How fairy tales can teach us to create the lives we want

As we continue our journey into fairy tales and the wisdom they show us, let’s look at Aladdin and His Magic Lamp. This story was brought from China to Europe by the French translator, Antoine Galland, in the early eighteenth century and is a story of rags to riches. It teaches us that, though life can be very hard and we can have many obstacles to overcome, if we shine the light of our mind and spirit on situations, we can create whatever we want.

Image by Gaëtan GUINÉ from Pixabay

Once upon a time there was a poor widow and her son, Aladdin. One day, a man appeared claiming to be the boy’s uncle but in reality he was a wicked sorcerer. He promised to set the boy up as a wealthy merchant but the truth was that he wanted the boy to steal a magic lamp from a cave for him with the aid of a magic ring.  As soon as Aladdin had found the old lamp, he discovered he was trapped. Desperate to return to his mother, he accidently rubbed the ring and caused a genie to appear who promised to grant him several wishes. In a moment, Aladdin was on his way home with his treasure. His mother was overjoyed to see her son and decided to sell the lamp so she could buy some food. As she rubbed it clean, however, an even larger genie appeared who promised to grant even more wishes.

Over time, Aladdin and his mother became very rich. One day, Aladdin fell in love with the princess Badr al-Budur. Ignoring the fact that she was promised to another prince, he lavished presents on her father in a bid to stop the marriage.

Image by Artie Navarre from Pixabay

The sultan accepted his gifts but still married his daughter to the vizier’s son. Undeterred, Aladdin used his genie to kidnap the bridegroom and hold him in a cold, dark cell for two nights until the young man begged to have the marriage annulled. But as soon as Aladdin married Badr al-Budur, the sorcerer learned of his success and returned to steal the lamp. He managed to persuade the princess to give it to him in exchange for a new one but because Aladdin still had the magic ring, he was able to recover it with the aid of Badr al-Budur and kill the sorcerer.

That wasn’t the end. The sorcerer had an older and even more evil brother who disguised himself as an old woman known for her healing powers. Taken in by the disguise, the princess commanded the old woman to stay in the palace but Aladdin was warned by the genie of the lamp. He killed the imposter and everyone lived happily ever after.

 There are some beautiful symbols in this story which show us how to shine our light.

Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

The magic lamp shows us how an illumined mind can transform us from something that looks dull and ordinary into wisdom.

Image by azwer from Pixabay

The genie shows us the powers of the spiritual world, our genius and extraordinary power of our imaginations and how, when we rub the lamp of our wisdom, we can create magic and wish for whatever we want.

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

This tale is also about the power of language. Aladdin only has to ask for what he wants and it magically appears. The lesson here is that, as long as we know what we want we can create it. However, we need to be disciplined with our thoughts. Negative thinking will sabotage us and bring us back to inner poverty again.

We also learn about the importance of uniting the male and female aspects of ourselves. It is only once Aladdin has married the princess Badr al-Budur that he becomes truly powerful and able to remove anything that stands in the way of his happiness.

 

Image by Gaëtan GUINÉ from Pixabay

 

So enjoy finding your wisest self and shining the light of your mind on your life. Be mindful of the language you use, stay positive and watch your dreams come true.

Next time, we’ll look at The Emperor’s New Clothes and see how people-pleasing never works in our favour …

Happy October!

 

Love Laurelle

Could there be a hidden map of life?

Imagine getting into a car for the first time without a driving instructor, a map or any idea of where you are supposed to go. Tentatively, you reach out and touch the different gears, the steering wheel, the ignition and the pedals and eventually manage to lurch forwards. Inevitably you crash and bump but at least you are moving.

Photo by Frenjamin Benklin on Unsplash

This is what it is like to be born into a human body. Over time, most of us learn how to sit up, crawl and eventually stand and walk. But what about the highways and byways we then have to negotiate? Or the huge motorways or tiny tracks that seem to go nowhere? Some of them have bends that we can’t see around while others are straight and give us a view. Some of them go uphill making us go slow while others plummet downhill, causing us to go fast. There’s also the weather. Driving in the pouring rain, driving snow, thick fog, glaring sun and heavy winds can be a nightmare. And that’s not all. What about the endless emotions and thoughts that plague us? There’s something less definable too, a constant battle between trying to be different from everyone and a craving to be the same as though we’re on an inner journey as well as an outer one.

Image by 95C from Pixabay

In order to drive ourselves more safely and enjoyably, we need a set of instructions. Throughout human existence, humans have created stories to provide such maps and because we create many of the beliefs we have about life from our childhood experiences, fairy tales are amongst some of the most profound of these maps, showing us how to navigate the muddy tracks, swollen rivers and icy ditches of life as long as we learn to unpick them and understand what they are trying to tell us.

Over the next few months, I shall be taking some of our most beloved fairy tales and look at what they really mean in an attempt to unravel some of the hidden truths that lie at the root of our culture. Let’s start with Little Red Cap, or Little Red Riding Hood as most of us know her.

Photo by Šárka Jonášová on Unsplash

Once upon a time, Little Red Riding Hood was sent into the woods by her mother to take some food to her grandmother. She was instructed to stick to the path and avoid any dangers but because she was naïve, fearless and curious she ignored her mother’s advice. As soon as she met the Big Bad Wolf, she told him what she was doing and where she was going. Slyly, he persuaded her to stray off the path and pick some flowers, thereby delaying her so that he could run off and find the old woman’s cottage before she did. It didn’t take him long. He ate up the grandmother and then dressed up in her clothes to trick the girl into the cottage. Once he had eaten her up as well, the wolf fell into a deep, satisfied sleep but, unfortunately for him, a woodsman found him, chopped off his head and his two victims were freed.

This story was first published in France in 1697 by Charles Perrault who dressed the girl in a red cloak but seems to have been in existence since the tenth century from an Italian folktale called The False Grandmother by Italo Calvino. The Grimm brothers changed the cloak to a red cap when they published the story in the nineteenth century. They also took out some of the more gruesome elements of the story to make it more palatable for young children.

There are deep hidden truths in this fairy tale that give us a map for the start of our inner journey. It does this with symbols. For example, the red of the cap or cloak signifies the beginning of menstruation as the girl steps into womanhood. The path is important too as a symbol of the way that society and religion try to show us how to keep safe.

Photo by Charles Black on Unsplash

However, when she is stalked by the wolf, which represents materialism and greed, she is seduced into straying off it and when she naively tells him where she is going, she demonstrates what happens when we fail to keep our counsel or learn who to trust.

It is not until she sees the wolf dressed up in her grandmother’s clothes, however, that her fall into materialism is completed. His big ears represent our sense of hearing; his big eyes our sense of vision, his big hands our sense of touch and his big mouth, our sense of taste and inclination to speak unwisely. In the end, she is eaten up and so loses her connection with innocence and herself as she is dragged into materialism and chaos. However, thanks to the Grimm brothers all is not lost. They added the woodsman who saved both Little Red Cap and her grandmother, suggesting that, with help, we can eventually be reborn into a greater sense of self than before.

Photo by RKTKN on Unsplash

Undoubtedly we are here to experience life and it would be a tragic waste for us to stay shut up in the safety of our parents’ cottage. However, as we step outside, it is imperative that we learn certain lessons. We will undoubtedly be pulled into materialism at some point and lose our sense of self but, as long as we learn to discern the difference between good and bad, we will be fine.

So enjoy this next month and become aware of the ways in which you are learning to drive the vehicle of your life and the lessons you are learning. Next time, we’ll look at Aladdin and his Magic Lamp see how shining light on life can make all sorts of wishes come true.

Happy September.

Love Laurelle

What are rainbows and how do they affect us?

Over the past few months we have looked at many colours. Today we will look at the rainbow which shows us all the colours of the visible light spectrum.

A rainbow is an arc of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Rainbows are caused by the reflection, refraction and dispersion of light in water droplets and appear in the sky directly opposite the sun when it is raining and sunny at the same time.

Rainbows are fascinating culturally. We have already seen the way the seven rainbow colours represent the seven chakras, the energy centres of the body, a model which originates with the Ancient Indian Vedas. The Celts saw rainbows as the promise of new life provided by the Divine Feminine. In Greco-Roman mythology, rainbows were considered to be a path between Earth and Heaven made by Iris, a messenger. In Chinese mythology, the rainbow was a slit in the sky sealed by the goddess Nüwa using stones of five different colours. In Ireland, leprechauns are said to hide their pots of gold at the end of a rainbow, which, of course, can never be reached. Australian Aborigines say that the Rainbow Snake governs water. Judaism teaches from the Old Testament of the Bible that rainbows are a symbol of divine anger and patience and Christians believe that God put the rainbow in the sky after Noah’s flood as the sign of His promise that He would never again destroy the earth with water.

In some South American cultures, however, rainbows are seen as negative. In Amazonian cultures they are associated with malign spirits that cause harm and in one of the languages of central Peru certain diseases are called ayona’achartan, meaning “the rainbow hurt my skin”. The tradition of closing one’s mouth at the sight of a rainbow in order to avoid disease appears to pre-date the Incan empire.

Not all rainbows are single and the Chinese art of Feng Shui tells us that double rainbows are symbolic of transformation and that the earthly world is represented by the first rainbow while the second represents the spiritual world.

The rainbow is used by the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender movement as a symbol of hope and rainbow flags are used all over the world as a sign of a new era of social change. Rainbow flags have been flown since the German Peasants’ War in the sixteenth century as a symbol of the Co-Operative Movement. They have been flown in Italy, Peru, Bolivia and the Middle East as a symbol of peace. They have been used by the Jewish Autonomous Oblast to represent the International Order of Rainbow for Girls since the early 1920s and in the 1990s, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and President Nelson Mandela described the newly democratic South Africa as the Rainbow Nation as its symbol for diversity and multiculturalism.

Rainbows are symbolic not only of hope, peace and a new world order, but also of potential, harmony, expansion, connection, spirituality and the unity of earth and sky, body and spirit.  The Rainbow Bridge is the theme of several works of poetry written in the 1980s and 1990s that speak of an other-worldly place where pets go after death and where they will eventually be reunited with their owners.

If you are in need of rebalancing and recharging, try this rainbow breathing exercise, to be done preferably outside when the sun has just risen. Stand with your feet slightly apart facing the sun with your arms down by your sides, palms open. Close your eyes and breathe in red for three breaths. Then follow with orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Be still for a few minutes afterwards as the colour courses through you.

Enjoy July and experimenting with rainbows and next month we will conclude our journey into colours.

Love Laurelle

How turquoise and purple can transform your life

As we continue to explore colours, let’s look at turquoise and purple. Both contain mixtures of colours and therefore different frequencies. Turquoise is a mixture of blue and green and imbues the unusual combination of energy and calm. It can therefore be used for both exhilaration and relaxation. Turquoise is a sensitive colour and aids creativity. In nature, it is associated with the beautiful hues of a tropical sea.

Turquoise people are friendly, approachable, empathetic and caring. They speak well in public as they are clear thinkers. Their green base means that they speak from the heart and their blue base means that they are easy to communicate with and will express their true selves. They can often have highly developed intuitive abilities and seek spiritual fulfilment.

However, there is a tendency to swing from one emotion to another, seeming cool and confident on one hand but being in chaos underneath. Balance is therefore really important for turquoises who can also be impractical and idealistic. Turquoises can become easily bored and so like to do several things rather than just concentrating on one but this can mean that they take on too much and become scattered at times.

Turquoise is ultimately the colour of freedom. It controls and heals the emotions and so is useful if you are feeling unhappy. Try wearing turquoise when you are feeling the effects of mental strain or you feel in some way jaded (pun intended!). It will help you to feel refreshed as though you’d had a dip in those wondrous waters or flown in those magical skies so you are inspired to make a fresh start. Turquoise also really helps if you are feeling lonely as it helps you to find emotional balance and release creative blocks.

Purple, on the other hand, takes us up to the sky and the deep beyond.

Unlike violet which is displayed in the visible light spectrum, purple is a mixture of red and blue. This means that it includes and combines both frequencies – the energy and strength of red and the communication and integrity of blue. Together, they are then transformed into something powerful and rather magical. This marriage symbolises the union of body and soul and sits at the third eye, the centre of wisdom. It stimulates the imagination and intuition and helps creativity. It is mystical and musical, spiritual and compassionate.

Purple is beloved by the royal family and is associated with nobility, luxury, power, and ambition. Purple represents wealth, creativity, wisdom and dignity along with devotion, peace and mystery. Purple people can be solitary flyers and are private but they understand the sacredness of the world and are capable of living within it. However their Achilles Heel can be to retreat into a fantasy world and live with their head in the clouds.

Try using purple when you are feeling anxious or need to calm your mind. Purple helps with trauma, helps to pacify obsessions and fears and has a deep, calming effect on the psyche.

You can also use purple to help you connect with your deepest thoughts. It can help you to seek the meaning of life and a more personal fulfilment so that you can expand your horizons and connect with a higher level of consciousness. Purple represents the future, imagination and dreams and yet can help us stay grounded and down to earth.

Turquoise and purple therefore offer a range of beautiful qualities, experiences and ways of healing. Enjoy exploring them this month as the colours of nature burgeon into summer.

Love Laurelle xx

Energy through Colour – the Chakras Part Two

Last month, we looked at the colours of the first three chakras: red, orange and yellow. This month we will explore the remaining four.

Green is the colour of the heart chakra which resides in the centre of the chest. This energy governs our heart, lungs and blood and its sense is touch.

An imbalance can cause jealousy, envy and self-hatred. It is also where we store grief. Its polarity is judgement to unconditional love so try wearing green if you are having difficulties with a relationship or you want to develop more compassion. Green personalities like balance, harmony and stability in their lives. They are wonderful to have around in a crisis as they can remain calm and take control. They are great listeners and are kind, generous and compassionate. Greens make good hosts as they are concerned for everyone’s welfare. They are supportive and practical but they can be prone to gossip and also can become too perfectionist.

The colour of the throat chakra is sky blue and it governs the thyroid and parathyroid glands, the neck, mouth, ears, throat, and physical and mental development.

Its sense is hearing and an imbalance here can result in identity problems, communication difficulties, isolation and aloofness. The polarity is suppression to expression so try wearing this colour if you are having issues with either speaking your truth or speaking too much. Blue personalities are excellent communicators and are clever and resourceful. They can be adventurous and are usually willing to have a go at anything. Blue is a cooling, healing colour so they can offer great comfort. However, they can become remote when they are struggling. Blues are loyal and make wonderful friends but they need to be able to trust or they will sever ties. They like to be around like-minded people and can become worried that there will not be enough money to go around.

Next is the brow chakra whose colour is indigo. Located between the eyebrows, it governs the base of skull, eyes, the pituitary gland and the autonomic nervous system. An imbalance here can lead to headaches.

The polarity is ignorance to wisdom so if you are having issues with repeated mistakes, then try wearing this colour. Indigo people are structured, organised, intuitive and independent. Justice is very important to Indigos as they try to create stability and fairness in the world around them from their deep understanding. They are often popular because they express themselves well and can be creative and friendly. However, they can become overloaded as they are not good at saying ‘no’.

Finally, there is the crown chakra which, as its name implies, sits at the crown of the head. Its colour is violet. This chakra governs the eyes, upper skull, headaches, pineal gland, hair and central nervous system and an imbalance can lead to anxiety and Parkinson’s so use violet if you need to be calmer and more connected to the whole.

Violet personalities are intellectual, imaginative, charming and philosophical and are often psychically gifted. They can be private but, as long as this is respected, they are approachable enough. They long to make the world a better place yet still love to live life to the full. They often look younger than they are as they are so inspired but if they don’t succeed, they can become very critical of themselves. This, when combined with their impracticality and secretiveness, can lead them to becoming remote and cold.

Enjoy playing with these colours over the next month. Next time we will be looking at turquoise and purple.

Have a very happy Easter.

Love Laurelle

The Colours of the Chakras – Part One

As we move into March, spring is beginning to bring colour back into nature’s palette. Interestingly, our energy bodies are associated with the vibration of colour. These energy points were given the name of ‘chakras’ in the ancient Indian Vedas between 1500 and 500 BC. These oldest known texts show the human body as a series of energetic points which rise up the trunk of the body, linking us to the world of energy. Each chakra governs the four levels of human life: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual and any imbalances in these particular places will result in certain issues. Where once this way of looking at ourselves was not understood, now quantum physics has defined everything existing as energy and vibration, we can begin to understand the chakras in a modern context.

Each chakra has a colour. At our root is red, a colour which signifies our connectedness to the earth as well as to our family.

Its location is the perineum/coccyx and it governs the bones, legs, feet, adrenals, kidneys and the sense of smell. Each chakra has a polarity which can take us from negative to positive. In this case the root helps to take us from fear to courage so red is a very helpful colour to wear if you are frightened, if you need to ground yourself, improve your self-esteem, become stronger or more extravert. Red personalities are intense and often larger than life. They like attention and can be opinionated. However, they can be of great integrity and fight for truth and justice. They are courageous, passionate and fearless and deeply connected to their families.

Next is orange, the colour of the sacral chakra which resides at the navel. On a physical level it governs the sexual organs, bladder, prostate gland, womb and spleen and it is the home of the emotions and our sense of taste.

Orange is the primary healing colour and it is also the colour of creativity so try wearing it if you are poorly or when you are creating something new. Its polarity is attachment to release so this chakra helps us to let go of what no longer serves us. Orange can also be used strengthen the immune system and help with fluid retention. It is a great bringer of joy and helps us to be happy in our bodies. Orange personalities are warm, friendly and easy-going and can be flamboyant. They have a well-developed sense of humour and need to be appreciated and so can have issues with self-respect. They love to socialise, are deeply emotional and very creative.  

The third chakra is at the solar plexus, in the area of the stomach, and its colour is yellow.

The solar plexus governs the digestion, muscles, the liver and the sense of sight and an imbalance here can lead to diabetes, digestive issues, irrational fear and anxiety. This is our centre of power and where we feel in control or out of control; controlled or controlling. Its polarity is anger to forgiveness so try wearing yellow when you want to say sorry. Yellow is an essentially a happy, gregarious and sociable colour so it is good to have on the walls of your living room to stimulate conversation.  It is also a wonderful colour for the kitchen because it increases metabolism gives you energy and brightens your day. However, babies cry more in rooms painted yellow. It is the colour of hope so try wearing it if you feel down and in need of a lift.  Yellow personalities are happy, cheerful, versatile and knowledgeable. Their strong minds retain much information and they love life, enjoying whatever they are doing. Yellows can be childlike, curious and playful and they love to be successful.

Enjoy experimenting with these colours over the next month and observe how they make you feel and when they are best used. Next month we will look at the remaining chakras and their colours.

Until then, have a happy March.

Love Laurelle

 

 

Bring on Pink – it’s time for the Year of the Pig!

As we move towards Brexit, there is more than a little change is in the air. On 5th February we move out of the Year of the Dog and into the Chinese Year of the Earth Pig. As this is the twelfth sign in the 12-year Chinese zodiac, it brings the astrological cycle to an end and is therefore a signal to take a much deserved break. This means that, with a little reflection, we should be able to be more relaxed, happy and secure. There should also be a greater sense of prosperity although the Pig can be recklessly generous which can sometimes lead to him being taken advantage of. It should be a good year for business but admin should not be neglected and debts settled as soon as possible.

 

 

The Earth Pig is happy, responsible, family-orientated, flexible and modest. He loves to teach and help others, is rather spiritual in nature and doesn’t like toxic relationships. The Pig is intellectual, open-minded and adores writing, His work relationships tend to be softer, more tolerant, forgiving and constructive than we have seen of late and loves to talk things over and persevere rather than argue so persuasion and diplomacy will be the order of the day. It is likely to be a good year for ecological solutions and the promotion of the common, rather than individual, interest but on the physical side, pigs can get fat so it is important to take plenty of exercise and avoid being lazy.

As we continue our journey into colours, let’s explore pink, the colour of the pig. Pink is emotionally soothing and calming, gently warming, kind, considerate and loving.

Nowadays, we associate pink with girls but it was not always so. In late 19th Century/early 20th century Europe, mothers were advised to dress boys in pink and girls in blue. Blue had long been associated as a feminine colour because of the supposed colour of the Virgin Mary’s robe whereas pink was seen as a boyish version of the masculine colour red. This gradually began to change in the mid-20th Century and by 1950, advertising campaigns began pushing pink as an exclusively feminine colour.

As well as being the beginning of the Year of the Earth Pig, February is also the month of St Valentine with its focus on love. Pink is the colour of love so these two go very well together indeed.

Magenta is a deeper version of pink and has strong spiritual connotations. It is associated with compassion, support and kindness, all qualities of the Earth Pig, and is a relaxing colour which doesn’t like confrontation.

This month try experimenting with pink. Its warmth during the coldness of February will bring you both joy and relief. Next month we will look at orange and yellow.

As for Brexit, we can only wait and see. Let’s hope we end up in the pink and that we’re tickled pink and not that we see pink elephants or get a pink slip from Europe…

Happy February!

Love Laurelle

Are you too monochrome?

We will leave Chinese Year of the Dog early next month but before we do, it is interesting to note what has happened so far. It has been a year full of change and, some might say, some fairly spectacular dog scraps in parliament and beyond. No surprise there: one of the characteristics of the Dog is a black and white mentality (as demonstrated by Donald Trump who was born in the Year of the Dog) with its inability to see the greys in between.

So let’s look at the monochrome palette and see what it can reveal. Firstly, there is a question about whether they are actually colours at all. A physicist would say that black is the absence of colour but an artist would declare the opposite. The physicist would go onto explain that sunlight is white light composed of all the colours of the spectrum but chemists would argue that combining the three primary colours: red, blue and yellow, creates black. An optician, on the other hand, would declare that because black absorbs all the colours of the visible spectrum and reflects none of them to the eyes it is not a colour, whereas because white reflects all the colours of the visible light spectrum to the eyes, it is.

What we can conclude is that things may not be as black or white as they seem. Let’s take a look at them both more closely. White has been worn since ancient times by high priests and for important rituals and is worn in weddings to depict purity and perfection.

Like a piece of white paper not yet written upon, white leaves the mind open and free to create. White can be used for protection, to bring peace and comfort, to alleviate emotional shock and despair and for cleansing and the letting go of negative thoughts. But think of a snow-covered field. The stillness and silence may be sublime to start with but it doesn’t take long for ice, isolation and loneliness to set in and for our feet to begin to slip.

Interestingly, white is the symbol of grief in China but, in the West, it is black.

Black helps us to hide, rendering us invisible, making it a favourite of teenagers and city dwellers. Black is mysterious because it cannot be fathomed and so depicts fear and the unknown. Yet in business, it is associated with power, authority, strength, elegance, discipline, formality and intelligence – think black robes and hats for graduates. Black is linked to secret knowledge and magic and wearing black can make people look thinner. Interestingly, however, sports teams that wear black kit are more frequently penalised than those wearing other colours. Black also represents evil (the opposite of live) and too much black can prevent us from growing and changing. Understandably, we are terrified of black holes, those massive and intense areas in space which form the centre of galaxies and feed on and extinguish light.

Language offers some insights into the cultural uses of these two colours. A ‘white’ knight’ indicates someone brave coming to the rescue and a ‘white’ lie’ suggests a lie that is harmless. A ‘white feather’ can have two meanings: in WW1 it was represented cowardice and was sent to a man who had not joined the army, but seeing a white feather nowadays suggests that an angel is nearby. The ‘milk of human kindness’ suggests that kindness is white, ‘whiter than white’ suggests complete innocence.

Unfortunately, the word black is more often than not used negatively: people are ‘blacklisted’, meaning they are ostracized and avoided; ‘black humour’ is cruel, and the ‘black death’ was the agonising plague that scourged the thirteenth century, among others, and killed a third of the population.

Black and white are not the only colours in a monochrome world, however. Grey lies in between and thereby lies much of its wisdom as seeing the greys in the world means knowing that life can rarely be split into opposites. Grey is practical, middle-of the road, solid and allows for compassion and forgiveness and as much time as is necessary for whatever you are doing. On one hand it is associated with self-reliance, self-control and as a shield against outside influence, but on the other it can also suggest depression and a lost sense of direction with its heavy feeling of clouds, fog and smoke. As neither black or white, it can also be perceived as evasive, noncommittal and lonely and may denote self-criticism.

So, as we come to the end of the Year of the Dog, let us prepare to receive the arrival of new colours. Next month we will look at what the oncoming Year of the Pig will have to tell us. Meanwhile, enjoy the continuing of the monochrome palette this month. Just don’t forget to add some other colours so that you don’t become too polarised.

Wishing you all a happy, healthy, peaceful and prosperous 2019 and a very enjoyable January.

Love Laurelle

The Colours of Christmas

Christmas will soon be here and along with it, the colours of red and green. As we have already discovered, red and green are complementary to each other. We bring greenery into our homes at Christmas with holly, garlands and Christmas trees. The holly, we hope, will have red berries and we often decorate our green Christmas trees with red lights and baubles.

Bringing complementary colours together can create balance at a time which is often fraught. Red is the physical of the colours and has the longest wavelength, the lowest frequency and slowest vibration. Known as a magnetic colour in colour therapy because it is stimulating, energising, warming and activating, red is also grounding and connects us to the earth beneath our feet, rooting us to life and physical creation.

Red is the fire of the spectrum and its hottest colour. The colour of blood, it stimulates our passions, releases adrenaline into the blood stream, raises our blood pressure and body heat. It increases the heart rate, gives us hot flushes, makes us blush, builds up blood cells and strengthens stamina. Red feeds the muscles and energises us but, in excess, it can make us feel agitated, anxious and angry, causing hyperactivity and insomnia. Red is the colour of life, war and the colour of sex and survival. It is good for speed and strength, but poor for memory and test performance. It also stimulates appetite so is good in dining rooms.

People who wear a lot of red tend to be impulsive, excitable and energetic. They are ambitious and can be impatient because they want everything yesterday. They like to be the best in everything, are naturally competitive and like to be the centre of attention. They are courageous, extraverted and fun but can become irritable if they don’t get their own way.

Green, on the other hand, is the colour of nature.

Green offers tranquility and health and is good for bedrooms. As Christmas can be one of the most stressful and busy times of the year, green helps to create a feeling of comfort and ease, calmness and space despite the frantic preparations and cluttering with presents and decorations. If there are fraught family get-togethers, dark green can also help emotional uncertainty.

However, people who wear a lot of green may well be cautious and hesitant to trust others easily. They may be observers who like to remain detached and they like a quiet life. They are benevolent and love to help others, having a natural empathy.

So, use these colours. If you are feeling tired, in need of a boost, fearful or in need of some laughter, try wearing red and if you are feeling stressed and hemmed in, in need of space, silence and stillness, try wearing green. Continue your experiment with colours and the way they affect your health, mood and mind and next time we will look at other ways to engage with the rainbow.

Wishing you a very merry, peaceful and love-filled Christmas.

Love Laurelle

What is Colour and How Does It Affect Us? Part Two

I hope you have enjoyed becoming more aware of the colours around you over the past month and observing the different ways in which they make you feel. As we deepen our experience of colour and its effect on us, it is helpful to understand how the eye sees colour. Light travels through the pupil and fluid to reach the lens which bends the rays so that they are focused on the retina at the back. Within the retina are cells that contain light sensitive pigments of two types: rods and cones. Rods are more numerous and light sensitive but only record shades of grey. Each cone is sensitive to one of the three primary colours of light: red-orange, green and blue-violet. The cones that are sensitive to green are in the middle of the retina and this is why green is the most relaxing colour for the eyes and the mind.

Light breaks down the pigment in the sensory cells, setting off a nervous impulse along the optic nerve to the visual cortex at the back of the brain, the hypothalamus, the pituitary and pineal glands. The visual cortex is responsible for sight but the hypothalamus, the pituitary and pineal glands are responsible for the hormones.

The hormonal system controls many of the body’s functions including growth, sleep, temperature, sexual drive, energy, metabolic rate and appetite. The hypothalamus responds to morning light, blue/green in particular, prompting the release of the hormone cortisol which stimulates and wakes us whereas it releases melatonin into the bloodstream so that we become drowsy when the amount of blue light in sunlight is reduced in the late evening. The pituitary gland, the ‘master gland’ of the hormonal system, and the pineal gland are also deeply affected by colour. Darkness stimulates melatonin production while light suppresses it. The pineal gland is also affected by changes in seasonal light so that in the summer we feel more energetic while in winter we incline towards rest.

Colour therapy is not simply a modern phenomenon. Egyptians, Greeks, and Chinese used colour in healing temples, a practice known today as Cromotherapy. Then, in 1933, Dinshah Ghhadiali put it on the modern map by writing the Spectro Chrometry Encyclopedia.

The effect of colour is very evident in different age group. For example, babies cry more in a yellow room:

 …pre-adolescent children prefer brighter primary and secondary colours and solid blocks of colour rather than patterns…

Adolescent girls love varying shades of purple and pink whereas older teenagers show a preference for black as they hide from the world while they discover their own unique identity.

Adults prefer more subdued colours, are less open to experimenting and tend to stick with their favourites. Mature 65+ year olds have a preference for clear and calming colours such as fresh blues, pinks, greens whereas mature women often choose colours in the purple range – hence the poem by Jenny Joseph: “When I am an old woman I shall wear purple, With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me…”

We will continue our exploration of colours next month with a look at the colours themselves. Until then, have a colourful November. Enjoy!

Love Laurelle