The power of color to influence our behaviors and attitudes has been established by science and magnified by literature. Color plays a tremendous role in all of our lives, and has, since ancient times, been used as a way of communicating to the world around us. In particular, the color of clothing has long been an important way of conveying special messages. To celebrate the release of our new, custom-made ULC stoles (emblazoned with the ULC crest and the symbols for Alpha and Omega, the beginning and end) we wanted to explore some popular colors and what they evoke.
We Communicate Through Color
Of course, everyone is welcome to determine and define the meaning of these colors for themselves, but over the years certain colors have certainly become associated with certain messages in and of themselves.
You may be wondering what color best suits you, or what message you might be sending by wearing certain colors. Below, we analyze several popular shades and try to give them some historical context so you can determine which one is best suited for you.
What's Your Color?
The symbolism of blue, white, cream, red, green, and purple may serve to evoke a certain emotion, highlight the mood of a specific liturgical season, or simply denote a special occasion.
In Catholic and Protestant traditions, green has become a sort of default color for Sunday services during which no special ceremony is taking place and there is no holiday being observed. If you preach regularly to a congregation green would be an appropriate, albeit expected, choice.
Pagans and Wiccans have traditionally worn green to symbolize a close connection to the earth. You might don green garments when performing rites with herbs, are focusing on nature and healing, or if you are interested in deepening your connection with Gaia.
Green is a fresh color, and (being in the center of the color spectrum) can create feelings of balance and harmony. It's also a color associated strongly with rebirth and renewal, so if you're looking for a bit of seasonal variety green might be the most appropriate choice to don as Winter thaws and Spring warms blossoms back to life.
In ancient times, purple was a color of nobility. As early as 1500 BC, royal and wealthy individuals regularly donned purple throughout the Mediterreanean region. Purple was particularly valued by these individuals because of its rarity - the dye used to create it was painstakingly extracted from Murexes (or, rock snails). If you are speaking on the submission of time and energy to a higher power, purple might be especially appropriate.
Within the Christian tradition, purple is the color of Advent, which is a set of weeks before Christmas where each week celebrates an aspect of the coming of Christ. Purple, white and pink candles are lit and a purple stole is worn by the minister. Purple is also sometimes worn for funerals over a black cassock instead of the usual white robe. Its darker hue signifies a state of mourning.
In Wicca, purple signifies the spirit. It would be worn when a priest or priestess is examining their connection to the God and Goddess.
Purple and its tones have long been connected with spirituality, and given their short wavelength are associated strongly with meditation and introspection. Setting aside old stigmas of nobility, you might find it helpful to don purple in times of self-exploration.
Blue is not actually a common liturgical color in Christianity. It can symbolize the divine law and is very common in the Jewish faith. It was also a color worn by the lower class in Biblical times so it would be appropriate to wear while speaking on humility and servitude. One might note that while Jesus is most commonly depicted wearing white, several artists have clothed him in shades of blue (which may be more historically accurate).
Blue also isn't terribly common in Wicca. It can symbolize peace and tranquility, like a still water or a clear sky. Seasonally, blue might best capture Summertime.
Survey after survey has indicated that blue is the world's favorite color. Take an informal sampling of the room you're in right now and we're sure you'll find that blue is the most commonly beloved shade. Blue is seen as a highly intellectual and communicative color, In addition to its calming effects and association with peace. In times of stress or turmoil, you might be wise to turn to blue.
White or Ivory
In many cultures and faiths, white symbolizes purity and rebirth.This means that white garments are perfect for baptisms. It captures the blank slate where the old life has been washed away and the believer is a blank canvas to begin his or her spiritual journey.
White, for the same reasons, is also used frequently for weddings. The couple is coming together to create a new entity for the first time. Some weddings prefer a richer color scheme such as including a cream color rather than bright white. The white and cream colored stoles can be used interchangeably depending on your preferences.
White is a tremendously powerful and moving shade. While it can communicate messages of purity and cleanliness, be warned that it can also (particularly if used in excess) overwhelm and send a sometimes harsh sense of sterility.
The color of fire and blood, red is associated with passion and trials. For Christians, it is worn on Palm Sunday and Good Friday, both central to the sacrifice and endurance of Jesus. Consequently, red is worn during confirmation of new believers into a religious body. You could also wear it when speaking on martyrs or a divine spirit.
Red is a strong color, one commonly tied to strength, physicality, and courage. In scientific studies, red has been proven to elevate the pulse of humans ... a response likely descended from the fight-or-flight mechanism we would have evolved to activate at the sight of blood.
Above all else, red is a stimulating and exciting color. Wearing red would be a smart choice when your intent is to evoke passion and activity in those around you.
A Colorful Sendoff
Colors can have tremendous effects over us, but perhaps the most surprising thing you'll learn as you begin to study their power is not the certain emotions that particular shades evoke... but that colors can move us in such significant ways. For example, in the 80s, a jail dealing with frequent bouts of violence experimented by painting its walls in a particular pinkish hue (Baker-Miller Pink, or "Drunk Tank Pink") and reportedly saw a total and immediate end to violence outbursts.
As humans, we are visual creatures; despite the intellectual heights we've reached, we are still largely products of our environments. Color, while seemingly superficial, should be a facet considered as you consider what to wear, what colors to paint your room, or even what products to purchase.
If you're interested in additional information about colors and their power, you might enjoy Color Medicine by Charles Klotsche.
Particularly as a minister, you should consider colors as just another tool in your toolbelt that you can use to communicate your message to others. Regardless of your preconceived beliefs, you can take inspiration from the traditions we have mentioned here, or blaze a new trail as you color-plan for your own future.
What is your favorite color? And what does it mean for you?
Very interesting! I only knew a little about colors. Thank you!
I have chosen blue
What was your logic behind the blue?
Check the bible in Numbers 15:37-41
Every Israelite had to sew tassels onto their clothes. Whenever they saw these tassels, they should remember...
_that they were God’s special people.
_His special promises to them.
Therefore they would not want to think about their own selfish and greedy wishes and desires.
Blue was a special colour. A blue cloth covered the Ark Num 4:6. There were blue curtains in God’s Tent. Also, kings often wore blue clothes. The blue string reminded the people that they belonged to God, the king of kings.
I have many faviorite colors but my two faviorites are red and purple :-)
Green has always been my color of association. A favotlrite, calming, refreshing.
I have always drifted towards purple, though it does not always look good on an older man. As I looked at the color photo my eyes immediately went to the purple. Great information. I will save this for reference.
What if your color is black what doses that mean a friend asked that is hers
Yellow is my favorite color. For me it signifies Joy and Happiness! I am also partial to reds, greens and purples!
My color has also been green, not because of money but for some reason protection. I can't explain it I just have always favored it.
In Christian churches, blue is often used during Advent in place of purple.
I'm not sure what Dark Gray signifies. :-)
Can someone enlighten me as to why the Color Black is worn by most Ministers??
Two theories here.
First, Christian ministers (in the United States, at least) have historically been seen as the guardians of traditional Puritan morality and hence have been expected to wear neutral, subdued, dark, and even forbidding colors. Less joyful, more judgmental. Hence black. Imagine Jonathan Edwards preaching "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" while wearing bright red, green, or yellow -- it kind of misses the point, eh? :-)
Second, for a minister who wears vestments (alb or robe, stole, chasuble, etc), the stole is often used to designate the color of the season. Sometimes the chasuble is as well. The alb or robe is a neutral color, often white (for a robe) or beige (for an alb). The color of the clerical shirt underneath doesn't need to reflect the color of the season, so it's often black because black doesn't clash with anything. White shirts would probably work, too, but black goes better with a beige alb and hides stains better.
Practically speaking, a stole can last for a long time, like a tie, so a minister might make a one-time investment in a series of stoles in many different colors. (Or receive them as gifts from friends.) Clerical shirts OTOH would last for just a few years, just like a normal business shirt, so one wouldn't want to have to buy a whole set of red, green, purple, blue, and black shirts all that often.
Absolutely correct. Also in early Puritan days, black was the most modest and easiest dye for fabric and showing humility.
I trained in Color Therapy many years ago and have observed that color preferences do not necessarily remain the same throughout our lives. They can change from year to year depending on our life and spiritual progress. I love all the main rainbow colors, and often see them coming through when I am giving Reiki. Interesting to note that the colors do not always correspond to the chakras usually assigned to them. I especially like purples, violets and lilacs as well as whites, greens and blues.
Good Day to all I have chosen purple and blue
Historically, true black was a difficult and expensive dye to make and therefore became favored by wealthy people, who people who wanted to appear wealthy and important. Because educated people and professionals were important, it became associated with serious pursuits, and therefore possitions of authority, especially in religion, law and medicine. Then it was often used by businessmen and for military and police officers, as an extension of their governmental and law keeping functions.
Unfortunately, this also led to the poorer populations gradually associating the color with fear and the unknown, an assumption closely tied with the dark of night and secret and fearful actions. Black therefore can be a problematic color. In color energy circles, it is generally noted to use it with caution due to a possibility of calling in dark energies. It is also noted as protective, particularly when used with other colors. It is considered grounding or connected with earth energy, with an awareness that too much earth out of balance with spirit is likely to result in negative or at best static energy.
Personally I tend to use a variety of colors depending on my mood or what I am doing. My cur favorites tend toward greens, blues, and strong pinks.
I use colored squares of cotton material for color healing during my quantum healing - I also use tuning forks for the vibration of sound - and find they both work really well.
You're correct Susan, and black is also worn by some religious orders of monks and nuns. I see it as a cacoon for when one needs to make personal space whether consciously or unconsciously. It is also associated with rebellious youth. Black is considered the absence of color.
Alvin, I hope your questions has been clarified.
I am sorry but black is the present of all color's, the three main colors are red, yellow, and blue. One drop yellow, two drops red and three drops blue, must be true colors and you have black. If you admire a person with true black hair in the sun you will see a beautiful blue haze. White is actually the absent of all color and with four colors so to say you can make all colors of the world. Color to me was one of my most favorite things in life as it is what makes our world so beautiful. Sorry but color is one of my favorite things to educate on.
Shine a beam of light through a prism or a fountain and it splits into the rainbow colors. Suggested reading: Babbitt's Principles of Light & Color or Lieberman's Light, Medicine of the Future.
Thank you for the info, i always heard that black is with a base of red, but you have explained it with facts! :)
Right, but when it comes to a moment of delivering a message in a pulpit, i think they should wear white for purity of the deliverer.
What about Tie dye colors.? How does it make you feel. ?
I know a minister who has a tie-dyed shirt and collar insert that he wears for special occasions.
Love it. I wear primary colors because they make me feel good. I am particularly fond of pastel greens for my walls. I wear Black and white when i have a heavy task to perform. Red when i am out for fun.
I'm mostly red!!!!
Interesting! I am doing a program about Praise to the Lord. I have asked the participants to wear their favorite color of Praise. A timely article!
I choose Black as it is the Color when all colors are mixed together. It is the actual color & no other color actually exists. Only Black & White are two real colors. Rest is an illusion .Even scientists believe in the same. Black & White are beautiful. Sky is Black. It is the color people fear & relate it to mystery. I don't think so . The facts are something else. White & Black are real colors.
Many Protestant Christian churches use colors to represent the church seasons/high holidays as follows: Blue: Advent White/gold: Christmas/Easter Red: Pentacost/Reformation/other festival days Purple: Lent Black: Holy Week/Good Friday Green:Epiphany (The longest season)
Slight correction, though: Pentecost is the longest season, not Epiphany.
Epiphany is the season between January 6th (the day of Epiphany, the "twelfth day of Christmas" when the wise men traditionally visited baby Jesus) and Ash Wednesday (the start of Lent, forty-six days before Easter).
Pentecost lasts through late spring, all of summer, and into autumn -- from Pentecost Sunday itself to Advent.
They're easy to confuse, though. They're both fairly long and variable in length, depending on when Easter falls, and the lessons that don't get read in Epiphany frequently get read in Pentecost.
And the color for both seasons is green, except for Pentecost Sunday itself, which is red, as you noted.
My choice is patches of many colors and embroidery of all the things I so love. God made so many beautiful things both great and small and I have been blessed to see so much. My favorite is many things and many colors. It is like the beauty of all the different people, the different cultures, and the different places in the world.
When i was younger I would have to Say "Purple" now though i tend to Favor GREEN and it's lighter shades such as lime. My least favorite would have to be Grayish blacks they evoke depression in me if i am totally saturated with them. Great Article "Have the best Day Ever all"
I AM SO DISSAPPOINTED IN THE TOPICS FOR THIS NEWSLETTER ......ESPECIALLY FOR THIS ....THE MUCH TALKED ABOUT ....MOST PROPHESIED MONTH OF SEPTEMBER......WOULD OF ENJOYED TALKING ABOUT THE POPE AND HIS COMING VISIT....OR THE CERN IN SWITZERLAND ABOUT TO GO FULL TORK.... OR THE IRAN NUKE DEAL.....SUCH A DISCONNECT WITH WORLD EVENTS.....WHATS MY FAVORITE COLOR....REALLY?? IS SOMEONE ON VACATION AND THE JV TEAM TOOK OVER.....
Please accept my apology for the above comments.....being critical on any level is such a sin..... If GOD wanted me coordinating articles for you he would put me in that postition to do so... You do a great job and know better than I what should be a topic for the month...I AM SORRY...Sincerely, JO-ANN
Fantastic! A complete 180 in 13 days. Attitude-excellant! ------i agree with the original sentiment. On another note, I am blue, with red trim!!
Now the Pope is here and Al-Jazeera has been broadcasting live coverage of almost everything that is going on in his visit. Glad he's making a strong point on environment/ecology.
ST. MALACKY'S PROPHECY.....THE LAST POPE...#112 PETRO ROMANUS as for the global warming.....BIRTH PANGS FOR 9-25-2015 ALL END TIME NEWS .....these are some eye opening facts
My colors are blue, green and purple. On Monday is blue, purple on Wednesday and green during the week. I get a different feeling each time I wear the the colors. Blue I feel the Virgin Mary is around me, Purple I feel very spiritual, green I feel so much healing and giving healing to people around me.
I am a Quantum Healer, healing down to the cells - to the DNA. I specialize in Color healing, and lay small squares of color on the person in need, leaving them to "bake" in color until they vibrations have been raised as needed in the areas covered. We usually heal in a team of three or four people, so that we complement each other in the specializations needed for that person. Each time we heal, we are given more understanding and learning to expand the way in which we practice.
I have taken uni' courses in colours and their effect on the human condition I'll call it . All have far more reaching effects than here said and even than in Color Medicine by Charles Klotsche. as last commenter has said !!
Is a white & pink stole acceptable for nondenominational wedding ceremonies? Does it matter much in this day & age?