Color comes up a lot in magic ritual and theory. Candles are supposed to be a certain color. You’re supposed to wear a certain color. Tarot cards have to be colored a specific way. Parts of the Sepiroth are associated with different colors. Your aura is colored. But why is color important?
The importance of color goes back to energy. In magic and metaphysics, energy is an invisible yet sensible force that is able to be quantified and manipulated. There are also different kinds of energy. And there are a lot of different kinds of energy. Sometimes the difference between two kinds of energy is very subtle, other times it’s a huge difference. Energy can also be changed into a different kind of energy. In fact, energy can be changed into almost any other kind of energy if you know how. Energy also naturally changes sometimes.
But there are some problems with energy. First off, it’s invisible. We can’t see it. In fact we can’t really sense it with any of our five senses. But it is still sensible. We can feel energy. Most everybody can at least feel the emotional changes and stresses that occur when they come into contact with energy, although those of us who have trained ourselves can feel the energy around us and energy we are connected to in much finer ways.
Energy also can’t be measured, at least by any modern devices. Although we can sense and quantify energy ourselves, there is no objective device that we can bring into a room that will tell us how much energy is in there. In fact science doesn’t even acknowledge the existence of energy.
Let’s step back for an instance and do an experiment. Imagine your favorite cologne or perfume. Now, assuming I’ve never smelled any cologne or perfume before, describe to me what the cologne or perfume smells like so that I too can accurately imagine it’s smell.
It’s not very easy is it. There are only a few descriptive words for smells, like stinky and pleasant. There’s a chance you may be able to liken it to some common scents that I might know, like musk or rose or lavender. You might also use terms like pleasant, strong, sweet, and clean, but all of these are very subjective terms. I really can’t tell for sure what you mean by sweet or clean.
We have a lot of the same problems with energy. We have trouble describing it. Sometimes we can liken it to a particular emotion like anger energy or happy energy. This creates problems though. What is happy energy? There are actually dozens of different energies that can be classified by the happy energy. Are we talking about a calm bliss, or an excited joy, or the happiness of being in love, or a nervous happiness. All of these are very different energies. We can also liken it to a thing that it’s associated with, like death energy or sex energy. Again though, all of this is very subjective. Sometimes we can liken energy to its source. We do this with deities and different creatures that all have unique energy signatures. But then unless you’ve had contact with this deity or creature in the past, you have no idea what I mean when I describe an energy to you this way. There are also energies out there that can’t be classified by an emotion, a thing, or a source.
But there are some energies that are easily made objective because we have a common point of reference. For instance, if I tell you cat energy, it’s very easy for you to figure out what cat energy feels like. Just go find a cat and feel its energy. The problem with this method is that these objective energies all tend to be connected into this specific plane of existence. If you happen to notice cat energy, and dog energy, and rock energy, and water energy, you can be pretty sure you’re on Earth or connecting into Earth, the planet we were born on. Granted this can be useful, but it’s going to be of a very limited use.
Energy is very important to almost all aspects of magic. Not having a standard classification system makes it difficult to discuss energy with other magicians. It’s even more difficult to communicate with magicians you’ll never meet, such as when writing a book or creating an oral tradition that is going to be passed down.
Long ago magicians facing this communication problem found a solution. They noticed that different colors and different shades of colors tend to give off certain energies. Just as a cat was an energy reference in the example above, a color like red or blue could also be an energy reference. And unless you happen to be colorblind (no one ever thinks of the colorblind), the reference is always going to be the same for everybody. The color red is an objective term. What you think is red is going to be same thing that any other non-colorblind person will think is red, even if that person happens to be born five-hundred years from now
Unlike cats and rocks, the energies associated with colors tend to connect into a lot of different realms. Although the color blue, and the energy associated with it, occurs on Earth, it also occurs in a lot of other worlds too. We also know that blue does occur in this world, and it occurs in a moderate amount. So now we know that if we see a world that is entirely blue, or a world that is mostly blue, or a world that has no blue at all, we know we are not on Earth.
But now we do have some limitations when dealing with colors. It’s far from a perfect classification system.
First off this system was created long ago, before we started classifying colors with different numbers. Because of this we have a very limited number of colors that are used. Generally the colors you’ll see are the same ones you’d get in a small box of crayons. Red, Blue, Yellow, Orange, Green, Brown, Violet or Purple, Pink, White, Gray, and Black. Every once in a while you might see Yellow-Green, but it’s rare.
Not only do all of the colors have unique energies, but so do all of the different shades of the different colors. Fortunately a slight difference in shade results in a slight difference in energy. So although the energies of red and a slightly lighter shade of red are technically different, they are still closely related and in many ways similar, so they can easily be grouped together.
Most people tend to use a system that incorporates between two and five different shades. The problem is the system is meant to be objective, and the more shades you introduce the more subjective it starts to become. The simplest system uses two shades, dark and light. We can all agree that there is a definite difference between dark red and light red. Some systems also incorporate a third shade, which is a medium, often times just referred to by the color name, as in red, dark red, and light red. This introduces some subjectivity, as with certain shades of red it can be argued that they may be classified as red and either as light or dark red. Finally some systems use very light and very dark. This starts to get very subjective, as my definition of the difference between dark red and very dark red may be very different from yours. With more than five shades it becomes impossible to keep any objectivity. Likewise not all colors have all of the shades. For instance, there really isn’t such a thing as a light black.
Now there are many, many, many different kinds of energy. However there are only, at most, twelve different colors that we use. Even assuming each has five different shades, that’s still only sixty different types of classification. There are far more than sixty different kinds of energy. This is the first limitation of color classification. The colors are very broad classifications of energy, and each color groups together many different similar kinds of energy.
Another limitation is that the only colors that occur in this world are colors that are associated with energy that also occurs in this world. There are energies that never naturally occur in this world, and there are no colors in this world associated with those energies. These energies would fall outside of our classification system. In fact there are even colors, and thus energies, that exist on this world that you can’t see, such as the ultraviolet spectrum, and so there are energies that occur in this world which can’t be classified in the color system. This is similar to the problem we have using a cat as a reference point. However you’ll notice that the energies associated with the different colors tend to exist on far more planes of existence than the energy associated with a cat. Also a color is a much broader energy classification than a cat. Light blue energy, for instance, refers to a wide variety of different yet similar energy, where as cat energy refers to a very specific type of energy.
So our limitations are that the system is overly broad, the less broad we make it the more subjective it starts to become, there are only a limited number of energies that can be classified in this way, and the system becomes far less useful if you’re colorblind.
So what are some of the things that are done with color theory:
–Color theory is used a lot when travelling to or viewing other worlds or planes of existence. More often than not one travels to other planes through astral projection or while dreaming. Our astral bodies see energy much better than a physical bodies do, and so it isn’t uncommon for an area to be tinted a certain color, or to have area and objects in the area glow a certain color. Sometimes these tints and glows can also be seen while dreaming. The color can give us an idea of the general energy of the area, which in turn can give us an idea of where we might be. Even if you manage to physically walk into a different world(or even view it from afar), the various colors and shades that are and aren’t present, and the degree to which each appears, can give some clues to the exact area you’ve wandered into.
–Some people use color theory with auras. A lot of people see auras as different colors. These colors describe the different energy that a person is currently giving off. However not everyone sees auras as colors. What’s happening is that the person is able to feel the energy given off by different colors, so subconsciously, if not consciously, the person begins associating certain energies with certain colors. When they feel energy coming off a person they naturally associate it with a color that gives off the same or similar energy, and this is how their brain interprets the information. Other people interpret the information as shapes or figures that they associate with the energy. Still others simply feel the energy from the aura.
–Color theory is used with tarot, and with other magical symbols. The goal of most esoteric tarot decks is to create images that connect into different energies and places. One way to do that is to color the cards colors that give off the kind of energies you’re trying to connect into, or colors that are prevalent in the place you want to connect into.
–Color theory is used with candles. There are actually several reasons why colors can make candles more effective. First off having and working with a colored candle while doing your spell will help you focus on and raise the kind of energy associated with that color. Also any energy put into the candle will be affected by the candle’s color. The color of the candle will put a tinge on that energy if not outright convert it to energy that is associated with the candle’s color. Burning the candle will of course release the candle and everything in it into the universe and the spirit realm and what not, and that includes the color of the candle and the energies associated with it. You’ll also release the color of the candle into the room of the ritual, which will in turn affect all the energy in the room, including the ritual energy.
–Color theory is also sometimes used in choosing the colors of ritual clothing. This is done to associate a person with the proper energies for a particular ritual, or to associate them with energies that are considered best for someone of their rank within the group.
(keep in mind I’m colorblind so I’m pretty much winging this as best I can)
First off there are some general things about colors and where they are associated (which should also give you an idea of what they can do).
The lower realms (the areas considered directly beneath us) tend to be made up of dark places. These places tend to have lots of black and grays. The colors are bland and dull and although dark are not usually deep. Other colors do exist here though, and they become more prevalent the deeper you get in. Dark violet, in particular, is rather common at the deepest parts.
The hell planes are far more vibrant with a much wider color pallette. The colors here are a still a bit dark, but they also tend to be very deep. Red and brown (or maybe green) are very prevalent here, but black and gray are still fairly common. Whites tend to either be dirty or very dark and deep.
Lighter colors meanwhile tend to be associated with higher planes. As a general rule, as the colors become lighter you’re ascending into other planes. The heavenly planes tend to be made up of a lot of light blues (especially in the lower parts) with a good amount of whites, although other colors do exist there. Light reds become more common near the highest parts. The higher planes are also known for having more varied color, although the colors tend to lack depth, and are even commonly transparent within the heavenly planes.
Of course these color associations will help you if you want to figure out where you are or what you’re looking at. But they’ll also help you in choosing and tweaking the colors for your rituals. Remember lighter colors with less depth are associative with higher planes and the energies of higher planes. Darker colors are generally lower realm colors, where as bland colors are associated with the lower realms specifically, and deeper colors are associated with the hell realms. There are some exceptions though. Dark blues and yellows still tend to be associative with higher realms, with only the darkest shades drifting into the lower realms. Meanwhile brown is the exact opposite, with lighter shades still being lower realm associative.
White – White is often seen as the pure color. It actually connects to higher planes than any other color you’ll find on Earth, so it is often seen as a divine color. It’s also super compatible, meaning it can go with just about any other energy in the universe. It should be noted that because it does go with just about anything you can find still find pure whites in very low planes, so white doesn’t necessary mean you’re on a higher plane. In practice it mostly just amplifies whatever is put into it. This makes it a good all-purpose color for candle magic and the like. It also tends to be an okay color for exorcisms and cleansings depending on how you do them.
Black – Black is the color of absence and void. In candle magic it typically does not affect the energy put into it at all making it a good all purpose color. Black is also associated both with hiding and the things which are hidden. This makes black a good color for magic that is meant to conceal something, and magic in which you wish to (and I say this only because I cannot adequately describe it) become one with secrets. Black is associative with the lower realms, specifically the higher parts of it that are closest to our world, and so it’s associative with all of the things present in those realms. It’s also associative with some of the dark and evil things that are hidden, and so it’s used in a lot of magick that is meant to work with those creatures or use their power. Finally it is sometimes associated with death and used in magic that is meant or work with the dead or death energy or magic that is meant to cause death. Death energy is technically not classified in the color black, although black is the closest color to death energy that we have available in our visible spectrum.
Gray – Gray is generally a purifier (especially when it is very bright) and to nullify. Darker shades are connected with the upper part of the lower realms, and with some of the things that exist there. Darker shades are also good for depowerment spells (like drains not bindings. For bindings use purple).
Green – Green is the color of desire and fertility. It is often used in spells meant to bring about prosperity and material wealth. Because of its control over desire, it’s also good for love spells (both spells to bring lovers to you and to make others love you) and glamors. I’d also suggest using it with fae magic. Fertility wise it helps both with conceiving a child and carrying the child to term. It also helps with the fertility of plants and animals, such as helping a garden to grow or increasing your crops.
Purple – Purple is a color of order, stability, boundaries, and the laws of the universe, and with deeper shades physical creation. It’s a good color for restoring order, closing portals, putting up barriers, creating stability, and as a general counter-magic. Lighter shades are also useful for spells that are meant to control the flow of time.
Red – Red is the color of passion and violence. It’s used to bring forth strength in battle and war, to incite violence, and also to incite passions, including passions of love and lust among others. It’s often times used in love spells, mainly for its ability to incite passions, and it’s also a common color for attack magic. It is a very strong and all consuming color in its nature. It should also be noted that red can incite passions which are very dark and twisted.
Pink – Pink is similar to red, but it’s much less intense in its nature. It’s often seen as the color of friendship. With candle magic it’s good for spells that are meant to create friendships and spells that are meant to bring about peace, love, understanding, and end feuds and squabbles. Some also prefer to use pink in love spells because of its ability to incite things they see as beneficial to a long term relationship.
Orange – Orange is a color of power and success.
Yellow – Yellow is the anti-deceiver. It exposes things and brings them out into the open. It also is associated with energy that is fairly high up and, much like white, tends to amplify energy that is put into it. Yellow, especially dark yellow, is often used to bring about good fortune, peace, and material gain, all things which yellow promotes. Lighter shades generally promote mental abilities and happiness.
Blue – Blue is a higher realm color, especially in regards to the lighter shades which are prevalent through out the lower part of the heavenly realms. Blue, especially light blue, is a color of balance, peacefulness, and bliss. The darker shades are often seen as associated with positive growth and expansion.
Brown – Brown is a lower realm color, although very light browns may exist in very limited quantities in higher realms. Browns are generally seen as connected into the Earth and the physical plane. Because of this brown is good for spells meant to affect this world, also it’s sometimes used for spells meant to bring about material gain or a physical manifestation. Brown is also connected into lower realms too, especially the darker shades. Brown is a dirty color and a color of corruption. In the lower realms it is sometimes blended into whites and grays. In any case it is often the color of things which are corrupted, impure, or otherwise dirty, and can be used to connected into these things.
Magenta – I included Magenta here because it’s a good example of a special color. Magenta was discovered about a hundred and fifty years ago. It technically doesn’t exist as a single color wavelength, but as a combination of multiple wavelengths. It actually is associated with energies which naturally occur in this world but, up until less than a hundred and fifty years ago, couldn’t be classified under any existing color.
When doing candle magic, remember there are two different perspectives. On one hand burning a colored candle releases that energy into the world, the universe, and the spirit world in order to do your will. But on the other hand you’re destroying that color and releasing it from this world and sending it to the spirit world when you burn the candle. Therefor every color can be burned as its own anti-thesis. Green can be burned in order to make someone desire you. But if the person you like happens to have a crush on someone else, Green can be burned in order to remove their desire. The best color to burn in order to remove any spell is the same color you would burn in order to cast that spell.