The power of color

Believers in the power of color have a long pedigree. The 19th century French poet Rimbaud tried to create a system of vowels linked to color: A equaled black, E stood for white, for example. It was the young poet's attempt to make sense of, and master, his universe.

The ancient Chinese, Egyptians and Indians believed in chromotherapy: the art of healing with colors.

Vincent van Gogh was a master in the use of color in order to capture moods and emotions. He wrote that "instead of trying to paint exactly what I see before me, I make more arbitrary use of color to express myself more forcefully." Gogh's greens and yellows sometimes projected, and in turn induced, a bilious mood.

Some florists know that sending bright-colored flowers to patients fresh from surgery, when their sensitivity to color is heightened, can be less than soothing.

Most behavioral psychologists are often cautious about the effects of color on people, but, over time, certain associations have attached themselves to the color spectrum. Blue is related to the concepts of peace, tranquility, calm, trust, idealism, aloofness and dependability.

Green is for good luck, health, fertility and also callowness and envy. Sometimes green represented bad spirits, and during the Middle Ages green and yellow symbolized the devil.

Orange, a combination of red and yellow, symbolizes vibrancy and balance, among other attributes. People who gravitate toward orange are said to be good natured and optimistic.

Brown is often associated with nature, dirt, dullness and steadfastness.

Red is a vivacious color associated with love, danger, desire, sex, communism and aggression. It is not a wise choice inside prison walls. Mars, the god of war, is also the red planet in our solar system. While red might make the heart beat faster with passion, in India, it is the color of purity.

Yellow is associated with joy, happiness, and sunshine as well as cowardice and betrayal. However, in Japan, yellow means courage. Less pointed than a red rose, a yellow rose symbolizes friendship.

Purple was the favorite color of legendary Egyptian Cleopatra. It stands for envy, sensuality, mystery, bisexuality, mourning and pride.

Gray is neutrality incarnate. A compromise between black and white, those who wear gray may be revealing a desire to be accepted, and to be right.[[In-content Ad]]