Delicate daffodils herald spring. Massive yellow sunflower blossoms bask in the hot summer sun. Luminous golden leaves usher in autumn. Yellow is a bright raincoat on a dreary day, bees buzzing on lavender, and the American Goldfinch resting in a tree on its long journey to Mexico. It’s the optimistic yellow brick road of adventure and the pot of gold promised at the end of the rainbow.
Let sunshine in
As the color of light and purity, yellow has been used throughout history to symbolize divinity, wisdom, and resurrection. In addition to enhancing the flavor of foods, yellow-enriched spices including turmeric, cardamom, mustard seed, cumin, and the darker nutmeg and cinnamon, have anti-inflammatory and other beneficial health effects. Turmeric was used to dye the robes of popes, monks, and emperors. Artists depicted golden halos of saints and faces of Egyptian gods with pigment extracted from yellow ochre. Historically, political and religious connotations of yellow have included betrayal, cowardice and exclusion. Mellow or bright, yellow captures our attention, raises our consciousness, amuses us, gives us clarity, sparks our imagination, and prompts action.
Nature’s factory uses pigments for photosynthesis
Chlorophyll, the pigment in green leaves, absorbs sunlight energy and converts carbon dioxide and water into carbohydrates for food. To prevent damage from excessive sun some plants and even microorganisms have carotenoids, yellow pigments that act like nature’s sunscreen. Carotenoids are responsible for yellow fruits, vegetables, flowers, and even some bacteria and other microscopic marine organisms. The yellow plumage and scales of some birds and fish is partly due to the pigments in their food. Even in the ocean, where sunlight is filtered by deep blue water, many aquatic creatures display yellow. We’re still learning about the color language of marine life, including chemical bioluminescence, like the glowing yellow ring on a female octopod. The earth’s core is hotter than our sun. I wonder if it isn’t actually another kind of sun, lighting our world from below!
Color psychology everywhere
Color branding is part of our ancient silent language. While consciously unaware of its subliminal effects our primitive subconscious reacts, like when you realize you’re hungry after looking at the golden arches! ‘Gut instinct’ makes you suspect that the bright yellow pear next to the paler organic has been color-treated. Red, orange, and yellow are used extensively in restaurant and food branding and for retail products that imply safety, freshness, and healing. Tartrazine, a synthetic yellow dye, is frequently used in soaps and shampoos, cosmetics, and medicines, and even as a food coloring. Mouthwatering lemon meringue and custard pies have retained their positions as long-standing family traditions for hundreds of years due to their faithfulness to lemon’s natural coloring.
Amazingly instinctive pioneer
In 1860 the pioneering British nurse Florence Nightingale noted in Notes on Nursing that we don’t know much about how we’re affected by form, color, and light, but we know it has a physical effect. She said “variety of form and brilliancy of color in the objects presented to patients are actual means of recovery.” She cured jaundiced babies by exposing their yellowed skin to direct sunlight. Jaundice, if left untreated can lead to brain damage, is due to excessive reddish-yellow pigment “bilirubin”, a byproduct of red blood cell breakdown. Over a hundred years later infants with severe cases are cured with phototherapy or blood transfusions. We owe a huge thank you to “the lady with the lamp” who illuminated modern day practices as an instinctive color therapist.
In classical art the color wheel depicts complementary or opposite colors and yellow’s opposite is in the blue-violet range. Whereas choices for color swatches in décor are based on beautiful combinations, in color light therapy the goal is to improve wellbeing by balancing excesses or deficiencies of opposing colors based on their characteristic meanings. This has roots in the yin and yang theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine that the body has organic unity based on opposing and complementary relationships.
Yellow is symbolically associated with the third chakra, the “solar plexus chakra”, the spinning energy vortex located above the navel. Trained color therapists apply sun-kissed warming shades of yellows and gold over this area and across the forehead to stimulate consciousness and self-awareness. The yellow frequency helps clarify when one is in a confused state, and reorients subconscious thought patterns to increase self-confidence and discipline, which helps in pursuing goals.
True blue meaning
According to esoteric philosophy, blue is the true and sacred color of the sun. Its golden orange-yellow shade may only be the results of its filtered rays entering our atmosphere. So, was it the reflected yellow sunlight or the hidden source color (blue) that cured Florence’s tiny patients?
The untapped potential of the sun’s gift empowers the color therapist in all of us.
Our next article will focus on glorious green.
Please share this article on your social media platforms and let us know about your experiences with yellow. Educate your color therapist colleagues, clients and friends about the enlightening modality that Lumalight offers.
© 2018 Julianne Bien. Spectrahue Light & Sound Inc. Canada. For informational purposes only. No medical claims made or implied.