mystical colors




According to Anthroposophical belief, colors have spiritual powers and meanings. Not all Anthroposophical sources agree on the precise power and meaning of each individual color, but there is a broad consensus — stemming, of course, from Rudolf Steiner’s preachments. Here is a summary. Note that some of the colors described are not exactly the hues perceived by our physical eyes; they are the spiritual analogs of such hues, perceptible through clairvoyance in such spiritual expressions as auras.


In general, Steiner taught that colors reflect the spirit realm, which is suffused with (and, in a sense, consists of) color. 


“[T]he world from which the soul descends [into earthly life] has no spatial forms or lines, [but] it does have color intensities, color qualities. Which is to say that the world man inhabits between death and a new birth...is a soul-permeated, spirit-permeated world of light, of color, of tone....” — Rudolf Steiner, THE ARTS AND THEIR MISSION (Anthroposophic Press, 1964), p. 23.


Steiner taught that we receive spiritual effects — we find the gods — through colors. (This is not the only way to find the gods, but it is highly important, Steiner indicated.) 


“[S]piritual beings, called gods or devas, now reveal themselves through the colours. The astral world...is a world of beings who speak to us through colour.” — Rudolf Steiner, FOUNDING A SCIENCE OF THE SPIRIT (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1999), p. 14.


The color of our physical surroundings deeply influences the spiritual conditions we experience. Different spiritual beings are present to us in rooms of different colors.


“In a red room, other [spiritual] beings become visible than in a blue room.” — Rudolf Steiner, quoted in ART INSPIRED BY RUDOLF STEINER, John Fletcher (Mercury Arts Publications, 1987), p. 95.


The gods are present in colors, and so are elemental beings — “nature spirits.” Elemental beings can be found, for instance, in the colors of the rainbow.


“Today man stares at the rainbow. If one looks at it with the slightest imagination [i.e., clairvoyant insight], one sees elemental beings active in it ... In the yellow certain of them are seen continually emerging from the rainbow, and moving across to the green. The moment they reach the underneath of the green, they are attracted to and disappear in it, to emerge on the other side. The whole rainbow reveals to an imaginative observer an outpouring and a disappearance of the spiritual. It reveals in fact something like a spiritual waltz.” — Rudolf Steiner, COLOUR (Rudolf Steiner Publishing Co., 1935), lecture 4, GA 291.














"Colour", a drawing by Arild Rosenkrantz —

Rudolf Steiner's favorite artist.

The image depicts the "warm" colors

in polar contrast to the "cool" colors.


[Public domain image; 1935.]











Specifics.

Here are some Anthroposophical beliefs about various colors.

(For clarity, I will paraphrase more than quote,

but I will cite sources.)



black


◊ This is the color of spiritual death. — Rudolf Steiner, THE ARTS AND THEIR MISSION (Anthroposophic Press, 1964), p. 94.


◊ Black represents lifelessness; it is destructive, fatal darkness.  — Rudolf Steiner, COLOUR (Rudolf Steiner Publishing Co., 1935), lecture 1, GA 291.


◊ Black is a pictorial color; it takes its hue from things outside itself.  — Rudolf Steiner, COLOUR (Rudolf Steiner Publishing Co., 1935), lecture 2, GA 291.


◊ The influence of the fixed stars is present in this color. — Rudolf Steiner, quoted in John Flecther’s ART INSPIRED BY RUDOLF STEINER (Mercury Arts Publications, 1987), p. 132.



blue


◊ Artists have often found that blue conveys spirituality. Indeed, blue is the “lustre of the soul.” — Margrit Jünemann & Fritz Weitmann, DRAWING AND PAINTING IN RUDOLF STEINER SCHOOLS (Hawthorn Press, 1994), pp. 152-153.


◊ Blue takes us into the realm of the form-creating soul; it yields “inner perspective” and “feeling perception” where spiritual truth is found. Blue brings pictures to life, conveying movement. — Rudolf Steiner, ART AS SPIRITUAL ACTIVITY (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), pp. 206-207.


◊ Blue takes us out of ourselves; it promotes a desire to overcome egoism. — Rudolf Steiner, UNDERSTANDING THE HUMAN BEING (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1993), pp. 160-161.


◊ Blue walls create an atmosphere conducive to significant, deep discussion. — Rudolf Steiner, ART AS SPIRITUAL ACTIVITY (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 207.


◊ As a mind color, blue is the color of the celestial realm. — Christine Crawley, quoted in “A Colorful Education at Waldorf” (Mail Tribune, Oregon, 8/23/2010).


◊ As a luster, blue projects a hue inherent in itself.  — Rudolf Steiner, COLOUR (Rudolf Steiner Publishing Co., 1935), lecture 2, GA 291.


◊ The influence of the planets is present in this color. — Rudolf Steiner, quoted in John Flecther’s ART INSPIRED BY RUDOLF STEINER (Mercury Arts Publications, 1987), p. 132.


◊ The moral effect of blue is to bring in darkness; a blue room feels larger but empty and cold.  "Reddish blue" disturbs children; when it enlivens, it does so without imparting gladness. — Brunhild Müller, PAINTING WITH CHILDREN (Floris Books, 2010), p. 9.


◊ Phlegmatic individuals, in particular children, have an affinity for blue. — René Querido, "The Role of Temperament in Understanding the Child", WALDORF EDUCATION - A Family Guide, Pamela Johnson and Karen L. Rivers, editors (Michaelmas Press, 1995), p.  Violet blue evades us and inspires us to pursue it; in this sense, it has attractive power. — Rudolf Steiner, COLOUR (Rudolf Steiner Publishing Co., 1935), lecture 4, GA 291.


◊ As perceived clairvoyantly, pale blue is the color of “healing and spirituality.” — George Riland, THE STEINERBOOKS DICTIONARY OF THE PSYCHIC, MYSTIC, OCCULT (SteinerBooks, 1973).



brown


◊ Brown is the “lustre of the lifeless.” — Margrit Jünemann & Fritz Weitmann, DRAWING AND PAINTING IN RUDOLF STEINER SCHOOLS (Hawthorn Press, 1994), p. 153.


◊ As perceived clairvoyantly, browns and “muddy hues” denote sickness. — George Riland, THE STEINERBOOKS DICTIONARY OF THE PSYCHIC, MYSTIC, OCCULT (SteinerBooks, 1973).



gold


◊ As perceived clairvoyantly, gold denotes spirituality. — George Riland, THE STEINERBOOKS DICTIONARY OF THE PSYCHIC, MYSTIC, OCCULT (SteinerBooks, 1973).


◊ Artists wishing to convey the power of yellow (expressing spirit) often use gold.  — Margrit Jünemann & Fritz Weitmann, DRAWING AND PAINTING IN RUDOLF STEINER SCHOOLS (Hawthorn Press, 1994), p. 152. 



green


◊ This is the dead (merely physical) color of life. — Rudolf Steiner, THE ARTS AND THEIR MISSION (Anthroposophic Press, 1964), p. 94.


◊ Green is the color of plant life, earthly life — life without the soul (skin tinted green denotes soul sickness or the absence of soul). — Rudolf Steiner, COLOUR (Rudolf Steiner Publishing Co., 1935), lecture 1, GA 291. 


◊ Green deepens the strength of our current incarnation. — Rudolf Steiner, UNDERSTANDING THE HUMAN BEING (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1993), pp. 160-161.


◊ Green is a pictorial color; it takes its hue from things outside itself.  — Rudolf Steiner, COLOUR (Rudolf Steiner Publishing Co., 1935), lecture 2, GA 291.


◊ The influence of the fixed stars is present in this color. — Rudolf Steiner, quoted in John Flecther’s ART INSPIRED BY RUDOLF STEINER (Mercury Arts Publications, 1987), p. 132.


◊ The moral effect of green is to produce comfort and repose, especially when its constituents, blue and yellow, are properly balanced. — Brunhild Müller, PAINTING WITH CHILDREN (Floris Books, 2010), p. 10.


◊ As perceived clairvoyantly, green denotes mere intellectual comprehension. — George Riland, THE STEINERBOOKS DICTIONARY OF THE PSYCHIC, MYSTIC, OCCULT (SteinerBooks, 1973).



lusters (lustres)


Steiner distinguished "lusters" (blue, red, yellow) from "pictorial colors" (black, green, peach, white). Lusters project hues inherent in themselves, whereas pictorial colors takes their hues from things outside themselves.  — Rudolf Steiner, COLOUR (Rudolf Steiner Publishing Co., 1935), lecture 2, GA 291.




orange


◊ This color promotes a sense of inner strength. — Rudolf Steiner, UNDERSTANDING THE HUMAN BEING (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1993), pp. 160-161.


◊ Orange is a warm color, conveying a “tinge of the supersensible.”  — Rudolf Steiner, ART AS SPIRITUAL ACTIVITY (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), pp. 206-207.



peach (peach-blossom)


◊ This is “human flesh color”: it exemplifies the human soul, human divinity. — Rudolf Steiner, THE ARTS AND THEIR MISSION, p. 94. (Note that by "flesh color," Steiner meant the color of Caucasian skin.)


◊ “It is the image of the soul-nature ... It is the living image of the soul. The soul experiences itself in flesh-colour.” — Rudolf Steiner, COLOUR (Rudolf Steiner Publishing Co., 1935), lecture 1, GA 291.


◊ It is a color of carefree childhood. — Christine Crawley, quoted in “A Colorful Education at Waldorf” (Mail Tribune, Oregon, 8/23/2010).


◊ Peach is a pictorial color; it takes its hue from things outside itself.  — Rudolf Steiner, COLOUR (Rudolf Steiner Publishing Co., 1935), lecture 2, GA 291.


◊ The influence of the fixed stars is present in this color. — Rudolf Steiner, quoted in John Flecther’s ART INSPIRED BY RUDOLF STEINER (Mercury Arts Publications, 1987), p. 132.



pictorial colors


Steiner distinguished "pictorial colors" (black, green, peach, white) from "lusters" (blue, red, yellow). Pictorial colors takes their hues from things outside themselves, whereas lusters project hues inherent in themselves. — Rudolf Steiner, COLOUR (Rudolf Steiner Publishing Co., 1935), lecture 2, GA 291.




pink


◊ This is the color of the womb, comforting for young children. — Christine Crawley, quoted in “A Colorful Education at Waldorf” (Mail Tribune, Oregon, 8/23/2010).


◊ As perceived clairvoyantly, pink is a color of love. — George Riland, THE STEINERBOOKS DICTIONARY OF THE PSYCHIC, MYSTIC, OCCULT (SteinerBooks, 1973).



purple


◊ Purple, like blue, takes us into the realm of “inner perspective” where spiritual truth is found. — Rudolf Steiner, ART AS SPIRITUAL ACTIVITY (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), pp. 206-207.


◊ Melancholic individuals, in particular children, have an affinity for pale purple (mauve). — René Querido, "The Role of Temperament in Understanding the Child", WALDORF EDUCATION - A Family Guide, Pamela Johnson and Karen L. Rivers, editors (Michaelmas Press, 1995), p. 62.


◊ As perceived clairvoyantly, purple is a color of healing. — George Riland, THE STEINERBOOKS DICTIONARY OF THE PSYCHIC, MYSTIC, OCCULT (SteinerBooks, 1973).



rainbow (spectrum)


◊ This is the panoply of inner colors with which the Earth wants to shine forth. — Rudolf Steiner, THE FOUR SEASONS AND THE ARCHANGELS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1968), lecture 2, GA 229. (Note that Steiner, taking his lead from Goethe, denied that white light can be split into a spectrum. The rainbow consists of seven separate colors, he said; it corresponds to the universal pattern in which seven — the number of perfection — is represented virtually everywhere.)


◊ The rainbow is an emblem of changing, developing human consciousness. — “A Colorful Education at Waldorf” (Mail Tribune, Oregon, 8/23/2010).



red


◊ This color conveys a sense of standing before the judgment of God. — Rudolf Steiner, UNDERSTANDING THE HUMAN BEING (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1993), pp. 160-161.


◊ It is a warm color, conveying a “tinge of the supersensible.”  — Rudolf Steiner, ART AS SPIRITUAL ACTIVITY (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), pp. 206-207.


◊ Red walls create a sense of artistic perception — people in red rooms should have valuable and interesting insights. — Rudolf Steiner, ART AS SPIRITUAL ACTIVITY (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), pp. 196-197.


◊ Red is the “lustre of the living.” — Margrit Jünemann & Fritz Weitmann, DRAWING AND PAINTING IN RUDOLF STEINER SCHOOLS (Hawthorn Press, 1994), p. 153.


◊ Red is a luster; it projects a hue inherent in itself.  — Rudolf Steiner, COLOUR (Rudolf Steiner Publishing Co., 1935), lecture 2, GA 291.


◊ The influence of the planets is present in this color. — Rudolf Steiner, quoted in John Flecther’s ART INSPIRED BY RUDOLF STEINER (Mercury Arts Publications, 1987), p. 132.


◊ Red is aggressive; it pushes one back. Red-yellow conveys streams of fear. — Rudolf Steiner, COLOUR (Rudolf Steiner Publishing Co., 1935), lecture 4, GA 291.


◊ The moral effect of red is to convey a sense of dignity and importance; red is dreadful, it inspires awe. "Yellowy" red is very energetic, and it appeals to impetuous, uneducated people. "Bluey" red produces deep unquiet; a carpet of this color would be intolerable. — Brunhild Müller, PAINTING WITH CHILDREN (Floris Books, 2010), pp. 9-10.


◊ Choleric individuals, in particular children, have an affinity for red. — René Querido, "The Role of Temperament in Understanding the Child", WALDORF EDUCATION - A Family Guide, Pamela Johnson and Karen L. Rivers, editors (Michaelmas Press, 1995), p. 62.


◊ As perceived clairvoyantly, red denotes desire and anger; dark red denotes passion. — George Riland, THE STEINERBOOKS DICTIONARY OF THE PSYCHIC, MYSTIC, OCCULT (SteinerBooks, 1973).



violet-blue


◊ This color has attractive power; it evades us and inspires us to pursue; it inspires courage and valor. — Rudolf Steiner, COLOUR (Rudolf Steiner Publishing Co., 1935), lecture 4, GA 291.



white


◊ White is the “soul image of spirit”. — Rudolf Steiner, THE ARTS AND THEIR MISSION (Anthroposophic Press, 1964), p. 94. (Note that Steiner, taking his lead from Goethe, said that white is a separate color. White light does not contain the other colors — white stands apart. It is, in a sense, the color most emblematic of evolving humanity, rising through stages to perfection.)


◊ White is purity, the presence of divinity; it stimulates “inner strength;” it is the “psychic appearance of the spirit”. — Rudolf Steiner, COLOUR (Rudolf Steiner Publishing Co., 1935), lecture 3, GA 291.


◊ White is a pictorial color; it takes its hue from things outside itself.  — Rudolf Steiner, COLOUR (Rudolf Steiner Publishing Co., 1935), lecture 2, GA 291.


◊ The influence of the fixed stars is present in this color. — Rudolf Steiner, quoted in John Flecther’s ART INSPIRED BY RUDOLF STEINER (Mercury Arts Publications, 1987), p. 132.


yellow


◊ Yellow carries us back to our first earthly incarnation. — Rudolf Steiner, UNDERSTANDING THE HUMAN BEING (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1993), pp. 160-161.


◊ It is a warm color, conveying a “tinge of the supersensible.”  — Rudolf Steiner, ART AS SPIRITUAL ACTIVITY (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), pp. 206-207.


◊ Yellow radiates; it has Sun radiance; yellow surfaces must be unbounded (a yellow surface with boundaries revolts the artistic soul). — Rudolf Steiner, COLOUR (Rudolf Steiner Publishing Co., 1935), lecture 2, GA 291.


◊ Yellow is the color of the birth of the individual. — Christine Crawley, quoted in “A Colorful Education at Waldorf” (Mail Tribune, Oregon, 8/23/2010).


◊ Yellow is the “lustre of the spirit.” — Margrit Jünemann & Fritz Weitmann, DRAWING AND PAINTING IN RUDOLF STEINER SCHOOLS (Hawthorn Press, 1994), p. 153.


◊ Yellow is a luster; it projects a hue inherent in itself.  — Rudolf Steiner, COLOUR (Rudolf Steiner Publishing Co., 1935), lecture 2, GA 291.


◊ The influence of the planets is present in this color. — Rudolf Steiner, quoted in John Flecther’s ART INSPIRED BY RUDOLF STEINER (Mercury Arts Publications, 1987), p. 132.

◊ Sanguine individuals, in particular children, have an affinity for yellow. — René Querido, "The Role of Temperament in Understanding the Child", WALDORF EDUCATION - A Family Guide, Pamela Johnson and Karen L. Rivers, editors (Michaelmas Press, 1995), p. 62.


◊ The moral effect of yellow is to gladden the eye and cheer the heart.  Reddish yellow is still more energetic and splendid. — Brunhild Müller, PAINTING WITH CHILDREN (Floris Books, 2010), p. 9.




yellow-green


◊ A color of Earthly incarnation, a color that shows us becoming grounded. — Christine Crawley, quoted in “A Colorful Education at Waldorf” (Mail Tribune, Oregon, 8/23/2010).






— Compilation by Roger Rawlings


















A Waldorf color wheel, 
showing colors with their complements/opposites. 
Steiner indicated that there are profound connections 
between colors and their spiritual counterparts. 
Meditating on a color in the physical realm 
can transport you to that color's 
opposite in the spirit realm — a spiritual color that is, 
itself, a god having particular spiritual attributes. 
One version of the Anthroposophical creation story 
is that the physical universe came into being 
by manifesting as the counterparts of 
colors (gods) in the spirit realm. 

[R. R., 2010.]









In Waldorf art, colors are often arrayed 
according to their prismatic order: 
each color blends into the color beside it. 
This is said to have spiritual significance, 
since all phenomena are ordered 
according to the divine cosmic plan. 
Colors, embodying spirit, have their correct positions, 
which should not be violated. 

[R.R., 2013.]









Human souls have their colors, 
which may be perceived clairvoyantly. 
The color of one's soul (reflected in one's aura) 
indicates one's temperament and karma — 
what you will (or should) become in this life. 

[Lois Cusick, WALDORF PARENTING HANDBOOK 
(Rudolf Steiner College Press, 2005), p. 31.]









"Colour theory — Rudolf Steiner's colour theory accords with that of Goethe (1749-1832). Goethe argued that colours originate from the interplay of light and darkness. Yellow originates from looking at light through darkness: the setting sun seen through the darkening atmosphere grows yellow and subsequently orange and red. Blue originates from looking at darkness through light: we look at the pitch-dark universe through the light of the sun and we see the blue sky. [1]

"Rudolf Steiner adds to Goethe's theory a colour division into image colors (green, white, black, peach blossom) and radiant colors (blue, red, yellow). The radiant colours are active, radiant like the light of the sun. The image colours are passive like the sunlight reflected from the moon. This difference was elaborated in conversations Rudolf Steiner had with painters who were given directions [by Steiner] for the specific use of these two types of colours. A wet-on-wet painting technique is used in painting lessons in Waldorf schools to give pure experiences of the colours' different qualities. The effect can be enhanced by painting the colours layer upon layer, in what is called veil painting. Not only the painter but also those who look at the final picture can experience this process as healing. [2] Attention is diverted to the creative forces [i.e., spirits] behind the image itself, the intrinsic qualities of colour. In all fields of work inspired by anthroposophy, this colour theory plays an important part in the use of colour in buildings, for instance in schools. Different coloured classrooms accord with the different types of consciousness of growing children." — Henk van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Sophia Books, 2011), pp. 25-26. [3] 




Footnotes Added by R.R.


[1] These propositions, evaluated in the light of modern scientific knowledge, are clearly false. Because they form the foundation of Rudolf Steiner's color theory, that theory is clearly baseless.


[3] For more on the sorts of colors used on classroom walls in Waldorf schools, see the section "Waldorf Classroom Walls" lower on this page.










Sharon Lombard has pulled together the following informative quotations.



◊ "Blue enables us to surrender completely our whole organization to what approaches our soul in such a space. Through blue we can have good and tranquil perception. Blue offers the best possible environment for actively quiescent spiritual study. Through this colour we come into connection with spiritual beings who help us in our body of formative forces, with just those mental activities needed for absorbing spiritual truths inwardly. We shall not have to struggle to repel harmful influences from elemental beings, but the forces of our ether body will be aroused to work more easily. The principle of the transparent walls also holds good for colours. The spiritual beings around us are of many kinds. But they are not so pigeon-holed that they must live in different dwellings. The law of impenetrability holds only for the physical world. In higher realms penetrability prevails." — Rudolf Steiner, ART INSPIRED BY RUDOLF STEINER, John Fletcher (Mercury Arts Publications, 1987), p. 10.

◊ John Fletcher, speaking of the Goetheanum — the Anthroposophical headquarters/templed designed by Steiner — adds the following: "So the red walls and the blue dome [of an Anthroposophical building] produce a rhythmical expansion and contraction as the soul breathes in and out. " — ART INSPIRED BY RUDOLF STEINER, p. 10.

◊ Steiner was to give particular instructions about the plant-based paints which were to be 'lazured' on to his temple's walls after they were undercoated with white paint, ensuring that the walls appeared transparent. Steiner's favorite artist, Baron Arild Rosenkrantz, had this to say about the effects produced by lazured walls and occult imagery in the Goetheanum.* (Rosenkrantz himself produced many of these images, under Steiner's guidance): "Anyone who has a sense for colour must feel that it is a world out of which form can arise. In the Goetheanum were combinations from which form came into being like foam on the crest of a wave ... Like a magic wand the brush in Rudolf Steiner's hand releases an untold wealth of super-earthly images which lie hidden within the world of colour and light and in these images he conveys to us the mysteries of life...." pg. 52 Art Inspired by Rudolf Steiner. — ART INSPIRED BY RUDOLF STEINER, p. 52.

◊ Anthroposophist Bertha Meyer Jacobs relates: "As Rudolf Steiner has told us, if one colours a form one animates it directly with what is soul in the world, with the world-soul, because the colour does not belong only to the form; the colour imparted to the form places it into the whole relationship of its environment, into the connections of the world ... Rudolf Steiner said that we have to regard what lives in the forms and colours as the living organ of the spiritual world". — ART INSPIRED BY RUDOLF STEINER, p. 65.

◊ Steiner: "The effects of colour are extremely important ... Colours which appear transparent (as in coloured windows) are again different from the colour which is on a wall we cannot see through. When we observe this shining bright colour we have to say: Just as through the colour by which, on the opaque wall, we enter into relation with certain beings, so through the transparent shining colour we enter into relation with other beings. While the beings with whom we come into touch through the opaque walls are primarily outspread in space, but really have nothing to do with the three kingdoms below us, the mineral, vegetable and animal kingdoms, through shining colours we come in touch with the beings directly occupied with bringing the objects of the three kingdoms of nature into being. When we look clairvoyantly through shining red we come in touch with quite a particular kind of beings within the kingdoms of nature. When shining red forms a sort of window through which to look clairvoyantly into the kingdoms of nature we meet with beings whose work forms the best forces for the future of our earth existence...." — ART INSPIRED BY RUDOLF STEINER, p. 96.

◊ Steiner: "You will best realize the significance of colour if we describe how it affects the occultist. For this it is necessary that a person should free himself completely from everything else and devote himself to the particular colour, immerse himself in it. If the person devoting himself to the colour which covers these physically dense walls were one who had made certain occult progress, it would come about that after a period of this complete devotion the walls would disappear from his clairvoyant vision; the consciousness that the walls shut off the outer world would vanish. Now, what appears first is not merely that he sees the neighboring houses outside, that the walls become like glass, but in the sphere which opens up there is a world of purely spiritual phenomena; spiritual facts and spiritual figures become visible. We need only reflect that behind everything around us physically there are spiritual beings and facts ... The worlds which surround us spiritually are of many kinds, many different kinds of elementary beings are around us. These are not enclosed in boxes or in such a state that they live in various houses ... But they cannot all be seen in the same way; according to the capacity of clairvoyant vision, there may be visible and invisible beings in the same space. What spiritual beings become visible in any particular instance depends on the colour to which we devote ourselves. In a red room, other beings become visible than in a blue room, when one penetrates to them by means of colour. We may now ask: what happens if one is not clairvoyant? That which the clairvoyant does consciously is done unconsciously by the etheric body of a person not clairvoyantly trained; it enters a certain relationship with the same beings.— ART INSPIRED BY RUDOLF STEINER, p. 95.

◊ John Fletcher: "[I]t is the astral, the inner light, that creates the after-images and with attentiveness they become conscious as visual experience ... The use of after-images to modify a child's temperament is familiar practice in Rudolf Steiner schools. Teachers know that excitable children can be calmed by surrounding or clothing them with reds and that lethargic children can be aroused by green or blue tones. What occurs in blood and nerve is not restricted to the eye. A red, for instance, will influence the nervous system as a whole and the blood system reacts as a whole with a metabolic activity corresponding to the colour green. The child is still more asleep in the nervous system than is the adult, more awake than the adult in the blood system. So while he enjoys colour, he lives strongly in the calming or vitalising effect. The adult is conditioned by modern culture to the nerve, the death process; he brings his perceptions to consciousness in the astral body and is not aware of the life therein." — ART INSPIRED BY RUDOLF STEINER, pp. 129-130.

◊ John Fletcher: "Unlike that of Newton, Goethe's theory [of color, which heavily influenced Steiner] includes an activity of the human soul and spirit, the inner light. And so we come to the so-called 'physiological' or counter colours: after-images, created in the eye in response to perception and of great importance both to Goethe and Rudolf Steiner."  — ART INSPIRED BY RUDOLF STEINER, p. 128.

◊ John Fletcher: "If one has observed the enhancement of the opposites, Goethe wrote, and has seen how they incline to each other and are united in a third, we shall discern a spiritual meaning behind these opposite entities and shall acknowledge that 'when we see them bringing forth, here below, the green, and there above, the red, we are beholding on the one side the earthly, on the other the heavenly creations of the Elohim.'" — ART INSPIRED BY RUDOLF STEINER, p. 128.

◊ Some ex-Waldorf parents have reported that their children have been wrapped in colored silk and made to paint paper with color for healing purposes. Steiner taught that "our etheric body may be assisted by spiritual beings by using corresponding colour" (Fletcher, p. 95), and Steiner said: "With regard to the environment, 'nervous' children, that is, excitable children, should be treated differently from those who are quiet and lethargic. Everything comes into consideration, from the color of the room and the various objects that are generally around the child, to the color of the clothes they wear. One will often do the wrong thing if one does not take guidance from spiritual knowledge, for in many cases the materialistic idea will be the exact reverse of what is proper. Excitable children should be surrounded by and dressed in red or reddish-yellow colors, while lethargic children should be surrounded by blue or bluish-green shades of color. The important thing is the complementary color that is created within the child. In the case of red it is green, and in the case of blue, orange-yellow." — Rudolf Steiner, THE EDUCATION OF THE CHILD (Anthroposophic Press, 1996) pp. 20-21.


•••

* Note that these comments apply primarily to the original Goetheanum, a wooden building dominated by two large domes. This building was destroyed by fire, after which it was replaced by a domeless concrete building. The second Goetheanum was not completed until long after Steiner's death, but many of his instructions concerning the occult effects of color were followed in the furnishing of this structure, which still stands today. — R.R.












Waldorf Classroom Walls




"If we look into a Waldorf school classroom we see the deliberate and consciously considered use of color. Although not every Waldorf school is exactly the same in its choice of colors there is often a general consistency based on a response to the stages of child development.

"For instance, in the nursery, kindergarten, and early grades, a soft, warm, pink tone is usually selected for walls and curtains because of its gently active and supportive quality. Pink is a loving, innocent color, decidedly feminine in character. Therefore, it is a natural color choice for the daily embracing of this age group.

"The Waldorf classroom colors evolve from these warm, reddish tones in the early grades, through energetic orange/yellow around third grade, into the middle spectrum greens around fourth and fifth grade. It is here at the half-way-point of childhood that a kind of balance is achieved just before the onset of puberty. Green is the balanced color between light and darkness, and meets this age group in a harmonious way. From sixth grade on into the high school, various shades of blue dominate, and even lavender, lilac, and violet tones are indicated for the more inwardly active, thoughtful work of the upper school adolescent. However, craft rooms are often appropriately painted with warm colors, and spaces for eating are aided by appetite sympathetic golden-orange colors.

"The interior colors in a Waldorf school are meant to support the child’s general phase of development at the same time as to enhance the educational experience for the particular grade level. Each classroom is a unique space for a specific age group and its activities. Therefore, each classroom wears a color appropriate to that space, the age of the students, and what generally takes place in it." — "Color in the Waldorf School: Van James", WALDORF TODAY. 






















[R.R., 2014.]














 
To visit other pages in this section of Waldorf Watch, 
use the underlined links, below.



ARTS

eurythmy : its origins and powers

fairy tales : their use in Waldorf schools

Goethe : Steiner and

mystical colors

plays : by R. Steiner