Color Wisdom :: Emotional and visceral meanings of color

Color is simply energy—energy made visible. It's an energy which we, as human beings, can actually see and respond to.

In the late 1950s, color researcher Robert Gerard noted that in human beings, both psychological and physical activity appear to increase as the wavelength of light increases. In other words, reds, oranges and yellows are naturally more stimulating to us than greens, blues and purples.

Further tests show that blood pressure, pulse, and respiration rates tend to increase most under yellow light, moderately under orange, and less under red. They decrease most under black, moderately under blue, and minimally under green.

Traditional color wisdom—reaching as far back as ancient Egyptian times—offers similar conclusions, based on a different approach. In classical Indian philosophy, the seven colors of the rainbow are associated with the seven chakras (or energy centers) of the body. Each chakra is related to a specific body function and has specific effects.

Pure Colors :: bright or high chroma.
Muted Colors :: lower intensity than Pure colors due to the addition of gray.
Shaded Colors :: even lower color intensity than Muted Colors due to the addition of black.

Pure Red is a statement color and highly individual—dramatic, vibrant and stimulating. By contrast, the Muted and Shaded tones of red are soft, cozy, personal and intimate, with just a hint of passion and romance.



Associated with:

Physical effects:
Stimulates brain activity, increases heart rate, respiration and blood pressure, gives energy and self-confidence.

Governed by:
The Muladhara or Root Chakra
Connection to all of life, foundation of emotional/mental health.

Sacred truth:
“All is one.”

Associated with:

Physical effects:
Tranquilizing and calming effect within minutes of exposure.
Suppresses hostile, aggressive, and anxious behavior.


Combining the drama of red with the cheerfulness of yellow, Pure Orange is luminous, bright, glowing and bold. The Muted and Shaded tones offer a bright but subtle glow that’s restful, earthy, natural and soothing.


Associated with:

Physical effects:
Energizes, stimulates the appetite and digestive system,
removes inhibitions, and fosters sociability.

Governed by:
The Swadisthana or Sacral Chakra
of personal power, creativity, finances, relationships.

Sacred truth:
“Honor one another.”


Closest to sunlight, Pure Yellow conveys hospitality and promotes deep feelings of well-being. The Muted hues make quiet backgrounds for busy lives, while the Shaded Yellows have a soft, glowing presence that speaks of home, harvest
and abundance.



Associated with:

Physical effects:
Energizes, relieves depression, improves memory, increases
awareness, perception and understanding. Stimulates the appetite.

Governed by:
The Manipura or Solar Plexus Chakra
Self esteem and personality, code of honor, relationship with self.

Sacred truth:
Honor oneself.”

The most neutral color in the spectrum, Pure Green is strongly associated with nature. Muted Greens are calm, restful and soothing, while the Shaded variants project trust and order, encouraging contemplation, serenity and repose.



Associated with:

Physical effects:
Soothing, relaxing mentally as well as physically, helps alleviate
depression, nervousness and anxiety, offers a sense of renewal,
self-control and harmony.

Governed by:
The Anahata or Heart Chakra
Emotional energy of love, mediation between body and spirit.

Sacred truth:
Love is divine power.”


Evoking the emotions of sky and sea, Pure Blue is calming, expansive and cool. Appearing to recede, it raises ceilings and pushes back walls. The Muted hues recall summer skies, azure mountain lakes and blue-green ocean depths, while the dignified Shaded Blues exude comfort and ease.



Associated with:

Physical effects:
Calming, lowers blood pressure and decreases respiration.
Ideal for sleep and over-active children. Enhances communication
and decision-making.

Governed by:
The Vishuddhi or Throat Chakra
Guidance, faith in the divine.

Sacred truth:
Surrender personal will to divine will.”


Pure Purple has the clarity of blue and the warmth of red. The deep colors convey grandeur and luxury, while the lighter shades are elusive and intriguing. Muted Purples are airy and peaceful, and the Shaded Purples are soft, shadowy and undeniably romantic.



Associated with:

Physical effects:
Strengthens intuition and imagination, increases dream activity.
Helps connect us to our unconscious mind.

Governed by:
The Agya or Third Eye Chakra
Intuition, intellect, reasoning, mental abilities, psychological skill.

Sacred truth:
Seek only the truth.”

Associated with:

Physical effects:
Suppresses appetite, provides a peaceful environment, relieves
tension, and is good for migraines. Promotes inner strength, wisdom,
kindness, artistic talent and creativity.

Governed by:
The Sahasrara or Crown Chakra
Connection to our spiritual nature, integrating spirituality.

Sacred truth:
Live in the present moment.”


Red-Toned Neutrals
range from a whisper of beige to deep, russet browns,
and are comfortable and traditional.

Yellow-Toned Neutrals extend from subtle creams to deep golden browns,
and are fresh and quietly uplifting

Blue-Toned Neutrals offer a feeling of quiet, understated elegance.

Source: “The Secret Language of Color” by Behr & “Chakra Model” by Caroline Myss.   Muse :: inspired design ::