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Today’s post in my Beginning Meditations series is a color breathing meditation. Color breathing meditation helps you shift your mood at will to energize, relax, or focus yourself. I go beyond the basics by adding a tarot card visualization and sounding the musical pitch associated with the color. Today’s post includes written instructions for and a 12-minute guided meditation mp3 recording of the color breathing meditation. Please also check out the other meditations in this series!
- Fourfold Breath Meditation with Tarot Ace Visualization – July 15, 2018
- Jôshin Kokyû Hô Reiki Meditation – August 15, 2018
- Discursive Meditation – September 15, 2018
- The Middle Pillar Exercise – October 15, 2018
- Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram – November 15, 2018
- Color Breathing Meditation – Today’s Post!
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About Color Breathing Meditation
Color has a profound effect on us. Imagine how you feel on a bright, sunny day when the sky is the bluest blue and the leaves of the trees are intensely green. Compare this to a dull, gray day where everything is overcast. How does your mood shift in each of these circumstances? For thousands of years, humans have controlled color and added it to ourselves and our environment in our cosmetics, clothing, jewelry, home decor, and art to name just a few. But usually that color is external to us. We might bask in the light of shades and tints we see around us. But color breathing lets us pull that hue inside our bodies where it can transform us.
The Benefits of Color Breathing Meditation
The basic color breathing meditation instructs us to breathe in a colored mist and see it fill the body, and then breathe it back into the room. By breathing this colored mist in and out again, you can acclimate yourself to the color. You will notice it having a particular effect on you. You may feel it physically, emotionally, in your energetic field, or in some way unique to you.
For many, warm colors like red and orange are energizing, whereas cool colors such as blue and green are relaxing. Often people will find that yellow or orange can help them focus. However, each person’s experience will be unique. Regardless of cultural norms, you experience color in your own unique way. By recording your results for future reference, you can create your own unique dictionary of color. Use this personalized reference to shift your mood at will.
This meditation combines several learning styles — visual, auditory, and kinesthetic — to hone in on and fine-tune your experience of color. The basic meditation focuses on visualization or using your imagination to see a colored mist around you. But we can add layers to the meditation to stimulate other senses. Sensing the color inside your body and filling it completely can add the physical component. Also, each color correlates to a pitch. Sounding that note adds an auditory element that will heighten the experience. And lastly, each color corresponds to a tarot card. Picturing the tarot card in front of you can redouble the visual portion of the meditation. Plus, integrating color and card lets you understand each more fully or differently. The resulting synthesis gives rise to insight.
Color Breathing Meditation Instructions
- Choose a color to work with for this meditation. Make this selection based on the associations used in your spiritual, cultural, or personal tradition. The chart below offers suggestions, including psychological color symbolism and associated tarot cards.
- Ground and center yourself with the fourfold breath or another form of rhythmic breathing.
Color Breathing Meditation
- Then, continuing to breathe in and out through the nose, feel the energy of the breath arise and release from the solar plexus energy center, just below the breastbone. Breathe in and out from the solar plexus to the count of four. (The solar plexus is always used in this meditation, regardless of the color chosen to work with.)
- Imagine the space that you are in filled with colored light or mist. For practical purposes, if you are outside or in a very large space, you can instead imagine an egg-shaped space around you about as wide as your outstretched arms.
- Breathe in the misty light and see it enter your body at the solar plexus to the count of four. See and feel the colored mist fill your body.
- On the out breath, see the color completely leave your body to the count of four and return to the room full of color in which you sit.
- Breathe the color in to the count of four via the solar plexus so it fills your body. When you breathe in, see your whole body glowing with this color.
- Then breathe it out to the count of four from the solar plexus until it envelops you all around.
- If this becomes too intense, switch to breathing white or clear mist or return to your normal breathing. Breathing a different color, perhaps the complementary color, might moderate overly intense experiences with a particular shade.
- If you would like, visualize the tarot card associated with your chosen color, referencing the chart below. You can breathe the card in and out through the solar plexus utilizing the same rhythmic breathing.
- You may also sound the pitch (a piano app is useful here). Humming it or holding it in your mind can intensify the meditation.
Ending the Meditation
- When you are ready to end the meditation, discontinue the note, then breath out the tarot card and release its image.
- Then breathe out the colored mist back into the room, and see it dissipate from the room until you are breathing the regular air of the room.
- Next discontinue breathing from the solar plexus and breathe in and out through the nose. Discontinue the count of the rhythmic breathing and return to your normal breathing.
- Feel yourself come back into your body and become aware of your surroundings.
Table of Tarot, Astrology, Color, and Musical Pitch
Because color symbolism is highly dependent on tradition, culture, and personal associations, it is impossible to list verifiable meanings for colors. I made suggestions in the above chart based on my own study and experiences. However, it is up to you to work with each color, noting your response to and experience of it.
The above correspondences are those of the Paul Foster Case/B.O.T.A. system. For more guidance, please refer to my article on how the correlations between color, pitch, and card developed (titled, “Tarot: The Musical”). Paul Foster Case did not ascribe psychological symbolism to the colors, but only referenced color to card. So in his system, green did not have any psychological meaning other than being associated with the Empress and all that she stands for. For comparison, this table of Golden Dawn color scales offers a slight variation in the correspondences. If you’d like to explore different takes on meaning for color, please consult this Color Symbolism Chart I compiled and use in several of my classes. Also, you can refer to any color psychology website for the symbolism used in our contemporary western culture.
Color Breathing Meditation Recording
Recently I hosted a discussion group and was spontaneously asked to lead a meditation to help the group focus and enhance our connection to the card we were studying. As luck would have it, one of the members was recording the talk for use in studying, remembering, and documenting what we said. I was able to extract this portion of the recording to share in my beginning meditations series.
My colleague used a high quality recording setup, which is fabulous except for the fact that it picked up a fair amount of ambient noise. I did my best to reduce this noise, but finally resorted to help from another colleague. He happened to have an audio file of an Aeolian wind harp, pitch adjusted to the tone “E”, which is the note associated with the yellow color breathing we did for this exercise. I layered this track on as a background drone, covering up the ambient noise nicely, and producing an overall pleasing effect.
The following mp3 guided meditation walks us through a yellow color breathing meditation. We use the Strength card and the pitch E. Because the background drone is tuned to the note E and the note E is sounded during the meditation, this recording is best used for yellow color meditations only. If you’re working with the tarot cards, this will work for the Fool, the Magician, and Strength according to the Paul Foster Case/B.O.T.A. correspondences. As with all my recordings, they are intended simply to provide guidance as you learn the meditation. Once you become familiar with the exercise, you can let go of the recording and practice the meditation on your own using the color of your choice.
My color breathing meditation is adapted from John Michael Greer’s The Druidry Handbook. Variations of this technique are taught in a variety of traditions.
What is your experience with using color breathing? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments!
Joy Vernon is widely recognized by tarot professionals as an expert tarot teacher and respected community leader. With over twenty years’ experience teaching energetic and esoteric modalities, Joy brings expertise and practiced familiarity to her specialty of esoteric tarot, which layers astrological and qabalistic symbolism onto the traditional tarot structure. Under her leadership, the Denver Tarot Meetup has grown into one of the largest and most active tarot-specific meetups in the world. Joy works as a tarot reader, astrologer, and teacher at Isis Books. To learn more, please visit JoyVernon.com.