The Energetics of the Colour Red
“Now the angels want to wear my red shoes” – Elvis Costello
Red : delicious, warming, energising and empowering.
Red is the most powerful and outgoing colour, and the colour used to signal caution – red for blood, emergency, fire, danger, drama and speed – but red brings some essential qualities. It’s vibrant and energising. It indicates something special: a red letter day, Christmas, Dorothy’s shoes, fun and excitement. Red is the ultimate yang colour, and we all need some of this energy, but it has to be in balance. Red can be exciting and beautiful, warm, energising, nurturing and fun, cosy, womb-like, erotic and sexual. In red, you can rest in dynamic cohesion and connection. Red is a big colour, so you don’t need much of it around you as it demands attention. Red is assertive and appears to the human eye as though it is coming towards you, while blue recedes.
When we are looking at personal or spiritual growth and empowerment, red is fundamental. It’s a good place to start when you are looking at tackling any issue. Red is associated with the base chakra, with grounding, safety and basic security. The sacred womb space, the deep dark feminine holding space from which we all emerge. As such it has also been debased and trivialised – the scarlet woman being someone who is shamed. Red is strong, and to work with red you may only want a little. Mixed with white, it creates pink shades, and as a primary colour, when mixed with yellow it creates orange, and with blue it makes purple. Pair red with green, and you have something that feels grounded and celebratory, such as Yuletide red berries with bunches of green leaves.
The gift of red is radical equanimity. An open and healthy base chakra enables us to be secure in our own physical being, grounded in the earth, comfortable and at home in nature, in our bodies and in ourselves. When expressed through the heart, and mixed with the energies of love, it brings passion and joy.
Red allows us the strength, courage and security to tackle old developmental or karmic issues that we want to be done with. It’s no longer acceptable to feel that we have to endlessly repeat scenarios where we are uncomfortable or unhappy. If we have buttons that are easily pressed, or a relationship pattern that keeps replaying, now we have tools to change this. We can identify a pattern for what it is, and rise to meet the challenge to understand and let go any old self defeating behaviour or relationships, even if they have become the “norm” of how we think and feel. We can create a new “reset” point for now. It’s possible to claim our power in a new way. Red needs active expression, and it’s true it won’t let you stand still, but moving ahead always feels
This magnificent colour can be a friend and ally. Think of the virtues of courage, right effort, stamina, grounded responsibility, joy, excitement, dynamic action, adventure and daring personal warriorship! As a spiritual warrior, you are always on the edge of the difficult and the unknown, and you may never completely know what you are meant to be doing or figure it out- but if you are in possession of radical courage and equanimity, you can feel balanced and strong. You can be present in the moment, and enjoy being here. These are conditions we need to have in place before we can do any spiritual transformation, so that we are integrated, as in order to do advanced spiritual work we need to be embodied.
Therapeutic issues associated with red
Typical Red and Base Chakra issues
The most common issue is a lack of groundedness, being spacy, not being comfortable in your body, lack of awareness of the body’s needs -such as not realising you are hungry or you have over-extended your energy . not being aware of your feelings, or poor proprioceptive skills. Not treating the body (or the earth) with care and respect is so common that many of us do not realise it is a problem until we become exhausted, miserable or ill.
The consequences of abuse, trauma, and traumatic neglect
Issues with anger and assertiveness – too much or too little, or anger is either attracted towards oneself or acted out against other people; irritability; or problems with people walking all over you, or dislike of anger in others
Issues with sexuality, either sexual obsessions and fixations, lack of libido, sex as performance rather than intimacy
Weak personal boundaries, difficulty in asserting boundaries or protecting yourself
Lack of strength and stamina
Spaced out, or detached, difficulties in everyday functioning
Ongoing consequences of drug or alcohol use that has been harmful to the individual
Not knowing how you really feel, denying feelings,
Burnout, fatigue and exhaustion
Red: the energy of anger and assertiveness
Red is the energy of courageous action, boundaries and spiritual warfare. Mars, the red planet is associated with hot, fiery, forceful, masculine properties, volcanoes and war. A lack of red could possibly indicate shame in our sense of self identity, lack of pride and assertiveness in who we are, lack of fire and tenacity, lack of libido and drive, boundary problems, and lack of safety and security.
Anger is a problematic energy to work with – when suppressed and withheld, or acted out in violence or disrespect, it can be hugely destructive. But pure anger, rage or fury is a clean burning fire. It tells us about the importance of clear and respected boundaries, the need for protection, integrity and respect. Arising anger can protect you from harm and violations of your boundaries. The energy is powerful and you feel it rising up within you instantly.
Unfortunately, anger is frequently acted out in a punishing way, and often against people who are less powerful than the perpetrator, subjecting them to anger that belongs to the perpetrator and is projected onto or blamed on others in a disrespectful or an out of control way. If anger has been acted out against you, for example by your parents or an abusive partner, this leaves scars that you need to heal. It can make it difficult for you to assert appropriate boundaries, to stand your ground, to take the initiative or to have the drive to carry projects through to completion. If you have done this to others, such as yelling at your children in a way that scared them, you need to understand what was driving your fury and what triggers it to come out in certain situations. These triggers can be indirect, and you may need some skilled detective work to find them.
A practice for working with anger
When you feel angry, try this approach. Instead of spilling and wasting your precious energy on the various objects of your anger, no matter how much they may deserve it, send it down into the earth, rather than up into your head or out towards other people. Ask the earth to transmute your anger into positive energy.
With things that are just irritating or annoying, see if you can hold on to the arising irritable energy and breathe it back down into your base chakra. This I not the same as suppressing it, as you are not denying its existence or pushing it away, but not acting it out either.
When someone is being angry towards you, take the opportunity to notice how this affects you, for example, do you stiffen and brace with fear? Do you want to immediately fight back and retaliate? Consider the choices you have available and try something new.
See the next articles on making the most of Red in your life – Red Resources, and working with Red Essences