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    Color in Sacred Spaces – An Introduction

    “Colours also have healing properties and with their constant movement across the surface of the planet they created energy fields. It was within these areas that life started. “

    Andre Norton – The Legend of the Fairy Stone


      Colors are fantastic, interesting and complex.  They play a valuable role in the design, the contribution of or the meaning of your sacred space.  They create harmonious environments and nowhere is that greater than within the plant kingdom. Healing is their purpose no matter the shade, tone or use; always at work to help us, the earth or healing nearby areas.

    The Book of Durrow is one of the first books on documented color dating back to the seventh century.  Like its more famous cousin, The Book of Kells, they are both known for their design work.  The colors from these books are ever present in plants and sacred spaces.




    • Blue representing the sky, healing & positive energy
    • Green representing nature, restfulness, fertility & growth
    • Purple representing the ethereal, mindful awareness & calming
    • Red representing intensity, inner-strength & a boost of energy
    • Orange representing fire, moving forward & socializing
    • Gold representing the sun, protection & knowledge
    • Yellow representing intuition, illumination & new ideas

    In the enlightenment period Sir Isaac Newton used a prism in 1666 to discovering the electromagnetic spectrum. The prism showed sunlight is not one color but many.  Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.

    In the 1940’s Max Luscher developed the field of color psychology.  His color therapy used red, yellow, green, blue, violet, brown, gray and black. He could tell a person’s stress level and psychological make-up by the order the color chosen or if paired with another color.

    Edgar Cayce believed that everything is energy and radiates a heat signature that produces colors. He could the energetic colors around people, and he believed each color represented an aspect of that person.

    Nature and color have long been a part of healing.  The ancient Egyptians, Chinese, and Indians believed in healing with colors. In the western world these beliefs are rapidly finding their way into sacred spaces.  Horticultural therapy is one modularity being integrated into hospital and healing spaces.  Forest bathing, used by the Japanese has gain popularity.  A terrific practice, I would hike in the winter too many great natural pools, coming away refreshed.

    Each of us have experience the impact of color.  The sudden smile, finding yourself in a reflective mode, feeling cool on a hot day or warmth on a cool winter’s day.  In a sacred space they work hard, often taking us out of our immediate thoughts. Changing our mood, provide healing or joy and challenging our observation skills.

    Color and direction play a role in designing spaces.  Indigenous tribes have great insight into working with nature and individuals. Feng Shui is well-known for using these attributes in designing or restoring sacred spaces.  The combination can create a relaxing corner for reflecting, make small spaces seem larger, showcase a particular spot or bring areas together.

    General tips on color in a sacred space:

    • Show your personality
    • When buying plants, especially annuals – look at them as you do with paint swatches. Notice the slightest change in shade, structure or texture.  Even containers play a role.  I always tell my clients to take photos of their favorite combinations.  It is not unusual to use the same plants year after year as long as they are available.


    • Using the color wheel and understanding each neighbor’s relationship always help. No worries if you want to use either end of the spectrum and put them in the same container.  Go for it.
    • The cool colors of blue, purple, green or white reflect light and stand out in shade or cloudy skies. These colors create depth.
    • The hot colors of red, orange, and yellow jump out. Highly recommended for sunny locations.  These colors make spaces look closer, a great use for folks who are house bound.




    Repeated patterns
    • The warm colors of black, brown, copper, or pink can make a space sizzle and come alive. They are often the supportive cast, letting the other colors shine about them.
    • As I have matured in my planting skills and continual downsizing, I have appreciated the technique of repeating the same color in my containers and for clients. That quiet flow they create.  Increasing what the eye and mind see.
    • I love texture and color and many a winter and spring container is based on texture.
    • Do use your art pieces?




    Most importantly this is your sacred space, use the colors that work for you.  Change when you want to and enjoy.