RED - 'OUTWARD GOOD' - this is the colour on
the outermost edge of the curve of the rainbow, which, if it is
projected onto the clouds below an aeroplane, can be seen as a complete
circle. This is the colour with the lowest or outermost meaning - for
the east, the colour belonging to the lowest chakra at the base of the
spine. This colour relates to what is good and loved at the outward or
world level as we first encounter it, to what is loved and desired for
oneself. It has the sense of red-blooded vitality with definite sexual
overtones - the red sports car, the red lipstick, the gift of red roses,
the colours of the bloodstream of our natural physical form. Yet the
energy represented by red on its won is wild, unruly and potentially
destructive, as in the red of anger and frustrated desire when we say we
"see red". This is the red of the battlefield and the bloody-minded,
when my 'good' and your 'good' are opposed to one another.
ORANGE - 'MERCY' -
Spiritual redness, common to us all, IS part of the rainbow BUT needs to
be tempered with an awareness of the needs of others. This forms orange,
the colour of hearth and home and the glow of a warm welcome, the colour
of the clay that we could be in the Divine Potter's hands. The colour of
mercy realises that my brother's or sister's need is as important as my
own. This is the colour of compassion and concern, where I am not
prepared to go ahead at the expense of someone else. This first rung of
the spiritual ladder is a softening of the heart. The story of the Good
Samaritan told by Jesus clearly shows this first fundamental, in a story
set against the orange colours of the vast Judean desert between
Jerusalem and Jericho. If we are to - 'inherit eternal life' - the
question at issue when Jesus told this story, there will be mercy in our
way of life, expressing the heart's concern for the wellbeing of others.
YELLOW - 'GRACE' - This
cooler and brighter colour is of the mind, whereas orange is more of the
heart. Swedenborg speaks of a 'sphere of grace' being a 'golden yellow'.
Grace changes the way we think, bringing a life-giving sunshine quality
to our thoughts. It is the quality in the mind that counsels and
promotes kindliness, thawing out hard and brittle thinking, and lifts
the mind to a higher viewpoint as though on a hilltop. If we are too
proud to change, too arrogant to be wrong, our errors and mistakes, when
discovered, will be shattering. Yellow is the colour of humility.
It is also the colour that we associate with the sun, which as the
source of the earth's illumination is symbolic of the Divine, the source
of the rays that illumine the soul. Swedenborg describes the divine
presence of Christ in the realms of spirit as a 'Spiritual Sun'.
GREEN - 'LIFE' - the colour
of the living planet, of growth and fruitfulness as opposed to mere
existence. It is the colour on the borderline between morality (which we
might sum up as a kind of enlightened self interest) and spirituality.
For Yoga, green is the colour of the heart chakra, and in Swedenborg's
teaching it is the colour representing 'Life', its quality being for him
'the heart' of both spiritual growth and genuine religion. The flowering
of our spiritual potential depends upon the way we choose to clothe the
aspirations of our souls in our actions, in the activity of daily life.
Psalm 1 likens a person to a tree, just as Jesus was later to liken his
church to a vine. The good person's 'leaf does not wither' - in other
words he or she is evergreen; 'not so the wicked' - inwardly
their souls shrivel up and wither away like chaff blown on the wind.
BLUE - 'TRUTH' - As mercy
and grace become a way of life so there is an unfolding of the 'Truth'
... but of the heavens and not the earth, and sky and heaven are the
same words in Hebrew. This blue kind of truth is as different from
scientific truth as flying in a 'plane' is from being a pedestrian.
Swedenborg speaks of this colour as "truth transparent from good", truth
or wisdom revealed through the experience of life ... of the evergreen
life of growing in spiritually directed service to others. This kind of
truth often provokes laughter, both for joy and at ourselves at the same
time ... What an idiot! But of course, it has got to be like that. Why
couldn't I see it before! The truth of revelation comes from above and
has the uplifting sense of everything 'coming together'.
INDIGO - 'WISDOM EXPRESSED
AS MUTUAL CARE' - Swedenborg used the term 'charity' or 'spiritual
charity'. It is the holistic ideal finding fulfilment with no
distinction being made between the importance of what is mine and what
is yours ... they are one because we are one. This powerful colour is
close to the one that follows it in our perception, reaching to the
limit of the rainbow. Where mutuality rules and personality serves, the
unity of love is enriched and deepened. At this level contrast and
variety enhance difference, and diversity is turned into usefulness and
charity. An INVERSION OF VALUES has transformed the cause of conflict
into the means of peace. For Swedenborg heaven is variety of service in
unity of purpose; a state of being, not a place to be.
VIOLET - 'PEACE INNOCENCE
and LOVE' - Both indigo and violet are of a regal qulaity and have links
with the blues and purples of the Tabernacle or worship tent of the
Ancient Israelites. Violet is peace: not just outwardly but inwardly. No
doubt, fear, anxiety, - going beyond the absence of tension, trial and
temptation to enter the states of peace innocence and love. This colour
has links to innocence: a term we normally tend to apply to young
children rather than aware adults. Jesus taught that unless we changed
and became as little children the joys of heaven would be closed to us.
If love that is attuned to the Divine Will rules in our heart and we are
wise enough to be innocent of self-seeking then we can be at peace.
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