LIGHT, COLOR, AND SOUND
Light is all around you. You experience its presence as brightness and its absence as darkness; two extremes of the central reality, light. Spiritually-speaking, its presence moves you towards en-light-enment and helps you integrate the four tasks into your heart, mind, and body. Its absence keeps these mysteries beyond the veil of your consciousness.
You interact daily with the basic energies of light and experience your most intimate relationship with light through color. You see light and color in the 'visible' range of the electromagnetic spectrum, a very small portion of the total spectrum. Generally, you are able to see color in the range of 400 nm to 700 nm (nanometers = billionths of a meter).
The 17th century British scientist and adept, Sir Isaac Newton, found that white light, when passed through a prism, splits into the seven pure colors of the rainbow. These basic seven colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet) gradually blend into each other to form twelve. For purposes of this website, I use purple and violet interchangeably. To be more precise, violet is a spectral color; purple is not. Purple exists only as a combination of colors and would be found on the color wheel between violet and red. Newton’s spectrum/line of seven pure colors can be formed into a circle which you recognize as the color wheel. If you extended the color wheel out even further, you could create 24, 48, or more color variations; however, we will stop with 12.
The twelve colors of a traditional color wheel contain three primary colors (blue, yellow, red) which mix together to form three secondary colors: orange (an equal mix of red and yellow, violet (an equal mix of red and blue), green (an equal mix of blue and yellow). Interestingly, the new secondary colors are the opposites of the primary colors: orange/blue, violet/yellow, and red/green. The colors now total six (3 primary and 3 secondary) which blend to form six additional colors, for a total of twelve. The last six are called tertiary colors: red-orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, blue-violet, and red-violet.
The Wheel of Life is an archetypal shape which has the potential to illustrate limitless cycles because it contains all forms of life. Below is a color wheel which corresponds with the astrological progression of a full cycle of the Wheel of Life. Beginning with blue-violet, to the right of north, corresponding with Capricorn and the Festival of Birth/Rebirth, the Wheel completes a full clockwise evolutionary cycle with Sagittarius/blue.
The color wheel below illustrates how the three primary colors evolve to form six and blend again to form twelve. You can see the model which guided my inspiration for this wheel at www.theakademe.com.
Perhaps you can recognize, from my very rudimentary explanation, a relationship between light and color; however, is there also a relationship between light, color, and sound? Some of the greatest minds of all times, from Pythagoras to Sir Isaac Newton, have pondered this question. Pythagoras connected the seven known planets with what he called the “music of the spheres”. He used music for healing purposes as well as for exciting or soothing the emotions.
Scientifically, light behaves in a similar manner to sound in that both can be measured by wave length and intensity. For instance, colors have wavelengths; in the visible spectrum, violet is the shortest wavelength and red is the longest.
There seems to be an intuitive connection between color and sound which is expressed through the number seven. As you read above, Newton discovered that there are seven pure colors which, when refracted through a prism, form a rainbow of color. Also, there are seven primary energy centers in the body. Many early instruments had seven strings which corresponded with the human body and the planets. The Egyptians also held their sacred songs to seven primary sounds, refusing any others to be heard in their temples. On the modern-day piano, you will find both the seven and the twelve; the seven are the white keys in an octave and the twelve are the white plus the black keys.
The Western Mystery tradition assigns the twelve colors to the notes in an octave in this way (see the above graph):
Red = C Red-Orange = C# Orange = D Orange-Yellow = D# Yellow = E
Yellow-Green = F Green = F# Blue-Green = G Blue = G# Blue-Violet = A
Violet = A# Red=Violet = B (the last note before beginning a new octave at C)
If you stop to think about it, color is a part of every aspect of your daily life; you wear it, eat it, and see it. You also interact daily with the energies of sound; through human voices, animal sounds, and music, to name a few. Now, perhaps you can also think of yourself as “hearing” color/light. These sounds and vibrations form a universal harmony of which we humans are a part.
All matter is energy vibrating at certain frequencies; in fact, the human body is composed of light and color vibrating at different frequencies. The body contains approximately 60 billion light energy cells which communicate by passing light energy along the body’s communication highways, the meridians. You might think of your physical body as an instrument which sometimes needs tuning to maintain its proper color and sound qualities. Indeed, the physical body is a sacred temple, filled with color, light, and sound, constantly longing to be in tune with the “music of the spheres”.
The basic principle which underlies the benefit to a human being of working with the energies of light, sound, and color is sympathetic resonance. Attuning your vibration with their specific frequencies supports balance, well-being, and ease. Have you ever noticed that certain music lifts your spirits and causes you to experience certain feelings, just as certain colors do?