On Seeing and Naming Color: Blue Alienation

“Like it or not, we are slaves of the hour and its colors and forms, subjects of the sky and of the earth. Even the part of us that burrows deepest into itself, disdaining its surroundings, does not burrow along the same paths when it rains as when the sky is clear.”—Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet

I’ve seen this piece from the Business Insider frustrating folks, reporting that terms for the color blue weren’t widespread in the ancient Mediterranean world. Most of that frustrations seems misplaced. We’re missing an opportunity because, while this is a puff piece, what it describes fits into a discussion that has been going on for nearly half a century within cognitive anthropology. It’s easy enough to hear the results of these studies as generally pejorative, but that’s not what I see. This sort of thing allows us to appreciate past cultures more deeply as it makes clear their differences from us, not their inferiority.

Continue reading “On Seeing and Naming Color: Blue Alienation”

True Colors

Most occult work gets into color-coding quickly. Candles, fabric, paint, stone, all of them might have colors that play a part in determining their occult applications. Because color is so visceral, once we get used to one pattern of color assignments, it can be jarring to confront the reality of alternative assignments. Colors that are all but forbidden appear as basic elements in other practices. We can throw up our hands and say it is all relative or arbitrary, but that sort of approach leads toward some washed out rituals that don’t seem to leave as much of an impression either on ourselves or on the world of spirit.

I am going to try and articulate my answer to that. I tend to do this more intuitively, so talking about this discursively might be a little clumsy or abstract. Still, I’ve found my intuitive stuff falls into otherwise noted patterns, so let’s see how it goes, shall we?

Continue reading “True Colors”