“The next time you see a painting of a rainbow, whether it appears in an advertisement, on the television, or in a book, take a look at it. Look particularly between the blue and violet shades and I’ll bet you don’t see Indigo” said Jan my colour teacher, as we delved into the indigo lesson some 30 odd years ago.
Out of all the colours I found it the most challenging to get to grips with, one minute I understood it, the next that knowing had disappeared. “That’s Indigo” wrote Jan, followed by a hand drawn winking smiling emoji face, when giving feedback on my attempts to explain back to her this mysterious colour.
She was right, very often indigo is the missing sixth colour when you see pictures, in any shape or form, of a rainbow. When I mention indigo, it is the one colour that most people have difficulty in identifying, is it blue, is it violet. It’s both, and a colour in its own right.
Imagine my surprise over the last 16 months when I’ve asked people from around the world, if they had to give a colour to the pandemic, what would it be? The answer, indigo.
Suddenly people seem to know the colour, it’s like this current crisis has brought indigo into collective consciousnessInterestingly, in my questioning there has yet to be a consistent colour for the healing of the pandemic.
Maybe as the great Sufi poet Rumi said, “The elixir is very often hidden in the poison” So, what is hidden in this deep and mysterious colour, and what can we learn from it?
Did you know that at one time indigo as a dye was called “the devil’s colour” to try to dissuade some European countries from using it. Another reason suggested for it being known by this name was due to the purported hallucinogenic effects from certain parts of the indigo plant. It is perfectly possible the British and European plantation owners of the time didn’t take to kindly to some of the visions and predictions given by those under the influence.
In the chakra energy system indigo is connected to the sixth chakra, often referred to as the third eye. In ancient Sanskrit it is known as “Ajna” meaning “beyond knowing” It is the chakra most associated with our sixth sense, we know something without knowing how we know.
In nature we can only see it at certain times of the day, indigo is most visible after first light but before sunrise, and after sunset but before nightfall. It is a colour that sits on the edge, bridging different worlds.
In Colour PsychoDynamics® we recognise indigo as The Magician, the one who knows how to command and weave the invisible energetic threads of life. Chaos theory suggests “The butterfly that flaps its wings in Japan causes a hurricane in New York”, I like to think that this theory has a hint of magical indigo to it.
Whilst it is a colour for developing intuition it is also a colour that has the potential to bring someone to their knees. In its darkest depths it has the potential to pull us apart to the very core of our being in order that we may reconnect with that inner light, that spark of light that connects us all.
It is what Carl Jung referred to as in search of “black gold” or “the golden shadow”. This gold that Jung talks of, relates to the part of you and me that is totally unique, the “you” that you were born to be and become, and yet somehow we have learnt to hide it or dismiss it as belonging to someone else.
A more shadowy side of The Magician is to create illusion by using lots of smoke and mirrors. In today’s world that could be translated to being caught under the “illusionists spell” of social media and its ability to alter the way we look physically and to create a seemingly amazing life. All it takes is the swipe of screen, just like the wave of the magician’s wand. The impact often leaving some people feeling lacking, empty and constantly searching, one step further away from that special unique light within.
I sometimes refer to The Magician as The Transformer, the agent of change. Think of it like this, when you cook a meal, you bring together all the ingredients and then through the process of cooking you transform them into the dish you intended to create. This magical transformation applies to anything in which you bring different things together, in order to create something new, be they ideas, food ingredients or projects. Indigo is the melting pot and crucible for alchemical change.
Indigo, I must admit is one of my favourite colours, whilst initially being my most challenging colour relationship, it is has proved to be one of my best teachers. One of the things I love about the colour is its ability to help us see things from a bigger perspective, it leads us on the path to metaphors and myths.
For example, what if for a moment we viewed mask wearing from this symbolic indigo viewpoint, might we wonder whether the metaphor was about learning to listen instead of always being ready with an answer. Might it be that in the space between listening and answering we respond from a deeper place of being? With our mouths covered and our ears open might we also be being invited to connect with someone, as Shakespeare so eloquently described them, through the “windows of the Soul”?
Isn’t that more or less where the sixth chakra is located? Isn’t that connected to indigo?
In the poem “The Invitation” by Oriah Mountain Dreamer, there is a line which I believe perfectly sums up indigo’s current invitation to each of us at this moment in time.
“I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back”
Indigo, on a collective and personal level, as I have already mentioned, can break us down, it brings disorder and chaos, we may feel as though we are indeed at the centre of a raging fire. However, even in these seemingly chaotic realms there is an order, a bigger picture, waiting to be created.
Indigo as an elixir invites us to examine the invisible patterns and threads that have either been woven for us, or the patterns we have created during our lives so far.
Some patterns enhance our natural way of being and others trap us in debilitating entanglements. Think of expectations for example, be they from family, peer pressure or society, all have the potential to tie us in knots. All the time we are constantly “trying to be” we lose the opportunity of becoming who we were born to be.
The colour, even though seemingly dark, in fact brings light to these hidden threads, and as we disentangle so our lives as we know them, begin to feel on shaky ground. What was once familiar now feels unsecure, what once worked no longer has a place for us. What is controlled and disordered is broken down to align with a natural order.
From a metaphorical and symbolic perspective, could this be why, when asked what is the colour of the pandemic, all those people from different parts of the world, replied with the same colour. Indigo, the colour of a pandemic, indigo the colour of a collective transformation.
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