The Higher Self of Yellow (and the pitfalls of its Lower Self)
Following on from my previous posts about BLACK, BROWN, RED and ORANGE, today I will be focusing on the Radiant Ego of YELLOW as a voice of Individuality and Involvement. Being an in-dividual means to be undivided, integrated, whole, authentic.
Yellow is a powerful colour that has so many important qualities for us to tap into -especially during a pandemic!
Yellow is the colour that corresponds to the limbic energy that makes us stand up every morning to take our place in the world.
Yellow is the energy that transforms inertia to forward movement, inaction into action, self doubt into self-awareness.
Yellow is the embodiment of Self.
As with any colour, yellow reveals its ‘shadow aspects’ when there is too much or too little of it.
“There are painters who transform the sun into a yellow spot, but there are others, who, thanks to their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into the sun.”
- Pablo Picasso
Vincent Van Gogh Pablo Picasso William Turner
Yellow is the colour of the sun - the life support for our planet. As such it has come to represent light, life, energy, happiness, hope and wisdom.
Yellow evokes an optimistic sense of well being and natural light. It is airy, radiant and atmospheric. Yellow gives the feeling that all is well with the world. Unless there’s a plague...
In the natural world, yellow is the colour of sunflowers and daffodils, egg yolks and lemons, canaries and bees. But it is also the colour of dying leaves in autumn...
Yellow is the most luminous of all the colours of the spectrum. Peripheral vision is 2.5 times higher for yellow than for red. The human eye processes yellow first. More than any other colour, yellow steps forward with eagerness to capture our attention: “Look at Me!”. And so, excessive use of bright yellow (such as on interior walls) can irritate the eyes and our sense of well-being.
In our contemporary, human-made world, yellow is the colour of ‘smileys’; happy faces but also of taxi cabs, post-it notes, yellow cards and emergency signs that alert us to danger or caution.
And although yellow may be associated with the sunny aspects of life, its ‘shadow side’ is illness; yellow fever, yellow jaundice and the yellow fluids of mucus and pus. A yellow banner flagged the plague. Our observation of the yellow of tree leaves as they age and die, as well as the yellowing of old books and papers, led to the association of yellow with old age and illness. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that the sources of yellow pigments are toxic metals - cadmium, lead, and chrome - and urine.
Domenico Gargiulo Piazza Mercatello in Naples During the Plague of 1656
Unknown Artist 17th c. Physician’s protective clothing during the Plague
The Wind Yellow leaves in tarmac indentation
Pablo Picasso Science and Charity 1897
The phrase, ‘yellow-bellied-coward” came into use around 1910 which probably derives from yellow’s association with both treason and weakness.
More than a millennium ago, Judas Iscariot was often portrayed in yellow garb symbolizing his betrayal of Jesus Christ. Those condemned to die during the Inquisition wore yellow as a sign of treason.
A yellow patch was used to label Jews in the Middle Ages and European Jews were forced to wear yellow “Stars of David” during the Nazi era of persecution. And yet... in Japan, yellow often represents courage and yellow is the colour most often associated with the deity in many religions (Hinduism and Ancient Egypt).
Yellow is the colour of the third chakra, located around the solar plexus. The solar plexus is where we gather our energy, courage and will power. When this chakra is not functioning properly, we are passive, fearful, cowardly or else we are pumped up with too much ego and narcissism...
During these challenging times, may yellow alert you to danger, may it give you the courage to gather yourself towards yourself and propel yourself into self-aware authenticity. Take action rather than inaction or reaction. Inhabit your Self fully. And stride forth into the world radiantly like a yellow sun!