Systems of Colour

Symbols and allegories.
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Systems of Colour

Post by Smaragd »

We've already had couple topics on colour (here & here), but I wanted to start a new one, to share knowledge and ideas, perhaps compare different colour systems of organized occult systems.

To start, I'll point to Blavatsky's Collected Writings XII where she points to the colour system she used in the diagram of the book. I'm not sure if the colour system is identical to the one used within her esoteric group, or if it's specific to the written context. This would be an interesting point to discuss also.
Blavatsky, Collected Writings XII - Diagram 2
Blavatsky, Collected Writings XII - Diagram 2
y1890_053_p5.jpg (453.58 KiB) Viewed 176 times
Collected Writings XII, Instructions II wrote:In Diagram 2 as already stated therein, no notice need be taken of the numbers used in the left-hand column, as these refer only to the Hierarchies of the Colours and Sounds on the metaphysical plane, and are not the characteristic number of the human principles or of the planets. The human principles elude enumeration, be-cause each man differs from every other, just as no two blades of grass on the whole earth are absolutely alike. Numbering is here a question of spiritual progress and the natural predominance of one principle over another. With one man it may be Buddhi that stands as number one; with another, if he be a bestial sensualist, the Lower Manas. With one, the physical body, or perhaps Prāna (the life-principle) will be on the first and highest plane, as would be the case in an extremely healthy man, full of vitality; with another it may come as the sixth or even seventh downward.
If I understand correctly, Blavatsky's sequence of colours and principles here are based on metaphysical predominance. I assume this first of all means the natural sequence of the colours as seen in the natural phenomena of the rainbow, and secondly to the sequence of the principles in a metaphysical events within the cosmogenesis of our solar system. What the latter actually means is of interest here. To draw a point of comparison, when Ervast wrote about the elementary sequence of the human building up, didn't he start from Friday or was it Saturday? I presume the idea of Ervast's was somwhere within Lucifer falling in to the darkness of matter or the idea of Saturnian material principle being the oldest within us - the physical body being our oldest instrument of all the other bodies of a human being. But indeed, Ervast spoke of human bodies as instruments, and Blavatsky is obviously speaking of a metaphysical sequence of principles within the solar system. So what are those metaphysical reasons for the colour sequence and their correspondences to the metaphysical principles as they are in Blavatsky's system? Or how does these principles predominate each other? Is it believeable or well formulated colour system, above individual emphases, by your judgement? I've tried to formulate these reasons myself, but I'm still too much in the midst of it to share so I'd like to hear if anybody has atleast some input on the subject.

In the end of the above sitation Blavatsky emphasises thus:
Collected Writings XII, Instructions II wrote:Again, the colours and metals corresponding to the planets and human principles, as will be observed, are not those known exoterically to modern Astrologers and Western Occultists.

There are also other systems, like the one Blavatsky criticizes in this same text (Instructions II) which according to her has one of its origin points within Assyrian astrology's geocentric vision. This is more or less the same system we see within many of the Western Occult traditions and Agrippa's Three Books of Occult Philosophy. There the colour correspondences to the Celestial Powers goes accordingly:
Moon - Silver-White
Mars - Red
Mercury - Blue
Jupiter - White, but as often Purple or Orange
Venus - Green or Yellow
Saturn - Black
Sun - Yellow-Golden

What kind of value do you see with the latter system personally or in a larger, universal or cultural context?
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Re: Systems of Colour

Post by Zeraim »

I have been fascinated by the colors that appear in meditation, dreams or are presented in symbolism in different traditions. I still feel that mixing different systems without enough background information can be quite problematic and puzzling.

Earlier, when I studied Golden Dawn teaching, I learned correspondences of planetary colors quite different from what SoA uses. Fascinating thing was that they used the colors to represent the planetary energy in different “levels/worlds”. These were known as different color scales. Maybe others are more versed in theosophical writings and thinking, but for me these also helped to understand what might have been meant by Blavatsky saying that some planet has esoteric and exoteric colors.

In Golden Dawn teaching there were four color scales, called King, Queen, Prince and Princess scale. First here is a fast and easy presentation of King scale:

For different scales, please see pages 3-7 from: Coloring the Classic Golden Dawn Tarot

During the studies I noticed how colors of planets and other things were sometimes experienced differently in meditative states. Changes happening were bit similar to the afterimage effect (If you stare few minutes for example some green object in good light and then stare white wall, you’ll see red afterimage), but not always so radical. It seems like sometimes you start to see “real or inner” color of an object/planet/energy and not just what kind of light it reflects. And sometimes you saw mixture of colors that were connected to your own mental state and the object of meditation. And sometimes mixtures of all the above.

I think that this phenomena is also one possible reason, why people have experienced planetary colors differently in history. The other and sometimes more probable reason is that they have tried to fit colors and planets together because of philosophical or religious background. Please see different associations of colors to planets in western occultism from here: ... e-planets/

And now we come to colors SoA uses. It seems, based on the table Smaragd posted, that these colors might not be connected to planets in same manner as in Western traditions (ie. effect of the planets). As the planets here are connected maybe more to human principles than traditional western idea of the planetary influence/nature, they also get different colors. This difference might lead some confusion in practical level. If we do not know why and how the colors are connected planets or other symbols and we mediate on them based on different way of associating them, we might not get the same results.
This is not to say, that these doesn’t work in practice. Only that you need to know the background for why you are using these. The SoA version might be much better in case you are trying to connect or understand different principles instead of western idea of planetary energies/influences within (your own) cosmos.

And now, speaking of color scales, it was very fascinating to see theosophic table about seven subhierarchies, their sub divisions and colors. Just past weekend soror Segel showed me the following table. The table is in Finnish language, sorry about that, but maybe someone can post the table in English or link to the texts online. I have not spend enough time to study it fully, but it might help us to understand how we see colors differently in different states of consciousness.
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Re: Systems of Colour

Post by Nefastos »

Zeraim wrote: Mon Sep 27, 2021 11:57 amI still feel that mixing different systems without enough background information can be quite problematic and puzzling.

Yes, that's what I meant by talking about "opening different puzzle boxes at the same time" in another discussion not long ago. But still, all those puzzle boxes still belong to the great puzzle of one reality, and it definitely helps one to understand the one whole in case one studies different systems at once – even when it slows down the process of each of those. But there are persons who have so much inner drive and energy that they actually manage to get through all those different systems, and realize their differing approaches.

Just yesterday I mentioned in a conversation that one who gets afraid about how every corridor leads to six other corridors, cannot get much from actual esotericism. In case one wants to think occultism as science, then it's a very different kind of science than the others; for the answers are rarely derived with linear logic. The topics are too multidimensional for that. Yet there is strict logic, of its own "non-Euclidean" kind.

Zeraim wrote: Mon Sep 27, 2021 11:57 amJust past weekend soror Segel showed me the following table. The table is in Finnish language, sorry about that, but maybe someone can post the table in English or link to the texts online. I have not spend enough time to study it fully, but it might help us to understand how we see colors differently in different states of consciousness.

Here's the English table:
Esoteric Instructions 2 table of colours.jpg
Esoteric Instructions 2 table of colours.jpg (99.7 KiB) Viewed 96 times
(And here is the context.)
Faust: "Lo contempla. / Ei muove in tortuosa spire / e s'avvicina lento alla nostra volta. / Oh! se non erro, / orme di foco imprime al suol!"
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