VIBGYOR and beyond: The psychology of color

Namrata Sharma-

Namrata Sharma is a color therapist

When we think of this entire existence of which we are but a speck, we think of the Cosmos. If I were to ask you what is the color of the Universe or the Cosmos, what would your answer be? Black?

Guess again. It’s NOT black.

In 2002, Baldry and Karl Glazebrook from Australia co-led a study that measured light coming from tens of thousands of galaxies and combined it into a singular spectrum and called it the Cosmic Spectrum.

Based on this data, the team could determine the average color of the universe. It turns out that this color is somewhere between beige and off-white. It was given the name ‘Cosmic Latte’.

Stars and galaxies in the universe emit electromagnetic waves of different wavelengths. These include gamma rays, X rays, ultraviolet rays, visible light, infrared radiation, microwaves and radio waves. Visible light is a very small part of this spectrum.

In 1666, Sir Isaac Newton, through a series of prism experiments, proved that visible light could be broken up into colors, thus providing a scientific basis to understand color. While he recognized that this spectrum is continuous and has millions of colors, he used seven color names (VIBGYOR) to represent this spectrum. Any color, however, can be precisely described and differentiated by its hue, saturation and brightness.

Any object appears colored based on the way it interacts with light in addition to the physical and chemical attributes of the object itself.

The physiology of the color depends upon the perceiving eye and the brain. The retina has three types of color receptor cells for processing color. The information collected by the receptors is sent to the brain which then identifies the color.

The psychology of the color depends upon the cultural background, past experiences, emotional setup, gender and age of an individual.

Carl Jung, who is a pioneer in the field of color psychology, said, “Color is the mother tongue of the subconscious.” He explored the properties and meanings of colors in our lives and brought out the importance of the use of colors in the field of healing and therapy. He also said that so many things that cannot be said in words can be expressed through colors.

While there are thumb rules with the effects of colors, the way an individual responds to a specific color depends upon various factors affecting the psychology of the color. Hence a healer or therapist who understands human psychology and understands colors will be able to help you with the best colors for your individual needs and growth.

Just as visible light is such a small part of the entire optical spectrum, what we see around us is a meager percentage of the Ultimate Reality of creation. Let us open ourselves to go beyond.