Thirty-one-year-old Eilene Bisgrove is an artist whose work is as radiant as she is. She studied color therapy with Jim Goure, a retired nuclear physicist who lives in the mountains of North Carolina. She says he and his wife, Diana, are the “most influential people in my life as far as my spiritual development.” (Every six months, Goure’s organization, United Research, 55 Star Route, Black Mountain, N.C. 28711, sponsors workshops which emphasize “working with the higher energies of prayer and light.” The next one will be in April.)
What follows is an edited transcript of Eilene’s talk at the Healing Arts Festival in Chapel Hill last month.
She does color therapy at her home, teaches yoga, and does “meditative portraits” by commission.
— Priscilla Rich Safransky
I’m an artist and use color every day. It’s a very integral part of myself. I wear it. Breathe it. Am it. Surround myself in it. And love it very much. My interest in color therapy comes from two main aspects: one is that I have a degree in pre-med and a tremendous interest in science leading us toward the more wholistic forms of healing and development. I also have a degree in fine art.
Everything, including healing, is connected with the fact that we are divine, spiritual beings. What makes us create illness — and we do create it ourselves — is that somehow we allow ourselves to get out of tune, to get out of the right vibration. Everything in the universe is vibrating with energy. Every atom, every molecule, every electron. And everything has a particular frequency. Our bodies have particular frequencies. When we’re vibrating in harmony, we have health. That is when we’re truly ourselves.
So what we seek to do in these methods of healing is to balance our vibrations and frequencies. There are many approaches to this: the whole idea of chemical therapy, of chemotherapy. Those chemicals that we do ingest in the form of pills do alter the vibratory rates of various chemicals, compounds, molecules, cells, atoms within our bodies. So everything we do is a matter of working with this energy.
The best healer in the whole world is simply the Divine, the Light, the Spirit, the Love — whatever words you want to use to describe that creative consciousness, that power of life which brings growth, which is everything we are. That’s the true healer. Now, things like color therapy and hydrotherapy and music are simply tools that we can use to speed up this process and to facilitate it.
In color therapy, we use light that is transmitted through a colored film. I use a gel that is placed between two glass slides. Bill Asher, who developed these, has tried to get as close as possible to the center spectrum on each of the seven rainbow colors. By projecting light through these slides onto the person, that frequency is bathing his body.
We have an idea that the body is very dense and that light and color don’t go through it. Obviously, we do have a shadow, so certain parts of visible light do not go through the body or do not appear to. But the body is composed of atoms or molecules that are vibrating at very high frequencies, and within these atoms there’s mostly space. Now, if you get a high enough frequency, it simply goes right through the spaces between the electrons and the atoms. So, some of that light is penetrating into the body. If you lie out in the sun, you feel a warming effect. X-rays also go through the body.
A little background on color therapy: It was used thousands of years ago by the Chinese; they would take beautiful silk screens in the colors of the rainbow and they would build little gazebos out of them. People sat inside the gazebo on a sunny day with the light coming through, so they would get the colors by a transmission of energy. They had red gazebos, orange ones, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Color healing was also used by the Egyptians, who worked very much in the same manner. It was used by the Greeks and the Romans. Often, the very wealthy class had a solarium at home. Frequently, it was just silk drapes. They would sit inside and let the color come through. They also used colored glass. It is believed by many people, foremost among them Da Vinci and Goethe, that the whole reason for the development of stained glass windows was a spiritual form of color therapy. When Da Vinci wanted to meditate, he would sit under the lavender-violet light coming through a window. He claimed that his meditations would be tremendously more powerful under that light. That is where he would have visions and images of what he was going to paint.
So this is not a new thing. Hippocrates used color and music. Paracelsus used it. Somehow during the Dark or Middle Ages, we drew away from a lot of the knowledge that we, on this planet, had prior to that. There was a tendency in the West, with the puritanical ethic, to get away from the senses. So we pulled away from things like color, fragrance, music. Also we were going through a time in science when everything had to be empirically proven. Much of color healing had no empirical basis. It had simply, like folk medicine, been used for years and years. It worked, but people didn’t perhaps know why.
Then, it started re-emerging in the 1800’s. In 1810, Goethe published his treatise, the Theory of Color. He said that our physical eye was created so that the light within could meet the light without. The eye becomes a communicator of this Light. Perception may work both ways. The true balance may be between going out and coming in, receptivity and expression.
One of the first medical people to do research was a Dr. Edwin Babbitt. He wrote The Principles of Light and Color, which bridged the medical and metaphysical worlds. There have been other pioneers in the field: Rudolph Steiner, Dr. Kate Baldwin, who did work in the early 1900’s, Roland Hunt and, then, Jim Goure.
A person might say “Well, how come this color therapy is so important? Why don’t I just go sit in the sunshine and forget it, because that’s got all the colors?” The way I approached it through meditation is the realization that when we eat food we’re eating very complex structures which our bodies break down, into packets. It breaks proteins down into amino acids. It breaks carbohydrates down into its elemental compounds. By breaking the light down, we make it into something that our physical and astral structures can better resonate with and better digest and assimilate and use. This is basically what color therapy is doing. It’s taking sunlight and breaking it down so your body can use it.
In the color spectrum, there are seven colors. There are also seven notes in our musical scale. The first three colors — red, orange, and yellow — are called thermal colors. They heat the body. Green is in the middle. It is the balancer. On the other end of the spectrum, we have blue, indigo, and violet-pink. Violet ranges into pink. It is what is called electric. It is cooling. It is magnetic. These are the two aspects of light with green in the center as a balance. If you look at our planet, you’ll see that there’s a tremendous amount of green on the earth. The color green soothes and calms us. It gives us the feeling that we can just sit back and let nature flow. It’s a very Tao color. The red-orange-yellow series is pretty yang. There’s a lot of aggression and fire in those colors. Those colors are used to stimulate. They definitely warm the body. They increase circulation. They stimulate digestion. In fact, yellow is a fantastic digestion stimulator. Whereas, blue and indigo and violet calm us. They’re colors of repose. They’re astringent. They cause blood vessels to contract a little bit. They just cause everything to become calm.
If you notice that on a day that’s really cloudy you feel calm it’s because the clouds are filtering the longer wavelengths — the reds, oranges and yellows. You’re just walking around in a blue color bath. Now, blue can go to the negative of being depressed as in “I feel blue.” If a person got too much blue in his life, he’d be down and out. So you give a little red and orange and yellow to charge him back up again. If you get too much red in your life, you’re probably going to be very hyper.
Now, it’s interesting that there are seven colors, seven notes in our scale, seven chakras, and seven days. There’s an instrument called an oratone, which is used to transfer colored blips into sound. Did anyone see “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” where they did that thing with playing music and had the colors going in harmony with it? Researchers feel that C vibrates with red. That yellow vibrates with E and that blue vibrates with G. Those are the primary colors: red, yellow and blue. If you play that chord that we have just made of C, E, and G, it’s C Major, which is the primary chord.
Another thing I want to talk about is the chakras. In our bodies we have seven main energy centers. In the East they’re called chakras. Chakra means wheel. As these centers become cleared and energized, they begin to spin very rapidly and they put out a lot of light. Interestingly enough, the chakra centers correlate perfectly with the nerve plexi in the body.
In our nervous system, we have plexi where nerve bundles come out of the spinal column and correlate, interrelate, cross over and do all sorts of wild things and then go where they’re supposed to go. These are energy centers, since our nervous system transmits electrical energy. If you have all these nerves integrating and synapsing and doing all the things that they do, you’re going to have a lot of energy in those spots. They also correlate very closely with the endocrine or ductless glands.
Starting at the base of the spine, we have what is called the root chakra. The root chakra correlates with the sacral plexus, which is a nerve plexus, and it functions in conjunction with the sex glands. It’s color is red. The main function of this chakra center is purification and cleansing. So, pure red is a very cleansing, dynamic color. It gets your circulation going. It gets toxins out of your system because of increased circulation and body heat.
The next center is the regenerative center which is the center of the abdomen. This works in conjunction with reproductive glands. Its color is orange. Vitality. Regeneration. Orange is a good color for courage. If you’re going into a situation where you’re feeling kind of shaky and scared, wear orange. It will give you a little more pizazz. The next center is the solar plexus. It’s color is yellow. Yellow is a very emotional color. It’s been discovered that they have to be very careful with yellow in psychiatric hospitals. A few years ago, when all this stuff started coming out, they immediately thought that if yellow is supposed to heal the emotions, we’ll put yellow in psychiatric hospitals. But they found that it was overstimulating people. A lot of people couldn’t take it and it made them express too much too quickly. So, in that kind of situation, they learned to just use it in small amounts and let the person develop with it. Yellow, also, tunes in with the intellect and intellectual abilities, so yellow is a good mind energizer. In other words, if we get too much blue in our heads and not enough yellow, we’ll be out of whack.
What is important is that every cell, every atom, needs every color. If people are limiting themselves to saying that their root chakra needs red, but it doesn’t need any of the other colors, they’re going to have a problem, because they’re going to be out of balance. Every center needs every color, but basically almost all clairvoyants and psychics agree that these chakra systems work primarily with those colors. But eventually the goal of all these centers, of everything within us, of every cell in our body of our entire being is to become light, to become white light. To integrate all the colors. So don’t limit yourselves to thinking this is the whole thing. This is just the finger pointing at the moon. It’s not the moon.
The next center, the heart center, is green. The color of love. Soothing. Calming. Love is very soothing and calming. The next center is blue. That’s the throat chakra area and that has to do with our ability to communicate and to express the divine power aspect of our selves. The next one is indigo. That is right behind the bridge of the nose. This is awareness and perception. Indigo is the color of perception. It’s the color of the “psychic.” I use the word psychic with quotes, because psychic is a word that has a lot of limitations. I like the word perception.
And then the top, the highest, the seventh, is this violet-pink color. This is the center of the divine consciousness. This is where we’re all heading. This color is very good for meditation.
As I said, all these do relate with endocrine glands: sex glands, reproductive glands. The solar plexus works with the adrenals. The heart chakra, green, works with the thymus gland. The blue chakra works with the thyroid and parathyroid. The indigo of the sixth works with the pituitary which is the third eye. And the violet-pink of the seventh works with the pineal gland, which is the fourth eye. The third eye is what most psychics work with and it has a limited field of vision. It’s only the ability to see a very small consciousness and a very small dimension. The fourth eye is the highest and that is the ability to see everything in the universe at once. I know that sounds wild, but it can be done. It takes a little practice, though.
Experience is worth a thousand words about color. When I do color therapy with people, the person becomes the screen. The color is moving onto and through them. You look into the beam as it comes from the projector, just long enough to get into your consciousness what it is. Then you can let the feel and the image you have of that color be going through you as you quietly meditate or do a mantra or whatever.
Oftentimes, when people are sitting under the lights they will experience some very incredible sensations: things moving around in their bodies, things changing. They may feel energy in the various chakras with the various colors. Lots of times, especially under the blue and purple, people will have visions. People, who don’t normally see clairvoyantly, will see things. I also use music a lot, because music has a beautiful way of tuning in with it.
Now this is just one way of approaching color therapy and the use of color.
Another way to work with it is called color breathing. This is done a lot in yoga. Sit very quietly and imagine the color and breathe deeply. Imagine the color coming in with the inbreath, completely filling your body with the color and then as you exhale, you can imagine it surrounding yourself. A friend of mine said he had an awful time visualizing color until one day every time he wanted to think of a color he would imagine a Volkswagen that particular color. Volkswagens came in all colors.
Another tremendous thing to do in color work with yourself is simply to do some painting. I don’t mean to necessarily try to paint something, but just get some paper or canvas. Get some water colors or pastels or oils or whatever you feel an affinity towards and just mix colors. See how many hues, and tints and shades and intensities you can get and just play with them. This will help you begin to feel the colors, feel how the color is making you react. How do you react to yellow? How do you react to different kinds of yellows — light yellows versus dark yellows?
In reading all this material on chromotherapy, I found a tremendous amount of contradiction and controversy on what colors do what. I’ve come to the conclusion that color is very personal. Everybody’s system is not going to react to color in the same way. It’s very important not to get hooked into one color or treating yourself with one color. I think it’s important to realize that every person needs all the colors.
Slide packets may be purchased for $12.50 a set, plus $.50 postage from Rev. Bill Asher, 1008 Delfield Dr., Bethel Park, PA 15222.