gothic wedding dresses
A little article from the Colour Resonance Colour Therapy Diploma.
COLOUR IN HISTORY & CULTURE
There is no doubt that colour holds a very deep psychology. The colours that affect us, reflect us. They tell our story or, at least, a chapter of it. They also very often reveal, a cultural link.
Held within all colours, is our history. Not just that of the individual, but within all cultures, throughout all ages. Colour has been used for centuries as an adjunct to healing in a variety of forms, almost all of which are still used in some form today.
There is no doubt that more colours have come into the palette of the evolving human, as we have progressed through civilisation after civilisation. One can only wonder why early cave dwellers only used 4 or so colours, mostly red, black, white and yellow, when there were ochres of many different colours, close by. This may well be because early humans had not yet evolved the rods and cones in their eyes, so that they were only able to see colours of a lower vibration, or a very strong vibration. As humans have evolved, so has our ability to see more and more colours. Many people will attest that they often dream of colours which are virtually impossible to describe, and we can now see magenta in every rainbow. gothic wedding dresses
Since the earliest days of human history, colour has been used for body decoration in ceremony and ritual and to show status. Our earliest canvas was, indeed, our skin. Painting our bodies has been a custom common to many tribes throughout the world for millenia, using whatever plants or ochres are to be found nearby. Face and body painting or tattooing can represent intent (war), status (high or low born), ceremony (marriage), or emotions (grief).
The ancient Britons were well known for painting their bodies with blue woad, to appear more fierce to their enemies; Indigenous Australians still use white ochre to decorate their bodies for ceremony and dance; New Zealand Maoris tattoo their faces and bodies; Native Americans used ochre to paint their faces when going into battle; and many African tribes use ochre to enhance their appearance. Body colour is also used widely in India, even today, with the red dot to show caste, and in the form of intricate patterns traced in henna dye, especially for weddings, which gradually fade after the event. In more modern times, we still paint our bodies, but now it is often with the permanent dyes from the tattoo needle.
It is well documented that the early Egyptians, had colour healing temples where they used colour rooms for healing. Each one had different coloured glass windows. At specific times of the day, as the sun changed its position in the sky, it would flood the individual rooms, and consequently the patient, with the colour of the glass window. This is the earliest known form of Chromotherapy. The Egyptians also used silks to wrap around their patient, again using the colour which would be most helpful for their particular condition.
Using sunlight or lamps and torches is well-documented in Darius Dinshah's book "Let There Be Light". One may sit by a window which has been draped in silk, or covered with gel-paper, in a specific colour, and bathe and breathe in, the colour streaming into the room.
In ancient Greek times too, colour was used extensively as a whole-body healing tool. The Greeks also included herbs, music and poetry as an integral part of this healing. Aristotle is one of the earliest philosophers known to have experimented with mixing colours, using pieces of coloured glass. Later Newton, Goethe and Babbit, would be pioneers in a more extensive exploration and experimentation of colour and light.
The cultural use of colour to denote rank or intent is everywhere, every day, but the effect is mostly sub-conscious. Churches have a very specific colour hierarchy which differs with the various denominations. Different levels of achievement in schools, business and sport are often denoted by colour. It's well known in advertising, that not only single colours, but paired colours particularly have quite an effect on our human psyche. We see that trashy, brashy, el cheapo stores advertise in bold red & yellow, whilst a business trying to attract a more up-market image, may use a gentle combination of pale blue and silver.
The meanings of colour vary greatly within differing cultures. In western society, we may feel that red is a racy, "in your face" colour, but it's considered to bring great good luck in both China and India, and is still a popular choice for a bride's wedding outfit. In a similar way, black is used to show grief when a close relative dies, but in most Asian cultures, white is the colour for mourning.
In England during the Regency and Victorian periods, mourning attire, for the aristocracy at least, was very strict. First total black, then black and purple, and finally black and grey. For women, these colours could be worn together or individually, and gradually progressed from full dress, to capes and then just gloves. How long one stayed in mourning clothes depended upon ones relationship with the deceased. The closer the relationship, the deeper and longer the outward show of grief. A distant cousin or in-law might only require black or grey gloves.
Until more modern times, it was considered very bad form to wear black to a wedding, as, being a funereal colour, it was thought to bring bad luck to the marriage. Throughout most of the last century, it was also considered bad form to wear white to a wedding as the bride was the only woman who should be wearing white that day.
Turquoise is a colour that spans almost all human civilisations and cultures, past and present. It is also found and used on just about every present-day continent. From the plains of North America, to the jungles of South America; from the heights of the Himalaya to the deserts of Iran; from Europe to China, this stone can be found in various colours and compositions. It is said to have been used in both Lemuria and Atlantis. It's a stone that unifies our history, countries and cultures.
These are just a few of the many cultural and historic occurrences that determine how we define the meanings of colour, and, determine the psychology they hold.
The other huge influence on the way we view colour is, of course, Nature, but that's story for another time! <3