Colour Symbolism: Blue

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the modern Nut, via http://the-broom-cupboard.blogspot.ch/2011/07/facebook-page-for-goddess-nut.html

If it is true, as Flaubert says, that one does not choose their subject matter but rather submits to it, then I must write about the colour blue today. You have heard of the Grand Water Trine currently in operation on our beautiful Blue Planet. At the moment, I am dreaming of nothing else but submerging myself in a crystal clear, blue lagoon and never leaving. Alternatively, I could spend hours now gazing at some azure Alpine lake or just sitting on the shores of Lake Lucerne and dreaming.

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Lake Lucerne

Then there are other meaningful coincidences. While shopping for clothes I need to decide – the red or the dark blue blouse? Very uncharacteristically for myself, I went for the latter. Before the days of gender equality, boys’ rooms were painted blue, girls’ pink – I thought to myself but did not see my decision as an act of defiance, but more as an act of giving in to my thirst for blue. Then I saw this wonderful bird on the Internet – the blue-footed booby. Its bright blue feet are a sexually selected trait. Males display their feet in an elaborate mating ritual by basically dancing, which you can see on youtube. Brighter feet are deemed more attractive.

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Symbolically, dark blue belongs to a group of colours that correspond to dissimilation and passivity along with violet and black. But clear or light blue stands for thinking and clarity, a quality denied to girls in the past. Dark blue is the colour of the night and the unconscious processes of the psyche. Blue is a wonderful symbolic colour because it stands for height (sky) and depth (ocean) at the same time. Soaring with the Great Spirit and going deeper and deeper with only your Soul as a companion. Transcendence and immanence. Darkness and clarity.  Blue is the colour of the throat chakra, which symbolizes our ability to express through in speech. The throat chakra also deals with decisiveness and self-expression via communication. Forgiving yourself and forgiving others for the wrong words that have been said and learning to trust again is what I also associate with this energy centre. I would also like to acquire a voice that is heard and listened to. How to be an authority without being condescending or paternal? How to stand your ground but speak with empathy and kindness?

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the throat chakra, via http://www.thejoyoflivingwell.com/1/post/2013/01/forgiveness-and-the-throat-chakra.html

I would also like to express my gratitude to a fellow blogger from ptero9.wordpress.com for her series on James Hillman’s Alchemical Psychology. I have not read that book but I hope to in the future. Here is a link to part II dedicated to the colour blue: http://ptero9.com/2013/07/18/alchemical-psychology-part-ii-blue/

But you may want to take a look at the first part about black as well.

According to Hillman, in the alchemical process, from the depression and despair connected with black comes the blue reflection. In the darker times of our lives we need to disown and let go of certain attachments that no longer serve us. With it inevitably comes a sense of sadness – feeling blue as it were. Forgiveness is a necessary part of the process. Quoting Hillman after my blogger friend:

The dark blue of the Madonna’s robe bears many shadows, and these give her depths of understanding, just as the mind made on the moon has lived with Lilith so that its thought can never be naive, never cease to strike deep toward shadows.  Blue protects white from innocence.

Less innocent and naïve but wiser perhaps. I like this sentence from her post: “Blue keeps us in touch with the black of the underworld, the darkness and sometimes terrifying nature of life, giving us enough distance that we neither identify with the darkness, nor the childish insistence that everything is good.” There are certain events in life which decisively mark the end of childhood innocence.  I am compelled to reread Night by Elie Wiesel about his experience as a prisoner in the concentration camp of Auschwitz, where he as a teenager was with his father. As a matter of fact, I was not born far from that place and a school trip there is still painfully vivid in my memory. Wiesel’s series Night, Dawn and Day shows his transition from the darkness of post-Holocaust despair to a new light and hope. As I remember it, the book is ruthless and painful.

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Elie Wiesel

One of the protagonists of Night says: “I pray to the God within me that He will give me the strength to ask Him the right questions.”

I pray to find my own voice that is both deep as dark water and clear as blue sky.

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Rothko, Blue, Green and Brown (no other painter understood colour better than him)

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Picasso, The Blue Room

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44 Responses to Colour Symbolism: Blue

  1. I always feel fortunate, as if your posts are timed perfectly to my interests.
    Blue became significant to me of late. I have thought about the symbolism of blue, but I did not research it, maybe because I was afraid the meanings I had associated with blue would be proved wrong, and I would have to adjust my definitions.

    I was close enough. (; Thank you Monika for the great post!

    • Sure you were close, you are a natural!
      Your blog decor looks bluish, I noticed that. I think blue is in the air collectively right now and we both tune it to that.

      • I like that. I hope so Monika, because there is not a lot of war or hatred when blue dominates. (: Or is there? Blue is not always comforting..

      • No, I do not think blue is a colour of conflict, definitely not. But it can also brings sadness, at least I have been feeling it.

      • Yes, when I read that I knew the truth of it immediately. Certainly the deeper shades of blue. The image of the Madonna in midnight blue is a strong one.

      • I know that in business (for example insurance) they talk about blue culture – meaning harmony and tolerance in communication. Funny thing I read – candidates in blue shirts are more likely to win in elections.

  2. Yaz says:

    I love your posts. They go beyond the layer of life that we are used to. This post is another example of going to the next level of the significance of colour in our lives. Thank you for your depth.

  3. ptero9 says:

    Oh I love the imagery you bring here expanding the blue theme. I would like to reblog this Monika if you don’t mind. I think it will contribute to the blue theme in my Alchemical series before moving on to the next color theme. You reminded me too of my own childhood love of blue. Here’s to blue!

  4. ptero9 says:

    Reblogged this on The Ptero Card and commented:
    A lovely addition to the Blue theme from Symbol Reader. Enjoy!

  5. Fitting and poignant article Monica. As you know I love the color blue and recently feel its blue associated emotion. As always a great read.

    Namaste
    Sindy Sue Felling Blue

  6. Oops typo Feeling not Felling~ Maybe Felling is better. lol

  7. LadyBlueRose's Thoughts Into Words says:

    Blue is calming to me….I have a Blue Orb that comes right after I light my candle for the night, he stays till morning light…( I say He as the masculine energy is more predominate than feminine)
    My DreamWeaver brought Mary Magdalene once ( long story won’t bore you) but I remember Her being the blue robes….She reminded me of my dreams of blue roses….)
    in it I am surrounded by shadows of twilight to midnight
    not the dark night of the soul just a tea with Alice and the MadHatter I think….
    Being drawn to Blue my whole life it seems….
    What a great post! I will look through your links…
    Thank you for sharing…it seems to fit today as I think of my once death, for it was is shades of blue I have been searching for ever since I died…I think I my not find them on Earth…
    Take Care…
    )0(
    ladyblue

  8. james369 says:

    Monika: I found a fascinating book by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami claiming that many people have an affinity toward either pink or blue according to their dominant nadi current in the spine. He touches upon it here… http://www.jnanadana.org/master_course/lessons/263. I have always been drawn to blue and there is something especially compelling about it when combined with gold, and I’ve often thought that perhaps there is a link with the symbolic color of pink/blue/gold that describes the alchemy of the inner life. Thank you for a wonderful post.
    James.

  9. Craig says:

    I never knew Hillman was such a poet. Or maybe I forgot. His Dreams and the underworld changed my life. The Medicine Buddha practice involves visualization of a rain of lovely, healing blue light. Love the Rothko-it captures the essence of blueness. Thanks for the great post Monika.

  10. MartsArts Poetrypictures says:

    Beautiful thoughts on ‘blue’! Giving me more ideas and images why the deeper blue always has been my favourite color.

    I wonder also if it is a speaking or more listening one. I think the last. But as it is with colors they aways need the complemetary one to become really shining. So the blue needs its yellow to become complete, with the green as a connector.

    The voice always needs the ear and the mind to get wearth.
    Its the rich conversation that it really is about.
    Have a good night. Mart.

  11. Soul Fields says:

    I too continue to admire your skill to put so many layers in a short story. I also received new nuances of colors from this post. The blue-foot booby went straight to the heart (I don´t remember seeing them before) and I enjoyed your personal intro of this post. I haven´t read Night, but I had a deep urge in the past to investigate the theme inside out (my intense style to read about a certain theme or books from a specific author is so thorough I usually am never able to return to them), I felt a certain connection.

    The colors I have been mostly drawn for quite awhile are turquoise, lavender and pink (pastel colors in general), whereas earlier in life I loved bright colors such as yellow and red. I even considered some nuances of blue being (emotionally) a bit cold, not appealing to myself much there in the past. I relate these changes of favorite colors among other things to a different personality phase I´m having at the moment, not being worse or better, just different than certain earlier ones. I have also come to love indigo blue among other things referring to my love of silence and solitude now-a-days (which is not loneliness but more like a silent connectedness to oneness at its best). My personal meanings of black alongside the more traditional ones are that it is grounding (like black mold/soil) giving a sense of security in a positive sense. In some contexts it is sometimes suggested to avoid the color black, that it is bad to you, bur I experience it being a friend to me (and there is no fear linked with it).

    Rambling around a bit…:D Have you had different “phases” of color in your life?

    • I also fell in love with these cute birds. Nature can be really awesome. I certainly have had colour phases in my life. There was a long period of dark brown – quite grim and sad, but it is long over. I realized then almost all my clothes were brown. I have always considered green to be my fav colour, this will never change, I believe. Blue is a very recent thing, and I agree about indigo – it is an amazing colour. I love your thoughts on black and I agree with you, it is grounding as the earth.

  12. renatembell says:

    I tend to associate lighter sky-blue/bright-blue with Gemini as well, which I believe is quite fitting for you. I’m glad you’re exploring your attraction to this color as it will support Mercury-related life areas and activities, and should provide a good deal of inspiration for you. With that, I look forward to more of your wonderful blog posts. Thank you again.

    • Yes, you are right. I am seeking intellectual inspiration and I want to perfect my verbal expression. Isn’t Mercury related to the fifth chakra? Thank you!

      • renatembell says:

        Yes, Mercury relates to the 5th/throat center. Speech. Expression. Utterances of divine insight or satsang. Talking from the heart and intuition… If you begin to wear blue more often, let us know if you experience anything- feel different, have more inspiring thoughts and moments, etc…

      • Will definitely do!

  13. so much to respond to here. I adore color and notice it usually ahead of anything else. My favorite painters use color expertly ( like O Keefe, Kahlo, Picasso. Monet, Seurat, Van Gogh, etc)
    I favor magenta , violet,lavender, burgundy and turquoise in general. My preference for clothing is earth tones like pumpkin, brown,copper, dark green, olive, rust. Or I wear pastels, which do not suit me like the earth tones or purple and turquoise. I used to wear a lot of black a while ago, but don’t like it that much, I think my energy has changed. I bought a lovely lapis necklace in New Mexico and was told to wear this color to promote better speaking. It did not really work. But I do like blue in general and associate it with water, not necessarily : the blues”. I hear dark blue means success and confidence in the work place.
    The images here are stunning, particularly the alpine lake and the Picasso. Blue can be very soothing also……..

    • Aww, my Gemini is fascinated by all the diverse names you use for colours. Need to google magenta. About the lapis necklace, I honestly think you cannot manipulate reality like this, the change has to come from within. Symbols are not talismans, this is my humble opinion. This is why I have always had a problem with some forms of feng shui for example, but I am still open.

  14. magenta is incredibly vibrant and rich,
    I just noticed my typos, I didn’t mean to type ,,,,,, I meant to type ……. Also ” Or I will pastels” should be Or I will wear pastels. Maybe I can will pastels into being? wish we had a spell check for comments 🙂

  15. I am curious to know where the expression “feeling blue” originated. The term refers to “feeling down in the dumps” yet blue is a cool, calm color.

  16. fallenAngel says:

    Well written article. To me, night blue stands for thinking and clarity, as I am night owl (Love Van Gogh’s blue in “Starry Night”).
    I have to admit, I have used colors purposefully in professional setting for a long time, especially a cold blue for important presentations. Colors send subconscious messages, and affected my mood, as well as the mood of the listeners: Sends a message of confidence to me, authority to them. Whether we are conscious of it or not, the colors we choose for our business attire send a strong message.
    What is the one color that breathes success or at least confidence and sincerity? It’s night blue. Of course that works for men and women.

    • Thank you for these thoughts. I couldn’t agree more about blue. I saw research somewhere that political candidates fare better when wearing blue shirts during important debates. Colours have a powerful impact on us, but only few of us make an effort to learn and become conscious of it.

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