Color codes

colors in cultures

This week as I was looking at the images in the Temples of Humankind, I was struck by the colors in the clothes, objects, jewelry and food of the peoples of the world. I thought about how colors speak, how every culture has a different code for using color as communication, with associations and meanings that make it so that a carpet or a scarf becomes poetry without words. Researching the meanings of colors, I have found that:

~ Pink is associated with the feminine and blue with the masculine in many western cultures, while the opposite can be found in Asian cultures. It’s also the case for us at Damanhur: Pan (associated with masculine generative power) has red as a color – and pink by association – and Bast as a representative of goddess energies is connected with the color blue.

~ Mourning is associated with black in the west, while in China and India, the color white is the color of death, and no one wears a white dress at a traditional wedding. Usually they dress in red for marriage, which is a color of fortune. Red is an almost universal color indicating passion. Native Americans think of the color green with love, and Africans blue.

~ Yellow, which is the color of the Damanhur flag, is naturally associated with happiness, optimism, the sun, illumination. In some cultures, it implicates cowardice, while in Japan it represents courage.

~ Green was sacred to the Egyptians, because it represents hope and the joy of springtime. It is often the color of fertility and the earth.

peace quilt~ Blue is associated with divinity, protection, harmony and paradise for the main religions of the world, while in English, “the blues” refers to sadness, depression, and a whole genre of music dedicated to the expression of these melancholic emotions. In German “blau sein” (being blue) means being drunk, and in Russian “light blue” implicates homosexuality, while in Piedmontese (the dialect of Piedmont) “daje ‘l bleu” means ending a romantic relationship.

~ Purple is a color associated with richness and nobility in both the east and the west, partly because until modern times, it was rare to find purple in nature to be able to create pigments. It is also the color of the Catholic liturgy.

~ Orange brings thoughts of energy, vitality, friendship and family. It is a sacred color in Hinduism. For some Native Americans it is a color of healing, and it is also useful for learning. It is also associated with learning in China, as it is for us in Damanhur.

May all of us enjoy the colors of the springtime, in nature, appreciating the diversity of colors and our human diversity.

Quaglia Cocco
The Befana

 
ITALIANO

Questa settimana mentre guardavo gli immagini nei Templi dell’Umanità, mi hanno colpito i colori, nei vestiti, negli oggetti, nei gioielli e nei cibi dei popoli del mondo. Pensavo a come i colori parlano, come ogni cultura ha un codice diverso per utilizzare colore come comunicazione, con associazioni e significati che fanno si che un tappetto o una sciarpa diventa poesia senza parole. Ricercando i significati dei colori, ho trovato che… Continue reading

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bringing visions from sky to earth

big surnot all spiritual beings fly. some are grounded, really rooted with their feet heavy like rocks and hands colored with earth, because they need to see the planet and its inhabitants from close-up, not from the sky. with open eyes, beaming like rays of sunlight through glass, coloring inner vision, lines, shades of red and yellow. the poetry of forms in matter, in the imperfections. with heart radiating the rhythm and pulsations of blood… they need to be so close that the exhalations of divine breath create fog on the window that looks out to the field vetro portawhere animals live according to their instincts, fog on the camera lens, on the contact lenses, on the skin in contact. bodhisattva, welcome to our world. the wind of your breath – slow as the ocean – brings messages, sighing together with the waves of human events, small and pretty like stones, rounded and carried by the river to the ocean with the water always in movement, nuances of eternal blue.

for Piovra Caffè, written in the Esalen Art Barn, September 2013

gli esseri spirituali non volano tutti. alcuni sono atterrati, ben fondati, con i piedi come rocce e le mani colorati di terra… Continue reading