Warm colors take a supporting role to other colors. They bring in their warmth and stabilizing attributes.
Black is a protective color, helping to keep the external world at bay by comforting you and removing negativity. A feminine energy creating restfulness and restorative feelings. Black links the unknown or the unseen creating mystery and provides a sense of potential and possibility. It is the best color when you want calmness.
From the Native Americans black gives life and is represented through its soil color. Known as the Color of Soil because it gives life. In your sacred space black adds depth, sophistication or glamour. Lovely when used with contrasting bright colors. Use in small qualities.
Use this color when wanting to create a space into which anything may emerge and disappear. Like the color white, I feel black helps with new beginnings Shapes that represent black are curvy, undulating or irregular patterns. If you need a touch of stability in the home, place a touch of black in the Southwest and in the North plants, stone or art to help with career decisions. Trees represented by this color are Cottonwood (Populus Aigeiros), and Hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana, Carpinus betulus.)
Brown is The Color of Earth is both a masculine and feminine energy. Seen in the outdoors and in agricultural with thoughts of wholesomeness, natural and organic production. While brown remains in the background, it will add a touch of luminosity to spaces. As a tree color it offers stability and provides structure and support.
A friendly and approachable, practical and sensible color. Provides a sense of security and belonging. A joyful color that offers growth and protection.
Often seen as a fall combination where it showcases other colors. Use in Hot color combinations for last blast before winter. Adds depth and grounding in a small space. Shades of brown are in shapes of are horizontal, square or rectangle. Use bark, stone or wood. Trees represented by this color are the Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata) and the Cacao (Theobroma cacao).
A feminine color treasured by several ancient goddesses of love that go back pre-Sumerian times. They emphasize the nurturing aspect of women and their ongoing youthfulness. You may be more familiar with this group of goddesses by names of Ishtar (Egyptian), Aphrodite (Greek), and Venus (Roman). All display their power of love, balance, beauty and artistic skills with copper.
In the mineral form, copper is required in photosynthesis and is one of eight micro-nutrients required for plant life. Add a touch of this color in a space that needs a boost from the earth. Keep copper nearby to help with clear communication, mitigate arthritis and rheumatism ailments.
Trees represented by copper are found in the underside leaves of called indumentum. These fine hairs are usually cinnamon brown and resembles felt. that help to store water and protect the plant from cold and heat. Trees that display this are the Magnolias (Magnolia) and Rhododendrons (Rhododendron).
In the West pink is feminine both in color and energetically promoting affection and intimacy, thoughtful and caring moments. From Japan pink is a masculine influence representing the young Japanese warriors, the Samurai who fell in battle. Cherry blossoms of the Prunus serrulate fell at the time when the warriors fell. The Sakura Festival represents , and the battles fought. Cherry blossoming festivals can be found the world over to celebrate spring.
Chi and high energetic vibrations of pink will stay in your garden through use of plants or structures. Mix the colors with dark blue, green, black or gray tones to help highlight vibration and support of the guardian angels. A great color for a child’s garden creating adventure and tranquility, all at the same time. Pink is made of red, a primary color used for exploring and white, a secondary color made up of red, green and blue bringing insight. Trees represented by this color are the Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia) and the Hawthorn (Crataegus).
“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.
- 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.