Simon G Brown has studied macrobiotics since 1980 and authored many books, including Modern Day Macrobiotics, Macrobiotics for Life and Practical Wabi Sabi.
In past issues of the magazine Simon has introduced us to Macrobiotics, Wabi Sabi, Meditation and more.
In this series of articles Simon tells us all about using Feng Shui to make sure the colours in your office are having a positive impact in the workplace…and in your home.
Colours and Feng Shui by Simon Brown
It is well researched that colours can affect our behaviour.
Blue street lighting was claimed to reduce crime in Glasgow. Kutchma found that students felt more stressed in a red room than a green or white room. People taking pills as a placebo are more likely to feel red pills act as a stimulant and blue pills as a depressant. If you own a red car, it is more likely to be stolen than if you have the same version in blue. You are even more likely to have an accident in a red car. We tend to judge people and make assumptions about them based on the colour of their clothes. In the UK three large cities each have two football teams in the top division, however, over the last sixty years the red teams have won more trophies than the blue teams in each city.
From a feng shui perspective colours help define the energy of a space. So a red room would have a different energy than a green room. In one sense this is scientifically valid as the reflected light from a coloured wall will introduce more light energy into a room with a certain frequency. So a red room will have more of the red light frequency present in the room, whereas a blue room will have more blue light frequencies.
In China the idea that humans are partly made up of an energy, known as chi, that flows within us but also mixes with the energy around us would suggest that the colour of a room subtly influences the energy or chi inside us, leading to different feelings. We also have very strong associations with colour. Jung claimed the colours are the mother tongue of the subconscious. We can easily associate a variety of bright colours with summer and flowers in bloom. We might associate greys with the evening and dark clouds. Blue could be associated with the sky and green with new springtime leaves.
Our associations with colour may also be based on our personal life journey and we could have strong preferences for some colours and aversions to others based on our childhood experiences.
We can perhaps agree that colour will have an influence on the people expose to it, whether it is the decoration of our home, our clothes, car, street, images or lighting. In feng shui there is an attempt to try and predict what influence different colours may have in general by associating colours to the different seasons. In the Chinese five elements there are five seasons. The additional season being the late summer.
So spring would be associated with green, summer with red, orange, yellow and purple, late summer with brown, beige, fawn, and tan, autumn with maroon, grey and white, winter with black and blue. The idea is that over the years we will have acquired deep associations with the colours of nature at different times of year and relate this to the general mood and behaviour we experience in that season. So if someone generally feels slightly more enthusiastic, up and refreshed in the springtime and a fresh green in the dominant colour then by introducing light green into your home will help relive those feelings.
Similarly if a person feels outgoing, expressive and lively during the summer then a mixture of summer colours at home may help support those feelings. A room with some reds, oranges, yellows and purples might have this summery atmosphere. The late summer colours reflect the burnt effect from months of sunshine and could be associated with feeling lazy, settled, languid, relaxed and warm. Here rich browns and all the possible variations through to light beige could create association with basking in the August sun on fawn grass or on light yellow sands.
Maroon leaves, along with grey and white skies are thought to describe the essence of autumn. This could be associated with the feelings of getting ready for the winter, thinking ahead, gathering food and building up reserves. In feng shui the darker winter is often described by black, however, if you live somewhere where your landscape is covered in frost and snow you might include white. To represent the image of black ice, waterlogged fields and rain translucent finishes using varnish and lacquer will deepen the effect.
These five seasons form part of the five elements where spring is given the name wood, summer – fire, late summer – earth, autumn – metal, and winter – water. Next time you are using colour be aware of the possible associations you have with the colours. Using nature and the colours of the various seasons could be an interesting starting point for this exploration. For decorating paint different large swatches of colour on different walls and be aware of your emotions and feelings as you look at them. Try choosing colours that support the kind of feelings and emotions you would like to experience in that room.
For more information read Simon’s book:
The Feng Shui Life Coach published by Godsfield Press.
Simon G. Brown
+44 (0) 20 7431 9897