Folklore

Blue – Symbolism and Superstition

  • Truth and the Intellect
  • Wisdom
  • Loyalty
  • Chastity
  • Peace
  • Piety and Contemplation
  • Spirituality
  • Eternity

Blue is the color of the Heavens and is related to the fifth Chakra. Blue is traditionally worn by the Virgin Mary, the very embodiment of all the qualities described above. Whereas the reds, oranges and yellows carry with them a carnival atmosphere, blue is more sober, even somber despite its many variations.

If we’re “feeling blue” then we’re depressed or melancholy. And yet the bluebird is a universal symbol for happiness. The color has even given its name to a rich vein of music. The “blues” actually refers to “blue notes.” These are notes, either sung or played, that are pitched down a little for expressive purposes. An example is Billie Holiday’s heartbreaking rendition of “Strange Fruit.”

There’s something cool and detached about blue that gives rise to its reputation for spirituality and chastity. Above all blue is the color of the sky. Like the sky, blue is infinitely spacious. It contains everything, and yet contains nothing. The color is therefore associated with ideas of eternity.

In Jewish tradition the city of Luz, where the Immortals live, is also called The Blue City. Similarly, the mythical sacred mountain of the Hindus, Mount Meru, is constructed entirely of sapphire on its southern face and it’s this that is said to tinge the skies with blue.

To put any color out of context can have an alienating and often frightening effect. Knowing this, early British warriors daubed themselves in woad. These blue-skinned savages must have been an alarming sight for Roman soldiers.

To do something “once in a blue moon” is to do it very rarely. The phrase refers to the appearance of a second full moon within a calendar month, which actually happens about every thirty-two months.

Members of the aristocracy or the royalty are described as having “blue blood,” but why? The phrase originated with the Spanish, sangre azul, and refers to the pale-skinned Castilian ruling classes who prided themselves on never having interbred with darker-skinned races. Therefore, their blue veinous blood was plainly visible underneath the surface of their skin. There’s even a particular shade of blue that is meant to represent this color, called Royal Blue.

Blue is one aspect of the Hindu legend of Krishna that has remain unchanged through time and geography. We look at what this “blue magic” is all about, and why even Krishna’s sworn enemies were irresistibly drawn to it.

Blue is the color of all-inclusiveness. You will see in the existence, anything that is vast and beyond your perception generally tends to be blue, whether it is the ocean or the sky. Anything which is larger than your perception tends to be blue because blue is the basis of all-inclusiveness. It is based on this that so many gods in India are shown as blue-skinned. Shiva has a blue skin, Krishna has a blue skin, Rama has a blue skin. It is not that their skin was blue. They were referred to as blue gods because they had a blue aura.

All around the world, baby boys are dressed in blue. This originates in the belief that evil spirits congregate around newborn babies. Fortunately, these spirits detest the color blue, as it deprives them of their power. Consequently, dressing a baby boy in blue provides him with protection at a time when he is totally vulnerable. Blue was also considered an effective way of averting the evil eye.

Back then, girl babies were not considered to be as important as boys, and weren’t given any protection. Eventually, times changed, and girls were given the color pink.

Other meanings associated with the color blue:

  • Navy blue and white, when used together, often represents sailing, and sailors.
  • The saying “out of the blue” is used in reference to something unexpected.
  • The expression “singing the blues” references a person who is complaining about their circumstances.
  • The phrase “true blue” stands for someone who is loyal, trustworthy, and faithful.
  • The saying “baby blues” is used to describe the sadness that women feel after giving birth. It is often used in reference to post-partum depression.
  • A “blue ribbon” represents the best, first place, top prize, or number one.
  • The expression “into the blue” means entering the unknown or uncertainty, not knowing what you’re walking into.
  • The phrase “blue Monday” means feeling sad, often the feelings experienced when the weekend is over and the workweek begins.
  • The term “blue laws” refers to laws that were originally passed to enforce specific moral standards.
  • The saying “blue language” refers to using profanity.
  • The “Bluebook” is known as a register of people of significance in social standing. Later, the term Bluebook was adapted by the car industry as the name of the registry listing vehicle values.

Borrowed from Sigils, Symbols and Signs

Blue – In Depth

In Egypt, blue was associated with the sky and with divinity. The Egyptian god Amun could make his skin blue so that he could fly, invisible, across the sky.

Blue could also protect against evil; many people around the Mediterranean still wear a blue amulet, representing the eye of God, to protect them from misfortune.  In Islam,blue (including turquoise) is the color both of religion and community and is often used for decorating mosques.

In Greek and Roman days, blue symbolism was associated with the sky gods Jupiter, Juno and Mercury. In Judaism, blue symbolism is connected to God the Father. In the Catholic Church, blue symbolism is most closely related to the Virgin Mary, the Queen of Heaven.

Blue symbolism associates blue with freedom, strength and new beginnings. Blue skies are emblematic of optimism and better opportunities. Blue is the color of loyalty and faith. Blue is power. Blue is also the color of protection. Blue symbolism is nearly universal in meaning. As a result, blue is used in national flags and symbols around the world, including the flag of the United Nations.

Blue represents water, the source of life. Agricultural people have traditionally worshiped water in the form of rivers, clouds, mist and rain. Many favorite garden flowers are also blue, including delphinium, larkspur, pansies, irises, anemone, bluebells, hyacinth, lobelia, veronica, and ageratum.

Although blue is even more popular in the western world than is other areas of the world, blue skies and blue water are full of positive meaning in every culture. We are, after all, living on the “blue planet.”

Etymology:

The English language commonly uses “blue” to refer to any color from navy blue to cyan. The word itself is derived from the Old French word bleu.

The modern English word blue comes from Middle English bleu or blewe, from the Old French bleu, a word of Germanic origin, related to the Old High German word blao. In Russian and some other languages, there is no single word for blue, but rather different words for light blue (голубой, goluboy) and dark blue (синий, siniy).

The root of these variations was the Proto-Germanic blaewaz, which was also the root of the Old Norse word bla and the modern Icelandic blar, and the Scandinavian word bla, but it can refer to other colors.

A Scots and Scottish English word for “blue-grey” is blae, from the Middle English bla (“dark blue,” from the Old English blood). Ancient Greek lacked a word for color blue and Homer called the color of the sea “wine dark”, except that the word kyanos (cyan) was used for dark blue enamel.

Several languages, including Japanese, Thai, Korean, and Lakota Sioux, use the same word to describe blue and green. For example, in Vietnamese the color of both tree leaves and the sky is xanh. In Japanese, the word for blue (青 ao) is often used for colors that English speakers would refer to as green, such as the color of a traffic signal meaning “go”.

Spectral coordinates:

  • Wavelength: 450-495 nm
  • Frequency: 670-610 THz

Color coordinates:

  • Hex triplet: 0000FF
  • sRGBB: (0, 0, 255)
  • HSV: (240°, 100%, 100%)

Note: This post was compiled by Shirley Twofeathers for Color Therapy,  you may repost and share without karmic repercussions, but only if you give me credit and a link back to this website. Blessed be.

Green – In Depth

When students were given creativity tests, those whose test-cover pages had a green background gave more creative answers than those whose pages were white, blue, red or grey. ~Sue Shellenbarger

green_photography_21

Since the beginning of time, green has signified growth, rebirth, and fertility. In pagan times, there was the “Green Man” – a symbol of fertility. In Muslim countries, it is a holy color and in Ireland, a lucky color. It was the color of the heavens in the Ming Dynasty.

The word green comes from the Middle English and Old English word grene, which, like the German word grün, has the same root as the words grass and grow.

It is from a Common Germanic *gronja-, which is also reflected in Old Norse grænn, Old High German gruoni (but unattested in East Germanic), ultimately from a PIE root *ghre– “to grow”, and root-cognate with grass and to grow.

The first recorded use of the word as a color term in Old English dates to ca. AD 700.

Latin with viridis (and hence the Romance languages, and English vert, verdure etc.) also has a genuine term for “green”. Likewise the Slavic languages with zelenъ. Ancient Greek also had a term for yellowish, pale green – χλωρός, chloros (cf. the color of chlorine), cognate with χλοερός “verdant” and χλόη “the green of new growth”.

For the ancient Egyptians, green had very positive associations. The hieroglyph for green represented a growing papyrus sprout, showing the close connection between green, vegetation, vigor and growth.

In wall paintings, the ruler of the underworld, Osiris, was typically portrayed with a green face, because green was the symbol of good health and rebirth.

Palettes of green facial makeup, made with malachite, were found in tombs. It was worn by both the living and dead, particularly around the eyes, to protect them from evil. Tombs also often contained small green amulets in the shape of scarab beetles made of malachite, which would protect and give vigor to the deceased.

It also symbolized the sea, which was called the “Very Green. Interestingly, in Japan, the words for blue and green (“ao“) are the same.

Today, green is no longer just a color. It’s now the symbol of ecology and a verb. Today’s greens can be found in a wide range of objects: pea soup, delicate celadon glazes, sleazy shag carpet, sickly bathroom walls, emeralds, wasabi, and sage. The English language reflects some strange attributes: Would you rather be green with envy, green behind the ears, or green around the gills? (Idiomatic American English for extremely envious, immature or nauseated.)

Green in other cultures:

Green is usually considered lucky. A green shamrock symbolizes this. However, this is not always true in every culture, venue, or situation. For example:

  • You won’t find many green cars at racetracks because they are considered unlucky.
  • Circus and traveling showmen in Australia may consider green to be bad luck.
  • An old English rhyme about wedding colors: “Married in green, Ashamed to be seen.”
  • In China, Green may symbolize infidelity. A green hat symbolizes that a man’s wife is cheating on him.
  • In Israel, green may symbolize bad news.
  • In Spain, racy jokes are “green.”

Seeing Green:

There are more shades of green than that of any other color. Greens range from yellow-greens, such as lime and avocado greens, to those with a blue tinge (such as emerald).  Aqua or turquoise are colors that are typically half green and half blue.

Color Blindness – Approximately 5% – 8% of men and 0.5% of women of the world are born colorblind. People who are protans (red weak) and deutans (green weak) comprise 99% of this group.

Some European countries have outlined certain traffic light colors so that it is clear which is green and which is red, by the color that has a rectangle around it. Some states in the U.S. have placed diagonal lines through green traffic lights as an aid for the colorblind.

Green exit signs have an important advantage when there is smoke in the air (in other words, when a fire is burning). With red exit signs, it looks like a fire – firemen have actually rushed into burning buildings and tried to put out the signs! With a green sign, people know it isn’t the fire itself but the way to safety.

220px-color_icon_green-svgSpectral coordinates:

  • Wavelength: 520-570 nm
  • Frequency: 575-525 THz

Color coordinates:

  • Hex triplet: 00FF00
  • sRGBB: (0, 255, 0)

Yellow – In Depth

The sound of colors is so definite that it would be hard to find anyone who would express bright yellow with bass notes or dark lake with treble… ~Wassily Kandinsky

harvest-landscape

The word “yellow” comes from the Old English geolu, geolwe, meaning “yellow, yellowish”, derived from the Proto-Germanic word gelwaz. It has the same Indo-European base, –ghel, as the word yell; –ghel means both bright and gleaming, and to cry out. Yellow is a color which cries out for attention.

The English term is related to other Germanic words for yellow, namely Scots yella, East Frisian jeel, West Frisian giel, Dutch geel, German gelb, and Swedish gul.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the oldest known use of this word in English is from The Epinal Glossary in the year 700.

In Ancient Egypt, yellow was associated with gold, which was considered to be imperishable, eternal and indestructible. The skin and bones of the gods were believed to be made of gold.

The Egyptians used yellow extensively in tomb paintings; they usually used either yellow ochre or the brilliant orpiment, though it was made of arsenic and was highly toxic. A small paintbox with orpiment pigment was found in the tomb of King Tutankhamun. Men were always shown with brown faces, women with yellow ochre or gold faces.

The Dark Side of Yellow

Yellow is the only color that reacts badly to black: Add a little black and it becomes a sickly yellow-green.

In some cultures and situations, the color yellow represents cowardice, betrayal, egoism, and madness. Furthermore, yellow is the color of caution and physical illness (jaundice, malaria, and pestilence). Perhaps it’s no coincidence that the sources of yellow pigments are toxic metals – cadmium, lead, and chrome – and urine.

The original formula for Indian yellow, the bright yellow long used in Indian miniatures was banned due to the way it was made. Cows were poisoned with mango leaves and the color was made from their urine.

In Russia, a colloquial expression for an insane asylum used to be “yellow house.” Bright “marigold” yellow may be associated with death in some areas of Mexico. Those condemned to die during the Inquisition wore yellow as a sign of treason.

A yellow patch was used to label Jews in the Middle Ages. European Jews were forced to wear yellow or yellow “Stars of David” during the Nazi era of prosecution.

Interestingly, in China, adult movies are referred to as yellow movies.

Seeing Yellow:

Although yellow occupies one-twentieth of the spectrum, it is the brightest color, the most luminous of all the colors. It’s the color that captures our attention more than any other color.

In the natural world, yellow is the color of sunflowers and daffodils, egg yolks and lemons, canaries and bees. In our contemporary human-made world, yellow is the color of Sponge Bob, the Tour de France winner’s jersey, happy faces, post its, and signs that alert us to danger or caution.

220px-color_icon_yellow-svg

Spectral coordinates:

  • Wavelength: 570-590 nm
  • Frequency: 525-505 THz

Color coordinates:

  • Hex triplet: #FFFF00
  • sRGBB:  (255, 255, 0)
  • CMYKH: (0, 0, 100, 0)

Note: This post was compiled by Shirley Twofeathers for Color Therapy, you may repost and share without karmic repercussions, but only if you give me credit and a link back to this website. Blessed be.

Orange – In Depth

“Orange is red brought nearer to humanity by yellow.”
— Wassily Kandinsky

shapleigh-7x9

The color orange is named after the appearance of the ripe orange fruit. The word comes from the Old French orenge, from the old term for the fruit, pomme d’orenge. That name comes from the Arabic naranj, through the Persian naranj, derived from the sanskrit naranga.

The first recorded use of orange as a color name in English was in 1512, in a will now filed with the Public Record Office. Before this word was introduced to the English-speaking world, the color was referred to as ġeolurēad (yellow-red).

In the 18th century, orange was sometimes used to depict the robes of Pomona, the goddess of fruitful abundance; her name came from the pomon, the Latin word for fruit.

Oranges themselves became more common in northern Europe, thanks to the 17th century invention of the heated greenhouse, a building type which became known as an orangerie.

Seeing Orange:

Orange is the color most easily seen in dim light or against the water, making it the color of choice for life rafts, life jackets or buoys. It is worn by people wanting to be seen, including highway workers and lifeguards. Prisoners are also sometimes dressed in orange clothing to make them easier to see during an escape. Lifeguards on the beaches of Los Angeles County, both real and in television series, wear orange swimsuits to make them stand out. The Golden Gate Bridge at the entrance of San Francisco Bay is painted international orange to make it more visible in the fog.

orange350x350

Spectral coordinates

  • Wavelength: 590620 nm
  • Frequency: 505480 THz

Color coordinates

  • Hex triplet: #FFA500
  • RGBB: (255, 165, 0)
  • CMYKH: (0, 50, 100, 0)

Note: This post was compiled by Shirley Twofeathers for Color Therapy,  you may repost and share without karmic repercussions, but only if you give me credit and a link back to this website. Blessed be.

Red – In Depth

3b9a59f041fdb65920fa70cc659ae583In ancient Egypt, red was associated with life, health, and victory. Egyptians would color themselves with red ochre during celebrations. Egyptian women used red ochre as a cosmetic to redden cheeks and lips, and also used henna to color their hair and paint their nails.

The word red is derived from the Old English rēd. The word can be further traced to the Proto-Germanic rauthaz and the Proto-Indo European root reudh-.

In Sanskrit, the word rudhira means red or blood.

In the Akkadian language of Ancient Mesopotamia and in the modern Inuit language of Eskimos, the word for red is the same word as “like blood”.

The words for colored in Latin (coloratus) and Spanish (colorado) both also mean red, whereas in Portuguese the word for red is vermelho, which comes from Latin vermiculus, meaning “little worm”.

In the Russian language, the word for red, Кра́сный (krasniy), comes from the same old Slavic root as the words for beautiful-красивый (krasiviy) and excellent-прекрасный (prekrasniy). Thus Red Square in Moscow, named long before the Russian Revolution, meant simply “Beautiful Square”.

Healthy people are often said to have a redness to their skin color (as opposed to be appearing pale). After the rise of socialism in the mid-19th century, red was used to describe revolutionary movements. The word is also obviously associated with anything of the color occupying the lower end of the visible light spectrum, such as red hair or red soil.

Red Indians is a British term for Native Americans. American terms for this ethnic group include redskin, redhead and red man, though they are not the preferred terms.

Seeing red:

The human eye sees red when it looks at light with a wavelength between 620 and 740 nanometers. Light just past this range is called infrared, or below red, and cannot be seen by human eyes, although it can be sensed as heat. Red light is used to help adapt night vision in low-light or night time, as the rod cells in the human eye are not sensitive to red.

wwb_img96Spectral coordinates:

  • Wavelength:  620-740 nm
  • Frequency: 480-400THz

Color coordinates:

  • Hex triplet: #FF0000
  • RGB: (255, 0, 0)

Note: This post was compiled by Shirley Twofeathers for Color Therapy,  you may repost and share without karmic repercussions, but only if you give me credit and a link back to this website. Blessed be.

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