February 13, 2005

Exercise : Color Meditation.

Another writing-based exercise, very similar to the Five-by-Five.

"Just as we feel at the touch of ice a sensation of cold, forgotten as soon as the finger becomes warm again, so the physical action of color is forgotten as soon as the eye turns away. On the other hand, as the physical coldness of ice, upon penetrating more deeply, arouses more complex feelings, and indeed a whole chain of psychological experiences, so may also the superficial impression on color develop into an experience."

-- Wassily Kandinsky

Color Meditation

(1) Choose a color at random. The best way I've found of doing this is going into the bathroom at my parent's house--which has wallpaper so outrageously floral it's often hard to look at straight-on. You might have some other method.

(2) Write down (or speak out loud--this might be fun in a group, though I've never tried it) as many examples as possible of situations or events that this color evokes. Like in Five-by-Five, try to avoid general descriptions of abstractions or "feelings" (like, "The time I was lonely in the park"). Be as concrete and specific as possible. Don't censor yourself. Don't try to make each example relate to the others. Just write (or say) whatever comes to mind.

(3) Later, go back and pick out some of the most powerful examples. Try making a poem out of them. Play around with order, juxtaposition, etc. Does one story seem to naturally tie together the others? Are the examples listed chronologically? If not, try putting them in order. If so, try rearranging them. What do all the stories have in common? Do they all seem to evoke a similar emotion? time? relationship?

This is a good way of exploring the meanings that colors hold for us. There are plenty of color correspondence charts, both online and in many Craft books, outlining their associations with energies, planets, days of the week, metals, etc. But, like everything else in the Craft, those practices which will have the most meaning and power for you will be those which you explore and deepen on your own. After exploring certain colors, you might want to go check out some of those correspondences and see how they come to play in what you've written, since often times we share associations and meanings in our "cultural subconscious," but don't rely solely on these outside sources.

Here's a poem that I wrote based on this exercise a while ago:

Smoky Yellow

hanging in the air
of a smoker's hotel room,
sweet and suffocating
on the back of my throat;
the ashtray's gone,
but cigarette ghosts

Wet paint
smell in a fourth-floor
hallway, a dirty finch
yellow washed in new
eggshell, stretching towards

falling over themselves,
the overlap of dimmer grays
in hazy yellow theater light;
on the armrest between us, your

The soles
of our feet after walking
barefoot through dying
grass and dandelions,
holding hands all


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