There are many ways to work with colour. To date working with colour has generally been dismissed on the grounds that it has no physical base – how can colour affect us when it has no mass, no weight, no substance? Nevertheless, being pure energy, colour is both versatile and subtle and can address many levels of our self. This section looks at some of the ways that colour is used; the pioneers and the systems that they have developed.
Colour and our Inner World
Let us first consider colour as a tool to explore our inner world. Since colour is energy rather than matter, colour is better suited to impacting us energetically rather than physically. It is our mind, our thoughts, feelings and spirits, rather than our body which are most sensitive to the effects of colour. Thus colour features in several psychotherapeutic models.
In the world of psychology perhaps the original and most well known colour test remains the Luscher test. A set of 8 colour cards that the client arranges in order of preference, the resulting sequence reveals a psychological profile of the client.
Aura-Soma Colour Care System
However there are many alternative systems outside of the conventional medical world which offer perhaps more sophisticated and versatile methods and tools.
My favourite is the Aura-Soma Colour Care System. This system invites the client to select four colour combinations (Equilibrium bottles) from a choice of over 100 possibilities. These four colour combinations are the basis of a consultation which explores the client’s identity and their life situation. It offers insight into their main theme of the moment, along with their past, present and future relationship to it. In my own experience of working with this system I continue to be amazed at the ease with which colour combinations can bring to consciousness thoughts, feelings and memories that are important to the client.
In contrast to the Luscher test which is simply a diagnostic method, the Aura-Soma system also offers a wide range of colour tools to support the client in continuing and evolving their growing process. There are many imitations of the Aura-Soma system these days but I consider Aura-Soma itself to remain the most effective system by far and the only one to carry the original spiritual impulse that inspired its creation.
In the world of psychotherapy another modality that places significance on colour is art therapy. This form of psychotherapy uses art as the principal means by which the client expresses and resolves their inner issues. Colour is a significant part of the message in this process and helps the therapist and client to understand the themes emerging. Closely related to this is the work of Rudolf Steiner, a spiritual visionary who created systems of education, architecture agriculture and more. Art and colour were particularly important in the emotional and spiritual development of the person in his opinion. Allowing colours to meet, merge and mix in painting was very healthy for the painter. In this way pictures were generally created without lines; colour was free from constraint. The spiritual dimension of colour was also very important in his view.
Another healing art form in which colour is important is that of the Mandala. These are generally abstract patterns emerging from a centre, an arrangement of colour and geometry. Carl Jung considered the mandala, as the expression of the true self, to be the goal of his work: “the path to the centre, to individuation” as he put it. In eastern religions mandalas are often used to both express a state of consciousness and to offer a way, through contemplation of the mandala, into that consciousness. A Russian colleague uses mandalas in a similar way, creating mandalas for clients that will enable them to come to terms with some inner issue as they reflect upon the mandala. Acceptance leads to change.
The Role of the Aura and Chakras
Not all the above systems include chakras in their theories. Nevertheless chakras and the aura are the primary theory behind the use of colour in many of the colour therapy schools. The aura is the light body, the field of consciousness which contains the physical. A healthy body requires a healthy energy field. Acupuncture is based on the same premise but focuses on lines of chi rather than the aura as a whole. Reiki is an energy rather than colour system, yet its premise too is the same: supply positive energy to the system and the body will be supported to take care of itself. Barbara Ann Brennan, an American lady, has created a well researched healing modality that she describes in her book “Hands of Light” In this book she says “It is important to open our chakras and increase our energy flow, because the more energy we let flow, the healthier we are. Illness in the system is caused by an imbalance of energy or a blocking of the flow”.
Aura-Soma amongst many others has researched and developed the associations for each chakra. Each colour tunes into a different chakra, each chakra relates to a different aspect of our life. Choosing colours and absorbing their energy stimulates a different parts of our chakra system, different parts of our aura, different parts of our life experience.
The question for each colour therapy system becomes “How to identify which colour the client needs?” Allowing the client to self select is an easy and respectful way. Aura-Soma places this principle at the heart of its non-intrusive approach. Other systems may use dowsing (with for example a crystal pendulum), muscle testing, or some other external reference such as taking down a client symptoms and comparing them to a body of knowledge. This tendency becomes more pronounced as the colour therapy moves towards claims for physical healing. This is something Aura-Soma explicitly avoids but that some other colour systems engage with.
The other question that arises is “How will the colour be applied to the client?” If the colour is not to be simply an inner The two main branches in colour therapy can be typified by those that work with outer physical colour and those that work with inner energetic colour.
The outer physical colour is most often introduced in one of three ways. Coloured light shone onto the client; coloured oils, waters or creams etc applied onto the body; coloured silks, or similar - something that will place the client in that colour energy.
Perhaps the most significant of the light application systems was Spectro-Chrome therapy. This was developed by Dinshah Ghadiali in the early and mid 20th century. He was hounded by the American authorities but had supporters within the medical community too. He shone coloured lights onto clients to produce physical results. More information on www.wrf.org.
Developed by Peter Mandel, colour-puncture uses a special torch, into which coloured rods of quartz lights are inserted. The colour is applied principally to acupuncture points, the meridian then transmits that healing information to body systems and organs that are out of balance. Colour-puncture in conjunction with awareness meditation works to clear blockages at all levels of being. More information on www.colour-therapy.com.au
Beamer Light Pen
Aura-Soma has also produced a tool to introduce the Aura-Soma colours into the meridian system. Details of this training may be obtained from www.auracolorlight.com
The biggest system using this method is the Aura-Soma system. With more than 40,000 students, hundreds of Practitioners and distributors in more than 50 countries, this system is a global presence. The principal tools for colour application are the Equilibrium oils containing as they do natural colours, amplified by plant and crystal energies. The contents of Equilibrium are described as Living Energies. There is a variety of further tools including pomanders, quintessences and Archangeloi all designed to bring colour energies into further various layers of the aura. There are also skin creams and cosmetics that utilise the same colour information to benefit the client.
Medical Use of Colour, Light and other Rays
Finally conventional medicine itself also uses light or its relations on occasion.
Chemotherapy is not light but still a part of the same electromagnetic spectrum, apart that inhibits rather than supports life.
Lasers which are light in action are used to burn and cut with great precision.
Ultraviolet light, just one step removed from the colour spectrum humans perceive is used to disinfect, it kills bacterial life.
On a more life affirming note blue light is a standard treatment for new born babies with jaundice. Exposure to blue light help babies recover more quickly and lose their yellowness.
Heliotherapy Heliotherapy was a term originally coined by the Greek Herodotus – best known as the “father of history”. In medicine today heliotherapy, which uses sunlight as the curative agent, is used for a variety of conditions - mostly skin related, but also for SAD and some other sleep and depression conditions. (Wikipedia)
Reduced light in winter leads to sluggishness, depression and the urge to “hibernate”. Growing light in spring to renewed energy, a sense of growing strength and vigour. In recent years SAD – (Seasonal Affective Disorder) has received much attention. However in treating SAD not all light is equal. When using artificial light to balance SAD it is vital to use a light source with a spectrum of colours that mimics that of the sun. Our normal domestic light bulbs contain an excess of yellow wavelengths compared to natural daylight whereas sunlight itself contains a preponderance of the blue wavelength. This is an important consideration when working with light and coloured light too.
Finally we should a word about light in general. Light is a fundamental regulator of life. Nearly all plants grow towards the light, much of the animal world wakes with it and sleeps in its absence. It is not just our skin and eyes that are touched by light. Its presence is carried inside the body. In particular the pineal gland receives the light message from the eyes and in turn responds by secreting melatonin which plays a vital role in regulating the whole of our physical functioning.
In my own experience, one of the most effective ways to adjust to a new time zone is to expose myself to the rising sun in my new time zone. I invite the sun’s light to fall on my eyes and forehead and stimulate the pineal gland to reset my body clock.