Red regulates the most basic needs such as eating, drinking, sleeping and waking patterns and is the centre of the primitive self and animal consciousness. It embodies blood and life itself: “Blood is the origin of the body. It is the blood that sustains vitality. Blood is life. Therefore, it should be preserved with utmost care.” (Indian Scriptures, Varanasi. 1963)
Children up to the age of seven are in the red stage of development. They respond intuitively and the conscious mind begins to develop only towards the end of this stage. When balanced, the red energy centre evokes stability. It is dynamic, rhythmic, in constant motion, like the red blood circulating in our body. The positive aspects of red are love, energy, vitality, fun and joy, while the negative forces of red can be destruction, aggression and hatred. When red is imbalanced, it can become the centre of illusion, anger and greed. Soldiers, adventurers, smugglers, tyrants, despots and rebels are typical representatives of a character imbued with red. People with high conscious or unconscious affinity for red are attracted to nudity and sexuality and often like rhythmic music.
If red bedlinens are used for a person who is already hyperactive or troubled, the effect of movement is intensified and sleep and deep rest become impossible. To calm this effect, one would have to use green (calming in the sense of balancing, securing, breathing, resting), lavender (calming in the sense of serenity, spirituality, airiness), yellow (calming in the sense of sunlight, warmth, grounding and joy), to name just a few options.
Red represents the constant search for nourishment to nourish the body, mind and spirit. It represents strength, stability and a firm foundation. If one lacks vitality, one can drink something red such as beetroot, carrot or red grape juice. Also, one can place one of the typical (red) stones such as garnet, hematite, red jasper, coral, onyx, ruby and black tourmaline on certain parts of the body – preferably under sunlight. Wearing jewellery such as a necklace made of red stones is said to have a circulation-strengthening effect. Red is associated with a bitter taste and the cardinal direction is south. Red is deeply anchored in human memory as a reminder of fire and life. It evokes associations of warmth, flammability and light.
Earth Sun, Fire, Light
Fire is associated with red because it comes closest to the sun in its properties. As a counterpart to the sun in the firmament of the sky, fire is called the “sun below ground – the earth sun”. It provides light and warmth in the darkness. Fire gives man the most of the feeling that the sun gives us. It is essential for life, for cooking, heating and for social occasions. Convivial evenings around the campfire create a familiar atmosphere. If fire gets out of control, it evokes fear, distress and displacement. Forest fires, flaming infernos, boiling hot lava streams are the epitome of pure destruction.
The signalling effect of red is related to its long wavelength. You see red from the greatest possible distance, which is why it also shines at the top as a traffic light colour and generally signals: Attention, stop! The relationship to light, signalling effect and heat can still be found today in the form of red logos for companies in the lighting, electrical and heat sectors. Because of its association with fire, red is also popular as a communication colour for kitchen appliances. Red in combination with white is widespread and well-known. Both colours convey the idea of light both by day and by night.
Red and white: light, square and circle
Various countries communicate their essential values in red and white flags, which imply, among other things, rootedness and strong ties to the homeland. These visual messages unite the most important basic values of the respective countries in their colours, shapes and symbols. The shape influences the perception. The more angular the red shape, the more it counteracts the qualities and energy of red. The stronger the desire for balance, deceleration and removal of inner connections, the more angular the representation of red becomes. In the square, the dynamics and mobility of red are stopped because the square – contrary to a circular wheel – inhibits or makes movement impossible. Indoor fireplaces therefore meet us as square fireplaces. Open campfires outdoors, on the other hand, invite us to gather in a circle.
Red in combination with white: pale rose and pink – an expression of home feelings and motherly love.
Merging red and white creates shades of rose and pink. Rose contributes to the regulation of primitive instinctual actions because “primitive and primal instinct red” combines with white. In rose, readiness for de-escalation arises. Feelings of home, motherly love and tenderness are based on the combination of “mature” feelings in connection with emotional, geographical and physical rootedness. When rose is used as an interior colour, it serves to calm and reduce aggression, as well as to remind us of our roots. The more rose grows into artificial pink, the more artificial (fake) is the intention associated with it. If naturally delicate pink becomes artificially garish pink, it is often a substitute for soulful home and relationships and connections marked by artificial superficiality. Telecom magenta suggests the possibility of an artificial connection that replaces personal exchange. It is also no coincidence that flashy pink often appears in connection with industrially influenced baked goods and gourmet chocolates, because it is supposed to artificially replace baking with a mother’s love.
Red and green: about the confusion of surface and content.
Red on the surface of a fruit indicates ripeness. Tomatoes, strawberries, wine and cherries develop their flavour intensity between June and August and as every year during the ripening and harvesting season. Ripeness is a process based on growth. Natural growth occurs when more energy is available than is needed to maintain the actual state. Then everything is in within the “green range”. When supplied with sun, light, water and warmth as well as mineral nutrients, small green buds turn into fruits and, for example, into the splendidly bright colours of summer blossoms and flowers. The visible sign of “Green energy” inside appears as red shading on the surface. Green is also the colour of real and true love of the heart. The idea that red is the colour of love refers to superficial love and is mainly a commercially influenced concept, for example, to sell red roses frequently and expensively especially when they are not even in bloom, such as on Valentine’s Day in February. Yet it is only through artificial influences (greenhouses, imports from other countries) that everything is available at all times and wherever there is demand.
Red as an inner state shows itself on the outside as black. Red on the surface is only short-lived because red is not a state but the expression of movement. As soon as red comes to a standstill, it loses its power and colour intensity. After a short brown phase, red turns black. This can be observed with cherries in the same way as with a piece of burning wood in the fireplace. The burning wood first turns black from the hot, red embers of the fire, until it then becomes ash and goes back into the cycle.
A red-green confusion is a question of surface and content as well as of observation and sensation. Does red refer to the inner state or is it the description of the outer appearance? If the inner state of mind is characterised by red energy, there is constant change and high kinetic energy. If red energy comes to a standstill, this manifests itself in a brown-black appearance. If the surface is red on the outside, it indicates a healthy, growing organism within that is connected to itself.
Red-green visual impairment causes a misalignment of colour during the visual process. The visual impairment is due to a disturbance of genetic information, which impairs physical and bio-chemical processes – and can sometimes lead to complete colour blindness. It would have to be examined in the respective family history of the person suffering from the impairment whether there was a need – due to survival – to represent the colour assignment of a sensation or emotion differently than the perception of the external image suggested. A resolution of this question could help to restore the correct order and to regain natural colour vision.