The varying velocities of light contain all the splendors of the universe. The velocities decrease from white light (186,000 miles a second) through violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red to black (140,000 miles a second). It is by the varying movements of these velocities that the eye is affected by the sensation known as color.
The molecular constitution of a body determines the character and speed of the light vibrations it returns to the eye, and thus gives each body its own characteristic color. Hence, the term "color" is used to denote the different appearances that matter presents to the eye independent of its form.
Black is composed of equal parts of red, yellow, and blue. White is composed of five parts of red, three parts of yellow, and eight parts of blue. Normal or natural gray is composed of white and black in equal proportions. Black, therefore, means the result of all colors, while white signifies the reflection of all colors; and each color in its turn is but a mode of motion, or the varying sensations that we experience when these vibrations impinge upon the optic nerve.
Color is, therefore, one of the manifestations of vibration and all vibration manifests in corresponding color, the color being merely an indication of the occult chemical activity.
The color indicates not only the quality but the value of any chemical substance by reason of its own particular rate of vibration, and all objects of any particular color have that vibratory activity and vibratory value which pertain to that color. As the color is, so is the vibration.
Nature's scale of vibration is very wide in its extent. It commences with sound, then merges into thermal heat waves, and these vibrations climb the vibratory scale as the temperature increases and merge into the vibrations of the radiant heat waves in the infrared which reach up to the visible red of the light spectrum.
The vibrations above the infrared are:
Visible Red - 15 trillions
Orange - 20 trillions
Yellow - 28 trillions
Green - 35 trillions
Blue - 50 trillions
Indigo - 60 trillions
Violet - 75 trillions
The sensation of color, therefore, depends on the number of vibrations of light ether, just as the pitch of a note depends on the number of vibrations of the sounding body. The number of vibrations for each color is constant. These seven different rates of vibration that we know as colors make up the visible light spectrum. Beyond these are series of vibrations known as the ultra-violet. These extend up to those vibrations designated as radioactivity, of which radium and the X-rays are best known examples. This ends both the light spectrum and nature's vibratory scales so far as present knowledge goes. As the quality and value of all forms of energy are due to their rates of vibration, it follows that color will indicate the quality of the vibrating energy.
Color, like the diatonic scale, is divided into seven distinct notes.
Red has a stimulating effect. The disturbing influence of red is well illustrated by the expression "painting the town red," indicating recklessness and destruction.
Yellow is a nerve tonic. It is the climax of luminosity, and symbolizes sunlight itself. It produces the feeling of joy and gaiety.
Green has a quieting and soothing effect. It is the color of nature and suggests life. It checks mental activity and suggests sleep.
Blue suggests space, vastness. It is depressing and chilling. One who is continually in a blue environment will sooner or later have the "blues." It is a melancholy color.
Violet is magnetic and cooling.
Each color has a distinct frequency or vibration due to wavelengths. Red has a larger wave length than blue, which is proportionately much shorter. That is why the quick notes of the drums arouse the emotions of the savage—they express in sound what red expresses in color, while the neutral notes of the flute or horn have a quieting influence. They express in sound what blue expresses in color.
These manifestations are recognized as they are perceived by the different nerves, for the mind of man translates the impressions of the world into facts of consciousness and thought by means of the nerves. All these varying rates of vibration differ only in direction, rate, and frequency, and are interpreted according to the different nerves or groups of nerves physically attuned to them or organized to select and respond to especial manifestations of vibratory activity.
Color is both physical and psychological in its effect upon the mind. The physical effect is a chemical one; the psychological effect is psychic. The nervous system reflects its disturbances upon the mind; hence the sensation of pain or pleasure and the emotional states that accompany them. This is true of all the colors. Primary colors are radical, elemental, and fixed in their vibrations or wave lengths, and hence, when once the effects of the sensations which they produce on the mind are known, their uniformity can always be depended upon.
Red is thermal and a stimulant and blue is electrical and depressing. They act uniformly on all forms of life. The spectrum analysis proves that the seven colors of light are made up of vibrations or wave lengths of mathematical exactness.
As all vibratory activity expresses itself in form, color, and sound, it follows that the energy is always of that particular color, shade, or tint that belongs to that particular rate of vibration. This is true not only of those colors, shades, and tints that are perceptible to visible light, but also of the finer forces of nature that transcend the physical senses.
All energy of whatever quality is continually vibrating and, by reason of this vibration, it assumes the color, shade, or tint belonging to that specific rate of vibration.
The primary colors are red, blue, and yellow. All the other colors are combinations of these colors in certain proportions, red is the physical color and is the color of all physical energy. The various shades of red have their various significations, but, generally speaking, red is the physical color.
Red is also the color of the will. Where ever the will is expressed, it assumes the red color because Will is the out-flowing or manifesting principle, the extension or expression of the self into manifestation. Therefore it must express itself in and through the physical; consequently, it becomes red in color.
The second primary color is blue, the color of emotion. All energy vibrating on the higher octave is either blue or red according as it is positive or negative—blue being the negative, feminine, or magnetic side of matter and red the positive, masculine, or radiant side. The bluer the matter may be, the more magnetic it is, while the redder it may be the more electrical it is. Will and Desire are thus the two poles of etheric matter—Will being red, Desire being blue.
The third primary color is yellow and it is the color of the mental plane. Everything vibrating on the mental octave is yellow. The darker the yellow, the more gross and material is the character of the thought; the lighter it becomes, the more spiritual it is. The clearer the yellow is, the more purity of thought. The brighter the yellow, the more brilliancy of mind is indicated.
Yellow or orange symbolize the highest function and power of our nature and preeminently typify the "scientific" temperament.
White is really the combination of all the seven colors. They are all found to unite in forming the white ray. The prism has the power of breaking up the white light into seven prismatic rays, therefore white light is really the combination of those rays.
Pure white is unity. It is in fact the very essence of balance. It is the star of hope that typifies cleanliness and symbolizes power. It is the language of knowledge, expression, and spirituality.
Virgin white not only signifies cleanliness, but purity and naturally, the mind is consciously as well as unconsciously affected by it.
Black is the reverse of white. White indicates the spirit. Black indicates extreme materiality; not materiality in the sense of physical substance, but materiality as the antithesis of spirit. Black indicates the disintegration which leads to annihilation.
Black is repressing, depressing, and suppressing. It represents the negative conditions of gloom, fear, error, disease, ignorance, pessimism, and hopelessness.
Black typifies the universal negative in which all color is hid, absorbed, and is emblematic of death, oblivion, and annihilation.
Scarlet is the color of anger, the color which the astral body assumes when it is in an intensely angry condition. Anger is really the forcible action of the will moving outward in a very positive manner. This is what produces the state of anger.
The color of ether is pink, although its vibration is so intense that very few are able to see the vibration; but ether is always pink. Crimson is the color of affection and human feeling. It is the self-relative color, because our affection is given to persons on account of their particular relation to us.
Affection is purely a physical and animal feeling.
Rose is the color of life, and as we approach the physical it is more red. As life is brought under the influence of the emotions, it takes on whatever color is found, blended with this red or rose color.
Indigo blue is the color of occultism. The dark indigo partakes of the element of screen, while the pure indigo is emblematic of pure occultism.
Violet is the color of magic because it is so far above the ordinary rate of vibration that it has the power of neutralizing and even transforming those rates into its own, thus giving the power of alchemy.
Purple being blue mixed with red, the positive aspect of emotion, is the color of mastership, and indicates the master.
Lavender, which is a great deal of white mixed with purple, indicates the master on the astral plane, but merging toward the spiritual.
Green is the color of action. It is expressed by minor chords, and is the positive expression of the inner being as expressed through action.
Unselfish action—action which is purely altruistic in its character, which has no relation whatever to the individual—is a clear emerald green, and the nearer this approaches to the spiritual the paler it becomes.
Brown is, in a sense, a mystical color, in that it indicates the presence of white, red, and black in certain combinations. As the shade is, so will its influence be.
As all the colors are included in the white, so is all matter built up of simpler or elemental substances and all changes are due to distribution and aggregation of the elemental matter.
Motion is the primary cause that gives rise to color and all other phenomena in existence.
In order to trace the origin and progress of any effect, visible or invisible, the aim must be to determine the movement or movements which brought the phenomena into existence.
The principle of vibration permeates the whole science of radiation or motion and may be stated in a general way by saying that a body absorbs waves that are of the same period as those which it emits when it is itself in vibration.
The essential condition is therefore that the receiver shall be in the same key or wave length as the sender or origin of the movement.
The original wave gives energy to the wave upon which it impinges. While one is gaining energy, the other is losing it and this continues until the process of absorption is completed.
This principle applies to light, heat, sound, color, or energy of any kind, where it is distributed by a process of radiation.
Silently sat the artist alone.
Carving a Christ from the ivory bone.
Little by little with toil and pain,
He won his way through the sightless grain
That held and yet hid the thing he sought,
Till the work stood up, a growing thought.
—Boker's "Ivory Carver"