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  • Writer's pictureSamantha Badrock

The history of colour and how we can use this to our advantage.

For centuries colour has been used throughout many cultures across the globe to heal the mind and body. We might look at a painting and think "Oh, yeh - that's a nice picture" with little regard to the physiological, mental and emotional affects the colours we are look at, have on us.

It would be naïve to think that colour does not affect us. Think about it for a moment, from the second we open our eyes, we are surrounded by colour= with their varying shades and tones. Even when we sleep, we dream in colour. When we go bushwalking we feel a sense of clam and oneness as we immerse ourselves in the colours nature. When we sit by the ocean and peer across the expansiveness of the deep blue ocean, we get lost in the inner peace it brings.

There are just so many colours that we can explore which would have me writing for days on one blog article. So I decided to just pick 4 colours for this article, covering their meaning, word origin, refraction and historical meaning. It really makes for an interesting read. Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Yellow Meaning: Positive -Warmth and Inspiration, Negative= Cowardice. Word Origin: The English word "Yellow" is derived from the Indo-European word Ghelwo, related to gold. It is the colour nearest to sunlight and it's sunny disposition radiates Warmth and Inspiration.

Refraction: It has the highest level of refractivity and is represented in spring as most colours in the natural world during spring - have yellow in it. Historical Meaning: Medieval times, it symbolised sickness which would most likely be from the yellow / grey skin tones people had when they were sick with jaundice. Interestingly, during this time, ships would fly a yellow flag to indicate quarantine during a time of sickness. People would be cloaked in the colour yellow before being burned at the stake.


Meaning: Positive - Universal Spirit, Purity Negative- Word Origin: The English term gold derives from the Indo-Euroepan word "ghel," which also means yellow.

Refraction: Mixed from orang and yellow Historical Meaning: Was once considered 'the blood of the sun'. Has been said to represent 'The Majesty of Christ'. It has symbolised wealth and power throughout history due to it's scarcity.


Meaning: Positive - Balance Negative- Envy, Jealousy, Nausea, Poison Word Origin: The word green comes from the Middle English and Old English word 'grene' which, like the German word grün

Refraction: Found Midway on the spectrum. The light of green rests almost directly on the retina, making it a very restful colour for our eyes. Historical Meaning: The Egyptians thought green as a healing colour, and so that's why they used melanite as an eyeliner. For more than 300 years, sanctuaries for thespians have been the colour green. Also known as the 'green room'. Green is also the colour of the planet Venus - which represents love and it is traditionally worm at European Weddings.


Meaning: Positive - Harmony, Spiritual Negative- Coldness, Aloofness, Depression Word Origin: Middle English: from Old French bleu, ultimately of Germanic origin and related to Old English blǣwen ‘blue’ and Old Norse blár ‘dark blue’

Refraction: Found at the bottom of the spectrum. The eye perceives blue when observing light with a dominant wavelength between approximately 450 and 495 nanometres. Most blues contain a slight mixture of other colours; azure contains some green, while ultramarine contains some violet. Historical Meaning: Both Greek and Roman gods such as Zeus and Jupiter are connected to the colour blue. In Christianity, the Virgin Mary wears a Blue Mantle, signifying she is the queen of heaven. It is known as the colour of expansion, due to its expansiveness found in nature - like oceans and the sky.

Interestingly, The sky's colour is produced by sunlight scattering atmospheric particles of the same wavelength as blue wavelengths, causing blue light to be reflected in all directions.

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