Searching for Color

I had a bit of a shock today. In my continued studies into the meaning of the tarot, I decided to dig out the research on color I did for Light Bringer. Color was an important part of the story, adding what I hoped would be a different layer of meaning and “feel” to the characters and their interactions. I also wanted these meanings to resound within the reader even if they didn’t know specifically what a color meant, in the way that archetypal characters do. So, lots of research.

I found the notebook labeled “colors” and all that pertained to color in that notebook were lists of colors. In my novels, I try to stay away from the basic red, yellow, blue, etc. and use less obvious color names such as carmine and vermillion, primrose and mustard, lapis and indigo, and the list made it easier to find the proper color name. But that’s all I found. No notes from all those books I used in my color research.


I had thrown away some writing notes. When I began writing fiction, I also studied the craft, reading and taking notes from myriad books. When I packed to move, I needed to get rid of stuff, and since I am beyond the writing basics, I figured I didn’t need all that extra weight, though I did keep some notes as reminders to go beyond the obvious and cultivate subtlety. I couldn’t have thrown away those valuable color notes, could I? It didn’t seem possible, but they weren’t where I thought they should have been.

I had written some articles for this blog and other sites pertaining to color, so I went searching for them, but apparently, most of those articles disappeared into the dead website graveyard, without even a ghost remaining. There are a few brief articles about color on this blog, but that’s it.

Unbelievable. All that research  . . . gone.

But no. I finally went through the stack of my research notebooks and found the color notes in the middle of a book labeled, “technical.” (As opposed to alternate technologies, religious studies, general notes, quotes, etc.)

It might not have mattered (from a tarot standpoint) if I hadn’t found the notes because I remember the basic meanings. The basics might be all that’s necessary to help get a feel for the various tarot cards, but only if the artist bothered to use the proper color symbolism. Or maybe it doesn’t matter? Perhaps it’s better to take each card as is, and not worry too much about what the artist intended. After all, the reader is supposed to gain a feeling for the card itself, and color helps intensify that feeling.

See also:
Coloring Your World
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Green and More


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.