the robes of the priests of Atlantis were blue. 

The Buddhists say, " Sapphire produces peace of 
mind and equanimity. It chases out evil thoughts 
by establishing healthy circulation. It opens barred 
doors to the spirit. It produces a desire for prayer. 
It brings peace, but he who would wear it must lead 
a pure and holy life." 

Surely, if all this is true, it is almost essential that 
we should follow the advice of colour healers and 
have our ceilings always of blue. 

Blue is often called the colour of devotion, but we 
must remember that devotion is not an end in itself ; 
it is the striving after eternal Truth and Wisdom 
that matters. 

So much did the Hindoos think of the colour that 
their gods are addressed by the epithet " narayan," 
and they are said to be born of the sea which ever 
reflects the blue of heaven. In Egypt the gods were 
often painted blue to show their heavenly origin ; e.g. 
Kneph the Creator, the great Mind, wears blue rpbes. 
Mummies were shrouded in blue beads to show that 
they were united with the soul of Truth. 

Odin, the wise All-Father of the Scandinavians, is 
nearly always spoken of as wearing blue robes. The 
blue pines near the homes of Philemon and Baucis 
were sacred to Jupiter. Sin, the Assyrian god, is 
said to have had a blue beard. Our conception of 
blue beard has taken on the debased meaning of 
cruelty. 



30 THE SYMBOLISM OF COLOUR 

Isis is often called the Lady of the Turquoise, 
while Osiris is god of the turquoise and the lapis 
lazuli. The Virgin Mary is often clad in a blue robe, 
for the same reason that she is often represented as 
standing by the Well of Truth, as in Arthur Hacker's 
" Annunciation." The Hindoo Mariama is addressed 
as " Holy Nari Mariama, mother of perpetual 
fecundity." 

In both Mexico and Chaldea blue was worn as 
mourning, being a token of the joy that the soul 
realised in the Fields of Peace. 

The turquoise and the lapis lazuli seem to have 
had in them the two blues that appealed most to the 
ancients. In the " Burden of Isis " we have these 
words in praise of Osiris, who is identified with the 
spirit of the departed : 

"With turquoise is thy hair twined, and with lapis 
lazuli, the finest of lapis lazuli. Lo, the lapis lazuli is 
above thy hair." 

There is another similar incantation in the Festival 
Songs of Isis and Nephthys : 

"Thy hair is like turquoise as thou comest from the 
Fields of Turquoise ; thy hair is like unto the finest of lapis 
lazuli, and thou thyself art more blue than thy hair. Thy 
skin and body are like southern alabaster, aud thy bones 
are of silver. The perfume of thy hair is like unto new 
myrrh, and thy skull is of lapis lazuli." 

Since hair is not blue, the statement must be 
symbolic, and means that the spirit of the departed 
has now become one with Eternal Truth. 



THE OLD LANGUAGE OF BLUE 31 

Surely we cannot read the above passages without 
thinking of the Song of Solomon, where the bride- 
groom is compared to " bright ivory overlaid with 
sapphires." 

There is another such song in praise of Amen-Ra : 

" Praise to Amen-Ra, 

To the bull of Heliopolis, to the chief of all the gods, 
To the beautiful and beloved god, 
Who giveth life by all manner of warmth, 
By all manner of fair cattle. 

Amen, bull fair of face, 

Beloved in Thebes ; 

He fashioneth earth, the silver and the gold, 

Real lapis lazuli for those who love him." 

The same imagery is used by the Buddhists. 
When Buddha sat under the Bo-tree on his throne 
of knowledge, all truths were revealed to him. To 
symbolise this we are told that he saw the great white 
cosmic umbrella, and also the Fields of Lapis Lazuli, 
where all the preceding Buddhas dwelt in ecstasy : 

" He hath o'erthrown the flag of pride, 
He hath obtained the triple knowledge. 

The King of Physicians 

With his heavenly Amrita l 

Will dull all human pain 

And lead all flesh to Nirvana. 

Having entered the City of Omniscience, 

And become one with the Buddhas, 

He is now indivisible." 

1 Amrita, bread of life. 



32 THE SYMBOLISM OF COLOUR 

This last word gives us the key to the whole 
situation that in the Fields of Lapis Lazuli there 
dwell the pure spirits who have become the soul of 
Truth, inseparable from Divine Truth, indivisible 
from the Spirit of God. 

When we consider the Greeks we remember that 
Homer always speaks of Pallas, the Goddess of 
Wisdom, as " the blue-eyed maid," for is she not the 
goddess who teaches the will of Zeus and the truths 
of Zeus ? The heroine of almost every fairy tale in 
the world is blue-eyed, as a sign that she is the 
true, good, and lovable maiden who is the object and 
reward of the quest and labour of the prince. 

In the epic of the Finns, Ilmater is invoked in these 
words : 

" Rise up, water-mother, 
Raise thy blue cap from the billows." 

And this makes us think of Venus rising from the 
blue ocean. 

We must recollect that blue was the colour of the 
robes of the Druidic bards. The bards were men 
who had been " ovates " and had worn the green. 
They were still to retain in themselves all that was 
meant by the green, but blue is symbolically a higher 
colour, even as it is physically. 

Many people think that red would have been a 
better colour for the bards, because this symbolises 
the enthusiasm that is so necessary in song and 
poetry; but the bards were to have more than 
enthusiasm they were to have the gift of looking 



THE OLD LANGUAGE OF BLUE 33 

beyond the world and of obtaining great Truths to 
uplift humanity. They were to be Masters of 
Wisdom. They were to get beyond mere passion 
and look into the cooler, calmer regions beyond, 
whence they could draw these great and deep truths. 
It makes us think instinctively of Wordsworth's 
definition of poetry as " Passion recollected in tran- 
quillity." 

From the great Triads of the Druids we learn the 
duties of the bards : 

1. To make a country habitable. 

2. To civilise the people. 

3. To promote science. 

Blake had the same belief in the duty of a poet, 
which he expresses very beautifully : 

" I will not cease from mental strife 

Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand 
Till we have built Jerusalem 

In England's green and pleasant land." 

The work and duty, as given in the first two parts 
of the Triad, recalls J. Russell Lowell's wonderful 
lines : 

" He who would be the tongue of this wide world 
Must string his harp with cords of banded iron 
And strike it with a toil-embrowned hand." 

In our own time, Maurice Maeterlinck has written 
a little play called The Blue Bird. The playbills tell 
us that the quest of the Blue Bird is the quest for 
happiness, but it seems to be far more than this. A 



34 THE SYMBOLISM OF COLOUR 

bird often symbolises spirit. Thus the quest of the 
Blue Bird is really the quest for spiritual truths. 1 
The children in their journey first appeal to their 
dead grandparents for the bird. By this Maeterlinck 
means us to ask ourselves whether the past was able 
to know Truth, and the fact that the children do not 
find the bird there shows us that Maeterlinck thinks 
Truth is of the future. 

Still, the children have grown by appealing to the 
past, as is shown when the grandparents measure the 
children against the door. They have also another 
great fact to learn that there are no dead. 

Next the children ask the Trees if they have the 
Blue Bird. These Trees, who think they are the 
rightful custodians of the Blue Bird, and resent the 
intrusion of the children, represent the persecuting 
churches of the world who have become stereotyped 
and hate progress. So the children are in great 
danger and are only saved when the dog (or human 
common sense) bursts his bonds and Fairy Light comes 
to the rescue. 

The children never find the Blue Bird, for is it 
possible to obtain universal Truth and put it in a 
cage ? When a man says vaingloriously that he has 
all Truth, it is a sign that he is very far from his 
statement. Still Mytyl and Tyltyl are better children 
for going on their journey, showing that it is the quest 
that is the great thing. 

1 See Henry Rose, The Blue Bird. 



THE OLD LANGUAGE OF BLUE 35 

Blue in its lowest meaning signifies depression and 
despair. We have such expressions as "a fit of the 
blues." Or again it may mean hardness, coldness, or 
cruelty, even, as in such an expression as " steel-blue 
eyes" or "Bluebeard." A blue-stocking means 
someone who has cultivated intellect and left out 
affection. 



CHAPTER VI 

THE OLD LANGUAGE OF PURPLE 
" And they put upon him a robe of purple." ST JOHN. 

THE next and highest colour of the spectrum is violet. 
Like green and blue, it is calming and soothing in its 
influence. Like green and blue, it is said by the 
mystics to be a feminine colour. It seems as though 
the ancient people used the term purple to include 
violet, and in fact any tint made up of blue and red 
in whatever proportions. Pliny tells us that the 
colour of the amaranth is a far more beautiful purple 
that any the dyers can obtain. This, however, does 
not help us much, for the amaranth can be almost any 
shade from red to blue. Even to-day we see how 
carelessly the word purple is used when we have 
in a great writer's book the phrase, "the purple 
rainbow." 

The symbolism of purple partakes of the Red of 
Love and Self-sacrifice and the blue of Truth ; hence 
it was considered symbolic of Wisdom, and is men- 
tioned as being the colour of the canopy 1 of Solomon's 
chariot. Purple was considered the most glorious of 

1 Song of Solomon iii. 10. 
36 



THE OLD LANGUAGE OF PURPLE 37 

colours, for the purple dye was so costly that it 
became part of the insignia of royalty. In England 
it is used as the sign of royal mourning. 

Before we really comprehend the symbolism of 
purple, however, we must reflect that purple was said 
by the Egyptians to be the colour of the earth. At 
evening, in some parts of the world, looking across 
the ploughed fields that seem so red in the daylight, 
we see that they appear tinged with purple. Our 
painters of landscape show this purple colour, while 
our poets speak of purple shadows. 

Thus the colour became symbolic of the basic 
qualities in our nature that form a sure foundation 
on which to build the very highest qualities patience, 
endurance, perseverance, ability to be long suffering 
and slow to anger. All these qualities are a sine 
qua non to the evolved soul. This is why the 
suffering Christ was given a purple robe before His 
crucifixion. It is to show that the King of kings is 
also the lowliest and most gentle of all beings that 
He had such humility as was expressed in the washing 
of the disciples' feet. As He Himself said : " He who 
would be the chief among you, let him be your servant." 
How we think here of the humble, fragrant violet. 

We remember the story of Sir Gareth in the 
Idylls of the King. 

" And Gareth bowed himself 
With all obedience to the king, and wrought 
All kind of service with a noble ease 
That graced the lowest act in doing it." 



38 THE SYMBOLISM OF COLOUR 

The Egyptians often made their soldiers talismans 
of amethyst because they said that this stone could 
give them the necessary calmness of mind to ensure 
victory. The Magi of Persia said that amethyst was 
born of the Sun and of the Moon, which confirms us 
in the belief that purple has all the symbolism of 
the red and of the blue, the masculine and feminine 
forces, the spirit and the soul. It evidently seems to 
have been used in this way by the Finns, for in the 
" Kalevala," Wainomoinem sails over the " blue back 
of the waters" till he "gains the purple-coloured 
harbour" of the next world. Here purple is used 
of a greater realm than that of the ocean. 

Many old rosaries were made of amethyst, because 
its effect was to make the wearer withdraw from all 
the trials of the world and worship in a holy calm. 

In King's Ancient Gnostic Gems we are given a 
translation of a poem by Marbodus : 

" On high the amethyst is set 
In colour like the violet, 
With flames as if of gold it shows 
And far it purple radiance throws ; 
The humble heart it signifies 
Of him, who in the Saviour dies." 

So we see why the martyrs are often represented 
as being clad in purple. This ability to endure for 
the truth brings them the fullest reward in the love 
of the Saviour. 

When we see the angels with purple robes it 
signifies that they partake of the sorrows of Christ 



THE OLD LANGUAGE OF PURPLE 39 

and desire to help men with loving messages to 
attain the heavenly home beyond the blue firma- 
ment. In some of the ancient orders of nuns the 
women wore purple veils as a sign of repentance 
and of faith in the divine love of God. 

Shakespeare, in A Midsummer Night's Dream, 
speaks of the 

" Flower of purple dye 
Hit with Cupid's archery " 

a flower that we now consider to be the pansy, the 
name of which is probably derived from " Pensez a 
moi," and emblematic of humility and sweet, loving 
thoughts. 

Purple in its debased meaning gives us over- 
weening pride, pomp, and vanity. It is the colour 
of the rich man who has no love in his heart for 
Lazarus, and no belief in anything but the things 
of the world. 



CHAPTER VII 

THE OLD LANGUAGE OF WHITE 
" Oh ! what a power has white simplicity." KEATS. 

IT is to be remembered in studying ancient colour 
symbolism that it was not realised that white was 
the sum of the seven colours of the rainbow. To 
us, because we know this fact, white is more 
naturally the colour of unity than yellow. Thus 
Shelley writes: 

" Life like a dome of many-coloured glass 
Stains the white radiance of eternity." 

White, in fact, symbolised not so much unity as 
purity, innocence, and the great joy of the man who 
has fought the good fight and attained the spiritual 
life. It is to symbolise this joy that the souls of 
the Redeemed in Revelation are clad in white robes. 
For the same reason Dante sees the souls of the 
blessed in Paradise in form of a white rose : 

" In form then of a white rose 
Displayed itself to me the saintly host 
Whom Christ in His own blood had made His bride ; 
Faces had they all of living flame, 
And wings of gold, and all the rest so white, 
No snow unto that beauty can attain." 
40 



THE OLD LANGUAGE OF WHITE 41 

Tennyson, in "St Agnes' Eve," uses white in the 
same way to convey the ecstasy of St Agnes: 

" Make Thou my spirit pure and clear 

As are the frosty skies, 
Or this first snowdrop of the year 
That in my bosom lies." 

The Archangel Gabriel is usually known in pictures 
from the fact that his emblem is the lily sometimes 
called the " lily of the annunciation," as a sign that 
a pure soul is necessary before Christ can take 
possession of it. Gabriel is usually said to be the 
Angel of the Moon, to which the colour white and the 
metal silver were given by astrologers and mystics. 

It was the custom of Roman ladies to wear white. 
The wearing of bright colours was looked upon as 
portraying a lack of virtue. The word " candidate " 
tells us that integrity was expected of all persons 
desiring office. 

Hesiod the poet sees Modesty and Justice in 
white robes: 

" And those fair forms in snowy raiment bright 
Leave the broad earth, and heavenward soar from sight ; 
Justice and Modesty, from mortals driven, 
Rise to th' immortal family of heaven." 

Hermas sees the Church as a virgin in white : 

"Behold there met me a certain virgin, well-adorned, 
and as if she had just come out of her bride-chamber all 
in white, having on white shoes, and a veil down her 
face, and her head covered with shining hair. Now, I 
knew by my former visions that it was the church." 



42 THE SYMBOLISM OF COLOUR 

The Japanese use white as symbol of death, and a 
bride wears white as her parents consider her dead to 
them and belonging only to her husband. 

In Revelation there is a curious statement: "To 
him that overcometh will I give the white stone." It 
was the custom to give the victor in the games a white 
stone, so that the sentence seems a truism, as "To 
him that overcometh will I give the sign of victory " ; 
but when we dig more deeply into the meaning 
of the white stone we find that it is a sign of deity, 
of the Spirit of God marking out His chosen one. 
In the Amaravati tope at the British Museum 
Buddha is seen sitting on the white stone, and 
sometimes the white stone is used in place of 
Buddha. In Ireland, until recent times, white stones 
were placed in a coffin and called "God's stones." 
Hence " To him that overcometh will I give the white 
stone" means that to the victor shall be given the 
joy of the presence of God, the joy of harmony, 
the music of the spheres 

" When the morning stars sang together, 
And all the sons of God shouted for joy." 

There was a similar idea among the Egyptians. 
In the papyrus of Ani you will note that when he is 
justified he is shown with white hair. Similarly, 
Christ in Revelation has hair 1 as white as wool. 

In Revelation Christ rides on the white horse. 
St George is nearly always depicted on a white 
horse. Castor and Pollux were said to ride on 
1 Revelation i. 14. 



THE OLD LANGUAGE OF WHITE 43 

white horses. A horse, as I have said before, means 
knowledge. Thus to ride on the white horse means 
to have all heavenly counsel to aid you in gaining 
the victory and in obtaining the reward. It is 
said that there will be one more incarnation of 
Vishnu, when he will carry the sword of justice 
and ride the white horse, like Christ in Revelation. 
We must remember that the horse was used l>y 
the Hindoos instead of the Ram. Now as Aries 
or the Ram is the constellation in which the sun 
starts his zodiacal journey each year, the ram or 
horse means the opener of new thought, the dawn 
of a new era. Hence to ride the white horse means 
to begin a new kingdom on earth of joy and happi- 
ness and purity. When Mahomet comes again he 
will ride the white horse Alborac. In ancient Rome 
the white horse was sacred to Jupiter, and once 
a year the consul, clad in white robes, rode to the 
Capitol to adore Jupiter as the Sun-god. 

Buddha is said to have been borne to earth on a 
white elephant, i.e. on Divine Wisdom or the Holy 
Ghost. In some of the old Buddhist zodiacs the 
elephant takes the place of the sign Capricorn or 
the goat. Capricorn is the sign governing from 
21st December to 19th January, and this is the 
time during which all world-saviours are said to 
have been born. 

Osiris and Zeus are spoken of as white bulls, for 
the bull betokens cosmic energy and creative force. 
When Yas6dhara dreams that Siddartha or Buddha 



44 THE SYMBOLISM OF COLOUR 

is escaping from the palace, she sees "a white bull 
with wide branching horns." 

The Druids proper of Wales wore white robes. It 
may be mentioned that it took twenty years to train 
a Druid, so that surely the white robe in their case 
was a sign that the wearer had laboured much and 
conquered many things. The work of a Druid is 
given in the Triads : 

1. To keep his word. 

2. To keep his secret. 

3. To keep the peace. 

It must be remembered that he was a bard 
previous to being a Druid. Druidship was the last 
stage of initiation, and what he learnt in this was not 
to be given out directly to the world but to be 
expressed only in the inward power that accrued to 
him. He kept the peace because he knew that the 
arts flourish in times of peace and are destroyed 
during war. Still we must remember that when war 
came he was ever ready to lead the people, and many 
a Druid died in the forefront of the battle, for to him 
death was the gate of life and the entrance to the joy 
of the Mighty Hu. 

The symbolism of silver is related to that of white, 
for silver is the colour of the moon, of chastity, and 
the ability to radiate purity and joy, however dark the 
night and difficult the circumstances. Artemis and 
Diana are both virgin goddesses of the moon, punishing 
evil deeds and immorality. 

Solomon speaks of the "silver cord." It is the 



THE OLD LANGUAGE OF WHITE 45 

bond between the mortal and the everlasting : when 
it is loosed then the soul is released and regains the 
music of the spheres. 

Sir Walter Raleigh writes : 

" My soul like quiet palmer 

Travelleth toward the land of heaven, 
Over the silver mountains 
Whence spring the nectar fountains." 

In the Paradise of the Brahmins, Brahma has his 
being in the heart of a silver rose (Tamura Pua) ; that 
is, in the heart of all fragrance, sweetness, beauty, 
purity, and joy there is God. 

In its opposite symbolism white means lack of 
courage and sometimes deceitfulness e.g. " whited 
sepulchres." 



CHAPTER VIII 

THE OLD LANGUAGE OF BLACK 
" Upon all the glory shall be a defence." ISAIAH. 

ALTHOUGH science does not now consider black as a 
colour, yet it is still considered so by the public and 
was considered so by the ancients. To them it was 
the colour of mystery and of the mysterious ways 
and wisdom of God. 

In Egypt, Kneph the Creative Mind was sometimes 
addressed as "Thrice unknown darkness transcend- 
ing all intellectual perception," for certainly the 
wisdom of God is beyond the comprehension of 
human intellect. One of our modern mystics, Henry 
Vaughan, seems to arrive at the same thought when 
he says, "There is in God a deep and dazzling 
darkness"; meaning that the mysteries of God are 
unfathomable but glorious. Black was considered 
the colour of wisdom, and Milton, who is so accurate 
in his symbolism, uses it as such : 

" Goddess staid and holy, 
Whose saintly visage is too bright 
To hit the sense of human sight ; 
And therefore to our weaker view 
O'erlaid with black, staid wisdom's hue." 
46 



THE OLD LANGUAGE OF BLACK 47 

Black also symbolised eternity ; thus Night, the 
mother of all things, was sometimes portrayed by the 
Greeks in a starry veil, holding two children one 
white and the other black to symbolise Time and 
Eternity. Osiris and also Horus are sometimes 
painted white and sometimes black, to show that they 
manifested themselves in time though they were 
eternal. 

Black also meant silence the things that are not 
to be revealed to everyone the thoughts that lie too 
deep for tears the innermost and most sacred 
experiences of life. It is not that we ought to be 
selfish with our knowledge far otherwise : 

"Give all thou canst; high heaven rejects the lore 
Of nicely-calculated less or more." 1 

It is that certain experiences can only be compre- 
hended by a person having similar experiences. In 
olden times a black rose was used as the symbol of 
the silence of an initiate, such a silence as that com- 
prehended by St Paul when speaking of the man who 
was caught up into heaven and heard 2 unspeakable 
things which it is not lawful for any man to utter. 
The great promise 3 to every initiate is, " I will give 
thee the treasures of darkness." 

As the old proverb says, "If you would know 
more you must be more." Until then there is a veil 4 

1 Wordsworth, "Within King's College Chapel." 

2 2 Corinthians xii. 4. 3 Isaiah xlv. 3. 
4 Exodus xxxiv. 35. 



48 THE SYMBOLISM OF COLOUR 

and a defence l upon the face of all knowledge. This 
is no doubt the meaning of the veil of Isis. This 
is the reason why so much of the ancient belief 
is wrapped up in symbolism, and why the ancient 
pictures are so full of symbols, for in them an initiate 
could tell at a glance how much the artist knew of 
the inner mysteries ; for example, one often sees the 
ornamental broken pavement in ancient pictures. 
This was one of the many hints to look well into the 
picture and ponder much, for it represented not 
historical fact but mystic truth. The almond-shaped 
aura or vesica piscis was used in much the same way. 
Many pictures of the Ascension of Christ and of the 
Assumption of the Virgin contain the vesica piscis to 
show that if you did not believe these events to be 
historically true yet they are deep truths relating to 
the spirit and soul of every man that the spirit and 
soul do ascend when their labours are done. The 
architects, too, were versed in these hidden truths, so 
that we may truly say that our great cathedrals and 
churches represent the sum-total of all the architect 
knew. They are really "frozen religion." The 
ordinary person sees a great and stately edifice but 
the initiate sees worlds on worlds unfold. 

Black to us of the West is merely the sombre colour 
of mourning, a sign that our lives have been bereft 
of the joy of the presence of a loved one. It is per- 
haps the most depressing of all colours, physically, 
mentally, and morally, and surely if people believed 
1 Isaiah iv. 5. 



THE OLD LANGUAGE OF BLACK 49 

in their religion they would never wear such a colour ; 
but unfortunately few people have the courage to go 
against custom, and to openly rejoice that their loved 
ones are in a better land. We may remember how 
the Lady Olivia's grief was reproved by the Clown in 
Twelfth Night : 

Cloum : Good madonna, why mournest thou 1 
Olivia : Good fool, for my brother's death. 
Clown : I think his soul is in hell, madonna. 
Olivia : I know his soul is in heaven, fool. 
Clown : The more fool you, madonna, to mourn for your 
brother's soul being in heaven. 

Of course black used with other colours often gives 
beautiful effects and throws these colours into relief. 
It is a most useful decorative colour when used in 
moderation, but when totally unrelieved, it is an 
abomination. By shutting out the light rays of the 
sun it lays the whole system open to disease. In the 
human aura it is evidence of the deepest depths of 
human wickedness. 

Black in its lowest symbolism means this wicked- 
ness and foulness, and hatred of the light of the 
healing sun. The black angels are the evil angels. 
Black magic was occult art used for selfish purposes 
and very often requiring blood sacrifice, even of human 
blood, in the performing of it. 



CHAPTER IX 

THE OLD LANGUAGE OF BROWN AND GEEY 

" Beauty is never lost, 
God's colours are all fast." WHITTIER. 

WE next consider the colour brown the symbol of 
autumn and decay. The autumn may indeed be a 
beautiful season of mellow fruitfulness, and the rich 
red-brown hues may delight us, but for all this, the 
brown is a sign that the life is surely, though gently, 
passing away from the leaves. Yet because the tree 
does not die merely because the leaves perish, brown 
takes on the meaning of the still quietness that is 
necessary before the next period of effort. We have 
the expression " to be in a brown study," that is, in a 
calm state of mind, oblivious to external facts and 
objects for the time being, yet really working out 
some deep problem that has to be solved before 
physical effort is of any value. There is a softness 
and gentleness about brown which calms our restless 
minds. 

Browns and other sombre "useful" colours are 
usually tabooed by healers because they tend to 

depression. If rest is needed, this is better given by 

50 



THE OLD LANGUAGE OF BROWN AND GREY 51 

blues and purples since they are quietening in effect. 
In ordinary household decoration, golden browns 
may be used with the most restful and helpful 
effect. 

In the human aura, however, the presence of much 
brown indicates an unprogressed character one who 
needs to make his life more spiritual. 

Grey eyes are considered by many the best for ex- 
pressing tenderness and sadness, but as a rule grey 
denotes what is hard and unfeeling. Still there are 
such a number of shades of grey that probably this 
last meaning is only appropriate to the shades having 
much blue in them. 

Tennyson writes : 

"Break, break, break, 
On thy cold grey stories, sea, 
And I would that my tongue could utter 
The thoughts that arise in me." 

Kingsley writes : 

" 'Tis the hard grey weather 
Breeds hard Englishmen. 

Sends our English hearts of oak 
Seaward round the world." 

W. S. Gary, in " Heraclitus," writes : 

" They told me, Heraclitus, they told me you were dead ; 
They brought me bitter news to bear, and bitter tears to 

shed. 

I wept as I remembered how often you and I 
Had tired the sun with talking and sent him down the sky. 



52 THE SYMBOLISM OF COLOUR 

And now that thou art lying, my dear old Carian guest, 
A handful of grey ashes, long, long ago at rest, 
Still are thy pleasant voices, thy nightingales awake, 
For Death, he taketh all away, but them he cannot take." 

W. E. Henley, in his " Song of the Sword," sings : 

" Follow, follow me, 
Till the waste places 
All the grey globe over 
Ooze, as the honeycomb 
Drops, with the sweetness 
Distilled of my strength." 

Again we must contrast this modern symbolism 
with the ancient. Grey was the union of black and 
white, and so partook of the symbolism of each. 
Christ in grey robes was not a cheerless Christ. 
His grey robes symbolised resurrection the triumph 
of life over death ; they symbolise the joy of white 
over the despair of black, of the joy of knowledge of 
future and everlasting life over the dark, inscrut- 
able ways of apparent death. 

The grey friars wore grey robes to portray Christ 
risen, still alive and working for the people of earth. 



CHAPTER X 

THE OLD LANGUAGE OF THE RAINBOW 
" Be thou the rainbow to the storms of life." BYRON. 

WE have come to the end of our survey of the inner 
meanings of separate colours, showing us how " The 
invisible things of God from the creation of the world 
are clearly seen, being understood by the things which 
are made." l 

However, we should not properly complete our task 
if we did not consider the rainbow and the deep 
symbolic meaning attached to it. Since every ray 
gives out some great truth and blessing, the rainbow 
stood for all blessing, the sign of the presence of 
God's love. In Greece, Iris (who is sometimes regarded 
as the rainbow itself, or a goddess clothed with the 
rainbow, or dwelling in the rainbow, or making a rain- 
bow path to earth) is the messenger of the gods. She 
is not mentioned in the Odyssey but very often in the 
Iliad. She has some of the functions of Hermes, but 
unlike Hermes has little or nothing to do with the 
pale realms of Pluto. She is generally looked upon as 
Juno's chief messenger, and confers blessings on those 
whom Juno loves. 

1 Romans i. 20. 
53 



54 THE SYMBOLISM OF COLOUR 

In the jEneid, book iv., we have a beautiful descrip- 
tion of Iris coming to release the suffering soul of 
Dido, the luckless Queen of Carthage : 

" Then Juno, pitying her agony 
Of lingering death, sent Iris down with speed 
Her struggling soul from clinging limbs to free. 

So down to earth came Iris from on high 
On saffron wings all glittering with the dew. 

A thousand tints against the sunlit sky 

She flashed from out her rainbow as she flew." 

The Scandinavians believed that on the rainbow 
arch the souls of the heroes were able to march in 
triumph to the great wassail in Valhalla. Curiously 
enough this rainbow is spoken of as " treble-hued." 
It would be interesting to know which three main 
colours of the rainbow they thought of. 

" Over all swept the magnificent arch of Bifrost, 1 the treble- 
hued rainbow, and Odin turned and said : ' See, children, 
how Bifrost bids us climb yet higher, humbly to learn of 
the holy Nornir (the Fates) and drink in wisdom from the 
fountain of Urd (Norn of the Past). Let us mount and 
ride.' And the glorious procession took its way across the 
plain to the luminous trembling end of the bridge, where 
golden-toothed Heimdal (the sleepless guardian of Bifrost) 
stood on guard. With a smile of welcome he threw open 
the gate, and they swept proudly on, singing a song of 
joyous thanksgiving for the beauty and peace of all around 
them ; but, when great Thor would have set his foot on the 
bridge, Heimdal barred the way with his spear." 2 

1 Bif-rost the wave-rest, i.e. the resting place of the waves. 

2 Asgard. K. F. Boult. 



THE OLD LANGUAGE OF THE RAINBOW 55 

So of all the gods Thor might not tread the rain- 
bow; still, he was allowed to make his journey into 
the council of the gods by other paths. 

The rainbow is said to have been given to Noah as 
a sign that there should be no more flood or no more 
sea of trouble, for the sea or the salt water stands 
mystically for the troubles, the trials, and the suffering 
which the soul has to surmount before it receives 
blessing and peace. How this makes us think of the 
meaning of Bifrost. The promise that there shall be 
no more sea does not stand for the drying-up of actual 
oceans but is a promise given to every true navigator 
of the soul such as Noah was if only the ark or soul 
is constructed according to divine instructions and has 
its little window above into which light may shine. 

In the " Kalevala," Wainomoinem builds a magic 
boat, but forgets the last three words of his enchant- 
ment, and so he cannot complete the boat. He journeys 
over the whole world to find these words, and when 
he does eventually find them he finishes the boat and 
gives it as a dowry to the Maid of Beauty : 

" Sitting on the arch of heaven 
On the bow of many colours." 

Among the Peruvians the rainbow was worshipped 
under the name of Chucychu. 

Ezekiel 1 sees the rainbow beautiful and bright 
around his vision of God and the Cherubim. St John 2 
also has a vision of Christ manifesting within a 
rainbow glory. 

1 Ezekiel i. 28. 2 Revelation iv. 3. 



56 THE SYMBOLISM OF COLOUR 

We should naturally expect from the above that 
the opal should have much the same meaning as the 
rainbow. We certainly do find that in the East it 
was considered a most sacred stone, and it was said 
to contain the Spirit of Truth. 

The Greeks were probably responsible for our 
belief that it brings ill-luck in love affairs; but we 
must remember that they considered it capable of 
giving the gift of prophecy, provided that the gift 
was used for the benefit of others. If this was not 
so, then bad fortune came to the seer. 

Joseph's coat of many colours has been said to have 
been a sign of all-blessing, but we must remember 
that there is considerable doubt concerning the con- 
text of this passage. Still we do know that in many 
nations certain variously coloured garments have been 
considered garments of honour. Thus the ancient Irish 
bards had robes striped with the following colours as 
a sign of their noble and honourable calling white, 
blue, green, black, and red. 

Modern symbolism speaks in very beautiful language 
of the fact that the seven rays of the spectrum give 
white light, but we must remember that this sym- 
bolism is essentially modern. Thus, as I have said 
previously, white represents unity ; while to the 
ancients, yellow, the sun colour, was the colour of 
unity. The seven rays have been likened to the seven 
gifts of the Holy Spirit, and sometimes they are 
likened to the Elohim. 

In the spectrum we have three main rays, some- 



THE OLD LANGUAGE OF THE RAINBOW 57 

times given as red, yellow, and blue, and sometimes as 
red, green, and blue. These are said mystically to 
stand for the Trinity or God in Three that is, God 
in manifestation; while the white ray would repre- 
sent God in Unity or the One Supreme Cause God 
Unmanif est God ever changeless. 

Sometimes the seven rays are likened to the various 
ways and methods of approach to spiritual vision, for 
few people receive this vision in the same way or 
under the same conditions. Some people receive 
inspiration through work, others in quiet meditation, 
or by concentrating their energies on some great 
truth. Thus the Zoroastrians and Parsees have con- 
centrated on the virtue of Purity, and they realise 
that all that is unclean, whether of the body or of the 
soul, is forever separate from God. This is a great 
and basic truth that must be enshrined in the heart 
of every worshipper : 

" Blessed are the pure in heart : for they shall see God " 

a wonderful promise, hardly to be comprehended 
except by the saints, the seers, and the exalted ones. 

Then the Buddhists lay stress on the Brotherhood 
of Man, and so charity and the virtue of giving 
willingly and freely has been exalted to one of 
supreme importance in India. 

The Christians lay stress on the Love of God the 
highest conception so far ; but one that must include 
the other truths or it becomes degraded and debasing, 
as in the belief of the person who holds that the 



58 THE SYMBOLISM OF COLOUR 

more wickedly he lives, the more God will have to 
forgive, and therefore the more love God will have 
for him. 

So all Truths are necessary in order to form the 
white ray. As James Russell Lowell says : 

" God sends His teachers into every land, 
To every clime and every race of men, 
With revelation fitted for their growth 
And shape of mind, nor gives the realm of Truth 
Into the keeping of one single race. 

All nations have their message from on high, 
Each the Messiah of some central thought 
For the fulfilment and delight of man ; 
One has to teach that Labour is divine, 
Another Freedom and another Mind ; 
And all, that God is open-eyed and just, 
The happy centre and calm heart of all." 

This wonderful study of symbolism sheds new light 
on many old customs and myths. From it, we are 
able to penetrate to the heart of things, and to see 
that every nation has aspired earnestly to understand 
the universe, and to realise that the Creator is mani- 
fest in His works. 

Unfortunately the modern world in its haste has 
for many generations cast aside this desire to know 
more deeply these inner truths. The Puritan saw 
that symbolism had degenerated into image-worship 
and into corrupt and unworthy practices, and so his 
mission was to destroy this dragon of false priests 
and to give simplicity and reality. Almost too well 



THE OLD LANGUAGE OF THE RAINBOW 59 

he seems to the artist-minds to have done his work, 
but we must remember that it was an age of "No 
compromise." 

Now, however, there seem to be signs all over the 
world that people would once again love to have 
these beautiful symbols, for just as the mathematician 
can reach greater truths by means of his symbols, so 
the mystic by his can attain to the highest realms of 
ecstasy. He becomes one of the uplifting forces of 
the world ; one who gives light. His eyes and face 
reveal the inward light, and so he becomes a star. 
Mere knowledge, mere intellect, without the inner 
vision, never makes the star soul " He whose face 
gives no light can never become a star." To such a 
one the object can never enslave. He has become, as 
the Hindoos say, " A King of the Zodiac " ; that is, he 
has learnt all his lessons, journeyed through the 
twelve great constellations, performed his appointed 
labours, and is able to receive the great reward. What 
is the great reward ? To see the spiritual significance 
burn through from all the objects of Nature and so to 
obtain communion with the Maker, and thus enter into 
the golden yellow petals of the Eternal Eose. 

You ask me lastly why I think it is that the 
nations should agree so well in choosing the inner 
meanings of colours. It seems to me that in olden 
times the gift of being able to see the human aura 
was one well known to the prophets and seers. Now, 
once a person has this gift it is very easy to connect 
the type of person exhaling the aura with particular 



60 THE SYMBOLISM OF COLOUR 

qualities. When another aura is seen containing one 
of the same colours the quality it shows would ever 
after be connected with that colour, and so there 
would grow up a colour symbolism differing little all 
over the world. Many of the most successful colour 
healers of to-day see the human aura, and according 
to the beauty of the colours they see the beauty of 
the Mind, and according to the lack of beautiful 
coloration they see illness and wrong-doing. Still 
it must be borne in mind that the wrong-doer even 
in health cannot attain so beautiful or refined an 
aura as the good man. In sickness the colours of 
the latter are greyish in value, whereas the colours 
of the evil man are muddy-looking. 

It is indeed a great subject, proving that the 
physicians of the future must minister to the soul as 
well as the body. The world awaits them. 



APPENDICES 



APPENDIX I 

SCHOOLS OF COLOUR (p. 25) 

IN these ancient schools of colour the students of seership 
concentrated for, sometimes, years on the truths coming to 
them from a given colour. Of the Persian Sufis there are 
said to have been four colours : 

1. Gold School. Where all the beauty and majesty of 

the inner symbolism of the sun colour was to 
glorify their souls. 

2. Green School. Where they learnt of immortality, 

and the need of ever serving the Maker. 

3. Black School. Where they pondered on the mysteries 

of God and learnt wisdom thereby. 

4. White School. Where as full initiates they knew the 

joy of God. 

There have also been rosaries of symbolic colours. Roses 
and prayers seem to have some connection in nearly all 
great religions, hence the colour of the rose was to denote a 
prayer or deep desire for the quality symbolised by the rose. 



61 



62 THE SYMBOLISM OF COLOUR 

APPENDIX II 
THE COLOURS OF THE PLANETS (p. 25) 

THIS is a subject on which research gives variable results. 
In recent years Mr. Alan Leo, perhaps the greatest modern 
exponent of astrology, assigned the following colours to the 
planets : 

Sun .... orange 

Moon . . . violet 

Mercury . . . yellow 

Venus . . . blue 

Mars .... red 

Jupiter . . . indigo 

Saturn . . . green 

A list perhaps more in harmony with the ancient beliefs 
is the one given below : 

Sun . . yellow or gold 

Moon . white or silver 

Mercury . green 

Venus . blue (turquoise or lapis lazuli) 

Mars . . red 

Jupiter . purple (or lapis lazuli) 

Saturn . black (sometimes black witb orange flecks). 

Saturn, it may be said, is the planet of mystery and the 
mysterious ways of God. He is like the god Chronos or the 
Angel Oriphel ; he makes the person wait till his appointed 
hour before gifts are given. Still, as he often, by means 
of waiting and suffering, causes the person to develop some 
of the very highest gifts, he is sometimes given the yellow 
flecks. 

Minnie Theobald, in an explanation of a Passion play 
entitled The Descent of the Light Spark, writes on the colours 
worn by the Planets in her play. I quote at some length : 



APPENDICES 63 

" These seven principles are represented in my drama as the 
seven planets, which in the ancient mode of consciousness typi- 
fied different modes of consciousness and substance. . . . Neptune 
and Uranus are the two planets of regeneration and rebirth, they 
are connected with cosmic consciousness ; and so in the colour 
scheme either iridescence or all colour must be present to indi- 
cate their connection with wholeness. . . . Red typifies life and 
consciousness, and suggests the power of the Father, the Lord of 
Fire, reappearing in the lower worlds. Blue indicates the 
mother element or the substance into which life enters ; yellow 
stands for the personality or child. Colour is language; any 
planet may be represented by any colour; it depends upon the 
particular activity of the particular planetary spirit to be por- 
trayed. In this drama Mercury or Memory, the messenger be- 
tween Time and Eternity, wears red, for he is carrying life and 
consciousness down to the cross of matter. He is the represen- 
tative in the lower regions of the Light Spark ; he is the flame 
hidden within each one of us, giving us memory of our divine 
origin. Next comes Venus, our fundamental soul-substance, the 
medium between the ego and personal mind ; she is clad in blue. 
Jupiter, personal mind, follows next, clad in yellow. Then we 
have Mars. Our soul-substance, blue, has become mingled with 
personal mind, yellow, and so we get green. Red, cosmic life 
becomes green, personal life, for after the birth of the personal 
mind everything becomes reversed. Our personal life-current is 
the complementary mode of activity to the crucified cosmic life- 
current. This personal life and passion is the field of activity 
of Mars, and so shows his complementary colour, green. Finally, 
black or Saturn marks the limit of the fall. Here we have the 
negation of the life of Eternity, black or dense matter being the 
inversion of the pure white light of spirit." 

This last quotation will show how modern mysticism 
uses colours. 



64 



THE SYMBOLISM OF COLOUR 



APPENDIX III 

CHROMATICS OF THE SKY. By J. S. DYASON (p. 4) 
The following is a tabulation of his observations : 



Copper at sunset 
Bright yellow 
Pale yellow 
Rosy sky 
Pale green 
Indian red 

Grey in the morning 
Red 

Dark blue 
Bright blue 

A high dawn 
A low dawn 



presages wind or rain. 
wind. 
wet. 
,, fine. 
wind or rain. 
wind. 

fine. 

wind or rain. 

wind. 

fine. 

wind, 
fine. 



YELLOW (p. 15) 

YELLOW is still a non-canonical colour in the church. 
Blue is also non-canonical. 

The five canonical colours are (1) white used at Easter, 
Christmas, Circumcision, and Epiphany ; (2) red at Exalta- 
tion and Invention of Cross, Pentecost, and Feasts of 
Martyrs ; (3) violet on Ash Wednesday, Lent, Septuagesima, 
Quinquagesima, and Advent ; (4) black on Good Friday ; 
(5) green on ordinary Sundays and week days. 



APPENDICES 65 

APPENDIX V 

COLOUR AND FORM (p. 4) 

SINCE colour is vibration, it is easy to see that it must 
also give form. Some of the most beautiful designs in the 
world have been produced by vibration. In his great book 
on Colour, Babbit takes red, yellow, and blue and gives 
them the forms of the triangle, the hexagon, and the circle. 
The triangle has the sharpest corners, thus it is appro- 
priate to the energising fiery red. The circle, with no 
corners, represents the calm indwelling blue j and the yellow, 
which has energy and yet peace, partakes of the hexagon, 
which still has angles but yet approaches the shape of the 
circle. 



APPENDIX VI (p. 4) 

M. CAMILLE FLAMMARION has made many interesting 
experiments on the growth of plants under different 
coloured rays. In one experiment he took young lettuces 
from the same plot of ground, and all the same size. His 
results showed that 

Under red glass lettuce grows four times as quickly as in 

direct sunlight. 

green slightly quicker than in 
sunlight. 

blue becomes very stunted. 

In another experiment he worked with Indian corn. 

In sunlight one plant grew to 25 inches. 
Under red glass 18 

green 8 

blue 6 

Beans flourished under white and red glass. 

perished green blue 



66 THE SYMBOLISM OF COLOUR 

From the above it seems that blue glass is bad for 
plants ; but this is not always so, as is seen from the experi- 
ments of General Pleasanton, where he grew the best grapes 
in his district by using alternate white and blue glass in 
his greenhouses. Babbit states that blue light develops 
germination of plants, while red and yellow develop 
animalculse. Yellow rays cause carbon to deposit from 
the air, and so form the woody fibre of plants. Red and 
yellow cause seeding and fruitage. 



PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN BY NEILL AND CO., LTD.. EDINBURGH. 



RIDER'S PUBLICATIONS. 



THE NEW SCIENCE OF COLOUR. By BEATRICE 
IRWIN. Crown 8vo, cloth, 144 pp., with coloured frontis- 
piece, 35. 6d. net. 

CONTENTS. Introduction Colour-Science The Necessity for a 
Colour-Theatre and College Colour and Decoration Colour and Evolu- 
tion Modern Science and Colour Colour as a Medium of Expression 
Colour Systems The Development of Colour Sense Therapeutic Powers 
of Colour Colour Stimuli and Colour Exercises The Dawn of the 
Colour Age. 

"A thoughtful, interesting, and well reasoned, if sometimes fantastic- 
seeming little treatise, on a subject concerning which too little is yet 
known, and which opens up promising vistas of inquiry." Scotsman. 

THE ROSE IMMORTAL. By A. BOTHWELL GOSSE, 
Author of "The Knights Templars," "The Civilization 
of the Ancient Egyptians," etc. Parchment, 5^ x 4^, 
64 pp., is. 6d. net. 

CONTENTS. The Path The Goal The Red Rose of Sorrow The 
White Rose of Joy The Golden Rose of Union The Little Black Rose 
of Silence. 

"Within the narrow compass of these few pages it has been the aim 
of the author to trace the evolution of this beautiful symbol among the 
different faiths of mankind, and to show how its varying interpretation 
has served to bring out the meaning underlying the mysticism of all 
religions." From the Foreword by RALPH SHIRLEY. 

PROBLEMS OF THE BORDERLAND. An explana 
tory rendering of the introductory chapters of " The 
Book of the Elements." By J. HERBERT SLATER, 
Author of " Engravings and their Value," etc. Crown 
8vo, cloth, viii. + 286 pp., 33. 6d. net. 

"Describes many of these First Steps to a Wider Knowledge which 
to-day are interesting those least imaginative of men, the Churchman and 
the Scientist." The Tatler. 

THE OPEN VISION. A Study of Psychic Phenomena. 
By HORATIO W. DRESSER, Ph.D., Author of "The 
Spirit of The New Thought," etc. Crown 8vo, cloth, 
53. net. 

WILLIAM RIDER fc? SON, LIMITED 
8 PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON, E.C-4 

67 



RIDER'S PUBLICATIONS. 



OCCULTISTS AND MYSTICS OF ALL AGES. By 

RALPH SHIRLEY, Author of " A Short Life of Abraham 
Lincoln," "The New God," etc. Crown 8vo, cloth, 
illustrated, 43. 6d. net. 

CONTENTS. Apollonius of Tyana Plotinus Michael Scot 
Paracelsus Emanuel Swedenborg Cagliostro Anna Kingsford and 
Edward Maitland. 

"This book may not inaccurately be described as romance using the 
word in its widest understanding. It deals with the deeds and sayings of 
wonderful people, who each in turn helped to mould and to re-make the 
state of the world. This book can be cordially commended to all lovers 
of these engrossing subjects." The Ladies' Field, 

THE GIFT OF THE SPIRIT. A Selection from the 
Essays of PRENTICE MULFORD. Third Edition. Crown 
8vo, cloth, 53. net. 

THE GIFT OF UNDERSTANDING. A further selection 
from the Works of PRENTICE MULFORD. Crown 8vo, 
cloth, 53. net. 

ESSAYS OF PRENTICE MULFORD. Third Series. 
Crown 8vo, cloth, 55. net. 

ESSAYS OF PRENTICE MULFORD. Fourth Series. 

Crown 8vo, cloth, 55. net. 

These four volumes constitute the cheapest and best edition of the 
Essays of Prentice Mulford published in the English language. 

SCIENCE AND THE INFINITE, or Through a 
Window in the Blank Wall. By SYDNEY T. KLEIN. 
Crown 8vo, 183 pp., cloth, 45. 6d. net. 

"This book is of an importance which I think it would be hard to 
overrate. The two main religious tendencies of to-day are towards Science 
and Mysticism. Mr Klein unites the two." English Review. 

MASTER KEYS OF LIFE AND DEATH. By Captain 
CAREY, R.N. Crown 8vo, 33. 6d. net. 

"Master Keys" explains in simple English the occult teachings of 
Theosophy and Spiritualism concerning Life and Death. 



WILLIAM RIDER & SON, LIMITED 
8 PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON, E.C-4 



63 



112755 



University of California 

SOUTHERN REGIONAL LIBRARY FACILITY 

Return this material to the library 

from which it was borrowed. 



SOUTHERN REGNAL UBRARVFACIUTY 




A 000703998 5