Inventing a Goddess – Table of Correspondences: Colors
There are several tangled backstories to this tale. Many are threads that go back a score or more years (score sounds much more elegant than 20, which just makes me feel old!). A few are knotted and loop back around. So I will begin at the title and work back from there: Inventing a Goddess.
Up to this point, I had six forces and three divines guides with their three colors. The six forces ended up not splitting into 3 even pairs as well as I had hoped. Each pair was really more of a primary and secondary dyad. What I was going for however, was six equal forces, not three forces with three subordinate counterparts. So my next step in evolving my pantheon was coming up with three new personifications and colors in addition to Black, White, and Red.
The Black, White, and Red divine guides can spontaneously and independently from my invented cosmology through journey work. They kind of found me. Looking for or creating three news ones is pretty much the exact opposite approach. Since I was at a loss for how exactly to get started, I worked with what I know best: painting!
the Six Colors
The starting three (red, black, white) were preassigned by virtue of the appearance of my three divine guides. Those are just the colors they showed up wearing. However, these colors have an exhaustive amount of witch lore and symbolism associated with them that makes them significant,! so that probably wasn’t much of a coincidence…
The most ancient Paleolithic art used such a black, white and red palette. Some examples of other systems that include black, white and red as a foundation are the Native American Medicine Wheel, the ancient Egyptian Red and Black lands, and the Greek bodily humors.
Light (white), dark (black), and vivid color (red) are the most basic, mutually distinguishable colors to the eye. All languages distinguish between black/dark and white/light. If a language has a third color term it is always red. Whether or not a language names additional colors or how they divide up the visible spectrum varies, but these are the basic building blocks. (This is an extreme oversimplification of linguistic research, but is sufficient for this exercise.¹)
The literalness of the ancient pigments was really appealing so I generated the additional three, by straight up mixing the first three.
Presto! Six colors! Now the hard part, assigning the new colors to Chaos, Matter, and Order.
Assigning the Colors
So from my previous love affair with listmaking, Chaos, Matter, and Order each had one color preassigned. The trick was now to figure out what the secondary force or ingredient was to generate the color.
White was the most complicated for me to unwind. One, I hate white. I have always disparaged it as unimaginative “default” color like white apartment walls, white t-shirts, blank paper. My knee-jerk response is always that white is a lazy, inspired, BORING choice. That’s kind of unfair, but it is what it is. Secondly, I was really having a hard time seeing the white goddess as two distinct entities. Brainstorming analogous goddesses really helped with this issue. With that in mind, I abstracted Consciousness as being a mix of the logical mind of Order expanded across the void of the Unknowable, becoming the intuitive soul. So after all that, Order ended up as white and Consciousness was Order’s white and the Unknowable’s black mixed as gray. Gray is a bit dreary, however, so I upgraded to silver, a perfect lunar shade.
For Chaos, I imagined it like the Big Bang, which evoked Energy (explosion) in the void of creation (Unknowable). Therefore, I assigned Chaos dark red (black plus red) or maroon.
Matter was created by Order building it out of the raw materials of Energy so Energy’s red and Order’s white make pink. Although earth and matter are usually either brown for soil or green for vegetation, pink is the color of many shades of skin, flesh, or meat so there is a visceral symbolism with pink that evokes the organic life. I liked the pink concept since it evokes the Homeric “rosy-fingered dawn.” Life in all its forms is a kind of perpetual dawn and that hopeful exuberance ended up shaping the personality of Matter in other ways as well. By analogy, Matter can alternately be represented by gold or copper just as Consciousness is both matte gray or metallic silver.
Evaluating the Results
I was originally unsatisfied with my logic since at first it seemed that I was altering the genealogy in my creation story. If Chaos is Energy + the Unknowable and Consciousness is Order + the Unknowable did that mean that they were “younger” than their ingredients? In my story, Chaos precedes Energy, but in my color chart it is “made” of red Energy. Consciousness is similarly created by mixing Order’s white even though in my story Consciousness is the progenitor of Order rather than the other way around.
However, the mystery I unraveled is that birth isn’t quite as simple as mixing paint where two ingredients go in, blend, and cannot be extracted again. I was being too literal! Chaos and Consciousness naturally contain black, they were born out of the Unknowable. and yet their respective red and white parts were already in them too. When those parts were separated and distilled to create Energy and Consciousness, the more distinct base colors of red and white were revealed in their clarity. Just like reality, the easy to observe and measure forces of Order-ly physics and the Energetic qualities of heat and brightness are only the surface of our reality. Underneath that are the murkier hues of what we do not yet have the means to perceive or understand.
Pretty amazing what thoughts you have when mixing three colors around!
Inventing a Goddess – Creation
Inventing a Goddess – How Many?
Inventing a Goddess – Combining Paradigms
Inventing a Goddess – Archetypes