THE MEANING OF THE EIGHT COLORS
Each of the eight colors has been carefully chosen because of its particular psychological and physiological meaning—its “structure.” This meaning is of universal significance and is the same the world over, to young and old alike, to men and to women, to the educated and the uneducated, to the “civilized” and the “uncivilized.”
In fact, the only limitation which can be placed on the general applicability of the test is the necessity to communicate to the person being tested; if he can understand what is required of him, see the color-panels (whether or not he is color-blind) and state his preferences, then the test applies to him.
Many people have a strong aversion toward “psychological tests,” especially to those which require the answering of numerous time-consuming questions or the sorting of a plethora of cards. In the experience of those administering the Luscher Test this antipathy is very rarely encountered; the test is attractive and appealing to do, and takes very little time.
In any event, those undertaking the test “do not see how they can give anything away by picking colors!” It might well be that they would be less willing had they any idea of how revelatory the test actually is.
The meanings and significances of each of the eight colors is set out below in some detail to enable the user to amplify the interpretations given in the Tables.
The grey of the test is neither colored, nor dark, nor light, and is entirely free from any stimulus or psychological tendency. It is neutral, neither subject nor object, neither inner nor outer, neither tension nor relaxation. Grey is not an occupied territory but a border; a border as a “no-man’s-land,” as a demilitarized zone, a region of separation providing a partition between contrasting areas. Grey is a Berlin Wall, an Iron Curtain, on either side of which is a different approach.
Whoever chooses grey in the first position wants to wall everything off, to remain uncommitted and uninvolved so that he can shield himself from any outside influence or stimulus. He is unwilling to take part and insulates himself from direct participation by dealing with what he must mechanically and artificially.
Even when apparently participating to the full, the person who selects grey first is really only participating by remote control. He stands aside and watches himself go through the motions, but he does not really allow himself to become involved. In this position, grey is entirely compensatory and is an attempt to solve by non-involvement, the circumstances resulting from the anxiety represented by the rejected color(s).
Grey, with its special attribute of non-involvement, of “having nothing to do with,” contains a pronounced element of concealment. Where grey forms part of a group of two colors, for example, and occupies the 1st position, then what is wanted is non-involvement first and foremost, followed by an unadmitted and possibly unrecognized desire for what is represented by the color in 2nd position.
On the other hand, the person who chooses grey in the last (8th) position wants to encompass everything—he rejects non-involvement—and feels that he has a perfect right to take part in anything which is going on around him, with the result that others may find him meddlesome, over-inquisitive or intrusive. He finds the neutrality of grey boring and rejects its lifeless calm to the last place in the row.
All the other effect-laden colors •** * . . u …ui Weir contrasting tensions and stnrmi; ^ pnttrnd
(<1^ ,mp y fl ,,..nr degree of experience and interest,t.noever
rejects grey, therefore, commits himself to things by his own readiness to be stimulated and by his anxiety not to miss out on anything. He wants to exhaust every possibility on his way to his goal and cannot let himself rest or be at peace until he has reached it.
Whoever chooses grey in 2nd position divides his world, on the one hand, into the compensatory and exaggerated area represented by the color he has placed in the 1st position and, on the other hand, into all the remaining potentialities represented by the colors he is warding off or repressing out of the anxiety that he might become involved with them.
The color preceding a grey in the 2nd position represents the only mechanism through which he is willing to experience. Otherwise he is “switched off” and insulated from the world around him. This does not mean that he will necessarily appear inactive or non-participating to others. On the contrary, he may appear to be very active as the compensation includes the endeavor to make up for his own inner feeling of meaninglessness, and for his own inability to act as the outcome of direct experience.
Even with grey in 3rd place, the lack of balance between the favored colors preceding it and the colors which follow after the grey is still so charged with tension that the colors in the 1st and 2nd positions must be interpreted as compensations, and therefore as compulsive substitutes for some existing deficiency and for the anxiety which arises from it.
For example, if the first three colors are 3 4 0, then a “switching off” has taken place and the group 3 4 (red/yellow) represents the compensatory method which has to be used in order to experience: in this case, “expansive activity.” He must keep trying to expand his fields of action and experience in order to convince himself that something is running, as he himself is already out of the hunt, cut off and rather lost; nothing has very much real meaning to him and he is no longer sure that he—
“its anything to mean a great deal. However, he doesnor know all im.*, :nd b nSUaUy mosl “””Ming to lethimself discover it; if he becan,; ;warC of ‘V »”gh”\«would tend to fall to pieces round him and it u sreason that he mutt have the compensation. It is his hold on reality.
Grey in the first three places therefore contains a strong element of self-deception, especially since the compensation is often powerful and often appears very effective. Many leading figures in industry and commerce have compensations of this nature followed immediately by the concealing grey: this bears out “a widely-held psychological theory that those who excel or stand out from their fellows do so less out of their own natural superiority than out of a compelling urge to escape something which causes anxiety and discontent.”
Colors which appear now in front and now behind the grey, from first to second selection on repetition of the test, are indicative of an existing state of stress. Such “grey-accompanying” colors are themselves conflict-laden so long as the grey occurs in the first half of the test (posi-tions 1 to 4).
The average statistical position of grey is in 6th place, while it can transfer to 5th or 7th without being significant. In all other positions it is meaningful. In conditions of exhaustion, depletion or special stress (as, for example, just before an examination) grey tends to push further towards the front.
The dark-blue of the test represents complete calm. Contemplation of this color has a pacifying effect on the central nervous system. Blood pressure, pulse and respiration rate are all reduced, while self-protective mechanisms work to recharge the organism. The body adjusts itself to relaxation and recuperation, so that in sickness and exhaustion the need for this color increases.
Psychologically, the tendency to be sensitive and easily hurt also increases.
Dark-blue, like all four of the basic colors, is a chromatic representation of a basic biological need—physiologically, tranquility and psychologically, contentment (contentment being peace plus gratification). Anyone in a situation as balanced, harmonious and tension-free as this feels settled, united and secure.
Thus, blue represents the bonds one draws around oneself, unification and the sense of belonging. “Blue is loyalty,” as they say, but where one’s allies are concerned one is especially vulnerable, so blue corresponds to depth of feeling. Blue, as a relaxed sensitivity, is a prerequisite for empathy, for esthetic experience and for meditative awareness.
Schelling uses pure-blue symbolism in his Philosophyof Art when he says, “silence is the proper condition of beauty, like the calm of the untroubled sea.” Blue corresponds symbolically to calm water, to the quiet temperament, to femininity, to the illumination in the manuscript. Its sensory perception is sweetness, its emotional content is tenderness and its organ is the skin.
Thus, eczema and acne can often be associated with disturbed relationships which involve (or should involve) tenderness, love or close affection, such as the family, young love and marriage.
The German word for the basic biological mood representedby dark-blue is Gemiit. There is no English equivalent conveying exactly the same meaning, but “sensitivity of feeling” comes close.
Dark-blue has considerable depth and fullness—it is especially favored by the overweight—and represents contentment and fulfillment. It is the blissful fulfillment of the highest ideals of unity. It is truth and trust, love and dedication, surrender and devotion. Blue is the timelessness of eternity, representing tradition and lasting values, and so tends to perpetuate the past.
When blue is chosen in 1st position, there is a need either for emotional tranquillity, peace, harmony and contentment or there is a physiological need for rest, relaxation and an opportunity to recuperate. Whoever favors blue wants a calm and orderly environment, free from upsets and disturbance, in which events move and develop smoothly, along more or less traditional lines; an environment in which his relationships with others arc placid and free from contention.
When the 1st-position blue is chosen purely for itself and not as a compensation, then it implies a quietness of spirit, calmness of manner and a concern that the business of living shall be dealt with ethically and with integrity—there is a need for him to feel that he can trust and be trusted by his associates and those close to him.
When blue is chosen in the 6th, 7th or 8th positions, however, this need for equanimity and for mutual trust in his relationships remains unsatisfied, giving rise to an anxiety which is greater the further back in the row the color is placed. Existing emotional relationships or his professional associations are being rejected because they do not measure up to his high standards of what is re-quired of them and are found to be either boring or restrictive. He finds them burdensome, diseartening and oppressive, a tie from which he would like to escape.
He may actually do this, by leaving his home or changing his job. But where he considers his responsibilities are such that he cannot actually sever his connection with them, he will still be inclined to escape mentally into some compensatory activity. Thus, rejected dark-blue means: severance of ties (or the wish to sever them) and results in restless or inconstant behavior and a degree of mental agitation. The ability to concentrate may suffer as a result, and in children this is liable to take the form of difficulty in learning. In adults the resulting tension, if long continued, can lead to disturbances of the nervous system involving the heart and the circulationas a result of cardio-vascular changes.
Rejected dark-blue, as an unsatisfied need for emotional fulfillment, may give rise to a compensatory preference for green. In this case the green insistence on the self implies a proud and rebellious demand for independence, often found in youngsters who want to break loose from famil yand parental apron-strings.
Frequently rejected dark-blue gives rise to a preference for red as a compensation, this implying a desire for stimuli. When an unsatisfied need for emotional fulfillment is accompanied by a compensatory red as the modus operandi in 1st position, then an attempt is being made to dull this feeling of non-fulfillment by impassioned behavior or by sexuality—the Don Juan syndrome.
Where sexual promiscuity is repudiated as an acceptable substitute for a rejected dark-blue, then the red compensation will probably take the form of vigorous or adventurous activity in which the individual pits himself against the dangers of some exciting pursuit, such as driving racing automobiles or hunting big game.
Often yellow is chosen in the attempt to compensate for a rejected blue. Yellow means: the search for a way out of difficulties. In this case, the oppressive lack of emotional fulfillment demands that the situation be eased and the associated depression lifted, so there is a restless search for some solution. This search may be not only for a solution to an existing condition of emotional vulnerability, but may go beyond it into a search for some more satisfying state of spiritual accord, such as philosophical or metaphysical understanding, preoccupation with re-ligious teachings, an interest in furthering movements devoted to bringing about universal brotherhood, and so forth.
Statistically, blue is of special significance if it does not stand somewhere in the first four positions.
The green of the lest contains a certain amount of blue and is the test-color representing the physiological condition of “elastic tension.” It expresses itself psychologically as the will in operation, as perseverance and tenacity. Blue-green is therefore on expression of firmness, of constancy and, above all, of resistance to change. It indicates constancy of viewpoint as well as constant self-awareness and places a high value on the “I” in all forms of possession and seclf-affiirmation, since possession is regarded as increasing both security and self-esteem.
From this, we can see that the person who chooses green in the 1st position wants to increase his certainty in his own value, either by self-assertivencss, by holding fast to some idealized picture he has of himself, or by the acknowledgement he expects from others in deference to his possessions—whether because of his greater wealth or in terms of his superiority in physical, educational or cultural attainments.
Green corresponds symbolically to the majestic sequoia, deep-rooted, proud and unchanging, towering over lesser trees, to the austere and autocratic temperament, to the tension in the bow-string. Its sensory perception is astringence, its emotional content is pride, and its organs are the smooth (involuntary) muscles. Thus gastric ulcers and digestive upsets are often associated with worry over possible loss of standing or personal failure.
Green as tension therefore acts as a dam behind which the excitation of external stimuli builds up without being released, increasing the sense of pride, of self-controlled superiority to others, of power, of being in control of events, or at least of being able to manage and direct them. This damming-up and suppression of external stimuli lead to many forms and degrees of “control.” This includes the sense of directed drives, but also as detailed accuracy in checking and verifying facts, as precise and accurate memory, as clarity of presentation, critical analysis and logical consistency—all the way up to abstract formalism.
This “green” behavior can also find expression in a quest for better conditions, such as improved health, or a longer or more useful life both for himself and for others. In this case we have the reformer, bent on ameliorating conditions.
But above all, the person who chooses green wants his own opinions to prevail, to feel himself justified as a representative of basic and immutable principles. As a result, he puts himself on a pedestal and tends to moralize to andl ecture others.
Whoever chooses green in the 1st position wishes to impress. He needs to be recognized, to hold his own and to have his own way against opposition and resistance. The person who chooses green in 6th, 7th or 8th positions wants the same things, but has been weakened by the resistance he has encountered and feels reduced in stature by the lack of recognition. This leads to tension and to distress because of the imperative nature of his desires and possibly also from actual physical weakness.
This distress makes itself felt as a tangible resistance, an actual physical pressure (as, for example, in chest or heart complaints) or as hardship or coercion—all of which he seeks to avoid. The further back in the row the green, the more urgently he seeks to avoid this sense of pressure.
Rejected green therefore means: “anxiety to liberate himself from the tensions imposed by non-recognition.” Loss of his own powers of resistance and tenacity, anxiety over possible loss of standing or position, as well as the reduction in his ability to assert himself, all combine to produce such concern over his own possible failure as an individual that he is likely to put all the blame on to others and adopt a critical, caustic and derogatory attitude toward them. While green in 1st position can mean a stubborn and self-opinionated attitude, when green is rejected it always does.
Rejected green is often compensated for by putting blue in 1st position because it is hoped that this will lead to peace and freedom from tension. People who make this selection are looking for a peaceful haven where they can find contentment and no longer have to make the intolerable effort required to assert their position.
Sometimes rejected green is compensated by red in 1st position. Red means the desire for excitation and stimulus, and since rejected green itself expresses an irritating state of tension leading to impatience and loss of self-control, this combination results in considerable impetuosity, uncontrollable outbursts of temper, hypertension and cardio-vascular changes.
These can bring about incoherence, partial loss of consciousness or even apoplectic seizures.
Occasionally an attempt is made to compensate for the intolerable tension of a rejected green by selecting yellow in 1st position as a way out of the difficulty. This “flight to freedom” is an attempt to escape the feeling of constriction, the pressure which causes it and the possible breakdown in health which may follow. Such a compensation is rarely adequate, consisting as it does in efforts to divert the attention by travel, visiting new places, taking up new hobbies and so forth.
Green is significant when it does not appear in the 2nd, 3rd or 4th positions.
The red of the test, with its tint of yellow giving it an orange hue, represents an energy-expending physiological condition. It speeds up the pulse, raises blood pressure and increases the respiration rate. Red is the expression of vital force, of nervous and glandular activity, and so it has the meaning of desire and of all forms of appetite and craving. Red is the urge to achieve results, to win success; it is hungrily to desire all those things which offer intensity of living and fullness of experience.
Red is impulse, the will-to-win, and all forms of vitality and power from sexual potency to revolutionary transformation. It is the impulse towards active doing, towards sport, struggle, competition, eroticism and enterprising productivity. Red is “impact of the will” or “force of will” as distinct from the green “elasticity of the will.”
Red corresponds symbolically to the blood of conquest, to the Pentecostal flame igniting the human spirit, to the sanguine temperament and to masculinity. Its sensory perception is appetite, its emotional content is desire, and its organs are the striated (voluntary) muscles, the sympathetic nervous system and the organs of reproduction. Thus, physical and nervous exhaustion, heart disorders and loss either of potency or of sexual desire are often to be seen accompanying a rejected red. In temporal terms, red is the present.
Whoever chooses red in the 1st position wants his own activities to bring him intensity of experience and fullness of living. What form these activities will take—co-operative enterprise, leadership, creative endeavor, development and expansion, eroticism, sensual pursuit of physical appetite, or over-dramatic and exaggerated activity—will be indicated in the main by the color which accompanies red in the group.
Sexually, red standing by itself in the 1st position (as anormal +, not as a compensation) suggests a more or less controlled sexual drive, with the possibility of occasional outbreaks of impulsive sexual experience: the reasonably faithful partner who may sometimes yield to temptation without it necessarily meaning very much.
However, if red is compensatory in the 1st position, the sexual drive is not only powerful but the ability to satisfy it is inhibited by the egocentricity which compulsively demands conquest with variety of experience and sensation, leading to sexual experimentation, promiscuity and frequent infidelities. In extreme cases, this can include the nymphomaniac and the satyr, neither of whom ever achieve real satisfaction or release from tension through the sexual act.
When red is part of the X group, sexuality is more restrained and there is the desire to restrict sexual intercourse to a partner who complies with the characteristics personified by the +group. With red in the ‘indifferent” area (= group), sexuality is becoming inhibited, and when red is rejected, sexual desire has either largely disappeared, is being rigorously suppressed, or impotence or frigidity have set in.
Rejected red in 6th, 7th or 8th positions implies that it sstimulating intensity is regarded as antagonistic. Whoever refects red is already in a state of over-stimulation, readily becoming irritated either because he is suffering from a lack of vitality (e.g. through physical exhaustion or cardiac insufficiency) or because he feels beset by impossible problems. He feels his environment to be dangerous and out of his control; in these circumstances the color appears to him not in its special significance of power and strength, hut as something menacing.
Rejected red therefore means: “seeks protection from anything which might excite, aggravate or weaken further,” and this desire for protection is, of course, the more intense the closer red is to the 8th position. Usually blue is chosen in 1st position as the compensation for rejected red because a peaceful environment is needed.
With this blue combination there is often a masochistic clinging to a sexual partner accompanied by the feeling of being unloved and unappreciated. Physiologically, this combination of rejected red and compensatory blue is often seen in those suffering from the frustrations and anxieties of the business world and in executives heading for heart disease (for which it provides an excellent early warning). Presidents, vice-presidents and others with this combination need a vacation, a medical check-up and an opportunity to reassemble their physical resources.
Rejected red and preferred green are seldom found, because in such a condition of helplessness it is only possible to contain the situation for a short while with “green” resilience. However, this choice does sometimes occur when an individual is trying to overcome nervous and physical exhaustion by will power alone.
More frequently, yellow is found in 1st position as acompensation for the debilitating effects of rejected red and means “a search for a way out.” But this choice is also usually of short duration as it yields a picture of despair.
Red is significant if it does not stand in the first three positions.
Yellow is the brightest color in the test and its effect is light and cheerful. Because red appears denser and heavier than yellow it is stimulative; because yellow is lighter and less dense than red it is more suggestive than stimulative. For instance, while yellow increases blood pressure, pulse and respiration rates in a manner similar to red, yet it is noticeably less stable in the way in which it does so.
Yellow’s principal characteristics are its brightness, its reflectivity, its radiant quality and its non-substantial cheerfulness. Yellow expresses uninhibited expansivencss, a loosening or relaxation. As opposed to green (2) in which tension-induced contraction can even result in cramps or spasm, yellow represents relaxation and dilatation. Psychologically, relaxation means release from burdens, problems, harassment or restriction.
Yellow corresponds symbolically to the welcoming warmth of sunlight, to the aspirational halo round the Holy Grail, to the cheerful spirit and to happiness. Its sensory perception is piquancy, its emotional content is hopeful volatility, and its organs are the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. Unlike red, which also acts on these systems, yellow activity is more uncertain and tends to lack red’s coherence and design. The”yellow” individual may be a whirlwind of industry, but this industriousness comes in fits and starts.
If yellow is chosen in 1st place, it shows the desire for release and the hope or expectation of greater happiness. It implies some minor or major conflict from which release is needed. This hope of happiness, in all its countlessforms from sexual adventure to philosophies offering en-lightenment and perfection, is always directed towards the future; yellow presses forward, towards the new, the modern, the developing and the unformed.
Where yellow is heavily emphasized and compensatory, there is not only a strung desire to escape from existing difficulties, by finding a way out which will bring release. There is also likely to be superficiality, change for the sake of change and an eager quest for alternative experience. Like green, yellow wants to achieve importance and the high regard of others but, unlike green, which is proud and self-contained, yellow is never at rest, straining ever outward in its pursuits of its ambitions. Where yellow is compulsive it can therefore fall into the trap of envy (the “green eye of the little yellow god”).
Green is persistence, yellow is change. Green is tension, yellow is relaxation. Between these poles there is a conflict which arises out of their incompatibility. Here “green” ambition, self-insistence and demand for prestige are at war with yellows hopeful pursuit of happy experience and adventure.
Where green predominates, the involuntary muscles are chronically under strain, with the result that pathological disturbances may occur in the stomach or intestines, or in the heart and circulatory systems—conditions often lying in wait for the over-ambitious. Since the degree of tension is often intolerable where such conditions exist, the green is usually rejected and yellow favored in the attempt to compensate for and relax this tension.
If yellow is rejected and placed in 6th, 7th or 8th position, then hopes have been disappointed, the individual is confronting emptiness and feels isolated or cut off from others. In so serious a mood the brightness and insubstantial quality of yellow are regarded as inappropriate and superficial, the greater the disappointment the further back in the row the yellow being placed.
Rejected yellow implies that turmoil has resulted from disappointment and from the feeling that hopes are not going to be realized. This turmoil may take the form of irritability, discouragement or mistrust and suspicion of others and of their intentions. If we consider how many people achieve and maintain their interest in life solely from their hopes and expectations, it will be appreciated how devastating is the effect of hopelessness, and that rejected yellow reveals an alarming deprivation of many aspects of life. Rejected yellow therefore means: “is attempting to protect himself against isolation and further loss or disappointment.”
Compensation take various forms. Frequently blue is chosen in the 1st position, showing that peace and unity are needed as a means of achieving a measure of content. Rejected yellow and preferred blue reflect the tendency to cling, to hang on to the familiar. This combination is common and reveals itself in a rather masochistic typeof attachment.
An attempt can also be made to compensate for hopelessness by striving for security, position and prestige. In this case, green will be the essential method of position 1. If red occurs in 1st position, then the pursuit of adventure, of intense experience—especially sexual excess—will be the means adopted to escape the sense of disappointment and isolation.
Yellow is significant if it does not occur in the 2nd to 5th positions.
Violet is a mixture of red and blue and, though a separate and distinct color, manages to retain something of the properties of both as a red-blue amalgamation (despite losing the clarity of purpose of the two colors). Violet attempts to unify the impulsive conquest of red and the gentle surrender of blue, becoming representative of “identification.” This identification is a sort of mystic union, a high degree of sensitive intimacy leading to complete fusion between subject and object, so that everything which is thought and desired must become Reality.
In a way, this is enchantment, a dream made fact, a magical state in which wishes are fulfilled—so the person who prefers violet wants to achieve a “magical” relationship. He not only wants to be be charmed himself, but at the same time he wants to delight others, to exert a degree of fascination over them because, although this is a magical identification, the distinction between subject and object still exists.
Violet can mean identification as an intimate, erotic blending, or it can lead to an intuitive and sensitive understanding. But its somewhat unreal and wish-fulfillment quality can also mean identification as an inability to differentiate or as an irresolute wavering, either of which may result in irresponsibility.
The mentally mature will normally prefer one of the basic colors rather than violet; the mentally and emotionally immature on the other hand, may prefer violet. In the case of 1,600 pre-adolescent school-children, 75% of them preferred violet. Statistics embracing Iranians, Africans and Brazilian Indians showed a marked preference for this color as compared with Euro Caucasians.
Erbsloeh’s investigations have shown that glandular and hormonal activity during pregnancy tend to result in a preference for violet and that this is also often the case when thyroid malfunction exists. Hyper-thyroidism (when psychosomatic and not the result of iodine deficiency) is a condition resulting from long-sustained stress, shock or conditions in early life subjecting sufferers to undue fear or terror, their emotions being very unstably under their control.
They need a special understanding, gentle treatment and a tenderness which can pacify their fears. Exactly the same thing can very often be said of women during pregnancy, many of whom become emotionally insecure at this time.
The preference for violet among pre-adolescents highlights the fact that, to them, the world is still a magical place in which they have only to rub Aladdin’s lamp for its slave to bring them what they want—an attitude which certainly has its points, but which it is probably inadvisable to carry over into adult life.
The homosexual and the lesbian often show their own emotional insecurity by a preference for violet as a compensation. Here we have the case of people whose emotional fears lead them to try to create around themselves a fairyland in which they can consider the rest of the world well lost so long as they have each other. However, while a significant proportion of homosexuals of both sexes have violet in 1st place, it should not be assumed that a preference for violet necessarily implies homo-sexual practice nor even homosexual leanings.
When violet occurs in 1st position it is therefore necessary to investigate a little further and discover which violet attribute is indicated. Is it a pre-adolescent immaturity carried forward into adult life? In this event, the person will tend to be unrealistic and have difficulty indistinguishing the practical from the visionary.
Is there glandular malfunction or some other condition leading to emotional insecurity? If so, then the person will have a special need for sensitive understanding from a partner with whom he or she can identify. If neither of these is the case, then the person wishes to be approved of for his charm and fascination, for his delightful manners and his winning ways—he wants to cast a spell on others. He issensitive and appreciative, but does not want his relationships to involve him in excessive responsibility.
When violet occurs in 8th position, the desire for a mystic intimacy with another has been rejected or suppressed because of the apparent impossibility of it being fulfilled or because conditions are entirely unsuitable. This results in a rather critical reserve and an unwillingness to commit oneself at all deeply to any relationship, either personal or professional, until one knows exactly where one stands and can see what the responsibilities of this relationship will involve.
At the same time, the need for identification and intuitive understanding which are implied by violet are projected onto objects rather than people, giving rise to esthetic appreciation, the ability to arrive at one’s own independent judgment and an increased leaning towards occupations of a professional or scientific nature.
Violet is not significant if it falls in 3rd to 7th places, nor—in the case of pregnancy or pre-adolescence—in 1st and 2nd places.
The brown of the test is a darkened yellow-red. The impulsive vitality of red is reduced, dampened and rendered more peaceful through this darkening—it is “broken-down” as the painter would put it. Brown has therefore forfeited the expansive creative impulse, the active vital force of red. Vitality is no longer actively effective, but passively receptive and sensory.
Brown therefore represents sensation as it applies to the bodily senses. It is sensuous, relating directly to the physical body, and its position in the row gives an indication of the body’s sensory condition. If brown, for example, is in the “indifferent” area (where statistically it appears mmost frequently) then the sensory state and physical condition of the body are not being given undue weight.
This is as it should he, since a healthy and contented body should obtrude little on its owner’s attention. Where there is physical discomfort or disease, then brown begins to move towards the beginning of the row. This demonstrates the greater emphasis which is being placed on physical unease and the greater need for conditions which will allow this discomfort to be ameliorated.
The dispossessed and the rootless, having no hearth of their own before which they can relax and be at ease, and with little prospect of security and physical contentment ahead of them, are often found to place brown right at the beginning of the row. This was particularly the case amongst those who became displaced persons as a result of World War II. It was not that their bodies were necessarily more physically sensitive, but that there was no place where they could feel secure and where they could enjoy those creature comforts with which the more fortunate are able to surround themselves.
So brown also indicates the importance placed on “roots;” on hearth, home and the company of one’s own kind, on gregarious and familial security. If brown stands in the first half of the row, and especially in the first two places, there exists an increased need for physical ease and sensuous contentment, for release from some situation which is bringing about a feeling of discomfort. This situation may be one of insecurity, of actual physical illness; it maybe an atmosphere of conflict, or the existence of problems with which the individual feels unable to cope.
Whatever the cause, the sensory condition of the body is being adversely affected, greater emphasis being placed on the need to provide a safer environment for it. Where brown is placed in 8th position, this need for relaxed ease is rejected altogether. Here physical comfort and sensory satisfaction are interpreted as weaknesses to be overcome. The rejector of brown considers he is made of sterner stuff and wishes to stand out as an individualist. Not for him the gregarinusness or interdependency of brown, nor any pandering to the wants of his body.
This suppression of the ability to enjoy physical sensation, however, may easily lead to an anxiety-producing deficit demanding some form of compensation—including the possibility of compulsive sexual activity—in the endeavor to experience some of the physical sensation which is being over-rigorously suppressed.
Brown is significant if it does not stand in the 5th to 7th positions.
Black is the darkest color and is in fact, the negation of color itself. Black represents the absolute boundary beyond which life ceases, and so expresses the idea of nothingness, of extinction. Black is the “No” as opposed to the”Yes” of white. White is the virgin page on which the story has yet to be written, black is the end beyond which there is nothing more.
While white is included in the Full Luseher Test, it does not occur in the eight colors, but white and black are the two extremes, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. In the 8-Color Test, the nearest approach to white is the bright yellow, and if black and yellow are found together in a group, then “extreme” behavior of one sort of another is indicated .
Black, as negation itself, represents renunciation, the ultimate surrender or relinquish merit, and has a strong effect on any color which occurs in the same group, emphasizing and enforcing the characteristic of that color. If black occurs in the first half of the test, and especially in the first three places, it results in compensatory behavior of an extreme nature.
Whoever chooses black in the 1st position wants to renounce everything out of a stubborn protest against the existing state in which he feels that nothing is as it should be. He is in revolt against Fate, or at least against his own fate, and is liable to act precipitately and unwisely in this revolt.
With black in 2nd place, he believes himself willing to renounce everything else providing he can have whatever is represented by the color he put in position 1. If, for example, red is in 1st place with black in 2nd, then the satisfaction of exaggerated desires is expected to compensate for all that is deficient. With blue preceding black, then absolute tranquillity is expected to restore dis-turbed harmony and emotional unrest.
With yellow preceding black in the first two positions, some abrupt and possibly catastrophic action or change of course is expected to put an end to his troubles. With grey and black, then the protection of total non-involvement will help to overcome general intolerability.
Black in the 3rd position demands the compensation afforded by the colors in the first two places. As in the case of grey, colors which appear before the black on the first selection and after it on the second selection, when they occur in the first half of the test, are similarly conflict-laden and indicate an additional source of anxiety.
Black in the 8th position is statistically in its most frequent position, representing a more or less normal desire not to have to relinquish anything, and to be in control of one’s own actions and decisions. When this position is one of anxiety, however, to lose or be deprived of anything becomes a matter of conflict. Since the individual finds it most distressing to have to relinquish, he runs the danger of demanding too much.