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Many of us have heard of the traditional Vedic 7-chakra system. It contains all the rainbow colours, from violet to red, but have you ever wondered why or who chose those colours? Let's dive into the fascinating world of colour, light, and their mystical connections to the Vedic chakra system.

As a heads up, we're going to explore four scientific topics - dispersion, colour mixing, absorption spectra and the electromagnetic spectrum - and then we're going to knit them together at the end, so stick around!

Dispersion of White Light Through a Prism

The first concept I want to discuss is dispersion. When white light passes through a prism (or any material of a different density to air, for that matter), it breaks the light ray down into its component colours, creating a spectrum. This breakdown happens because each colour has a different wavelength and bends by a different amount. The result is a beautiful array of colours: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet.

 

A note on indigo - Some may ask why I have not included indigo on the list. Indigo's inclusion in the colour spectrum is a historical and scientific discussion subject. Sir Isaac Newton initially identified five primary colours - red, yellow, green, blue, and violet - in the visible spectrum. He later added orange and indigo, bringing the total to seven. It's often suggested that Newton chose seven colours to align with the seven days of the week, the seven known planets at the time, and the seven musical notes.

However, the visibility of indigo to the human eye in a spectrum is a bit more nuanced. While it is technically part of the spectrum of light dispersed through a prism, indigo is often hard to distinguish from blue and violet for most people. In many modern interpretations of the colour spectrum, indigo is often omitted. So, while indigo's inclusion may have historical and perhaps even mystical significance, its distinctness as a colour in the visible spectrum is not as clear-cut.

The Concept of Colour Mixing with Light

So, now that we understand white light is made up of many colours let's talk a bit about how we mix them. Traditionally, we've been taught that the primary colours are red, blue, and yellow. Mixing these colours in various combinations gives us a wide range of hues. For example, red and blue make purple, and red and yellow make orange, etc. However, in the world of light, things work a bit differently.

Additive Colour Mixing

Additive mixing is used in digital screens and theatrical lighting. The primary colours are red, green, and blue (RGB). If you mix colours like green and blue, you'll get yellow, while the other combinations create cyan and magenta. When these colours are combined, they create white light. This is all done by adding wavelengths to produce new colours.

Subtractive Colour Mixing 

Colours are created by subtracting wavelengths from white light. The primary colours are cyan, magenta, and yellow. When combined, they create black, as they collectively absorb all colours. This method is commonly used for paints, pigments and printing but can be applied to light in the context of using filters. 

 

  

Absorption Spectra in Crystals

Crystals get their colours from the way they interact with light. Some crystals absorb specific wavelengths of light while allowing others to pass through, creating their unique hues. Using a spectroscope, we can examine the emission and absorption spectra of crystals to understand their colour properties better. This scientific approach complements the spiritual attributes we often associate with crystals and gemstone.

The example below shows the absorption spectra of red glass coloured by Selenium. This material absorbs all the wavelengths (the black area) and only lets red wavelengths pass through it, and that's the colour we perceive.

The Electromagnetic Spectrum

Two concepts down, one to go! Now that we know about dispersion and colour mixing, let's explore where colour sits on the electromagnetic spectrum. The colours we see are just a tiny part of the electromagnetic spectrum. This spectrum ranges from high-frequency cosmic and gamma rays to low-frequency radio waves. X-rays and microwaves sit at higher and lower frequencies outside the visible spectrum, as do ultraviolet and infrared light. The visible spectrum is a tiny slice of this vast range, where each colour corresponds to a different frequency.

Colours and the Vedic Chakra System

In Vedic spirituality, each chakra is associated with a specific colour, which corresponds to its vibrational frequency. For example, the root chakra is linked with red and the crown chakra with violet. You'll notice that the chakra system aligns perfectly with the colours of the visible colour spectrum (taking indigo into consideration of course!). I want to add that colours for the chakras are relatively new, as these colours are not part of the traditional Vedic texts. In my readings for this article its suggested that in the early ’70s, an author by the name of Christopher Hills published a book called 'Nuclear Evolution', in which he linked the chakras to the colour spectrum.

 

 

Expanding the Colour Palette for Energy Centres

You may notice that crystals manifest in our material world with many of these colours. However, you may have also noticed that three key colours are missing – white, black and pink.

While the Vedic chakra system aligns well with the visible spectrum, it's essential to consider additional energy centres to support these missing colours.

We can add a white energy centre above the head, as white includes all colours on the spectrum. White or colourless crystals are often associated with clarity, consciousness and higher vibrations.

Black absorbs all colours, and this energy centre can sit around the feet or below the feet. Black crystals are often associated with grounding.

The pink energy centre sits close to the green energy centre for the heart. Mixing the two colours on each end of the visible spectrum - violet and red - you get a pinkish-purple colour, but blue and red will more specifically create magenta. Pink and green crystals and gemstones are often associated with the heart energy centre, so next to green is the perfect place.

 

 

On my website, you may have noticed some coloured dots on the product pages or eight specific colours on the "Shop By" page. I have these colours as they align with the above principle and is a really easy way to learn crystals and their energy type. Part of this is merging yellow and orange into one - amber - for simplicity. I've summarised a table here which should help you learn them:

Colour on Self & Others Chakra / Energy Centre Colour Used for
White/Colourless None in the Vedic system but also can align with the white "Soul Star" energy centre. Consciousness, higher vibrations, clarity
Purple Third Eye (indigo) and Crown (violet) Dreams, intuition, physic abilities, angelic realms
Blue Throat (blue) Communication, expression, focus, productivity
Green Heart (green) Abundance, prosperity, fertility, new beginnings, luck
Pink None in the Vedic system Love, compassion, kindness, grief
Amber Sacral (orange) and Solar Plexus (yellow) Creativity, confidence, success, positivity, joy
Red Root or Base (red) Passion, vitality, energy, sexuality, motivation
Black None in the Vedic system but also can align with the black "Earth Star" energy centre. Grounding, protection, transmutation

Conclusion

The additional of spectral colours to the chakra system is a westernised and modern addition. However, the world of colour is a feast for the eyes and a gateway to understanding the energies that govern our lives. By blending scientific knowledge with spiritual wisdom, we can enrich our lives in ways we never thought possible.

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