Associations with Colors
Common associations only apply within
a specific culture; so if these don’t resonate with you, use your
own connotations. With regard to the first eight colors, please
note that I have bracketed the quality or qualities that are associated
with the chakras in the Hindu tradition at the end of each list
Red love, courage, passion,
excitement, stimulation, energy, fire, anger, fear, embarrassment,
Stop [first chakra, survival (blood)]
optimism, autumn, Halloween, visibility, shock, surprise, insanity
[second chakra, sexuality]
Yellow sun, happiness,
creativity, radiance, clarity, caution, jealousy, cowardice, optimism
[third chakra, will power]
Green nature, growth,
health, vigor, harmony, rejuvenation, money, envy, disgust, inexperience,
unripe, Go [fourth chakra, love]
Blue water, sky, sorrow,
tranquility, contemplation, comfort, the unknown (out of the
blue), friendship (true blue) [fifth chakra, self-expression]
Indigo the unconscious,
the psychic, imagination, insight, dreams, relaxation [sixth chakra,
peace, wisdom, understanding, inspiration, creativity, bliss [seventh
chakra, connection to the divine]
White light, purity,
protection, abstraction, transcendence [seventh chakra, spirituality]
Black darkness, death,
mystery, fear, grief, despair, gloom, hiddenness, grounding (earth)
Brown earth, dirt, soil,
decay, dullness, feces, ingratiation (brown nosing)
Gold wealth, preciousness,
vitality, radiance, sun, joy, success, talent, abundance, excellence,
Silver wealth, adornment,
clarity, moon, psychic abilities, eloquence (silver tongue),
hope (silver lining)
Pink love, sweetness,
femininity, harmony, health, comfort
old age, neutrality, bleakness, conformity, in-between
Purple royalty, spirit,
justice, honor, ornateness (purple prose)
health, ocean, communication, expression, stimulation
Pale green spring, newness,
Dark green summer, forest,
plushness, fertility, ripeness
A profusion of color surrounds me as I sit on my deck: the bright-orange
day lilies lining my street, the deep-blue summer sky, the forest-green
trees reflected in Lake Mendota, plus the red, yellow, orange and rose
flowers in my own yard. Colors provide us with some of lifes simple
pleasures, as Alice Walker rightly noted in her novel The Color Purple:
I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field
somewhere and dont notice it.
As a major component of visual symbolism, color has played a significant
role in the worlds religions. Seasonal colors adorn shrines
think of Christian churches with their purple altar cloths at Easter or
red and green at Christmas. Color designates a persons religious
station consider the saffron robes worn by Buddhist monks or the
red miters of Roman Catholic cardinals. Color marks the sacred directions
in many indigenous cultures for instance, the Lakota association
of white for north, red for east, yellow for south and black for west.
It has symbolic significance on religious paintings for example,
on Tibetan thangkas,
medieval Christian canvasses,
and Hindu yantras.
It shouldnt surprise us to learn that color can also connect us
with our inner vision in divination.
Visual stimuli contain two main elements: shape and color. Many visual
divinations depend on identifying shapes. Color can provide similar oracular
guidance, but I think it affects us in a deeper, more emotionally charged
way. Why else would we talk about feeling blue? seeing red? being green
with envy? calling someone yellow (cowardly)?
In fact, quite recently the emotional significance of color came to light
in school systems on the East Coast, where parents objected to the use
of red ink on their childrens assignments. For Americans over thirty,
red ink means wrong, mistake, or incorrect
and usually a bad grade. The parents saw red both literally
and figuratively finding the color stressful, abrasive,
and negative. Instead purple has emerged as the new color
of choice for teachers ink, seen as positive and reinforcing rather
Anchor yourself firmly in the here and now in preparation for your color
divination. Once youve decided on your question, begin by relaxing
and attuning yourself to the energies of earth and sky, using your favorite
means of grounding and centering. When you have finished, thank the universal
energies as well as the palpable presence of color for the guidance you
This is the most straightforward of the color divinations I have gathered
- Create your color cards. Cut out same-sized
squares of paper or swatches of cloth in a variety of solid colors.
Or color one side of blank notecards, so you can use them as you would
any other type of deck. I suggest that you include the rainbow colors
associated with the seven chakras (red, orange, yellow, green, blue,
indigo and violet) plus white, black, brown, gold, silver, pink, gray,
purple, blue green, pale green, and dark green. Add any other shade
that you find particularly significant. Note: For a basic set of color
cards, you can use a color printer to print color_cards.doc.
- Place your cards in a pouch or box.
- Devise an oracular query.
- Ground and center.
- As you think about your query with
your eyes closed, draw one of the colored pieces from your box or
- Interpret your oracle. For common associations
with the color you have selected, see my list in the sidebar. Usually,
one of the qualities in this table will spark an association that
will immediately shed light on your question. In some cases, however,
you will also need to use free association to analyze your divination
(see my Free
Association article (MatriFocus, Samhain '06) for more
information about this method).
Interpretation of your color often concerns personal experience. As usual,
if you have a specific tie with the color you have chosen, that correlation
overshadows any associations I offer in the sidebar. The qualities listed
there resonate with what most people in our culture think of these colors,
but not necessarily what you would associate with them. Beyond that, the
specifics of your question may also predispose you to understand the color
you have chosen in a particular way. For instance, if your issue concerns
fear, white might indicate white knuckles. If it involves whether or not
you should give up in some arena of your life, white might have to do
with the white flag of surrender. If, however, your question relates to
whether or not you need to safeguard yourself, white might imply surrounding
yourself with the brilliant white light of protection.
Make the Oracle
This is an excellent divination method for early morning when youve
just gotten out of bed. You barely have to awaken for it to work. In fact,
its better if youre still half-asleep, in what scientists
call a hypnagogic state. To perform this oracle:
- Shape your divinatory question the
- As you doze off, resolve that you will
choose clothes the next morning whose color(s) reflect your issue.
- When you awaken, choose the first outfit
that draws your eye.
- Sometime during the day, notice what
color clothes you are wearing.
- When you have a chance, interpret your
oracle. How do you understand your question in light of the color(s)
you selected? In some cases, you will know immediately what your color
choice(s) imply. Other times, you may need to use Free
Association to analyze the hues in which you have clothed yourself.
You can adapt this divination in a number of ways. Instead of beginning
the night before, you can remind yourself of your question before you
rise, and then note what color clothes seem to beckon to you. If you wear
jewelry, you can also use your choice(s) for the day as color signs pointing
to the oracular answer(s) you seek.
Walking your Rainbow
Whether you choose colors in nature or the varied hues of an art gallery,
strolling through a place full of tints and shades will probably light
up your intuition.
A word of advice before you begin: An oracular result may elude you unless
you select a place that has a number of colors, but not an overabundance.
Until you feel secure in your own intuition, I wouldn’t choose a grocery
store for this oracle. I also wouldn’t walk through an overcast, snowy
landscape. Either extreme either too little or too much color
complicates this divinatory method. An outdoor location in the spring
or summer is optimal, because you will find flowering trees and bushes
as well as traffic signs or even colorful trash. To begin this oracle:
- Draft a divinatory question.
- Choose one of these two options:
Decide where you will “walk your rainbow.”
Ground and center at this location.
Take your divinatory walk.
Interpret your divination. If you selected
a first color oracle, the hue you initially notice will
provide your answer. Otherwise, you will need to consider all the
colors that appealed to you. Often the first hue that attracts your
attention will offer primary guidance, while the other shades you
observe may expand on that original advice.
- First color. Interpret the
first color you notice as the answer you seek.
- Open-ended. Remain aware of
all the colors that draw your attention throughout your walk. If
you choose this second option, you may want to bring along a writing
pad and pencil to record your color sightings.
If you want a simple answer, first color is probably the
way to go, since an open-ended rainbow walk will give a more complex response
to your divinatory question. Of course, even if you decide to perform
a first color oracle, you may notice more than one hue, giving
further nuance to your divination.
World is Your Oracle
by Nancy Vedder-Shults
Nancy's forthcoming book, The World
is Your Oracle, compiles hundreds of divination methods, from
ancient oracles to modern-day techniques. The excerpts published
here will describe a few of the ways to access the deeper layers
of our minds and broaden our sense of perception.
A good oracle puts us in touch with
ourselves. It lets us discover our motivations, feelings and thoughts
about the question we're exploring. And it connects us with the
atmosphere or environment surrounding that question
making us aware of the water we swim in, but usually don't notice.
To receive inner guidance, all we
need is to open ourselves to what our body/mind tells us, what our
emotions display, and what our unconscious knows. In this way, we
can begin to hear with our inner ears and see with our inner eyes.
Using these mystical senses what we might call the sense
organs of the unconscious we perceive holistically,
noticing relationships and patterns rather than isolating, classifying
and judging what we observe. Once we have gathered this wisdom,
we can then use the rational mind to interpret what we have learned.
We live in an interconnected world,
a web of life. Each segment of that web reflects the whole just
like fractal designs or holography. That's why the patterns we discover
through divination give us information. They mimic the relationships
of the whole at a particular moment in time.
In the past few decades, scientists have discovered that the more vibrant
our food, the healthier it is for us. Brightly-colored edibles contain
flavonoids and anti-oxidants that protect us from a variety of ills. In
fact, flavonoids constitute the color pigments in plants such as grapes,
green leafy vegetables, broccoli, tomatoes, peppers, sweet potatoes, grains,
cabbages, beans, garlic, onions, berries, and many fruits, among others.
Some of the best-known flavonoids fight cancer, including resveratrol
found in red wine as well as green tea and pomegranates, lignins
found in tomatoes, flaxseed, barley and wheat, and genisteins found
in beans, peas and lentils.
In this divination method, you consume the color that calls to you. This
literally allows you to digest your divination, and figuratively, permits
you a longer period of reflection and intuition concerning your query.
Choose wholesome foods; the divination is enhanced when you know that
what youre eating actually supports your health. To begin:
- Formulate your oracular question.
- Ground and center.
- Determine your divinatory color by
drawing from your color cards or by walking your
- When you have discovered which hue
answers your question, you then need to find a food of that color.
- Once you have found a suitable food,
the divination proceeds like a meal at a mindfulness retreat; you
chew and swallow your oracular food slowly and thoughtfully, being
mindful of your experience.
- As you eat your divinatory color, be
open to further guidance in the form of a vision, sound or feeling.
- Interpret your oracle. Sometimes you
will know instantly what your oracle means. Other times you may need
- Alice Walker, The Color Purple
(New York, Pocket Books, 1982), p. 203.
- Depending on which system you consider,
the colors of the seven chakras change. In some traditions, the last
two chakras are associated with indigo and violet, while in others
they are violet and white. Ive noted the chakra associations
for both indigo and white.
- clothes, courtesy of Rich DuBose