Magenta has become a positive thinking anchor for me – it is symbolic of transformation, universal harmony and emotional balance. It is the colour of strength and truth and peace. I love the way magenta sounds, it reminds me of evocative words like magic, majesty and imagination.
My connection with magenta first arose after a whimsical conversation with one of my sisters about the colour of beet juice. I have long enjoyed selecting and discussing hues of reds, blues and violets in clothing, jewellery and home décor, and the shades of magenta are rich and varied. My favourite fruit, the cherry, like beetroot, seeps magenta coloured juice. Magenta is also a great word for describing wine colour. In my very first wine appreciation course, many years ago now, I learned about color. When I find a Malbec, or a Shiraz that is decidedly magenta, I always enjoy the wine just a little more for its connection to my magenta. Of course, I also enjoy a rose coloured Grenache, and a ruby red Pinot Noir!
Magenta is a non-spectral colour. Spectral colours are those that we see in a single wavelength; essentially the colours of the rainbow, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. Non-spectral colours are simply combinations of these colours. Magenta is perceived physiologically and psychologically as one colour, but is actually made up of both red wavelengths and blue/violet wavelengths of light. The physics of light is a fascinating subject, but wavelengths and electromagnetic particle theory aside, magenta simply put, is the colour we perceive when both red and blue/violet light are reflected together. As such, magenta represents balance in its fundamental meaning.
Fascination with colour is age-old and incorporating colour in healing therapies was practiced in many ancient civilisations. Ayurvedic medicine from India works on the principle of energy and energy flow in the body, with seven powerful energy centres known as chakras represented at certain points of the body. Chakra is a Sanskrit word that means wheel, and each ‘chakra’ is visualized as a flat wheel of energy moving from the front to the back of our bodies at each of the chakra locations. Each chakra is associated with one of the seven colours of the rainbow, with red representing the Root Chakra at the sacrum, and violet the Crown Chakra at the top of the head. In some studies of these energies, it is believed that an eighth chakra, known as the Soul Star, exists just above the top of the head. The Soul Star Chakra is associated with the colour magenta and is believed to be the gateway between the physical body and our immortal soul.
In the 1800’s, Goethe was one of the first scholars to represent colours in a circle. Bending the visible spectrum of colour into a circle to create magenta between the red and violet ends of the rainbow spectrum. Goethe was deeply interested in the impact of colour on emotion and psychology. Some of his theories on physics of light, while ignored at the time, have proven out with modern understanding, and his early work on colour and emotion has certainly remained a topic of interest.
In modern colour psychology and therapy, magenta is used to evoke feelings of calm, balance, personal growth and patience, as well as inspiration, creativity and optimism. The use of magenta in metaphysical healing is often associated with intuition, spiritual development and a connection with our own sub-conscious.
The word magenta originated before we knew it as a colour though, and is the name of a town in Northern Italy. The town is believed to have been named after Maxentius, who was the Roman Emperor from 306-312. In 1859, an important battle of the ‘Second Italian War of Independence’ took place near Magenta and set the path for the Lombardy and the Veneto provinces to join the Italy we know today. In that same year, the dye fuchsine was patented in France and the name of the dye, and consequently the colour, became known as magenta in celebration of the Franco-Piedmontese victory over the Austrians. Perhaps it’s my Venetian heritage, or my fondness of the Piedmont grape varietals, but discovering this history made me fall in love with magenta even more.
The more I learn about magenta, the more compelling it becomes as my personal symbol for transformation, harmony and balance.